Bobby Darin’s DiDia 150

Bobby Darin was an unbelievable musical talent that died well before his time. This is the car he loved. It was designed by clothing designer Andy DiDia and is the single example of the designers attempt at an automobile. Construction of this car ran from 1953 until 1960. Darin wanted the car very badly and purchased it for $150,000 (that would be approximately $1,500,000 in today’s dollars). This space craft on wheels is powered by a V8 engine and has a 125 inch wheelbase! This was not a show car. Bobby and his wife, Sandra Dee often drove it to the Academy Awards. It also appeared in movies of the time.

The DiDia 150 is hand-fashioned from soft aluminum, has thermostatically controlled air conditioning, hidden headlights, tail lights that swivel as the car turns a corner, glass windows on hinges, and rust-colored seats, each with an ash tray, cigarette lighter, and radio speaker.

Bobby Darin Darin was born in May 1936. When he was eight he overheard a doctor tell his mother that he might not live past 16 due to heart damage caused by rheumatic fever. Darin went on to record such hits as “Splish Splash,” “Dream Lover,” and “Mack The Knife,” which won him a Grammy in 1960.

Darin was nominated for an Academy Award in 1963. His record company, TM Music/Trio, launched Wayne Newton and others. Darin was with Robert Kennedy in 1968 when he was killed at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. Bobby went into seclusion for about a year after that event. In 1972, he had a TV variety show called The Bobby Darin Amusement Company that he hosted until his sudden death in 1973. Darin’s death came after surgery to correct heart problems brought on by blood poisoning. He was 37.

The hood is not open; this is a body line that goes along the entire side of the car and looks like it might be part of a ventilation system.

The rear of the car is very much like the wild concept cars of the 50s that we were assured we would be driving (or flying) in 1980!

As wild as the exterior is, the interior seems almost practical.

Love those controls on top of the dash but I am sure they would give today’s government vehicle safety regulators a heart attack.


  1. Bobby Darin has been the only singer for me from the first time I ever heard him sing. Love to see anything related to him.

  2. Bobby was a great entertainer who excelled at all genre of music (Pop, Rock, R&B, Jazz, Folk, and even Country). He was posthumously elected to both the Rock and Roll and Songwriters Hall of Fames and this year, garnered the Lifetime Grammy Achievement Award. He was also a very accomplished musician (piano, guitar, drums, harmonica) and was an Academy Award nominated actor and a very capable impressionist as well. He was considered brash and rude at the time by the media, but only he (for professional reasons), realized how ill he was and that he was living on borrowed time. Notwithstanding the oxygen tanks set up right offstage, you always got your money’s worth at a Bobby Darin performance. This vehicle attests to the spirit of the man and performer….

  3. Not credited is the actual builder of this car. Clarkaiser (Ron Clark & Bob Kaiser) built this in their shop in Detroit. An aluminum frame was the basis. They learned aluminum shaping through the construction of this masterpiece.

  4. I saw this car today (7/25/10) at Concours de Elegance car show in Rochester Michigan. It was leaking coolant pretty bad out the bottom, it was parked for awhile and not moved yet. So it seems to be “drivable” condition minus the coolant steam spewing.

    Love Bobby Darin!

  5. Sometime in the early sixties ,coming back from grama’s house in LA
    we became stuck in a traffic jam on the Harbor freeway. Next to us was this very wild car from the future,huge fins glass bubble top with looked like jets coming out the back.Driving it was
    Bobby Darin, another man in the passenger seat with Sandra Dee in the back all curled up sittin on her legs,all casual like a teen smoking as I recall. My mom rolled down her window and asked what kind of car was it.Bobby Darin was very cool and nice and told my clueless mom about it.We didn’t know at the time they were stars. I still remember how nice and friendly ,sticking his head out and acting like an average guy. Wow what a car and a super down to earth star he was!

  6. Wonderful pictures of this crazy car! Just want to correct something in the article above. Bobby Darin had been campaigning with RFK, but he was not actually with him at the Ambassador when he was assassinated.

  7. i loved the car, i wonder how many people would show up at a car show, if dodd mitchell darin,bobby darins son, was to show up at a show driving the dream machine. I’ll bet that the turn out of people would be a big one!

  8. when I was a kid in the early 60s I went to a car show and saw a Black Bubble top car that belonged to Bobby Darin Is this the car ??? Painted red or is this a different cal altogether ??? Does anyone know ..???? Thanks

  9. Soft aluminum body and frame, plus custom paint? That beautiful car wouldn’t last a week in the Winter here in Minnesota.

  10. The car was originaly built by Ron Clark and Bob Kaiser CLARKAISER custom cars. (First custom shop in Michigan).
    Bob was my business partner for 17 years until his passing 5 years ago. We had many stories from Bob about the build of that car and others. I believe Ron Clark is still around, but have not heard anything in the last couple years.

  11. Bob said that when they were at the top of their game in the custom car building business, they didn’t make much more than $2.75 an hour. All the hype these builders were given, never gave them the money they deserved. They were ahead of their time with this vehicle and others. Bob always said Ron was the best fabricatior between them. The Darin car was all hand hammered, and with all the compond curves, it was a real challange. No power tools used on that car. The only body production part on the car was the windshield, and I think it was from a Cady.
    The frame was custom made from chromealloy steel.
    Bob has a history even after Clarkaiser days of being extreamly creative and ahead of his time in special paints and coatings, convertible top mechanisms, limo’s and special vehicles and inventions. Some of which we patented together.
    I continue to promote Bobs name thru our company(Klai Enterprises, Inc.)in some special car events every year that were close to his heart. Auto’s for Autism is one fund raising car show we participate in every year for the past 10 years with a special award as well as the Show car nationals held at MIS in July..

  12. The steering wheel looks like a Chrysler Corp product, not sure if it’s an Imperial. Darin was one of a kind, a natural star with instant presence.

  13. My father owned a Buick dealership at 25330 Grand River Ave in Detroit from 1966-1975. According to him, the Di Dia 150 had been build at that location.

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