After decades of uncertainty, a legend from the 1950s will return to the limelight. The famous Golden Sahara, a futuristic phenomenon that rocked and thrilled the world in 1954 at the Petersen Motorama in Los Angeles. The car used to be the focus of an automobile traveling circus and was seen on screen before disappearing from public focus in the late 1960s. Now, after the death of its owner, the car has awakened from its long slumber and will cross the auction block at Mecum’s Indianapolis auction in May 2018.
Today, it is hard to believe how this vehicle once occupied the American nation. The pearly golden Golden Sahara, originally engineered with all the subtleties of technology, was originally a simple ’53 Lincoln Capri owned by the famous custom-car magnate George Barris. After towing off the whole top like the lid of a can of sardines, Barris had the idea to save the wreck with an ambitious special project. Jim Skonzakes, an Ohio customer of Barris better known as Jim Street, donated the funding.
The duo overtook the car from scratch, from the all-new Space Age body to extravagant pearlescent 24-carat gold (from fish scales), a half-bobble top and white mink rugs. There was even more luxury on board the companion: a cocktail bar with built-in refrigerator, high-end radio, tape recorder and an in-dash TV. The whole cost a staggering $ 25,000. And the fantasies of the car fans were set in motion …
After traveling to various exhibitions and events across the US in 1956, Barris and Skonzakes added even more glitz, glamor and flair with new features and a host of new technologies. The car, which was then christened Golden Sahara II, now offered advanced extras such as selectable electronic steering, push-button control, aircraft-style centered controls for acceleration and braking, remote functions, and front bumper sensors that enabled automatic braking. This time the bill came to $ 75,000. But that was incidental, because the car was a real celebrity and even made it to an appearance in the 1960 Jerry Lewis movie Cinderfella.
In the late 1960s, the Golden Sahara II was just a memory. He disappeared from the limelight. Only rumors said that the collector Jim Street had the car in his garage and that in the 1980s he was occasionally seen on night drives. Clearly, the speculation after the death of Jim Street got back in December 2017.
Mecum is now auctioning several vehicles from the Jim Street Estate Collection, but the headliner is undoubtedly the long-lost Golden Sahara. If will be auctioned on 15./19. May at the Indianapolis Mecum auction of Mecum and is offered without reserve.