Once in a while, we run across a photo of a vintage custom build that fascinates us. The styling of this car and the time period of this photo led us to one logical conclusion as to who could have been the custom builder of this coach – George Barris. A little research led us to discover that this creation is, in fact, a Barris Kustom, and (as all good builds do…) this custom comes with an interesting story.
Barris Kustoms and Kustomrama provide great detail on this build from 1955, which started out as a 1953 Lincoln Capri Hard Top. The Lincoln was George’s daily driver, and was “restyled” after it took a nosedive under a flatbed truck one foggy day.
Barris describes his creation, which featured a “full circle rear trunk impression rear tire cover” and a hood which “curved down into a horizontal grill shell opening.”
Seen here at the 1955 Los Angeles Motorama, the car delighted show goers, who were as dazzled by the exterior, which was finished with “40 coats of pure oriental pearl which was made from scales of an imported fish.” If you find yourself wondering how they achieved the gold finishes on the vehicle, well, it’s the real deal – that’s actually 24 karat gold plating!
The interior didn’t disappoint, either. It featured cocktail bars on the right and left backs of the front seats. The dash featured a TV set and even more impressive was the five-way electronic steering: steering wheel, push button, remote control, floor board covers AND voice control! “Sensitivity solenoids opened the doors, activated the door openers, operated the TV, stereo, record player and radio.”
Fascinated by this unusual golden beauty? We are too. Thankfully, the story of The Golden Sahara doesn’t quite stop here. Stay tuned this week as we bring you part two of this exciting custom!