According to Mecum, this custom car started out as a 1953 Lincoln Capri owned by George Barris, the man who created the original Batmobile. He didn’t have it long before it ended up in a crash that led him to use it for a major custom project. He teamed up James Skonzakes, known as Jim Street, to create and pay for the build. In 1954, the car was finished with wild body work, actual 24-karat gold-plated exterior trim and a pearlescent gold paint created from fish scales. It carried the name of Golden Sahara, and it cost $25,000 to build.
In 1956, Street decided to invest a whole lot more into the car. He sent it to a shop in Dayton, Ohio where it was fitted with a myriad of high-tech features. These included a central control stick that could operate the throttle, steering and braking, push-button steering controls on the dashboard for both the driver and the passenger, a remote control for moving it slowly and for opening the doors. It had sonar antennae at the front for automatic braking, a TV in the center stack, a radio, a phone, and even a cocktail cabinet in the back and mink carpeting.
All of these features were on display when Street appeared with the car on the TV show I’ve Got a Secret, seen above, as well as in a period news story in which Street’s wife demonstrated the features including the light-up wheels and tires for turn signals. That clip is visible below. The total cost of the car, now called Golden Sahara II, was $75,000. Adjusted for inflation, that’s nearly $700,000.
Eventually, Street stopped showing the Golden Sahara II, but he never got rid of it. It was recently found in his garage, and the car will finally go for auction in May at Mecum’s Indianapolis auction. The car will be sold in unrestored condition, which looks to be fairly rough, but savable. It appears the remotes are still there, too. The car will be auctioned with no reserve, so it will have a new owner. We bet it will go for more than the original $75,000 it cost to build.