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Diecast Forums - Forum 24 – Diecast Zone

Posted By: Gene Herman
Posted On: Saturday June 18, 2011 at 3:40 AM
 
Message:
PICS and Video (1:1) Evolution of a Radical Kustom.........
When it was constructed, the Golden Sahara became Barris' most extreme car up to that point. It was so far out that calling it a Koncept Kar might be more appropriate. It’s history is well documented, but I thought you guys might enjoy a recap of it here....

Starting out life as a 1953 Lincoln Capri , the nosed and decked mild custom was George's daily driver. That's it on the far left....

Traveling home with Dan Landon from a car show in Sacramento in 1954, the motor on Landon's 1949 Chevrolet blew and they decided to flat tow it home behind the big Lincoln. In thick fog at the Grapevine, Barris rear ended a slow moving hay truck. At the last minute, he dove under the dash as the car hit the truck, probably saving his life. Here it is on the shoulder just after the wreck with the Chevy still behind....

A sorry sight back in Barris' shop....

From the remains of the Lincoln, Bill DeCarr, Bob Metz, Barris and others at his shop built the Golden Sahara for Jim Skonzakes of Dayton, Ohio. Here it is with the damaged sheet metal and more stripped away....

...and in the early stages of reconstruction.

This shot shows it at the Pico, CA., Ford Plant where the extensive glass was installed in early 1955. Skonzakes is at the wheel with Barris and DeCarr standing by....

Completed that same year, the car was an immediate sensation on the show circuit. Here it is on February 1, 1955....

....and at some shows in the following months....

Skonzakes took the car home with him to Dayton, Ohio. He continued to develop it there, adding lots of electronic features with the aid of Jim Rote and radically modifying the roof and rear fenders. These pix show the changes that were made to the interior over the years....

Note the stock '53 Lincoln steering wheel and speedometer now located in the center of the dash....

"Were you expecting a call?"....

This pic shows the much modified windshield and top, as well as cut down Imperial steering wheel and central steering control yoke in what became known as the Golden Sahara II....

Steering wheel was removable. Electronic steering yoke is more clearly visible here, as is "updated" instrument cluster, TV and tape recorder....

The new GS II continued to wow them on the custom show circuit. Here it's featured on the program cover for the Barris produced second annual Bakersfield Motor and Boat Show. It ran from November 26th to the 29th, 1959 at the Kern County Fair Grounds, sponsored by the Road Barons Car Club.

Very few wilder car / boat combinations have ever been photographed : the GS II with a classic Chris-Craft Cobra....

New fins are clearly shown here...

This is a still shot from the 1960 Jerry Lewis movie "Cinderfella", where the car played the modern version of the magical coach from the Grimm fairy tale....

A mainstay of car mags since it first turned a wheel, here it is in the 1961 Custom Cars Annual.

The general public got a look at the Golden Sahara when it made an appearance on “I've Got A Secret" on June 25th, 1962. Listen to Jim Street describe the car's many unique features, some of which sound very familiar today, others not so much. BTW, "Jim Street" is, in reality, the car's owner Jim Skonzakes....

As of 2008, Skonzakes still owned the car, stored away in Ohio. Sources say that the car was last seen in public at a local cruise night in Hamilton, Ohio in the early 1980's in a very deteriorated condition.

Thanx fer lookin’!

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Message thread:

PICS and Video (1:1) Evolution of a Radical Kustom......... by Gene Herman #37677
Gene, there's not a lot left to say, quite extraordinary! by Paul Normand #37677.1Zone News Reporter
Paul, I really wonder about that figure, since the original build cost is stated in an earlier pic.. by Gene Herman #37677.1.1
Gene, the price went up by $50k between Barris's completion by Paul Normand #37677.1.1.1Zone News Reporter
Sure, that's the math, Paul, but I'm just wondering how the all the extras could cost twice that.... by Gene Herman #37677.1.1.1.1
Extraordinary! Barris was indeed the King of Kustoms. (EOM) by Marlowe Johnson #37677.2
Sure was / is. In an online interview with him about this car, he said he wanted to do something.... by Gene Herman #37677.2.1
Good information! I remember when this one was first shown and was in most by David Holcombe #37677.3
I enjoyed this read. Thanks! (EOM) by Steve Jacobs #37677.3.1
You're welcome, Steve. (EOM) by Gene Herman #37677.3.1.1
Me too, David. (EOM) by Gene Herman #37677.3.2
He must really have loved that car to bring it to a new life. Extroadinary amount of beautiful by Frank Kocour #37677.4
Oh, I dunno, Frank. I think it was mostly because he was gettin' paid. (EOM) by Gene Herman #37677.4.1
Great story - Thanks for th post !!! (EOM) by Ronald Prospeck #37677.5
You're welcome, Ron. (EOM) by Gene Herman #37677.5.1
Dude! You continue to outdo yourself. What a wealth of info. on this by john engelman #37677.6
Truly an amazing story Gene! You certainly did your homework.... (EOM) by john engelman #37677.7
Thanx, John. Like I said, there's a LOT of info out there about this milestone Kustom. Ain't the.... by Gene Herman #37677.7.1




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