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Art & Design

July 18, 2013

Golden Sahara II display Robots

 

GOLDEN SAHARA DISPLAY ROBOTS

 

Jim Skonzakes (aka Jim Street) came up with, at the time innovative, and attractive display material. To make his dream custom look even better. He had found these mechanical robots, which were the rage in the late 1950’s. He added some angle hair, and made the GSII look like it came straight from Outer Space.


CCC_Golden_Sahara_Robots-07This photo from the Keith Ashley Collection gives us a good look at how Jim’s display for the Golden Sahara II looked like back in 1958. 

 



While walking down town Jim came across a toy store, and saw this fantastic looking mechanical robot in the shop display, based around the Forbidden Planet Movie. He bought one of the toy robots in that store, and was very much inspired by this amazing toy robot. Especially the way it was operating remind him of all the automated and remote control units he had designed for the Golden Sahara II. He came up with the idea to have these robots walk around the Golden Sahara, when it was displayed at the shows. Making it look like the car came from outer space, or perhaps like the car was built by these futuristic robots. Using the information found on the box he tracked down the import company (the robots were made in Japan).


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CCC_Golden_Sahara_Robots-03Here we can see that Jim even put a robot inside the car sitting on the cocktail table in the rear. 

 



Jim got in contact with the import company and asked about the possibility of buying two dozen of the robots at whole sale price. It was only possible to buy a whole case for a special discount. Jim forgot how many there were in a case, but there were a Lot. Jim decided to go for it. He bought the case and started to display these amazing robots with the car. Most of the Robots Jim used are the regular black version, but he also had one or two of the now rare silver version. To further enhance the display he added angle hair around the car, giving it the impression like it was floating. The whole display looked like it was a science fiction movie set, as if the Golden Sahara II with its robot creators had just landed. We have to remember this was 1958.

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The audience absolutely loved it. They pointed at the robots all the time, took their kids by the hand, giving them an opportunity to check out the GSII display thoroughly. Jim Street used the robots for many years, while having the GSII at the show circuit. He gave away many of these robots to people he knew from the shows, or who helped him in any other way.

The Golden Sahara II was created by the Delphos machine & Tool Shop together with Bob Metz and master mind Henry Meyer.

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CCC_Golden_Sahara_Robots-04Show card that was prodiced by Car Craft magazine. Most likely the photo was taken at a show where Jim displayed the car with the Robots.

 


 

Today this Mechanized Robby Robot is a collectable toy. And if you happen to find one in its original box, you really have something special. Jim, of course, had no idea his little helpers would become a sought after collectable 50+ years after he bought a case of them.



The actual Robby Robot and its original box.

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About the Robot

Nomura – Mechanized Robby Robot

Build in 1957 by Nomura in Japan. This is for sure THE robot icon that everybody knows: ROBBY THE ROBOT in its purest form. Build as an exact copy of the robot in the film Forbidden Planet. There were many variations made of this legendary robot.  The actions are of course walking ( in a circle ), flashing lights, spinning ears and the famous pumping pistons in his head. His arm swing around while he walks. Not like other robots, robby carries the batteries in his legs.
From Vintage Space Toys





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About the Author

Profile photo of Rik Hoving
Rik Hoving
Rik is the CCC editor in chief. As a custom car historian he is researching custom car history for many years. In 2004 he started the Custom Car Photo Archive that has become a place of joy for many custom car enthousiasts. Here at CCC Rik will bring you inspiring articles on the history of custom cars and builders. Like a true photo detective he will show us what's going on in all those amazing photos. He will write stories about everything you want to know in the realm of customizing. In daily life Rik is a Graphic Designer. He is married to the CCC webmaster and the father of a 10 year old son (they are both very happy with his excellent cooking skills)




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6 Comments


  1. Profile photo of PalleJ

    Rik..cool story! when it comes from Jim, its always something wild! i can imagine how it must have bin seing this in 58!
    -palle


  2. Profile photo of mark wojcik

    The same robot was later used in the TV show “Lost in Space”!
    Jim Skonzakes was a genius. have always been amazed by this car!


  3. Profile photo of
    Russ George

    Jim has always been way ahead of his time,if the Sahara and Kookies car came out today,they would still be in style after 50 yrs.What an imagination he has.


    • Profile photo of
      Lee Snorteland

      Hello Russ,

      I met a Russ George back in ’77 while I was working for Jim at his burglar alarm company in West Carrollton. Could that Russ have been your dad?

      Regards,
      Lee


  4. Profile photo of Quentin Hall

    We went away on holidays about 4 years ago and asked our elderly neighbours to collect our mail whilst we were away. On arrival home, there on our doorstep, neatly in a box, was our mail. I turned the box over and it was the same box as the one above. It was in PERFECT CONDITION. My heart skipped a beat. I ran over to our neighbours to thank them for collecting our mail . . . .and ask where was the bloody robot!!!!!. “Oh , I threw it in the bin last week, the kids never played with it. You can keep the box though.”
    I could have cried. A friend who is a robot collector later bought the box alone for $500. About the same time he had a rare tinplate robot that he sold for $25k. Same one sold at a Sotherby’s auction for nearly $50k True Story. . . and my wife complains that I $pend too much on my cars.


  5. Profile photo of Scott Pavey

    I am 99% sure this is the same robot listed in my JC Penny Christmas catalogue from the 60’s or early 70’s.



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