Custom Car Chronicle
custom carsJim SkonzakesJim Street Collection

Golden Sahara Dealer Display




The futuristic appearance and many high-tech features of the Golden Sahara show car were cleverly used to inspire people to buy new cars at car dealers across the US

[dropcap]We[/dropcap] had planned to include this material on the Golden Sahara Dealer Display in the Jack Stewart Ford book in the Jim Skonzakes chapter on the Golden Sahara. But we ran out of space. We were only able to use very little info about this promotional adventure with the Golden Sahara. So now it is time to share it here on the Custom Car Chronicle.

Jim Skonzakes (aka Jim Street) toured his Golden Sahara (I and II) together with the Kookie T (originally built by Norm Grabowski) all over the US. He would display his cars at any hot rod and custom car show for a period of more than a decade. Wherever he went the cars drew an amazing crowd. From the beginning, Jim realized that there were many ways to promote his show cars. When he was in town for a Custom Car show, he had made agreements upfront with several local, and not so local car dealers to have his cars on display at these dealers. Jim’s cars could be hired by day, weekend, week or longer to be displayed, and do what they did best: drawing people to the car dealers.


CCC-Skonzakes-Showroom-08Two photos showing the Golden Sahara at the car dealer showroom. The photo with the ‘button lady’ shows two of the many pamphlets from the Jim Skonzakes collection as inset.

The Golden Sahara was a very popular car . Dealers were almost fighting to have this amazing crowd-pleaser in their showroom. But a lot of the time both the Sahara and the Kookie T were displayed side by side. Sometimes drawing over 20.000 people in the car dealers shop, over a weekend period. Car dealers had special ads made up for the local news papers announcing the “Jerry Lewis Movie car”, or the “$75,000.- futuristic car”. Special pamphlets were printed, and handed out in the cities to curious possible customers. The pamphlets, and flyers announced Jim’s cars on one side, and have dealer promotional information on the other side.

CCC-Skonzakes-Showroom-03News paper announcement ad from Bob Jones Midway Motors.

CCC-Skonzakes-Showroom-04The front of a Bob Jones Midway Motors flyers.


Jim saved some of the “thank you” notes from car dealers from all over the country. Thanking Jim for a huge success for the dealership during the display period. Dealers that sold up to 70 new cars during the Sahara display weekend. Dealers that had to hire extra people to deal with the extra business generated from the display of Jim’s cars. Especially the Golden Sahara with its futuristic looks, and amazing remote and voice controls inspired people to look at the new cars at the dealers, and spend some extra dollars.

CCC-Skonzakes-Showroom-02This photo gives a good impression of a car dealer display of the Golden Sahara. There was always a crowd around the car, which can barely be seen here. The bubble can be seen at the right of the photo. Especially when Jim, or one of his helpers, was demonstrating the many unique features of the Golden Sahara, the showroom was packed with people in awe.

Showing the Golden Sahara and the Kookie T was a full time business for several years. Bookings were made months ahead, and more than once, dealers wanted to book the Sahara for a second display, after having great success with it the first time.

CCC-Skonzakes-Showroom-09Proud car dealer owner and his wife posing with the Golden Sahara after the car was moved into the showroom.


CCC-Skonzakes-Showroom-05Car dealers across the US made sure new paper reporters would announce the display of the Golden Sahara, and the Kookie T in the local newspaper. Jim provided standard press releases for the dealers to use. This sample was from the Ontario Upland California, Daily Report newspaper.

Movie clip of Gloria, Jim’s wife back in the early 1960’s showing some of the amazing features of the Golden Sahara in one of the dealer showrooms the car was displayed at.

CCC-Skonzakes-Showroom-10 Two photos showing the Golden Sahara and the Kookie T in yet another dealer showroom. Jim could not remember who had send these scans of two fading Polaroid photos to him.




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)

4 thoughts on “Golden Sahara Dealer Display

  • Thanks Rikster for posting the story about the Golden Sahara at the Dealerships. I saw the YouTube video before but didn’t remember the part about the tires lighting up. Very Kool!! Hope you don’t mind I shared it on the FB page.

  • The top picture is of Chick Smith at Jim Quinlan Chevrolet in Clearwater Florida when he worked there. He went on to open Chick Smith Ford in downtown Clearwater, FL. mI saw the Sahara at the Ford dealership in the late fifties, so the Sahara was shown in Clearwater twice.

    I later saw it at a dealer in Anniston, Alabama when I was stationed in the Army there. That was in 1962.

    Never saw a pearl as intense as the paint on the Sahara. The Kookie T had the Dean Jefferies paint both times I saw the car.

    Keep up the good work.

    Bob Nugent

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