THE GOLDEN SAHARA ON DISPLAY
Jim Skonzakes is one of the most prolific custom show car owners of our time. His latest custom car: the Golden Sahara, was used to promote the Seiberling Rubber Company new Sealed-Aire Tires, The tire of Tomorrow.
When I visited Jim Skonzakes aka Jim Street in 2012, to interview him for his chapter in the Jack Stewart Ford book, he showed me several interesting items in his collection. One of these items was a hand out card from the Seiberling Rubber Company. On one site of this card we can see an illustration of the Golden Sahara I “the Car of Tomorrow” , and on the other side, some product information of their Sealed-Aire Tires, the “Tires of Tomorrow”. The card is the result of one of many items and deals, Jim worked on with the Seiberling Rubber Company.
One side of the display card shows the really nice illustration of the Golden Sahara. The text sums up in short what the car is about. But it does not mention Barris , nor the Carson Top Shop being the builder, nor basic information about what the car was based on.
Jim Skonzakes was always very good in promoting his own custom cars, which he had been building since the mid 1940’s. Although he lived and worked in Dayton Ohio, he commissioned his dream car, the famous Golden Sahara I, at the Barris Kustom shop in Lynwood, California. Very soon he realized that the car, he was creating with the Barris shop, was something really unique. It was a show car, its time far ahead. He also realized the final cost-price for the car would be phenomenal, especially for that time. The business man he is, he found ways to promote the Golden Sahara. Not only at shows around the country, but also renting the car out to car dealers, for commercials etc. He made a long lasting deal with the Ohio base Tire manufacture Seiberling Rubber Company. The company was very interested in the futuristic look and feel of the Golden Sahara. They felt, the car would be perfect to promote their latest – state of the art -, tire range.
The company used the Golden Sahara I in several magazine ad campaigns, and on displays at some of the bigger car shows in the mid 1950’s, as well as at local and not so local car dealers. To enhance the WOW effect, the company had the hand out cards we picture here made.
The other side shows a cut away drawing of the Seiberling tire. And gives a short impression about the “Tire of Tomorrow”: the Sealed-Aire Tire.
When people walked by the Seiberling display with the Golden Sahara, and the tires, they were given a card. Or they could take one from a stand next to the display. Most of these of cards ended up in the trash can on the way home. Jim, of course, hold on to some of these. He saved most everything in documentation on all of his cars, boats, and bikes. And even though Jim feels the first version of the Golden Sahara I cannot be compared to the superior appearance of the Golden Sahara II, he realizes this version is part of the whole experience.
The Golden Sahara I was displayed at shows, and dealers from late 1954 till late 1956. Then Jim took the car apart, and created the revolutionary Golden Sahara II with the Delphos Machine and Tool Shop, Henry Meyer and Bob Metz. Unfortunately, we have not been able to locate any photos of the Golden Sahara I being on display with the Seiberling Rubber company, so we have to do with the card only… for now.
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