Car pimping 50s style
We found a rather interesting web find in an Austin-Healey 100/6 roadster, a rather special example, though, as most of it is gold plated. This big healey was an original factory project to wow visitors of the Healey stand at the 1958 London Motor Show. All the brightwork that on a standard Healey would be chrome was gold plated right down to bolts and washers keeping it fixed to the car. Even the brake discs were gold plated! It is no surprise then that british newspaper 'Express' called it "not a model of understatement." Hilarious, fifty years on you could say it is understated compared to the many gold Bentleys that go to the middle east or are raped with 25.000 inch golden wheels by footballers nowadays. Is it any good? Well let's find out.
Beside the gold plating many other little details were tarted up; all the dashboard knobs and the steering wheel were made out of the ivory of the tusks of an African elephant, the seats were upholstered in what was called 'champagne diadem mink' and the dash and door panels were covered in Chinese kid suede. To top it off the whole car was painted ivory. All sounds rather vulgar doesn't it, company founder Donald Healey seemed to disagree and was quoted as saying:
"It took 50 skilled craftsmen to produce the golden Healey. We really think it is the most sumptuously luxurious sports car ever made. And we made it as a tribute to British craftsmanship."
When it was unveiled at the London Motor Show in 1958 it was quite a show stopper, british newspaper the Daily Mail bought the car on the spot and offered it as the prize in one their newspaper competitions. Later on it was sold by its first owner to a wealthy businessman (as a present to the wife). It then went through several different owners in the United Kingdom before ending up in a barn, leaving it to rot. It was only when some americans rescued it from the barn that plans were made to restore the car to its original condition. A difficult and expensive job as even the gold had corroded. Now though, it is back to its full former glory and offered for sale in Dallas, United States, with a POA price of course. According to the advertisement on classiscarsforsale.co.uk it is to be unveiled as part of the grand opening of the Texas Museum of Automotive History. So, if you fancy a bit of gold, go get it!