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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Gold-plated Austin Healey: yours for $1 million

What is the gold-plated Austin Healey?

You know that saying, "it’s worth its weight in gold" – well never has it been more appropriate, for much of this 1958 Austin Healey’s delectable detailing is made of the stuff.

That’s right. 'Goldie', as the car is known, features gold-plated brightwork, as well as mink fur upholstery and ivory switchgear (Pimp My Ride 1950s-style, anyone?), and it could be yours for a cool $1 million. Around £600,000.

Please click on the image above to read more about 'Goldie' the 1958 gold-plated Austin Healey.

Underneath that bespoke bodywork and lavish interior lurks a standard 1958 Austin Healey 100-Six.

This model was the second in a line of three 'Big Healeys' that replaced the original Austin Healey 100, which was launched in 1953. Despite its heavier gold detailing, we reckon this example would still have been pretty quick.

The 100-Six used a 2.7-litre straight-six engine kicking out a healthy 117hp and a nice British sports car blare from the exhaust pipes.

With the standard car weighing in at around 1,100kg, this level of power was enough to sprint the Healey from 0-62mph in 10.7 seconds – respectable in the late 50s.

This special Healey was the brainchild of Ken Gregory, the personal public relations manager of Donald Healey (the boss of Austin Healey at the time). Gregory knew how to wow after running his own racing team and managing none other than the legendary racing driver Sir Stirling Moss.

So, for the 1958 Earls Court Motor Show, Gregory persuaded the company to commission this incredible one-off after a private buyer decided it was right up their street.

That buyer was none other than the Daily Express – the paper’s motoring editor at the time, Basil Cardew, got together with Gregory to cut a deal to buy the 100-Six after the British Motor Show.

The Express later gave the car away as the grand prize in a readers’ competition. Can you imagine that? It’d be like winning a gold-plated Porsche Boxster today.

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