Think about the 1980s, think about the luxury products and very soon gold is one of the materials you can't get around...Sonny Crocket's golden Rolex watch, MCs with the most insane golden chains, women with the most insane golden earrings....Mr. T!!
But in the 1980s Gold, Aurum, Au, the 79th element in the Periodic Table, wasn't reserved just for watches and earrings; many tuners and coachbuilders were offering 24k gold-plated options for your Rolls-Royce, Mercedes or Porsche. Arab princes, movie stars, baseball players and pimps alike, all wanted to be flashy and what better material to show of your wealth then gold? Prices were through the roof, and demand for the shine made prices sometimes surpass any real value of the thin layer of gold that was applied, getting close to solid-gold prices. Let's get back to the 80s in 24k gold style!
Gold gold gold....everything gold. DECI Motor Sport from Buena Park, California offered to have all trim of your Mercedes gilded; everything from the stars, door handles, grille and wheels could be given a golden shine.
The "Golden" DECI Motor Sport option list...
And DECI Motor Sport also offerd the same for your Roller.
Arround 1986 German wheel maker RemOtec offered this 24k gold-plated 16" RemOtec Type-A wheel straight from the catalogue. Note that the insides of the spokes are actually white; RemOtec also offered the spokes in black.
A 1986 Robb Report cover showing that a giving an S-class with gold plated trim was the way to go....
Gemballa's 1001SEL (based on the 500SEL Mercedes) was clearly dipped in gold; RemOtec 16 Type-A wheels with black (instead of white) insides of the spokes, gilded SEC-grille and gold trim.
This Gemballa modified Rolls-Royce Camargue (1985) built for a customer in the UAE.....there's a whole gold-brick worth of gold on that nose!
This ABC-Exclusive Mercedes-Benz SL (R107) was made for a customer in the Middle-East; all trim on this car is in 24k gold-plated.
This is the grille of an Aston-Martin Lagonda that was converted by Styling-Garage; not only the grille was 24k gold-plated, door handles and even the exhaust pipes were too... Made for Saddam Hussein to be gifted.
This Styling-Garage 1000SGS (1000SEL) was gold-trimmed and was fitted with the RemOtec Type-A wheels shown above.
Displayed at the 1984 Geneva Motorshow: a Mercedes 500SEC with Gullwing doors built by SGS Styling-Garage; apart from it's candy apple red paintjob and wide fenders.....
....the attention was drawn completely to it's interior. Look at it!!! Gold-leather seats, golden falcon's head shifter, 24k gold-plated trim arround the Clarion G80, ashtray, etc.
What would an SGS Gullwing look like on 24k gold-plated Centra Type-31 rims? Something like this....
Styling-Garage: 24k parts ready to be fitted to a new Mercedes 1000SEL.
Making gold shine even harder....
An excerpt from the 1983 Styling-Garage pricelist showing you what gold-plating would cost you... to put in perspective: in 1983 a factory fresh Mercedes 500SEL (W126) would cost 60,000 DM new. Gold plating all chrome parts would be half of that.
Car + Driver from Hamburg built this 1000SEL with 24k gold-plated logos and 24k gold-plated Centra Type-31 wheels.
Car + Driver was also responsible for this; a Range Rover convertible that besides having a rather garish looking upholstery also has a custom, Wood and Pickett style gold-plated dash board. Blindingly beautifull.
ABC-Exclusive from Bonn, Germany, built this 1000SEL-style S-class in the early 80s; it was fitted with spoked rims by a Brasilian wheel maker named Mangels... the spokes on this particular car are again....24k gold plated.
Steering wheel ABC-Exclusive style....
The interior of an ABC-Exclusive BMW 6-series (E24) with gold-plated details on the steering wheel and falcon's head shift knob.
Budged-gold by ABC-Exclusive: An SEC-grille fitted to a Mercedes-Benz 190E (W201) with gold-plating and big ABC-logo
Not even the more refined styling of Carat by Duchatelet was without gold in the 1980s.
Gold allright... subtle, but gold on this Duchatelet 500SEC.
To celebrate 50 years of business Jaguar and Daimler specialist Guy Salmon from the UK built this "Guy Salmon Jubilee", a pearlescent white Jaguar XJ-S with bodykit and gold trim including an odd looking gold-plated grille. In 1985 you could get away with that I guess....
Hooper of London was also in the gold-bussiness; this Rolls-Royce Corniche Coupe was fitted by Hooper with wood-trim that was treated with gold-paint...talking about bling bling.
Another Rolls-Royce cladded with gold; the 1985 Salvatore Diomante-built Bentley four-door convertible has 24k gold-plated trim, from the slatted Bentley grille and hood ornament, the wheels, mirrors, and door handles.
This Rolls-Royce Corniche came to Jaguar-tuner Arden and was customized with 24k gold-plated trim. The wheels realy make it look over-the-top....
Kugok offered this Mercedes "1000SEL" in 1984; a so-called 600-nose bonnet conversion with all trim 24k gold, including the "wheel arch chrome" .
A nice detail of another Kugok 1000SEL, with golden Mercedes stars on the Centra wheels, and the obvious 24k golden trim. Note the flake metallic paintjob....
Ultimate 1980s interior accessoiries include this 24 carat gold-plated falcon's head shift knob.
Swiss restoration specialist Lukas Hüni updated this Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman (W100) in the early 1980s with many things, among them a golden MB-Star and golden wheels with red centres.
This white Mercedes-Benz 190E 4-door convertible by ZMC is 80s to the max: 24k golden grille and gilded Lorinser RS wheels with (of course!) golden MB-stars.
This 1981 Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit stretch limousine was offered for sale in 1988...the previous owner probably wasn't affraid to show his fondness of the Aurum.
Offered by an American Porsche dealer / specialist, Lynch Porsche, is this Porsche 928 Wide Body on widened Fuchs wheels with 24k gold centres.
Japanese styling-specialist "Styling-Japan" made this Bentley Mulsanne Turbo (?) with various modifications, gilded grille and badges among them.
This Mercedes-Benz 450SL (R107) was built by Ultra Limousine for NFL-player Ron Brown. The gold-plating on this car even included the air intakes in front of the windscreen.
All you need is a fitting license plate!
This is a 1990s car that proves gold wasn't just for the 1980s; a Schulz Mercedes-Benz S-class (W140) stretch limousine with golden wheels and trim.
24k new look....
Text: copyright Bram Corts