In the early 1950's, when the streamlined shapes of jet airplanes first became part of the public's consciousness, two friends decided to conceive & build a unique American sports car. Harry Birdsall, a commercial artist & Joe Mascari, a New York contractor, devised a futuristic luxury two seater, based on a 1953 Cadillac chassis and running gear, and featuring a unique two-piece folding convertible hardtop. They hired now legendary automobile designer Albrecht Goertz and named their creation the Elegante. Their goal was to target an upscale market of discerning customers.
The chassis and drawings were shipped to Carrozzeria Motto in Turin, Italy. Rocco Motto took 30 months to fabricate the body, custom fabricate all the hardware and mount it to the 126 inch wheelbase chassis. The quad headlight rights, windscreen frame, door handles, hood and trunk trim and recessed license plate insert were all fabricated from bronze and then plated in 24 karat gold. Aluminum trim and hubcaps were gold anodized. The body was painted iridescent mother of pearl white with the interior completed in deep red wine Italian leather. The result inspired one young lady to publicly exclaim: 'Why it's so beautiful it's indecent!'
During the 1950s, Harry Birdsall and Joe Mascai designed a one-off special to be built atop a stock 1953 Cadillac Series 62 convertible. The body was built by Carrozzeria Rocco Motto of Turin Italy which took more than 2 years to complete. As the name implies, this vehicle is elegant. The car features 23 karat gold, a mother of pearl white exterior, red wine Italian leather interior, dual headlights, tailfins, and two-piece folding convertible hardtop. The car was completely hand-built out of aluminum.
The car made its debut at the International Auto Show at the Cross Country Center in Yonkers in April of 1955. This car has remained in the Birdsall family since new and has recently been treated to a restoration by Harry Birdsall's two sons, Dick and Bob.
By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2014