Automobile enthusiasts often think about what their own custom car would look like if they were able to construct one. In the early-1950s, Harry Birdsall and Joe Mascari were able to afford to have their own concept car constructed with plans to later build and sell a limited number of the vehicles.
The project began after commissioning noted industrial and automotive designer, Albrecht Graf von Goertz, of Germany to turn their dream into a reality. After Goertz finished with the design process of the “Elegante,” Carrozzeria Motto of Turin, Italy was selected to turn the drawings and the 1953 Cadillac chassis chosen as a base for the car into a complete and finished vehicle.
Two and a half years later the coachbuilder finished the construction of the “Elegante,” fitted with custom aluminum coachwork for the reported cost of thirty-thousand dollars. The machine featured a unique two-piece retractable aluminum hardtop and the body was finished in pearlescent white. All of the cast bronze exterior components are gold plated and the aluminum pieces including the top, hubcaps and side trim are gold anodized, the interior was trimmed in red leather.
After completion, the “Elegante” was shown on a revolving platform at the 1955 International Auto Show at the Cross County Plaza in Yonkers, New York, where this enlargable press photograph (below) courtesy of the Free Library of Philadelphia was shot.
The concept car’s limited production did not follow, although the vehicle has survived and is now owned by Dick Birdsall, Harry Birdsall’s son. The “Elegante” was shown at the 2014 Amelia Island Concours where it won the “Peoples Choice” award after a difficult sixteen-year long restoration by Dick Birdsall.