To Be OFFERED AT AUCTION WITHOUT RESERVE at RM Sothebys' The
Petersen Automotive Museum Auction event, 8 December 2018.
$100,000 - $150,000
- Exceptional recreation of Ed "Big Daddy" Roth's Mysterion
- Fully documented, including its own book on the subject
- Functional and drivable, unlike the original show car
- Includes custom trailer and production molds
Please note that this lot is offered on a Bill of Sale.
Always evolving, a ceaselessly changing grand master of
self-promotion, Ed "Big Daddy" Roth was a highly creative artist
with a sound grasp of mechanics and electrics. He pioneered the use
of new media like plaster of Paris, Vermiculite, and fiberglass to
build his cars so he could pursue shapes and concepts far beyond
anything other customizers had achieved. More intrigued with
producing rolling art statements than mechanical function, Roth
nevertheless built bizarre vehicles that actually worked.
"New Journalism" founder, Tom Wolfe, author of The Bonfire of the
Vanities and The Kandy-Colored, Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby,
called Ed Roth "the Salvador Dali of hot rodding."
Roth was a major player in mid-century Southern California car
culture. He underpriced the big pinstriping and scallop painting
names like Von Dutch, Dean Jeffries, and Larry Watson, and his
business boomed. Roth worked closely with artists like Joe Henning,
Robert Williams, Ed "Newt" Newton, Tom Daniels, and Stanley Miller
(a.k.a. Stanley Mouse). Revell began to build what would eventually
be millions of Roth model car kits. They were distributed around
the world�and are still being re-issued.
Ed Roth's imaginative cartoon characters, led by the irrepressible
"Rat Fink," a.k.a. "Mickey Mouse's evil twin," captivated worldwide
audiences. Leave Ed to take the most popular children's cartoon
figure of the era and make it wicked, even vulgar. The "weirdo"
designs were just wild enough to annoy most parents, and impress
kids, but still be on the right side of propriety. Roth discovered
that if he built more crazy show cars, he would be invited to
display them at major shows, often with expenses paid. Then he
would be able to sell more T-shirts and other themed gear.
Over a tumultuous decade in the 1960s, Ed built a series of wild
custom car creations that bore distant relationships to
"conventional" hot rods and customs, but employed fresh new
materials, fantastic shapes, wild colors, and modified engines to
elevate the custom car genre to an artistic level never before
achieved. Roth's rods�a small number of one-offs�are unforgettable.
Many survive in museums and private collections.
The first Roth car that attracted huge attention was, in the words
of Robert Williams, "a futuristic space roadster" called the
"Outlaw." The "Beatnik Bandit" was next, a full-fendered,
scallop-painted hot rod fantasy based on a rendering by Joe
Henning. According to author and Roth biographer, Pat Ganahl, Roth
told Henning he wanted something "far out."
The "Mysterion," a radical twin-engine car with a duo of 390-cu.
in. Ford big-blocks, was probably inspired by two-engine dragsters
like Tommy Ivo's twin Buick. The engines are tilted and their
natural offset permits exhaust header clearance. Although
asymmetrical styling proved to be a short-lived fad, Ed had to try
it. The Mysterion had an oblong grille and odd-shaped nosepiece,
with one large, pod-mounted headlight on the left and a smaller
conventional light on the right. The hydraulically operated bubble
top had a little windshield in the front. Larry Watson painted it
gold Murano candy over white pearl. Everything was chromed,
including the chassis. However, the original Mysterion show car did
After many appearances, Roth's Mysterion was parted out and no
longer exists. Jeff Jones, a widely published petroleum engineer
and an admirer of Ed Roth, decided to build an exact functioning
replica. There was virtually no documentation save for the Revell
scale model and a few magazine articles. Jones built a new frame,
sourced the correct Ford big-block engines, and mounted them so
that one ran, and the other did not, but appears to be functional.
He faithfully copied the original Mysterion to the last detail.
Jones then wrote a book, Ed Roth's Mysterion, the Genesis, Demise
and Recreation of an Iconic Custom Car, detailing the extraordinary
effort behind his bolt-by-bolt re-creation of the Mysterion.
This is a unique opportunity to acquire one of the most
extraordinary custom car creations of the last century. Accurate in
every detail, it is a running, drivable realization of Ed Roth's
most elaborate artistic vision.
Today, Ed Roth's unique custom cars are held in esteem by hot
rodders and artists. His creations are owned by the Petersen
Automotive Museum, the National Automotive Museum in Reno, and
noted Los Angeles collectors Bo Boeckmann of Galpin Auto Sports and
Rick Rawlins, to name a few.
Individual Roth cars and objects d'art have been featured at The
Contemporary Museum in Honolulu, the Laguna Beach Museum of Art,
the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney, Australia, the San Jose
Institute of Contemporary Art, the Huntington Beach Art Center, the
Art Center School of Design, noted car Museums like the Petersen
Automotive Museum and the Blackhawk Collection, and at the Amelia
Island Concours, d'Elegance.To view this car and others currently
consigned to this auction, please visit the RM website at