Rediscovered Ed "Big Daddy" Roth hot rod

One of hot rod culture pioneer Ed "Big Daddy" Roth's long-lost custom cars was found parked in front of an adult bookstore in Mexico. The amazing car, called the Orbitron, was apparently, umm, being used as a dumpster.

 Wp-Content Uploads 2007 08 Orbitron Resized

BB pal COOP says:

"Orbitron was considered one of Roth's lesser efforts, even he didn't like it too much. It bombed on the showcar circuit when it debuted, which Roth himself blamed on hiding the chrome-dipped engine under a hood.

Another interesting fact: this is the same Roth car that Tom Wolfe describes in his essential essay on Kustom Kulture, The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby. Wolfe lovingly describes the asymmetrical body styling and the headlight made from three lenses - red, green, and blue - that, when focused together, cast a beam of white light. (Somehow I doubt it worked in reality.)"

Link to more at Hemmings Auto Blog

Previously on BB:
• Ed "Big Daddy" Roth show in Los Angeles Link
• Ed "Big Daddy" Roth plastic face Link


  1. Oh, man….

    I saw this car at the Miami Auto Show somewhere between 1968 and 1970. I was fourteen or fifteen, that age when most teenage males lust for two things only – and you could get into the show to see the cars easier than the shows to see the live nude girls!

    It was really cool at the time.

    Here’s a link to what it looked like.

  2. Why do you think the tri-color headlight thing wouldn’t work? This principal underlies the monitor I am typing on now.

  3. Hey, this is Coop.

    I realize that such a headlight setup could work in principle, I just doubt that Roth bothered to actually make it work. He put a telephone in several of his customs too, but I doubt any of ’em dialed out.

  4. Sure the RGB lights work if done properly. Additive color mixing works like that (done some stage lighting in school).

  5. I know that the tri-colored headlights would work. Our local science museum had that concept as part of a color and light display. the funky part is that it would cast interesting shadows around an object of the 3 colors plus mixes of any 2 because their points of origin would be slightly offset.

  6. If cars could talk. It would be great to find what series of events led it do wind up abandoned in Mexico. And now it’s on it’s way to be restored to it’s former glory. What a story!!!

  7. thank you BB for adding the comment function. two of my favorite sites are bb and the jalopy journal, and coop bridges the two…

    i’m skeptical of just exactly how this thing was ‘found’, but i’m delighted that it still exists!

  8. the three colored lights would work. I’m a Lighting Designer, and it is one way you make white light on stage lt. blue from one angle pink/red from another.( it also lease you the ability to make a pink/red or blue stage wash.

  9. Wow, this is so cool, what a rad find. I’ve never seen this Roth Kustom Kar before so it’s good to see a new design. BTW: Does anyone now if Roth’s ‘Surfite’ is still in existence? I own a Revell scale model of the Surfite, but other than the fact it made a brief appearance in ‘Beach Blanket Bingo” I don’t know much about it. Thanks.

  10. to steve heggie regarding surfite.
    I saw it this year at the petersen automotive museum in los angeles and in the 90’s at mooneyes for one of the ratfink reunion’s.

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