Ed Roth’s Mysterion

The Genesis, Demise and Recreation of an Iconic Custom Car

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About the Book

Ed “Big Daddy” Roth (1932–2001) was a phenomenon. His body of work is still discussed in hot rodding, fine arts and pop culture circles and his cult following remains as devoted as it was during his career. His 1963 Mysterion show car—featuring two big-block Ford V8s—was his masterpiece and the story of its rise and brief existence is legendary. Though it was immortalized as a popular plastic model kit and is featured on several websites, little is known about Roth’s magnum opus. There are a number of fanciful stories of its demise—mostly fiction.
Combining history and shop class, this book provides a full investigation of Mysterion—both the legend and the machine itself. Drawing on interviews, magazine articles, photos, models and other (sometimes obscure) sources, the author pieces together the true story of the car, while documenting his own faithful bolt-by-bolt recreation of Mysterion.

About the Author(s)

Jeffrey A. Jones is a life-long Ed Roth and Mysterion fanatic. He has worked for over 40 years as a petroleum engineer and is widely published in petroleum engineering. He lives in Bakersfield, California.

Bibliographic Details

Jeffrey A. Jones
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 256
Bibliographic Info: 385 photos (22 in color), appendix, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2016
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9968-7
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2499-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Preface 1

 1. On the Shoulders of Giants 11

 2. You Can’t Trust ANYTHING! 29

 3. Mysterion in the Small World 38

 4. (Re)Designing a Masterpiece 55

 5. From Whence Cometh Mysterion? 65

 6. I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles 81

 7. Tale of Two Engines 90

Between pages 106 and 107 are 8 color plates containing 22 photographs

 8. Suspended Animation 107

 9. Body Building Without Lifting Iron 134

10. The Engines of Success 159

11. Wheels 183

12. Department of the Interior 194

13. All Systems Go 213

14. Big Daddy Roth’s Legacy 226

Epilogue 230

Appendix 231

Bibliography 233

Index 235

Book Reviews & Awards

“Jones explains the details of every significant construction step…His ship knowledge is limitless and amazing, and he explains thing in plain English”—The Hemmings Daily; “YOUR BOOK! WOW! Thanks for all you’ve done for Ed Roth and his friends. What great words, photos, drawings, story book! It really is! You’re like Ed, a Game Changer. It is a great surprise book!—A. M. Koveleski, legendary race driver, Auto World mail order entrepreneur, and close friend of Ed Roth; “thanks for a great book on a great car built by a great guy!”—Bob Larivee Sr., legendary car show promoter, one-time owner of Mysterion, and close friend of Ed Roth; “As a ’60’s showcar enthusiast, I was blown away by the details revealed by Mr. Jones’ research of the iconic Ed Roth creation. I thought I had seen all published info on the car; he came up with so much of which I was not aware. Who knew (or remembered) that the car was not featured inside Rod and Custom Magazine (only shown on the cover). The legend is larger than the car (and its coverage). But beyond the fascinating story, Mr. Jones has written the textbook for “Joe Average” to use when he decides to build a complete car from scratch! His determination and innovation are right up there with the best pro’s in the hot rod field. If you are into all things Roth, this is a must for your library.”—Tom Davison, Shepherd of Mysterion show car during last few months of existence.