Ed Roth Custom Cars

Ed was a prolific car builder, at one point producing 14 Ed Roth custom cars in just 10 years. Everything else Ed did, from t-shirts to pinstriping, was to fund Ed Roth custom cars.

Ed Roth custom cars are now incredibly collectible, and can sell for enormous sums of money. Many of the Ed Roth custom cars are in automotive museums, and many others are in private collections.

We have pages dedicated to some of the more famous Ed Roth custom cars, but we created this page to house information regarding the “other” Ed Roth custom cars.

If you have articles or images about Ed Roth Custom Cars, we’d love to see them! Please submit your Ed Roth Custom Cars stories or images.

Click One of the Ed Roth custom car names for More Information

Little Jewel
Little Jewel, 1958

Little Jewel was Ed’s first entry into the Ed Roth custom cars scene. The 1930 Model A Tudor was Olds powered, and painted by Wally Jordan, who offered to paint it for free as long as Ed didn’t watch.

Surfite, 1964

Surfite was a genuine surfer’s car. Under its unique custom surfboard carrier body was an Austin Mini Cooper chassis, powered by a 1269cc Austin Mini Cooper chrome-plated engine.

Ed tried to get Surfite in a movie that he heard was being filmed in Sportsman’s Cove in Malibu, and even though it was only a split second, Surfite made a brief appearance in Beach Blanket Bingo.

Tweedy Pie
Tweedy Pie, 1964

Tweedy Pie was originally built by Bob Johnston. This 1920 Ford T-bucket was widened 3 inches and channeled over bobbed Deuce rails. Ed striped the car for Bob.

Before selling to Ed, Bob swapped the flathead for a ’57 Corvette engine. Ed added an Offy manifold and six carburetors, plus nerf bars and lots of chrome.

road agent
Road Agent, 1965

Road Agent was the first of many of Ed Roth custom cars rear engine show cars.

Ed used a Corvair engine and a uniquely turned upside down Corvair transmission. Other features include a frame made from chrome moly tubing and a ’37 Ford suspension with a single VW torsion bar.

Completed in 1964, Road Agent was displayed on the cover of the April issue of Rod & Custom.

Rotar, 1965

Rotar stands for “Roth Air Car”.

Ed used two Bell Auto Parts built 650cc Triumph twins laid on their side.

A high pressure prop was mounted toeach engine that created a cushion of air that allowed Rotar to propel itself on land and water.

Directional flaps on the bottom were plywood and the rear fin was fashioned after Ed’s ’59 Cadillac. This is an excellent example of the value of Ed Roth custom cars. This car sold a few years back for over $200,000!

druid princess
Druid Princess, 1966

Druid Princess was another unique creation of Ed Roth custom cars. From the deco pieces that decorate the body to the Watson’s special paint technique, called veiling, the Druid Princess was a real show stopper.

A Dodge engine and transmission supply the power, and the blower mounted on top has a carburetor inside of it for easier starting at the shows. The gas tank and battery reside in a coffin mounted on the back.

mail box trike
Mail Box, 1967

Around the time “Mail Box” was completed, Ed was really into trikes.

Newton had created a trike drawing called “Mail Box” for the letters page of a special three-wheeler edition of Ed’s California Choppers magazine.

Originally built by Jim “Jake” Jacobs, Jim lost interest when it came to the body work and traded it to Ed to finish off. Mail Box is powered by a Crosley four cylinder engine.

mega cycle
Mega Cycle, 1967

Originally named by Robert Williams, “Captain Pepi’s Motorcycle & Zeppelin Repair” was later changed to “Mega Cycle” after a strong suggestion from car show promoters.

Powered by a Buick V6 engine, Mega Cycle was designed to carry Ed’s Harley XLCH. Later Ed felt that the XLCH just didn’t work and through a series of trades ended up with Bob Aquistapase’s award winning Triumph.

american beetle
American Beetle, 1968

American Beetle represents the first VW trike. Ed used a 36 horsepower engine from a 1957 VW and a Honda front fork.

Due to all the weight in the rear Ed corrected the teeter totter effect by filling the front forks with five pounds of lead.

great speckled bird
Great Speckled Bird, 1976

The Great Speckled Bird is powered by a VW Type 4 engine. Ed also used an automatic transmission so that it made driving more pleasurable.

Because Ed rode in the desert, he installed a five-gallon water tank and a windshield wiper motor so that he could create a cool spray of water for the driver and rider.


Secret Weapon Jeep
Secret Weapon, 1976

Secret Weapon was Ed’s idea of what a Jeep for the United States Army should look like.

To improve the safety factor of this three-wheeler Ed designed Secret Weapon with a lower center of gravity.

The only problem with the new laydown driving position was that it was too comfortable. Ed claimed he kept falling asleep at the wheel. He sold it at private auction for $3,500, which he promptly spent at a junk yard for supplies.

yellow fang drag racing
Yellow Fang, 1976

Yellow Fang was Ed’s entry into to world of drag racing.

Ed overheard George “The Bushmaster” Schreiber talking about how streamlined dragsters were making better times, so Ed showed George a clay model of his concept. Thus Yellow Fang was born.

After discussing how much stress the body would take Ed decided to use aluminum instead of fiberglass. Tom Hanna took six months to complete the aluminum body.

The Steve Swaja-designed, Jim Davis-chassied Fang won many Top Eliminators and ran a best ever of 7.86 at 204 mph in the 1/4 mile.

asphalt angel trike
Asphalt, Angel, 1986

Asphalt Angel is a trike powered by a Buick V-6.

Ed rode Asphalt Angel all the way from Los Angeles to St.Paul, Minnesota, to the Street Rod Nationals. However, they turned him away because it wasn’t based on a car that was originally built before 1949.

Ed also made a video of the building of the Asphalt Angel.

american cruiser
American Cruiser, 1987

At this point in time Ed, was into Harleys, but he wanted something that had more power.

He got the idea to make something as fun to ride as a bike but with lots of horsepower.

American Cruiser was born from Ed’s concept of taking a narrow rear-end from a dragster, connecting it to a V8 engine and using a Harley front fork for the front end. Talk about an incredible street machine!

globe hopper roadster
Globe Hopper, 1987

Ed had been riding trikes for fifteen years when he decided to make the Globe Hopper (named by Robert Williams).

Globe Hopper had a big gas tank, a trouble free 1800cc VW engine, and an automatic transmission that he pulled out of a Porsche 914 coupe.

Ed ended up replacing the fuel injection system with two SU carburetors.

Ed drove all the way to Alaska in the Globe Hopper, which is fashioned a little like a ’34 Ford Roadster.


la zoom
LA Zoom, 1989

The body of L.A. Zoom is built out of Kevlar fiberglass.

Created with an Acura engine in the back, Ed was out to prove that computerized engines could do the job.

Sadly, Ed could not find anyone capable of getting the computer controlled engine wired to work.

rubber ducky VW
Rubber Ducky, 1995

Ed being the constant innovator with his Ed Roth custom cars, took things even further in the creation of Rubber Ducky.

Unlike Ed’s VW powered trikes before, Rubber Ducky is powered with a 600cc Honda engine. Unibody construction gave strength to the Kevlar-bodied three wheeler.

Ed designed the whole body as a gas tank which would hold a total of 26 gallons.

stealth custom car
Stealth, 2000, 1999

The Stealth, which was the last of the Ed Roth Custom Cars, had a compact body style that was inspired by the latest in military stealth technology. It was powered by way of a fuel efficient Geo Metro engine.