Our old pal and sometime-employer Dan Stoner from Garage Magazine was on hand Saturday when Ed "Big Daddy" Roth's long-lost and newly restored Orbitron was finally unveiled to the public at Galpin Auto Sports in Van Nuys. The soiree included a firmament of hot rod all-stars, Governator Schwartzenegger, plus musical entertainment from Ozzy Osborne, Slash, Dave Navarro, and Lemmy from Motorhead. I'm bummed I couldn't be there, but Coop (currently racing in the Mexican Carerra Panamericana) and I got to see it at the August pre-reveal party at GAS.
More pix over at the Garage Mag blog. As you can see, the resto was spot-on perfect - down to the blue monkey fur interior and vintage 1963 GE 11" portable TV - thanks to the efforts of our other old pal Dave Shuten who supervised it. Unlike the original version, the restoration has a fully functional engine -- the same block that came out of Roth's '55 Chevy shop car.
It's hard to fathom how far this car has come since Michael Lightbourne first spotted it outside a Juarez, Mexico sex shop 13 months ago, where, for 18 years, it had served as a garbage dump. Last year I had the opportunity to go on an epic gonzo journey into Mexico to retrace the strange journey of the car, which is chronicled in the current issue of Garage. Here's my video of the adventure which gives you an idea of how trashed it was.
On a sad / scary note, it was providential that the car was discovered when it was, because since January Juarez has descended into near civil war with rival gangs fighting over control of the cross-border drug trade. Nearly 1000 people have been murdered this year in Juarez. Some of them were my amigos in Los Centauros, the motorcycle club whose members include several Juarez policemen.
Thanks and congrats to new owner Beau Boeckmann and the whole restoration team for resurrecting this crazy / cursed / amazing bit of automotive history. Look for it next year at Detroit Autorama and the Pebble Beach Concourse d'Elegance!
UPDATE: Another video, courtesy "nginnoise" with more detail on the project. If you don't blink you might catch a glimpse of Yours Truly.
Cross-posted at BOLUS