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Recommended Reading – Ed Roth’s Mysterion: The Genesis, Demise and Recreation of an Iconic Custom Car

Published in

Review by John L. Jacobus.

This is a book about an Ed Roth fanatic, an amateur hot rodder and gearhead, namely Jeffrey A. Jones of Bakersfield, California, who created a clone of Ed Roth’s famous Mysterion 1963 show car. Roth’s original iconic hot rod toured the country (1963-1964) and secured Ed Roth’s reputation as a cult hero and phenomenon. After its success, the car was destroyed except for the front and rear axles.

Investigating how the original Mysterion was constructed long after it was destroyed proved very problematic for Jeff Jones. This book reveals the journey Jones took to unravel the technical mysteries of the Mysterion. Jones draws on interviews, period-vintage photographic images, books and magazine articles as well as Revell plastic model kits, to piece together the actual technical story. Due to the dearth of information in many areas, Jones relies on his own automotive engineering experience, skills and abilities to make many critical design decisions. Although primarily intended as a “trailer queen,” Jones still wanted to build a clone that was driveable at low speeds.

The book chronicles the amazing journey of Jeff Jones, over many years, back to 2003 and earlier when he was just collecting pieces and parts and the Mysterion project was just a kernel of an idea. It’s a biography of another kind as Jeff Jones resolves many construction issues for the reader, as he explores possible answers to questions like – “What was Ed Roth thinking?,” or “What would Ed have done?” and/or “What would Ed not have done?,” in sorting out options.

Although it contains significant amounts of background history on Ed Roth, his creativity and his career, this book is not a biography about Ed Roth. Rather it is a story of how Ed Roth would have made his iconic machine and includes hundreds of “how-to” illustrations as support. Using shop-talk parlance, Jones explains the details of every significant construction step from the latest fiberglass body building techniques for asymmetric body parts, (e.g., a Cyclops headlight pod) to blowing a clear bubble top or making special custom wheels. His shop knowledge is limitless and amazing, and he explains things in plain English.

This book’s intended audience includes motor heads, gear heads and Ed Roth fanatics. The 256-page softcover book is available through McFarland Publishing for $35.

John Jacobus has written extensively about GM’s Fisher Body Craftsman’s Guild and keeps in touch with many a former guildsman, including Jeffrey Jones.