A tattered Ford pickup from the 1950s looks a bit out of place on a shiny showroom floor with its faded paint and spots of surface rust. Sure, it’s a classic. But more importantly, the 1956 Ford F-100 is a part of history.
“It was actually the first truck that Ed Roth ever customized, and it was his shop truck, and what he used for advertising,” said Beau Boeckmann, President of Galpin Ford and the creator of Galpin Auto Sports, the dealership’s car customizing division. “A little over 50 years ago was the last anybody ever saw of it, until now.”
You might not know the name Ed Roth, or his nickname “Big Daddy,” but he was a huge part of hot rod car culture.
The truck was his rolling office, and Galpin Auto Sports has plans for it, after being tipped off that it had been sitting in a barn in Oklahoma.
Roth’s famous red flames on white paint customizing had been covered over many years ago with drab green paint by a subsequent owner.
“We’re going to do our best to restore it back to the way it looked when Roth was driving it around Los Angeles,” noted Boeckmann.
And of course it’s right at home in the mini museum that Galpin has created to honor the late Roth, who was a celebrated master in the custom car world.
Like other Roth creations they’ve restored, they’ll use many of the same craftsmen who did the work back in the day on Roth’s custom cars.
Another one of his famous cars in the Galpin Auto Sports collection was also lost and eventually found.
The space-age Orbitron, created in 1964, had met a sad fate before being rescued and restored.
“It was found being used as a dumpster, in front of an adult bookstore in Juarez, Mexico,” said Beau Boeckmann.
The shimmering blue Orbitron is now restored to exactly the way it looked when it did the show circuit in the mid-1960s, right down to its mohair interior and clear plastic dome roof.
Even if you weren’t into cars, you probably saw Roth’s work if you grew up in Southern California in the 1960s and 1970s.
That’s because Roth was famous for creating those colorful T-shirts that depicted wild-eyed monsters driving elaborate caricatures of hot rods and muscle cars.
Young men sought out the shirts and loved to wear them to school, which not surprisingly, often horrified their mothers.
The shirts are available again through Roth’s family, which operates the website bearing his name.
And speaking of available, even though this one-of-a-kind collection is essentially in a museum, open by appointment, the right buyer could become the new owner of these rolling pieces of art.
“I’m in the car business,” Boeckmann said with a chuckle. “When you’re a car dealer, you have cars that are for sale, as much as we might love ’em.”
Not likely though, despite Boeckmann’s claim, and including the fact that they carry official DMV documents as used cars available for purchase.
The collection and tribute to “Big Daddy” seems to have found a nice permanent home, with that famous Ford pickup joining the collection.