Ed Roth’s Mysterion

The Genesis, Demise, and Recreation of an Iconic Custom Car

by Jeffrey A. Jones


This is a book about an Ed Roth fanatic, an amateur hot rodder and gearhead, namely Jeffrey Jones of Bakersfield, CA who created a clone of Ed Roth’s famous twin-engine “Mysterion” 1963 show car. Roth’s original iconic hot rod toured the country (1963–64) and secured his reputation as a cult hero and phenomenon. After its success, the car was destroyed except for the front and rear axles (that Roth wanted to keep).

Investigating how the original Mysterion was constructed long after it was destroyed proved problematic for Jones. This book reveals the journey he 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. Despite 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 drivable 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 Jones resolves many construction issues for the reader, using arguments like “What was Ed Roth thinking?” or “What would Ed have done/not 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. Rather it is a story of how Roth would have made his iconic machine and includes hundreds of “how-to” illustrations as support. Using shoptalk, 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.

Ed Roth’s Mysterion:
The Genesis, Demise, and Recreation of an Iconic Custom Car
by Jeffrey A. Jones
McFarland, 2016
256 pages, 385 illustrations, softcover
List Price: $35
ISBN-13: 978-0786499687

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