The Orbitron is just one of many Ed Roth-designed cars currently on display at the National Corvette Museum.
The National Corvette Museum has teamed up with Tom Peters, retired Director of Exterior Design for the 8th Generation Stingray Corvette, to put together a new exhibit: Car-toon Creatures, Kustom Kars and Corvettes: The Art and Influence of Ed ‘Big Daddy’ Roth.
“One might ask why the NCM has devoted a year-long exhibit to the art and influence of Ed ‘Big Daddy’ Roth,” said Dr. Sean Preston, president and CEO of the Museum. “While our Museum was established 25 years ago to be the caretakers and collectors of Corvette history, we understand that you cannot tell the story of the early days of Corvette without telling the story of the Ford Thunderbird. You cannot tell the story of Corvette Racing without talking about the Cobra, the Viper and the Ford GT. And you cannot tell the story of Corvette design without talking about those who influenced the designers, which brings us to Ed Roth.”
Considered a renaissance man, Roth became a central figure in the 50’s and 60’s Kustom Kulture era of automobile history, becoming a cultural phenomenon himself in the process. With no formal education in engineering, he designed and created some of the era’s most iconic cars, many of which are displayed as part of the exhibit. The Revell model company would turn Roth’s car creations into toy model kits that would sell millions of units. One car, ‘Tweedy Pie,’ sold over 11 million units alone. When Hot Wheels emerged on the toy scene, they crafted a series of 16 cars that would include Roth’s ‘Beatnik Bandit.’ Both cars can be seen on display at the National Corvette Museum.
The exhibit features a recreation of Roth’s garage, several Roth-designed cars, a 1960s toy store with model kits and vintage toys inspired by the builder, as well as numerous cars that were inspired by Roth.
The exhibit opened on Jan. 31 and continues through Dec. 2020.