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The Surfite


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#1 hobbybobby

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 12:21 PM

The Surfite was basically a smart car that carried a surf board.

 

How genius, right!? ;)

The car made some claim to fame in a brief shot in the 1965 Annette Funichello & Frankie Avalon movie "Beach Blanket Bingo".

Designed by Ed Newton, this is another Roth custom scaled down from the real 1:1 rod to a cool little Revell kit of the '60s.

Public interest in show cars peaked in the mid-1960s and then began to decline.

 

In ’65 Revell introduced the Surfite, the sixth and last of the Roth rods.

 

It was a dainty car, a surfer’s beach cruiser on a tiny Austin frame.

 

The cute little Surfite proved to be a poor seller and was dropped from the catalog after just two years.

 

After ’68 all the show cars followed the Roth monsters out of the Revell catalog...

 

 

The Surfite was the first car, on which Ed "NEWT" Newton  got out there and squooshed the plaster around, and that's why he meant so much to him, when it was put into model form by Revell.

 

The only Part that disappointed Newt, was that he recommended go-kart style wide rims with flotation ATV-type tires, but Ed Roth had a deal with Kelly Tire and Cragar, so they ended up with, in Newt`s opinion, oh too- skinny Astro wheels.

 

 

Newt`s 1964 sketch for the Surfite clearly shows the wide, floatation- type tires he wanted.

 

Photos004.jpg

 

 

 

 

My version is, apart from the wheels and the colors, mostly box stock.

 

The interior is flocked.

 

The wheels are homemade.

 

The rims are from my part box, with stainless-steel beds and the tires are from Lego.

This is my version, hope you like it.

 

Surfite005.jpg

 

Surfite006.jpg

 

Surfite002.jpg

 

Surfite010.jpg

 

Surfite009.jpg

 

Surfite011.jpg

 

Surfite015.jpg

 

Surfite012.jpg

 

Surfite013.jpg

 

 



#2 hobbybobby

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 12:23 PM

Surfite014.jpg

 

Surfite016.jpg

 

Surfite018.jpg

 

Surfite021.jpg

 

Surfite022.jpg

 

Surfite025.jpg



#3 Eshaver

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 12:31 PM

The tire idea makes sense . I liked the Yellow that Ed Roth had on the box art .



#4 slusher

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 01:14 PM

Cool little build...



#5 Porscheman

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 01:32 PM

I remember this one. Nice build!!!



#6 1930fordpickup

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 01:58 PM

Looks good . 

Those tires would work better in the sand . 



#7 realgone58

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 02:31 PM

Wild, man! I like it. Love the boards too! Hey, nothing is as ugly as a Smart car. I'd much rather be seen in the Surfite!



#8 cobraman

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 03:22 PM

Cool little car. I like the tires shown in the drawing.



#9 Tom Geiger

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 03:29 PM

You win!  That is the coolest build of the Surfite I've seen!  And it is my favorite Roth car!



#10 peekay

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 09:55 PM

Pure nostalgia. I really like your take on this - creative ideas, well executed.

#11 PappyD340

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 11:34 PM

That is just too KOOOOL!  :D 



#12 crazyjim

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 02:47 AM

Very nice.  I passed on a factory sealed Surfite kit this weekend for $20.



#13 TFchronos

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 03:23 AM

Awesome build, it looks really good, great job on it! :)



#14 Davewilly

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 09:00 AM

NICE!



#15 Shardik

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 09:10 AM

Good call on the tires.  Makes alot more sense than the kit pieces.  Nice execution overall, but that color combination is a bit ...jarring :blink:



#16 Tom Geiger

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 09:45 AM

 

The cute little Surfite proved to be a poor seller and was dropped from the catalog after just two years.

 

A bit of background.  The original Surfite kit became pretty rare before Revell reissued.  I believe it was only out for one release. The rumor was that it had a short shelf life because Ed Roth got associated with Hells Angels and Revell didn't want that association since kits were marketed mainly to kids in those days.  So I spoke to Bob Paeth, who was a product manager at Revell back then. He confirmed your quote that the Surfite got dropped because it was a poor seller and nothing more.

 

Bob also relayed an interesting story about the release of the kit.  All model boxes are a standard size due to shelf space and the size of the cases they are shipped in. Everything in the system, from kit assembly onward depends on the uniformity of the box. So when they got the test shots of the Surfite, it was very small and looked miniscule in that big box!  The fear was that people wouldn't perceive it as a good value so they needed to do something to fill the box.  Someone came up with the idea of the Tiki Hut, mainly as a way to fill up that box,  and history was made!


Edited by Tom Geiger, 10 October 2013 - 09:46 AM.


#17 ChrisR

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 10:14 AM

Neat!



#18 Chris White

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 01:37 PM

nice build



#19 Danno

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 05:00 PM

Kewl.



#20 the goon

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 06:19 PM

Very nice  :D

 

Mark