The Surfite

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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

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Posted · Report post

Surfite014.jpg

Surfite016.jpg

Surfite018.jpg

Surfite021.jpg

Surfite022.jpg

Surfite025.jpg

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Posted · Report post

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

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Posted · Report post

Cool little build...

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Posted · Report post

I remember this one. Nice build!!!

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Posted · Report post

Looks good .

Those tires would work better in the sand .

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Posted · Report post

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!

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Posted · Report post

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

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Posted · Report post

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

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Posted · Report post

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

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Posted · Report post

That is just too KOOOOL! :D

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Posted · Report post

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

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Posted · Report post

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

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Posted · Report post

NICE!

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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:

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Posted (edited) · Report post

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

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Posted · Report post

Neat!

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Posted · Report post

nice build

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Posted · Report post

Kewl.

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Posted · Report post

Very nice :D

Mark

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Posted · Report post

Isn't it 1/20?

Looks good BTW. Love the tyres and the paint.

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Posted · Report post

cool !! love the tyres !!

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Posted · Report post

Nice build. I have been looking at this kit for quite some time. I am presently on a show car kick and your build has convinced me to haul it out from under the work bench and build it!

Again, nice build. I dig the color!!!

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Posted · Report post

Thank you very much for the nice words! B)

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

Yes, Ed, I like it also in yellow, but I thought that BDR has chosen the wrong color for a beach car, imagine how long he would have to look for it in the yellow sand... ;):D

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Posted · Report post

Looks good .

Those tires would work better in the sand .

That's right, Andy, that was exactly my thought! B)

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