Monday, July 22, 2013

New Book! "America's Wildest Show Rods"

The 1960s and 1970s were a time of artistic excess. Crazy outfits, new-found freedoms of the boomer generation, and the hippie movement, all created an explosion of style completely unique to the period and generation. The 1960s and 1970s were also a time of intense automotive enthusiasm. New car launches every September were greeted with anticipation, muscle cars with excessive horsepower were the norm, and the average Joe was rodding and racing every weekend. When these two forces came together, the results were unforgettable. A new breed of car was developed-the Show Rod. These creations were never intended for use on the streets, and many of them were never intended for any use at all. Customizers designed and built them to attract huge crowds to the big car show circuit that was travelling the country at the time, and in that they certainly succeeded. What began as visions of futuristic cars eventually morphed into cartoon-like representations of cars. Things got wilder when the model car industry got involved, and then television shows and pop music acts jumped in too. Icons like Barris and Roth, household names even to fringe car guys, made their name in this era, as did others like Gene Winfield, Dean Jeffries, Candy Joe Bailon, Bob Reisner, Darryl Starbird and Tom Daniel, all important characters in promoting, designing and building this insane pieces of rolling artwork. Fritz contributed his knowledge and photos of his work to this book of his Ed Roth "Outlaw" clone, restoration of Ed Roth's "Megacycle" and his "Roswell Rod", as well as cars that he painted and pinstriped like the Ed Roth "Mysterion" clone, Dan Woods "Ice Truck", and more. This book is autographed by Fritz and sells for $19.99 at This completely unique book is a round-table discussion featuring all of these great customizers discussing the era, their builds, and each others rods as well.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Sail away to Aluminum Cove!

Finally got something done on the "Baja Bandeeto". As per Jimmy Smith's art, I made up these aluminum strips in the coves on both sides on the body. Doesn't seem like much 'till I tell you I had to rip open the body work on the flat surface, and re do it a little to get a real good flat surface to mount these to. The wood may have shifted a bit, and I am sure I was in "lets just get this done" mode while I was pushing that sanding block back and forth in the cove. But, looking at the pics you can see as I do, its "the right thing". Monday after work I am gonna have to cut the grass. So, for a day or two I won't be able to do any sanding on the body, but after a good sanding its Color Time! So, keep checking back, 'cause this is the candy coating on a sweet trick deal! Stop watching TV, it rots yer brain kid. Get out in the garage and build something!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Yard Art Belton, Missouri

My neighbor Mike Johnson, besides being a great all around guy, has the best yard I have seen in all of Missouri. "Alex in Wonderland" had the best on Long Island, and my friend Aaron Grote has the best in Illinois. Mike's yard has a very "road side America meets Disney" feel to it. Cool old junk in a manicured garden atmosphere. I have wanted to snap some pics of his stuff since I moved Kansas City, and now was the perfect time! The shed he keeps his rider lawn mower in has been transformed into a neat old timey looking gas station, with old parts and signage all around. My favorite piece in the yard, is this Model T coupe that I was told he bought at a farm auction for $400.00 bucks! There is nothing inside, and it does have a bunch of rot. But, you know you wanna build a rod out of it don't cha? Mike picked up a couple of solar powered pathway lamps from the local home supply, took them apart, and made them so they work in the car. At night the headlamps come on. Its the coolest thing, ya just gotta see it! A propane gas tank for the house was turned into a derelict Chevy gas tanker truck, delivering the best "Sinclair" fuel money can buy! The end of our virtual tour brings us to the cactus garden in front of the work shop, chocked full of rusty treasure, a model a ford sedan body, service station oil dispensers, a tricycle, gas pump. All in a dreamy setting that you would think you'd see along route 66 someplace west of Tucumcari, New Mexico Got some cool rusted garden pics you'd like to share, If I use 'em on the blog you get a "Spritz By Fritz" T- shirt! If you don't send pics ya better get out in the garage and build something!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Roadside America's Yard Art

I had to run to south Missouri for work and do a bit of junk yarding. The shop was looking for a 1979 Buick Regal rear bumper, or anything that looked close so we could fix the bad rot on the one we had off the customers car. I knew Henderson's had a bunch of mid to late 70's stuff, so that's the first place we hit, but sad to say (and see) they crushed out (insert sad face here). Ben has shingles and just couldn't work the yard anymore. I guess I'd do the same thing. Ya gotta get this stuff while you can guys! Ben was kind enough to direct us to another yard, but we were tits up for that regal bumper. But Uncle Jack Walker scored a nice 50 Chevy coupe trunk lid for our neighbor Mike Johnson. So, on the way home I stopped at the same yard I scored that 1933 Ford stock car body at, and did get a clean 1984 Olds rear bumper. We can cut a section out of that to fix up the regal bumper nice. What's this have to do with roadside yard art? Well I'll tell ya! While rolling south on route 71 (soon to be I-49) around Carthage, MO, I spotted this neat tow truck "ART" on the south bound side. When I went to check it out I spied this cool "wheel rim man" standing guard at the gate. I have some pics from other spots that I will try to post up during the week. If you guys have anything cool to share, please e-mail it in with a quick story and its location. Now get out in the garage and build something!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The "Dragonman", a Little Long Island Chopper History.

Mel Bernstien the "DRAGONMAN" I really don't know anything about Mel, but as a little kid riding around Bellmore Long Island, every once in a while I'd see the "Dragon Bike" ripping along on Bellmore Avenue, or wherever. When you are like 10 years old and you see a crazy ass chopper like Mel's, it stays with you for life! My dad was a "bike guy", ever since I can remember, and there must have been a time when he went to Mel's shop in Bellmore to pick up parts for his Panhead or his hot rod Sportster, and grabbed me this t-shirt, a size small, there probably were no kids sizes and it was a cherished possession I'd wear as I'd pedal my ape hanger sissy barred purple Schwinn around town. I robbed a few pics from the Internet of Mels "Dragon BIke" and some of his other stuff for some of you that have no idea what I am talking about. But, this all comes back to the t-shirt that I still have at age 49. I could never bare to sell it, and have no one to pass it along to. It being a great piece of east coast chopper history, and probably the only t-shirt to exist from Mel's old shop, I have decided to donate it to my friend Ted Doering from Ted's Cycle. He started a museum full of fantastic motorcycle history (the good & the bad) in Newburgh, New York. It is a must see for any two wheel freak! Check out for more info. Ted has one of Mel's crazy trikes, and while we were talking at the museum one day, I told him that I still had this shirt since I was a kid, and it would serve a better purpose on display next to Mel's trike then in a keep sake box under my bed. Well, that's all this blog post is really about. I am giving an old t-shirt to a great Museum! I will do a blog post on my visit and it will include a great collection of Ed "Big Daddy" Roth stuff including the "Mega Cycle" that I restored a few years back Get out in the garage and build something gang!