Atomic Punk Bubbletop Hot Rod
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A spectacular homage to Ed Roth creations of the '60s, the super-cool custom is ready to run at Barrett-Jackson.
The Atomic Punk Bubbletop Hot Rod is most certainly a wild card.
An homage to the 1960s designs of Ed “Big Daddy” Roth, the Atomic Punk is about as super cool as they get. To men of a certain age, it’s instant recall to the Revell models they built as kids.
“It looks like the Beatnik Bandit,” said one of the owners, Dennis Collins of Dallas, who has consigned the exotic bubble-roof street machine to sell today at the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction in Scottsdale. “Except this car runs and drives.”
The award-winning, all-steel hot rod was designed and constructed by Aaron Grote, owner of Grote Rod Shop (Slogan: “Hot Rods From Uranus”) in Illinois, who was giving the car a once over before its five minutes of fame on the auction stage later today.
“I just wanted to create something different,” Grote said. “I really like Ed Roth Cars, although they didn’t usually run. I wanted to build one that was a running show car.”
And run it does, powered by a massive 393 Chrysler Hemi V8 fed by eight Holley 94 carburetors. “They all work,” Collins said. “They’re not just for show.
The octet of Hollies feeds through a specialized, 1950s-era intake from Classic Speed Equipment. “That in itself is special,” said Collins, who co-owns the car with his buddy, Richard Rawlings.
Atomic Punk was the 2008 winner of the Detroit Autorama’s Most Extreme division and the prestigious Fay Butler Award, as well as numerous Mopar competitions and other prizes. It has graced the cover of Rod and Custom magazine and featured in a number of publications. Moon Equipment gave it special recognition in its historic publication.
As unlikely as it looks, the Atomic Punk is totally roadworthy and even has air-conditioning so the occupants don’t cook under the clear bubble roof, Collins said. But anyone trying to step inside had better not be too big.
“It’s a tight squeeze,” said Grote as he demonstrated how the acrylic top lifts for entry. He nestled in behind the wheel with the top lowered, looking totally Space Age.
Collins pointed out that just like in the old hot-rod days, many of the bubbletop’s parts are scavenged from existing cars. For instance, the tailfins and headlights are from a 1959 Plymouth Savoy and the gauges are made from the taillights of a 1939 Cadillac.
“Everything in this car is steel,” he added. “There is no wood, no fiberglass, no Bondo.”
The wild-card aspect of this creation is how well it will do in the no-reserve auction. With such a unique vehicle, there is no real value precedent, although concept cars and fanciful custom creations have done well in the past at Barrett-Jackson.
The prevailing estimate is $200,000, Collins said, though it could go much higher. As always, it only takes two bidders who love it to send the price into the stratosphere.
“This is an outstanding wild card,” Collins said. “Nobody really has any idea what it will do.”