Lunch Money & Ed Roth’s “Yellow Fang”
A few years ago, I was wandering back towards my truck after the H.A.M.B. Drags in no particular rush when a stranger nudged me and said, “There he is, that’s ‘The Bushmaster!’” At first I didn’t believe him; in my mind I had figured he was a California guy and this was some sort of doppelgänger. But I remembered hearing that he liked to dress with flair—and if that was the case, then this gentleman certainly fit the bill with his abbreviated T-shirt, flamed shorts and matching headband. I walked over and introduced myself.
He was as nice as he could be to the kid with a camera talking a million miles per hour, taking interest in whatever I had to say. But of all the things that I wanted to ask him, there was one story I needed to get to the bottom of—the tale of the “Yellow Fang.”
I’m sure many of you have heard this before, but if not, I’ll tell the shortened version here. Rumor has it that Ed “Big Daddy” Roth couldn’t stand change jingling around in his pockets, so every day after lunch he’d toss his spare coins on the roof of a locking tool shed inside his shop. At the time, his pal George “The Bushmaster” Schriber was planning to build an AA/Fuel Dragster with a canopy with hopes of being the first “streamliner” to break the 200mph mark in the quarter. The two collaborated on the project, but at some point in the construction process George’s funding ran out. As luck would have it, the two were returning from lunch one day and Roth tossed his changed like he usually did—except this time the roof of the shed collapsed and a wave of coins flowed down. Just like that, George had a sponsor.
And so I asked “The Bushmaster,” was there truth to any of that, or was it just another fun legend from the Large Father? He assured me that yes, it was indeed true—and that’s how the Yellow Fang came into existence. Sometimes the truth really is stranger than the fiction.
Anyways, I was leafing through Hot Rod Magazine from December 1965 and I came across this full feature on the ’Fang that I hadn’t seen before. As much as I liked it in baremetal with “Roth’s Yellow Fang” written on the flanks in permanent marker, I will say it looks pretty wild sitting out there on the lawn in all its Diamond T Yellow glory.
Things to Consider:
For the full history of Yellow Fang and all things Roth, make sure to check out Pat Ganahl’s Ed “Big Daddy” Roth: His Life, Times, Cars and Art.
The Bushmaster has a museum in Missouri that I’ve heard is worth a visit. You can find out more about it here: http://www.bushmastersplace.com/index.html