Register now to get rid of these ads!

Customs found this Chadly Johnson article and after the fact build thread on my bubbletop Futurian

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Moriarity, Jan 29, 2019.

  1. Moriarity
    Joined: Apr 11, 2001
    Posts: 20,311

    Moriarity
    SUPER MODERATOR
    Staff Member

    [​IMG]

    Words & Photos: Chadly Johnson



    Ed Roth built some of the wildest and most influential show cars in history. Ed's creations have inspired countless builders over the years, but few as strongly as Minnesota's own Mark Moriarity. Mark's passion for Ed's show cars led him to purchase Ed's “Rotar” bubble top show car. After owning the Rotar, Mark had to have another, so he located and purchased the “Road Agent” and lovingly restored the show piece to equal its early glory years. This led to owning several more of Roth's creations. While being surrounded by, restoring, and showing Ed's cars Mark was inspired to tackle his own one-off creation... plus, he couldn't locate or afford any more of Roth cars. Mark figured if Ed could do it, so could he. Mark stated one of Ed's mottos was “Big mess, big success,” and Mark was really good at making a mess... so the “Futurian” build was on.



    Mark had the Road Agent at his home at the time he began the Futurian so he was able to reference its chassis. A similarly styled frame was built out of 2” round mild steel tubing. A raw 62 Buick aluminum 215ci engine was set in the chassis, and it was made a roller with a set of Radir wheels. With the engine and wheels giving a crude template for body dimensions, Mark started throwing the body together. The basis for the body's shape was a mixture of 60% vermiculite and 40% plaster soaked newspaper. Once a big enough blob was made, Mark would shave the mixture down with a cheese grater for a general shape, then repeat over and over again. Mark states that when his buddies would stop by during this phase of construction they would tell him “get ride of it, and don't show anybody!” To keep things symmetrical Mark would use cardboard templates to match one side to the other. Mark had never done anything like this before, but he referenced Roth's “how to” books on working with plaster to build bodies.



    After an itchy mess that would have driven many people to give it up as a bad job, Mark emerged with a satisfactory body shape. When I asked Mark if he had a drawing to refer to when constructing the body he stated that he can't draw anything, so most everything happened by accident. Mark simply sculpted as he went, then stood back and did a lot of staring. Once satisfied, he laid fiberglass over the carved plaster, allowed it to harden, then knocked the plaster out of the fiberglass to reveal a body. During the long battle with forming the one-off body, photos of the project were published by Jerry Weisner in Custom Rodder magazine. Mark stated that difficult and messy as the process was, people now knew about the project as it was printed in a magazine, so he knew he had to keep going.



    Now that Mark had a body on a rolling chassis he had many questions, like what to use for taillights, grille, steering wheel, etc. Then it struck Mark that since he had literally just built a one-off body, it would not seem right to use a bunch of components from pre-existing cars... he would have to build the rest of the components as well. So Mark got busy hand fabricating nearly all the miscellaneous pieces for the Futurian, resulting in components that are pieces of art, unique in design.



    When it came it to building one of the most visually critical components, the bubble top, Mark turned to Masterglass out of Lakeville, MN. Masterglass had assisted Mark when he crafted a new bubble top to replace the cracked one on the Road Agent. Compressed air was pumped into a plywood mold built by Mark to a heated sheet of 1/4” thick G.E. Acrylite acrylic. For three attempts the top would almost be fully formed only to deflate due to a sharp point in the mold. Mark would sand the mold smoother and smoother until the fourth attempt proved successful. 57 Chevy convertible top hydraulics scored at a swap meet open and close the bubble top.



    Another massive undertaking was due to the fact that the Futurian is dripping in chrome. Mark performed all the polishing on the steel components prior to chrome plating himself... mostly, Mark said, because he's cheap. If you have ever prepped a piece of metal for chrome plating before you know that the metal has to be so perfect that it already appears chrome plated before you send it off to be chrome plated. Now imagine polishing all the components on the Futurian! The aluminum components such as the Crager-driven blower were sent off for chroming.



    When it came to painting the body, Mark handled the paint gun himself right in his own garage, except for laying out the panels. That was handled by friend Dennis McPhail, and the pinstriping was laid down by Mike Iverson. The interior was also handled in-house, excluding the seats and door panels which were stitched by Bob's Upholstery.



    When Mark first began the Futurian build he took some advice from Ed Roth, which was to build a small car as they require less material, thus less cost, and they are easier to move around. Comparatively speaking the Futurian is a small car, but I can testify that its cockpit is very comfortable as I had the privilege of sitting inside it. Mark is always very generous when it comes to allowing people to enjoy his creations and restorations.



    Shortly after its completion the Futurian was loaned out to be displayed at Darryl Starbird's Museum. Once it was home again Mark put the Road Agent up for sale, and when Ralph Whitworth came to purchase it for America's Car Museum, he fell in love with the Futurian and ended up purchasing it as well. Mark was able to see the Futurian while it was out on tour promoting the construction of the museum and suffered from abandonment and sellers remorse, so a deal was struck allowing Mark to purchase back his hand-built masterpiece. The Futurian has been on display inside Mark's living room ever since. Yes, you read correctly: inside his living room, except for 2 years when it was displayed at the Gilmore Museum.



    Mark is an amazing guy, and a gifted builder, fabricator, restorer, and preserver of early show cars. Every time I get the privilege of stopping by Mark's home, he has a new project that he is resurrecting, but as far as the Futurian is concerned... Mark is happy to have it home, where it was built and belongs.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    18 / 19




    fut1.jpg A (2) (Copy).jpg
     
  2. Baumi
    Joined: Jan 28, 2003
    Posts: 2,691

    Baumi
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    A great read, thanks for sharing. I can only imagine what amount of head scratching and elbow grease it takes to build something like your Futurian from nothing, at home, by yourself.
    Awesome job, my hat´s off to you.
     
    Stogy, lothiandon1940 and Moriarity like this.
  3. continentaljohn
    Joined: Jul 24, 2002
    Posts: 4,781

    continentaljohn
    Member

    A amazing car and even more amazing is the craftsmanship and talent of Mr Mark
     
    Stogy and Moriarity like this.
  4. You could say he has got it made!!:D:p
     
    Stogy and Moriarity like this.

  5. BJR
    Joined: Mar 11, 2005
    Posts: 6,750

    BJR
    Member

    All I can says WOW!! Nice write up. Nice car. One question though, does it run and drive, or is it like Roth's cars that it is a work of art that does not move under it's own power?
     
    chryslerfan55 and Moriarity like this.
  6. Moriarity
    Joined: Apr 11, 2001
    Posts: 20,311

    Moriarity
    SUPER MODERATOR
    Staff Member

    It has everything it needs to be a car that runs, but I have never fired it. It lives inside my house and I don't want gasoline smells and oil spots on the carpeting... besides, it has no title so I can't register it to drive on the street. When I owned the Road Agent I did drive it several times, so that is a roth car that drives
     
    54delray, hrm2k, Stogy and 11 others like this.
  7. Moriarity
    Joined: Apr 11, 2001
    Posts: 20,311

    Moriarity
    SUPER MODERATOR
    Staff Member

    01BD3637-60AE-4086-A8F6-38B8A56479C7.jpeg It would have been pretty easy to quit at the point of the plaster and vermiculite stage. A few of my buddies told me to get rid of it before too many people see it...
     
    Tman, 54delray, David Gersic and 19 others like this.
  8. Is that where a"diamond in the rough" starts?:cool:
     
    Stogy likes this.
  9. oliver westlund
    Joined: Dec 19, 2018
    Posts: 773

    oliver westlund
    Member

    wow! very inspirational, beautiful car and great article mark
     
  10. olscrounger
    Joined: Feb 23, 2008
    Posts: 4,076

    olscrounger
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Wow-amazing job!!
     
    lothiandon1940 likes this.
  11. dana barlow
    Joined: May 30, 2006
    Posts: 4,222

    dana barlow
    Member
    from Miami Fla.
    1. Y-blocks

    COOL ......................
     
    lothiandon1940 likes this.
  12. ken bogren
    Joined: Jul 6, 2010
    Posts: 827

    ken bogren
    Member

    That cool little car burned itself into my brain when I saw it at the 2002 GSTA show in St. Paul. Nice to read more about how it came to be and was built.
     
    chryslerfan55 and Moriarity like this.
  13. Bandit Billy
    Joined: Sep 16, 2014
    Posts: 7,382

    Bandit Billy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Any pictures of it front of the diner? :cool:
     
    David Gersic, Stogy, drdave and 2 others like this.
  14. Hahahaha !!! ^^^^^ :D
     
    Stogy, chryslerfan55 and Moriarity like this.
  15. Moriarity
    Joined: Apr 11, 2001
    Posts: 20,311

    Moriarity
    SUPER MODERATOR
    Staff Member

    Here is a pic in rough glass, with my daughter and myself posing for a Christmas card picture. Lots of itchy grinding. Most of which was done outside in hopes the wind would carry away the itching powder. This pic would be from 1998[​IMG]


    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
    -Brent-, Tman, Mick Coyne and 15 others like this.
  16. Moriarity
    Joined: Apr 11, 2001
    Posts: 20,311

    Moriarity
    SUPER MODERATOR
    Staff Member

    haha no, but I do have pics of most of my cars there....
     
    54delray, Stogy, drdave and 3 others like this.
  17. DDDenny
    Joined: Feb 6, 2015
    Posts: 14,524

    DDDenny
    Member
    from oregon

    Hey Mark
    With all this extra time are you gonna take some cooking lessons and finally put your kitchen into service.o_O
     
    kidcampbell71, Stogy, drdave and 2 others like this.
  18. Moriarity
    Joined: Apr 11, 2001
    Posts: 20,311

    Moriarity
    SUPER MODERATOR
    Staff Member

    no, It is like a contest now, to see how long I can go without using my Kitchen.....15 years so far
     
    Tman, 54delray, hrm2k and 8 others like this.
  19. Cool article. How long did it take you to build?
     
    chryslerfan55 and Stogy like this.
  20. Moriarity
    Joined: Apr 11, 2001
    Posts: 20,311

    Moriarity
    SUPER MODERATOR
    Staff Member

    3 1/2 years
     
    54delray, Stogy and dana barlow like this.
  21. Wow that's quick for all the work involved.
     
    chryslerfan55 and Moriarity like this.
  22. BrerHair
    Joined: Jan 30, 2007
    Posts: 4,584

    BrerHair
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Too cool, most impressive. Beautiful little car!
     
    Moriarity likes this.
  23. GordonC
    Joined: Mar 6, 2006
    Posts: 2,345

    GordonC
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Very cool!
     
    Moriarity likes this.
  24. Bandit Billy
    Joined: Sep 16, 2014
    Posts: 7,382

    Bandit Billy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Courtesy of @themoose Now you do!
    upload_2019-1-29_14-4-30.png
     

    Attached Files:

  25. Moriarity
    Joined: Apr 11, 2001
    Posts: 20,311

    Moriarity
    SUPER MODERATOR
    Staff Member

  26. Sky Six
    Joined: Mar 15, 2018
    Posts: 1,586

    Sky Six
    Member
    from Arizona

    What a great story and what a great job. I am in awe of the workmanship and creativity used in this creation.
    And, you have a car in the living room... I had a panhead in the living room once but the wife was not amused.
     
    chryslerfan55, Stogy and Moriarity like this.
  27. Moriarity
    Joined: Apr 11, 2001
    Posts: 20,311

    Moriarity
    SUPER MODERATOR
    Staff Member

    [​IMG]



    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
    54delray, hrm2k, catdad49 and 11 others like this.
  28. stanlow69
    Joined: Feb 21, 2010
    Posts: 5,138

    stanlow69
    Member
    from red oak

    kidcampbell71, Tman, catdad49 and 6 others like this.
  29. slowmotion
    Joined: Nov 21, 2011
    Posts: 3,253

    slowmotion
    Member

    Geez, and all I ever did was keep a Sportster in the rec-room...small potatoes.
    Thanks for the read Mark, and I'll say it again, you're Batman!
     
    chryslerfan55, Stogy and Moriarity like this.

Share This Page

Register now to get rid of these ads!

Archive

Copyright © 1995-2020 The Jalopy Journal: Steal our stuff, we'll kick your teeth in. Terms of Service. Privacy Policy.

Atomic Industry
Forum software by XenForo™ ©2010-2014 XenForo Ltd.