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Folks Of Interest RIP ... Roy Fjastad

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by HEMI32, Feb 26, 2018.

  1. Roy R. Fjastad (drawing by Shannon Olson).jpg
    Roy Russell Fjastad
    April 17, 1935 - February 26, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2018
    loudbang, HemiDeuce, Stogy and 3 others like this.
  2. Here's a biographical article written by @Gary Medley for

    Legends of Hot Rodding – Roy Fjastad’s Hot Rod Journey
    November 19, 2017

    Roy @ Bonneville.jpg

    Sometimes the apple doesn’t fall close to the tree but rather rolls in an entirely different direction. Such is the case of Roy Fjastad, whose accomplishments as a Bonneville, drag strip, and street rod pioneer are worlds apart from his supposed genetic pre-disposition.

    Roy R. Fjastad was born on April 17, 1935, to Roy T. and Helen Fjastad. Of Swedish descent, the senior Roy grew up in New York but migrated to Los Angeles in the 1930s to pursue a career in music. He heard Tinseltown calling. In LA, he joined Paramount Pictures as a musical director and worked on feature films, collaborating with some of the industry greats, including director Cecil B. DeMille.

    Roy R. had different plans. Music didn’t interest him. He struggled with piano lessons for three years before throwing in the metronome. The family lived in the exclusive Toluca Lake neighborhood, wedged between Burbank and North Hollywood. (A bastion of Hollywood-types, neighbors included Bob Hope and Bobby Darin.) While the sound of piano keys didn’t capture Roy’s attention, the rumble of lakes pipes did. And being near Burbank, Glendale, and Pasadena, hot rods were as prevalent as wannabe starlets. It didn’t hurt that the original SoCal Speed Shop was just down the street.

    Roy graduated from North Hollywood High School with an eye toward a career with cars. He learned to weld at a sliding door company and began tinkering with dragsters, crafting chassis for a couple friends in his garage. He was 19. Prominent quarter-mile chassis builder Scotty Fenn became aware of Roy’s nascent talent and hired the young protégé. For the next two years, Roy honed his fabricating skills at Fenn’s Chassis Research.

    During this period, Roy also drag raced himself, winning his first trophy at Santa Ana in 1952. He also joined the famous Road Kings car club in Burbank, which meant he got to hang with such luminaries as “TV” Tommy Ivo, and Don “the Snake” Prudhomme. He also squeezed in frequent treks to Bonneville, beginning a long love affair with the salt.

    Roy’s real talent, though, lay behind a welding shield, not inside a crash helmet. He leveraged his experience with Fenn to a position with Ivo, and after two years with Tommy, he hung out his own shingle — Speed Products Engineering (SPE) — and for the next decade became one of drag racing’s most prominent chassis builders.

    Circa 1961 - Belly Tank Lakester built by Roy Fjastad.jpg
    Roy built, owned, & raced the "Car Craft Machine" #121 B/Lakester

    All told, Fjastad’s Speed Products Engineering built 225 race cars, including dragsters for John Wiebe, Larry Dixon Sr., @Don Johnson's "Beachcomber”, the Howard Cam Rattler, Ray Godman’s “Tennessee Bo Weevil,” and the Vince Rossi Parnelli Jones “Wedge Car,” also know as the Flying Doorstop. According to Hot Rod magazine, the Flying Doorstop was unofficially the first car into the 5s in 1972 at Lions Drag Strip, and later set a national speed record of 239.64 mph. Danny Ongais later jumped in the Doorstop and dropped a then mind-blowing 243.24 mph.

    Innovation always has been Roy’s calling card. He developed the hydro-formed bell housing, two-piece couplers (originated at SPE and still used today), plus various disc brake applications, aerodynamic front wheels, and traction-enhancing torsion bar assemblies. Later, he reinvented the humble Dzus fastener, the ubiquitous quick-release device that holds body panels in place. Roy replaced the slot with a more secure Allen wrench receptor.

    By the late 1960s, Fjastad began dabbling in the burgeoning street rod market, manufacturing street components along with his racing pieces. As the street scene exploded in the early 1970s — propelled by magazines such as Rod & Custom and Street Rodder — Roy shifted gears. In 1976 he closed his race car shop and formed the Deuce Factory in Orange County.

    Roy wrenching on the Full Bore Roadster.jpg
    Roy wrenching on the Full Bore #777 rear-engine modified roadster.

    At the Deuce Factory, he developed a complete line of components including the first set of reproduction ’32 Ford frame rails, which were so accurate Henry himself would have been hard-pressed to tell the difference. “Roy’s creation of Deuce rails were a benchmark in street rodding,” Goodguys founder Gary Meadors once said. With the Deuce being the heart of the hot rod aesthetic, and with fiberglass ’32s flooding the market, Fjastad’s timing was perfect. Customers flocked to Roy’s flawlessly accurate frame rails.

    Eventually, Fjastad sold the Deuce Factory to his son and ratcheted back his career. Still full of life, he started Full Bore Race Products to market his unique Dzus fasteners and a host of small components and tools for hardcore racers. This also provided more free time to compete at Bonneville, where he had been a regular for more than three decades. He always had a special fondness for the salt, campaigning a modified roadster, a streamliner, and a wild rear-engined roadster. Most impressive was his Pontiac Firebird coupe, which ushered Roy into the 200 MPH Club (of which he was later served as president) with a robust pass of 226 mph!

    Now in his 80s, Fjastad still works every day at Full Bore’s headquarters in Santa Ana. His back isn’t the greatest, but he enjoys the craftsmanship of making small bits racers can still use. When asked what he attributes his longevity and success to, he says, “Simple – just hard work and enthusiasm for the sport.” Does he miss drag racing? “Not really,” he said, lamenting that modern diggers have devolved into cookie-cutter machines, sans the innovation that marked the early days.

    While Roy is scaling back his involvement, his sons and daughters have embraced the industry. His oldest son, Carl, runs the Deuce Frame Company in Santa Ana, producing street rod chassis components; Roy’s middle son, Roy Jr., owns West Coast Street Rods in Huntington Beach; and Roy’s only daughter, Kathy, is married to Top Fuel legend and former NHRA exec Carl Olson.

    In other words, Roy Fjastad’s hot rod legacy will live on for years to come, spurred on by his talented prodigy. Unlike Roy and his father, the “apples” Roy created from his legacy of innovation and success have landed very close to the tree, indeed.​
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2018
  3. aircap
    Joined: Mar 10, 2011
    Posts: 1,452


    He was a hot rodder's hot rodder. RIP, Roy.
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  5. shadetreerodder
    Joined: Aug 4, 2006
    Posts: 291


  6. SPE logo.jpg
    Roy with SPE bellhousing.jpg
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2018
  7. Stogy
    Joined: Feb 10, 2007
    Posts: 12,992


    Condolences to the Fjastad family and friends on the passing of Roy. He by all accounts did everything so right. He will be remembered through his many accomplishments that have spanned the Hotrod/Racing world. It is a testiment to his success in that the family has been able to continue to offer competitive products to the industry.

    Thank you @HEMI32 for sharing the unfortunate news of Roys passing with us.
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2018
    pitman, j hansen and HEMI32 like this.
  8. Hot Rods Ta Hell
    Joined: Apr 20, 2008
    Posts: 3,858

    Hot Rods Ta Hell

    My condolences to family and friends. Roy's Deuce Factory was a blessing for us Hot Rodders.
    HEMI32 likes this.
  9. rooman
    Joined: Sep 20, 2006
    Posts: 3,674


    Another of the Santa Ana gang gone to the racetrack in the sky. First Art, then Dan and now Roy.
    RIP mate!

    kidcampbell71, Stogy and HEMI32 like this.
  10. krusty40
    Joined: Jan 10, 2006
    Posts: 817


    Roy's #777 rear engined roadster provided some important ideas that were incorporated into the build of the multiple record holding #1429 roadster in my avatar, which I built in 2009. Thank you again, Roy, and rest in peace.

    Stogy and HEMI32 like this.
  11. gnichols
    Joined: Mar 6, 2008
    Posts: 10,463

    from Tampa, FL

    What a life, well lived. RIP. Gary
    CornfieldPerformance likes this.
  12. To keep history straight..the chassis builder was Scotty FENN...not Flynn
    kidcampbell71 and loudbang like this.
  13. Bigcheese327
    Joined: Sep 16, 2001
    Posts: 6,644


    I'd like to write an obituary for Mr. Fjastad for the Hemmings Daily. Does anyone have an image I can use? It doesn't appear we've written about him before and I don't like to bother grieving families with stuff like this. Thanks.
    pitman and jim snow like this.
  14. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 2,655

    The 39 guy

    Thanks Hemi32, Another legend of our hobby/sport is gone but his lifetime of contributions to the hobby have and will continue to enhance the lives of many.
    HEMI32 likes this.
  15. 402BOSSMAN
    Joined: Jul 26, 2015
    Posts: 299


  16. Prayers go out to his family.R.I.P.our friend. Bruce.
  17. Kiwi Tinbender
    Joined: Feb 23, 2006
    Posts: 1,155

    Kiwi Tinbender

    In the mid eighties, when I worked for Magoo, I would often go down to see Roy and crew, spent quite a bit of time there. Always felt welcome, and still see Carl on occasion. I would catch up most years at the Salt, too. I`ll miss those times. My sincere condolences to Pat, Roy, Carl, Jay and Kathy.
    kidcampbell71, Stogy and HEMI32 like this.
  18. Marty Strode
    Joined: Apr 28, 2011
    Posts: 4,016

    Marty Strode

    I met Roy at Bakersfield at the CHHR in 2002, when he stopped to check out a Chassis Research Dragster we had brought for the Cacklefest. The Dragster was the Coleman Bros FL44 rear engine car, and we had a great visit about his time working for Scotty. About 5 years ago, I started building a Rear Engine Modified Roadster for Bonneville, my first call was to Roy. He was very helpful, in the design, along with looking over my chassis construction progress. In our talks about current Drag Racing, he said, that if there was a real Junior Fuel Class, with direct drive, (no transmission) he would build a car and go racing again. R.I.P. Mr. Fjastad
    Stogy, pitman and HEMI32 like this.
  19. jimmy six
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 4,563

    jimmy six

    When I moved to Fountain Valley in 1971, Roy was one of my neighbors. I'm glad we became friends and I went to his Santa Ana shop many times especially when he was running his Firebird. I became friends with all 3 of his children as they all shared his interest in the automotive fraternity in one way or another.
    He was one of the SoCal pioneers who had the respect of all of his peers. He will be missed......JD
    kidcampbell71, HEMI32 and Stogy like this.
  20. 392
    Joined: Feb 27, 2007
    Posts: 897


    Amazing life and one hell of a innovator.
    48fordnut likes this.
  21. oj
    Joined: Jul 27, 2008
    Posts: 6,111


    Another has crossed the Finish Line, RIP, it was a good trip.
    Stogy likes this.
  22. [​IMG]

    We were very sad to hear about Roy's passing. He was always hospitable whenever we visited him at his shop. This pic is from June 2014 R.I.P. Roy

    Sent from my iPad using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
  23. Cyclone Kevin
    Joined: Apr 15, 2002
    Posts: 3,898

    Cyclone Kevin
    Alliance Vendor

    Sad to read this, Dale (Weedetr) Caulfield alerted me with this news as we were just talking about Roy the other day.

    If you were a young guy growing up 70’s- 80’s you’d know about a few key places. Pete & Jake’s, Beverly Hills Hot Rod Shop-owned then by Jim DeFrank and Andy Cohen=they had a great frame jig that Dave “Dessert Head” Gorges has owned for 30 yrs, and the key to this whole deal Roy (Deuce Facory) Fjastad.

    Without Roy and his vision, there wouldn’t have been quite the resurgence in Hot Rods as Roy made-stamped some nice 32 rails. He also bought raw stampings from P&J’s and did his own 4-bars with stainless batwings and many other components.

    Lucky to have made his aquaintance and met his whole family doing business on occasion.
    Watched his lakes activity both dry & salt and am glad to know him.
    R.I.P. Roy.
    kidcampbell71, Stogy and HEMI32 like this.
    Joined: Jul 20, 2006
    Posts: 1,819


    RIP Roy. We lost another great one.
  25. My involvement with him was all SPE. Very few cars in the 70's and 80's didn't have parts that he pioneered on them. Does anybody remember when he sold that to Cox?
  26. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 25,415


    May he rest in peace. I remember the excitement and maybe a bit of controversy when he first came out with his deuce rails.
  27. Roy got into the "Two Club" in 1989 ...

    Bonneville 200 MPH CLUB logo.png
    Roy Fjastad 200 MPH Club - 1989.JPG
    Roy Fjastad's #232 B-Alt Firebird at Bonneville 1989  (by Todd Olson).jpg
  28. Stovebolt
    Joined: May 2, 2001
    Posts: 3,256


    RIP Roy.

    #232 also set records in Australia and back at Bonneville under Australian ownership.

    A testament to his building and tuning skills.
    Stogy and HEMI32 like this.
  29. 48fordnut
    Joined: Nov 4, 2005
    Posts: 3,599


    Such a loss of a Icon. RIP.

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