The Bushmaster Remembers


"I ordered the chassis from Jim Davis in 1963. I was working there at the time borrowed $5,000.00 from the City of Arcadia Credit Union, (with the two Demarest brothers, Mike & Bill "Ground Shakers"). They had the first top fuel car I worked on in 1962, called Demarest, Reed & Feltham. They taught me how to build my first top fuel motor which was a 392 Chrysler.

By the time I paid for the chassis, bought the rear end, axles, brakes, rear & front wheels and tires, a 392 block, firesuit and helmet, the $5000.00 was gone. At the time I was going down to Roth's at Atlantic & Slauson in Maywood every night to help him on his cars and I skinned a couple of trailers for him; ("Chapel of Memories") Ed was paying me for the work.

We were always talking about my dragster and he was going to try and get me some sponsor help. I was also going to the car shows with him selling t-shirts and decals, etc.; he was paying me for that also. But it wasn't enough to buy motor parts with.

After a show Ed had a small tool/nut & bolt room, about 6' x 6' with a short ceiling on it and he would throw his loose change on top of it everyday. That night, the ceiling came
down! I told him, "Man, there must be $5,000.00 worth of change there! Why don't you sponsor the dragster; we can put your name on it, that way I'll get paid some extra money and I can pay you back." He said, "That's a great idea". He also said that Mickey Thompson owed him $2,500.00 for t-shirts and decals and that I could go down and get the motor parts I needed.

Man, a dream come true! My hero was helping me finish my dragster (my FIRST top fuel dragster and there were six more to come later). I was only 26 years old, man was I jazzed.

I had been telling Ed about this streamliner idea I had because I wanted to be the first to run 200 mph with a stream-lined body. They push a lot of air and they are very heavy. There
were seven of them built and the Fang was the only one that ran 207 mph after two years of trying. Anyway, he liked the streamlined ideas, but not the canopy idea I had. I told him it had to have the canopy to work. After a 'few friendly' discussions, he finally agreed. Ed was getting as excited as me over the idea and it was great.

We contacted Steve Swaja to do the design drawing after I made a coat hanger chassis and Ed helped me with a clay model that we both liked when it was finished. Then it was off to Tom
Hanna to do the body in Chula Vista. By now it is late 1964. We used to go down there every Wednesday night in Ed's '55 Chevy, the one with the 406 Ford in it.

The Fang didn't get finished and running until 1965. Our first race was a KFWB sponsored race at Lions Dragstrip. I think the first run was 153 mph and then we ran 176. It took two years before we were finally able to run over 200 mph.

The name Yellow Fang was Ed's idea, and there weren't many yellow top fuelers at the time and I liked the color yellow. So we painted it at Ed's shop. Diamond T Truck Yellow epoxy so that the nitro would not remove the paint.

I wasn't real happy about the "Hollywood" type story that wound up in Ed's Hot Rod Book, but I always respected Ed as a person so I just teased him about it and he told me that he didn't know what to do and that his story sounded cooler than the original version. We both laughed and said ," What the heckl, no problem". The poster that Ed signed and gave me with all of his cars on it has the date of 1966 on it. I haven't seen any of the ones with 1976.

Ed sat in the car once, after much trouble getting in and out, as Ed was much bigger than me,
down at Hanna's shop, Ed didn't ever drive the car. I love to talk about the Fang and my hero, Large Father.

I took the car to Australia in 1966 on the USA Olympic Drag Racing Team, then toured the East coast in 1967/1968. The car went into The Cars of Stars, Planes of Fame Museum about 1970. Then it was moved to Harrah's in Reno for many years, then went to the Rear Window in one of the Carolina's. Then my friend Don Garlits finally bought it, after bidding on it twice; once at Harrah's and then the Rear Window. It is now in "Big Daddy" Don Garlits Drag Racing Museum. Man, was I ever elated over that!"

The Bushmaster

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Yellow Fang  © Ed Roth, Bushmaster, Don Garlits 2003

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are trademarks of Ed Roth © 1999/2000/2001/2002 Rat Fink device © Ed Roth 1984/89

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This Page Last Up Date 02/12/03

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