Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Hoisting the Jolly Rodger!

 As a kid, I loved all the wacky "show cars" from the 60s. Actually, the wackier, the better! Ed Roth, Tom Daniel and George Barris were my heroes. They could take a crazy idea and turn it into something insanely cool!

But what happens when someone who isn't a car designer decides to create a car? Someone who, say, oversees the model car division of a national hobby company. Like...AMT....

You might well get something like this:

Yep. The story I was told is that a boss at AMT wanted to use some existing molds to create a new model, so he picked up a car and a ship, stuck them together and said, "We'll do this!" Is that true? Heck, I don't know, but it is certainly possible.

The Jolly Rodger is a show car that never should have been. It went to the edge of credibility and plowed right over, without ever looking back. Where other models have had full size cars built of them, I'm pretty sure The Rodger never has. Why? It's kind of stupid.

Let's take another look:

Ok, that's not really any better. As you can see, the front of the car is a fairly standard rod. (An Olds touring car, actually. I'll explain how I know that later). The back is...well...a pirate ship. The ship part doesn't even seem to fit on the chassis real well. The rear wheels are almost in the middle of the...vehicle. 

Another look? Sure:

The rear of the car shows the lantern tail lights (which actually just hang on the back. No glue!). They are probably the coolest part of the ship section. You can also see the completely useless dingy, and you're looking down the twin cannon (that would, in all honesty, but fun in traffic).

What? A front view? Sure!:

Now we get to something interesting. The front of the car is actually a TV star! Yep, as it turns out, it comes from the AMT Beverly Hillbillies truck! It uses the parts Jethro added to turn it into a hot rod (you could build either version). That's how I know it's an Olds touring car. That's what George Barris used to create the truck. That also means that a car designer had at least something to do with the design. But not much.

By the way, the factory paint job on the Jolly Rodger didn't help its appearance. Here it is:

Yuck! Cream? Really? I went with a black and gold scheme that, I think, looks better. I also left off the hood because...well, it couldn't hurt. I also left off the saily bits in front because there is a limit to how stupid I was willing to go. 

So, there you go. A truly stupid car. Why did I buy and build it? I was drawn to it because it was so outlandish. Was it worth messing with? Probably not, but it was kind of fun. 

So, I guess the moral is if you like something, you can even appreciate really bad examples of it. Even this bad.

Until next time, keep searching for (buried?) treasure!


  1. This is...bizarre. And I don't think painting it black and red with a little gold trim would fix that, even if you replaced the skeleton with a mermaid. I never had a thing for funny car models as a kid, and I think I may have just had a revelation as to why.

    Thanks for building and sharing this!

    1. Well, maybe if Mr. Smee was at the helm....
      Naw, still wouldn't work.
      Another thing that bugs me is the scale is totally wrong.
      Swing and a miss!

  2. It's funny, as soon as I saw this model, I thought of the Clampett's truck. Mostly the way the pirate ship section sticks out from the back of the truck so far. Now I see why - it wasn't just a coincidence. It's not the most wonderful model, but hey, as a kid I probably would have been much more forgiving.

    1. I agree, as a kid I would have been less critical. Now, I look at it and think "how are you going to get that thing under a bridge???"
      The reality of driving it would make it no fun!

  3. Stu, this is funny. IF there ever were a real version of this, it would need a lot of counterweight in front of the front axle to keep from tipping over backwards, like our tractors did to keep the implements from tipping them over.

    I built a number of model kits of weird cars, but most or maybe all of them had real life counterparts. Nothing like this though.


    1. I have GOT to start checking back for comments on older posrs! Sorry, JG, I just saw this!
      You're right, it would have been popping a permanent wheelie!


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