The Surf Rat is a combining of passions that were shared by many young Americans in the 1950s and 1960s – hot rods and surfing. The first thing people always ask when they see the Surf Rat for the first time seems to be “Wait…… what is that?”, so I’ll answer that question first.
Jim O’Mahoney designed the Surf Rat as sculptural piece that combines his dual passions of hot rods and surfboards. It started out as a T61 skinned Yater Clark foam blank surfboard shaped by Bob Krauss, this was fibreglassed and then carefully wrapped with hand-shaped T61 aluminum alloy by Scott Da Pron.
Once this was completed a Smith & Jones manifold was added to the top centre, this was capped with twin Stromberg 97 carburetors with curved intakes. Along each upper side of the board a matching pair of curved open headers were added, further in a pair of finned alloy valve covers were attached giving the impression there’s a V8 tucked inside, and to finish it off there’s a Smith tachometer and a Moon gas pedal facing the rider.
The Surf Rat sits on a travelling cart towed by a 1950 Schwinn DX bicycle, interestingly this bicycle comes from the Bud Ekins collection – Ekins was a legendary motorcycle racer and a close friend of Steve McQueen. It was Ekins who did the motorcycle jump over the border fence in the film The Great Escape, as McQueen’s stuntman.
As a young man, Jim O’Mahoney and his friends “built Revel hot rod models of ’32 roadsters and put Von dutch pin stripe decals on our bikes … In the 1960s Big Daddy Roth did all kinds of drawings of monsters riding lawn mowers and skateboards–anything with wheels–and put huge, hopped-up engines on them. ‘Surf Rat’ is my combo 50s-60s concept come to reality” Quote from Santa Barbara Magazine.
The board and its cart and bicycle are coming up for sale with Bonhams, the estimated value is between $9,000 and $12,000 USD, if you’d like to read more or register to bid you can click here to visit the listing.
Images courtesy of Bonhams
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