2015 Featured Builder: Spritz by Fritz
Go to the Fritz Web Site for more information: http://www.spritzbyfritz.com
The “Baja Bandeeto” came to be, during a phone call with famed hot rod illustrator Jimmy Smith. Most of the time Fritz works on his projects from concept to completion, solo. This time he wanted to have another gear head to bounce ideas off of. In Fritz’s office is a drawing of the “Roswell Rod” that Jimmy Smith did for Fritz. Seeing as how Fritz loved that art work, he called Jimmy to see what else he had that would spark an idea. Jimmy e-mailed over some drawings, and one popped out and caught Fritz’s eye. Another phone call to Jimmy , “Hey Jimmy man, that little red jammer with the bubble top would be trippy cool if it was like a Volkswagon or a Corvair power out back”. Jimmy snapped back with a quick “I love flat four buggies Fritz, lets do it with a bug motor.” And so the “Baja Bandeeto” was born. Fritz found a rotting relic of a 1971 super Beetle across the Missouri state line in Iowa. For what ever reason, someone had cut the roof off at all the posts, and it collected leaves and snow, and just rotted plum through. $100.00 bucks crossed hands, and the little no love bug was dragged onto the trailer for the ride home. Fritz says, “As I am dragging this home I’m like looking in the side mirror at it, and I can see the left rear fender and quarter panel waving back and forth at me, just twisting itself apart and getting ready to just fall off onto I-35”. There were several stops on the way home to toss loose parts in the back of the truck and tie up anything else that might make a break for it.
“When I got the no love bug home, I knew just what I wanted to do, so I took apart and torched all the stuff I didn’t need, and let everything else fall off on its own. All I needed was the rear trans axle clip, the rest I scrapped at the recycler and got $52.00 bucks back for beer money. So now I am only into this sled for $48.00 bucks. ‘Ol Big Daddy Roth would be proud man!”
The center section back bone was made of boxed 1/8th inch plate steel to mimic the factory Volks trans tunnel. Having that Dragster look was important to Fritz as he was staying as true to Jimmy’s art as possible. To keep everything under that Dragster looking nose, Fritz used a single ’52 chevy coil spring, in home made spring cups, with a tiny pan hard bar and a single hot rod shock from Pete & Jake’s. It all bounces up and down on a super bell dropped tube axle also from P&J’s. “Everyone asks how it steers ’cause I have everything hidden under the thin nose of the body. The steering shafts from the steering wheel on to the steering box are crazy, but the steering box was the most. I had this ’50 mercury box I bought at a swap meet for $10.00 bucks or something like that. I don’t know why I bought it. I guess ’cause it was cheap. I like weird stuff so I can build my weird art cars. The geometry of it worked with everything else I was using, but if i mounted it in a conventional way the nose of the body would look like toast, with a bulge on one side. So, I hacked a hole right in the center of the frame rail, and machined up some do dads, and now its an amazing testament to do it yourself high school shop class punks”.
The fiberglass bucket seats were donated by Jimmy Smith to the project, and were covered in zodiac vinyl at Absolute Upholstery in Independence Missouri. Fritz claimed the white fur is “Albino Wookie Fur” that he installed himself with a few cans of 3M spray glue.
Why no gauges Fritz? “I didn’t want to buy anything if I didn’t have to. If i had stuff in my pile of junk great but I didn’t wanna spend bucks, who needs gauges anyway”. The aluminum switch panel was engine turned, and made by Fritz, as was the gear shift knob. All the power gets its way around the car via a “rebel wiring kit”, keeping the ’64 ford Galaxie tail lights, and ’58 Ford hood ornament, turned into a running light bright!
The custom paint work on the “Baja Bandeeto” is mind blowing. It’s all “House of Kolor” from prime to paint. I asked Fritz why he painted the HOK logo on the nose of the car, his answer was “Race cars have sponsors right? I wanted that sort of race car look, and to be honest, House of Kolor has sponsored all my bikes and cars for a very long time. Its the least I could do for them, (next to a tattoo). I love their product, its all I keep in stock in my shop”. The paint on the car is reminiscent of the Van era. How did you come up with the crazy things you did there? “Ha!, The Van era thats good man, you’ve got an eye there! That’s kinda the vibe I was diggin’ on. I don’t wanna paint any of my cars white with panels like Big Daddy did, it would be to close to home. I love and respect the guy and all that jive, but I just gotta be me, ya know. When I was posting pics on my blog dudes would e-mail me asking about the “Finger print job” or the Thumb print job” so, thats what I call that now, “thumb print paint”. I was just taping it out, listening to jazz, and enjoying the trip! Its on my new DVD custom paint tips and tricks if anyone wants to bug their eyes out. The tops of the car is all stencil work, I cut some goofy shape out of a Froot Loops box and just airbrushed it and over lapped it till it looked crazy. Dakota Wentz, of Starbird’s Custom shop (Darryl Starbirds grandson) named that. I was at the Starbird Tulsa show, and Dakota is all like “Whats up with the amoeba paint job here?”, So I call it the amoeba look. Funny how things go in life at times, just crazy. Over the engine I had to give a nod to Von Dutch, the coolest rebel. So, I did a hand painted flying eye with gold leafed wings. Jimmy Smith called it the Flying Eye of Guadalupe. Funny guy I love Jimmy”.
Things don’t stop here, Fritz tells us he is already metal fillings deep, in building a clone of the “Beatnik Bandit” and finishing up a new DVD called “Custom Paint Tips and Tricks” that features the paint work on the “Baja Bandeeto” among others and another DVD called “Installing a Mustang 2 Front End Kit”. Fritz how do you get so much work done and build so may cars? “I dig on out to the garage when I get home from work and on weekends. TV sucks, the reality shows are not real. Internet message boards are for guys that don’t wanna build anything and just talk about it. I always say on my blog get out in the garage and build something. You gotta get your ego out of the product and back into the process. Ya dig? Any magazine can write that you are a master builder, and people will believe it, Im just a guy that builds crazy 60’s style show cars thats all. A guy like everyone else with a tool box and a dream” Well Fritz ,you are the “Show Rod King to us!
From the WEB Site Kustomrama:
Legendary painter, show rod builder and restorer Fritz Schenck of Kansas City, Missouri has teamed up with illustrator Jimmy Smith, and is currently building a new fiberglass Bubble Top show rod called “The Baja Bandito”. Based on Jimmy’s drawings, the car is built upon a VW drive line with a super bell axle up front, a 1950 Mercury steering box, and a bunch of other cast off junkyard parts. Its being built in the timeless Ed Roth tradition of plaster spit wads & hand rolled fiberglass.
From the WEB Site:
D-Day (done day) for the “Baja Bandeeto”
I am coming out of turn four, and heading for the finish line gang! I asked my boss “Jason” if I could take a week off to try and do as much as I could to get The “Baja Bandeeto” done, and he was sympathetic to my cause. I had a lot of time consuming little jobs to do, make a gear shift knob, install the albino Wookiee fur, make a lens and light socket set up for the 1958 Ford hood ornament. As I type this I am between paint coats on the rings for the bubble. I still need to wet sand and polish the body, then lay out some pin stripes. Show season will be here in less then 40 days, and I don’t wanna disappoint you cats that have been waiting to see this ride in person at yer local show. Something else for you motorcycle guys, I will be prepping three sportster tanks to paint and stripe at the International Motorcycle Show in Novi, Michigan, outside of Detroit this January. Look for me in the Progressive Insurance booth! I know its getting cold out, but crank up that wood stove or little kerosene heater, and get out and the garage and build something, Build something crazy!
From Face BooK see the video:
Go to the WEB Site hot rod plans to purchase a book on how to build your own custom hot rod like the Baja Bandeeto