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In Memory of Fat Jack Robinson

HOT ROD logo HOT ROD 10/28/2020 Tim Bernsau,Hot Rod Archives
Merrill Osmond driving a car: 001-fat-jack-robinson © Hot Rod Archives 001-fat-jack-robinson

The Hot Rod Builder Who Helped Revive Fat-Fender Hot Rods

We've been talking a lot about fat-fender hot rods lately. This movement owes much of its popularity to builder Jack Robinson. We were very saddened to learn of his passing on October 20.

Fat Jack, as everybody called him, was a lifelong hot rodder. He has said that he got his first car, a fat-fendered Ford sedan, when he was 9 years old. That car was followed four years later by the first of numerous '32 Fords he's owned since. In the early '70s, he took the step of making his hobby a career. The place and time were perfect—Southern California in the first years of the street rod revival. Combined with the third factor of Fat Jack's talent and vision, his shop was a success and magazines (including Hot Rod) soon took notice.

One of Hot Rod's best-known covers is the Fat Attack cover from July 1985, featuring Fat Jack and his now-famous orange '46 Ford coupe, alongside Pete Chapouris and his '39 Ford convertible, and Jim "Jake" Jacobs. The appearance of those two rods brought attention to these overlooked size-XL rods and kicked off a renewed interest. Unfortunately, the '46 coupe was wrecked three years later during a race at the Fremont Dragstrip. It is easy to imagine that Fat Jack might have preferred something like that rather than the car spending 30 years on the show circuit or in a museum. Hot Rod later named Fat Jack's famous '46 Ford coupe one of the "100 Most Influential Hot Rods."

Fat Jack Robinson continued to build top-level hot rods at Fat Jack Enterprises, eventually moving from Hawaiian Gardens, California, to Wildomar, California. He will be remembered as an icon in this hobby. We will miss him.

a close up of a toy car © Hot Rod Archives
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