Overall, the theme is the same as that of his new book: the Founding Fathers and the lesser-known influences on them as read through our nation’s symbols of flags and great seals. Fender by fender, however, there are dozens of smaller stories and hidden meanings. The symbolic journey around the car is multi-leveled and will eventually fill a book. Until then, this website will continue to expand as we decipher them for you here. All photos on this page are by Stuart Zolotorow.
The passenger side of the car (above) shows how the League of the Iroquois Indians are one of the hidden layers behind the evolution of our national identity. We see the Union Jack evolving through the various stages of the American Flag topped by the names of the Indian tribes. The colors of this side are bold, primary and strong.
The driver’s side (above) is a tribute to the reverse of the Great Seal of the United States. “Novus Ordo Seclorum” means “New Order of the Ages,” referring to the new era of representational government the founders believed they were starting. “Annuit Coeptis” means “He (God) Favors Our Undertaking”. The pastel colors balance the passenger side’s bold, primary colors, much like the feminine balances the masculine, or spirit balances matter.
This close-up of the driver’s side door (left) shows the 13-stepped pyramid with the radiant eye in a triangle suspended above it. Below the pyramid you see one of Dr. Bob’s other famous painted cars, The Woodstock Bus (a.k.a. “Light”), showing the Sphinx side. “Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God,” is a phrase attributed to Benjamin Franklin, but it was also one Thomas Jefferson was particularly fond of as well. The Yellow Submarine is like the “Where’s Waldo” in all of Dr. Bob’s artwork, appearing in most of his over 40 murals and dozens of painted cars. Symbolically, this popular icon can be interpreted similarly to the reverse of the great seal. Yellow stands for the sun or spirit, and the submarine stands for underwater or the physical world. When you put the two together, this object also says “as above, so below”.
The hood of the car (right) shows the Iroquois Great Tree of Peace, the symbolic constitution of this union of tribes that so influenced the colonial leaders in their decisions to unite and revolt. All six tribe names are inside the tree. At the top of the tree is usually depicted an eagle representing spiritual vision, but Dr. Bob replaced it with the eye in the triangle which represents essentially the same thing. Waves of vibration (following an Iroquois pattern) emanate from the eye in the triangle. Everything is vibration. There are four roots extending from the tree that are called the white roots of peace. They spread to the four directions of the Earth. The name, Deganawidah (in purple on the left), was that of the Native American prophet who originally pulled the five warring tribes together into a united federation for peace. The wampum belt below his name also symbolizes the five tribes. To the right of the tree is George Washington’s signature together with his coat of arms. With white and red stripes and five-pointed stars, some believe this was an inspiration for the design of America’s first flag.
The orange and yellow triangles on the trunk (left) were adapted from an Iroquois design. The upright “V” next to the inverted “V” show a balance between male and female. The separated serpent is Benjamin Franklin’s design, saying the original colonies must “Join or Die”. This advice was given to Franklin by Canassatego, an Iroquois chief, as early as 1744. He shared with them the teachings of their forefathers that the League of the Iroquois had practiced for over 400 years before Columbus. One arrow is easily broken, but five or six arrows bound together cannot be broken. 1754 is the year Ben Franklin first tried to convince the colonies to form a union through the Albany Plan.
On the front door of the passenger side (right) is an American bald eagle, the symbol for our nation. Native Americans used the eagle to symbolize far-seeing and placed it atop their Great Tree of Peace. The turtle seen on the breast of the eagle is a symbol used by the League of the Iroquois for the land that supported the Tree of Life and is also at the center of their creation stories. The eagle is holding a scroll saying in Hebrew, “Limitless Light”. The founding fathers likened the new American nation to the Children of Israel. Oneida is one of the five original tribes of the League of the Iroquois. The 13 human-figures in the green section are part of the wampum belt that was presented to George Washington and symbolize the 13 original colonies.