Ed “Big Daddy” Roth: Monsters that Mean Business

Ed Big Daddy Roth was one of the original kings of the Kustom Kulture and Hot Rod car movement.  Sure we have Pimp My RideJesse James‘ custom car shop, and theFast and the Furious today but without guys like Roth, car culture might never have become what it is now…

Seeing a picture of Henry Ford using a sledge hammer on a fiberglass trunk lid was enough to give Roth the inspired idea to begin building his own fiberglass cars in a totally DIY way.  As he said, “It could also be done by people with little or no talent and I had both.”  Roth’s first hot rod was the rather intimidating “Outlaw.”  It proved to him, and the world, that anyone could design and build a car with a bit of imagination, some motor know-how, and a whole lot of hard work … and voilà, custom car culture was created.

The Outlaw

The Road Agent, 1965

Rotar: the Roth Air Car, 1965. Usable on land and in water!

The Druid Princess, 1966

The Mailbox, 1967

American Beetle, 1968

Roth also began drawing pictures of totally gross, grotesque monsters (what he called “Weirdos”)  in crazy custom cars in the late 50s, the most famous being Rat Fink.  The cartoons were put on T-shirts, key chains, stickers, you name it, and kids and adults alike went absolutely wild for them.  Soon after, the Revell model company began to sell buildable models of Roth’s cars and his Weirdos.

Feeling inspired?  Ready to build your own custom car?  Why not start with a Roth model, they still make them today!  Check out the Rat Fink website store with all sorts of cool Big Daddy Roth goodies.  In my opinion, a little Rat Fink will put a smile on anyone’s face.


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