Ed “Big Daddy” Roth was an artist, cartoonist, pinstriper and custom car designer and builder who created the hot-rod icon Rat Fink characters in the late 50’s. In the 60’s, when I was a kid, I was fascinated with his work. A combination of funny and creepy, all rolled into one. Not until 1993 did the Rat Fink nostalgia begin its resurgence. This new beginning for the iconic designs can be seen currently around the world as custom cars known as Rat Rods.
Rat Rods are a style of hot rod or custom car that imitates the early hot rods of the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. Unlike the traditional hot rod, they are exaggerated and crazy in design. They are artistic and fun, much like the Munsters car from the mid-60’s t.v. show. Although, a true rat rod is said to be more of a low-budget design, with an unfinished or even a sealed “primer” finish and cheap upholstery. Sometimes, even the original faded paint job with rust and pits is sealed and left as the final finish. Although Roth’s vision was more of a rat fink hot rod.
According to the official website of Ed “Big Daddy” Roth, www.ratfink.com, Ed Roth was a genius and a visionary. He was responsible for so many “firsts,” he literally changed the world of hot rodding. The website is a tribute to the life and work of Ed Roth where you will find information and pictures of Ed’s incredible creations, which are called Kustom Kulture. There, you can see more vehicular masterpieces created by Roth. If you are like me, and the Rat Finks from your childhood bring back fond memories, this site details any traveling shows and works where you can see that his legacy lives on.
Other customizing has been done in this style, including the Rat Bike bicycles and motorcycles, the Volksrod which is a ratted-out (my term) Volkswagen, and Rat Rod Pickup trucks. The trend has even taken a new twist with Rat Rod Turbo Racing Game apps for your Android on Google Play.
Thanks to Ed “Big Daddy” Roth for sharing your creativity and passion for the hot rod and your vision for the unusual and bizarre with the rest of the world.
Until next week…
Writer / Comedienne / Artist
Rat Fink Hot Rods – Comedy Defensive Driving