Ed “Big Daddy” Roth: Kustom Kar Hot Rod Artist

Ed “Big Daddy” Roth (March 4, 1932 – April 4, 2001)
By 1958, as described on his official website, “Ed became Ed “Big Daddy” Roth, a hot-roddin’, gear head, mad scientist, and struggling artist who financed his inventions by selling drawings and t-shirts at drag events, fairs, and car shows. Big Daddy Roth would draw cartoons of monsters that he created and pictures of cars, but when he personally airbrushed t-shirts with the monsters driving the cars, people went crazy and would line up at his booth.”RatSurfiteeHis band band was called “Mr. Gasser and the Weirdos,” featuring Ed “Big Daddy” Roth.

By the late 1960s, he became friends with several ‘outlaw biker gangs’ and they influenced his style; he added the ‘Iron Cross’ to his repertoire and took/sold pictures of himself and the bikers at road and car shows. Although he did periodically pay some of his subjects, many felt he was taking financial advantage of them. They eventually attacked his garage, gang style, and Ed suggested that he and the gang president settle the fight one-on-one. Big Daddy won the fight, helped the other guy up, and later took most biker art and memorabilia out of his life. In his decade of prominence, he was able to represent the anti-establishment very well, yet at the same time achieved incredible mainstream success in his field(s).

Kustom Kar Culture
Kustom Kar culture had begun in the early-mid 1950s.

The car the T-Birds built in the musical Grease (Greased Lightning) would have been a K Kar.GreasedLighting

American Graffiti’s converted 1932 Ford (built by Paul LeMat aka John Milner )1932Ford

The Munstermobile (by Barris Kustom, 3 Model T’s and a hearse) and even the 1966 Batmobile was 1955 Lincoln Futura bought for a dollar ($1) from Ford by George Barris of Barris Kustom City a few years earlier.Munsters

Ed Roth’s Orbitron custom car was thought to be lost forever. Photo by Jerry Thompson.Orbitronby_Jerry_ThompsonThe story of how it was recently found and restored by the team at Galpin Auto Sports.

More about Ed Roth
Official website: https://www.ratfink.com/

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