Ed "Big Daddy" Roth
Ed “Big Daddy” Roth was a founder of what later became known as the Kustom Kulture movement, starting off his career as a painter and hot rod builder in the 1950s and eventually creating world-famous characters like Rat Fink and wild show cars such as The Outlaw, The Beatnik Bandit, Mysterion, and Rotar. Working the show car circuit in the 1960s, Roth promoted his bubble-topped customs, sold airbrushed monster t-shirts and promoted Revell model car kits based on his own designs and creations.
Ed's parents moved to Bell, California from Germany in 1928. He remembers going to kindergarten in 1937 not being able to understand what the teacher was talking about. During WWII Ed was harassed at school for being a Nazi. He didn't have any friends to help him out, so his pants often ended up in the top of a flagpole. He spent a lot of time escaping reality by drawing wicked things in his notebook. The notebook became a battleground, filled with drawings Japanese, German and American soldiers, guns and wrecked airplanes. After school Ed would spend his time making machine guns and bombs out of plywood and coffee cans. In 1945 the war and Ed's artistry ended. It wasn't because of the peace, but Ed had turned 13 and he was getting primed for his driving license.
14 was driving age back then, and Ed was bugging his dad about buying a 1934 Ford. As it turned out the car had no pink slip, Ed's dad told him not to buy the car. Ed really wanted the car, and used to dream about it at nights. Ed saved all his money for another car, a real cherry 1933 Ford 3-Window Coupe. He paid $350 for the car, and became king of the hill. Everytime Ed tried to street race his coupe, he'd usually break the engine, so he became a cruiser at early age due to the economic aspect of it.
Over the years he worked with a variety of Kustom Kulture icons, including Robert Williams, Ed “Newt” Newton and Von Dutch when the two artists worked for the Brucker family’s Movie World theme park in the 1970s.
Roth passed away on April 4, 2001, but his use of bright hues, wild bodywork, outrageous monikers and over-the-top promotion has turned his original show cars into rolling art, and most have been snapped up and restored as icons of a highpoint in automotive design and expression.
Roth’s cars and choppers are so famous in custom culture circles, they rarely changed hands over the four decades since the heyday of traveling custom car cavalcades and road shows.
Honored at the 2018 Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance
Ed Roth's Cars
Ed Roth's Mysterion
Ed Roth's Outlaw
The Beatnik Bandit
Ed Roth's Beatnik Bandit II
Ed Roth's Road Agent
Ed Roth's 1929 Ford Model A Pick Up
Ed Roth's 1930 Ford Model A Sedan - The Little Jewel
Ed Roth's 1933 Ford 3-Window Coupe
Ed Roth's 1939 Chevrolet Coupe
Ed Roth's 1932 Ford Three-Window
Ed Roth's 1940 Chevrolet Coupe
Ed Roth's 1946 Ford
Ed Roth's 1951 Henry J
Ed Roth's 1948 Ford
Ed Roth's 1956 Ford F-100
Ed Roth's Tweedy Pie
Ed Roth's Mega Cycle
Cars Painted or Pinstriped by Ed Roth
Bob Johnston's 1923 Ford Model T Roadster - The Tweedy Pie
Ron Aguirre's 1956 Chevrolet Corvette - The X-Sonic
Don Fletcher's 1957 Chevrolet 210 - The El Capitola
Gary New's 1949 Chevrolet Coupe - The Batmobile
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