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Posted 28 Mar 2001   For week ended March 02, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 27Mar01

By Tom Duffany

Mormon Car Designer Reflects on His Work

FITCHBURG, MASSACHUSETTS -- Ed "Big Daddy" Roth recently celebrated his sixty-ninth birthday. The creator of Mother's Worry, Nervous Brother, and Rat Fink, he has customizing cars since 1955. In 1958 he built his first car and started going to shows to exhibit his work.

At the car shows, to kill time, he started drawing cartoon characters on peoples' shirts. "I thought, the lousier I drew, the more likely the people would go away. I'd draw snaggly teeth and everything. But the more I did that, the more they liked it." Rat Fink, "a tacky rodent with a penchant for road rage," became an instant favorite. "Rat Fink was the antithesis to Mickey Mouse, definitely."

Ed Roth has been divorced twice, married a third time, and has become a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He has created a wife, Trixie, and two children for, Gunther and Gretchen, to round out Rat Fink's family. "I've had a lot of sad experiences in creating a family, but I know that the survival of our culture depends on families." He incorporates this into his work. "With Rat Fink and Trixie, I'm trying to maintain the value of families. They have a happy marriage because they travel together."

He continues to travel to car shows, where the grass roots culture of custom car designing is still flourishing. "You can't get these ideas everywhere. Like, 'Chevy brains.' Where else would you get a name like that?"


Wacky Wheels
Fitchburg MA Sentinel and Enterprise 2Mar01 P2
By Margaret Smith: Staff Writer
Ed 'Big Daddy' Roth reflects on 50 years of custom car culture


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