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My Ed Roth story - what's yours?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Hotweel, Jun 29, 2012.

  1. Hotweel
    Joined: Jun 23, 2010
    Posts: 66


    In 1985, a friend and I were taking a road trip to California from Arizona in my '56 Chevy. We were driving through La Mirada when I remembered reading that Ed Roth lived there. We stopped at a phone booth, called info and Ed was on the line. I told him I was a big fan and he said to meet him at a hardware store down the road. I was stoked! Expecting him to arrive driving a bubble topped car, I was a little disappointed when he pulled in driving a little red pinstriped Honda. We talked with him for awhile and he gave me a big Rat Fink sticker that I still have today. Anybody got a good Big daddy story?

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  2. In the late 1970's I had a store on Whittier Blvd that sold Mini Trucks parts and accessories - this was in the days of Datsun's and Chevy LUV's, Ford Couriers, that sort of thing. Not F'd up S'10's with dancing beds and goofy air ride. Anyway .....
    We had a tune framed, mid engined Chop Top Datsun truck in the showroom that sat right on Whittier Blvd. We wanted to paint the name of the store on the front air dam. So my partner says, I know a sign guy. Makes a phone call and says Ed will be here soon.
    A little later this crazy looking Honda Civic pulls up, and this giant of a man unfolds himself from it. Holy Crap, it's Ed Freakin Roth! We talk a little, I show him what I want and this Big Dude, who is 46 at that time, lays on the floor on his side and starts painting!
    I'm trying to act cool like it's no big deal and don't take a picture cuz I don't want to seem like some star struck geek!
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2012
  3. czuch
    Joined: Sep 23, 2008
    Posts: 2,688

    from vail az

    When he was in Anahiem we used to ride our bikes down there and hang around.
    He was very patient with us kids. Bein one himself and such.
    Stayed outside and just watched. I had just gotten a brand new green Peugeot ten speed for my birthday. He came out and grabbed it, put it on his bench and stripped it. He was doing some green striping and had to "Empty his brush".
    My dad flipped. Not in the good way. I wish I still had it.
    I've often wondered who we saw going in and out of there. He knew everybody.
  4. 37slantback
    Joined: May 31, 2010
    Posts: 397


    These make me sigh a little. I was raised in South Dakota in the 60's and I ran around with older cousins but really missed out on the hot rod scene and certainly never met any legends.

  5. Mazooma1
    Joined: Jun 5, 2007
    Posts: 13,598


    Dad took me to his shop on Slauson for my 11th birthday in 1961. Roth airbrushed me a sweatshirt and put my name on the front with spiders hanging from my name.
    Still have it today.....
    You can see part of the back of the shirt in my avatar....

    Joined: Aug 7, 2009
    Posts: 2,069


    I saw "Tales of Rat Fink"
  7. BigPerm365
    Joined: Jan 8, 2012
    Posts: 47


    Jeez..O.T. but not of my fairly good friends was Dick Crawford in Atascadero.....spouting that he had been trained by Nat Quick...& obvioulsy the best striper in the area...all were happy. Got Jag lined in Sacto years later w/ Kliene...ended up knowing Dick.

  8. in 1961 I hired the Bandit for a show in St. Petersburg, FL and received a signed photo from Promotions Inc.
    In the nineties I met Roth at a show in Sarasota Fl and he signed the photo again. I may have the only photo signed by him 30 years apart. Or not.
    He was striping toilet seats at the show in the nineties.

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  9. indianhead74
    Joined: Mar 3, 2005
    Posts: 159


    My brush with Ed Roth was during a GoodGuys show in I think Dayton Ohio sometime in the lmid-to late 90's Ed was there with a tophat on in a little outside eazy-up booth arrangement selling rat fink stuff. I don't know if he was striping ,but he was really friendly and talkative. This was before his resurgence in popularity so the booth was not very busy. I'll never forget it, Indy
  10. I was obsessed with him when I was 12-15ish. He came to the Lewiston World of Wheels in the late 90's. My Dad loaded my Brother and I up in the 56 Chev wagon and drove us down to meet him. We were ECSTATIC! It was super hot and Ed said to us "I wish I had and ice cream bar". We went to the store and bought some :) We drug a ton of crap in for him to autograph. He signed anything we wanted and posed for pictures. Coolest dude ever. I also wrote him a letter once and he actually wrote me back...hand written! I have it somewhere...I'll dig it out and post it here.
  11. indianhead74
    Joined: Mar 3, 2005
    Posts: 159


    Nope, it wasnt dayton, It was De Moines Iowa! I remember now that I stayed in a town that was world headquarters for Maytag. Maybe Newton?Anyway Ed was and always will Big Daddy, Indy
  12. snaptwo
    Joined: Apr 25, 2011
    Posts: 696


    Roth was a regular at car shows in Vegas doing his sweatshirt art and displaying such creations as "Surfite" , " Druid Princess" Mysterion" and others. He made a lot of friends here and one in particular "Filthy Frank" was building a Fiat bodied dragster, Roth showed up a couple weeks later with a pair of front M/C wires with the tires mounted, he came off the plane with one in each hand. He had boarded the plane in LAX and was told he couldn't board with those tires and wheels , until he told them they were for his wheelchair !
  13. In 1970 I moved to California. I was working puting up fences on the coast highway. I was 21 and working my ass off when I saw two guys drive into a gravel lot on the other side of the fence I just installed. They were on a VW powered trike and Ed Roth was driving. After he did a few donuts in the sand he stoped the bike and walked over to me. He said "do you like bikes?" Hell ya, I'm a Harley mechanic looking for a job I said. Ed handed me a card and said "Stop by my place when you have time".................Cool, that saturday I drove to his shop and walked through the door. Lots of women making iron-on monster shirts, the lady I talked to said Ed was at lunch but should be back soon. She said "you'll hear him comming".
    Ed drove up on the same trike I saw him on earlier in the week, he remembered me and took me through the shop. He was working on a "out law" looking car. he even had me sanding the thing! I spent a good amount of time with him and learned a few things also. I had a wife and a new born, Ed wanted me to stay but I just needed to make money...................I kick myself in the ass today.
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2012
  14. Emperor Chris
    Joined: Oct 9, 2007
    Posts: 469

    Emperor Chris
    from Nor Cal
    1. Upholstery

    These are my boys when they were about 5. They both just turned 18. My son (next to Ed) wasnt quite sure what to think![​IMG]
  15. Ranunculous
    Joined: Nov 30, 2007
    Posts: 2,459


    Saw Ed at his stand at a Carlisle Goodguys show years ago.He had his tophat on and my buddy Roy and I strolled up and talked to him like we had all known each other for years.He was very polite,joked a bit and gladly signed my glove box door when I asked.
    He was the modern P.T. Barnum and a cultural giant....
  16. olcurmdgeon
    Joined: Dec 15, 2007
    Posts: 2,135


    Many years ago, Roth did the Worcester, MA Summer Nationals. The promoter, Moscoffian, conned my partner and I into building a booth for Roth to operate out of. We found an old carnival looking booth and fixed it up for him, complete with our flathead dragster out front. But when we asked him to lay some lines on the car, after all we built the booth for nothing and lugged it from So. NH to Worcester, he was "too tired" to do any.
  17. Redz Rodz
    Joined: Oct 4, 2002
    Posts: 490

    Redz Rodz

    1965 at the gurnsey paviollion in lancaster pa my pop had a show truck, 51 ford candy apple red with caddy motor in called " the little rebel" big daddy had the mysterion there ,i was 6 years old and already a hot rod mag reader so i knew he was a big deal, he was checking out the old mans truck ,they talked a little while he leaves to go back to his airbrush stand ,the next day on tear down night pop tells me to go over to big daddy stand that he has something for me ,a little hillbilly hat with 'little rebel' on it ,man i wish i still had it !!!
  18. Met him at MSRA Back to the 50s in 1994.
    He was sellin T-shirts Saturday morning in the grandstand.
    Not a soul around. I was looking at shirts and he brought up the news from the previous evening. OJ Simpson was leading the LA cops on a sightseeing tour of the area that Friday.
    Ed did not have anything good to say about OJ.
    It was like talking to your next door neighbor.
    I wish I would have spent more time talking about his creations.
  19. Graham-Cracker
    Joined: Mar 18, 2008
    Posts: 128


    I met Ed when he was working at Cars of Stars.While I was visiting my uncle in 1972.Ed encouraged me about how I was building my 1933 ford pickup. He took me out back and I got a toure of his Molds & body projects,What a gracious man to a young 20 year old PUNK.
  20. Many moons ago "Big Daddy" was at a car show in Davenport.My son (about 10)and I went to the show and I axed him "Are you the original Ed Big Daddy Roth?" He says ya and stuck out his huge paw and I says " Well, I'm the Original Redline,damn glad to meet ya!" We shot the shit a bit after I introduced my son and I bought a Ratfink sticker from him that is on my Shovelhead to this day!
  21. My Roth story is a lot like Don's. In the summer of '87 Dad and I were finishing up restorations on a pair of Kurtis midgets. We needed some lettering on the cars. At that time Burke Le Sage was our office manager. Burke says "I know a guy who will come up here and letter the midgets for you guys". 2 hours later in rolls the Honda Civic Don mentioned, and Ed gets out and says "somebody need some sign work"? Well, he lettered and numbered both midgets, lettered two show signs for us, lettered Dad's enclosed trailer, and finished up by striping a little T speedster that was in the corner of the shop. When he put his paint and brushes away, we asked him what the damage was. Ed scratched his gotee a minute, and says " is 2 bills OK?" He worked almost 4 hours, drove up to El Monte, and only wanted 2 hundred bucks?!!!! We each handed Ed two hundred bucks, and had to argue with him to take it. Ed Roth, for all his showmanship, was a truly humble man. I still have this show sign, and count it as one of my treasures.

  22. Dean that is a fantastic sign and the best lettering that I have ever seen of Roth's work. What a treasure.
  23. <TABLE id=yui_3_2_0_1_1341033905734380 border=0 cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0><TBODY id=yui_3_2_0_1_1341033905734379><TR id=yui_3_2_0_1_1341033905734378><TD id=yui_3_2_0_1_1341033905734377 vAlign=top>Hi Guys ..Here`s my Edd Roth story from way back..........I thought you may like to here this story, in the late 50 `s. There were only 2 very dedicated Hot Rodder`s in Grimsby we broke away from our motor bike gang & was hooked on American Hot Rods. my mate John Gilbey & me used to drool over the great Hot Rods in the American Mags anyhow I decided to send a money order across the pond for a Edd Roth sweat shirt, Edd had become one of my hero`s. I had no phone & there were no credit card`s. I sent a money order thru my bank.,3mths past by & no sweat shirt so I sent dear ol Edd a strong letter asking for my money back. Still no reply, more time goes by & I forgot all about it. Around 6mths after posting my money order I came home from work my Wife say`s " the postie delivered you a real fancy brown envelope" Wow!!! I knew were it was from, my name & address was air brushed in Candy Colors also it was pin stripped all over. Man this was better than the crown jewels. I carefully opened it & inside was my sweatshirt with Weirdo driving a coupe, gearshift poking out of the roof, my mate John was green with envy. Also a letter of apologies for not sending it sooner, my order had been lost. Im afraid due to several house moves the super brown envelope got lost & the sweat shirt just wore out. How times have changed, Ive now got a phone & a credit card & have just shipped over my 2nd Hot Rod from America. My last build up before I go to the Big Hot Rod Club up there, its a 35 Ford Pk Up. over the years Ive built a 32 Ford 5 window which is now in Costa Mesa CA & is still rite hand drive. A 34 Ford 5 window which is now in Sweden & a 35 Ford pk up now in Sweden, this one I regret selling so Ive just purchased another one from Concord CA .The 33 Ford pk up I built is in Birmingham England.My 35 Ford pk up that I have just finished has now gone to Germany, at 72yrs young its time to hang my spanners up.....Cheer`s Bri
    </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE><META content=on http-equiv=x-dns-prefetch-control>
  24. Muttley
    Joined: Nov 30, 2003
    Posts: 18,417


    I never was lucky enough to meet Ed but I did receive this shirt for my 11th's still hanging in my closet.



  25. What really amazed me was how quick he did the signs. No grease pencil layout, no tape, nothing. Just leaned the board up against the rear tire on the midget, and started painting. Could not have taken more than 15 minutes. Dad said "he's done that a few times before". His mind saw what he wanted to paint, and told his hand where to put the brush. A true artist.
  26. I met him in '97 at the Moon Eyes show when they used to have it at their shop on Norwalk Blvd. He signed my MC helmet.....still have it, though the sharpie didn't fare to well on a flat black helmet.
  27. RDR
    Joined: May 30, 2009
    Posts: 1,352


    On a Friday afternoon, late 80s, I was heading North on I-5 back to Eugene, after finishing my sales route....passed a guy that was stopped under an overpass who had the rear engine cover open on a trike looking roadster....HEY, that looked like ED ROTH, I I pulled off the next exit and sat a bit....sure enough, here it came and sure was Ed Roth with Rat Fink sitting next to him.
    I followed behind hoping that by chance he might pull off for fuel or whatever in Eugene and when it was pretty obvious that he was continuing on I whipped up alongside and motioned him over....
    He pulled over and stopped and I went back to ask him what he was doing up here in Oregon.....The first thing he asks me is, "What is this,a car or a motorcycle?" ....he said NSRA had banned him from showing the "GLOBE TROTTER" as they said it wasn't a car but a motorcycle and he was taking a survey to find out what others called it....
    I told him..."good grief, you're BIG DADDY, who cares what you build, how could they NOT allow you to enter their show?!"
    Anyway he was on his way to Alaska in the Globe Trotter...a 3 wheeled roadster bodied trike that had a steering wheel and rear I voted car...then told him if he was going to Alaska and then across Canada to the East Coast that I wanted to say a prayer for his trip...He said OK and I said a quick prayer for his safety ....
    He was ready to go and I asked if he had a business card as my buddies are never going to believe this....He said, "no"....but ripped the top off the Cheetos box on the seat next to him and wrote; "Thanks for the prayer on the road, Randy" ..and signed '"Ed Roth'" of course with the fly buzzing off his signature...
    don't have the Cheetos top anymore 'cause I gave it to Junkyard Jim in Albany who had quite a collection of Ed Roth paraphernalia.
  28. krooser
    Joined: Jul 25, 2004
    Posts: 4,585


    Met him at BTTF's in St. Paul... I bought five of his b/w posters and he signed 'em all for my sons and I... just talking to him you knew all the fame never went to his head.
  29. chopolds
    Joined: Oct 22, 2001
    Posts: 5,817

    from howell, nj
    1. Kustom Painters

    Back in about 1982
    I was just getting into custom cars, and their history and such. I had a good friend who was into car models, as well, He dragged me to the basement of a church in Staten Island, where a model car show was going on. I did not know it, but the special guest was Ed Roth. I marveled at his airbrush work, and even had the courage to say hello to him. My friend suggested that I get a T shirt from him! I didn't even have any money on me, but my buddy lent me $20 (IIRC) to have Roth do a shirt for me. He had to ask Ed, as I was still a bit in awe of him. Luckily I had a picture of my 55 Olds, with me, and a name I thought would be cool to have as a custom shop. Ed put them together, along with a quick caricature of "me", and now it is a prized possession, some 30 something years later!

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  30. My brother and I [Jangleguy] were walking around the World of Wheels car show in Omaha one year in the 90s when we came across Ed's booth. We introduced ourselves and bought some stickers, keychains etc etc and Jangleguy asked him something like "Are you building anything now?"
    Oh man! That set him off. He said he was but it was so top secret not only couldn't he talk about it, he said he had "Dirty Doug" guarding the shop with an AK47. Then he launched off on a loooooooooooooong desertation about automatic weapons, shotguns etc etc etc..we wandered off. I think he wa having a little fun with us.
    Next time we saw him was at the truck stop at Bonneville. He was sitting alone having a little breakfast when we walked in. I looked over at Scotty, [Jangleguy] an cracked up when his eyes went wide...we left Ed to eat in peace.

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