Tribute To Ed “Big Daddy” Roth
FAREWELL TO BIG DADDY
By Keith “The Deputy Sheriff” Adams
In Southern Cal back in the old day’s, there was a man named Roth who had some strange ways. He did some strange things and said what he thought, but the talent he had just could not be taught. He struggled awhile and tried not to sink, then he came up with his trademark called the Rat Fink. The rest is history as we all know, his fame just continued to grow & grow. We all had a tee-shirt as i recall, to us he was the biggest and best of them all. There was a time he was considered an outcast, but to all us Big Daddy fans we knew that wouldn’t last. He came back strong in the early nineties, and went on to sell millions of tee’s, he once made one special for me, it’s one of a kind & means a lot to me. A blown flathead in a shoebox, with the Rat Fink shifting the four speed box. The cars that he built started in his mind, and as everyone knows they’re one of a kind. He used plaster and glass and a pizza oven too, to make things that amaze me and you. I talked to Him shortly after he moved to Manti, and he told me that was where he would die. He put up a headstone a plywood piece, with a drawing of the Rat Fink that say’s rest in peace. He loved where he was when he passed away, I’m sure he’s smiling as he looks down today. Goodbye Big Daddy, rest in peace.
Not long before his death, Ed “Big Daddy” Roth spent a week at The Sheriff’s shop finishing the body and paint on “The Stealth”. It would be the last project he ever did.
Brett Harris laid on the base coat and then Ed did the flames and other graphics. Brett then cleared the whole car. Below are a few photos of Ed and Brett taken during Big Daddy’s stay at Fort Harris (aka Jack Harris Paint & Body) in Utah. Aside from Roth’s “Sheath” there’s a chair – a run-of-the-mill folding chair. Well, it was just an ordinary chair until Ed used it to do the fiberglass work on the Stealth. When the job was done he signed it and gave it to Jack. It now sits in the shop next to Nitro Thunder.
We hope you enjoy these candid shots of the legendary Ed “Big Daddy” Roth working on what turned out to be his swan song.
“This is my favorite shot of Ed Roth. He had just finished the paint on the Stealth and was signing autographs and joking and having a good time. Look at the expression on his face. This is how I want to remember him.”
Commentary by “Deputy Sheriff” Keith Adams
Jack Harris and Ed Roth. Ed painted this T shirt for Jack during a car show at the Terrace Ballroom in Salt Lake City in 1963 where Jack was displaying their A/Street Roadster. The shirt has never been worn and Ed was surprised and elated to see it again.
Brett & Ed with “The Stealth”
Gary Mizer (right) worked for Ed Roth for the last ten years or so. Going all over the country with him. He did a lot of the art work for Ed, including a lot of T-shirts. With him is Jack Clark, a good friend of Ed’s. Jack works for Ogden Auto Paint & Glass – a sponsor of Nitro Thunder. Last I heard from, Gary is doing Harleys in Tenn. or Kentucky.
Ed Roth and his traveling road show getting ready to leave Fort Harris.
Loading up “The Stealth”
On the road back to Manti – Utah that is.
These photos were taken the night before Ed Roth’s funeral at his home in Manti, Ut. These guys were long time friends of Ed and figured his refrigerator could use a good old fashioned “Rat Fink” tune-up. The tall guy in the hat is called Magoo, The guy with the pony tail they call Coop and the younger guy with the long hair is Jimmy C. And the one in the cowboy hat is Mitch. They all thought this would be something Big Daddy would approve of.