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Ed "Big Daddy" Roth Garage Door

Ed “Big Daddy” Roth (March 4, 1932 – April 4, 2001) was an American artist, cartoonist, illustrator, pinstriper, and custom car designer. He played a pivotal role in Southern California’s Kustom Kulture and Hot Rod movement during the late 1950s and 1960s.

Donley Auctions in Union Illinois will sell a Ed "Big Daddy" Roth Rat Fink door as part of their April Spring Classic auction. This door is a piece of Hot Rod history! It features a huge hand-painted and air brushed Rat Fink painted by Bill Michaelson who was an award-winning Kar Kustomizer. This was the door to his shop and Ed Roth autographed the door and added other graffiti during a visit to Michaelson's shop. Included is a picture of Roth with the door when he autographed it in 1993. Roth moved from California to Manti, Utah where he lived until he passed away at the age of 69 in 2001. The door is in VG condition and measures 32" wide, 28" tall. There is no knob or lock. From the Volo Auto Museum Vault. Other items in the auction include Ed Roth models kits, magazines, and other items.

The 4-day Spring Classic live and online auction at Donley Auctions will be held April 18 -21 and features 2,000 lots of high-quality antiques and collectibles such as slot machines, juke boxes, coin op games, petroliana, automobiles, motorcycles, architecture, and more. For questions and to view the auction online go to or call 815.923.7000.

Rat Fink and Other Characters:

  • Roth is best known for creating the iconic hot rod character Rat Fink. Rat Fink is a grotesque caricature of an oversized monster driving a representation of the hot rods that Roth and his contemporaries built.

  • His artwork often featured imaginary creatures, wild designs, and exaggerated proportions.

  • Roth’s creativity extended beyond Rat Fink. He also designed other memorable characters and illustrations.

Innovative Hot Rods:

  • Roth was not only an artist but also a custom car designer and builder.

  • Some of his famous hot rods include:

  • The Outlaw: A fiberglass Kustom hot rod featured in car magazines and shows.

  • The Beatnik Bandit (1961): A unique hot rod with distinctive styling.

  • The Mysterion (1963): A twin-engine creation that turned heads.

  • The Orbitron (1964): A futuristic and attention-grabbing vehicle.

  • The Road Agent (1965): Another remarkable addition to his portfolio.

Weirdo Shirts and Kustom Kulture:

  • Roth started airbrushing and selling “Weirdo” T-shirts at car shows and in magazines as early as July 1958.

  • The “Weirdo shirts” became a craze, with Roth leading the movement. He was featured alongside other Kustom Kulture pioneers like Dean Jeffries and Pete Millar.

  • Detroit native Stanley Miller (a.k.a. “Stanley Mouse”) also joined the trend, inspired by Roth and Barris Kustoms.

  • Roth’s influence widely popularized the “monsters in hot rods” art form.


  • Ed Roth’s impact on hot rodding and Kustom Kulture remains significant. His imaginative designs, irreverent characters, and boundary-pushing creations continue to inspire enthusiasts and artists alike.

Rat Fink, that little green rat, embodies the spirit of rodding and stands as a testament to Big Daddy Roth’s enduring legacy.

All these terrific pieces will be available in our April Spring Classic Auction, Thursday-Sunday, April 18-21. Watch our website for the full catalog and more information!



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