April 4: “Big Daddy” Ed Roth remembered

GE Anderson

Twelve years ago today, "Big Daddy" Ed Roth, the artist who proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that cars are objects of art (pictured in the photo above and video below along with his "Beatnik Bandit"), died at the age of 69. A kid of Beverly Hills who bounced around post-WWII America looking for steady work, Roth was lucky enough to see the invention of fiberglass, the material that allowed him to create his wild hot-rods rather than working for Sears. The cartoons and ephemera kept the hot rod shop in business (according to Roth's museum, Revell American paid him one cent per Big Daddy Roth model car kit sold in 1963, and that year he earned $32,000). No single artist has ever had more influence over hot-rod design; no single gearhead has ever made a bigger impact on American culture. See the real deals up close below.