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​Ed "Big Daddy" Roth 

March 4, 1932 - April 4, 2001 

Ed "Big Daddy" Roth is a big inspiration to me and it saddens me he has gone to the big garage in the sky. Imagine what project he and Von Dutch are working on now! In remembrance, I'd like to share some photos and artwork.

Here are a couple of photos taken a few years ago by a gawker in the fan line ... me.
BDR shows off his tattoo and the sketch he did for me.

BDR signed my copy of "Confessions of a Rat Fink" with this sketch.

BDR works on a painting of Rat Fink.

BDR's paint box.

BDR signs a photo surrounded by his creations. The Beatnik Bandit II is in the background.

I corresponded with Ed "Big Daddy" Roth just prior to his passing when I did this Rat Fink drawing for Ratfink.org which needed his approval. I guess he liked it because he wanted me to do some trial art for him.

He sent me this paste up, a list of materials I would need and these messages with some useful info:

Date: Tue, 27 Mar 2001 08:16:39 PST  From: "roth"
To: "John Detrich" 
Subject: Re: Some answers .. 

. The copy of the trial art Im going to send needs all of the above equipment. The paper needs to be 18x24 because we started that size years ago and allows a lot of detail to prevail. This first image Im sending you will need to be enlarged at Kinko to fit onto 18x 24. This enlargement should fit comfortably onto the 18x24. The detail on this as well as all of the sketches that I send will be very bad. But is the basis of the composition that I need. This needs to be put on a light table and traced onto a paper with pencil very lightly and traced. 

This light table can be a very simple box with a neon fixture and a white plastic for a diffusor. This piece of equipment is a necessity if your gonna do any serious work. The inking can be done on the same table. For starters I would like to see a copy of the pencil somehow to guide you into the inking. Some of the first attempts are gonna be tricky but if ya stick with it things will start to make sense. 

Are ya ready for your first jpeg?...If so I will send it and since it is a paste up thing I'll see how ya start on it since it is one step above a sketch which I usually send out.......Ed 

Date: Wed, 28 Mar 2001 09:30:40 -0700
From: "roth" 
To: "John Detrich" 
Subject: Re: Quick update ...

OK..here is rge dealIn order for you to pickup on the process of this stuff Im sending this little exercise to get ya started on the the style and line widths involved with these works.....Ya gotta remember that the original of this Henry J were done about 11x14 and the amount of detail that is missing is because at that size theres not much chance of doing a lot of detail.

Lets talk about white for a second here. Ive tried water base and enamels and expensive latex and acrylics and for my india ink the plain old white wal mart house paint latexs work best to cover the India. that I use...

Back to the henry J. I want to eventually get you to do this drawing without a body. There are a few reasons for this. I want to do a series of cars that I dont have in my repertoire right now. Like I get a lot of calls for 50 oldsa and some of the earlier ford pickups. So I want to use the chassis of this and make overlays of the monsters and the cars or even better make one or 2 monsters as overlays and just overlay the cars. That is the plan.

Now how do we proceed?

Yes the starfire rims on front that is the first change. Then I want to move the front axle forward the width of the headlight and move the bottom blower pulley to the right enough to make the blower belt (on the right) go straight up and down. The way I do that here at the shop is xerox the parts (Sketches and photos) and paste them where they need to go. Thats all on 8x11. The rear tires for example are from a brand new piede we just finished. The front axle is also from a newer drawing. the advantages of working on 8x10 is that the composition can be perfected before the large drawing is made (most of the detail will go on the large bristol paper) . In the real world when I send you a sketch you will have to work on the sketch a lot with paste ups etc before going to kinkos for the big blow up. THIS IS FOR COMPOSITION) The 8x11 will be a mass of sketches and paste ups. It would never project on a light table due to the layers of pastes and revisions....I never suggest a brush and in up to the large projection. Felt markers are fast and dry fast.

The front tires should be the new low profile 40 series radials. Thew front suspension is also a paste up. The right shock needs to be straightened a bit. The rest of the engine will be a challenge as it is not scale. The driver side king pin needs about a 20 degree mor rake to it. One other thing that isnt right is the exhaust flames maybe a bit smaller and shorter. PLAY WITH IT!

what I want to see is a jpeg of the 8x11 before it goes to the kinkos for the big shot that goes onto the light table to see how it looks. I may have started you on the wrong foot by going to Kikos for the enlargement to start but try these fixes in that size and you will see that working in 8x11 you could have sent me a small shot for final approval a lot better and saving the small details (chrome reflections etc) for the large drawing.

Whatchya think?


I sent him this initial pencil sketch. His reply:

Date: Mon, 02 Apr 2001 09:15:20 PDT
From: "roth"
To: "John Detrich" 
Subject: Re: A pencil rough ... 

Good Go John! I checked my out going mail and all that time I spent on the fixes are n cyberspace. I have a feeling It was just too darn long and so .....The art is lookin good and the only problem you need to fix is the size of the engine and that is pretty easy if you have a xerox machine handy. Just set the enlargement (110%) (?) to the desired size and paste it onto the existing head and valve cover ( along with the exhausts on both sides) Then add some detail on the lower part of the blower and you should have it. Ya might drop the blower a bit also. Make sure the bottom line of the valve cover is parallel to the frame. That front suspension could be a mystery fr'sure but try xerox'n it at 100% and then moving to the left 1/4 inch and then moving the drivers side shock to the left. take that frame part and white it out and put the tube axle all the way across from the driver side backing plate. ...then send another jpeg. It is really lookin Good!....Ed

I was planning on finishing up the pencil sketch when I read the news of his passing.

The artwork was finished a year later. David Chodosh suggested I complete the work as a tribute to "Big Daddy" Roth using Roth's F-100 work truck. The artwork was used to promote The 1st Annual Ed "Big Daddy" Roth Run Wot Ya Brung Drag Race & Rat Fink Weekender 2002.

Thank you Ed "Big Daddy" Roth!
You will be missed!.