Before closing, the Petersen Automotive Museum debuted an exhibition that explored the life, times and creations of Ed “Big Daddy” Roth. Roth rose to celebrity status in the car-crazed youth culture of the 1960s, reinventing the custom car aesthetic with wild, fiberglass bodied fantasy hot rods. He amazed car show attendees with vehicles like the Outlaw, the Beatnik Bandit, and Rotar. His company, Roth Studios, produced striking art and typography with caricatures of monsters in muscle cars and hot rods.
The archetypal Roth character, Rat Fink, was widely regarded as Mickey Mouse’s alter ego. Kids loved it and moms hated it. The imagery of Rat Fink and his monstrous brethren struck a chord with teenagers across America and served as the foundation for a mail-order empire that funded “Big Daddy” Roth’s automotive enterprises. His creations are still admired for their individuality, playfulness and ability to provoke a response.