I saw a photo of the original "Rat Fink" the other day and posted it on Facebook..people went wild.. As a kid in school, I drew Rat Fink on everything I could get my hands on. I never knew what my attraction to Roth's art style was about until Chris Morton sent in this story. Thanks, Chris for letting me know.
One story has it that Stanley "Mouse" Miller, who eventually finished his training at Detroit's Center For Creative Studies (formerly Society For Arts & Crafts), was painting monsters on hot rods at fairgrounds around Michigan.
Mouse Hot Rod Painting
Along came Ed Roth and, spotting a good idea when he saw it, took it to the next level. Mouse, of course, is better known for his rock poster work with Anton Kelley, most notably for the Grateful Dead.
The whole CA hot rod scene that eventually produced the Batmobile, the Munster Koach, and the Monkees' custom GTO was chronicled in Tom Wolfe's (Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test) book, The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby.
Of course, the entire line of Carroll Shelby cars would never have existed without the initial express approval of Ford HQ in Dearborn, and—later—Chairman Lee Iacocca when he left Ford to head up Chrysler.
Those were heady times for any car-crazed model builder like me. And having both a stepfather and brother ensconced at Ford's "Glass House," I was privy to a lot of ephemera that most kids my age didn't have access to.
It even happened that we had some sort of tie to the Gallogly family, Wes Gallogly having founded AMT (the model car company that eventually had operations in Troy). They consistently issued the coolest kits until IMC came along. Of course, Big Daddy had signed with Revell, so that company-issued his line of monsters driving hot rods.
It was also the heyday of Peterson Publishing's Hot Rod magazine, featuring color photos of cars driven by the likes of Don Garlits, Connie Kalitta, and "TV" Tommy Ivo and the cars having names like "Hemi Under Glass" and "Little Red Wagon." Slot car racing parlors like Tiny Tim's on Woodward in Royal Oak also fueled (no pun intended) the dreams of young boys like me. Chris Morton