Ed “Big Daddy” Roth’s 1956 Ford F-100 Pickup

Big Daddy bought a brand new 1956 Ford F-100 pickup in 1957 and gave it his signature style to use for his pinstriping business.

Ed Roth was a man of many talents: Painter, pinstriper, airbrush artist, fabricator. And there was one more, maybe as important as the others. Today we’d call it marketing; in earlier days it would be deemed self-promotion. No matter the term, Roth understood that an artist working in obscurity is likely a starving artist. To be successful meant getting the word out about your skills.

In the early ’50s, after mustering out of the Air Force, Roth bought a 1948 Ford, painted it red, lettered it with the name of his business and phone number, and adorned the roof over the back window with a papier mâché head and hands, sort of a bizarre take on the old “Kilroy was Here” cartoon.

But as he told Tony Thacker in the book Hot Rods by Ed “Big Daddy” Roth, that head “drew too many complaints,” so in 1957 he bought a brand new 1956 Ford F-100 pickup. Roth repainted the light green truck white with bright red flames, installed a tonneau cover with a monstrous airbrush job on it, lettered it for his business (“Any car $4 an up,” read the tailgate), and then used it as his rolling business card… read more >

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