Updated: Mar 14
RF or "Rat Fink" was a well-known character originally designed by Ed "Big Daddy" Roth. Rat Fink became a cultural phenomenon and was one of many hot rodding monsters. We were asked to assist with reproducing a modern version of this popular icon. Rat Fink was recreated using 3D scanning and 3D printing for a modern custom hot rodding car.
The first step in recreating the Rat Fink was to travel on site to 3D scan the original model:
The Rat Fink was 3D scanned using an Artec Eva scanner. The 3D model was then scaled larger (digitally), and modifications were made to the tail and feet to accommodate a larger surfboard, which was to be used as the base of the new custom car.
Finally, we prepared the model for 3D printing:
The model was then 3D printed on a large format PLA 3D printer courtesy of Voxel Magic:
While waiting for the rat to be completed Glaz and Colasunno started to work on
building the frame made out of 1/2 inch by 1.5 inch flat steel. Just like Ed “Big
Daddy” Roth would have done back in the day the two hand formed the steel
frame. From there they fabricated the front axle using golf cart hunts and
wheels. They also used a 1953 Pontiac rear axle housing that made up the rear
end. Colasuonno had two Ansen Sprint mags with tires on hand to finish the
rolling chassis. From there the frame was glued and bolted to the surf board. For
power they both decided to use a Chevy big block engine with a 6-71 blower
and 3 Holly 94 deuces carburetors for which to power the board. Using 1.75
pipe the two turned that pipe into a pair of chrome Zoomie headers. They
located a 1950 bronze propeller which was mounted under the board to help
with pushing the wind.
Once the Rat Fink was completed, they fitted it to the board and reinforced it
internally with steel rods. They decided that Rat Fink needed a shifter, so they
used 1/2 inch aluminum solid rod. They then hand formed the shifter and linkage
with an 8-ball shifter handle to complete the look. A classic Moon tank was
mounted on the back of the surf board to fuel the motor. After the mockup was
complete, they disassembled the board.
From there everything that would require chrome was sent to Super Chrome in
Asbury Park, New Jersey. For paint the rat and the surf board were sent to
another fellow Dead Mans Curve club member, John Sbrigato of Brighton
Collision in Brooklyn, New York. All the body work, base green and red paint
was done by John Sbrigato. From there they needed to decide on the color for
the surf board itself. They decided to go with a special blend of aqua, candy,
with heavy flake and white inserts to give it the surf board theme. All of the paint
once again was applied by John Sbrigato.
Once everything was painted at the body shop, the board and the rat were
assembled. Work began on putting the whole project together which measures
at completion 9 1/2 feet long and 5 feet tall. From there it was sent over to the
world famous infamous Pinstripe legend Julian Braet better known to all as Mr J
where the rat really came to life. Mr J went to town doing extensive airbrushing
and hand pin stripping to the entire rat and board. To finish off the tribute to
Roth, “Big Daddy Ed Roth rides again” was done in gold leaf.
From start to finish the entire project took just about six months, which is very
impressive to complete this one of a kind creation. The actually name Surf Fink
came from noted car show producer Bob Larivee Sr. who signed the blower belt
along with Chuck Miller of Zinger’s fame. When Larivee got a look at this one of
a kind creation he came up with the Surf Fink tag. In the future there are plans to
get the Surf Fink out to be shown to the surviving members of Ed “Big Daddy”
Roth’s family. You can look forward to seeing the Surf Fink at many of the shows
which Dead Mans Curve Car Club put on throughout the year such as the Wild
Hot Rod Weekend in Mahwah, New Jersey and their show at the Showboat
Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Looks like Rat Fink's off to the races from here. The final product turned out spectacular. What a great way to bring back this popular character in all his glory and fame. Big Daddy sure would be proud.
So, what character would you choose to bring to life?