Photo by Susan DeMay

Rat Fink Adds Celebrity Aura To American Italian Civic Club’s Show

WATERBURY, CT – He first poked his nose out in an issue of “Car Craft” magazine in 1963 and he’s been part of car culture ever since. On Sunday, the hot rod character of Rat Fink, a cartoon creation of Ed “Big Daddy” Roth who died in 2001, was seen strolling the grounds at the American Italian Civic Club during its Sunday car show devoted to classic and muscle cars.

Always on the lookout for a good story, RIDE-CT tried to trap him during a quick Q&A that was long on obvious questions and short on illuminating answers:

RIDE-CT: What brings you here?

RF: You have to ask?

Rat Fink at the car show / Photo by Susan DeMay

RIDE-CT: Okay, okay. You’re here to look at the cars. But you’re a long way from California. How’d you get here?

RF: You do ask some dumb questions. How do you think I got here? I came in a rat rod.

RIDE-CT: Have you visited the snack stand? What did you have?

RT: Don’t you know anything about rodents? I had a cheeseburger, although I do like going to shows where there are food trucks with macaroni and cheese and brats.

RIDE-CT: Where do you call home?

RF: Think about it for a second. Where else would I live but a rathskeller? It’s kind of dark and damp at times, but it’s home.

RIDE-CT: Your wit suggests an education but your dress is, shall we say, a bit ratty. How did the combination come about?

RF: Easy, I was in a frat in college. Where do you think I learned to drink all the beer that has given me this svelte profile?

Rat Fink at the car show / Photo by Susan DeMay

RIDE-CT: Your creator saw you as an anti-hero to the always smiling Mickey Mouse. You ever meet the guy?

RF: Meet him? He’s a good friend. His life is as much of a rat race as mine. He’s the only guy who understands what it’s like having to deal with the public as much as we do. And, let’s face, we both do pretty well when it comes to merchandising. Anything else?

RIDE-CT: Yeah, would you pose for a picture?

RF: Drats, I was hoping to avoid that. Sure, anything to end your prattling.

Rat Fink and RIDE-CT’s Bud Wilkinson

About Bud Wilkinson

Bud Wilkinson writes the "RIDE-CT" motorcycle column and the "My Ride" classic car feature in the "Republican-American" newspaper in Waterbury, CT. He also hosts the weekday chat show "Talk of the Town" from 10 a.m. to noon on WATR (AM 1320, FM 97.7) in Waterbury. A graduate of Vermont Academy, he holds a B.A. degree journalism from Ohio Wesleyan University in 1975. He is the recipient of a Scripps Howard Foundation National Journalism Award in 1992 and a 1991-92 regional Emmy Award for commentary. He currently rides a 1987 BMW R 80 RT and a 2014 Triumph Bonneville and drives a 2010 Mazda MX-5 Miata.

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