Hot Rod Life in National Dragster Magazine
November 2010


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Rick Finn Memorial Trophy
by Bob Ryder July 23, 2008 09:44 PM


At the Hot Rods in the Park Show held at Central Park in Huntington Beach, California, a special award was given in honor of Rick Finn, a dear friend of mine whom passed away on September 23, 2006.

Rick Finn was like the brother I never had; we were really close. Rick was a gifted artist that stroked his pen with automotive flare. He was an icon in the automotive art world and hot rod industry.

At this summer’s Hot Rods in the Park show, a Rick Finn perpetual memorial trophy was awarded to “Best of Show” winner. His two borthers Mike, Steve, and nephew Mark, along with custom car guru George Barris were there to present the Rick Finn Memorial trophy to the “Best of Show” winner. Rick’s two cherrished rides a ’46 Chevy Fleetline, which still rolls with the HB Gabachos (translation: Huntington Beach White Guys) and his ’53 Ford “Hot Rod Life” panel were also on display at the show. I know Rick was lookin’ down on the show with a big smile. Rest in peace…Godspeed

Losing The Brother I Never Had
By Bob Ryder

Many of us grow up without siblings. Sure, we all have school buddies and teammates, but no true brother to talk to and have those brother-to-brother conversations. Your brother’s the guy who always gets your back and will stand up for you, against all of the odds.

Not until later in life did I find a close friend who was like a brother to me, Rick Finn. Rick was an Irish guy who grew up in Covina, California. After high school, he cleaned windows, and later on he opened his own window-cleaning business for the rich folks of Huntington Harbor, California. he decided to move there and save the 40-mile commute each-way. Rick was rooming with his brother, Mike. Luckily for Rick, he had God’s gift as an artist and his expertise was hot-rod art, as Rick loved cars. He was known as a horse trader of cars specializing in old-skool iron from lead sleds and customs to hot rods. That’s what Rick was all about, after all, he owned over 200 cars.

I met Rick about 20 years ago, at a small donut shop called Adams Donuts, in Huntington Beach. It was a gathering spot for a couple of local car guys that met religiously on Saturday mornings for coffee and donuts while checkin’ out each other’s cars and doing some bench racing. Some years ago, the name Donut Derelicts was given to these car-crazed individuals who flocked to this spot every Saturday morning. Rick began displaying his custom car artwork at the donut shop where it became very popular. Later, he started offering his work on the backs of T-shirts, jackets, and hats as his Donut Derelict’s contribution. Over the years, the donut shop became a hot-rodder’s dream, a sacred ground to about 300 customs, hot rods, lead sleds, trucks, and even a few sporty cars that cram into the parking lot from 5:00 a.m. until 8:30 a.m. each week.

Then, the guys ‘n gals would roll out and cruise to their sacred diner for breakfast somewhere along Pacific Coast Highway (PCH). There’s nothing like cruisin’ the SoCal shoreline, during a picturesque morning sunrise. Rick and I would cruise to one of our favorite breakfast stops that dotted PCH, in either his or my latest ride. We also cruised to numerous custom car shows and drag races. Rick’s favorites were: Paso Robles, The Hot Rod Reunion, The March Meet, Labor Day Cruise, Cruise For A Cure, Mooneyes, John Force Show, Oakland Roadster Show, L.A. Roadster Show, and Out Riders’ Gathering.

Rick sold his Donut Derelicts lifestyle-wear company a couple of years ago and introduced a new line of hot-rod artwork and a clothing line, known as Hot Rod Life. His new company was more than just an artwork and clothing line; it told the story of hot-rod life and how it came about. Rick’s company quickly gained horsepower. Rick Finn and Hot Rod Life were known worldwide, and Rick became a true celebrity in the hobby. Many of his close artist friends included the late Von Dutch and Ed Roth, as well as Darryl Starbird, Steve Stanford, Tom Taylor, Chip Foose, and Ken Youngblood.

On September 23, 2006, the hot-rod community lost one of its own. Rick was known for his incredible hot-rod art and lifestyle apparel, but more importantly for being a great person who cared for others. Rick was a giver, never a taker, and a guy with dignity, love, and appreciation for others. He was an artist and a very creative writer and poet. He was preparing for another custom car show, Cruise For A Cure, at the Orange County Fairgrounds, in Costa Mesa, California, where he was going to display his Hot Rod Life artwork and apparel. Ironically, he was taken from this world while preparing for another hot-rod show. Rick was survived by: ex-wife Robin, mother Priscilla, brothers Mike and Steve, sisters Karen and Stephanie, nieces Kim and Kristi, and nephews Mark and Preston. Rick never had children, but he cherished his little nephew, Mark, now 12 years old, to the point that he willed his custom ’47 Chevy Fleetline and a ’53 Ford Panel truck to him.

I will greatly miss my beloved friend, Rick, who was the brother I never had. He had a curious smile, a great sense of humor, a loud voice, and was never shy to voice his opinion. Rick was a rebel with a cause. He lived life at full throttle with no intentions of ever lifting. Every time I roll on a cruise, I know my buddy is riding shotgun with me for every mile.


The Original Donut Derelict Cruises On
By Joe Bustafaccio
September 2006

Noted automotive artist, friend, and one of the founders of Donut Derelicts, Rick Finn, succumbed to a heart attack on September 23, 2006. He was only 52 years old. Rick was one of the most passionate car guys of all time. It was reflected in his art, his popular T-shirts, and in the never-ending smile on his face. A few years ago, he discovered how good the food was at Southern California’s numerous Low Rider events, so he hustled up a mid-40s Chevy, slammed it and checked out the scene. A few of his good buds followed along for the fun. Knowing they’d need a name for themselves, Rick came up with the “HB Gabachos” — which translates into the Huntington Beach White Guys! As the story goes, a few of the Mexican homeboys approached the Gabachos and told them, “You guys roll tight. You can roll with us anytime.”

Recently, Rick launched a new apparel line dubbed “Hot Rod Life.” The idea was to celebrate all things automotively cool and cherish life all at the same time. This morning, September 30, Donut Derelicts took on a somber mood as friends and acquaintances gathered around the HB Gabachos canopy to remember Rick and check out some of his artwork. His primered Ford delivery was parked nearby with his signature straw hat draped over the steering wheel.

I’m fortunate to have known Rick and we’re all fortunate to enjoy the legacy of his art, as it’ll live forever. As I write this, I’m looking at Rick’s amazing portrait of NHRA’s beloved Buster Couch, entitled “Buster’s Last Stand” (1996). I’ve always thought it was a great piece of art, but somehow it’s even more special today.

Whatever you do . . . celebrate life.We’re not here for a long time — we’re here for a good time.