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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • THE NEW ZEALAND FOREST, c. 1950

The Cootie: 1922

The Cootie: 1922

Washington, D.C., 1922. "Capt. Kopper and 'Cootie' at White House." National Photo Company Collection glass negative. View full size.

 

Dangerous

By 1922 serious racers didn't drive on wooden, artillery wheels. If these broke up the car invariably turned over.

Aooo-gah

That thing that looks like a fuel pump is actually a hand-operated Klaxon horn—like the Model No.3 in the lower left of the ad below. A bit pricey at $4.00 in 1918, but more affordable than the electric versions.

Klaxon

Fuel Pump

The apparatus on the outside of the car by his left forearm is part of the fuel system. Periodically the driver would have to work this pump to increase the air pressure in the fuel tank to maintain enough pressure to force fuel from the tank to the engine. This system required a great deal of hand pumping as the liquid volume of the gasoline in the tank was replaced by air as the fuel was used up.

Cootie Zeitgeist

Thanks for the technical details, Horace T. Water -- I had thought, when I first saw the photo, that the "Cootie" might be a Model T underneath. In 1923, when he was 19 years old, my father (the original/real Ormington) built a Ford-based race car that must have looked something like that. No photos survive, nor did the car itself for long. In one of my father's first races, there was a major accident, with another driver killed, and my father's right arm badly mangled. He kept his arm and gradually regained full use of it, but his family prevailed on him to get into a "safer" form of motorsports if he was determined to keep at it, so he took up boat racing, in outboard-powered hydroplanes, and did that for thirty years, with some flipovers but no serious injuries. Still, he never got over wanting to race cars, and in his 70's, my father (with that same salvaged right arm exercising its usual creativity) built a replica 1920's race car made of parts from Mustangs and Austin-Healeys and other items he had on hand, which he then exhibited at car meets. He died in 1991 -- I wish he could have seen this "Cootie" photo, as I know he would have loved it.

Gow Job

A Ford, Model T based, speedster. An early hot rod. The exhaust exiting from the left side indicates a high performance overhead valve cylinder head, possibly a RAJO, built in Racine, Wisconsin

Well now

Isn't he just to coolest thing since (or before) James Dean.

 
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