In conjunction with the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library and their February, 2013, "Big Read" focusing on F. Scott Fitzgerald and his 1920s novel The Great Gatsby, Fairlawn Plaza Mall welcomed an antique auto show featuring several cars from the Great Gatsby era.
Max Yoho, along for the tour, knows a lot about old cars. He once owned and drove a 1926 Ford Model "T."
Here are several items Max and the car owners shared about old autos:
If a car has a permenant roof it is referred to as a "coupe" or a "sedan."
A "roadster" usually has a rumble seat, openable as needed behind the interior body of the car. A joke infers that it was invented to carry mother-in-laws.
Old cars had front windshields but might not have side windows.
Many early Ford Model "T"s had no dashboards... just a steering wheel, foot pedals and a horn. The horn acted like a pump. Push in the plunger and the horn shouted, "A...ouuuGH!" Such a horn was called a "klaxon."
Besides having electric headlights, many older cars had "cowl lights," an aid to driving at night, and a carryover from carriage lights used for driving a horse and buggy at night. Car owners would use a match to light the cowl lights, and then cover the flames with glass covers to keep the wind from blowing out the flames.
A "Jitney," like the grey-and-black Dodge Brothers vehicle on display, was used primarily like a taxi... moving people from place to place in groups. The word "jitney" is derived from an archaic name for "nickel" (perhaps referring to a nickel fare to be taken where you want to go).
Old car "trunks" often were storage trunks, like you might find in an attic, but attached behind the rear seat of a vehicle.
A "touring car" is a two-seated car with a removable roof.
Early Model "T"s all used the same key. Buy a Ford and your key would start any Model "T."
Ford Model "A" models first left the assemble line in December, 1926.
Select a thumbnail photo to view the larger versionGreat Gatsby Auto Show: Sat., Feb. 2, 2013
left: 1949 Packard
Ford Model "T" 1923 Touring Car: