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Fixing Inner Tubes

Fixing Inner Tubes


I was fumbling around early of a morning here in Australia, flicked on the computer and looked to see who had sent me what on the e-mail. There was a longer than normal missive from Brian Brennan, head dude guy at Street Rodder magazine, including several photos. I duly opened the pix to find something obviously dug out of Brian’s garbage basket. There in living black and white were several photos I actually remember being taken, of Brian and me at our work desks long ago. Very rare, since we both took great care to be well away from our typewriters much of every day. Well, I took care, because Brennan couldn’t spell, couldn’t type, couldn’t write and pretty much studied up on becoming a front office type of magazine guy.

To the photos. We both seem to have something growing atop our heads! Lots of the stuff, and it is very dark. Perhaps that would be hair, unless someone has been loose with a black Marx-A-Lot. An aside; one time the leading sports car magazine of the day ran a photo of people gathered around a race car, and our (Hot Rod magazine) tech man Ray Brock was in the photo. Nice compliment from a competing magazine, except someone had used a black pen to add a full head of hair to Brock, which he never had gained even from babyhood. I digress. Those pix from Brennan reminded me of an old Plymouth I once bought for $50, a 1938 four door only used on Saturdays by a little old lady to run hootch into Oklahoma. It had mohair upholstery! You may not remember mohair. It was apparently from the famous mo animals of Mongolia, each follicle roughly the same as tines in a wire brush. On a cold day, the hair would spindle your butt and back to increase blood circulation, thus adding warmth. On a hot day, the same thing happened in order to create an itching rash impossible to erase. Even with hootch.

I have absolutely no more information on mohair, which is to your advantage. Except to add that when you find an old car with such upholstery, it seems to retain all of the dust from several centuries, and the odor from the original mo carcass.

Anyway, when Brennan had hair toward his forehead, it was long. I think the excuse was that the extra length tended to cushion the football helmet. Or something. I recall seeing another photo taken at a rod nats basketball tournement, and that same hair was in his eyes. Just as well, since he couldn’t shoot buckets either. And that reminded me that old overstuffed chairs and sofas often used horsehair for the overage of stuffing, as did some antique cars. That hair would also escape bondage to poke the posterior of restless young passengers. Which reminded me, somehow, of that Model A coupe my stepdad had. He and my mom both smoked early on, and I had to squeeze into the middle or stay home. Despite all my pleadings, they would not allow me to sit by the window, although I promised to only crack it a tiney bit, just enough to get my nose into an airstream. And that reminded me that in Oklahoma back then, the outside air usually smelled like drip gas, or casing head.

You see, when oil was pumped from the ground, it ran through pipes (that were everywhere!) to tanks (also everywhere). Every so often, the pipes would have a sag in them, with a petcock on the bottom side from which a kind of raw gasoline could be drained from the oil. Instant drip gas, which would work in a car engine. But it smelled to high heaven. Since everyone was stealing this gas, everyone’s car smelled. Of course, there was a liquid available right at the pump where it exited the ground, what we called the casing head. That was way more potent, and it smelled even stronger. Somewhere I have a belly button Brownie photo of a shirt tail relative draining off some casing head elixir, and he also has a full head of hair.

Could it be that hair grows better in gasoline fumes. Which may be the cause of so much baldness in modern times. Too many additives in contemporary motor fuels. Or maybe we all need to shampoo with high octane, leaded pump gas. Of course, we would then need to stay away from open flames, else we would have an instant de-hairing. And, all of this blather has absolutely nothing to do with nowadays hot rodding, except to point out that roadster owners tend to have less hair than do closed car guys, for some obscure reason. Maybe a theme for a college thesus…

And all this has nothing to do with fixing inner tubes, but perhaps you may run fingers through thinning or missing hair and remember how you usta need to get out the repair patch cannister to fix an injured inner tube.