The First Hot Rod Artist?
So who was the first artist influenced by hot rods? I know, you’re probably thinking Tom Medley’s Stroker McGurk or Von Dutch’s striping, maybe Big Daddy Ed Roth’s Rat Fink… How about if I told you that I found some jalopy-inspired cartoons from February of 1916? Created by early American cartoonist T.E. Powers and animated by Leon Searl, I present two short films to you, published from the Library of Congress Archives.
First short below is called ‘Mr. Nobody Holme – He Buys A Jitney’. Essentially the story of man who buys a fenderless, aluminum-hooded T Touring that doesn’t run until he adds a stick of dynamite for motivation. The second cartoon is ‘Never Again! – The Story of a Speeder Cop’. Where a Keystone cop is trying to stop dozens of speeding torpedo-bodied roadsters flying past him. None of them have fenders, some have hood louvers and they all look cut-down. Mr. Powers was obviously taking inspiration from Model T Speedsters, the original ‘Fast Fords’, and Indy racers of the day. Hard to believe this was created 105 years ago, and 7 years before Walt Disney made his first animated shorts!