LASCM Website now open, or is it?

October 17th, 2008 · 9 Comments

On behalf of Scott Bader, without whom none of this would have been possible, please let me welcome you to what promises to be a great website for the vintage electric model car racing enthusiast. This website is presently and slowly being filled with what will be the world’s largest bank of visual and technical information the hobby has ever known. The focus of the museum is targeted on American slot racing models produced between 1961 and 1973, as well as models from other nations obviously inspired by them.
The museum also has a large and growing collection of professional racing hand built slot cars as well as related artifacts dating from as early as 1913.  A large collection of original box art, posters, advertising and a library will complete the museum, that already contains the largest collection in the world.
We have big plans for the future and invite your comments, suggestions and wishes.

→ 9 CommentsTags: News

The Art of Keiji Kanegawa

July 10th, 2008 · 3 Comments

In 1972 and 1973, one body painter in the San Francisco area disputed honors for best pro-racing painter in the nation. His inventive and creative art was unique and since then, copied by many. His name: Keiji Kanegawa, familiarly known as "Keiji". Kanegawa introduced accurate portraits, carefully applied with multiple shades of mixed colors, as well as shaded trompe-l’oeil representation of objects not really there such as lights, mirrors, rivet detailing… Unfortunately, few of these wonderful creations have survived, but I have dug these quickly-fading old pictures taken just before the 1972 Western States Championship Races, which gathered more attendance and a more competitive field that even the Parma Nationals in Ohio that year. I did my best to adjust and sharpen the old pictures, but this will get you an idea and possible inspiration for your own painting if you have run out of imagination…

The Art of Keiji Kanegawa

Jim Aguirre’s body with beautiful colors and detail.

The Art of Keiji Kanegawa

Earl Campbell’s Associated Ferrari 612 body before he found out that the M.A.C. 612 was worth a good 3/10th of a second…

The Art of Keiji Kanegawa

Another Keiji creation for Fast Earl. Campbell himself was an excellent but more traditional painted and painted most of my own bodies, like this one:

The Art of Keiji Kanegawa

This next one is very special: it is the one with which Speed & Sport Raceway owner Ron Granlee, paralyzed in a wheel chair, set his own track record with a car built by yours truly. The car has survived and is presently being restored for its owner, our own Dennis Hill… Note the faux rear-view mirror and its faux shade!

The Art of Keiji Kanegawa

One of the wilder ones (but not THE wildest, un-publishable here due to basic laws of decency :grin:) was of course commissioned by Steve "Spiderman" Kessler, possibly the most, huh, colorful slot racer ever…

The Art of Keiji Kanegawa

A small detail showing clearly where Kessler’s mind was, unfortunately the comment is unreadable…

The Art of Keiji Kanegawa

Now, don’t you think that Keiji should be nominated in the Hall of Fame?

→ 3 CommentsTags: Vintage Slot Cars

Steve Okeefe Marvelous Replica

July 10th, 2008 · 3 Comments

An incredible re-creation of the most important slot car in pro-racing history.

Steve Okeefe was so enthralled by the recent publication of pictures of Gene Husting’s historically-first pro-racing angle-winder chassis that amazingly, survived for 37 years, that he decided to build a perfect replica for use as a display piece in our museum. When I received the package and opened it, I was so amazed that I immediately called Gene Husting, asking him to come over and bring with him the original “Old Number One”. If I was amazed, he was flabbergasted.

Have a look at these pictures and you tell me if this is not one of the nicest jobs of replicating a chassis without even having seen the real thing you have ever seen:



Is this an amazing piece of work or not?

Steve, I think that you deserve an entry into the slot car racing Hall of Fame, just for this accomplishment.

Now I have to do all the hard work: install the guide, fabricate the glue shield from a piece of sheet brass and finish the motor. Then mount the old Bruce Paschal Lola GT body since I prepped a correct Lancer McLaren MK6 that was originally on Old Number One. So the new car will have a little of the old, and the old car a little of the new.

Steve’s magnificent replica car is now on display at the LASCM, with a sign describing what it is, who made it and under which circumstances.

Steve, you left me the very easy work!

A letter from Gene Husting:

Hello Steve: Your new angle-winder is simply beautiful! You’re over qualified to be compared to the great chassis makers before you, the Steube, Cukras, Henline, etc., etc. of the world. As I told you before, my thoughts were always more about how to make the car go faster, than trying to win Concours.

Since we talked, I’ve been thinking back to that time period. When I first ran the car, everyone said that the reason I won, was because I had such a fast motor. But I kept telling them, that it was the car, not the motor. I was running the same winds as Bill Steube used on his motors. Nothing new here. So, I reasoned it was always the car.

But, in thinking back, it must have been a combination of car and motor. When I was racing the slot car dragsters, I would never have dreamt of mounting the motor in the chassis, with the end bell end. Why would I want to introduce all those bad harmonics into the brush-commutator system, from the gears?

So, when I built the first angle-winder, I automatically put the gear drive on the can end. It just made sense to me to do it that way.

In thinking it through, after talking to you, I’ve come to realize that it had to be the combination of the angle-winder chassis AND can mounted motor.

The first night I ran the car, I beat the best of the best, at Gallagher’s, J&J’s track in Long Beach, CA. This would be the Steube brothers, Cukras, Anderson, Henline etc., etc.

We all new it wasn’t because I was suddenly a better driver. It was because of this new car. They said it could not be the car, it had to be that I built a fast motor. And the more that I told them it was the car, the more they knew it was the motor.

I had built a second car for a friend of mine, Bruce Paschal, which I brought to the track the next week. John Cukras saw it in my box, and asked if he could race it that night. I told John it was geared for a longer track, but he said that was OK. So, I broke Terry Schmid’s track record of 6.84, with a 6.73!!! Totally an impossible thing for me to do. But, I did it. Cukras then tied my track record, with his over-geared car. I won the race by 3 1/2 laps!!! Unbelievable!!! It was like you’re living an unbelievable dream.

After the race John Anderson, asked me if he could drive the car next week. I told John this car was going to Bruce, but that I would build another one for him to race. In just 4 days was the biggest Model Car Science (magazine)/USRA race. I didn’t race in these because I was the originator of these races, and I wrote up the articles for these races.
Nevertheless, all the fastest drivers had built their own versions of an angle-winder car for this race. Mike Steube won, with Terry Schmid 2nd, and John Cukras 3rd, all with angle-winders. After this race everybody was racing angle-winders.

NOW COMES THE INTERESTING PART !!!

The week after this race, we’re back at J&J’s. Against the best of the best again, John Anderson won the next 12 weeks in a row !!!!! I managed to finish in 2nd place, 11 of those weeks!!

Got banged off the track once.

When you think about it for awhile, it must have been a combination of the motor and chassis. In that 12 week period, all these different drivers used every motor combination known to mankind, but Anderson’s and my motors appeared to be much faster.

You can only come to one conclusion. I was right in the beginning, thinking that mounting the motor to the chassis with the end bell, hurt the performance of the motor.
The oddball part of all this, is that no one else even tried it.

They simply made it too easy for John and I.

I quit racing slot cars at this time, and went into RC car racing.

I hope you found this interesting.

Gene Husting

To add to the story, here are the 3 sizes of Riggen front wheels:

The “Mini” on the left is the one used on the Husting angle-winder and is 3/4″ in diameter. It is either threaded 5-40 or smooth bore 1/8″.

The next is the typical ‘”late-sixties” front, with a fat ribbed O-ring. Diameter is 1″. This is the type used on the Cukras inline chassis discussed here.

Last is the earliest type, 1-1/16″ in diameter, used on the Cannon “Vendetta”.

→ 3 CommentsTags: Vintage Slot Cars

Lancer Retailer Display, circa 1967

July 10th, 2008 · 2 Comments

Anyone who knows anything about vintage slot cars also knows that Lancer vacuum-formed bodies were the best, most accurate bodies available in the 1960’s, regardless of material used, and often had greater detail than the best injected bodies.

in 1966, Lancer made several hundreds of dealer display frames with a selection of their bodies, factory painted and with specially produced number stickers. Few have survived intact, and this one is quite a rare find, as it is in near perfect condition. It was found in a warehouse in Pomona, California.

Lancer Retailer Display, circa 1967

The board in all its glory. The bodies are attached with two pins. Can you identify them all?

Lancer Retailer Display, circa 1967

The little guys up front are HO bodies… The very nice McLaren MK6 in the foreground is in the 1/32 scale.The Lancer emblem appear to be some form of dental plaster, then painted and polished.

→ 2 CommentsTags: Vintage Slot Cars

Cox Lola T70

July 10th, 2008 · 2 Comments

Sorting out the various models

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The Cox Lola T70 is one of the most elusive 1/24 scale slot cars to obtain. Here is some information as to know which one is which.

Confusing picture with lots of different cars and boxes. How can we sort out this mess?

The car was first issued as an export model only in 1967 and sold directly from Hong Kong to a few countries. In its first iteration, it used the modified mold of the defunct K&B T70 with a simplified rear, a redesigned cockpit and chassis fastening.

This first version was molded in blue styrene with some vinyl content and bolted to a new gold-anodized sidewinder chassis. This featured the Ackerman steering from the Lotus 40 RTR, but the wheels and tires were plain aluminum with plated plastic crude wheel inserts. Far away from the beautiful and well detailed magnesium wheels made in Santa Ana…

The tires were also specific to this car. The motor was the big Cox “NASCAR” 3500 and the gears were again, specific to this car. Sealed inside a clear poly bag, it was sold in a small car-size box with end flaps.

The first version is in the background.

The chassis from below…

and top.

The first box is in the background, while the last is on front. In between, the first type was used with an added sticker on its sides changing the technical spec.

This shows the indented cockpit fitted with the universal Cox driver glued on top of its “seat”.

The second issue was introduced in late 1967 and can be seen in a b&w picture in the 1968 Cox USA-only catalogue. It featured a chassis patterned after the famous Cox Ford Galaxie used by Dan Gurney to win its fourth Riverside 500 race, using nickel plated brass tubing soldered to brass plates. The whole unit was pivoted from two posts molded directly on the body. The front axle was also mounted on lugs hanging in the front of the body.

This picture shows 3 Lolas with their inline chassis. The motor used was the small Cox “NASCAR” 3600, same size as our familiar Mabuchi FT16D. A Cox “Quick-Change” guide with tall post and “La Cucaracha” wheels were standard equipment.

This second version was first sold in the same box as the original but fitted with a sticker covering the original specification. It was first issued in blue, then a second series was available in yellow and white. Both these are even scarcer than the blue version. An ultimate version in purple used a new box with a color picture of the car. I don’t have one here to show you as mine is away for its winter vacation at this time.

You can see that the cockpit has been “flattened” to clear the inline mill.

One can distinguish the inline versions from the sidewinder by simply looking at wheels and cockpit.

This car had a broken chassis lug, often the case when these cars are found, so a new one was fabricated from Plexiglas and fitted. It is now awaiting its color matching.

So now you know the whole story… The Cox Lola is one of the scarcest and most expensive Cox cars for the collectors. Few are ever seen, and when they are, 4 figures are the norm in Euros or Dollars. That’s how it goes, not my fault. I got mine when they were somewhat cheaper… get your own!

→ 2 CommentsTags: Vintage Slot Cars

Team Russkit’s Old Survivor…

July 10th, 2008 · 1 Comment

This Team Russkit box, issued to the original team members, COULD be the sole survivor of a dozen or so. It came with matching polyester jacket, navy blue slacks and tie and white shirt with Russkit patch.

This is Len Vucci’s box. Len was one of the 4 original team members with Mike Morrissey, Ron Quintana and Rick Durkee. Mike was of course, team captain.

Fortunately the box has survived with all its contents. Morrissey picked Len for the Team after his win in a 24-hour race organized by sponsor Ralston Purina. His winning car still exists and you can see it inside the box. Original tire dirt included. This box was used in the famous 1966 Russkit “Tour” of over 50 raceways in 3 weeks, leading to tall stories by local losers as well as winners. Note the intact bag of “Tiny’s” tires… not too many of those around.

Len’s McLaren-Elva was built by Morrissey (frame) and by Len himself (body and rewound Russkit 23 motor). Note the Mylar spoiler. The back one fell off and I have to re-attach it one of these days.

The chassis is made mostly of piano wire and not the usual brass rod. Below is a copy of the famous Rod & Custom issue reporting the first race of the series organized by the magazine. You can see the cars of Mike Morrissey and Rick Durkee, almost identical to Len Vucci’s own example.

→ 1 CommentTags: Vintage Slot Cars

Batmobiles. What is the real story?

July 10th, 2008 · 8 Comments

Lots of reproductions of the original BZ Batmobile body out there. Lots of misrepresentation about such thin Lexan bodies mounted over original or Charlie Almond produced chassis copies. What to believe?

Lloyd Asbury built both the BZ (Beck & Zimmerman) forming tools (4 of them, I own one of the original), but also a couple for use by the Lancer company. The visual difference is in the license plate on the back of the car, smooth on the Lancer, engraved “BZ1966” on the BZ tooling.
All the BZ bodies were made of thick, 30-thou butyrate, and they were always sold completely trimmed and ready to use including the side mounting holes, in either clear or painted form. Of course BZ used most of them to build their RTR cars, the famous Batmobile RTR:

Many have survived in fair to excellent condition, a few with their original and fragile clear plastic 2-piece box, the same box used by K&B for their late-issue RTRs, the same as used by Western Hobbies for their RTR cars, and this box was also used by another couple of manufacturers for various purposes. In other words, the plastic company which made the box tooling had a good salesman. Current market value of these BZ RTR cars, mint in mint original box with the yellow and blue insert, the car unused with its original “white-line” Riggen-produced rear tires, oscillates between $450.00 and $1250.00 depending on how many bidders there are and how bad they want one. The original bodies sell factory painted for as much as $100.00 and clear for as much as $60.00.

Meanwhile, Lancer also produced the body (sans license plate) also in butyrate, also trimmed, but sold in the usual white and blue Lancer boxes. These generally go for about $40.00 but are actually rarer.

When the BZ company collapsed like most of the larger-volume slot car manufacturers did in 1968, one of the body tools was in the Lancer shop for repairs and never made it back. This is the tool that I inherited many years later.

Lancer eventually closed their doors in 1969, and all the body tools were unceremoniously piled into two large 100-gallon drums and left outside the vacuum forming plant in San Bernardino, CA. In 1973, Robert E. Haines (REH) was offered the tools by Lloyd Asbury’s former “partner” (as usual, Lloyd got the short end of the stick) and bought the tools for a song.
Since then, REH has pulled thousands and thousands of bodies, using thin Lexan (and not butyrate) as a material. Lexan being very hard on epoxy tools, most of these are now seriously worn out and much of the original fine detail is gone or seriously diminished.

This means that EVERY SINGLE “Batmobile” body made from LEXAN (VS thick butyrate) is a reproduction, most made from new demand in the late 1990’s to now. Their basic value is simply their wholesale price: around $3.50.
Anyone paying more than the $6.95 retail price is a SAP, and it amazes me to see that there are still so many fools paying twice as much (or more!) PLUS shipping & handling for something they can get at their local REH retailer for a lot less.

There were a total of 4 licensed “Batmobile” produced as slot cars in the 1960’s: the Aurora HO, the 1/24 BZ, K&B and Classic. Of these, the K&B is by far the most scarce, and it very seldom comes to auction. It sports a peculiar injection molded cockpit affixed with “melt-on” tabs onto the vacuum formed body. It is also the only one with a working dome light. Here is a picture of the rare beast inside its original packaging:

And a picture of the chassis featuring a functional “disc” brake:

A view of the injected cockpit (don’t bother buying a car without one, you will never find a suitable replacement…):

Note that the K&B and the BZ have the same “Bat” hubs (sold by one company to the other, not sure of which sold to whom but likely K&B sold to BZ) while the Classic NEVER came with them. Many Classic Batmobile owners did fit the Bat hubs that were sold separately by BZ, 5 of them in a little bubble pack, but one had to fit longer axles to the chassis to do so as the stock ones were far too short to accommodate the little bats. Today, many Classic “bat” owners are in complete denial, claiming that “theirs came that way”. Pure delusions from confused teenage memories.

→ 8 CommentsTags: Vintage Slot Cars

The World’s Most Important Slot Car

July 10th, 2008 · Add a Comment

Gene Husting built his (and pro-racing’s) first angle-winder car in late 1967, after he saw a picture of a 1/32 scale car built by Roy Moody in the Midwest. When he showed up at Gallagher’s J&J Raceway in California, the car, fitted with a Lancer McLaren M6 body, was improperly geared, but it showed great speed. To the great surprise of all present, Gene actually won the weekly pro-race with the car, humbling serious racers such as John Cukras and John Anderson.

The locals pros tried to find every and all reasons why the car was so fast, but centered about the “rocket” motor, ignoring that the speed of the car came form its faster cornering, allowing it to reach a greater top speed.

Bruce Paschal heard of this through the grapevine and called Husting, then talked him into sending the miracle car to him in Louisiana. Husting sent the car, then built another for himself, and yet another for John Cukras.

John proceeded to win every weekly race at Gallagher’s a total of 12 of them, setting a new record there. Then he built himself one, with a removable motor. John Anderson asked Husting to loan him the car, and with it, won another 13 weekly races in a row, beating Cukras’ record.

And this brings us to the famous USRA MC&S race, where the entire world of pro-racing changed forever, the angle-winder cars utterly humbling every and all in-lines, which became instantly obsolete.

The only surviving car of the 3 built by Husting is the Paschal car. It was returned to Gene a year ago by Bruce in an elegant gesture.
Husting is very jealous and possessive of this car, possibly the most important car in the history of the hobby, but was kind enough to let me take more pictures of it today.
Below are these pics, and I hope that you enjoy them. The body is the one painted by Kovacs and fitted to the car for the MC&S race (they ran coupes) and lettered to Paschal’s name.

The drop arm has limited drop and the front axle wire is soldered on top of it, very Dynamic-like.

The motor is a Pactra “Hemi X99” can with a Husting rewound, epoxy-ed and balanced armature, ARCO magnets without shim, Mabuchi FT16D end bell with Champion springs, post sleeves and brushes. Gears are 64-pitch Weldun steel pinion and anodized aluminum spur gear. Guide is a Cox “quick-change”, lead wires are Cox. Note the plastic axle spacers straight from regular kits… something that had already disappeared from serious “pro” racing cars for over 2 years…

The front end shows globs of solder, not because Husting was a klutz, but because he wanted to add weight, as much as possible on the drop arm, and at the same time make the car very impact resistant. It worked.

The front wheels are threaded Mini-Riggen with O-ring tires with longitudinal treads and brass adapter for 1/16″ piano wire mount. The rear wheels are Weldun with Associated blue rubber.

The steel plate over the end bell is a glue shield, and there is no problem to remove the end bell, no need to move anything else. However, the motor was never disassembled once in over 30 races this car ran with Husting, then Paschal who absolutely cleaned up with it for weeks, at his local raceway and everywhere he traveled.

The car appears crude, but is in fact well thought out, and certainly was at its time, the fastest and most efficient ever built, never mind its historic trend-setting quality.

The body is a Kovacs-painted Dynamic “Handling Bodies” Lola T70 MKIIIB coupe, painted to look like John Surtees Lola-Aston-Martin of the 1967 Le Mans race. The inlet trumpets are flared aluminum tubing. This car could have won Concours too as long as they did not turn it over…

Let Gene Husting tell the story himself:

MY ANGLEWINDER SLOT CARS
BY GENE HUSTING

After setting a Slot Car Drag Racing Record of .93 seconds, at J&J’s Raceway, in Long Beach, CA, a record that
lasted for 24 years, I decided to also try, On Road Slot Car Racing, too. The on road racing at J&J’s, on the Blue King
Track, was much more popular, and they seemed to be having much more fun, too. So, in between, my drag racing, I
was also going to be doing road racing, too. I bought a car from John Cukras, and a Checkpoint motor from Bill Steube.
It took me quite a while, but I finally started to make the A-Mains, at the weekly club races, which was where all the
fast racers raced on Thursday nights. These were the best of the best. Mike and Billy Steube, John Cukras, Terry
Schmid, Doug Henline, John Anderson, Mike Morrissey, etc, who were racing there. Of course I wasn’t beating any of
those guys, but simply making the A-Mains with those guys, was a good feeling for me. During this time I was simply
learning the Basics of On Road racing.

Then I began figuring out what these cars were doing, and I couldn’t figure out why they were made this way.
For instance, when I started slot car drag racing, all of the dragsters had inline mounted motors. When the dragsters
took off, you could see their tire’s traction pattern, on the black polished Formica track, that looked like a black mirror.
It was like a series of wiggles, crossing the braided centerline of the track. Snaking down the track. This, of course, was
not so good, so I started to make my dragsters longer, and longer, and the snaking became less and less, but it was
still there. But, I was going faster than everyone else, because I always had the longest cars.
What I finally realized, was that all of this snaking effect, was from an inline motor, which try’s to twist the chassis, on
acceleration. Just like in your family Ford or Chevy car.

So, then I built the first “Sidewinder” dragster, and that car just jumped straight forward off of the starting line. It was
simply too easy to win races. The dragster crowd, immediately caught on, and they all switched to Sidewinder mounted
motors, too.

So, after I had done this, I started thinking about what was happening in my On Road Slot Car, and it was quite easy to
come to the realization, that the inline road cars, were having the same problems, but it was not as easy to visually see
it happening.

But, now I knew it was happening, and I started to figure out how to change the problem. I was going to build my own
slot road racecar.

I started laying things out, but I soon realized there simply was not enough room to build a full sidewinder car. But, I
figured I could get the same effect, by simply angling the motor a small amount, to fit it in the chassis. The overall effect
on the car’s handling, would be almost identical to a full sidewinder car. That cured one major problem.
There were a number of other handling problems, that needed help. But the other major problem that needed correcting,
was the way the motor was mounted.

I would never ever even think of mounting my dragster motors by the end bell. To me, it would be unthinkable. Why in
the world would I want to have the harmonics from the two gears, affecting the brush end of the motor shaft, which would
cause the brushes to be bouncing off the commutator?

True, it wouldn’t be too much, the motor would still run. But, when you’re talking racing, it would be too much. So, I would
merely solder in the can, at an angle, to get my desired gear ratio, of course.

Now, I knew the brushes would be making a constant uniform pressure on the commutator, giving me an ideal situation
concerning power and commutator wear. I wanted the drop arm to be as low as possible, and I wanted to get a lot of
extra weight on it, too, to be able to lower the center of gravity of the car. This was very important to the overall handling
of the car. So, I added gobs of lead to the drop arm, and used it in such a manor as to strengthen some of the attached
parts, making them more “bullet proof”. Sure, it made the car heavier, but I wasn’t drag racing here. I was Road Racing
now, and handling meant more to me than a little extra weight. There’s a number of other things that I did to the chassis,
to help the handling, that some of you have figured out now, and the rest of you are guessing at. I’ll leave you having your
fun.
This # 1 car wasn’t geared quite correctly, because when I went to pick up the Weldon gears from Jim Gallagher, the
owner of J&J’s Raceway, he didn’t have the gear ratio that I wanted, so I took the lowest set of drag gears that he had,
which were too high, and he told me would get me the other gears that I wanted.
I mounted my new Kovacs painted McLaren sports car body, and I was off to the races. This time I easily qualified for
the Main Event race. And, I FINISHED IN 3RD PLACE !!!

I was really surprised, as was everyone at the race! They all came by to look at the car, and they all had a number of
reasons why it couldn’t work, and the reason why I finished in 3rd place, was because I had a really good motor.
The next night, I received a call from Bruce Paschal, in New Orleans. We were friends, and what happened on Thursday
night was now going around the country. Bruce said, that he had heard what was happening, and he wondered if he
could borrow the car to try it out on his track. I said it’s a little over geared, but he said his track is a little longer, and it
should be OK.

So, I agreed to send him the car, after I built a new car for me, with the correct gearing. So, I built an identical new car,
with the correct gearing, and Thursday night I went to J&J’s again.
John Cukras came over, and we were talking, and he noticed I had 2 cars now. He asked if he could run the 2nd car
that night. I said sure, but it’s over geared a little. It’s the car I ran last week. He said “that’s OK, I just want to see what
it feels like”.

So, I broke Terry Schmidt’s track record of 6.84, with a 6.73!!!

UNBELIEVABLE !!!!! This is something you only dream of, but can never happen. Cukras then tied my time with the
other car. WOW!!.

I WON THE RACE BY 3 1/2 LAPS !!!!!!!!!! Another impossible dream come true!
After the race John Anderson came over and asked me if he could run the car the next week. I told John that this car
was going to be sent to Bruce Paschal, tomorrow morning, but that I would build a 3rd car for him.
I know. You’re all wondering why in the world wouldn’t I just keep on running the car by my self, and keep winning the
aces. It would be the logical thing to normally do, however, I was getting started in R/C Car Racing, and it was getting
uppermost on my mind. I just wanted something so simple, just someone to copy my car.

In the meantime, all the Pro Racers were busy building their own versions of their angle-winder cars, which were
nothing like mine, for the upcoming Model Car Science Magazine, USRA Race. I didn’t race in these races, because
I was the originator of these races, and I wrote up the article for these races.

After this race, everybody was racing their own versions of angle-winder cars.

THE STORY GETS EVEN BETTER !!!!

A week later, we’re back at J&J’s. I’m running the #2 car, and John Anderson is running the newest #3 car.
John Anderson easily won the race, and I finished 2nd. Remember, all the Pro’s were now running their own versions of
angle-winder cars. John asked me if he could keep running the car. He wanted to beat John Cukras’s record of winning
11 races in a row, at J&J’s, during the inline motor period. I said sure, and John went on to win 12 races in a row! And I
finished 2nd, 11times.

I know, I know. You’re all wondering why didn’t I just drive, and I could have won all those races. It wasn’t about me.
It was always about the car.

Even in spite of what John won, nobody else ever built a car like mine.
Maybe it was because John kept telling them I built the fastest motors he had ever driven, while I’m telling them, it’s
the car. Actually, the motors were more efficient being mounted on the can, but the car was so easy to drive, otherwise
I couldn’t have finished behind John 11 times. Maybe we were both right.

Meanwhile, Bruce Paschal, to whom I sent car #1, was in his ’40’s,
and his business took him all around the world. During his travels, he went to dozens of tracks, and Bruce said he never
lost even one race during this time. And no one copied the car!!!

About 40 years later, someone else actually built, an accurate copy of my car, with help from Philippe De Lespinay.
When Philippe heard that Steven O’Keefe, from Pennsylvania, wanted to build an EXACT copy of my car, Philippe
provided Steven with detailed photos and detailed drawings, of car #1. Steven is a master craftsman.

But, this could not have happened, because I did not have the car, but out of the blue, Bruce Paschal and I came to
visit with Philippe. Bruce had brought with him car # 1, that I had given to him eons ago, and he was gracious enough
to give the car back to me. Unbelievable!

And, he also gave Philippe over two dozens very famous race cars, too.

CAN YOU BELIEVE ALL THE TWISTS AND TURNS IN THIS STORY? BUT, THEY’RE ALL DOCUMENTED!!!!
But, it still gets better. Before racing slot cars, I was racing real dragsters. I was the first one to build a longer
dragster, by 3 feet longer. The very first time we ran it, at LIONS DRAG STRIP, in Long Beach, CA, we broke the
track record, and were undefeated, for a whole year, until I retired from the real
car racing to go into slot cars, because of my growing family.

But, the same thing happened. NOBODY copied my car.

2 1/2 years later, Don Garlits, in Florida, made a car with the same longer wheelbase, matching mine. Garlits
never saw my car. He did it all on his own. He is a truly great innovator.

By GENE HUSTING

Online comments:

25 May 2004, 08:10

Fantastic, Dr P!
I wish I’d had that line about adding extra weight when I first started soldering! But that’s a beautiful, evocative car- I remember those spindly frames, just how we used to do them before the big pans appeared. And Bob Kovacs seems to have the Lola-Aston blue-green color sorted out all that time ago- it’s been bugging me recently! I don’t suppose you have a record of the exact shade used? There’s another scratch-built Xylon in it for you if you do…
Yours in hopes rather than expectation, but thanks for the fascinating post!

TSRF

25 May 2004, 18:43

I am afraid that even Bob Kovacs would be in dire trouble to supply us with a correct mix…

Rail Racer

26 May 2004, 08:47

That is a really great car, How is your book coming on Doc?

RR

TSRF

27 May 2004, 03:44

It’s progressing but I had too many unwanted interruptions lately…
Regards,

howmet tx

27 May 2004, 08:24

I’m a little disappointed that that car hasn’t provoked more of a reaction amongst our gentle readers, Dr. P! I was looking forward to a raging debate. Especially from our Rail, who I thought would immediately nominate some antique steam-powered rail car, with a myriad of excellent reasons.

I’m sure you don’t underestimate it as being the world’s most important as far as I’m concerned, but I am surprised that no-one has tried to dispute that tag.
I wasn’t aware at the time who designed and built the first actual angle-winder, but certainly was greatly affected by it. In-lines were suddenly as obsolete as 26D sidewinders were a year or so before. Such a huge and immediate improvement in handling! I had to start bashing my carefully made U-brackets into funny obtuse angles and hunting round for spur gears again. Has any other single chassis development had such a dramatic effect?

Mind- I remember reading about a US racer called Doug Henline, who for his own reasons (possibly the obvious one!) stuck to in-lines for a bit longer than most, and seemed to be able to win through sheer driving ability. But I may have got that one a bit tangled up. I usually have.

And the front axle-on-drop arm thing always passed me by. I could never work out the point of that Dynamic chassis, never having owned one (too expensive at the time, and still now!), and never being startled by it’s performance in other people’s hands. But I was very young then. Drop arm OK- keeps the guide in the slot regardless of what the front wheels are doing. But as soon as you connect the drop arm to the front wheels you lose that advantage. There must be a logical explanation…. Perhaps US tracks were smoother than ours….

GRAH1

27 May 2004, 09:49

Drop arms don’t work unless sprung down or have a mag on top .Just as an example say you have a car with a drop arm approaching he top of a hump as the car goes over the hump the drop arm which carries the same momentum as the rest of the car caries on in the same direction and stays flat and wont drop of its own accord . therefore un-sprung non magnetic drop arms don’t work the only thing they might do is if the car tips then the guide might stay in the lot slightly longer ,but if the drop arm is locked to the front wheels the wheels will touch first in the corner and stabilize the car the hinge just adds a certain amount of de coupling similar to running a loose body on a plastic car .
And Philippe the car is a classic but didn’t Chas Keeling build the first angle winder with his KS powered Harvey aluminum special . This car as I recall was 4 wheel drive and had the motor diagonally across the chassis to drive the front and rear wheels ,I think I have a pic somewhere.

howmet tx

27 May 2004, 12:26

Hmmm. Thanks Grah. I think I understand. I was always thinking in terms of the tipping effect rather than the ‘hump’ effect I suppose. We did use to spring the arms a little or put loads of lead on the end, and the amount of travel was pretty small anyway… I use a magnet now. But that momentum you mention doesn’t necessarily apply if it is a random deflection on the wheels rather than a hump in the track anyway, does it? And presumably those ‘rally’ cars with drop arms to use on special tracks are a bit of a waste of time… although I have no experience of them. But I do agree about the ‘decoupling’ effect, probably the most important.

Cool car though, no doubt about that!

GRAH1

27 May 2004, 13:07

Don’t know about the rally tracks but look at the picks on slotcentre and in GSR they look sprung I have used a sprung guide on Ninco track to help with the bumps but I’m not convinced as I tend to run tripods anyway but lets not get back into the tripod VS 4 wheel argument again . I have just down loaded the pics and might have to make a replica of this chassis just for the sake of it , I don’t have a Pactra motor to use but I have a Rikochet which is of similar appearance, any idea what wind Husting used on the arm so I can get the power some where near.

howmet tx

27 May 2004, 13:15

Sounds like a great project, Grah! Don’t forget to stock up with solder. Have you got a source for a T70GT shell?

Rail Racer

27 May 2004, 13:19

tx, I was thinking along the lines you wrote, as I think that some of the earlier rail cars are much more important in the history of our hobby but this is so subjective that to every person, the most important car will be different. I think Walkden Fisher’s rail Mercedes is too me one of the most important cars but I think that it is impossible to narrow it down too one car.

I can see if you were in America when Gene built this car, pro-racing then this would be a very important car, but to me personally it is a great car but it has almost no historical significance as it was just another step in building faster pro-racing cars.
RR

Wankel Ickx

27 May 2004, 13:40

Gee, Mr P, you been talking to Mope recently? Certainly picked up the hyperbole ‘ting.
I’m with RR on this one, it may be the most important car in American slot racing history but surely not the world.
Like you say, “The car appears crude…”
Guess it marks a time, rather like at Indy with the arrival of rear-engined cars, when the design rulebook was torn up and rewritten, everything else consigned to history.

JOHN SECCHI

27 May 2004, 13:50

Betta make a decent 1/24 Lola T70 GT shell and it’s available in various thickness.
[oneofwos]

Tropi

27 May 2004, 13:51

To be fair, if it was American, then it more or less meant ‘World’ in them there days!
I liked drop arms and still do, but as a separate entity from all other parts of the frame – other than its necessary pivot, of course! ie not with the motor resting on it and not with the front axle on it either.
The curious thing is, that in one form or another, they were all the rage for quite a long time, yet today, are no longer seen on commercial chassis or anything else much beside the gimmicky ‘all terrain vehicles’.

GRAH1

27 May 2004, 14:15

QUOTE

Don’t forget to stock up with solder

Its ok howmet I’ll just poke my eyes out with the soldering iron first

howmet tx

27 May 2004, 16:11

No no please no! A blindfold will do!
But thanks for today’s Big Laugh Grah!
There’s always something on the old SF to crack the cheeks. Not always the right pair though..

GRAH1

27 May 2004, 20:51

Here’s a pic of Chas Keeling’s angled Harvey Aluminum spec circa 1964

user posted image

sorry about the quality but its an old pic but as you can see Chas used a K’s frame motor at an angle diagonally across the chassis to give 4 wd he used contrate gears and not spurs.
Is this the earliest angle winder or can some one find one older?

Tropi

27 May 2004, 21:31

I think that one is in a class of its own!
Very neat and innovative, it probably deserves its own special classification/description.
Diangle-winder?

Jamie

27 May 2004, 21:51

QUOTE

There’s always something on the old SF to crack the cheeks. Not always the right pair though..

TSRF

28 May 2004, 06:14

QUOTE

And Philippe the car is a classic but didnt Chas Keeling build the first angle winder with his KS powered Harvey Aluminum special .

I am well aware of Chas Keeling’s Harvey since the late 1960’s… But it has NOTHING to do with the angle-winder principle and theory. It is simply an inline in which the motor has been positioned at a slight angle so as to help the four-wheel drive transmission, a major mistake in itself. The car never performed any better than any of its contemporary competitors, it was just another of these early days curiosities, like full suspensions and differential. In the bin.

Now why is the Husting car (or for that matter, the Roy Moody car) so important to the hobby? Because, as the Cooper-Climax brought the end of front-engine cars in F1 and Indy, the angle-winder completely revolutionized the hobby just at a time where it was beginning to die. It was, is and will be for a long time, the most effective way to actual performance instead of advertised gimmicks, the “final solution” of weight distribution vs traction vs polar momentum VS any other factor. NO OTHER SINGLE RAIL OR SLOT CAR EVER had as much influence on the hobby as this one, not only in America but on the entire planet. While the toy industry is still mostly stuck on in-lines, it is quite obvious that the best of the toys (once the crutches provided bay the magnets are removed) are sidewinder, and once the toy industry will move into the cobalt-magnet field and produce smaller motors with tiny little square mags, adios in-lines, all of them. If any of you think that the FLY Viper is the nec-plus-ultra of engineering with its front-engine layout, I strongly suggest a return to school to get back to basic mathematics.
That’s why.

By the way and to come back to drop arms: I un-voluntarily created a little revolution of my own by being the fellow who killed the drop arm for good on the pro racing level. This happened in late 1972 when as one of the world’s top pros, I was first to win consistently with a car without a drop arm. The entire center section was solid, with the front wheels being completely independent from the center section. While there was some ancestry to this as one could actually build a similar contraption from Dynamic parts off the shelf, the performance of such contraption was not even close to be in the same league. It was not long before the entire field in the USA and UK copied the design and began winning on their own. Such cars, called “Diamond” because of their peculiar front-end shapes, absolutely dominated professional slot car racing from that very moment in 1972 until the advent of the perimeter frame in the late 1980’s.

Why did I do this? Simply because drop arms of ANY KIND are an engineering mistake and present ZERO advantages and MANY inconveniences, the worst of them being causing “launching”, an actual taking off in the straightaway (flying), resulting in costly crashes. This happens when the car begins hinging itself under full power (and we are not talking Slot.It V12 here…) around its pivot point where the drop arm is hinged. I experimented with stiffer and stiffer springs and the cars got better and better, so I built a prototype where the arm was actually soldered between the main frame rails. It did not work well until I removed the front wheels altogether, and then I understood the whole advantages. So I built “A” arms and hinged them from the center, then made adjustable springs so as to use the wheels to help reduce the drag on the guide flag while cornering. Boy, did it work!
A month later, the car held the world record on the American Blue King track, the reference track around the world, a full 1/2 second faster than anyone had ever been at the time. No one had EVER had such an advantage, and I used it to the fullest in 1973, cleaning up in most national-level races entered, while I sent cars to Europe that cleaned up there, especially when Bernd Mobus won the 1974 Euro Championship with one, while another sent to Sweden allowed Per Gustafson to dominate the field there.

Drop arms are found on slower cars or Spanish do-ickey gizmos in dire need of technical complexity to generate sales to the credulous ignorant, period. Add this to oil-filled shock absorbers and working diffs… God saves us all.
Regards,

Dr. Pea

GRAH1

28 May 2004, 07:13

Philippe I was not trying to belittle the importance of Gene’s car ,as if we had not been made aware of its existence back then we’d probably still be racing in-lines ,merely pointing out that the angled motor albeit for different reasons had been around before as had the full sidewinder Gene exploited the idea and showed the way to go and I do think it was a mile stone in slot racing history. It also helped me to dominate the racing at my then club in Accrington for quite some time.

howmet tx

28 May 2004, 08:03

I have to say I’m still with the Doc on this, Grah. Mr Keeling’s car, groovy as it is, is a twisted inline, done to get round the problem of fitting four wheel drive and a guide flag under a small body (well, a Harvey Al. Spl.). And four-wheel drive belongs, as our man somewhat harshly puts it, ‘in the bin’ as far as competitive racing is concerned. The angle-winder idea is a different thing altogether.
And TSRF (blimey- how many pseudonyms are you allowed to have?) kinda backs up my long held idea that the drop arm was there at least partly to isolate the guide from the movements of the front wheels. As in the dreaded ISO-fulcrum.
And are you, with uncharacteristic modesty, PdL, offering your own Diamond chassis as the other comparable break-through in chassis design about which I initially enquired? Any other supporters for that idea?
I’m getting out of my depth here. I think I’ll just doggy paddle back to the toddlers pool. But good discussion!
And what other bin-bound ideas were bravely pursued and beautifully engineered by the bold pioneers of our beautiful hobby, by the way? I used to fall asleep reading descriptions of intricate 1/32 clutch mechanisms in ‘Model Cars’.

Edo

28 May 2004, 08:55

Hi guys
it would really be nice if we could have pics of the different examples of historical type of chassis:
pans, drop arms, hinged, diamond etc etc.
I stopped racing in 1967-68 after I won several races with Cox Cucaracha and Chaparral with re-wounded 26Ds . Then the Porsche Russkit with that black flimsy chassis (which I never liked compared to the beauty of the Cox aluminum chassis) began to win in all Italy and here in the Italian side of Switzerland but by the time I had a revolution to do (yes Mr. Pea I was on “that” side of the barricades so I quit slot race (also because you could find girls more easily in occupied schools than in slot cars tracks )
Anybody would put up some pics please?
Mr Pea? (I swear that I don’t read Mao Tse Dong’s red book anymore
Thanks and best regards
Edo (former red guard)

Tropi

28 May 2004, 09:14

I had a sneaky feeling that the mere mention of drop arms would trigger another entertainingly educational response! I love this stuff – lots of history, sensible reasoning, wonderful!
What can I think of next . . .

howmet tx

28 May 2004, 09:56

I’ve been doing my controversial best to stir things up, Tropi. I wish I had some photos of these old devices, but I think we’ll just have to rely on goading Monsieur Pea. Maybe Russell has some stuff still tucked away in his drawers. Or perhaps that’s just the way he walks.

Swissracer

28 May 2004, 10:01

What can I think of next . . .

I am probably going to regret this as it will simply highlight my young age (yeah right! ) and ignorance but…

Magna-traction, when did it first appear and was it also a kind of revolution? or is it really a new fad used to kick-start the hobby again after a 20 year spell in the doldrums.
Did it ever have a serious place in ‘pro’ racing? or was gooey gunk on the track cheaper?

Edo

28 May 2004, 10:50

Here
Chaparral Cox I raced and the Mini-A the “best” Italian chassis then which took over and beat Cox “Cuc” and Russkit Porsche in 69-70 (if I remember well).
could you tell me how the 2 chassis qualify: Cox = not really a drop arm? Mini-a =pan?
Forgive me for the butchery on the body: that was the way we raced
Best
Edo

This is also the first pic test I make from Photobucket so let’hope it works

user posted image
user posted image

Tropi

28 May 2004, 12:11

Forgive me for the butchery on the body

Sorry, impossible to forgive – that is terrible!!!! biggrin.gif Nice chassis though!

Difflock

28 May 2004, 12:48

QUOTE (TSRF @ 28 May 2004, 06:14)

Drop arms are found on slower cars or Spanish do-ickey gizmos in dire need of technical complexity to generate sales to the credulous ignorant, period

I know I’m a minnow in this pool of slot sharks, but I would suggest that a drop arm chassis and suspension enables the creation of “off road” slot racing. Yes, it’s a gimmick, but why should slot racing remain pure on the (routed) straight & narrow?

At least the off roasters seem more realistic to drive than the current crop of slot motorcycles blink.gif
Mark.

Xlot

28 May 2004, 13:03

Edo,
thanks a lot for the Mini-A picture !!
I remember seeing the first model in Milan in 67 – before the race got underway and ended up in the usual brawl shortly thereafter
They were made by a Mr. Pizzi, right ?
Ciao
Beppe

Wankel Ickx

28 May 2004, 13:10

NO OTHER SINGLE RAIL OR SLOT CAR EVER had as much influence on the hobby as this one, not only in America but on the entire planet.

Yup. He’s been talking to Mope, alrighty; yet he’s tempered the hyperbole – he’s not claiming it as the most influential car in the solar system.
I think what we have here is a basic difference in definitions. Mr Peevly is talking ‘slot cars’ whereas I and several others here above are talking Scalextric, Scalextric in the generic meaning, the non-professional home-racing meaning of the word. We’re talking toys against hobbyist engineering projects.
Yes, the crudely built chassis above may well have rocked the pro slot car world, no, it didn’t cause so much as a blip on the home market. Why else would it have taken decades for Ninco (for it was they?) to introduce it there?

Tropi

28 May 2004, 13:37

the home market

Ah, but WHOSE home market!
International board Mr. W!
AND – if you were an old enough phart to have been around THEN, drop arms were adopted by many of the better slot car manufacturers such as Monogram etc.
The UK ‘home market’ was what?
Scalextric and that’s about it, if we are talking literally, ‘in the UK home’.
Well, it didn’t have any effect on their toys (in any sense of the ‘toy’ word), but realistically, we wouldn’t have expected it to THEN.
A little later, slotting kind of died, or at least entered a period of suspended animation.

Why else would it have taken decades for Ninco (for it was they?) to introduce it

Well, the answer is more or less above – Ninco simply weren’t around at the time!
They are relatively new upstarts, as are most of the rest of the companies you youngsters have come to know and love. It’s a very fair bet that, if they had been around, at least one of them would have given drop arms a shot – and angle-winders and side-winders.
So PdL is quite right in his historical presentations, but most of you are just too young to know!

Rail Racer

28 May 2004, 13:39

Now I am sorry to say that I completely disagree about the historical importance of this car.
So it made Pro-racing cars go faster I have to say SO WHAT,
I believe that if the system had not been built into this car it would have been built into another slot car by another builder sooner or later.
One thing I have learned though all the hours of researching my book, is that many slot racers all over the world are often working on the same problem and often come up with the same answer. Now a lot of the steps taken at the time of rail racing are still with us today for 1/32 scale cars etc. The list of important slot racing development is huge so it’s incorrect to pick up one small improvement and blow it up out of context.

RR

Wankel Ickx

28 May 2004, 13:55

Argh! You pedant, you, Tropi! But how kind to blame my ignorance on the innocence of youth! And so accurate an assumption.
It would appear from Tropi’s dissection of my post that my thinking was too parochial.
Well of course Ninco weren’t around at the time but what I think I meant was that the mass market merchants, catering for the home user, the toy business, didn’t pick up on it, otherwise Ninco wouldn’t have been the first so to do many years later.

Swissracer

28 May 2004, 14:06

The list of important slot racing development is huge so it’s incorrect to pick up one small improvement and blow it up out of context.

Correct, but it is helpful and interesting to pick out those improvements and highlight them as having more impact overall than many of the other evolutions along the way.
A timeline for evolution of slot racing from the start until now would be fascinating.
I am also not so sure you can eliminate that car and the others like it in the early days, as having NO impact on the home set racing scene, I am sure R&D from current Companies did their research into past trends and techniques.

Tropi

28 May 2004, 14:11

I am probably going to regret this as it will simply highlight my young age (yeah right! ) and ignorance but…

I forgot about this!
If for no other reason, this is where it’s handy to have your real, genuinely old phartz skulking around so that you, wot THINK you are old phartz, realize that you actually are not that old after all!

astro

28 May 2004, 14:25

I believe that if the system had not been built into this car it would have been built into another slot car by another builder sooner or later.

this is not only true of slot racing, but of almost everything ever invented. There was a time for the telephone to arrive, a couple of people got there first; same with television. That does not rob the person who came up with the first one to be recognized of historical importance – or if it does, all of history is bunk anyway.

andy

28 May 2004, 15:32

i think this is what people mean when they tal about drop arms
Am I right?

user posted image

Rail Racer

28 May 2004, 15:33

Swiss,
“Built With Passion” tell the story of the time line for the start of slot racing from diesel rail racing until 1964.

Astro,
I completely agree this car and it’s builder are important as a step in the development in slot racing and due credit must be given for that but that does not make it the most important slot car.

astro

28 May 2004, 15:43

GRAH1

28 May 2004, 16:07

andy the chassis pictured in your post is an ISO fulcrum design which by definition means “same pivot point” The first commercial application was the Cox “La Cucaracha” shown in one of the earlier posts on this thread, the idea behind this is the weight of the motor was concentrated on the drop-arm by virtue of it being mounted on it.
But the more usual definition of a drop arm is a hinged guide arm, generally hinged in front of the motor but some times from behind.
Hope this clears up any confusion

Fergy

28 May 2004, 16:16

Not to diminish the value of Gene Husting’s creation (because I believe it to be a major milestone in slot history), but…..

Wouldn’t the “most important” slot car be the first one?

a Bill

28 May 2004, 16:22

So it made Pro-racing cars go faster I have to say SO WHAT

Anything that happens at the top levels trickles down to the lower levels. Look at all the work they did on real racing cars over the years and then compare to what new passenger cars can do today. It all eventually trickles down.

I completely agree this car and it’s builder are important as a step in the development in slot racing and due credit must be given for that but that does not make it the most important slot car.

I agree with this statement myself. It all depends on the point of view. I’d actually consider whoever started using electric motors in these toys to be of more importance as it was a leap in technology while the angle winder is an improvement of that technology. Mr Pea has a point in that the angle-winder gave slot cars a much needed kick in the pants to get going again as well as being a superior improvement over previous models. Since Mr Pea was involved in racing at the time it made a far greater impact on his life than it would the average Joe playing with his home set. But, since everything on the pro level trickles down, the average Joe will see it eventually on his home set.

There is a lot of good information in this thread as well as a chance to see different perspectives. I’m enjoying this a great deal. This also reminds me that there is a book I still need to buy.

Rail Racer

28 May 2004, 16:39

I agree with Fergy the most important slot car is the first one.
RR

Edo

28 May 2004, 16:52

Ciao Beppe
I do not remember who made it but can you confirm that the Mini-A chassis was THE one to win over Cox “Cuc” and Porsche Russkit then? By that time I was not racing anymore but would hear stories about this Italian wonder…

Hi Edo,
the sequence in Italy was first Russkit Carrera, then Cox Cucaracha and then Mini-A – but I saw very little of the latter as by that time I was leaving slots, essentially for the same reason you did (girls, not barricades)
Recently I’ve tried asking about what happened next on the Italia Slot forum, but the local curmudgeons are not interested in sharing their knowledge

Beppe

TSRF

28 May 2004, 17:44

Wouldn’t the “most important” slot car be the first one?

I think that this line of reasoning bears no reason:
the “Marmon Wasp” Indy car is hardly considered by anyone as the “most important” car in the history of the Indy 500.
The “Fardier” of Joseph Cugnot, the world’s first automobile (1760’s…) is hardly considered as the “most important automobile”.
In the same manner, the “most important” rail-racing car is hardly the 1911 Lionel, and it was the first.

The most important car in any of the above would be the one that meant the largest change in ensuing use by the majority of serious users: the Benz “Velo” of 1886, the Cooper-Climax Indy car of 1961, one of the 1950’s rail-racing cars of the Southport club…

That the Scalextric world was hardly affected is true, since Scalextric has always been in the TOY industry and any Scalextric car could hardly compete with ANY slot car designed for RACING. Scalextric users are playing with TOYS, while the serious hobbyist will hardly glance at them. This is not a demeaning comment, it’s just simple reality.
That Ninco introduced their own angle-winder 35 years after the Roy Moody’s car only shows that they eventually had a look at the successors of this pioneering design, probably a Flexi car now sold in Spain. I bet that they still have hardly a CLUE about any history of the hobby, have never witnessed an actual slot car race run with non-toy machinery. So do most enthusiasts today, and it shows when they are asking about suspension, differentials or other losers. I mean, my God, Slot.It INTRODUCED the setscrew aluminum wheels and gears, did not they?
Ignorance is bliss.

Edo, the Dynamic sidewinder chassis for FT26 motors were the best thing for an off-the shelf item in 1966, allowing the world’s worst klutz to build a competitive car capable of racing with the best hand-built cars of the time. I know this because I used them then AND defeated all the local hand built machinery.

The Testor chassis was not so good… with a terrible drop arm design causing the cars to run erratically and de-slot like Carrera cars today, from a similar wandering guide system.

The Mini-A chassis (inline pressed aluminum jobs inspired by the original IFC design) were conceived and built well after the angle-winder was born. The Italians extensively raced the Cucarachas in 1967 to 1970, with highly tuned FT26 motors. They appeared to be oblivious to the progress made in the USA at the time, possibly because they had difficult access to the “right” parts.

Andy, a “drop arm” is defined as hinged ahead of the motor. While the IFC concept shown on your Audi really works well, the drop arm concept is as smart as the Ninco sprung guide flag. It’s plain dumb.
Best regards,

Dr. Pea

Rail Racer

28 May 2004, 18:03

Never though I would agree in a way with Philippe, but Philippe is right the most important rail cars were those used by the Southport Club when they introduced electric model car racing to the world as we know it today.

These rail cars were the most historically important slot or rail cars ever built, because everything we have today comes directly from these rail cars. They are really the first truly multi- lane competitive system built strictly for racing IMHO.
RR

Fergy

28 May 2004, 18:27

I think that this line of reasoning bears no reason:
the “Marmon Wasp” Indy car is hardly considered by anyone as the “most important” car in the history of the Indy 500.

But this is hardly the same thing. Cars had been raced since their inception. The Marmon Wasp was not the first racing car, nor the first car. It was notable as a “milestone” in racing, which is why you mentioned it.

The first of any “item” must surely be the most important, since all that come after depend on its creation. Perhaps not the most interesting to subsequent generations, but the first must be the “most important”! Okay, perhaps this is an argument of semantics, but I DID put a “wink” in my last post!

And, yes, I believe Husting’s car was a key milestone in slot racing. Then again, similar arguments could be made for the first spring-steel chassis, the first use of air dams, the first use of tire goop, the first drop-arm, the first ISO, etc. These were all key steps in slot racing’s history, and some steps may be bigger than others, but I hesitate to affix the term “most important” to any one development. I think it would be possible to argue that Dynamic’s modular chassis components were just as important as Husting’s angle-winder. Perhaps for different reasons, but the impact, at the time, was quite enormous on slot racing as a whole. Dynamic actually managed to “grey” the line between scratch-built, semi-scratch-built, and near-production cars and opened up competitive racing to a larger group of people. Pretty important, IMO. And Husting’s car didn’t do that.

I won’t argue that the car was a “major milestone”. It was! And it should be prominent in any history of slot racing. But the “most important”? I just don’t think it deserves that title. I’m not sure any one car does. Except, maybe, the first..

 

→ No CommentsTags: Vintage Slot Cars

1960’s Rare Thingies Revisited

July 10th, 2008 · 7 Comments

Larry Shinoda was a senior designer for General Motors under Bill Mitchell, then for the Ford Motor Company. In his vast portfolio are the designs of the Corvette Sting Ray, the Mustang “Boss” and the cast-alloy multi-spoke wheel that was later outrageously copied by the German wheel manufacturer BBS.

Shinoda, an American-born citizen of Japanese origins, was also a fan of slot cars in the classic period, and designed a series of fantastic slot car bodies. Through an arrangement with a cottage-industry manufacturer, aptly named “Thingies”, these bodies were produced in confidential quantities in 1967. Run at famous raceways such as “The Groove” in Chicago, and Tom Thumb in Detroit, they were fitted over home-built inline component chassis often using a Dynamic motor mount. Most of the motors used were local-production units, basically Mabuchi FT16 and FT26 motors rewound by Dyna-Rewind and fitted with better magnets and brass sleeves over the end bells spring posts.

What made these bizarre slot cars so famous for the vintage enthusiasts are two stories published in Model Car Science and Model Car Racing. In the MC&S issue was told the story of the second “Summer Tour” by the famous Team Russkit. Mike Morrissey and Ron Quintana toured about 30 raceways in 2 weeks, and encountered serious opposition from these low-slung bugs. Indeed, the almost-scale Lotus 40’s of the team were beaten by the thingies. Nothing really amazing there, as the locals creamed the western cars with a clear advantage in the handling department and what appeared to be at least equal power to that of the Russkit rockets. A bit humiliating, but the MC&S story was politically correct and never mentioned the actual result…

Are these the only surviving body tags? More are needed to figure all the bodies names…

An array of Shinoda designed “Thingies” bodies with some of their original tags.

The “Arrow”. There were several versions of these, narrower, wider and with different details.

The “Big Bus” is really impressing by its huge size.

The “Small Bus” in unpainted form, showing the rather crude molding and details. The quality was very poor, and most bodies found nowadays show cracks and defects…

The “Bullet” showing its poor forming quality.

A narrower variation of the “Bullet”.

Lampray was one of the most used bodies, seen in many period pictures.

Larry Shinoda, right, and Philippe de Lespinay on front of Philippe’s wheel company booth at the 1993 SEMA Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. Larry died of a heart attack a mere five years later.

The MDC “Bat” has a clouded history. Indeed, there was an injected body, supposed to be mounted over a ladder magnesium chassis. Stay tuned for more on this mysterious car…

The Detail Models “Tarantula” is blow-molded. It is one of the most bizarre “thingies” ever produced.

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John Cukras Most Famous Car

July 10th, 2008 · 2 Comments

American slot car racing legend John Cukras (pronounce “Soo-Krees”) did much to glorify pro-racing when this car won the first Car Model magazine series race in 1967. A story in Rod Custom, illustrated by the famous Tom Daniel who designed many of the Monogram plastic kits, opened the eyes of thousands of young Americans on slot car racing. A subsequent story by celebrated writer, the late Leon Mandel, made John Cukras’s name a household commodity at the time.

Race report with a young John Cukras flanked by his Riggen team mate, Bryan Warmack:

custom slot car by John Cukras

This is the actual car:

custom slot car by John Cukras

And the really nice drawing by Tom Daniel:
user posted image

Amazingly for a car that had serious racing use, it survived! Found in the stockpile of the late Ron Granlee, the actual car that won the 5th Car Model Series race in late 1966. The mysterious coupe body has long disappeared so we are now fitting the closest thing we could find, the Testor Ferrari P4 Spyder replica, but set as a coupe. Interestingly, we restored a similar car for John Cukras just a few years back, but it was not the actual race car. This one was found to be in the ownership of the late Ron Granlee, owner of the famous “Speed & Sport” raceway in Lynwood, California. It is now in the Marconi Museum for Kids in Tustin, CA.

Here are the pics I took of the real thing. Unfortunately, the mysterious coupe body carved by Jack Garcia has long disappeared so we are now fitting the closest thing we could find, the Testor Ferrari P4 Spyder replica, but set as a coupe.

Former Riggen team captain Bryan Warmack inspecting the old team car in his shop. Notice renewed fire in eyes.

Note; Tom Daniel’s drawing fails to show details that are present on the real car: 1/ 4 jam nuts behind wheels. 2/ 1/16″ rear axle spacers, 3/16″ front axle spacers.

Also I tried to fit 5/8″ rears with no spacers or nuts, and it comes too wide at 3-1/16′, so I can absolutely say that this car had the 1/2″ rears at all times.

Note that the Mura motor modified by Frank Taber is now fitted with a CW arm, so the Weldun crown gear changed side. Otherwise the car is exactly as it left the stage after John won the Car Model thing.

The body will be painted to match the original but we have plans for actually making a new pattern for the vanished coupe, which John told me was carved by Jack Garcia. Apparently it was never marketed because I have never seen one even in bad shape in the past 35 years…

Completing the Cukras 1967 Car Model Race Winner

This car is the one used by famous racer John Cukras to win the big Car Model magazine race in Los Angeles in 1967. I had begun the restoration of this car a long time ago, but never completed it in hope that I would find the correct body for it. Unfortunately, it looks more and more that this will never happen as not a single example of the special model carved by Jack Garcia and used by several pro racer in 1966 appears to have survived. So I used the closest thing to that, a Pactra Ferrari P4 Spyder molding made into a coupe. The basic body was trimmed and mounted, then sent to Jairus Watson for a delicate coat of dark red and a couple of details. I scanned and created the decals on Photoshop and applied them to the relevant spaces, found and painted a correct interior, fashioned the front spoiler and finsihed the car. It took forever to get all the decals made but I think the car looks pretty good considering. What do you think?

The original chassis, complete with motor, was donated a long time ago by the late Ron Granlee. I also previously restored a similar car for John Cukras himself.

The paper sticker on the front spoiler had to be recreated from scratch.

So was the small oval stickers over the engine cover.

The chassis had already been restored and needed no attention. One more in the Museum’s vault. Next!

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