New items in stock
PSK 013/1 Bocar #45, red – $239.99
Just the one new item this week, but…
Los Angeles Slot Car Museum will display vintage slot cars at major classic car event
The Los Angeles Slot Car Museum (LASCM) has been invited to display part of its vast collection of vintage slot cars at the Greystone Mansion Concours d’ Elegance. The event’s web site at http://www.beverlyhills.org/exploring/greystonemansionconcoursdelegance/ describes it as”The premiere Southern California Concours d’Elegance, held on the grounds of historic Greystone Mansion & Park in the heart of Beverly Hills”.
LASCM will show four large display cases (one case shown below) full of some of the rarest and most significant models in the history of the slot car hobby. This is only a fraction of the total LASCM collection, easily the most complete and highest-quality vintage slot car collection in the world.
If you live anywhere in Southern California and enjoy both slot cars and life-sized cars this is a must-see event for you. For those readers who live outside the greater Los Angeles area, you can explore the rich history of slot car racing at LASCM’s virtual slot car museum on line at http://lascm.com/Slot-Car-Museum/. Visit the site often and see new exhibits as they are added.
Thanks for shopping with us!
The Electric Dream Team
Warehouse phone (310) 676-7600
Slot car technical information and advice: firstname.lastname@example.org
Our warehouse is open to walk-in customers Monday through Friday 9 am to 4 pm. Next time you’re in the greater Los Angeles area stop by and see us at:
606 Hawaii Street, Unit B
El Segundo, CA 90245
We’re just minutes from LAX.
Some of the racers competing in the First Annual Checkpoint Cup retro races were offered a guided tour of the Los Angeles Slot Car Museum. Host Scott Bader and museum curator Philippe de Lespinay prepared a nice display for the visitors. Please CLICK HERE for a fully illustrated report by Keith Tanaka.
Rick Durkee Chaparral brought back to life
By Philippe de Lespinay
When Jim Russell created the world’s first professional slot car racing team in 1965, he trusted Mike Morrissey to find the “right stuff” within the So-Cal racers. Mike selected Len Vucci, Ron Quintana, and Rick Durkee as the original team members. Fred “Kenny” Larimer was later added as well as many others.
The aim was of course to showcase the Russkit products, and that, they did for a while. But the competition began using evolved home-built brass tubing and wire frames and rewound motors based on the… Russkit “23” motor!
So the team members began building some evolutions of the original Russkit “scratch-built” chassis kits, now using a new motor mount more suited to the needs of the day. Quickly, the Russkit boys set new standards and kept winning races. By early 1966, they were the team to beat anywhere they went.
Rick Durkee built this car in early 1966. Its racing history is unknown, but the traces of adhesive from the lane-color sticker tape on its nose proves that it was indeed raced. Further research may establish its exact pedigree. The car was subsequently sold to the great enthusiast, Bruce Paschal, and donated to the LASCM museum in 2002 along with a treasure trove of other surviving cars and parts.
The condition of the car was fair to poor, with serious corrosion beginning to creep into the brass and steel parts. The body had damaged decals, some cracks, and the driver insert was falling apart. The rear wheels were locked as well as the front axle, this common with old cars as the lubricant had simply returned into solid state. Help was needed!
The original Russkit motor was gone, replaced by a Bill Steube-built Team Checkpoint motor. The tires were rock-hard and several solder joints on the frame needed repair.
The frame was dirty and corroded, the lead wires had broken, and the axles showed rust. The next step was to take the whole car apart and assess the condition after a good clean-up.
Seen from the bottom, the design shows the then-fashionable curved rails made of 1/16″ brass tubing. The Russkit setscrew wheels have “Tiny’s” rear gray sponge tires while the fronts are shod with the usual cut-down K&B hard-rubber tires. A Cox “quick-change” guide is fitted.
A bath in cleaning solvent was the first thing to do. Everything including the body parts was treated, then washed in soap and water to remove all racing residue including the corrosive oil of wintergreen then used for added traction that ate the body paint and helped the corrosion to propagate onto the frame.
As usual with our sympathetic restorations, the motor was not repainted to retain its originality. The armature was cleaned, the rust removed from its stack, and the commutator and shaft polished. All the brush dirt was removed from the endbell.
The armature after polishing. This is typical of the early art of Bill Steube Sr. The single-28 wire is retained with epoxy that has lasted 40 years so far.
The commutator is a Tradeship. Blanks are Hemi.
All the parts have now been refinished: the wheels re-machined and polished, the tires slightly ground to remove the top layer of dirt, the axles machined, and the chassis cleaned (but not too much, leaving some patina). Even the original and well used Cox “Superflex” braided contacts are retained.
The car has now been reassembled. Even the original Russkit lead wires from the rewound “23” have been retained after a thorough cleaning. The motor is assembled with 3-40 machine screws and fasted to the car with 2-56 machine screws. The Cox 7-31 gears were in excellent condition and were re-used.
Here she is, ready to receive her repaired body.
The pictures found on the old period magazines are generally rather poor, often giving a false idea of what the cars truly looked like then. Thanks to the digital era and a few pioneers and guardians of these old treasures such as Bruce Paschal, we can see today what was only seen then by a few: the actual design and engineering of the pro-racing cars of the past. We are pleased to share this with all the true enthusiasts.
The body has now been repaired, and a few touches of judiciously-applied paint have helped repair the damaged decals and injected plastic details. The lost Chaparral inserts have now been added, using original NOS parts.
The cockpit has been carefully been reassembled. It was broken due to the inline motor installation that interfered with the Russkit Chaparral 2 interior. Some of it was missing and lost, we did not attempt to replace the missing bits.
Ready to run, the motor has been tested and runs beautifully. The body is now being readied to be fastened to the frame.
An “Al Hall” picture in the style of Rod & Custom or Car Model magazines, for old time sake… The right-side number decal had sustained much damage and was re-created using paint matching very exactly the faded color of the decal.
Even the old tape reinforcing the sides of the body has been saved, a very difficult task as it generally falls apart when a car is disassembled. Note the cut-outs at the back of the body. The many cracks were repaired with Pro-Weld.
Ready to pounce again, if ever called . . .
Doesn’t she look great? The driver is leaning left due to the presence of the Mabuchi FT16D motor intruding on the cockpit.
There is a little inspection/clearance hole for the Cox crown gear. Was this legal? Apparently!
The restored car alongside our next victim, another earlier Team Russkit Durkee car in dire need of restoration.
The two cars next to each other show the amount of corrosion and track dirt build-up present on the older car. This one has retained its team motor as well as an original Russkit guide. The chassis design was from only a few months earlier, showing the pace of development. We hope that you enjoyed this feature. More will be coming as the vast number of cars at the LASCM museum are prepared for permanent display.
The World’s Most Important Slot Car?
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 Midwest racer Roy Moody. When he showed up at Gallagher’s J&J Raceway in California, the car, fitted with a Lancer McLaren MK6 body, was improperly geared but showed great speed. To the great surprise of all present, Gene actually finished in 3rd place in the weekly 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 its “rocket” motor, ignoring that the speed of the car came form its faster speed while cornering, allowing it to reach a greater top speed sooner than other cars.
Bruce Paschal had heard of this new car through the grapevine and called Husting, then talked him into sending the model to him in Louisiana. Husting sent the car, then built another for himself, and yet another for John Cukras.
John then proceeded to win the weekly race at Gallagher’s, setting a new lap record there. Then he built himself a similar chassis but this time with a removable motor.
And this brings us to the famous USRA MC&S race, where the entire world of pro-racing was turned on its head and changed forever, the angle-winder cars utterly humbling every and all in-lines, which became instantly obsolete.
John Anderson asked Husting to loan him the car, and with it, won another 13 weekly races in a row, beating Cukras’ record. The only surviving car of the 3 built by Husting is the Paschal car. It was returned to Gene in 2004 by Bruce, in an elegant gesture. At the same time, Bruce entrusted the author with a large amount of surviving glorious old racing cars, motors and parts, most for the Classic Era, that are now on display at the LASCM.
Husting was kind enough to let me take some pictures of what is possibly the most important car in the history of the hobby, and I hope that you will enjoy them. The body is the actual original Lola coupe painted by “Bob” Kovacs for Bruce to attend the 1968 USRA race, but he was unable to do so.
The crude soldering joints give little indication of the actual performance. This car was the fastest ever built when Gene put it on the track for the first time.
The drop arm has limited drop and the front axle wire is soldered on top of it, in the manner of the production Dynamic drop hinge.
The motor is a Pactra “Hemi 99″ can with a Husting rewound, epoxied and balanced armature, ARCO magnets are used without their usual shim. The Mabuchi FT16D end bell is fitted with Champion springs, post sleeves and brushes. The chassis uses a 64-pitch steel pinion and an anodized aluminum spur gear, both made by Weldun. The guide is a Cox “quick-change”.
The lead wires are gray Cox “Superflex’ multi-strands. The plastic axle spacers are straight from regular kits, something unusual on a serious “pro” racing car.
The front end shows globs of solder, not because Husting could not solder, 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 Riggen “Mini Daytona” with ribbed O-ring tires, with brass adapters for 1/16″ piano wire mounting. The rear wheels are Weldun with Associated blue rubber.
The steel plate screwed to the end bell is a glue shield. The end bell can be easily removed to service the motor that is soldered permanently in place as stressed component. 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 in Metairie, Louisiana and everywhere he traveled.
The car appears crude, but is in fact is 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 road racing at J&J's, on the Blue King track, was much more popular, and racers appeared
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 guys 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. 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 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, soI started to make my dragsters longer and longer, and the snaking became less and
less, but it was still there. 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 the inline-mounted
motor that is trying to twist the chassis on its side under acceleration. Just like in your family
Ford or Chevy car. So 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 to my road-racing 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 what was happening, and I started to figure out how to fix the problem. I was
going to build my own slot road-racing car.
I started laying things out, but I soon realized there simply was not enough room to build a full
sidewinder car. But I figured that I could get the same effect, by simply angling the motor a small
amount, so as to fit in the chassis. The overall effect on the car's handling would be almost identical
to that of 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 to affect the brush-end of the motor shaft, which would cause the brushes to be bouncing off
True, it wouldn't be that 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 regarding 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 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 Weldun gears I had
ordered from Jim Gallagher, the owner of J&J's Raceway, he didn't have the gear ratio I wanted. So
I settled on the lowest set of drag gears that he had, which were too high, and he told me would get
me the actual gears I wanted. I mounted my new Kovacs painted McLaren MK6 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 present! They all came by to look at the car, and they all
had a number of reasons why it couldn't work, and they concluded that the reason why I finished
in 3rd place was because I had a really good motor.
The following evening, 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 had happened, 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. I built an
identical new car, this time 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".
During qualifying, I broke Terry Schmid'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 in the next weekly
race. 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 myself, and keep winning the races. It would be the logical thing to do. However,
I was getting started in R/C Car Racing and it was getting uppermost on my mind. I just wanted
something 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 race
reports. After that 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 the John Cukras 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 in 2nd, 11 times.
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 with the drive on the
can side, 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 without, out of the blue a visit of Bruce Paschal to Philippe. Bruce
had brought with him the # 1 car, 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
CAN YOU BELIEVE ALL THE TWISTS AND TURNS IN THIS STORY? BUT, THEY'RE ALL
But, it still gets better. Before racing slot cars, I was racing real dragsters. I was the first one to
build a longer dragster than anyone, by over 3 feet. 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 obligations.
But, the same thing happened. NOBODY copied my car.
2 1/2 years later, Don Garlits, in Florida, made a car with the longer wheelbase, matching mine. Garlits
never saw my car. He did it all on his own. He is a truly great innovator.
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
Yours in hopes rather than expectation, but thanks for the fascinating post!
I am afraid that even Bob Kovacs would be in
dire trouble to supply us with a correct mix…
That is a really great car.
I’m a little disappointed that that car hasn’t
provoked more of a reaction amongst our gentle readers. 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
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
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
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.
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
Cool car though, no doubt about that!
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.
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?
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.
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.
Betta make a decent 1/24 Lola T70 GT shell and
it’s available in various thickness.
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’.
Don’t forget to stock up
Its ok howmet I’ll just poke my eyes out with the soldering iron first
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..
Here’s a pic of Chas Keeling’s angled Harvey
Aluminum spec circa 1964
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?
I think that one is in a class of its own!
Very neat and innovative, it probably deserves its own special
There’s always something on
the old SF to crack the cheeks. Not always the right pair though..
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 by the
traction 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.
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
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.
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
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)
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 . . .
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
What can I think of next . .
I am probably going to regret this as it will simply highlight my young age
) 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
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
could you tell me how the 2 chassis qualify: Cox = not really a drop arm?
Forgive me for the butchery on the body: that was the way we raced
This is also the first pic test I make from Photobucket so let’hope it works
Forgive me for the butchery
on the body
Sorry, impossible to forgive – that is terrible!!!!
Nice chassis though!
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
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 ?
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
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
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
The UK ‘home market’ was what?
Scalextric and that’s about it, if we are talking literally, ‘in the UK
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
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
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!
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.
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
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.
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
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
I am probably going to
regret this as it will simply highlight my young age (yeah right! ) and
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!
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.
i think this is what people mean when they tal
about drop arms
Am I right?
“Built With Passion” tell the story of the time line for the start of slot
racing from diesel rail racing until 1964.
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.
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
Not to diminish the value of Gene Husting’s
creation (because I believe it to be a major milestone in slot history),
Wouldn’t the “most important” slot car be the first one?
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
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
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.
I agree with Fergy the most important slot car
is the first one.
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…
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
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
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”
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.
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.
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
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..