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.