In Slot Car News

Everybody familiar with 1960’s slot racing knows Jose Rodriguez JR’s name. Jose was one of the earliest pioneers of the hobby in United States, and wrote numerous articles in various contemporary magazines while being one of the finest modeler in the country. Jose died of illness two years ago, in his New York apartment. He was discovered over a week later by a neighbor, and his unsympathetic sister unfortunately dispersed all his belongings. Shame on her!

Fortunately, an enthusiast from NYC, Albert Bisaccia, found this wonderful box of nearly mint cars and parts in an antique toy show in NY. After acquiring it, Albert was kind enough to let us purchase it from him at a very reasonable cost. We acquired the box on behalf of the Marconi Automotive Museum for Kids in Tustin, California, where the box and its contents will soon be on display. Call the Museum at (714) 258 3001 for visiting hours.

The box itself was custom built by Hoffman for Jose, especially for these 1/32-scale cars, and is substantially smaller than standard boxes. It is in excellent original shape. Opening it reveals several “Car Model” plaques for attending drag-racing meets since 1965…Also a large NAMRA sticker stands out. Jose was one of NAMRA’s founders and was a very active member. NAMRA was the largest and best-known scale club in the north east of the USA in 1967.

The first cars shown are these chassis, an In-Line with all kinds of hinges, powered by a Mura “Magnum 44″ (which dates it to 1967) and another IL Formula type chassis powered by a Champion 507R. The other chassis is a very early Midwest-style Angle-Winder, powered by a Champion 525. Workmanship is gorgeous. Pin-type flags are being used on many of these cars.

Further inspection reveals a plethora of beautifully detailed cars, and bodies for the bare chassis. The spare tires are neatly nested on 3/32″ wood posts, so that they cannot touch each other. The rims are all rare Russkit 1/8” setscrews, and don’t we wish someone would re-make these…

Wonderful BMW 2002 TII racer, uses a modified Russkit “Rattler” chassis with pin guide. Note the use of K&B Cobra GT decals…The body is probably of British origin.

The motor is pretty stock on this one, probably a Russkit “23”.

This Ferrari P3/4 uses a Detail Models body and is excessively nice. The wheel inserts correspond to a modified P3 as the real P4’s had the fabulous 5-spoke Campagnolos as used on the FLY “512” models.

The chassis is typical of the Howie Ursaner/Sandy Gross tech, using a two-piece floating pan system and a Cox guide. The motor is a hot Mura silver-wire job with Magnum 44 shimmed magnets.

This one is a Ferrari 612 CanAm, as driven by Chris Amon. Jose had two identical cars in the box. This one is a Dynamic body on a modified “Rattler” chassis and “Jet-Flag” guide. The motor is a Champion 507 in which Jose installed later “Arco 33” magnets with their characteristic shim.

This is a really cute car, probably a British made body. This Porsche 911 ST was the rally version of the famous road car. Watch the detailing…Not bad for 1968.

The Porsche runs a brass wire chassis with plate drop arm, Cox guide and gears. The Mura Magnum motor has the standard 1966 “green” wire on the arm. These were early Mabuchi rewinds, and were quite fast with excellent brakes.

Recent Posts
Showing 2 comments
  • Ernesto Cabrera

    Are there any pictures of the contents and cars of Jose’s recovered “box of cars”. I don’t think I can make it to the Marconi Automotive Museum for Kids in Tustin, California. Would be great to have pictures for those of us unable to make the trip.

    Does anyone know of his red 1/32 Maserati was salvaged?

  • Ernesto Cabrera

    I always admired Jose and his dedication to the hobby. I was especially fond of his 1/32 scale Birdcage Maserati which appeared on the cover of Car Model magazine (Sept. 1963). Said article contained 1/32 scale plans to build the model. The article also mentioned that the construction of Jose’s own model will be described in the upcoming CAR MODEL RACING HANDBOOK (which was the first edition of the handbook). However I recently went through a copy of that handbook and did not see the article. Would anyone know if it was ever published in a following CAR MODEL RACING HANDBOOK?

Leave a Comment

Start typing and press Enter to search