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Classic Asp


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#1 TSR

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Posted 15 January 2009 - 08:16 PM

One of the truly mythical slot cars in the Classic Era is of a model by... Classic. The asp was the darling of many teenagers in 1965 when it came out, and its $14.95 price was quite stiff for many kids, who worked at delivering newspapers to get the needed sum to acquire their prized Asp.
The box is the same size as that of the Classic Manta Ray and Viper, and also of the Pactra/Competition RTR cars as well as that of Gar-Vic, meaning that someone in Los Angeles sold LOTS of boxes!

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Inside, one finds the yellow Classic card, meaning that the model was issued at the earliest in 1965, and you will know why by reading my new book. The Asp is quire narrow and very small, one could mix it up for a 1/32 scale model... smile.gif
The car is ready to scoot but as an added bonus, the box contains extra parts to build a 1957 Maserati 250F, the very one used by JM Fangio to win his 5th and last F1 title.
Below the car and from left to right are the front end of the chassis, the shorter drop arm, extra rubber tires. Below are the rather scarce Classic nickel plated open-end wrench, an extra motor-retaining clip, an extra "Classitron" (a composite of glass and nylon) drop arm hinge and a pair of neat aluminum wheels.
Classic never sold the Maserati body painted. They also never sold the lime-green Asp body separately but did sell it in a different and lighter shade of metallic green, as well as a dark metallic red and light metallic blue.

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The Asp, designed by Robert Cadaret, formerly a designer at General Motors, was a wild machine, typical of what Classic was to later produce until they shut down the operation in March 1968.
The chassis is made of anodized-harden aluminum, but remains weak and brittle upon impacts. The decoration was by printed stickers that bled their adhesive through over time like on the Revell models. This unused car shows that over time, the stickers darken, and little can be done about it. Originality being as important as it is for a museum piece, no replacement stickers regardless of how good they can be, will ever be applied on this model.

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The Asp is very small, one could almost think that it was modeled in the 1/32 scale, but the little Maserati 250F body reminds one of the actual scale.
Below, the stock tires are molded hard silicone-like rubber over a real magnesium wheel (seemingly always found with serious corrosion), while the Maserati parts include these aluminum wheels and molded hard foam-rubber tires:

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Taillights? Exhausts? Alien mask from another world? I will let you gentlemen debate that point. I simply believe that the designer wanted to place the exhaust pipes of his fictional car there. Don't take my word for it...

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This picture shows the Mabuchi FT16D motor (Classic CM160), the specific 29t crown gear made of polished bronze, the ball bearings in the rear axle bracket and the aluminum axle spacers.

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This is a picture of the 1967 "Competition Asp" in its box:

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The beast out of its box. Note that the body is cut off right below its tail:

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The bottom of the beast. The larger, shorter FT26D motor is fitted, that required a new motor bracket. The ball bearings have been replaced by bronze bushings identical to those found on all other Classic models except... the original Asp. The wheel spacers are now made of brass as well as the front-axle bracket brace, as weight was discovered to actually help the handling of slot cars instead of hurting it as thought just a year earlier in the experimental circles...
The crown gear is now a 29T model made of "Classitron", a composite of glass and nylon.
Note the front wheels, now mde of aluminum but still sporting those cute little ribbed tires. Later (ultimate) version of this model has narrow free-wheeling wheels with thin O-ring tires, the same found on the Gamma Ray and Serpent, also designed by Robert Cadaret. Also note that there is no "Classic" shield on the nose of the car as on the previous model.

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One can clearly see the second step on the drop arm, necessary to clear the taller FT26D motor (or "Classic CM460" in slot lingo):

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The motor is attached by four self-tapping screws going right through the magnet-retaining holes on the can's end. Pretty crude stuff...
The car sports specific gray sponge rear tires on wide rims. Rims are smooth, no holes, no lip on the tire bead:

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Looking at the model, it is highly possible that Larry Shinoda got some inspiration from the Asp and Competition Asp for his own models as there is a serious family resemblance in some of the fine details... alter all, Bob and Larry were friends and were working in the same company albeit in two different buildings.
If more is needed, please let me know. smile.gif


Philippe de Lespinay
 
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#2 Gator Bob

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 09:49 PM

Amazing slot enthusiast  ... Thanks for posting the ASP models.
 
Robert Arthur Cadaret
Bob Cadaret was born on September 19, 1931. At eighteen years of age, he entered the Fischer Body Craftsman Guild and won first place for his automotive design. His designing career started in February of 1953, months before his graduation from Art Center School in Los Angeles, when he was pre-hired by General Motors.  He was a part of GM's Design Staff from 1953-1955 and assistant

chief designer from 1957-1960. From 1955-1957, Cadaret taught automotive design at the Art Center School. From 1969-1977, he was Design Staff Art Director and advertising liaison to the agencies, which GM accounts. From 1977-1987, he worked at GM's Automotive Graphics department.

Bob's hobbies include all forms of artwork including trains, ships, seascapes, aircraft, wildlife and landscapes. Strother MacMinn who taught Bob at Art Center School had this to say regarding Bob's Classic Chevy prints. "The Classic Nomads, Chevy’s and Corvettes are a testament to his extraordinary skill and dedication to top quality work". "The driving force behind all Bob's talent was to be the very best".
And one of the very best he was! The Classic Nomad’s, Chevy’s and Corvettes are just one example of over 33 years of design experience.
 
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#3 don.siegel

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Posted 16 March 2013 - 05:27 AM

Thanks Philippe, always nice to know more about these cars and to see some photos of MIB examples! 

 

A couple questions: 

 

Did the original Asp always have ball bearings? I didn't remember that, and looks like the sticker was added on at some point... I don't think you mentioned, but the Maserati body was 1/32

 

Did the Competition Asp always have the rear part cut out, both the rear itself and around the wheels? I traded for one with a friend long ago, and thought that it had been cut up - period photos seemed to show some material there, but I wasn't sure... and now it looks like I was wrong! 

 

Don 

 

PS/ good info Bob! 



#4 Champion 507

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Posted 16 March 2013 - 06:24 AM

For as neat and cool looking as they were, they sure didn't handle very well. At least mine didn't. Sold it many years ago. :cray:


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#5 Joe Mig

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Posted 16 March 2013 - 07:08 AM

The one I have is green like the first one but it seems like it is a combinations of both examples you show.  
  It has the Mabuchi FT16D  (Classic CM160) motor and the rear bearing's but it has the 29T crown gear made of "Classitron", 
It has the one step drop arm along with the front brass wheel spacers but no brass front-axle bracket brace and it does have the aluminum front wheels sporting those cute little ribbed tires:scratch_one-s_head:

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#6 Hworth08

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Posted 16 March 2013 - 09:11 AM

, they sure didn't handle very well.

 

You got that right! Too light I suppose with no downforce. A Cox Cuk would kick their Asp.


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#7 TSR

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Posted 16 March 2013 - 09:49 AM

Did the original Asp always have ball bearings?

 

Yes, always, but the Competition Asp had standard bronze bushings.
 

 

looks like the sticker was added on at some point...

 

They always were on the cars. Shield up front, stripe on the back end.

 

 

the Maserati body was 1/32

Yes of course. It was an odd choice, a 250F "Piccolo" model...


Did the Competition Asp always have the rear part cut out, both the
rear itself and around the wheels?

 

Yes, always.

 

but it has the 29T crown gear made of "Classitron", 

It has the one step drop arm along with the front brass wheel
spacers but no brass front-axle bracket brace and it does have the
aluminum front wheels sporting those cute little ribbed tires:scratch_one-s_head:
 

It could have been made from parts, since all the parts were available separately but the chassis kits were slightly different, without the brass weight between the front wheels. The Asp had only one run as a RTR, and the aluminum wheels came after production moved onto the Competition version, that had first, aluminum wheels with holes, later used the same "disc" wheels as found on the Gamma Ray and Serpent models.


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#8 havlicek

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Posted 16 March 2013 - 10:13 AM

The motor is attached by four self-tapping screws going right through the magnet-retaining holes on the can's end. Pretty crude stuff...

 

Wow!  Great that they made what was tagged as a "competition" model (I never knew there was more than one, and had the original "auto-fishtail-and-deslot" version) can drive, but that's sure an unusual way to have at it.  Then again, it fits right in with the "make it work however you can" modus operandi of the day :)

 

-john


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#9 Pete L.

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 09:13 PM

Fellas,

 

 This one sees regular duty at our vintage meetings...

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#10 CruzinBob

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 04:57 PM

The daughter of Gordon Saunders, employee of Classic Industries stopped by a bit ago to take a pic of my track. She informed me that her dad passed away last weekend. RIP great model maker.
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#11 TSR

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Posted 26 September 2014 - 05:45 PM

Gordon Saunders was more involved in the mechanical side of the Classic cars design, while John Power at first, then Bob Cadaret and possibly one other person were the body designers.


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#12 Rob Deakin

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Posted 16 October 2014 - 05:22 PM

Great to see such a nice specimen of this model. Even though it was not one of the best handling cars, it was one of my favorites. I had one in 1967 and it had a very short lifespan. Midway through its first actual RACE, heading into a high banked turn of a long
figure eight, it went airborne at least 15 feet and the brittle chassis ended up in several pieces. Fast little bugger!
Thanks for posting!





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