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#1 TSR

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Posted 22 January 2007 - 12:29 AM

My Favorite Oldie

I have had that chassis for a while. I built it in the spring of 1972 and used it in a couple of warm-up races, then apparently gave it to Earl Campbell of Team Mura to race. He used it as a back-up car for the 1972 Western States race in Lynwood, California. He set fastest qualifying time and finished in second place in that race, the largest one that year in the United States, with the other chassis I built for him. He used a very good motor built for him by Mura's Bob Green, as well as one of the new M.A.C. Ferrari bodies. With a nearly identical sister car fitted with a Team Checkpoint 24-1/2 single, I won the thing and all the marbles. This is how I restored this grand old lady of a car, with the help of Mike Steube, Bryan Warmack, and Jairus Watson.

pdl-ws-72-0.jpg

Here is a surviving color picture of the car:

 

1972-ws-winner001.jpg

About a year ago, Dennis Hill was kind enough to let me have most of Earl,s old surviving chassis for the museum we are building in Los Angeles. Bless him, and he will soon have the reward for his generosity. In the lot was this chassis, which I recognized from my old files. Sure enough, it was one of six chassis built for that race, of which I gave Earl two, Chris Burlew one, and I retained the others. This appears to be the sole survivor of that production.
So I decided that it was time to restore the old girl that had apparently gone through a bit of hellish time on the track. So after a thorough cleaning and resoldering of several broken joints, it was ready to re-assemble.

pdl-ws-72-1.jpg

This style of chassis was the ultimate evolution of the 1968-1972 pro-racing chassis as devised by Bob Emott, Mike Steube, and Lee Gilbert. My personal contributions were the adoption of a drop-arm stop that acted as a pivot, allowing the main rails to flex below the drop-arm line, as well as stiff springs to eliminate any possibility for the drop-arm to . . . drop. Other period details were serious front end crash bumpers designed to break off in a serious impact, absorbing much of the energy and saving the frame from major damage.

pdl-ws-72-2.jpg

My friend Mike Steube did the final cleaning in his tumbler.
Now I had to address the motor question. I had a small lot of period Steube parts and reconstituted a motor suitable for the car. Long-time Checkpoint racer Joe Cormier supplied the armature, still in excellent condition and renewed. Bill Steube's signature is still visible on the armature stack. Bill was first to use red dye to protect the stacks from rusting.

pdl-ws-72-3.jpg

I had a near-mint can with Bill Steube-ground and fitted magnets and a used endbell with pre-Mura stamping hand-made buss bars.

pdl-ws-72-4.jpg

The endbell was very dirty and the fixings very corroded, so I scrubbed the whole mess and ended with this kit:

pdl-ws-72-5.jpg

I had to machine the head off the two screws holding the Mura brass cups that form the brush spring posts:

pdl-ws-72-6.jpg

The brush holders required lots of polishing, the one on the right showing the amount of corrosion:

pdl-ws-72-7.jpg

Time for re-assembly, and fortunately, being the packrat of all times, I kept the tools that were lovingly handcrafted for me by Bill Steube to align brush holders on the endbell:

pdl-ws-72-8.jpg

So I re-assembled the endbell with the screws loose, and fitted the 3-piece tool:

pdl-ws-72-9.jpg

I used my old Unimat mill table and vise to hold the armature shaft to line up everything until it feels like it is on ball bearings:

pdl-ws-72-10.jpg

Once all was aligned, I used a small square file to clean up any edges so that the old Mabuchi FT36D brushes (the best ever made) slide into the brush holders as if on ice:

pdl-ws-72-11.jpg

Here is the finished animal, retaining its originality and those lovely handmade buss bars:

pdl-ws-72-13.jpg

The motor is then assembled in the conventional way with the utmost care. The brushes are shunted and the terminals soldered to the buss bars. This ensures most of the heat will travel to the lead wires that will act as heat sinks. Note that only two motor screws have been fitted.

pdl-ws-72-14.jpg

Now we need a “glue shield". In 1972, I devised this cute little device to replace the usual brass piece soldered to the chassis. M.A.C. made a mold and I used it extensively, but few others did until years later. I don't understand why as this little gadget was really protecting the negative motor brush from goop and dirt. They were later copied and sold by the Outisight Company founded by my ex-teammate, Chris Burlew.
First, the use of a small drill to make the center hole insures a clean and precise job:

pdl-ws-72-15.jpg

The shield is then drilled and trimmed to fit onto the motor using the two missing screws and another above the bearing:

pdl-ws-72-17.jpg

The original Faas pinion has been cleaned and is soldered to the armature shaft after a fiber armature washer has been fitted to avoid any acid traveling to the motor bearing:

pdl-ws-72-18.jpg

 

Last, the Thorp commutator cooler is pressed onto the shaft:

 

pdl-ws-72-20.jpg

So now, we have our motor and have gathered all the parts: a pair of NOS Steube tires (yes, we still have a few sets!), a replica M.A.C. Ferrari body artistically replicated from period photos by artist Jairus Watson, one of the actual original drivers painted for that race which incredibly survived all these years, axles, original Faas gears and period lead wires (with period vinyl insulation, none of this modern silicone that looks so out of place on a vintage car!).

pdl-ws-72-21.jpg

Now the motor is installed in the frame:

pdl-ws-72-22.jpg

A self-tapping screw is used on top of the motor bracket. This is the last of my frames to use a motor bracket. A few months later, I soldered the base of the can directly to the frame rails, a move that made Bill Steube go ballistic as there was one more spot needing cleaning during rebuilds…

pdl-ws-72-23.jpg

Since the motor braces were still present after all these years, a simple joint was all it took to affix the motor. To get rid of the acid, the entire frame and motor was then rinsed under a very hot water tap, than dried and any humidity blown off with pressured air. Then all moving surfaces are lubricated with synthetic oil.
A set of double lead wires is soldered to fabricated brass guide clips . . .

pdl-ws-72-26.jpg

. . . and fitted to the car. Solder joints are done with non-corrosive paste and the car receives another wash in mild solvent to get rid of any acidic material.

pdl-ws-72-29.jpg

Now, axles, spur gear, and wheels are fitted.

pdl-ws-72-30.jpg

The body is them mounted, trimmed, vents are cut, and the body is mounted on the finished chassis:

pdl-ws-72-34.jpg

pdl-ws-72-36.jpg

Now, the air-control side dams and trim spoiler are added using Pro-Weld clear Lexan glue:

pdl-ws-72-39.jpg

 

pdl-ws-72-40.jpg

pdl-ws-72-42.jpg
 

Is not she a beauty? The colors were identical to that of the 1972 Dan Gurney Eagle works car for Indy, which I also decorated. Earl Campbell painted the original body. 35 years later, Jairus Watson did a tremendous job of replicating it as closely as could be.


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Philippe de Lespinay





#2 Jeff Easterly

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Posted 22 January 2007 - 01:54 AM

Thanks, Dokk, for the wonderful photos, and the historic descriptions . . . :up:
Burlew built me a few steel center-section chassis, back around '73 or '74, and I remember using that "goop guard" on my Steube 20 that I ran in Monaco's crash & burn weekly races! :lol:
Truly a wonderful piece of slot racing art and history . . . my hat's off to you for the wonderful restoration . . . now, everyone will see your excellent chassis building skills! ;) :up: . . . and Mr. Watson has once again painted yet another masterpiece! :mrgreen:
Thanks again, Dokk!!! . . . C U later! . . . :wave: . . . Good racing! :wall: :doh: :crazy: . . . .

Jeff Easterly - Capt., Team Wheezer...
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Power is coming on... NOW!!!


#3 Horsepower

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Posted 22 January 2007 - 04:25 AM

The Mona Lisa . . . I'm awestruck! :love: :!: :up:

"You do not know these men. You may have looked at them, but you did not see them. They are the wind that blows newspapers down a gutter on a windy night -- and sweeps the gutter clean."


#4 One_Track_Mind

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Posted 22 January 2007 - 05:21 AM

Philippe,

Other period details were serious front end crash bumpers designed to break off in a serious impact, absorbing much of the energy and saving the frame from major damage.

If, I may ask? How is this accomplished? Doing a crappy solder job? :lol: Only soldering part of the front bumper? What part is gonna break off? I'm so intrigued, kinda like the 1:1 cars of today, let the parts break away absorbing the energy protecting the driver.

Very good looking lady, :love: you got there PDL !!
Thanks for sharing her with us! :up:

Slots-4-Ever
Brian McPherson

REM Raceway

"We didn't realize we were making memories, we just knew we were having FUN!"


#5 TSR

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Posted 22 January 2007 - 07:58 AM

Hi, Brian,
Thanks! The "Pepe Bumper", as it was nicknamed, was made of three pieces. The cross bar was soldered directly under the drop-arm ahead of the 3/32" tubing holding the side pans suspension. The two "outriggers" were soldered on the cross bar.
Before this advance, if and when the car hit the wall hard like in a rider or launching situation (common in those days), the cross bar would seriously bend and foul one of the side pans, causing all kinds of handling havoc. But with the outriggers acting as "pendulums", what was happening (and was tested MANY times :lol: ) is that the outrigger would not bend but pull from the cross bar, absorbing most of the deceleration's energy. Sometimes, it would just fall off. In any case, I never had any more problem with severe impacts after this was done. Note that the body is trimmed to clear the bumper's ends as I always believed in letting the body float wherever it wanted.
Regards,

Philippe de Lespinay


#6 Pablo

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Posted 22 January 2007 - 08:06 AM

:mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

I never had any more problem with severe impacts after this was done.

The Pepe Bumper, yeah, the best offense is a good defense. :) After a meeting with that steel, the other car was in the pits. :lol:
Paul Wolcott

#7 TSR

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Posted 22 January 2007 - 09:19 AM

That too! :mrgreen:

Philippe de Lespinay


#8 Hworth08

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Posted 22 January 2007 - 12:17 PM

Philippe, nice job on a nice car!

I wouldn't be surprised if the "dropless droparm" using the center pivot design wouldn't be VERY competitive in today's DIII classes.
Don Hollingsworth
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#9 idare2bdul

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Posted 22 January 2007 - 03:00 PM

Were you shimming the motor in those days? The buss bars were a nice advance.

I only raced in limited glue with the exception of the last full glue race at Monaco which you (PdL) won after Dennis kind of self-destructed in the last heat.

By the time I was racing only a handful of racers came to the track with a car even remotely as nicely painted as your car. A good-looking car really adds to the enjoyment for me but getting time to paint has been at a premium.

When did they start opening up the can holes for group 27?
The light at the end of the tunnel is almost always a train.
Mike Boemker

#10 TSR

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Posted 22 January 2007 - 03:14 PM

Were you shimming the motor in those days? The buss bars were a nice advance.

Lots of people were shimming the magnets then but Bill Steube did not. Instead he cut down the cans, silver-soldered them and honed the magnets to whatever gap he wanted. He did not like shims, it was not perfect.

I only raced in limited glue with the exception of the last full glue race at Monaco which you (PdL) won after Dennis kind of self-destructed in the last heat.

That day is when I saw more glue than anywhere at anytime. There was a haze over the track! :lol:

By the time I was racing only a handful of racers came to the track with a car even remotely as nicely painted as your car. A good-looking car really adds to the enjoyment for me but getting time to paint has been at a premium.

Yes, it is a bit sad . . . I was lucky as I rarely had to paint my own, I generally only did lettering and detailing.

When did they start opening up the can holes for group 27?

Bill Steube and Bob Green began doing this in 1972.

Philippe de Lespinay


#11 M. Steube

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Posted 22 January 2007 - 03:46 PM

I tumbled that chassis a few weeks ago in my tumbler. I switched it with a clone built in China. :lol: Don't tell Dokk. It went on ePay last night for big bucks! :) 8) :lol: :shock: :lol:

#12 TSR

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Posted 22 January 2007 - 03:50 PM

:lol:
Those Chinese did a hell of a good job . . . Scott must have been the one buying the chassis on eBay so you might see it again for another clean-up . . . 8)

Philippe de Lespinay


#13 Electric Dream Team

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Posted 23 January 2007 - 12:51 AM

Believe it or not, this car looks even better in person. :shock:
Another great job, P :clap:
Much thanks to Dennis, Mike, Jarius, and Bryan, too.
I spent at least an hour and a half asking questions about every detail about what made this series of six works cars different from the cars that were built 1 to 2 weeks before and 1 to 2 weeks after this race. It was fastinating how the cars of this period were developing. Can you elaborate for the guys some of the changes you talked about, like the marks on the front of the rails, the bite bar position, the drop arm hinge improvement, and basically the things that made this series of cars different from the cars built before and after? He was secretly working on his diamond chassis at about this time as well.
There may not be enough room in the book. :doh:
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Scott Bader

#14 dc-65x

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Posted 23 January 2007 - 01:25 PM

Hi, Philippe,

Really a beautiful car. Everyone involved did masterful work. :up:

I have a question about the air control. Is this car using the air control from the article you did below? I was never really sure from the old picture if the side dams were cut out for the front wheels and if they were the full length of the side of the body. I can see these details quite clearly from your pictures. Thanks! The front of your air dams looks a bit taller than the old article, no?

Love that Steube motor. :) It's Steube clone time for sure. ;) .

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#15 Pete L.

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Posted 23 January 2007 - 02:14 PM

Hi,

Yes, do tell, also where can we find the article mentioned? I recently purchased a
Ferrari body from Electric Dreams (super fast shipping, thank you!) in hopes of building such a car with the old pieces I've got laying around from the mid '70s. Also any info on the Lexan glue, Pro Weld I believe, never used it. How do you attach the wings, etc.?
Any help you or the bloggers can provide will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Peter J. Linszky

C.A.R.S. Vintage Slot Car Club

#16 TSR

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Posted 23 January 2007 - 05:02 PM

The article was written after this car was built. Depending on the track conditions, I was so picky and eager to win at any (honest) cost that I spent hours at various tracks during weekdays testing, while hardly anyone would be in the raceway. I would bring some sheet Lexan, glue, stapler, tape, and begin testing various combinations of aero packages on a given body, generally painted plain white so I could see it (I never really had good vision, I used to wear thick glasses before contact lenses).

As with the chassis evolution, aero evolution was my goal since it is what I could control, having little to say about motors. Bill Steube would say "here is your race motor", and I would stick it in, not always sure of what it was, a S23, S24, S24-1/2, S25 or double 27-28 . . .
All I know is that at the exception of the 1973 Nats, where he really screwed up and lost me a sure runaway win over Joel Montague, he NEVER gave me a bad motor, so I am NOT complaining! He was absolutely the best and so dedicated to perfection, and much of this can be seen today in the very same dedication shown by his son now back in the fray. I am nowhere near as serious today as I was then . . . :)

At that time, the chassis tech evolved a bit too slowly for my taste. I began with virtual copies of the Lee Gilbert design, but quickly decided that the softly-sprung drop arm was useless and the cause of most straightaway launches over bumps. I had been that route in France in the 1960s already with the Dynamic chassis. The "rigid" ones were always the best. So I began making "tunable" return springs, and was astounded to find that the stiffer the spring, the higher cornering force generated as the main rails were really working hard now, flexing the way they should. But there was a limit, that of the cross bar up front tying the two sets of main rails: once the chassis flexed enough for the main rails to hit that bar, the car was brutally off the slot and in the wall. So I removed the bar, but needed a stop for the drop arm.
Steve Bogut had built a car that had a vertical piece of wire hanging from the center of the front axle tubing to do this job. So I tried that but added a 90-degree bend to make a pivot of it. And boy, did THAT work! Once the main rails were no longer stopped from flexing, the cars picked up about 2/10th of a second and an immense amount of predictbility! But then the single "return" spring applied so much force on one side that the chassis were a bit tweaked and running on 3 wheels . . . so I added another in a symetrical fashion. Someone gave me a pair of those brand new brass "fiddlesticks" to measure motor springs tension. I opened them up, changed the spring from tension to compression and voila, I could use them to measure the drop arm spring tension and balance it depending of what was needed on the track. This was really the first "adjustable" anglewinder chassis! :)

For the aero, I better quote this that was posted on another forum:

At the time and both as newly arrived immigrants, the British racing car designer Maurice Philippe and I were employed by the same person, a Scotsman who had connections with the INS in Los Angeles as well as some pretty heavy hitters like general Curtis LeMay, Art Linkletter and others.. and who was the first person to seek royalties from model kit and slot car companies on behalf of British racing car manufacturers.
Maurice was sub-contracted to the Vel Miletich-Parnelli Jones racing team (then known as "SuperTeam"} and was designing and engineering for them a new car to win the Indy 500. It figured weird dihedral wings and you can see a discussion on this car here (link).
The car reverted to conventional wings and was quite effective, eventually winning the Ontario 500 in its Samsonite guise. Maurice later designed a more conventional car that did quite well in the hands of Al Unser and Mario Andretti.

Because of such circumstances and as co-seekers of green cards, Maurice and I became friends. He was crazy about slot cars (like Ross Brawn and so many other 1/1 car engineers) but did not have much time to play with them. I brought him several times at the famous Speed & Sport raceway in Lynwood and as I tested new cars, he made a few suggestions that led to the design of the new M.A.C. bodies, fashioned by Lloyd Asbury formerly of Lancer, also under the wing of the same big shot who employed Maurice Philippe and me.
Maurice Philippe knew a lot about the effects of the Reynolds aero scale and helped us devise the various vents on the body. The side vents are actually not opened. The back vent is to reduce pressure at top speed and by thus, reduce drag while not significantly reducing down force, but it also helps to cool the motor as it drew air away from it, or so was the theory anyway. The vents on the front fenders were used as early as 1966 by Mike Morrissey on his Team Russkit cars and were effective in reducing lift that can lead to launching over bumpy tracks. Morrissey is credited to be the first to use effective added air control to slot car bodies.

Interestingly, I still use the open vent in the center of the rear spoiler on our latest King-track Abarth, and it worked wonders for us!


In fact, after the first M.A.C. Ferrari was issued (1971) and I ran it as a semi-pro, I set fastest time overall at a race on a King track and everyone suddenly wanted that body.
It became for about two years the most popular pro racing slot car racing body on the planet.

I built a few more "conventional" cars like the one above (I think I must have built about 500 of them over three years), sold them all over the place and in six other countries, plus two dozen "works" cars for me and people like Gil Gundersen, Earl Campbell, Bill Steube Jr., Chris Burlew, and some of the amateur racers I used to help. But I already had someting in mind that was going to be a small revolution in itself, a super machine that would give me a true "unfair advantage". That is another story altogether . . . :lol:

Philippe de Lespinay


#17 Pete L.

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Posted 23 January 2007 - 07:32 PM

Thanks for the quick response!
Peter J. Linszky

C.A.R.S. Vintage Slot Car Club

#18 Jeff Easterly

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Posted 24 January 2007 - 01:58 AM

THIS is the stuff guys want to read, Dokk! ;)
Great article . . . the up-stop pivot certainly helped my hinged front axle F1/Indy design! LOL! :lol:
More! :mrgreen: We want more!

Jeff Easterly - Capt., Team Wheezer...
Asst. Mechanic, Team Zombie...
Power is coming on... NOW!!!


#19 TSR

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Posted 24 January 2007 - 11:41 AM

Now you sound like Edo . . . :lol:

Philippe de Lespinay


#20 Jens Scale Racing

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Posted 24 January 2007 - 01:37 PM

Philippe,

Absolutely great article and pics. That's the things I love to read after a hard day! This is what this forum is all about!

Thanks for sharing!
Dieter "DJ" Jens
JSR gallery

#21 MarcusPHagen

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Posted 17 December 2018 - 11:17 PM

Great discussion!  

Sure wish the pictures could be restored to accompany this thread.


Marcus P. Hagen -- see below, my five favorite quotes: applicable to slot cars & life in general.
[ "Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.". . Daniel Patrick Moynihan ]
[ "Time is the best teacher. Unfortunately, it kills all its students.". . . . . . . . Hector Berlioz ]
[ "There is a very fine line between 'hobby' and 'mental illness." . . . . . . . . . . . Dave Barry ]
[ "Build what you like to build, they are all doomed." . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Prof. Fate ]
[ "The less rules the more fun. Run what you brung." . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Larry LS ]


#22 TSR

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Posted 19 December 2018 - 08:58 PM

Marcus,
the pictures have been restored. Thanks for letting me know.


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Philippe de Lespinay


#23 Greg Erskine

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Posted 19 December 2018 - 09:31 PM

Thanks TSR, much appreciated.  :)



#24 MarcusPHagen

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Posted 17 January 2019 - 06:54 AM

Looks great, & definitely helps with understanding the text.
 
Thanks!
 
Marcus
  • TSR likes this

Marcus P. Hagen -- see below, my five favorite quotes: applicable to slot cars & life in general.
[ "Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.". . Daniel Patrick Moynihan ]
[ "Time is the best teacher. Unfortunately, it kills all its students.". . . . . . . . Hector Berlioz ]
[ "There is a very fine line between 'hobby' and 'mental illness." . . . . . . . . . . . Dave Barry ]
[ "Build what you like to build, they are all doomed." . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Prof. Fate ]
[ "The less rules the more fun. Run what you brung." . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Larry LS ]






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