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Joel Montague's 1973 Nats Winner


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#26 TSR

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Posted 14 February 2007 - 11:38 AM

Jim,
The pictures were great. The story is incorrect. Please ask Tony P about it, if you want the straight scoop, we were just discussing this a couple days ago.
If you did watch the race, you should have had no doubt about what happened.
By the way, the frame Joel used was a copy of sorts of what I used a couple months before to win the California race convincingly over . . . Joel and all others. Before, he used Limpach-style isos. His car was good at the Nats, mine (while the motors were running OK) was able to put no less than 12 laps over him in each heat, until each motor expired at about 4 minutes in the heats, then crawling for one minute. Even then, he won by only 7 laps after I ran out of motors and had to use one that already had died, re-fitted hurriedly with proper Mabuchi brushes.
Joel lucked out that day, he never dominated the race as described in the story, and I led EVERY HEAT until the last one when he eventually was able to out-power my crawling car.
Regards,




#27 Tex

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Posted 14 February 2007 - 12:31 PM

Twelve laps each heat?!?! DOOD! :shock: The motors must have been BRUTES and the chassis must have just melted into the track as to stayed so stuck!
Richard L. Hofer

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#28 TSR

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Posted 14 February 2007 - 12:41 PM

Richard,
The difference was in car handling. Even with the motor problems, the car was like on rails and could be basically flat out everywhere but the dead-man turn.
I still have the lap charts from the race. In the first heat alone, I was 12 laps ahead AFTER the motor died. But Joel was on a slower lane. After that, I kept an advantage of 4 to 6 laps until the 7th heat, down to 2 laps. After I ran out of the motors with the bad brushes (we changed motors every heat, very unusual for the days when a motor was good for qualifying AND racing . . . ) I was helped by some good souls who pulled the bad brushes from one motor and put some original Mabuchi 36D brushes in it. The motor was none too swift but lasted the last heat, and Joel had an easy time to reel me in and pull out another 7 laps, and that was it.
This is the only time I ever had a problem with Steube motors, and this was mostly because he believed Bob Green claims about his new-improved-miracle brushes. Not.
Problem is, I had given my good personal practice motors to Fred Strauss, and those were really fast and lasted, but Fred's car did not handle the horsepower too well and he was very upset, accusing me of sabotaging his chances . . . I wish I had THAT motor in my car, I would have cruised to the win.
Water under the bridge, but I am still not too happy about the way it was written.
Now please understand that Joel did absolutely nothing wrong, and as I profited from his misfortune two months earlier, he profited from mine that day.
I have absolutely no problem with Joel, one of the true all-time great slot car racers.

#29 Tex

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Posted 14 February 2007 - 01:03 PM

Now please understand that Joel did absolutely nothing wrong, and as I profited from his misfortune 2 months earlier, he profited from mine that day.
I have absolutely no problem with Joel, one of the true great all-time slot car racers.

OK, but those PANTS . . . :roll:

Then again, a self-assured man-about-town has nothing to fear. :)
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Richard L. Hofer

Remember, two wrongs don't make a right... but three lefts do! Only you're a block over and a block behind.

#30 TSR

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Posted 14 February 2007 - 01:07 PM

Hey, I was wearing those, too! :mrgreen:

#31 Bill from NH

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Posted 14 February 2007 - 02:06 PM

But were yours purple? :lol: :lol:

#32 TSR

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Posted 14 February 2007 - 03:10 PM

No, but they were just as ugly! :lol:
My wife burned them with all my other clothes when we got married in 1977. I mean, some of this stuff was going to be collectible . . . :mrgreen:

#33 dc-65x

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Posted 14 February 2007 - 03:24 PM

The front wheels that Joel used look a lot like "Parma" cone wheels that Philippe seems to hate so much. True, or are these some other hard-to-find, super-expensive piece?

Jairus,

Here are Joel's comments on his front wheel choice:

"They were, indeed, over-the-counter Parmas (sans set screws) - Womp Womp wheels!!! Definitely NOT what I would have chosen had I not felt a sincere obligation to promote what I considered to be a company that literally formed the backbone of the industry during that MOST FRAGILE era (and most every other era for that matter) but I thought it a very minor inconvenience given the track/glue conditions prevalent at the time. With ample "toe out" they were just fine, thank you. :) LOL!!!"

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#34 TSR

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Posted 14 February 2007 - 03:28 PM

It is true to say that without Parma and the controversial (but business-correct) Ken MacDowell, the hobby would have totally collapsed.

#35 Ron Hershman

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Posted 14 February 2007 - 09:30 PM

It is true to say that without Parma and the controversial (but business-correct) Ken MacDowell, the hobby would have totally collapsed.

Yes and don't forget Bob Haines' efforts in the "dark ages". ;) :)

#36 prplgeez

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Posted 15 February 2007 - 01:52 PM

OK, Philippe . . . now you've gone and irritated me. That car wasn't a copy of ANYTHING you did and you were never in serious contention at any point in that race. You say you were talking to Tony P about the race . . . can you explain to me why his story of the race for "SomeBody's Gotta Eat It" went something like:
WALT LaBREE 3rd AT NATS!!! As in: ho hum, Joel won . . . no surprise there, but WOW . . . WALT LaBREE 3rd . . . man bites dog!!!

I agree; your motors weren't very good, but pal . . . MINE WAS and so was my car. (*Note the singular . . . I used but one motor. Yours were good for . . . what did you say . . . 4 minutes of the 10 minute heats???). You had no chance that day and that's just the way it was . . . deal with it. Jim's story was and is 'spot on'. One of the few writeups of the Phillipe era about which that can be said.

I realize that that was the closest you ever came to winning a Nats and that you're really irritated about history not having been re-written to award you one, but it hasn't been and it won't be. How did that work for you the year before when you came to Parma with the stated intention of "sweeping"? Lemme see . . . I think that went something like Camen 1-2-3-5-7. . . where was it you finished that year?

Oh, and Phillipe - one more thing . . . when you finish with the World Record-setting Tom Hansen chassis that you borrowed from me somewhere in the '70s for a photo-op, would you mind returning it? I'd really like to have it for MY collection. Wouldn't that be reasonable since it was MY chassis and my record?
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#37 Jairus

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Posted 15 February 2007 - 01:57 PM

(ouch!) :shock:

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#38 Tex

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Posted 15 February 2007 - 02:04 PM

This is gettin' good; I'm gonna pop some popcorn! 8)
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Richard L. Hofer

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#39 TSR

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Posted 15 February 2007 - 06:24 PM

Joel,
Sorry to hear that you are irritated, but I described it exactly as it happened. As a matter of fact, Tony can tell you a bit more about it as he remembers a good part of what happened and was asking me for more info during our visit. As I said, you were best that day and won, and that is all that counts. My problems were not your problems and I said clearly that it certainly was none of your fault.
I only ran pro races for two years and ran the Nats those two years. I got creamed at Parma because my cars were bogged and I did not know what to do about it. At Elyria, it was a different story except, as I said, a bad day with bad motor brushes. I led the race for most of it and would be pleased to send you the lap charts for each heat if you wish to see them.

As far as your car, since I am the guy who introduced the swing front-axle design with solid drop arm, I can say positively that your car was certainly inspired by the design.

As far as that car you said you sent, we discussed that previously. The first time I heard of it was 4-5 years ago when you came to California, and let me tell you this again: I do not know where and how you sent it but I have never seen it. To be honest I cannot even remember that you ever told me about it when you shipped it. I am a pack-rat. If I had received the car, I would still have it today. If I had received it, it would have been published in Miniature Auto Racing just like the others I received from people who got theirs back after it was done. I am not a thief. All the cars we have in the collection (unfortunately none of yours) were PURCHASED or donated. We would love to have one of yours some day but so far I have been unable to locate one.
The only things we have from you are a new Pooch arm in its original bag, three set-ups from the late 1970s, and arms for those donated by Mick Brown.
I wish that you would understand once and for all that I never had your car.
Regards,

#40 Ron Hershman

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Posted 15 February 2007 - 07:39 PM

Well, the "sleepin" dogs aren't lying around now. ;) :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

Sometimes it's best to let sleepin" dogs lie???

#41 Jairus

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Posted 15 February 2007 - 07:58 PM

Come on, Rick, post some more pictures and take your thread back . . . Quick, before someone else gets hurt.

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#42 dc-65x

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Posted 15 February 2007 - 08:43 PM

I was going to post this after I got my version done but I guess I better post what I'm plan to do next right now.

Allrighty then . . . let's get "clicken". :) . See where the rectangular hole in the drop arm has been filled in with a "gizmo"?

Posted Image

Here is a closer look:

Posted Image

That "gizmo" is a sliding weight. The straight wires are soldered to the plate and keep it from falling out the bottom of the drop arm. The U-shaped wires are soldered to the drop arm and keep the plate from coming out the top of the drop arm.

Here's what Joel told me about it, "The sliding weight was the "clicker". There was approx .015 movement side to side and front to back. Up/down more like .005-.010. A bit more than just enough to move but not a radical amount. The thinking was to add the weight (full glue era, ya know) at a low point in relation to c.g. and to avoid introducing added stiffness and hopefully providing a modicum of vibration dampening in the process. There just may have been some consideration of mind games in there as well, but, hey . . . it was the '70s" :)

Thanks for the insight, Joel. :up: I'll be clicken' away this weekend and I'll post pictures of the progress.

Onward!
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#43 prplgeez

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Posted 15 February 2007 - 10:02 PM

Phillipe,

Like I said in the previous post, I'm not just going to sit idly by and watch you re-write
history . . . you did a good enough job of that when it wasn't yet "history". Sure, send me the lap charts . . . as soon as you get them printed.

It's nice to see progress on your part though . . . this last post where you make the statement; "As I said, you were best that day and won, and this is all what counts" demonstrates movement toward the true nature of events of the day . . . at least relative to your previous position of; "Joel lucked out that day, he never dominated the race as described in the story, and I led EVERY HEAT until the last one when he eventually was able to out-power my crawling car". Movement is good, Philippe . . . one step at a time, old friend.

By the mid point of that race, it was a matter of not giving it away . . . cruise control
engaged and set on protection mode. You wish to claim credit for the swing front wheel design . . . fine, it's yours - no disagreement . . . along with your triangle of hoaxarithm. As I told you then, the front wheels don't do JACK for anything resembling a modern professional glue slingin' slot car . . . except to get you through tech inspection.

While you were busily hyping yourself in the magazines based upon that triangle swing arm and . . . was it 6 degrees "toe-in"?, we were racing and developing on virtually every professional track East (and many West) of the Mississippi. Not only was my car in no way a copy of yours, but to demonstrate the differences, I intentionally chose to use toe-OUT for the front wheels and ya know what . . . it didn't make a bit of difference.

I have never said (nor felt) that you weren't an influence in the sport nor that you were anything short of an excellent racer and, had you raced longer, you may well have been one of the greats. You're a very talented man with a tremendous skill set . . . I wish you could simply accept yourself for what you are instead of what your ego would have you be.

As for the Hansen chassis . . . don't worry about it, I've long ago accepted the fact that I'll never see it again . . . enjoy.
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#44 Horsepower

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Posted 16 February 2007 - 04:46 AM

Sounds like professional jealousy to me . . . :(
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#45 Ron Hershman

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Posted 16 February 2007 - 06:40 AM

On whose part??? :shock: ;) :lol:

#46 GaryH

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Posted 16 February 2007 - 09:14 AM

You can never count on what you read in the history books to be completely accurate. There is, was, and always will be revisionists doing the writing. Ask ten people who attended a particular event what they saw and see how many tell you the same thing.
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#47 TSR

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Posted 16 February 2007 - 10:15 AM

Like I said in the previous post, I'm not just going to sit idly by and watch you re-write history . . . you did a good enough job of that when it wasn't yet "history". Sure, send me the lap charts . . . as soon as you get them printed.

It's nice to see progress on your part though . . . this last post where you make the statement; "As I said, you were best that day and won, and this is all what counts" demonstrates movement toward the true nature of events of the day . . . at least relative to your previous position of; "Joel lucked out that day, he never dominated the race as described in the story, and I led EVERY HEAT until the last one when he eventually was able to out-power my crawling car". Movement is good, Philippe . . . one step at a time, old friend.

Joel,
Donna Hubbell gave me the lap charts after the race. I asked if I could have them because I needed to show Bill Steube what happened. I have enormous respect for your accomplishments in the hobby, and you will be correctly represented in the book I am presently writing. However, you were racing that day, and when one is racing, one is quite busy. I am convinced that you were not aware of the little drama I had to deal with.
I am in Detroit until next week, and when I come back, I will dig up the records and scan then, then send them to you for your own edification. Memory can be funny, period documents are good to set things straight. I ran into this several times with other people and proved them wrong with period artifacts.

As far as your disappeared car, I don't not know how to repeat this again, the first time I have ever heard of this is when you told me about it just what, five years ago?
If you had sent it and nothing came out of it, why did you not call or write let say, a week or a month after you sent it, to confirm that indeed I received it? I never heard from you. Also you could have asked me about it at any of the races we attended together. Again, not a word . . . Then if it had been shipped, to WHAT address? I suggested to you that you could have been sent to either Miniature Auto Racing or Model Car Science magazines in Los Angeles and not to me . . . and that someone there did not know what it was and Lord knows what happened then.
We have over 200 pro-racing cars in the museum, don't you think that we would not LOVE to have that car? Besides the late 1970s setups indicated in a previous thread, we do have a Pooch S-24 with cut-down Champion can in a Tony P car built for Bruce Paschal probably in 1973, and another similar motor found in a Gilbert car. Don't you think we would not want one of your actual cars to display with the many others?

Why would I steal your car then, it had no collectible value for anyone at the time. What would have been my motivation?
Please do not blame me for something I have nothing to do with, I would really appreciate it. You are 100% wrong about this one, we can argue the other matters around the charts, facts, and testimonies if we care.
Regards,

#48 dc-65x

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Posted 16 February 2007 - 12:51 PM

I realize we are all guests on this forum. It is however, my post. As such, I feel compelled to say something about my intentions for the topic of my post:

My friend Adam REALLY loves early '70s pro cars and he has a short list of ones he'd like recreated. One of them was the 1973 Western States Championship WINNING Neat Things "Diamond" of Philippe de Lespinay. With PdL's help of pictures and technical advise I was able to do my best to make that car. Thank you, Philippe :) .

Here is a link to the Diamond build (dial-up beware!).

Another car on "the list" is the 1973 National Championship WINNING car of Joel Montague. With the help of my good friend Steve Okeefe I had the opportunity to get in touch with Joel by email. He, too, has been super helpful in providing me with pictures and technical information that I am attempting to share with everyone here. Thank you Joel :) .

Now, as Isaac Asimov wrote, "I am but an egg", meaning I'm not a famous pro racer. I am a mere enthusiast and student of a HOBBY I love. However, having built PdL's car and being in the process of building Joel's I must say that if both cars were the same I wouldn't bother posting this build. Yes, they are both of the next evolution of pro car (which I believe PdL pioneered) with fixed drop arms and independent front suspension. But, to my eye they are as different as a 1963 Ferrari GTO (PdL's Diamond) and a 1963 Corvette Grand Sport (The Montague Missile).

Look at the difference in the front suspension. The Diamond uses elegant .062" piano wire A-arms with .030" piano wire braces reinforced with fine wire wrapping. These A-arms are nested together and pivot in the center of the drop arm and toe the wheel inward. The Missile uses just a single massive .093" wire L-arm pivoting outboard on each side of the drop arm and toeing the wheels outward.

Look at the main rails. Each has two rails per side soldered to the drop arm and extending back to the rear axle tube. The Diamond's rails on the can side of the motor are bent at an angle to accept the motor. No half rails are used. The Missile's main rails are all straight. The motor angle is established by a half rail inside the two main rails. Again, very different approaches.

Look at the "clicker" I pictured above. It's certainly a novel item that the Missile has and the Diamond doesn't. I don't know if helps performance or not but it makes the chassis different and I can't wait to make it! Those are some of the differences so far and I just started construction.

So, back to my intentions in this post. With the help of the actual builder of this really cool Missile, I hope to show its recreation to the best of my ability. The hidden details will be revealed that you just can't see in the grainy vintage pictures. I hope this will help others to build there own versions or at least give an insight to what it took to create the 1973 National Championship winning car of Joel Montague.

I only have time to work on my hobby on the weekends so Saturday I hope to show details of making the "clicker".

Onward to the fun of scratchbuilding :)
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#49 jimht

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Posted 16 February 2007 - 02:24 PM

Great stuff!
Nice to see postings by some retrobates that have been missing.
Isn't it neat that PdL has provided a place where those of us that figured out a way to make some money off these silly toys (& the addicts thereof) can get together & review the good old days.
No doubt (more than anything else) we all remember how much fun we've had, even if the pay has sometimes not been equal to the effort. :lol:
Being able to watch a debate about just who had the most fun at a particular get-together is hilarious, thanks. :mrgreen:

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#50 Tex

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Posted 16 February 2007 - 02:51 PM

Being able to watch a debate about just who had the most fun at a particular get-together is hilarious, thanks. :mrgreen:

After all, Jim, isn't that what we're here for, to provide comic relief for the worker bees as they wade through the morass that is "the workday"?

I DO work sometimes. :shock:
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