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#1 TSR

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Posted 30 November 2010 - 12:41 PM

In late 1968, Champion of Chamblee, now under the general management of Bob Rule, issued their new "525" motor, basically an evolution of their original 517 issued a year earlier. The new motor had been devised so as to match or better the rapidly evolving competition from Ron Mura in California.

The new motor has the same "517" motor case as used since 1967, now painted in a heat-dissipating black color and using the same endbell molding fitted with extended brass plates and improved pent-roof brush holders. A new two-piece magnet shim had been devised since the original Arco 33 magnet shim did not center the magnets properly in the can. New "DZ" magnets were used, supposedly an improvement in material from the older "33". The armature featured new 0.013" lamination and 26AWG wire and was primarily designed for endbell-side drive. As for the 517, the 525 endbell was secured to the can by 2-56 flat-head slotted screws on top and bottom of the motor.

It is hard to know how many were produced, but today the "525' is one of the hardest Champion motors for collectors to find on the market. Over the past fifteen years, few have ever surfaced. A used example is currently being offered at online auction with a pretty hefty starting bid. Either few were made, or they were simply used up and disposed of in American and British landfills.

Here is a near-mint survivor, albeit an un-boxed example at the LASCM:

Posted Image

Note the shunted 16D-size brushes (no "36D" brushes yet), the Champion Cycolac endbell, and the larger endbell cooling plates.

Posted Image

One can see the new two-piece magnet shim that truly centered them around the armature. Two retaining springs are now used. The "DZ" magnets are identified with red and yellow paint dots.

Posted Image

The "525' was also called the "Thumbprint" for good reasons. Question is, whose Champion employee finger is it? :)

The 525 was followed by yet an improved version called the 535, issued in 1969. The 535 had a new endbell in which the plated brass bearing was part of the molding. Special versions called "Bob Cozine Signature" are even rarer than the 525 are today. That black Champion endbell was unfortunately replaced by a new and very poor design, that plagued and doomed the champion D-size motors. The subject of another story.

Philippe de Lespinay





#2 Ron Hershman

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Posted 30 November 2010 - 01:09 PM

Bob Cozine's thumb print????.... well that was the marketing behind it.

I have one of those cans somewhere with the thumb print.

One Champion employee told me the story of how Bob Cozine would pick the "signature" motors..... he would come into the factory and "just" pick motors from the pile and they instant signature series motors. LOL

#3 Victor Poulin

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Posted 30 November 2010 - 01:31 PM

Is it me, or are the brush hoods angled? If so, how the heck would you center them to the comm? I'm very puzzled. :blink:

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#4 TSR

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Posted 30 November 2010 - 01:48 PM

Victor, it is you. :laugh2:

The pent-roof plates hold a brush holder similar to that of the old Mabuchi FT16D. The brushes are perpendicular to the commutator. Mura copied this with their second generation of Mura "444 John Cukras Signature" motors. This pent-roof plate allows full contact of the plate over the brush holder, something that the Mabuchi motors did not have, and that caused excessive heat to the brushes as little of that heat was channeled into the lead wires acting as heat sinks.

Bob Cozine's thumb print???... well, that was the marketing behind it.

Actually, the Bob Cozine Signature "535" motors no longer had the thumbprint.

One Champion employee told me the story of how Bob Cozine would pick the "signature" motors... he would come into the factory and "just" pick motors from the pile and they became instant signature series motors. LOL.

I think that this is a fib and someone told you a fantasy story. Bob Cozine himself told me that he really did not have anything to do with these "signature" motors, that they were simply regular production motors that wore his name. However, it was not simply a marketing ploy, as the motors were in fact quite different. It is easy to understand why: these motors had special parts (specific endbell with machine screws instead of self-tapping that also had a molded-in armature bearing, not found on ANY other Champion motor). So it would be difficult for Bob to "pick" motors since all were "signed" with an ink stamp. :)

777.jpg

779.jpg

780.jpg

Now if anyone out there has some of these black endbells with the nickel plated armature bearing molded in (and not simply pushed in) that he wants to sell for good money, please get in touch with me, cash waiting! :laugh2:

Philippe de Lespinay


#5 Cheater

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Posted 30 November 2010 - 01:52 PM

In re: the fingerprint, have you asked either Ray Gardner or Greg Monfort about this?

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#6 tonyp

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Posted 30 November 2010 - 02:39 PM

I think Ron was kidding that Bob would walk past a tray of motors and they were Cozine signatures. LOL...

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#7 TSR

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Posted 30 November 2010 - 02:47 PM

I asked a lot of former Champion employees, and few even remembered that motor at all. The first time I talked to Cozine about it, he did not even remember that 'his" signature motor even existed, I had to send him pictures to refresh his memory. Eventually I sent him an actual motor in exchange for one of his chassis. He was unable to tell me in which race he used that chassis, but also clearly said that he had nothing to do with the "signature" motors. Ray could not help either. As far as the "525", I suspect that one of the assembly persons in the motor department placed his finger on each motor after they were tested and packed, but it was certainly not Bob's.

And that brings up the following...

During the whole writing of this new book, virtually all concerned parties, from virtually all the slot car companies or former stars that I interviewed, remembered much less than what was already printed in the old magazines or that I already knew myself, often contradicted established facts, often denied that products they made and that still exist even existed, and the vast majority of former racers had absolutely no clue and no knowledge, and I mean virtually ZERO knowledge (and no interest) in production items from either large or small companies, or products that they did not personally use. Sometimes, it did turn to the truly bizarre: I once confronted Pete Zimmerman with a Mura motor, new in its original packaging, of which he denied the existence, and he still refused to accept the evidence. Another example were the Testors people who had absolutely zero clue that their own company was once deeply involved in the hobby. Confronted with the evidence, they were truly amazed.

The same strange mental barrier that exists between modern slot car racers and the 1960s generation also appeared while I interviewed most former manufacturers and racers, like if all had been painted over in their minds. It was certainly one of the strangest things I have ever encountered, because I personally remember so much and have also forgotten so much.

I had to do so much personal research, which is why it took so long, so that the book would be as accurate as can be made possible. Even then, I am sure that there will be some calling me on some particular points, and this is why the book will have an interactive website where possible updates and corrections will be posted, because I deem it impossible for one person to "know it all".

The first book taught me a lesson though, that you can't make everybody happy. The HO guys did not like it because it did not have any HO cars in it (duh!), and some jerk said in a review that the book was an exercise in my own "self-aggrandizement" when my own name figured nowhere in the whole publication except as the author and that I did work for one of the toy companies at one time, even (horror) designing slot cars for them.

That person figured that if "I had not been in the USA in the 1960s, I had no business writing a book about events I had not lived." Wow. :blink:

That would make quite a few historical books out there invalid and their authors' self-aggrandizers, I guess... :laugh2:

So now the new book will begin with a serious disclaimer... :)

And now I just discovered in an old, old, old publication, yet another electric toy car running on a rail, made in France in 1908. Wait until Don Siegel sees that one... :shok:

Philippe de Lespinay


#8 Victor Poulin

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Posted 30 November 2010 - 03:21 PM

Hey Dokk,

I can't help but notice that on the 525 there are little to no cooling holes. Was this done for a reason?

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#9 Raymond 'Speedy' Gonzalez

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Posted 30 November 2010 - 03:44 PM

I'll look in my garage and see if I still have some of those. I remember having both of those motors at one point in time.

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#10 TSR

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Posted 30 November 2010 - 04:33 PM

I can't help but notice that on the 525 there are little to no cooling holes. Was this done for a reason?

Yes, there is a reason: they did not know any better yet! Side cooling holes on cans and corresponding endbells were barely appearing on a few "pro" racing motors, and as much of what was going on then, it took between three and six months for the manufacturers (even Champion or Mura) to catch up.

This was even more prevalent in chassis design, as Champion introduced a whole new line of Jail Door chassis at the very time when they became instantly obsoleted by the anglewinder revolution. Even then, these chassis failed to have floppy body mounts, and that was already five months old.
The reason; ALL the production Champion chassis were built in... Japan. Took a while for the Aoyagi Ltd to tool up, make the chassis, have them plated, and put them on a slow boat to the West Coast, then truck them to Atlanta. :)

I'll look in my garage and see if I still have some of those. I remember having both of those motors at one point in time.

Speedy, we would love to see what you have. While the LASCM has an insane collection of Champion motors, from the very first 501 and 701 to the last ever produced under the Carl Ford management, who knows what could surface and be different of what you have?

One thing about Champion motors: a crook that used to have a slot car body business has been making over the years lots of FAKE Champion motors in FAKE packaging and with FAKE stickers, so beware of what you are being offered. If in doubt, do not hesitate to contact me before paying good money for worthless junk. :blink:

Philippe de Lespinay


#11 Ron Hershman

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Posted 30 November 2010 - 06:47 PM

I can't help but notice that on the 525 there are little to no cooling holes. Was this done for a reason?

As Bob Green reported years ago... the insurance company that insured Mura would not insure them if any hole would allow a child(s) fingers to get into the motor and cause injury to child's finger(s).

This is why when George Mura owned Mura there was only 2 hole and 4 hole cans that didn't allow finger tips to get inside a running motor or a not running motor that could still be warm enough to burn a finger.

#12 tonyp

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Posted 30 November 2010 - 07:16 PM

For real?

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#13 Ron Hershman

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Posted 30 November 2010 - 07:41 PM

Yes, for real. Bob always knew that motors would run better with larger hole patterns in them... that's why racers did it on their own cans by cutting and hacking them up.

A current Group 7 strap can motor would "freak-out" a liability insurance provider.
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#14 TSR

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Posted 30 November 2010 - 07:46 PM

Apparently, another tall tale? :D

Here is a stock Mura "B Production" from 1969:

Posted Image Posted Image

In this, as well as the Champion or any such motor with cutout vents, it would take a finger from an unborn fetus to be small enough to be stuck inside such a cooling vent... I can see such a comment on a MODERN strap-can motor, but on a Champion or Mura in Bob Green's days? :blink:

Philippe de Lespinay


#15 Ron Hershman

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Posted 30 November 2010 - 08:29 PM

I think you have misread what I posted... all the Mura motors were made with small holes on purpose so fingers couldn't get inside them. You are right, the holes on a Mura motor wouldn't allow a finger inside. That's why they were made the way they were back then.

#16 TSR

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Posted 30 November 2010 - 08:55 PM

I don't think so: the "Mura" can tooling belonged to the French Motor Co in San Bruno, and it had a large oval hole. Once George was convinced that this was the way to go and to make an American motor to compete with the new Champion US-built 517, and arrangement was made between French and Mura, and the local tool maker modified an insert in the stamping tool so that the oval hole became TWO holes, so as to differentiate the Mura can from the French can. French Motor Co. was the first to tool a made-in-the-US can when there was a Mabuchi 16D motor shortage. French tooled the can, Mura went to work on tooling the first West Coast-made end bell (Champion already had their own). George convinced French to sell him the tool and Mura had the hole pattern changed, simply from an oval to using the ends of the oval to make two round holes.

French was left with tons of those oval-hole nickel plated cans when the tool was sold to Mura. French sold most of his inventory to the OEM motor builders of the time, like Dyna-Rewind and others. Mura sold end bells to French, Dyna-Rewind, etc. The French can was sold to other motor manufacturers such as Tradeship, Cobra, Dyna-Rewind and Certus.
This was well before Bob Green even set feet in San Leandro... the hole pattern had nothing to do with any liability concern. In 1968, lawyers were still for the most part, more respectable citizens than they are today.

Now if you are talking 1980's, that's a different story.

Philippe de Lespinay


#17 Jerry Ward

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Posted 30 November 2010 - 09:01 PM

wow !! The one on E-Bay No.370460180878 is up to 255.00 :shok: and 4 days left! How high will it go????????? :unknw: Jerry
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#18 Ron Hershman

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Posted 30 November 2010 - 09:07 PM

George convinced French to sell him the tool and Mura had the hole pattern changed, simply from an oval to using the ends of the oval to make two round holes.

French was left with tons of those oval-hole nickel plated cans when the tool was sold to Mura. French sold most of his inventory to the OEM motor builders of the time, like Dyna-Rewind and others. Mura sold end bells to French, Dyna-Rewind, etc. The French can was sold to other motor manufacturers such as Tradeship, Cobra, Dyna-Rewind and Certus.
This was well before Bob Green even set feet in San Leandro... the hole pattern had nothing to do with any liability concern. In 1968, lawyers were still for the most part, more respectable citizens than they are today.

Now if you are talking 1980's, that's a different story.



Ever think MAYBE that George Mura went to two holes for insurance reasons??? Why after all.... the B can's had two round holes as well. ;)

Sorry...I will stick with Bob's story as he was actually there in the Mura building for a long time.

#19 TSR

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Posted 30 November 2010 - 09:28 PM

Why after all.... the B can's had two round holes as well.

Ron,
The hole pattern of the "B" had nothing to do with liability but with perception of what would work or not. How about THIS "B" that demolishes your theory:

Posted Image

Or this one:

Posted Image

Or this one:

Posted Image

And in these, a child can easily catch his finger... :)

I will stick with Bob's story as he was actually there in the Mura building for a long time.

Yes he was, but not before 1970... and the D-size and B motors were done well before he put his feet in the place... :D

Philippe de Lespinay


#20 Rotorranch

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Posted 30 November 2010 - 09:59 PM

:D

wow !! The one on E-Bay No.370460180878 is up to 255.00 :shok: and 4 days left! How high will it go????????? :unknw: Jerry



It's all P's fault... before him and his stoopid book I could buy those for $30 each. :laugh2:

BTW Mr. P, thanks for signing my copy! :D

The next one is on my want list!


Rotor

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#21 Robert V.

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Posted 30 November 2010 - 11:51 PM

Wow, those are some awsome motors Dok you must have a huge collection. I love seeing pictures of the vintage stuff.
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#22 Champion 507

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Posted 01 December 2010 - 04:55 AM

During the whole writing of this new book, virtually all concerned parties, from virtually all the slot car companies or former stars that I interviewed, remembered much less than what was already printed in the old magazines or that I already knew myself, often contradicted established facts, often denied that products they made and that still exist even existed, and the vast majority of former racers had absolutely no clue and no knowledge, and I mean virtually ZERO knowledge (and no interest) in production items from either large or small companies, or products that they did not personally use.

Don't forget that Champion introduced color-coded armature insulators in early 1968 for their factory wound 517 and 617 motors. Red insulators meant the arm was wound with #26 wire, green insulators was #27 wire, purple was #28 wire, and blue was #29 wire.

We covered all that here on Slotblog last year and nobody (including yourself) remembered any of that except me at the time. Then I found printed evidence in a March 1968 Car Model magazine ad. According to you, no former Champion people remembered it either.
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#23 Prof. Fate

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Posted 01 December 2010 - 01:13 PM

Hi

Just to complete, I was there, P and you weren't! SO THERE!

I worry that I cannot remember the names of my girl friends from the era, but I have good mental pictures of pretty much anything I worked on! As for Zimmerman, we have also had this discussion about the building stuff. One issue is the PACE. Working weekends might mean rebuilding the same motor 3 or 4 times between Thursday and Sunday. Which version is stuck in your head?

As far as I remember, all the champion parts were available as parts, and I don't remember ever buying a whole motor, but constantly doing new parts. When Bob Green's "Green Motor" came out, I bought the can not the motor. I bought Vulcan Arms as the first arms that met my standards, but not the whole motor.

Anyway, the closed cans. What I heard was a little different. In the day, 68/9, while the usual weekly races might be 40 to 60 people at every track, every race, The A B mains were the fast cars, below that the vast majority of cars were Dynamic assembled cars. This is important because in those venues, by the start of the B main, the track would be littered with little screws from body mounts or chassis screws or whatever. It was common to be taken out by sucking up a screw. And the story was that the sealed Champion can would keep that from happening.

As well as the smaller two hole cans.

It could be just myth, but it was something we thought about.

Fate
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#24 TSR

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Posted 01 December 2010 - 01:44 PM

Rocky, it is another Urban Legend. The ONLY reason why Champion asked Mabuchi to blank one side of their FT16D and FT26 motors for them was to "improve the magnetic field". It's written in black and white in the period publications. :)

Don't forget that Champion introduced color coded armature insulators in early 1968 for their factory wound 517 and 617 motors.

No one is forgetting, but by the time the "black" cans came out with the "Orange Picker" and "525", the old Mabuchi-blank arms had already been dumped, and Champion was making their own lamination coated with a red epoxy. Later this epoxy became pale blue. There was no longer any coding or any indication of what wire was used as the arms were left unmarked.

Philippe de Lespinay


#25 Gary Bluestone

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Posted 01 December 2010 - 04:45 PM

I asked a lot of former Champion employees, and few even remembered that motor at all. The first time I talked to Cozine about it, he did not even remember that 'his" signature motor even existed, I had to send him pictures to refresh his memory. Eventually I sent him an actual motor in exchange for one of his chassis. He was unable to tell me in which race he used that chassis, but also clearly said that he had nothing to do with the "signature" motors. Ray could not help either. As far as the "525", I suspect that one of the assembly persons in the motor department placed his finger on each motor after they were tested and packed, but it was certainly not Bob's.

And that brings up the following...

During the whole writing of this new book, virtually all concerned parties, from virtually all the slot car companies or former stars that I interviewed, remembered much less than what was already printed in the old magazines or that I already knew myself, often contradicted established facts, often denied that products they made and that still exist even existed, and the vast majority of former racers had absolutely no clue and no knowledge, and I mean virtually ZERO knowledge (and no interest) in production items from either large or small companies, or products that they did not personally use. Sometimes, it did turn to the truly bizarre: I once confronted Pete Zimmerman with a Mura motor, new in its original packaging, of which he denied the existence, and he still refused to accept the evidence. Another example were the Testors people who had absolutely zero clue that their own company was once deeply involved in the hobby. Confronted with the evidence, they were truly amazed.

The same strange mental barrier that exists between modern slot car racers and the 1960s generation also appeared while I interviewed most former manufacturers and racers, like if all had been painted over in their minds. It was certainly one of the strangest things I have ever encountered, because I personally remember so much and have also forgotten so much.

I had to do so much personal research, which is why it took so long, so that the book would be as accurate as can be made possible. Even then, I am sure that there will be some calling me on some particular points, and this is why the book will have an interactive website where possible updates and corrections will be posted, because I deem it impossible for one person to "know it all".

The first book taught me a lesson though, that you can't make everybody happy. The HO guys did not like it because it did not have any HO cars in it (duh!), and some jerk said in a review that the book was an exercise in my own "self-aggrandizement" when my own name figured nowhere in the whole publication except as the author and that I did work for one of the toy companies at one time, even (horror) designing slot cars for them.

That person figured that if "I had not been in the USA in the 1960s, I had no business writing a book about events I had not lived." Wow. :blink:

That would make quite a few historical books out there invalid and their authors' self-aggrandizers, I guess... :laugh2:

So now the new book will begin with a serious disclaimer... :)

And now I just discovered in an old, old, old publication, yet another electric toy car running on a rail, made in France in 1908. Wait until Don Siegel sees that one... :shok:



More than 10 years ago I had the pleasure to meet Bud Shapiro ,who had been one of the local pioneers of slot car racing in Canada and had been a correspondent and contributor to one of the slot car publications in the US. He had also operated a local hobby shop.

When I brought up the topic of slot car racing with him, he was reluctant to talk about those days. He didn’t want to remember his involvement with the hobby and I was puzzled.

What had been a time of exciting developments for us the hobbyists, had been a trying time of obsolete leftover worthless stock, store closures, job losses, investments wiped out , bankruptcy and disappointment for those involved in the business side of the industry. It had left a bad taste in their mouths, and so many of these people had moved on and tried to blank out their memories of the turmoil. Gb


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