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Daily history for 5/18/12 - Cobra & Phaze III


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#1 Lone Wolf

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 07:56 AM

You East Coast pros must have seen your share of these back in the day. I hope they bring back some good memories. You guys may have endorsed some of these. The Cobra chassis looks like it was soldered by a blind man in the dark on a cold rainy night :laugh2: Any history or info is welcome.

slotblog 111.jpg

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#2 Steve Deiters

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 08:13 AM

Sold in large quantiies in their day. Questionable quality and workmanship, but they still sold well be cause there were very few players in the field with ready built chassis.

It makes me ask the question is there a market for an over the counter retro chassis ready to be assembled as a car?

#3 tonyp

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 08:15 AM

I had to repair plenty do those anglewinders back in my younger days. Really poorly soldered.

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#4 Noose

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 08:28 AM

It makes me ask the question is there a market for an over the counter retro chassis ready to be assembled as a car?



Red Fox tried this Steve but it wasn't that successful. They had a Formula 1 and then a Can-Am version. The F1 had to have a bracket put in but the Can-Am was OK. I think most would prefer to special order one from the guys building or buy one of them here or from e-Bay.

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#5 Matt Sheldon

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 08:47 AM

On ebay currently

$(KGrHqZHJFUE-k4iuuDPBPr9cl6Z9g~~60_12.jpg

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#6 TSR

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 10:31 AM

Matt,
If i recall correctly, these were produced by REH and they originally date from 1975 and were marketed well into the 1980s.
Parma of course had their own version of these simple but effective chassis. Unlike the earlier Cobra-Phaze IIII-Ferret models, the REH and Parma were actually well built and required little extra work.
The original low-cost hand-built chassis was of course that of Jan Limpach, the famous "888" issued in early 1972.

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#7 Champion 507

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 04:54 AM

I never had any of the Cobra chassis, as my local track closed in 1968. A few years ago I got a couple bracket kits in left hand and right hand drive and I hope to replicate one or two of those frames. Can't wait to get my new Hakko soldering iron all fired up to do it.
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#8 loudspeaker

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Posted 27 July 2012 - 03:32 PM

Hi, The Cobra chassis was something that Lou Graziano and friends worked up basically themselves from the chassis Howie and I built and were racing. As I recall, they really didn't consult us much on these projects and we had little input and certainly had nothing to do with the actual construction. Sandy
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#9 Superbird

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Posted 05 January 2014 - 05:02 PM

Aw


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#10 Superbird

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Posted 05 January 2014 - 05:37 PM

Aw, you guys are such cynics. I raced at Phaze III knowing the chassis were produced in the back rooms by semi-talented hourly types. I got a short tour once and it was an unremarkable place. There were jig blocks and small propane torches as well as a polishing machine (like a rock polisher). George Hauck (later known for Ferret) ran the factory and I met his son and daughter at the track. The daughter was working in the back and was very nice. It was no secret that the chassis needed reinforcement right from the bag and we promptly ran each new car directly over the bank to loosen up the cold joints. We figured anyone who expected a strong chassis was just a nubie. For a long time Roy didn't allow us to race any chassis but those he manufactured and we were OK with it. We hankered for "plumber's nightmares" and Iso-fulcrums so we secretly converted his products with the correct hinges and so on. After long years Roy relaxed and let us run TonyP chassis in limited categories. Again, we modified the TonyP chassis into Eurosport configurations.

 

Philippe's comments about REH and Parma rod and brass chassis don't sound familiar to me. I don't remember REH or Parma soldered chassis but maybe I just never saw them at Phaze III. Philippe once mentioned chassis construction being farmed out to Japan but maybe I just never encountered them myself. Maybe they were distributed through Auto World or something.

 

Thanks for the memories

Superbird 


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#11 TSR

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Posted 05 January 2014 - 05:42 PM

Philippe's comments about REH and Parma rod and brass chassis don't sound familiar to me. I don't remember REH or Parma soldered chassis but maybe I just never saw them at Phaze III. Philippe once mentioned chassis construction being farmed out to Japan but maybe I just never encountered them myself. Maybe they were distributed through Auto World or something.

 

Pete,
Thanks for the memories too! Phaze III chassis did not, unlike the Champion, Mura and Riggen "pro" chassis, come from the Orient, and neither did Cobra chassis.
Parma had its own also built in the USA and so did REH after Parma quit making those soldered brass and steel-wire jobs, once the Flexi revolution had taken place. But many sundry parts marketed by Phaze III and Cobra came from Japan, and that is what I meant. In my new book (yes, yes, it's coming!) I tell the tale of Cobra, Phaze III and Ferret as recalled by Howie, Sandy, Roy and others. Also figured there are the stories of other "Eastern" little cottage industries such as Mike Tango's "Nutley" parts, Mini-Wheels, Billy Boy etc..
Thing is, lack of communication in those days made everything very insular so racers from New Jersey had little clue of what was going in Texas, Florida and California and vice-versa...  in fact the sole link was Morrissey's paper and the few telephone calls exchanged between the very few stars of the day!  :)

 

A little addition to the Daily History:

 

chassis-cobra.jpg    cobra_phaze_3_parts_1.jpg

 

cobra_parts_1.jpg   1407.jpg

 

1408.jpg   1409.jpg

 

1410.jpg   1412.jpg


Philippe de Lespinay
 
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#12 Superbird

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Posted 05 January 2014 - 06:02 PM

Thanks Philippe!

You are really helping my research into the Cobra-Phaze III connection. Al Pappas and Don Hines were wonderful mentors to me and my buddy as kids and seeing the original Cobra packaging is very heartwarming. My buddy and I used the Cobra racing name sometimes from our associations with Al although we were never associated with EMMRA racing. One time Roy wondered what the heck we were talking about but he didn't elaborate on his connection with Cobra. The top photo of the 'Springie Thingie' is especially heart-warming because Al showed us how to fix, prep and build them as well as simply giving us chassis like that.

I have memories of the two places Al and Stella ran after EMMRA. In one place there was a track out front and a factory in the back. A third partner had died putting all the factory stuff into probate so it was all cordoned off. I never knew who passed away and what happened business wise. Maybe somebody knows.

Thanks so much for the memories!

Superbird 


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#13 TSR

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Posted 05 January 2014 - 06:26 PM

Pete,

here is Howie's racing box for memories sake... :)

cobra_box.jpg

 

Yep, it survived all these years! 

 

 


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#14 Hworth08

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Posted 05 January 2014 - 07:20 PM

For the sake of correctness, in the first post, the NCC 12 sticker should be on the anglewinder frame. The inline frame is a Formula 3 Gran Prix under NCC rules that allowed only inline frames two inches wide in that division. Any motor parts except the arm that had to be a Group 20.

 

The NCC racing was supposed to save commercial racing. In reality it widened the gap between good scratch builders who understood how to correct the questionable equipment and the average racer.


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#15 Superbird

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Posted 05 January 2014 - 08:56 PM

Hey Philippe,

 

Love that Cobra logo! I have to admit I never met Howie or Sandy or other pros that I know of. I remember one day Roy had a new product in a package labeled "Billy Boy" products. He asked me and others what I thought of the name. I told him honestly that I didn't see any connection between the name and racing while the Phaze III name was clearly a racing name. I have no idea what BB represented  but I don't think it showed up very often on his stock. Just a short conversation one day.

 

Superbird


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#16 TSR

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Posted 05 January 2014 - 11:34 PM

Here is a Billy Boy chassis, and it appears to be identical as the Riggen 7-hinge made in Japan, except that it is not plated. Japanese or copy made in America??? We may never know...

 

super-jet-by-billy-boy-chassis.jpg


Philippe de Lespinay
 
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#17 Superbird

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 10:34 AM

Hi Philippe!

 

Man that Super Jet Billy Boy Product looks ratty! The chassis has the Phaze III Ferret characteristic wrap around motor mount and steel wire rail that goes around the motor and forms the main chassis. Notice the doubled brass rod longitudinals that parallel the main chassis? They are separate and float as part of the plumber's nightmare design. The wide central drop arm is unusual and tells me that it is a late offering since the earlier drop arms were narrower. This looks to me like the plumber's nightmare that Roy finally allowed his factory folks to produce. He didn't want to make them because he felt the complexity was unnecessary and the folks in the back room didn't like making them. As I recall, he finally made them but they were more expensive so racers didn't buy too many. That may explain why the item you have is so ratty. It was a left-over. You would have to turn the package over to confirm the design but Roy's offerings used an 1/8th axle up front long after other builders had gone to 1/16 rod and light wheels.

 

As a cynical guy who was there the bagged chassis screams out to me of the folks in Roy's back room given the not too neat construction and ratty condition. I've never seen a Riggens chassie like that, copy or not and I tend to think a Japanese knock off would have better quality. If Roy got stampings and parts from other sources, I wouldn't know.

 

By the way, I really appreciate where Lone Wolf included a photo of a Phaze III Indy style chassis and an early Cobra SideWinder pan chassis. The Indy chassis like that never handled worth a flip but it was the rules. I have an early Cobra chassis just like that with the characteristic frame shapes and rod spacing. Mine was converted to an experimental wing car but the design is unmistakable.

 

In those days I often visited relatives in Jersey and went to B&J Raceways, 215 Haddon Ave, Westmont, NJ. My Cobra and Phaze III cars were completely foreign to those folks. They stocked a lot of Champion of Chamblee rod and pan chassis as well as stamped chassis. They has other scratch kits but my memory is hazy now. I loved running the big tracks there and the fantastic drag strip.  

 

Once again, this is a wonderful trip down memory lane. Thanks, Philippe!

Superbird


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#18 TSR

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 10:52 AM

Pete,

the LASCM has a drawer full of these Cobra, Phaze III and Ferret chassis. I will post a few more pictures here. Now that I read what you posted, I have to compare a Riggen "7-hinge" chassis to this rather rare "Billy Boy SuperJet". Film at 11!  :)
 


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#19 Superbird

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 07:46 PM

Thanks Philippe. Keep me in the hunt. I know you can also ask Pete Crawley since he might remember although he was pretty young at the time. I don't know the status of George and Carol these days in Fla either. I have my memories but my knowledge was limited. Roy didn't talk much about his sources and we only got a glimpse of the factory one evening when he asked us to help him carry some boxes or something like that.

 

Your photos show a lot of 1/32nd chassis from Cobra and I guess later Phaze III. I know Don Hines was particularly inventive in the 1/32 scale and EMMRA probably included racing in that scale. However, I don't know of any 1/32 tracks on Long Island so I guess they went to clubs. There was a club track oval, I think in Islip. that was literally a glass surface! They ran silicon tires exclusively.

 

I'd sure like to learn who the partner who passed away was. He was supposed to have been a heavy fellow who had a heart attack. After EMMRA closed Don and AL had a former supermarket store on Merrick Avenue. That was where he had a small track and the factory was cordoned off in the back. That place also closed (the factory vanished) and Al and Stella opened an even smaller shop with an oval (I think) and a luncheonette. Kids could have fun and eat healthy sandwiches. Part of the rent arrangement was an agreement with the town to support a healthy establishment for kids. Yeah, that Al all over and we were happy to spend time at his place when we could. I did research on this stuff that pinned down the dates a bit better. The files are sleeping on my computer until it gets repaired. Keep me in the hunt.

 

Thanks again!
Superbird Pete


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