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M.E.S.A.C.


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#1 yomama

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Posted 31 July 2007 - 07:53 PM

It might be overrated to some, but I find it interesting. Anyone have any first hand experience? Pictures, stories, etc.
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Cal Naughton, Jr.




#2 TSR

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Posted 31 July 2007 - 10:24 PM

Plenty of them. I will scan four pages of a mag describing the advent of the club and post ASAP. Suffice to say that it was the Club of clubs.
Cars have survived, racers have survived, and MESAC will survive in the book "Electric Dreams" that will be published in 2014.


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Philippe de Lespinay
 
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#3 yomama

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Posted 31 July 2007 - 10:43 PM

Looking forward to the scans, and especially the book!!! Thanks, Philippe.
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#4 n9949y

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Posted 01 August 2007 - 05:18 PM

When I was a MESAC member I shot a lot of photos with my Kodak Instamatic. Over time these few have survived...

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The 1/24 Lotus 47 is a vac body from a mold by Roger Moon of Pasadena and mounted on a chassis built by Don Sloan. 35 years later the cars's still going strong at Pelican Park Speedway, Eugene, OR, a 20-year-old club that's MESAC's worthy successor.

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Todd Messinger

Remember folks, traffic lights timed for 35 MPH, are also timed for 70!

#5 yomama

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Posted 01 August 2007 - 09:37 PM

Thanks for the pics, Todd. How long were you a member? Tell us a little stuff we might not know about.
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Cal Naughton, Jr.

#6 dretceterini

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Posted 29 November 2007 - 11:16 AM

Anyone know how Roger Moon is doing, or how to get in touch with Chuck Hooton or John Luthi? I haven't seen Chuck or John in 20+ years, and the last time I saw Roger was at least five years ago, shortly after his wife passed away, at Autobooks in Burbank, CA...
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Stuart Schaller

#7 n9949y

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Posted 02 December 2007 - 02:23 PM

Anyone know how Roger Moon is doing, or how to get in touch with Chuck Hooton or John Luthi? I haven't seen Chuck or John in 20+ years, and the last time I saw Roger was at least five years ago, shortly after his wife passed away, at Autobooks in Burbank, CA...


Stuart,

John Luthi is living in Claremont, CA according to his Ocotober 16, 2007 post re: MESAC on Slotforum.
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Todd Messinger

Remember folks, traffic lights timed for 35 MPH, are also timed for 70!

#8 n9949y

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Posted 02 December 2007 - 02:46 PM

MESAC, in the annals of slot racing, is long and illustrious, and has been periodically chronicled. Its story has lacked an ending, though, as few were around then to tell it. In 1975-76 I was thoroughly buried by my undergraduate program at CSULB, focusing much of my time writing research papers for my History degree.

John Luthi who was an active MESAC member to the end wraps up MESAC’s saga:

“I was a member from late 1969 to the Club’s demise in late 1977. That seemed a long stretch at the time; but looking back, it feels like it came and went in the blink of an eye. At any rate, that period of my life was an enrichment of fun, adventure, learning and camaraderie quite unlike anything I’ve experienced since.

I hailed from a nearby slot racing club that considered itself “scale,” though I’m not sure why. We nevertheless were invited to participate in a MESAC U-2* race one evening in 1969, and about six of us made the trip to Inglewood. We’d all seen photos of the track in magazines of the day, but still our eyes were out on stocks when we saw the legendary layout for the first time in person. Slot racing was in its demise at the time, and I think MESAC was for the first time actually trying to recruit new members. My old club was loosing members also, and the commercial raceways were dropping by the wayside. I was the only one from my old club to join up, mainly to experience 1:32 racing for the first time, and because I really did appreciate the concept of scale racing.

Jim Russell, Ron Von Klein and John Duer and were still active, but not for much longer. I did meet Ed Harris, but he wasn’t coming around very often, and the Sisk brothers made a few encore appearances after I’d joined. I can remember a few other faces but can no longer recall names (who was the older gent who worked as a wine salesman, always showed up in suit and drove FAST?). Chuck Hooton, Roger Moon, Don Sloan, Todd Messinger and Dan Wilson were established members who stayed around for a few years or more after I joined.

Jim Russell left to run Aurora’s HO racing program in New York, and Ron Klein went with him as a designer. Bob Bernhard joined them later. Anyone remember Speedy Bob, the erstwhile pro shop racer? He showed up one night with the great Lee Gilbert, and decided to stay. Lee also did some races with us. Wow, is it ever easy to digress! Before Jim left for NY and closed down Russkit, I was invited to the shop in North Hollywood and given the grand tour plus a generous assortment of parts and goodies. This was an “initiation” all new MESAC members received up to that point, and I was probably the last to be bestowed with such honors.

I got in at the tail end of MESAC’s glory days, and I am grateful for being involved when there were still a lot of enthusiastic members. As mentioned, slot racing was on its way out as a pastime, being usurped by the onslaught of video games and other instant gratification hobbies. The neighborhood in which our building was located was sadly going downhill also, and it was hard to get otherwise-interested folks to stop by. In 1976, I think it was, the club building was broken into by young hoodlums, who ransacked the place, destroying a good deal of the marvelous scenery. Repairs were made, but the layout was never again as elaborate as in its heyday, and a lot of wind was taken out of the members’ sails.

We carried on with perhaps six regular members and a few irregulars until December 1977. It was becoming hard to make the rent and pay for the lights, and it simply wasn’t fun anymore with such a small turnout. Our final ranks included Hooton, Moon, Sloan, Victor Ferguson, myself and occasionally Lee Stokley and the Yee brothers. We simply stopped racing after 1977.

The final objective was to dismantle the track and make the building rentable for our landlord; but we never carried that out, never developed a plan to store or resurrect it. It would’ve taken a lot more enthusiasm and money than could’ve been mustered at the time; besides which, the floor on which the track was constructed was quite uneven and restoring it elsewhere would be a major headache. Hooton was getting mixed signals from the landlord, who was going to raze the building (or perhaps it was the city that had such plans) one week, and the next talked of selling off the track to some interested party (unknown to the members). It was questionable as to whether we continued to owe rent while the track remained in place, and in the end we simply fell out of contact with the landlord, effectively turning it over to him. There has been talk that it was actually moved, but its fate seems to be part of the MESAC mystique. The building lived on into the nineties at least, for a while as a church, then as a machine shop. But I haven’t been by the old locale for many years now.”

John Luthi
Claremont, California
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Todd Messinger

Remember folks, traffic lights timed for 35 MPH, are also timed for 70!

#9 Prof. Fate

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Posted 03 December 2007 - 12:41 PM

Hi

My friend Danny Wilson lives in Colorado Springs. About 15 years ago, he had a hobby shop there that I visited while on a business trip. We got to talking, compared notes and all and realized we knew some of the same people. But I had never stopped racing. We talked cars, i drew sketches trying to get him caught up in the changes of the time and all. Introduced him to Bob Schliecher and Steve Burkey, and got him racing again.

He does beautfiul scale stuff still, and, except for Dennis, is probably the best of the racers in Denver.

I befriended Lee Stokley about the time MESAC was dying and we had some good times over the following years until his death. I had not seen or owned the MRRC cars that used the Ks type motor before I met him, and he aquired a number of them for me, which allowed me a lot of projects I had only wanted to do.

And, of course, I have already told the story about how nice Jim Russell was to me as a kid, my "pen pal" spending a lot of time helping and advising me before the fad.

Yup, for me, the legend of MESAC wasn't the track, but the people.

Fate
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#10 ravajack

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 01:21 PM

Some more info on M.E.S.A.C, taken from the "1966 Model Car Racing Handbook" by the MCS and MC&T staff:

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#11 Patrick M.

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Posted 07 March 2009 - 03:14 PM

I never had the opportunity to race at the MESAC track, but did have the privelege of racing with a few of the MESAC members. Following the demise of the Inglewood club, Lee Stokely, John Luthi and Roger Moon were instrumental in the birth of a new 1/32nd club known as SARC (Scale Auto Racing Club). I was active with the club from about 1977 until the track was moved to another location (Chino?) in '83 or '84. The 3 lane track was setup in a residential garage in North El Monte and was fabricated using vintage Scalex track sections. The cars raced ranged from box stock MRRC and Scalex to somewhat open chassis configurations (no hinges or can motors) with heavy emphasis on historic and scale realism. Classes varied from season to season and ran the gamut from pre-war formula cars to '60 sports racers to the then current F1 cars. One of the most memorable events was a series of team enduro races complete with mandatory driver changes and in the dark running, the track lit only by the R. Moon engineered headlights on the cars.... a very interesting challenge.
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#12 Big E

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Posted 26 November 2010 - 04:35 PM

It might be overrated to some, but I find it interesting. Anyone have any first hand experience? Pictures, stories, etc.


10-4, 'Elroy', I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Jim Russell in NYC a few years ago. When I mentioned MESAC, his eyes lit up and he spoke at length about the club and answered numerous questions I asked of him. Absolutely one of the founding fathers of our hobby, and a real gentleman. A day I will not soon forget. Gotta love those Jetsons !! -- Ernie
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#13 TSR

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Posted 26 November 2010 - 05:12 PM

According to Knight Plastics' founder and Von Klein partner George Albiez, the MESAC track was built from the elements of a larger layout built in Studio City, a 190' 6-lane track in a raceway called Monza Hobbies. When Albiez got tired of making bodies, he quit the business in 1963 and moved to France for a few years, returning in 1967. Von Klein shut down Monza Hobbies and gave the track pieces to the founders of MESAC, where they were reassembled into a multiple layout track system. Von Klein remained a member for several years and into the early 1970's. George sent me pictures of the track when it was in Studio City and one can see that they definitely could be one and the same.
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#14 stumbley

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Posted 16 June 2011 - 03:17 PM

Roger Moon is alive and well and races occasionally with us in the Farrout Slot Car club:

http://www.farroutslotcars.com/
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#15 Phil Hackett

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Posted 16 June 2011 - 07:22 PM

The final objective was to dismantle the track and make the building rentable for our landlord; but we never carried that out, never developed a plan to store or resurrect it. It would've taken a lot more enthusiasm and money than could've been mustered at the time; besides which, the floor on which the track was constructed was quite uneven and restoring it elsewhere would be a major headache. Hooton was getting mixed signals from the landlord, who was going to raze the building (or perhaps it was the city that had such plans) one week, and the next talked of selling off the track to some interested party (unknown to the members). It was questionable as to whether we continued to owe rent while the track remained in place, and in the end we simply fell out of contact with the landlord, effectively turning it over to him. There has been talk that it was actually moved, but its fate seems to be part of the MESAC mystique. The building lived on into the nineties at least, for a while as a church, then as a machine shop. But I haven't been by the old locale for many years now."

John Luthi
Claremont, California


The building is still there as of 4 years ago. The last time I went by it was for rent. The area is dominated by apartments and the MESAC building is somewhat out of place in the middle of the block and being a single story building.


Picture of MESAC building... as found on imageshack:

http://img243.images...74/mesac4si.jpg
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#16 HarV Wallbanger III

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Posted 17 June 2011 - 01:14 PM

A very interesting part of slot car history! I always wanted to see it but being a pre- driving kid and about 100 miles away I never could do anything but look at the magazine pics and dream of what it would be like to get to play there!
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Enjoy life! Race hard and often! "Nobody gets out alive"


#17 Jocke P

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 05:45 AM

Two more Pictures here, MCS January 1968

http://www.modelency...d=39&PageNum=65
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#18 JimF

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 06:26 PM

Interesting to see this latest bump. I raced there maybe ten times as a guest of Ed Hooten or Don Sloan. At the time I was working the counter at Chequered Flag in Inglewood (Ray Wallace owner) and racing there and occasional larger races. Don was also a local racer at CF and Revell and Ed was too (verrrry occasionally). Both recruited me to come and race and I was into scale and detailing etc. so I went a few times. It was enormous fun but I didn't have a car so I was only able to go when Ed or Don would pick me up from CF and take me racin'.

 

I met RVK there a few times and JR once and Ron painted a body for me to race in the inaugural Western States Championship. I won Concours in the Amateur race (and finished second in the main) and everyone said that my highly detailed interior was the determining factor in that concours win. Personally, I'm sure that it was the RVK snakeskin paint on the Russkit Elfin that did it.

 

When I went to College in '69, I dropped out of Slots entirely and ski racing was climbing up on my radar too, but I remember the MESAC races fondly. That's probably one of the reasons that I like Retro so much more than flexi racing. 


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#19 Jocke P

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Posted 26 June 2014 - 04:45 AM

Imho this is the ultimate racetrack of all times, i just love reading about it, and about how the races were conducted, pit stops and all.


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#20 SlotStox#53

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Posted 26 June 2014 - 07:11 AM

Imho this is the ultimate racetrack of all times, i just love reading about it, and about how the races were conducted, pit stops and all.


Only just found this thread & first time seeing and reading about this track. .....
:shok: WOW! ! What a race track and such a clever design ...

Jocke you hit the nail on the head :good:
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#21 JimF

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Posted 26 June 2014 - 01:12 PM

Imho this is the ultimate racetrack of all times, i just love reading about it, and about how the races were conducted, pit stops and all.

 

And very possibly, the ultimate club as well. (At least on our shores)


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Jim Fowler

#22 Half Fast

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Posted 26 June 2014 - 01:14 PM

Basic Question:

 

What does MESAC stand for?

 

Cheers


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#23 Jocke P

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Posted 26 June 2014 - 02:20 PM

Miniature Electric Scale Automobile Club, it´s in the text of the second Picture of post #10


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#24 Dennis David

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Posted 26 June 2014 - 03:37 PM

I was thinking that for many of us the MESAC track is smilier to John Allen's Gorre and Daphetid is for the train guys, an icon in our history. 


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Dennis David
    
ncsra2.jpg
 
ncsra.jpg
   


#25 Régis4446

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Posted 27 June 2014 - 12:01 AM

 

Two more Pictures here, MCS January 1968

http://www.modelency...d=39&PageNum=65

:good: Thank


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