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Daily history for 10/4/12 - John Harris collection #1


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#1 Lone Wolf

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 12:53 PM

Sorry I have been remiss in history posting but it was for good reason. My Wife is finally done with the home I.V. and is feeling somewhat better. Now on to history.

A while back I bought a large collection of cars and related items. The cars all belonged to John Harris from New Jersey. I was told by the guy I bought this stuff from ( who was his best friend ) that John had some kind of connection to Pittman and was supposed to be a racer for Team Pittman. I have no way to verify this and I do not know if a Team Pittman even existed. Any verification either way would be appreciated.

There are many unique cars. The build quality for the most part is not Concours but some are really nice and all are unique. The seller told me he was a local champion with his 1/32 cars.

The cars are in varying states of repair. Most are crusty and dusty from sitting for years. I am cleaning and restoring them one at a time. I am not going to over restore them. Just a general cleaning and preservation.

Car #1. I believe the body to be an Aurora 1/32 Cunningham. Chassis is a Revell and I think the motor is a Bonner. Wheels are Strombecker.

The body was broken at the rear mount and the windshield frame was broken off. I repaired the rear body, cleaned the wheels and chassis and replaced the rear tires with Firestone pie crust slicks which match what was there.

Car still retains it's battle scars and original hand lettering and decals. As always I welcome any comments or questions. Enjoy

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  • Peter Horvath and Jocke P like this

Joe Lupo





#2 gascarnut

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 01:26 PM

Very cool! Nice save too, as you say, not over-restored, so it retains its character.

I love seeing these old cars - please keep them coming!

I hope someone is around to do this with my cars 40 years from now.......

Dennis Samson
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#3 Lone Wolf

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 02:47 PM

Thanks, Dennis, more to come. Call me in 40 years R.E. preservation of your stash. I'll be 94 but who knows :shok: I may even remember who I am at that time :laugh2:

Joe Lupo


#4 endbelldrive

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 03:23 PM

This car is fabulous! It would be nice to see more of these pre-1966 builds. They have so much charm and have the character of that period of slot car racing.

LASCM has some of John Harris' later 1967 Team Pittman cars including the wild "jail door" chassis made of brass tubing and not rod.
Bob Suzuki

#5 Mike K

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 03:42 PM

I hope someone is around to do this with my cars 40 years from now.......


I doubt very much that ANY restoring will be necessary on your cars!
Besides, what other craftsman could match your quality and do a proper restoration???

So much DRAMA for such small cars....
Mike Kravitz

Don't DQ me for having the wrong SHADE of orange on my McLaren... after all, it's ONLY a toy car!!!


#6 gascarnut

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 03:51 PM

Thanks, Dennis, more to come. Call me in 40 years R.E. preservation of your stash. I'll be 94 but who knows :shok: I may even remember who I am at that time :laugh2:


Dude, 40 years from now, I would be101+, so it might be a bit late....!

I doubt very much that ANY restoring will be necessary on your cars!
Besides, what other craftsman could match your quality and do a proper restoration???


Thanks Mike, but I still intend playing with my cars, so they may not be that hot by then.....

Dennis Samson
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#7 Lone Wolf

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 03:58 PM

Dennis, they say people are living longer these days, mostly to pay off credit cards I guess :)

Bob, please advise where you actually saw that car in the LASCM. Are you saying there was a team Pittman and John was on it? Please tell us what you know R.E. this subject.

Joe Lupo


#8 TSR

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 04:16 PM

Hi Joe,
I purchased all the cars retained by John Harris as well as all his spare parts directly from him in 1995. John was already retired and was living in Florida. He had trusted a friend to post his cars on eBay at the time. At the time I had long conversations with Mr. Harris.
Years later I wrote this that was published on line, about the relation between Mr. Harris and Pittman:

Team Pittman and the 6001

In late 1966, Pittman introduced a new motor specifically designed for slot car use. It had the general bulk of the Mabuchi FT26 but offered a much higher manufacturing quality. It used the arm of the previous 196B in a new steel formed can fitted with a die-cast zinc end bell and Pittman-style overhead brush assembly. The magnets were stronger than most out there, and as usual the quality was vastly above that of the Japanese motors of the period. There were two versions, one with flanged and sealed ball bearings (model 6001BB, $9.95) and with plain sintered bronze oilites (model 6001, $4.95).
To help popularize these new mills which cost nearly twice as much as the mid-size Mabuchi, Pittman formed a pro-racing team, composed of two hot-shoes of the time: John Harris and Mike Smith, both from the Chicago area.
John set to build the latest pro-trend chassis as seen on the east and west coasts, and attempted to qualify at the top events, but while the 6001 were decent motors, they did not have the legs (and the brakes) of a well set up FT16, and it was not long until Pittman withdrew their support.

Here are a few of these survivors sold to me by a friend of John Harris, now 86 and retired in Florida, which he trusted to liquidate his accumulation of cars and parts. The first car I purchased was this Mirage, and an inquiry led to the purchase of over a dozen cars and tons of spare parts:

Posted Image

The body is a Dynamic Mirage, with a Pittman sticker at the rear. The front wheels are rare Cox Lotus extra-narrow magnesium with Weldun tires. The rears are Riggen with black rubber. The driver is by Cox, mounted on flat black card. The car is completely original and was only cleaned from 35 years of atmospheric pollution.

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The inline chassis is extremely neat and shows very good craftsmanship, especially the main rails going around the back and to the from axle tube, not so easy to do in one piece... The Pittman 6001 motor is affixed with two machine screws.
The guide is a Dynamic, the gears are Cox.

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These other cars have a famous history of their own as they were shown and driven on the Johnny Carson Show, Johnny himself driving (and immediately crashing) one of them on a Revell track set in the studio.

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The down side shows the Lotus and Lola T70 fitted with the Pittman 6001 motors, while the Lola T80 Indy car has a rewound Russkit 23 and the Ferrari 3-liter F1 has a rewound K&B "Jaguar", their version of the Mabuchi FT26.


John also had a whole range of modified stock Monogram 1/32 scale cars with vacuum formed bodies as well as home built ones.

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Here is a page of a 1967 issue of MCR showing John Harris involvement:


Posted Image


At least, these cars, now relics of a fun past, did not end in the thrash can like so many...


Joe,
I also saw the auction that took place a few months ago with a whole new batch of cars. Frankly I am not sure of their origin since Mr. Harris is no longer with us. They could be his, that he passed along to someone, or not, anyway I copied the pictures of the auction but recommended to Scott at the LASCM to pass on the lot. I am happy that you have them now.

#9 Lone Wolf

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 04:39 PM

Thanks very much Pdl. I appreciate the info. I believe these cars to be authentic to John. The Mirage shown is very similar to some of my cars and many have that little Pittman decal as well. Included with the cars were various paper work and books most with Johns signature. I too received a large amount of parts as well including a quantity of small Pittman decals and large amounts of Pittman parts as well rewind stuff etc. The guy I bought them from was into top flight Corvettes and claimed to be John's friend. Sadly, since John is gone I will never know for sure. Peter Horvath who is a member here knows the seller and there may be more info somewhere. Anyway, I'm glad I got them as well and I'm glad to share them.

Joe Lupo


#10 Hworth08

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 05:02 PM

Didn't know the first Pittman can motors used the 196B arm. Auto World states in their catalogue that all their Pitt can motors use the latest hotter arm so there must have been a change.
Don Hollingsworth

#11 Lone Wolf

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 07:59 AM

Looked in the box and guess what I found. A near twin to the Mirage PdL has shown in the first pic. Dark red paint, drilled out injectors, windshield rivets picked out in silver and the all important Pittman decal in the same place at the rear of the body. Some minor style differences like the roll bar.

I thought at first it may have been attached to the chassis shown but I only have two mount holes as opposed to three. Still may have spent some time on the other chassis though. No one will ever know for sure.

slotblog 185.jpg

P.S. trivia question, who can tell me what rare factory kit those number 47's on the first Mirage shown sports?

Joe Lupo


#12 TSR

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 08:25 AM

I won't tell but the company is American... :)

#13 gascarnut

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 11:35 AM

There's a very interesting paragraph in that magazine article:

Mark Donahue - 34 - member Ford Racing Team. Drives Chevy Lola for Penske and was 2nd in the 1966 CanAm. Mark is an Automotive Engineer.


Does anyone have any other info about Mark's slot racing activities?

Dennis Samson
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Life is scratchbuilt

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#14 Gary Bluestone

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 04:32 PM

Looked in the box and guess what I found. A near twin to the Mirage PdL has shown in the first pic. Dark red paint, drilled out injectors, windshield rivets picked out in silver and the all important Pittman decal in the same place at the rear of the body. Some minor style differences like the roll bar.

I thought at first it may have been attached to the chassis shown but I only have two mount holes as opposed to three. Still may have spent some time on the other chassis though. No one will ever know for sure.

slotblog 185.jpg

P.S. trivia question, who can tell me what rare factory kit those number 47's on the first Mirage shown sports?


The # 47 decals were supplied with Monogram's 1932 Ford " Racing Duece Roadster " 1/32 scale slot racing kit. Gb

#15 TSR

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 05:42 PM

Exactamente! :)

#16 Lone Wolf

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 07:18 PM

Good job GB. I was thinking of doing another trivia thing like I've done in the past but I thought of excluding Bluestone, Don S. and Tony P. as they got many of the answers last time :D Thankfully, PdL removed himself from competition.

Just kidding, everyone can play :)

Joe Lupo


#17 Peter Horvath

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 10:44 PM

Hey there Joe! I was pleased to see you post bits from your John Harris menagerie. I too bought 6 cars from the same gent, John Gyorfy. I don't have any great pics, but I'll try to take some this weekend to post.
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#18 Peter Horvath

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 01:35 PM

I realized I had a pic of one of my Harris cars. Let's see how this looks. If it's crummy, I will shoot some new ones...
DSC00288.JPG DSC00290.JPG

It cruises pretty nicely via its Pittman 6001 power, but could probably stand to have some lead added to the underside of the chassis to make it stick a little better. I've replaced the rear tires with very similar looking Ortmanns. The originals were pretty useless...
Peter Horvath
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Plays guitar.
Plays with slot cars.
Cooks food.
Hangs out with wife and kids.

#19 Lone Wolf

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Posted 07 October 2012 - 08:51 AM

Peter, that is an extremely nice looking car. Can't go wrong with a vintage Mopar. Glad to see others can enjoy these cars as well.

Joe Lupo


#20 Superbird

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Posted 17 January 2014 - 05:42 PM

Hi guys!

 

Great exchange. I can now identify the body on one of my cars as a '63-'65 Mirage. I got this one from the fellow running Slot World in Winchester, Tn in the mid '90s. I didn't note his name (Dang!) but he took a job running the real circle track in Winchester and let the slot track drop. He sold me a slew of his old cars off the bottom shelf before he left. I know the car is fairly early because it in an in-line, has a 1/16th front drop axle with 1" tall hard wheels, the chassis has only a short drop arm and the frame is filled in with solid metal parts (no hinged pans). It is interesting to drive as an example of its time although I have a more modern 16D silver can motor in it. 

 

He was also the fellow who put me on to a time capsule slot car box with peak equipment for about '68. No idea of the identity of the driver although Slot World was not in existence in Several more interesting car to drive in there and a revelation about the horsepower available at the time.  

 

Take care,

Superbird


Pete Shreeves





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