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#26 Mopar Rob

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Posted 07 July 2012 - 11:09 PM

Russ,
The Wikipedia story is also very inaccurate. Why would Harley-Davidson, a public company since 1965 would be "sold" to AMF? It simply did not happen. What happened is very different: just as for the obsolete British motorcycles, hampered by pre-war thinking, lack of modern features and full of unreliable parts and poor machining, Harley bikes had become obsolete junk


I've owned four bowling ball era H-D motorcycles including a '73 FLH that was purchased from the nephew of the orginal deceased owner. The bike was all orginal and had never been apart. I owned that bike for over 11 years. While not quick or great handling, I wouldn't have hesitated to jump on it and ride it to your coast or exactly what it was designed for.

Not really sure where you pull your misinformation from? How many H-D's have you owned?

I've owned many different brands and style of motorcycles ranging from a 1936 H-D WL, Ducati 916 and my last bike that was a Suzuki GSXR1000.

From my experience I woudn't exactly call your beloved Desmo headed Ducati's exactly maintenace free.  ^_^
 

But the company ONLY survived through protectionism: in 1982, President Reagan signed a bill that taxed the Japanese imports a 20% fee on wholesale, this for a period of 10 years. This allowed HD to get the needed oxygen to eventually re-capture some of the more conservative US market..


It was univerally acknowleged that the Japanese were dumping bikes on the US. The tarrif was only on motorcycles over 750cc which is why at the time the motorcycles like the Suzuki GS700 came out to circumvent the tarrif.
 

The new owners did indeed create an all-new image for the bikes and progressively made them more reliable and usable. By the 1990's, their marketing approach and the help of a few celebrities such as Malcolm Forbes made the bikes more popular, then the organization of owners meets such as Sturgis blew the market wide open. .

 

Considering the first year of Sturgis motorcycle rally was in 1938, not quite sure why you imply it was in the '90s?

Now if you were inaccurately refering to the formation of HOG or Harley Owners Group promoting the motorcycle along with the lifestyle, I believe that was formed in the early '80s after the 1981 leveraged buyout fom AMF? :crazy:

Back to the reliabilty issue. About the only thing I see that lends itself to that myth is the rear chain oiler on pre-belt driven bikes. There's a check ball in the oil pump and if the bike sits for long periods of time oil sometimes gets around the check ball and upon start up that oil is blown from the vent tube leading one to believe the motorcycle leaks. With modern O-ring chains the oiler can be turned off and AMF era or pre-AMF era motorcyles won't leak anymore or anyless oil than anything else unless your refering to the way earlier constant loss oil systems of say a VL or DL. :shok:


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#27 Ron Hershman

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Posted 07 July 2012 - 11:50 PM

More things that AMF once owned besides Harley Davison.....Huffy bycycles, snowmobiles, mono rails, golf carts and nuke reactors.... they sold Iran and Pakistan there very first ones.

Read on...... http://greghoy.com/c...fy-me-vol-1-amf

Lots of AMF HD motor bikes here http://www.youtube.c...0.0.p9LFLh1NVnM

#28 Rick

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 01:28 AM

PDL,

HONDA was the one with its marketing campaigne in the late 60's that made people look at motorcycles in a different way, with their "you meet the nicest people on a Honda bike" yadda yadda yadda.

Harley never promoted a nice image, that I can remember.

I bought a 71 XLCH out the door, $2160. AMF first year, IIRC.
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#29 ravajack

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 04:01 AM

here is a pic I took a couple years ago of some of the AMCRC/AMF cars at the LASCM:


Philippe,
I notice that all the AMF cars in your picture has a cockpit tray w. driver. Were there different "batches" when these cars were produced, or were there different specs for different markets (US/Europe/rest of the world)? Also, was the tray insert in the AMF cars the same as in the regular MPC cars, like Ford J and Mako Shark?

I also notice that all the cars in the pic appears to be of the UK-made variety, not the US "American" version. That seems a little strange, as the AMF:s weren't supposed to be marketed in the US, yet these AMF:s seems to be the most abundant today, not the US-Americans. How come?

More questions on this subject, while we're at it:

While MPC was manufacturing this Mako Shark car for AMF, MPC also had their own version of the Mako Shark in their production pipeline. Same model of car make, but yet distinctive differences in body shape. Any idea of the motives behind this decision? Also, as both body shapes were made of Lexan, did MPC also manufacture these bodies, or were they OEM:ed from any outside source? If so, whom?

As for the MPC Dyn-O-Can, I've never seen any info on what company that actually manufactured this motor. Was it produced in-house by MPC, or? And was it used by other companies than MPC an AMF?

Lot of questions, but who better to ask than The Dokk? :)
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#30 TSR

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 08:05 AM

All the AMCRC and AMF cars had the standard MPC printed cardboard insert, with the injected flesh colored torso and helmeted head glued over it. This was taped inside the body but the tape dries quickly and these inserts fall off.

The MPC motor was produced in USA but do not know what is the actual manufacturer. As far as I know, these motors in their various forms never used by another manufacturer.

The endbells in the AMCRC and AMF cars can be of different colors: dark blue, lighter blue, beige, red...

Most of the survivors today that are MIB are from a small stock that escaped tax-driven destruction in the UK (in other words, a person at AMF in charge of destroying merchandise for tax write-off, kept some and eventually they ended on the marketplace).
Because the AMF scheme in Europe was no short of a total failure, few were actually sold. I remember driving one of those piles in the AMCRC racing center in Paris in the day. Steering wheel, "gas' pedal and all!

Virtually all of the American issues were simply... used up as rental cars, so they are harder to find. Boxes are even rarer.

MPC made these cars for AMCRC on a contract. They did not do the design of either car or body, and few of the actual MPC slot car parts are used on these models. MPC made their own Mako Shark (there are several variations of these over the two years in which they were produced) but 95% of the parts are different.
MPC had their own vacuum forming facilities and made their own bodies and did all their painting in house. Even the metallizing of their Lola T70 bodies was done in house. MPC was first to use Lexan for the bodies, but their paint made the material very brittle...

#31 don.siegel

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 12:18 PM

Didn't MPC claim that the Dyn-O-Can was US made, just like the Dyn-O-Charger?

When I saw the first of these rental chassis with a Pittman DC706 I thought it was a special modification, but have since then seen them relatively regularly on ebay, although often without the body.

I few years ago, on ebay UK I think, somebody was selling a bunch of the AMF rental car spare parts, but don't know whatever happened to that...

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#32 TSR

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 12:37 PM

Hi Don,
yes indeed MPC cars were, unlike many other slot cars marketed in America, 100% American made. But i was unable to find out which company produced the motors, would they be Dyn-O-Can or Dyn-O-Charger.

The cars with the Pittman motors are totally genuine and are the first iteration of the AMCRC "rental" car. I believe that the sequence went as follows:

-1965: first issue as "Americana", Pittman motor, American-flag cardboard box.
-1966: second issue in clear plastic "Americana" box with gold embossing, MPC Dyn-O-Can motor.
-1966: British issue, same car but boxed in British AMF box.
-1967: the whole AMCRC and AMF scheme collapses and millions invested are lost. Firewood becomes cheap for a while...
-Circa 1980: John Ford introduces worldwide conspiracy theory of AMF torpedoing slot racing to save bowling.
Film at 11.

Sorry John, I had to do it. I still love you man, you did a lot for the hobby. :)

#33 Rick

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 01:10 PM

Don't you still find it amazing that the fad collapsed so quickly? That was fueled by the millions of baby boomers. Maybe because we all also turned 16 at that time and found perfume and gas fumes? I would hazard a guess that hormones trumped a chitty plastic trophy. LOL

I am bowling at an AMF center now and have been asking the owner if there is any old papers laying around from the 60's in the back? Would be cool to find some paperwork in a box back there............
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#34 TSR

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 01:28 PM

Rick,
You would never find anything in an AMF center about slot cars since AMF was NEVER involved in the USA. AMF only purchased a license from AMCRC to establish slot car centers OUTSIDE of the USA, mostly in the UK, France, Germany and Japan. And this venture was a fiasco for AMF.
AMCRC had nothing to do with AMF other than the guys who started it were apparently ex employees of AMF.
This is why there was no conspiracy, because AMF was NEVER in the slot car business in the USA. :)

#35 ravajack

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 02:35 PM

OK, sorry but this topic begs for some more questions, as I'm still confused, but on a higher level...

Re: The acronyms that are floating around concerning this enigmatic topic and era.
I've collected these from around the Net and also within this site:

AMF - American Machine and Foundry
AMCR - American Model Car Raceways
AMCRC - American Model Car Racing Congress
AMRRC - American Model Raceways and Racing Congress

How were these related relatively each other?

I've found logos for the first three, but the fourth, AMRRC, seems somewhat vague and has eluded me.
What exactly was the AMRRC?

Posted Image
AMF, AMCR and AMCRC logos.
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#36 TSR

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 02:47 PM

AMRC, AMCRC and AMRRC are one and the same. All based at the same address on Wilshire Blvd in LA, then when things got ugly, retrenched in their warehouse in Santa Monica.

AMF is not part of the group, only a licensee for use of AMRC and AMCRC products outside the USA. :)
The LASCM now has a large collection of the literature, plans, drawings, photography, mailings, correspondence and paraphernalia about AMCRC and their various entities. Not possible to publish it all, but eventually much will be shown on the interactive website of which address and access will be granted after the new book's purchase, and that promises to be a very busy locale for enthusiasts. :)

#37 Ron Hershman

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 05:19 PM

This is why there was no conspiracy, because AMF was NEVER in the slot car business in the USA. :)


The one and only connection..... the steering wheels and foot pedals/based used on the American Raceways tracks were in fact produced by AMF.

#38 ravajack

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 05:51 PM

Hmm... I'm pondering the AMF Mako: What kind of strange creature is this?

Posted Image

I've searched high and low all over the Net, but I've yet to find any full scale, IRL Mako Shark in this special MPC-made AMF design. Was there ever a Mako Shark in this shape, or was it a pure fantasy design?

According to the many Corvette/Mako Shark sites I've sifted through, there were only ever two distinct GM Mako Shark design prototypes, the 1961 Mako Shark I XP-755 and the 1965 Mako Shark II XP-830. Both can be seen in the picture below:

Posted Image

I don't think the Mako 1/XP-755 was ever made as a slot car in any scale, but the Mako II/XP-830 has been seen in many slot car iterations, not least by MPC in a version that is distinctly different from the AMF version (below).

Posted Image

So what about AMF Mako? Were there a full scale 1/1 car in this shape?

If so, was it a Mako, or do we have another case of the Tamiya King Cobra/De Tomaso Sport 5000/Lang Cooper confusion here?
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#39 MSwiss

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 06:13 PM

The back reminds me a bit of an Iso Grifo (but with a spoiler).

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#40 TSR

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 06:42 PM

The one and only connection..... the steering wheels and foot pedals/based used on the American Raceways tracks were in fact produced by AMF.

Yes, on a subcontract. The AMCRC guys were after all, former employees with connections... :)
And of course the tracks actually produced in Europe do bear the AMF markings, such as the one currently in Bordeaux, France.

So what about AMF Mako? Were there a full scale 1/1 car in this shape?


Bertil,
I think that the AMCRC "Americana" is simply a rather poor rendition of the GM Mako Shark. Or, like in the case of the Classic "Manta Ray", it kept only a vague relation with the real car to avoid any legal or royalties implications.

Also MPC produced two distinct Mako Shark bodies, a "short" MK2 and a "long" MK4. The one you show is the later MK5. Here is the shorter MK2:

mpc_ms_mk2.jpg

Here is another MK4 by Cannon, using the Lancer body:

Posted Image

#41 ravajack

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 05:37 PM

The WWW is a wonderful information source, but there also seems to be some widespread confusion and even misconceptions
about a lot of things out there. Not least this Mako Shark issue...

After further investigations and research in the Mako Shark trails, I've found the following to be a most likely scenario:

There were ever only three GM concept cars labeled "Mako Shark":
The first and single one 1961 XP-755 car (XP for eXPerimental), a one-off design called simply "Mako Shark", and a refined
second 1965 model, XP-830, called "Mako Shark II" in two versions, one mock-up and one runner.

Posted Image

GM's design boss Bill Mitchell with the 1961 XP-755, the original Mako Shark.

Two prototypes of this second model, the XP-830, were produced:
A non-drivable mock-up design study without engine only for shows, and a second fully-functional and drivable car with a
big block Chevy 427 Mark IV engine.

Posted Image

The 1965 XP-830 Mako Shark II mock-up, a pure design study without an engine.

Posted Image

The 1965 XP-830 Mako Shark II runner, slightly different in details and with a big block Chevy 427 Mark IV engine.

It seems that this engine, with the Mark IV label, is also what's causing the confusion in the history of the Mako Shark. The
1961 car had no extra designation, only a "Mako Shark" emblem consisting of "handwritten" text and a fish. The two 1965
models had the same "Mako Shark" with fish emblem, but with the addition of the roman numeral "II" (2) following the text.
Thus "Mako Shark II".

Posted Image

The chrome emblems for the Mako Shark and the Mako Shark II.

No other examples of the "Mako Shark" concept cars than these three (two functional and one mock-up) were ever produced by
GM. The references to "Mako Shark Mk IV" and "Mako Shark Mk V" that can be seen on the Net today has most likely its origin
in the fact that the 1965 XP-830 runner in addition to its "Mako Shark II" model emblem also had a chrome "Mark IV 427"
emblem on the hood, referring to the engine...

Posted Image

The Mark IV designation on the Mako Shark II was only referring to its big block engine...

There was, however, yet another GM concept car that has more than its roots in the Mako Shark. It's the 1969 "Manta Ray",
that essentially is a re-build of the motorized 1965 XP-830 "Mako Shark II". The Manta Ray was over all very similar in shape
and featured many of outward features from the Mako Shark II, the main difference being in the back, where the rear window
louvres of the Mako were substituted for a recessed "sugar scoop" design with a small vertical window in the Manta Ray. The
making of the Manta Ray concept car also means that the Mako Shark II concept car no longer exists.

Posted Image

The 1969 Manta Ray concept car was based on a rebuild of the Mako Shark II runner, that now no longer exists.

As for the design of the Mako Shark, it was the brainchild of Bill Mitchell, the GM Chief of Styling 1958-1977, a job he had
inherited from the legendary Harley Earl, GM's design director 1927-1958 and the creator of the original Corvette in the early
1950s. Mitchell also applied for a patent for the design of the Mako Shark II concept car. A lot of the everyday real design work
on both the original Mako Shark as well as the Mako Shark II was done by another legendary Detroit designer, Larry Shinoda.

Posted Image

Behind the anonymous US patent D206063 "Vehicle Body" was dwelling the Mako Shark II concept car.
(Right-click picture to open it in a new window, left-click again for a larger version and further detail.)

But back now to the topic at hand: The AMF version of the alleged Mako Shark II.
It's not hard to see that the unknown(?) mold designer of this car has used quite a large quantity of "artistic freedom" in his
interpretation of the original car, to put it mildly.

That is, IF this AMF brute was really meant to depict a Mako Shark II. Or was it?
Maybe it's as simple as this: The AMF car is NOT a Mako Shark II. It's something else. But what?

It sure doesn't look like a Mako Shark II, nor in the overall shape or in the details. The most obvious design differences are in
the large, clear rear window, the shape of the hood with the long central ridge, and also the coupe door/window parts
arrangement.

Posted Image

There are obvious design differences between the alleged AMF Mako Shark II (top) and MPC's own, more life-like
version (below). The AMF is most likely depicting a totally different car. But which one?

Over the years it has been an established fact, though, that the AMF car is a Mako Shark II.
But how do we know that?

Has AMF, AMRC, AMCRC, or AMRRC ever stated anywhere that this car really represents a Mako Shark II?
As far as I can see, no reference to "Mako Shark" is found on the paper box or the plastic cases that Philippe has shown in this
thread and on the LASCM site. It simply says "Americana".

Maybe that's what it is, a fantasy kind of "thingie" design, vaguely resembling a period popular American sportscar:
The Americana, to dodge also any legal or royalties implications, as Philippe suggests.

Why else would the MPC folks bother to design and make two different body shapes of the same car, one for themselves and
another quite different for the AMF OEM project?

Curiously, I've also found this pic, labeled "Mako Shark concept", showing what seems to be the the significant hood shape of
the AMF car, and not the real Mako Shark II louvred hood. Strange, but this is also a one of a kind picture. No other pics or
different angles of this particular car seems to be out there...

Posted Image

There are some likeness between this car, allegedly a "Mako Shark concept", and the AMF car. But this is unfortunately also the only pic I've found of this vehicle...
Bertil Berggren
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#42 TSR

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 08:06 AM

Hi Bertil,

I think that you are raking your brains too much about this one... :D

Indeed AMCRC never claimed that their model was anything else but an "Americana", and as I pointed, looks to me to be patterned as a poorly-rendered Mako Shark.

I believe (but will have to verify) that the period mags called it a Mako Shark, but frankly it is unimportant. What is is that the model and its whole purpose were a complete commercial fiasco. It was slow, handled poorly, and the bodies were quite fragile because of the lacquer paint used on the material made it quite brittle. Driving those piles with a steering wheel that provided no steering was also not a good experience for a first-timer, as no one was there to explain to him that the "steering" only provided electrical contact when turned precisely at a certain angle... so the whole scheme fell apart quickly and regular controllers were quickly installed, replacing the ill-conceived wheels.

But it makes for interesting discussion... :)

#43 ravajack

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 05:32 PM

I think that you are raking your brains too much about this one... :D


Yeah, I think so, too. :)

But as I've got these two AMFs (and also a couple of MPCs) believed to be Makos that upon closer examination seems to be something completely different, I got curious and did some Net research. The "Americana" box info you showed was complete news to me, and further proof to put another nail in the AMF Mako Shark coffin.

And if we can not determine or find out exactly what IRL car that the AMF "Americana" is supposed to represent, then we must assume that it is indeed a pure fantasy design, n'est ce pas? By now we all must agree that it's at least NOT a Mako Shark of any kind or breed.

Also the name "Americana" in my mind well implies that there was no specific IRL "role model" for the AMF car.

And that in turn leaves us with the conclusion that this AMF lemon, (too) long regarded as a model of the legendary GM Mako Shark, is in fact a mere - thingie!

At least I guess that will make Edo the "Thingie Kingie" happy to be able to extend his realm yet another inch... :D
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#44 TSR

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 05:49 PM

Americana it is, but it has lots of elements from the Mako and the 1968 Vette, except that it was produced in 1966... :)

I think that it is just a lousy rendition of the Mako, by a model maker probably more versed with agricultural machinery...

#45 ravajack

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 01:02 AM

This might be of interest here: Two short video clips featuring commercial slot car racing the AMRC/AMF way back in the 1960s. The cars are maneuvered and controlled with steering wheels and foot pedals. The track seems to be a "blue King" and the AMF/Americana cars with the huge guide really seems to be able to slip out and de-slot despite the infamous T-slot.

The first clip is 1:54 long with commentary and sound effects, the second clip shows additional out-take footage and is a bit longer, 3:24, but without sound. Original footage is in vintage 4:3 aspect format, but I've edited it for clarity and to better fit the modern 16:9 TV/computer screen format.

No vital content is lost by this re-format. (And no animals were harmed in the process).




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#46 TSR

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 07:22 AM

Bertil,

This footage has been seen here before but thanks for posting it again.

As you can see, the cars in this film are not fitted with the second guide, allowing them to spin. But I did not see any cars actually OFF its slot! However the whole thing is comical/farcical, and it is quite obvious that this was going to fail as anyone with a simple controller would easily lap all the cars rather quickly. :)

The LASCM has several elements of this mess, the giant (and noisy!) lap counter, the power pack, and the cars. All it needs to complete the whole display is one of those seats/steering wheel/throttle pedal units in mint condition...

#47 ravajack

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 09:44 AM

This footage has been seen here before but thanks for posting it again.


You're welcome. But only the first clip with sound may have been seen before, and never in enhanced 16:9 video. The second, soundless clip has surely never been seen before in any format, as it was dug up and retrieved from within quite another reel containing mostly sailing boats. That's the cut out, leftover film parts from the sound-edited first movie.

I did not see any cars actually OFF its slot!.


That's probably because you didn't pay attention, or didn't bother or had the patience to watch the clips through until the end... :buba:

Beginning at 1:46 in the sound movie, first a hi-speeding red car does a huge wall shot and de-slots, and is then also being hit by another red car.

A few seconds later a white car does the same and ends up spinning wildly on its roof. I have no idea how you could have missed these quite obvious and major de-slotting incidents if you:

A. Have seen this video before.
B. Have seen this video again.

For convenience, I've cut out only the de-slotting parts of this video and am serving it below on a silver plate. Enjoy! :D

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hyWAWr49cbg
Bertil Berggren
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#48 TSR

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 09:54 AM

Yep, I missed it! :D

The cars indeed could de-slot if pushed too hard. But you HAD to push their hefty bulk to the point of forcing them out of the slot. I was too busy looking at the gentlemen racers in suits and ties... how the wold has changed.

#49 Ron Hershman

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 10:17 AM

I was too busy looking at the gentlemen racers in suits and ties... how the wold has changed.


Or the lady racers in their skirts. ;)

#50 Gary Bluestone

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 12:44 PM

Most of the Dyn-O-Can motors I have seen have the name "Rowe" or an "R" stamped into the can end. This was covered with a tinfoil sticker labeled MPC when these were new. I Googled Rowe but couldn't find out much since it is a common name. Maybe someone else will have some more info on this.





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