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Morrissey Stainless Racer 6602


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#1 Steve Okeefe

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 11:10 PM

Mike Morrissey's Stainless Steel Racer

A replica early 1966 chassis by Steve Okeefe

 

 

Some time back, Philippe de Lespinay gave us all a peek into our collective history when he opened Len Vucci's Team Russkit box and put it's contents on display.


I became very intrigued with Len's # 3 McLaren-Elva, particularly with the material the chassis seemed to be made of, or put more exactly, WASN'T made of; it clearly wasn't brass tubing!


Around that time Mike Morrissey was posting messages on the Old Weird Herald message board, and made mention in passing that the chassis in Len's car was made of stainless steel tubing, I knew right then I had to build one myself!

 

Mike wrote:

 

"Speaking of which, I finally got around to reading all of Gene's story on the 1st Rod & Custom race at the beginning of this thread. Take a look at the second-to-last paragraph.

 

The McLaren-Elva we've been talking about (here and on Scratchbuilt.com) was a very rare bird, ndeed. I had forgotten (yet again) that it was one of the few we built with tainless steel tubing, in a desperate ttempt to save a few tenths of an ounce. his was the era of the super-lightweights, before the glue started getting hick and the motors started to put out some real power and the tires turned orange.


I can't remember the specifics of how we soldered the stainless tubing, either, but we couldn't use standard solder, as I recall.


So forget my comment on Scratchbuilt.com about this chassis possibly being the one we first tried spoilers on. This stainless-tube car was built specifically for this race.

 

We were obsessed with reducing weight for a little while there, and the stainless definitely made a difference.


The car I used in this race was probably the first one, and it gave me an acceleration and braking advantage over every other car in the field. It was very fast on that track and I remember being able to pretty much cruise away from everybody in the main event.


Ron still out-qualified me though, but that's no surprise. He was a better driver than I was."

 

 

Some months of research, experimentation and parts manufacturing later:

 

MR66B007.jpg

 

MR66B008.jpg

 

MR66B011.jpg

 

MR66B012.jpg

 

MR66B013.jpg

 

MR66B016.jpg  

 

Above: With the addition of a nicely restored Russkit 23 motor and some paint and various cosmetic bits, we shall have our replica. The body mount pin tubes are angled upwards to accommodate the fact that the body sides curve under most realistically! The body is a freshly minted Tom Andersen McLaren-Elva, the motor bracket and wheels are from Electric Dreams, and the wheels inserts are from BWA.
 

MR66B015.jpg

 

Above: Mike Morrissey said stainless steel is tough to solder, but he didn't say it was even tougher to bend smoothly!  I had to soften the tubing a bit by annealing it in order to get it to take a smooth radius, and then had to fabricate a bending tool for those front axle tube uprights.

 

MR66B014.jpg

 

Above: Mike said his goal in using thin wall stainless steel tubing was to make the chassis as light as possible.  Toward that end he also omitted a fair amount of bracing! There are only two small solder joints forming the drop arm attachment, and there is virtually NO motor bracket bracing save those two diagonal braces (partially obscured in the photo by the rear axle and gear).

 

One more thing; at the last minute, I changed the rear body mount pin tube braces (shown in the drawing below) from brass tubing to stainless steel tubing. I figured stainless tubing is lighter, so it belonged there. I'm pretty sure that's what Mike did, too.

 

MR66B-Final.jpg






#2 Pete L.

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 05:46 PM

Fellas,

 

 I imagine these types of cars were written off after a good "hit" due to their being made of tubing ?


Peter J. Linszky

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#3 TSR

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 05:59 PM

Peter,

not really, their lighter weight meant that they were actually able to endure wall shots much better than the heavy angle-winder cars of 1969 when weight had been declared one's friend and lighter car stood no chance in heck to be competitive any longer.

Also the power from the modified, rewound Russkit 23's was nowhere great enough to make these cars really that fast, and period lap times show it clearly as these cars were circulating in the 8 to 9 seconds a lap on a period King track. Think that a retro inline F1 or Can Am with a cheap motor does the same lap on comparable tracks under 5 seconds, and on polished and banked modern "King" speed bowls in slightly above the 4-second mark today.

Also tubing is inherently stronger as far as deflection capability than rod...


Philippe de Lespinay


#4 Howie Ursaner

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 06:14 PM

This is the car,or the sister car to the one that Jim Russell gave to Sandy when he joined Team Russkit. i remember him running it at Buzzy's and it was amazing,a very fast car for the time. i went immediately to the dental supply store and bought some of the stainless tubing and built one for myself.This car took us from Pittman motors to rewinding Mabuchi's and is a very significant car to both of us.


Howie Ursaner

#5 TSR

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 06:22 PM

Here are two pictures of what is believed to be the only survivor of these Morrissey-built cars, of which about 8 were constructed according to Mike. This one is the one raced by Len Vucci, one of the four original team members:

 

teamrusskit-4.jpg

 

teamrusskit-5.jpg

 

I have to check again but I believe that not only the main rails but the whole car is built of stainless-steel tubing... please note the 1/2" wide rear tires which were i believe, mandated by the R&C tire rules. They correspond to a width of 12" in full size, and in 1966, 12' were the widest wheels on ANY racing cars, Indy, USRRC or F1... hence correct for the period and justly used on those miniature cars.

 

Sorry for the lousy pictures, they were taken like 10 years ago with a Sony Mavica that should now itself be in a museum!  :D


Philippe de Lespinay


#6 SlotStox#53

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 06:29 PM

Thanks for posting the pictures of that amazing looking survivor Philippe :good: Love the chassis with it's tubing :)



#7 Steve Okeefe

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 06:37 PM

Howie,

 

I've been trying for years to figure out why stainless steel tubing did not continue to be used as a building material for slot racers.  It was not terribly difficult to obtain, nor was it extremely expensive (certainly more expensive than brass tube, rod or piano wire, but not prohibitively so), and although it could be difficult to work with, there were, and are, ways around that problem.

 

Do you remember how long you used stainless steel tubing, and why you stopped using it?



#8 TSR

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 07:29 PM

Steve,

from what I was told a long time ago by the Team guys, it was simply a matter of the difficulty for the period teens to solder stainless steel. It was not an easy task... and brass-tubing and rod were quickly found to be just as good as far as performance was concerned while making building a lot easier.


Philippe de Lespinay


#9 Half Fast

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 08:27 PM

So Steve, how did you solder the tubes?

 

Cheers


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#10 Howie Ursaner

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 10:43 PM

No problem building with the stainless tubing.you soldered it with acid .. We went with heavier cars and just left the Steel tubing behind and went to brass rod. These stainless cars came and went early but showed the future.


Howie Ursaner

#11 Steve Okeefe

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 11:28 PM

Bill B.,

 

Just like Howie says, you have to use acid flux, and plenty of heat.

 

Something else I did was to "tin" the area where the solder joint would be, so that the joint would be smooth and even.  But it's a lot of extra effort, and I'm sure one of the reasons why stainless steel tubing never caught on as a building material.  But it is very strong and very light!



#12 Half Fast

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 10:24 AM

Thanks Steve and Howie (my idol from 45 years ago!) :)

 

Cheers


Bill Botjer

Faster then, wiser now.

The most dangerous form of ignorance is not knowing that you don't know anything!

Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity

 

 

 
 





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