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Midwest 1/32 racers... brass pans and guide pins!


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#1 dc-65x

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Posted 16 January 2015 - 05:14 PM

I've always admired the incredible cars of Dick Dobson, Gene Wallingford and Pete Hagenbuch, three of the great pioneers of Midwestern slot car racing. While I don't ever plan on being able to own one of their cars or build one myself to their standards, I did find a couple of cool "Midwest" cars on eBay that I now proudly own.
 
I first won this fiberglass bodied 1961 Porsche 718 GP car:
 
GPBefore-.jpg
 
GPBefore-1.jpg
 
I love the cars stance. Only one wheel insert survived, the stinger exhaust was gone and the windscreen was detached:
 
GPBefore-2.jpg
 
The builder was no slouch as a fabricator. Nice workmanship as you'll see when I open this baby up:
 
GPBefore-5.jpg
 
Next I scored the number "5" GT teammate to the number "5" GP Porsche, an Auto Hobbies "blob" bodied Mecom Lola GT:
 
GTBefore-1.jpg
 
It is painted on the OUTSIDE:
 
GTBefore-.jpg
 
This car has all 4 of its Auto Hobbies Cobra Daytona Coupe wheel inserts and not a split or crack in its body. Again, I love the stance the builder achieved by not butchering the wheel wells and keeping the tires inside the bodywork:
 
GTBefore-2.jpg
 
Nice workmanship:
 
GTBefore-3.jpg
 
This is all the information I have from the seller about the cars:
 
"To be honest, the entire lot of slot cars (about a dozen 1/32nd and 124th scale models) was purchased at a local Flea Market in early December. The dealer is from Wisconsin I think (I'll ask when I see him next). I immediately recognized the Cox equipment, but it took me a while to figure out that the rest were scratchbuilt. Incredible engineering!"
 
Next time I'll pop these babies open to see what made them tick back in the day and do my best at a very sympathetic restoration.
 
Onward...
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#2 Lone Wolf

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Posted 16 January 2015 - 07:43 PM

Just wonderful, a great score. Love the front wheels on the Porsche that give a brake drum effect. Not sure I've seen them before. Are those Strombecker inserts on that car?  

Also love the use of clear Plexi-glass on the guides. I remember Bob Braverman use that material as body mounts on some of his hard body builds. 
 
Just guessing but does the first one have a Pactra motor and the other a Stromy TC can motor? We shall soon see I'm sure.

Joe Lupo


#3 SlotStox#53

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Posted 16 January 2015 - 08:18 PM

Awesome finds, Rick! Love the old design of the guide pin with that thick plexiglass... look forward to seeing what you find when they're opened up.

Really love the Lola.

#4 dc-65x

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Posted 16 January 2015 - 08:18 PM

Thanks, guys. I love these cars, too.
 
I got the body off the Lola. Wood blocks glued to the sides of the body. Wood screws clamping the "rattle pan" to the wood blocks. Paper for an interior platform. Extensive use of a yellowed adhesive, perhaps rubber cement:
 
GTAfter-4.jpg
 
There was very little I could take apart on this car. I could only remove the guide pin block and the front wheels.
 
Here are the parts to the guide pin setup:
 
GTAfter-1.jpg
 
All assembled:
 
GTAfter-3.jpg
 
GTAfter-2.jpg
 
The rattle pan's mounting screws were epoxied in place to the Dynamic motor mount so the pan is there to stay. I cleaned it up in place. I used a Scotch-Brite pad to give it a "brushed" finished rather than a Captain Rick Full Buff:
 
GTAfter-11.jpg
 
The front axle plate was not only screwed to the Dynamic motor mount but reinforced with a bead of epoxy. You can see the bead of epoxy in the picture above.
 
Below the skinny front tires are coated with a clear finish, perhaps nail polish.
 
GTAfter-10.jpg
 
The Strombecker TC-32 is rewound but I don't see any balancing. It's permanently installed as well:
 
GTAfter-7.jpg
 
Speaking of being permanently installed... the wheels are somehow attached forever, too. Maybe pressed on?? I don't see any holes in the tires for an allen wrench. The tires also have a bead of epoxy on the inside.
 
Check out the crown gear with its FOUR setscrews :shok: :D
 
GTAfter-9.jpg
 
Here's a before and after on the roller:
 
GTBefore-4.jpg
 
I also switched the wiring hookup so it would run "Korrectly" on my track.
 
GTAfter-5.jpg
 
She runs great with good power but is short on brakes. Didn't they have some sort of "power brakes" in the Midwest at the time?
 
Anyway, I'm cleaning and polishing the body now. Wish me luck!
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#5 Lone Wolf

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Posted 16 January 2015 - 09:45 PM

As usual, suberb work by the "artist". Looks great.
 
Not that it matters but the chassis was not made for that motor but works fine. It looks like the early 16D enable-drive chassis. It should be the 16D can drive chassis with the adapter and brass motor retainer at front. Certainly no criticism on this jewel, just an observation.

Joe Lupo


#6 dc-65x

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Posted 16 January 2015 - 09:51 PM

Good observation, Joe. The motor has a threaded stud coming out of the can. A nut secures the motor to the motor mount. You can just see the nut in the picture below:
 
GTAfter-9.jpg
 
Maybe the "Korrect" chassis wasn't available when this was built. :unknw:
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#7 Bill from NH

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Posted 16 January 2015 - 11:35 PM

Rick,

Are the leadwires and pickup brushes placed in the pin block holes and held in with the set screws? Or, are they soldered together first, then held in the block with the set screws? I'm wondering if any of the wire strands get cut by the set screws. Thanks. :)

Bill Fernald
 

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#8 SlotStox#53

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Posted 17 January 2015 - 12:14 AM

Which company supplied that crown gear, Rick?

That simple design with brass pan underneath a Dynamic motor mount is timeless and really cool... just like that Rod & Custom one you did.

#9 dc-65x

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Posted 17 January 2015 - 01:56 AM

Bill, the pickup brushes are soldered together at the top. This is what the screw bears against and pushes back to clamp the lead wire behind it. So the soldered top of the pickup brushes is what the set screw comes in contact with.
 
The crown gear doesn't show any manufacturer markings Paul. I think it is an MDC with the markings polished off but...???

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#10 slotcarone

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Posted 17 January 2015 - 07:53 AM

Beautiful work on a nicely-constructed car!! Way better than most builds fron that era for sure.

Does the crown gear have a sleeve in it?

Mike Katz

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#11 don.siegel

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Posted 17 January 2015 - 09:11 AM

Good find and thanks for sharing Rick! 

 

These Midwest pan cars always fascinated me too, and it was only with ebay that I was finally able to find a few examples. They generally follow the construction principles of your cars, but with a few differences, and maybe not as well done - although they may have suffered more in combat! I'll add pix when I get a chance. 

 

That 4 set screw crown gear is a gas, never seen one of those! I thought of MDC too, but I think Dynamic and a few other companies also made plain cast gears like these; both Dynamic and MDC had their names on the gears. 

 

The Hemi is a bit unusual too, if I remember right: not many of the Midwest guys seemed to use those, according to Pete's column. I think painting on the outside was pretty common practice too. 

 

Don 



#12 Bill from NH

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Posted 17 January 2015 - 09:46 AM

Rick, thanks for the pickup/leadwire connection information. From the photos, the pickups themself appear to be made from bundles of stranded wire rather than from narrow braid. I'm waiting to see the topside of the Porsche chassis too, when its shown.


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#13 Hworth08

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Posted 17 January 2015 - 10:59 AM

I built three pan cars using Pittman motors. Pretty easy to build after rounding up the parts and tools on ebay. No fiberglass bodies, they sell high at auction, just clear but "scale" bodies from Pattos.

 

I felt guilty using a Rick's jig to set up the frame. That would have been a great aid in the day!

 

Just cut down modern set screw wheels for cost. I never found any Teflon 1/8th inch rod for the guide, just used delrin that worked okay but is tricky to thread. Using the method of attachment in the photos doesn't require threading the guide rod.

 

It is surprising how well these cars can be made to handle. No where near the speed of modern cars of course and not much of a commercial track car but in their element that was usually club or home tracks these cars are a lot of fun.

 

There was about a 5 year period that these cars provided a lot of pleasure. Then 517 style motors, anglewinder frames and wider bodies quickly lead to their demise.


Don Hollingsworth

#14 dc-65x

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Posted 17 January 2015 - 11:09 AM

Does the crown gear have a sleeve in it?


Yup, I forgot to mention the 3/32 axles front and rear on both cars.

 

A before shot of the Lola GT:

 

GTBefore-1.jpg

 

Here's the Lola cleaned, polished and touched up a bit:

 

GTAfter-13.jpg

 

GTAfter-14.jpg

 

GTAfter-15.jpg

 

 

I'm waiting to see the topside of the Porsche chassis too, when its shown.

 

I'll get the Porsche posted tonight Bill. It's my favorite.


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#15 SlotStox#53

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Posted 17 January 2015 - 11:20 AM

That Lola body is in real good condition, after cleaning it looks like you've just got done painting it !

Will you be looking to do a recreation of one of these Rick?

#16 don.siegel

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Posted 17 January 2015 - 12:56 PM

Hi Rick, hope you don't mind if I add a few more examples to this thread. 

 

Starting with a very period style Lister-Maserati, actually combining a period Auto Hobbies chassis with a Midwest style chassis I found in England - similar to a Pete Hagenbuch article, with the brass plate and a soldered on frame to hold the motor... 

 

ListerMaserati1.jpg

 

ListerMaseratichassis.jpg

 

Then my own Lola-Ford, similar brass pan chassis, but a rewound 16D with Arcos... the same body mounting system, with wood blocks glued inside the car (hey, so that's why they painted on the outside!)

 

LolaFordpan_zps4d507595.jpg

 

LolaFordpanchassis_zps64301728.jpg

 

Don 

 

PS: I have some threaded nylon stock for pin guides, if anybody needs one. And PdL gave me a good tip to get these to handle better: keep the braid very short! 


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#17 Bill from NH

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Posted 17 January 2015 - 02:19 PM

Nice race cars Don.  Were the "Midwest style" 1/32 cars also run in Europe & Great Britian?


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#18 don.siegel

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Posted 17 January 2015 - 07:28 PM

I don't think so Bill; Europe didn't have much of a 1/32 club scene at the time, and from what I've seen about English slot cars, they didn't seem to use the pan chassis much, if at all, nor the pin guides. Among other things, a lot of the tracks used "Sandtex" type paint, with the built in traction; I don't think they used the Graupner German spongies either, and not sure about traction fluid... those were all pretty standard in the Midwest, and the track surfaces were slick and the guys used lots of tire traction. 

 

All my pan chassis came from ebay USA, except that one under the Lister, and don't know where that originally came from, even if I got it off ebay UK. (I imagine some of the English guys were copying chassis they saw in the US magazines too.)

 

Don 



#19 dc-65x

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Posted 18 January 2015 - 02:44 PM

Hi Rick, hope you don't mind if I add a few more examples to this thread.


Of course not Don, the more examples the better! :good:

 

Here's the slot cars rattle pan running gear:

 

GPBefore-6.jpg

 

Nice and low CG:

 

GPBefore-8.jpg

 

GPBefore-7.jpg

 

Here she is after "The Buff" cleanup:

 

GPAfter-5-1.jpg

 

Here's a before and after of the motor-rear axle unit that is rattle fit to the pan:

 

GPBefore-10.jpg

 

Note the turned down and drilled bevel gear for lightness of its rotating mass. The rear axle bracket is a custom machined aluminum piece that is "screwed and glued" to the endbell:

 

GPAfter-8.jpg

 

The chassis pan made from some "re-purposed" brass sheet:

 

GPAfter-4.jpg

 

Note the super clean workmanship:

 

GPAfter-3.jpg

 

The motor is a Monogram Tiger X-100 which has been rewound. I think all the cutting on the can is to buy some extra clearance with the fiberglass body shell. The ends of the magnets have even been beveled a bit:

 

GPAfter-1.jpg

 

Cool front wheels and 3/32 axles front and rear. Again the rear wheels appear to have been pressed on???

 

GPAfter-7.jpg

 

Here's the guide pin setup:

 

GPAfter-.jpg

 

Next up is the body restoration..........


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#20 SlotStox#53

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Posted 18 January 2015 - 04:58 PM

That car is just full of little details.
The ally motor bracket is very neat and some skillful turning of that bevel gear.

#21 dc-65x

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Posted 18 January 2015 - 08:00 PM

I also think this was a very mechanically skilled builder Paul. Less so a master modeler type.  I think hat's what made Dobson, Wallingford and Hagenbuch so great, they were both.

 

I'm still very proud to own and display his cars. Thinking about that, the only other cars I have displayed that were built by others are from TonyP, Bill Sippel (Auto Hobbies founder) and friend Rodney.

 

Anywho, here's a shot of the real car in action. That's Hans Herrmann in the 1961 Dutch GP:

 

HansHerrmann-Porsche718-1961-DutchGP.jpg

 

OK, here's the before car:

 

GPBefore-.jpg

 

Here it is spiffed up as best I could:

 

GPAfter-10.jpg

 

GPAfter-16.jpg

 

I installed 3 new Strombecker wheel inserts to match the 1 original on the car:

 

GPAfter--1.jpg

 

The body had a notch cut in it for a stinger exhaust. I sacrificed one of my "shakier" paint brushes to make the exhaust pipe:

 

GPAfter-13.jpg

 

The last thing I did to spiff up the body was to deal with this thing. A hand made windscreen laying beside the car in the original eBay auction photo.....crud!

 

MidwestGPCar-1.jpg

 

Here it is up close:

 

GPBefore-13.jpg

 

Hmmmmmmmm...........maybe I should reconsider this builders modeling skills. I wouldn't want to make that thing!. Just installing it was a major pain for me but here it is:

 

GPAfter-12.jpg

 

I just love this thing!

 

GPAfter-11.jpg

 

Onward to the past!  :crazy:


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#22 SlotStox#53

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Posted 18 January 2015 - 08:09 PM

Makes you want to recreate one of these just looking at that beautiful Porsche :)

That should go real good on your track .

#23 slotbaker

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Posted 18 January 2015 - 10:22 PM

Didn't they have some sort of "power brakes" in the Midwest at the time?

I was hoping someone would have responded to this ?

 

Not sure if it's the same idea that the midwest guys had, but some of the guys down here mucked around with batteries between the brake terminal and the track.

 

A couple of 1.5v D size together worked, but a few went to 9v.

Pretty exciting for them at times as they screamed down the straight, hit the brakes, and the car slid sideways only to be cleaned up by the guy next to him.

 

It was more of a novelty thing, as I don't think it was used in serious racing.

:huh:


Steve King


#24 don.siegel

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Posted 19 January 2015 - 04:41 AM

You're right Steve, was going to respond and then it slipped my mind! 

 

That is very much the same idea, with batteries put into the dynamic braking circuit to reverse the motor; I think the usual was 3 volts and it varied from 1-1/2 to 6 volts. I'd have to go back and check, but not sure this was an especially Midwest thing, at least not in our circle of commercial track racing; maybe in the clubs (but it's worth noting that the whole club scene that Pete Hagenbuch and Pierre Perrin wrote about was very much a world of its own, and us "normal" midwest guys didn't get to see any of it). 

 

None of the places I raced at used power brakes: there was a real split between people who considered them illegal, and others who didn't! It always seemed like cheating to me, because you're using an outside power supply, whether for "go" or "stop". But it didn't bother a lot of people judging from the comments in the period columns. There were even a couple commercial power brake outfits, mostly from small companies (like Rayline, Ray Hoy's own company), but also from Strombecker! 

 

Don 

 

PS: Rick, great restoration and fascinating car: don't think I've ever seen a can cut quite that way... 



#25 gluebomb

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Posted 20 January 2015 - 07:42 PM

Really love looking at period stuff like this so thanks for sharing; Beautiful cars those.


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