I first got this midget racer in about 1964, when I was fourteen or so. It was one of the first slot cars I ever owned, just about at the time when I was getting into slot racing in a big way.
I assembled it, painted it (a lovely shade of metallic turquoise), slapped on some decals, and started racing it on my figure-8 Strombecker track. I raced with the carelessness and reckless abandon of a typical early adolescent male. Soon the parts started coming off - exhaust pipes, front bumper, windshield - even the driver's head. There was no point in gluing them back on because they'd just get stripped off again in the next crash.
Midget racer in 2004, before "restoration," heading east.
My obsession with slots lasted for about two years. When I was around 16, I discovered GIRLS, and the toys got put away. Not thrown away, just put away in a tackle box along with a few of my other favorites.
Fast forward 26 years, innumerable moves and a thousand miles to 1990, and these lonely toys were still stashed away in my basement locker, or so I thought. One day I went downstairs to look for something, and discovered that someone had broken into my locker and stolen all my old slot cars, along with all my old Superman and Classics Illustrated comic books. But the thieves has passed over one of the cars they didn't consider worthy of stealing, and that was the little Strombecker midget racer. I was very sorry to lose those "souvenirs", because they represented something irreplaceable from my early years.
Fast forward another fourteen years to 2004, and once again I stumbled upon the midget racer in my locker while I was looking for something else. For some reason I was seized with the idea of restoring it. So that's what I did. There wasn't much purpose in looking for the chrome bits, and a 1/32 driver's head was surprisingly hard to find. The restoration job was pretty bush league I guess - matt black paint with silver trim, new tires (the ones in the old pic were actually from Dinky toys - the originals had long since rotted off), and a new head for the driver. The head kind of finished it off – it's too big (1/24 scale), but he looks like he's enjoying himself!
Restored midget racer, heading southeast.
The motor in this car always had an annoying habit of cutting out. I finally realized this was because it moved around too much in the frame. I solved this using a very high-tech method. I wound a piece of brass wire (from my old tackle box) very tightly around the motor and frame, jammed the brushes firmly into the flag, and that solved the problem!
"Undercarriage" of midget racer, heading west.
I took my refurbished car down to the local slot track, and put it through its paces. It ran very well, with a very strong and energetic little motor, and the guys were very amused to see this little car gamely puttering around the track.
Restored midget racer, showing chassis and body with brass wire "fix," heading east.
I just took it out again to take pictures for this post. I tested the motor again, and it's still running strong!