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John Clow's La Cucaracha refurb


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#1 Pablo

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Posted 03 April 2015 - 12:30 PM

Finished July 2015:

post-91-0-76344200-1430016673.jpg

 

post-91-0-83283800-1430180422.jpg

 

Here's how it all started:

My racing buddy, John Clow, found what looks to be a fairly stock Super Cuc. This won't be a full blown restoration; just going to make it runnable and decent looking.

 

The front rubber is in amazingly great shape for its age, but the rears are already soaking.

 

IMG_3953.JPG
 
IMG_3955.JPG


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#2 Samiam

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Posted 03 April 2015 - 12:36 PM

Nice.

A blue "Super Cuc". UNcut, too!
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#3 Pablo

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Posted 03 April 2015 - 12:38 PM

Do you think this one came with the big "bubble cockpit"?

 

The motor size is 16D and it has the twin flag holes.


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#4 Matt Sheldon

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Posted 03 April 2015 - 12:54 PM

Neat stuff as always, Pablo.

Out of curiosity what are the rear tires soaking in?
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#5 Don Weaver

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Posted 03 April 2015 - 01:11 PM

Original rears with tapered axle?

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#6 Bill from NH

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Posted 03 April 2015 - 02:24 PM

My guess is this Cuc came with one of those chrome bubble cockpits because it has no windshield, driver, roll bar, or chrome velocity stacks.

Also, that white nylon crown gear isn't original. As I recall, Cuc fronts weren't shod with rubber but with plastic wheels. Mine, bought in 1967, still look like new, too.


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#7 Mattb

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Posted 03 April 2015 - 02:46 PM

Could be exceptions, but I think all the Super Cucs came in blue only and had the chrome top and matching windshield, plus they had the windshield to build the roadster version also.

I think most of them, if not all had the NASCAR 16 motor and not the open can motor. They came in their own white box and not the yellow Cuc box.
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#8 don.siegel

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Posted 03 April 2015 - 05:06 PM

That is the NASCAR motor; most came with the Super NASCAR with a closed can, but some came with the NASCAR with an oval hole like this one. A Super Cuc I found here years ago at the Paris flea market had the NASCAR motor like this.  
 
I believe the fronts were always rubber, knife edge types very similar to what was on the Cuc, not at all plastic. Can't remember on the rears however, if they were tapers or the set-screw types like on the IFC cars... hmm, Pablo's has a blank axle, so... 
 
Good project, Pablo. 
 
I actually traded mine because I didn't like the way it ran! 
 
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#9 Jay Guard

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Posted 03 April 2015 - 05:15 PM

Need to find one of those "guide pin forward" cox guides that all Super Cucs used to make this one "Korrect".  


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#10 Pablo

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Posted 03 April 2015 - 08:21 PM

Thanks for all the tips, guys. :) I have no aspirations of making it "perfectly correct as it left the factory"- just clean and runnable.

 

Matt, the rears were soaked in lacquer thinner to completely remove them.

 

Don W, the axle isn't tapered - not all Cucs came that way - here is a quote from Philippe:

 

"The new car also received the same wheels and tires as the Super Cuc (meaning setscrew rears on conical hubs and black sponge tires), but a standard "Quick-Change" guide and not the trailing guide fitted to the "La Cucaracha GT" RTR."

 

Jay G, regardless of which flag is correct, I think I have a trailing one and John can test it to see if it's an improvement.

 

Thanks, Don S.

 

From what I have read, some cars came from the factory with both the bubble top and the spyder type windshield with intake stacks, driver, and roll bar. I think those look better than the bubble, but it's John's car, let's see what his preference is.


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#11 Pablo

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Posted 03 April 2015 - 10:37 PM

John likes the open cockpit, so the search is on for windshield, driver, roll bar, intake stacks, and decals.

 

Anybody know what the best glue is to attach these?


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#12 Samiam

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Posted 04 April 2015 - 01:44 AM

Paul,

 

I have used E6000 on the Cuc bodies. I think Shoo-Goo is the same.


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#13 Bill from NH

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Posted 04 April 2015 - 07:17 AM

GE Silicone Sealant would be another glue.

Those Cuc stripes weren't decals, but were stickers with an adhesive backing. I've seen red & white stripes reproduced for orange bodies sold on eBay, but don't recall seeing blue & white ones.

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#14 Pablo

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Posted 04 April 2015 - 07:32 PM

The body parts don't seem to be as readily available as I thought.

 

I'm thinking about a homemade windshield out of thick Lexan, and a roll bar of round aluminum tubing painted chrome.

 

I'm sure I can find stacks and a driver in my "Box of Vintage Horrors" that will work.


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#15 Bill from NH

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Posted 04 April 2015 - 07:50 PM

You could polish the aluminum tubing to a bright shine, then spray it with a clear paint to prevent corrosion.


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#16 Pablo

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Posted 04 April 2015 - 08:04 PM

Would it look like a chrome Cuc rollbar?


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#17 Bill from NH

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Posted 04 April 2015 - 09:32 PM

If you shine it enough, it would. Mothers Mag & Aluminum polish is one that will put a mirror finish on metals, even spring steel chassis. :D


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#18 Pablo

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Posted 05 April 2015 - 05:02 AM

I'll try it. Thanks, Bill.


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#19 Pablo

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Posted 09 April 2015 - 10:55 PM

Decals arrived today, John. They look good and the price was reasonable.

 

IMG_3960.JPG


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#20 Pablo

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Posted 11 April 2015 - 12:17 PM

Rough cut cockroach donuts will cure for a couple days:

 

IMG_4117.JPG


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#21 Pablo

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Posted 11 April 2015 - 05:05 PM

Rollbar paint:

 

IMG_4145.JPG

 

I plan to try Bill's suggestion of polishing the aluminum with Mother's Metal Polish first. We shall see...


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#22 Pablo

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Posted 12 April 2015 - 09:48 AM

John, the parts on this car have very little wear on them. :good:

 

I tested the motor, it sounds remarkably healthy. But I dug into it anyway :)

 

Didn't find any problems with the endbell or the arm so I just cleaned 'em up. Checked and polished the shaft and faced the rotating surfaces. Checked the brush holder alignments.

 

IMG_4168.JPG

 

Parts cleaned, rusty Iso hinge pin wire wheeled and polished, all four BBs soaked, flushed, and oiled. This thing has roller bearings! :shok:

 

IMG_4174.JPG

 

Center section out of the tumbler:

 

IMG_4172.JPG

 

Can bushing has lots of play in it so I'm installing a Slick 7 BB.  :sun_bespectacled:


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#23 Pablo

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Posted 12 April 2015 - 04:34 PM

Used my dc-65x 5mm bearing hole drilling fixture tool for perfect BB alignment.

 

As soon as you start drilling on these big press-fit gimbal bushing assemblies, they come loose anyway, so now she is soldered solid to the can. Minitorched in place with silver solder on the gimbal and 63/37 on the BB. Even though BB's don't necessarily have to pass the "alignment shaft drops through on it's own weight" test, mine do anyway. Ain't braggin', just explaining to John why his Cucaracha restoration bill will be astronomical.  :laugh2: Just kidding...

 

IMG_4191.JPG

 

That is the only real mod I performed on the motor other than a clean-up. Polished the mags, comm, brush hoods, and lams a little. Good Lord, I hope it still runs when I button it up.  :dash2: :crazy:


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#24 Pablo

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Posted 13 April 2015 - 08:00 AM

Pan section out of the tumbler, and good news, the motor still runs good! :D  Goodbye, sloppy arm shaft.

 

IMG_4209.JPG


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#25 Pablo

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Posted 13 April 2015 - 07:15 PM

Jay Guard was right when he said these cars used trailing flags. It is now apparent to me the only flag that would work in the forward hole is a trailer.

 

So I bow to his superior Cuc knowledge. Not only did I stick my foot in my mouth by doubting him, I said I had a trailer to try, in case the standard flag didn't work. That turned out to be wrong also.   :laugh2:

 

The standard Cox Quick Change flag will work fine in the rear hole, giving a wheelbase of 3-7/8" and a guide lead of 11/16".

 

I set the center section for 1/16" clearance, level front to rear, then made a very slight correction to the tilt.

 

Opened the "Vintage Box of Horrors"; found a genuine new 31t Cox crown and a new 8t brass press-on pinion:

 

IMG_4217.JPG

 

Also found a pair of genuine new Cox braid and clips:

 

IMG_4226.JPG

 

Body cleaned up OK with mild soap and a soft toothbrush. Found a suitable driver. He ain't pretty, but looks enthusiastic.  :ambivalent:

 

IMG_4225.JPG


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