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T-Jets for Beginners


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#1 Cheater

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Posted 02 August 2016 - 09:48 AM

A primer on Aurora's Thunderjet 500 HO slot car, a model so popular that 35 million were sold in just the first three years of production. Aurora stopped making them in 1972 but in recent years four different companies have begun production of reproductions.

 

T-Jets for Beginners

 

Screen Shot 2016-08-02 at 10.47.38 AM.png


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Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap





#2 Half Fast

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Posted 02 August 2016 - 11:59 AM

These were sure an improvement over the crappy vibrator cars that preceded them!

 

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#3 Tim Neja

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Posted 02 August 2016 - 01:04 PM

Wow – I just don't get their popularity. The very nice and clean BSRT or Viper cars work so much better. And they are priced so well that you can't get more bang for the buck!! You can race them with or without magnets, with or without hardbodies, etc. Plenty of fun with cars that will last a long time and easier to work on and repair. It's a mystery?? :)


She's real fine, my 409!!!

#4 John Streisguth

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Posted 02 August 2016 - 02:30 PM

Nostalgia...


"Whatever..."

#5 Cheater

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Posted 02 August 2016 - 02:34 PM

Dirt cheap...


Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap


#6 Matt Sheldon

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Posted 02 August 2016 - 05:38 PM

Maybe then, but to be competitive now you need a 3+ decade old stockpile of parts to be in the ballpark. Nothing against it and I am sure half the fun is matching parts to find that holy grail set-up. Then there are all the tools that you need and the oh so popular magical armature balanced to perfection at the earth's center.
 
I am with Tim that the modern stuff is a decent value in comparison.
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#7 Cheater

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Posted 02 August 2016 - 06:14 PM

Matt and Tim,

The part you guys are missing is that the hard-core, go all-out-to-win segment of the model car racing hobby is but a tiny subset of the overall hobby. Any raceway owner who's being honest will tell you that a only miniscule fraction of the people who come in the door have any interest in becoming serious racers, probably way less than one in a hundred.

 

I agree, the modern HO hard-core racers largely (but not exclusively) gravitate to the more modern cars and chassis. But there are still SOME who continue to tweak the venerable T-Jet for better performace.

But for many people (whom you guys might not wish to label 'real racers'), gathering in someone's garage or basement to race 50-year-old HO cars is less of a serious race than it is a social event with friends who hold similar interests. And to be brutally honest, there's way more guys like that than guys like you (and me in the past). Just like the success of the wildly popular 1:1 The Race of Gentlemen with vintage and vintage-style hot rods, it's a social happening and while there's a whole lot of trash-talking, hardly anyone really cares if they win or lose. They're just there to have fun with creaky old cars.

To emphasize my point further, check out the video at this THREAD. How many of the people do you see attending this show would you think are serious, gotta-win regardless of the time and money it takes, racers?

Just wish the overall slot car hobby, all scales, wasn't infected with the attitude that "what I race is superior" and "what you race (or play with or collect or model or...) is inferior," as seems to be the case for so many.


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Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap


#8 Cheater

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Posted 02 August 2016 - 06:49 PM

Consider this: perhaps from your perspective and interests, what the T-Jets guys are doing doesn't make much sense. But from their perspective and interests, what you guys enjoy in terms of your racing might not make any sense to them.


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Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap


#9 Samiam

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Posted 02 August 2016 - 07:22 PM

The modern stuff IMO is way too fast for the scale. Too much motor and way too much traction magnet.

 

Making these "old school" cars work is like racing Womps. You gotta' drive 'em.


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#10 Hworth08

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Posted 03 August 2016 - 10:07 AM

The T-Jets were popular because there are a lot more basements, garages, or even bedrooms than there were commercial tracks in the '60s and '70s. A semi-cool basement was prized in the days before air conditioning when these cars were popular. A 3 by 6 foot track on a board could be slid under a bed after the races.

 

A $3 T-Jet, about $20 in today's money, made a nice present and a whole stable of cars and parts would fit in shoe box or paper sack, important when transporting around neighbor hoods on bicycles.

 

Pretty small time when a person today can build, tune, and race his car against  someone half a world away on the net. But look at all the things we've lost while "advancing."


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#11 Matt Sheldon

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Posted 03 August 2016 - 12:34 PM

The most serious slot car racers/enthusiasts I have ever met were T-Jet racers.
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#12 NSwanberg

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Posted 03 August 2016 - 01:33 PM

Three things men will never understand: cats, women, T-Jets.
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#13 Dennis David

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Posted 03 August 2016 - 06:24 PM

I agree but people love to race them.

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#14 WigWag Workshop

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Posted 05 August 2016 - 06:34 PM

Thank you for sharing. Very interesting for the new guy.


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#15 sportblazer350

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Posted 06 August 2016 - 11:27 AM

And I was one of those millions of kids riding out Stingray bikes to friend's houses. The biggest tracks I happened to race on back then were when a group of us put all of our tracks together in someone's attic! Even though it was hot in the summers, we had a ball. Riding our bikes to the various local downtown stores and hobby shops that sold T-Jets and hop-up parts. Memories of really fun times.

And I have several Rubbermaid tubs of accumulated Aurora track and accessories that I plan to clean and set up a large four-lane track, cobblestone tracks and all!! Yes, the new tracks and cars are smoother, but the coolness is in the original 1960s and early 1970s Aurora cars and tracks. Slip on a new pair of sillies on the rear wheels, some original Aurora oil, and away we go!!
 
Greg, I agree with your points about today's slot car racers and some of their attitudes. I gave up racing for competition about 10 years ago (when racing 1/32 plasticars) and have been racing for fun ever since. I am having a lot of fun racing 1/24 Hardbody cars right now.

 

That brings me back to the first era of slot cars - T-jets and 1/24, 1/32 Hardbody scale racing. No traction magnets, no spray glue, and silicone rubber rear tires. Oh yeah, don't forget the Tiger's Milk!!


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#16 Hworth08

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Posted 06 August 2016 - 01:06 PM

Hi Glenn,

 

We used to buy our T-jets all the way to Magna-Tractions at Western Auto on Main Street or what was Hwy. 41.

 

Main St. was a hot bed of racing then. :) I'd get my 1/24 scale armature shafts changed to drill blanks at Springfield Auto Parts, wind them then carry them to the jewelry store for balancing, and to have the comm trued. Next door was Shannon's Drug Store, now the office of my lawyer, where the owner would hold a copy of Car Model magazine for me. We made a lot of stops at Shannon's over the years where you could get a Cherry 7-Up or Vanilla Coke for a dime. A bit sad, everyone of those folks are gone now.

 

One of the best T-Jet groups around 2004 was in New Jersey. The only member I remember was B.J. that sold the T-Jet brushes.


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#17 tazman

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Posted 06 November 2016 - 08:40 AM

The group I race with are very passionate about T-Jets - this the first time I have messed around with it. It looks simple, but there is so much more to it. Some these guys have tons of these cars and parts which makes my head spin.

 

Compared to magnet cars, they're so slow! Since I acquired a few cars and started working on them, it's been an uphill battle. I watch and listen to the top guys in our group on how to set up my cars and they've been very helpful.


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#18 NSwanberg

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Posted 07 November 2016 - 03:01 AM

There are three things men are not meant to ever understand. Cats, women and T-Jets. Buy a fast one from someone in the club.


Remember the Steube bar!
SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL RACEWAY!!
"The denial of denial is the first sign of denial." Hank, from Corner Gas
Nelson Swanberg

Peace be with all of us and good racing for the rest of us.
Have controller. Will travel. Slot Car Heaven

#19 Dallas Racer

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Posted 07 November 2016 - 01:15 PM

There are three things men are not meant to ever understand. Cats, women and T-Jets. Buy a fast one from someone in the club.

 

Gosh, that sounds familiar for some reason. ;) http://slotblog.net/...nners/?p=647728

 

Fray style T-Jet racers are as hard core as any other class racers. Probably spend as much or more as well. I've never got hard core about T-Jet racing, but I do enjoy it more than other HO classes.


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#20 chaparrAL

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Posted 08 November 2016 - 10:04 PM

14976462_1453657701317752_3783983429529168964_o.jpg Local clubs never stopped racing them. At some point in the early 1990 s this really picked up . You got them cheap from REH who I am told had container loads.

John, indeed nostalgia is a major factor. No one can dispute that.

Tazman , "so slow!"  .  YES !  But in 1968 we did not have the stuff we do now. A pro built  car with coated tires on a modern milled track will amaze you.

Tim No need to choose between old cars and new. I have both!  The cars from Wizzard Slottech and BSRT  are great and have done much to help racers. However the struggle to be on top of the hill, beginning in the early 1990 s is commonly known in our Hobby/Sport as the Magnet Wars. :dash2:

The Magnet Wars began when Compressed magnets replaced ceramic ones. Manufactured by the three amigos for you it was important to have the latest thing. Then you go to the Nats and you learn something. :shok:  Do you really want a chance to win? Get  ready to kiss ***.

In the late 1990 s , early 2000 s  T jet racing really started to snowball with ECHORR and the FRAY.  One factor leading to this growth is the Magnet Wars . A lot of racers found calm refuge after the storm of bullshit . 

So I got some modern cars but none have the compressed magnets. I just do not run them classes. :sun_bespectacled:  

But these Tjet and Gravity class racers are a blast to drive. I have been told by Rick Derosa that just as many racers race Tjets as all the other magnet cars combined. He would know. he machines rear hubs for Shep , Sluggo , BSRT and many of the rest, so....

So I say ENJOY. We are sill playing with the same toys we had before puberty . :)

This is like I raced about 1970-71

14976462_1453657701317752_3783983429529168964_o.jpg

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14902962_1453658114651044_2447798777744755889_o.jpg

14976850_1453657957984393_7524686081245132421_o.jpg


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