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Zipper-top T-Bird


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#1 n9949y

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Posted 05 August 2016 - 01:25 PM

By the mid-1950s, NASCAR was successful primarily in the South and had a presence on the West coast, too. Bill France sought expansion in the Midwest, where a series, Circuit of Champions All Stars, an all-convertible car division was popular. France purchased the entire series to run NASCAR-sanctioned convertible races as a companion division to the hardtop Grand Nationals.

 

Convertible racing was a smashing success from the start. Fans were fascinated by the idea of being able to see the driver working the steering wheel inside the car, and the Convertible races began to draw big crowds.

 

In 1959 Thunderbirds were allowed to run in Grand National races. Holman-Moody built and sold 5 ‘birds for Grand National racing; a couple of owners developed their T-Birds as “Zipper-tops,” with removable roofs so the same car could race in both the Convertible and Grand National Divisions.

 

From my 21st century perspective I’m continuously amazed how little of any safety standards in motor sports was applied, and NASCAR’s convertible Division certainly demonstrated the lack of even rudimentary safety devices – bare, flimsy roll bars, no driver harnesses, or in some cases not even seat belts. T shirts and polo shirts were de rigueur as noted with my short sleeved driver figure.  In some cars the front and rear passenger seats were retained. My ’59 T-Bird nicely illustrates ‘50s vintage safety standards.

 

A few years ago I bought from Roseburg’s main supplier, Bob Hanna of Spare Time Raceway, an H&R chassis. Had no firm plans for it until I noticed Roseburg’s Rich Vecchio discussing how he and other Roseburg innovators/racers were using them, particularly in their Vintage NASCAR series. So wanting to do something a bit differently but within the parameters of the class (my H&R has hinged side pans that are bolted to body hinges) I got the idea of a Zipper-top Thunderbird. The top is secured by two bolts that are screwed into a ledge in the back of the top just forward of the rear window, and the front of the top is secured by the tough Scotch brand clear vinyl tape. The body is from a 1/24 Monogram kit, 85-420, assembled with liberal amounts of Devcon Plastic Welder. The driver from a Fujimi Garage & Tools kit, 11004-GT-4, that provides three heads – a ‘50’s style polo helmet, a’60’s Bell style without goggles, and the contemporary full head helmet. '50's era decals are mainly from Southern Motorsports Hobbies of Atlanta, GA which has an extensive supply of stock car/NASCAR decals.

 

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  • Cheater, Tim Neja, garyvmachines and 1 other like this
Todd Messinger

Remember folks, traffic lights timed for 35 MPH, are also timed for 70!




#2 rvec

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Posted 05 August 2016 - 01:53 PM

Hey Todd,

 

Great job on the Bird. At STR (Bob's Track) we have two classes that use scale wheels and "vintage bodies.. First is our Vintage ProTrack class which uses the old ProTrack brass (or H&R) chassis with Falcon 2-4 or Cheetah motors. The other is our Vintage Econo class which that uses the Econo AKA rattle chassis. I like the Vintage econo class because it handles better and utilizes Deathstar or Pro Slot 16D motors. These have more power and much better brakes than the Falcons/Cheetahs.

Below are a few images.

 

PC150530.JPG

 

PC150533.JPG


Rich Vecchio


#3 n9949y

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Posted 05 August 2016 - 02:23 PM

The little grey-colored motor that was OEM with the H&R chassis burned up after only 20 laps at Pelican Park.


Todd Messinger

Remember folks, traffic lights timed for 35 MPH, are also timed for 70!

#4 rvec

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Posted 05 August 2016 - 02:29 PM

What motor are you using? Deathstar?

Rich Vecchio


#5 n9949y

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Posted 05 August 2016 - 03:28 PM

I burned up the motor that came with the chassis. Have ordered two blue motors from Professor Motor. I don't have tooling to drill out exactly two vertically-aligned screw holes for Deathstars or Pro Slots.

 

You mention Econo/Rattler chassis. Revised one of my Dirt Devil/rattler chassis to big tires. I wanted to model a short track "street stock" class as one might have looked at end of a season's rough racing- grungy & beat up. Sponsered by Scraped Knuckles Garage, Mequon, Wisconsin. Body from a 1/24th Monogram "Street Burner"  '70 Chevelle. Econo chassis with a Pro Slot 2002 motor which as you point out handles very well.

 

70%20Chevelle%20big%20tire%20left%20side

 

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  • Samiam likes this
Todd Messinger

Remember folks, traffic lights timed for 35 MPH, are also timed for 70!

#6 Mattb

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Posted 05 August 2016 - 04:33 PM

How do you like the Cheetah in the H&R chassis? I ran some at the local track and switched to the Fox 2. The cars were a lot more drivable with the lower powered motor. All the H&R chassis we got that came with the motor had one of the blue motors. Mostly we switched them out, but in the cars that still run them, there was no trouble with life expectancy of the blue motors.
Matt Bishop

Vintage Cox Slot Cars

#7 n9949y

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Posted 05 August 2016 - 05:32 PM

Matt,

 

I obtained my H&R chassis some years ago; it was stashed till two weeks ago when I started the Zipper-top build. The chassis came with a little grey motor that lasted all of 10 or 11 laps at Pelican Park, Wednesday. Meanwhile I've ordered 2 blue motors from Professor Motor and may obtain other kinds as competition necessitates.


Todd Messinger

Remember folks, traffic lights timed for 35 MPH, are also timed for 70!

#8 Samiam

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Posted 05 August 2016 - 06:01 PM

. I don't have tooling to drill out exactly two vertically-aligned screw holes for Deathstars or Pro Slots.

Take an old FK motor and gut it. Cut away most of the can leaving just the mounting face. Mount using horizontal holes. Use the one vertical hole to mark new hole. Flip over for other hole.


Sam Levitch
 
When the only tool you have is a hammer, everything is a nail.
Support your local raceway, or you won't have one.
Slot cars are quad-pods.
Support your "Local Racer."
:laugh2:

#9 n9949y

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Posted 05 August 2016 - 06:12 PM

Sam,

 

Thanks for the instructions. Glad I didn't throw away that little grey burned up motor; it has a use after all!


Todd Messinger

Remember folks, traffic lights timed for 35 MPH, are also timed for 70!





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