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La Cucaracha by Cox

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#1 MG Brown

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Posted 24 August 2016 - 12:08 PM

I am asking for opinions here not production or sales figures- having said that, why do you feel that the Cox "La Cucaracha" was so beloved in period and even today?


From "Slot Car History" website:
"The greatest name in vintage slot cars was Cox. The company was founded by L.M. "Leroy" Cox of Santa Anna, California in 1945. Cox Manufacturing whose main lines involved the production of miniature gas-powered internal combustion engines along with control line model aircraft, created in 1947 the Thimble Drome Champion, the car that help start the tether car craze.


In 1964 they joined the slot car business with some high quality kits initially featuring die cast magnesium chassis. With their box art and attention to detail they are now much sought-after toys which they produced until 1969. The Ferrari 158 F1 assembled in Hong Kong for the American company was the first RTR model marketed by Cox. When Cox issued the orange low-slung slot car known as "La Cucaracha" or, "the cockroach", it created a small revolution in the slot car world. The car was fast, out-handled most of its production competitors."

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#2 MattD


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Posted 24 August 2016 - 12:19 PM

I think a lot of collectability and "favorites" comes from our memories. The "Cuc" was present in fairly large numbers at every raceway and everybody remembers them. For out of the box, they actually ran pretty good and were a kind of unique design with a catchy name. Anybody with interest in slots that was around in the 60's remembers them. All those guys may not be avid collectors, but they like to have one for the memories. Much the same with a Chaparral 2 and the Ford GT. Most everybody remembers those two cars even if a lot of the other cars from that era are just foggy memories. I think that is why they are fondly remembered and maybe more in demand then most other period cars to the casual fan.
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#3 Maximo


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Posted 24 August 2016 - 12:48 PM

Several reasons by my account:


1. Virtually indestructible molded plastic body

2. Low slung sports racing theme

3. "Iso-fulcrum" in-line chassis

4. "Cox" [American] made it (like saying Honda for quality)

5. RTR - Ready to Run - Race and handled like a dream.

6. Fun to drive....

7. Easy to maintain - service - modify

8. Large availability of replacement parts

9. It was nice that day!

10. Great marketing effort from Cox




All still great criteria today!




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#4 Don Weaver

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Posted 24 August 2016 - 01:40 PM

The first (I think) RTR that was actually configured like a race car. 


1. Low ground clearance

2. Iso Fulcrum chassis (i.e., drop arm)

3. Small diameter rear tires

4. "Knife blade" front tires

5. Ball/roller bearing front and rear

6. Aerodynamic body

7. Low profile/quick change guide flag

8. And it just plain looked BAD A$$



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#5 slotbaker


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Posted 24 August 2016 - 08:00 PM

They looked great, and were faster than the other kit/RTR cars.

What more does a kid need from a slot car?


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#6 Phil Hackett

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Posted 25 August 2016 - 12:49 AM

They worked straight out of the box.

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#7 Mayberryman


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Posted 25 August 2016 - 03:40 AM

I was racing slot cars at the time The Cockroach came out.  Until that time we built our piano wire and brass chassis cars and laughed at the new people bringing their production cars to race only to be lapped  every two or two and a half laps.  Fast forward to the Christmas of the Cockroach and it seemed that every new or newer slot racer got one of the roaches for Christmas and the game was on.  Some of these bugs started to qualify for the main and when the owners started to mate the chassis to clear bodies they were a force on the track.  When I got back into the hobby in the early to mid 90s and saw what chassis were popular with lower end scale cars such as the Parma Flexi, Champion and others all I could think of was that all of this was started by La Cucaracha.

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Spencer Wilkinson

#8 olescratch



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Posted 25 August 2016 - 08:56 PM

The fast one that I had to save longer to obtain.  When I was able to buy a RTR, The Cuch and The Chappi were the ones I had to choose from,  The Cuch won!  Now that I seem to be going through a period of reliving my childhood, a Cuch was a "must have" for me!

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#9 bronxcomet


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Posted 27 August 2016 - 12:22 PM

       Everything brings back memories thats what drives our hobby.Working behind the counter ,and going thru the different phases of rtrs the colors body styles, silicone tires.The cuc ment ,better step up your game...........................................      Marty P

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#10 TSR


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Posted 27 August 2016 - 01:45 PM

Cox produced a very large number of the "La Cucaracha" in various forms. Its IFC chassis is all four forms (yes, four!) also equipped the Chaparral 2E RTR and IFC kit, the Chaparral 2D, Cheetah and as the "Ferrari GT" (Dino) kits, and the Ferrari RTR models. Well over ONE MILLION were produced.

There are serious issues with the IFC chassis engineering, mostly a question of lack of rigidity in the rear-axle brackets, which bend inwards and derange the gear mesh. A simple fix that will not alter the originality of the car, is the fabrication of a brass "bridge" that can be fitted inside the bearings mounts and just clearing the crown gear, elegantly resolving this problem.
Another issue is the distance between the motor and the crown gear, requiring a very long pinion, that is not that easy to find today. Last, in the case of the Chaparral 2E (kit or RTR versions), the plastic pieces allowing the motor to rotate and actuate the wing are quickly deformed, the pinion then chews at them, again destroying the gear mesh.

The La Cucaracha was first issued in 1966 with an orange translucent body and the TTX150 motor with red wire. Later that year, the chassis was modified with side mounts for "other" bodies, and the orange body molded in a more opaque color, while the front wheels were updated with different built-in bearings, the armature now with brown wire of a larger gauge. In 1967, as the body mold was modified for use in the "La Cucaracha GT" or "SuperCuc" models, molded in blue, the subsequent La Cucaracha roadsters (still molded in orange polypropylene) benefited from the added and period-fashionable front fins (hey, you NEED down force, don't you? :) ) and of the mechanical updates, new black-sponge rears on setscrew wheels and the Cox Hong-Kong sourced NASCAR motor.

ANY other "Cuc" body colors came from aftermarket bodies sold six on a large card, but were NEVER offered as factory assembled RTRs (don't let an unscrupulous seller telling you how "rare" they are, as they are not!). Colors are metallic purple, dark green, dark blue, light blue, dark red, rose and gold. The orange bodies were NEVER sold separately, and all the colors except the purple ones were not sold in individual packaging, packed on a standard body card.

The SuperCuc, modified Cuc and Lil'Cuc (the 1/32 scale version) were offered through 1969. I would say that THOUSANDS have survived in fair to pristine condition.


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Philippe de Lespinay

#11 Pablo



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Posted 27 August 2016 - 02:00 PM

There are serious issues with the IFC chassis engineering, mostly a question of lack of rigidity in the rear-axle brackets, which bend inwards and derange the gear mesh. A simple fix that will not alter the originality of the car, is the fabrication of a brass "bridge" that can be fitted inside the bearings mounts and just clearing the crown gear, elegantly resolving this problem.

Bienvenidos, Maestro :D

Here is the way I strengthened mine:





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Paul Wolcott

#12 sportblazer350


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Posted 03 September 2016 - 09:36 PM

why so popular yo ask?  just look at it- one of the best looking slot cars ever produced, if not the best. a Can-Am thingie, low, great body lines, sleek, and fast.

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Glenn Orban
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#13 macman


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Posted 14 September 2016 - 05:47 PM

My major regret from that period was that given a choice between the Cuc & the Classic Asp I chose the Asp... Not that the Asp was a bad car, but I missed out on the what I have learned in retrospect was the superior driving experience of the Cuc.

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#14 TSR


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Posted 17 September 2016 - 12:31 PM

Pablo, that's another way to do it. Same purpose to fix a major design flaw that was common to many, many period slot cars...  :)

Philippe de Lespinay

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