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The Vintage-style Idea


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#1 Steve Okeefe

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Posted 05 December 2016 - 11:47 PM

It is no secret I like vintage slot cars, and especially replicating vintage pro racers from the mid-'60s to the early '70s.

 

Building these cars as period correct replicas however depends heavily on the ability to acquire actual period correct parts. While some period correct parts are always going to be easier to find (and afford) than others, lately even the once more plentiful parts have become harder to find, and their prices have risen considerably.

 

Add to this the reality that some parts just cannot be had at any price because they no longer exist (or never did exist as a product with a part number), and I find there are some vintage replica project cars I’m simply never going to be able to finish. It’s frustrating.

 

But this topic, and indeed this entire subforum is not a complaint about the availability or the prices of actual period correct parts; it’s about having fun building slot cars – and not being frustrated. If I cannot finish my period correct vintage replica car projects, then maybe I should be building period accurate vintage-style cars instead.

 

For those of us who are old enough to remember consider this: In the late '60s, at my local raceway we would build our cars out of what was available; there was no such thing as “period correct vintage parts.” The only reason I could not get a specific part I wanted was because the raceway owner had not received it yet, and all I had to do was wait a week and there it would be.

 

Come Friday or Saturday night, we would race whatever we had, provided it was no more than three inches wide and cleared the track by at least one-sixteenth of an inch.  Obviously, the cars had to be of the same type (sports, coupe or open wheel), but there were no other official rules; didn’t need them.

 

For everyone it was “build-what-you-will” and “run-what-you-brung”, and no one worried about whether they were using period correct parts. Honestly I don’t remember any other time when I had more plain-old fun on a regular basis.

 

We cannot actually go back to that earlier, more innocent time (and personally I would not want to try), but I think it possible to have fun building cars that way. The “catch” (if you choose to call it that) would be that "Vintage-style" cannot be a “free-for-all;” there would have to be some discipline to give the effort a sense of purpose.

 

So, my “Vintage-style” idea involves building cars with:

 

A. Disciplined major technical features that are accurate for the time period being represented and specifically intended to give the car overall vintage appearance and performance. Innovative design solutions are encouraged.

 

B. Other technical features that, out of simple necessity, conform to current practice.

 

C. Construction consisting entirely of commercially-available parts.


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#2 Jairus

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Posted 06 December 2016 - 12:13 AM

Not sure what you are getting at, but following with interest.

:)


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#3 Ramcatlarry

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Posted 06 December 2016 - 01:29 AM

Item 'C' is where I have a problem. In the early 1960s, we invented the parts that later became 'commercial' parts. You fabricated what you needed from what you could find.


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#4 slotcarone

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Posted 06 December 2016 - 06:45 AM

I was there at that time and I like the idea! Obviously there needs to be a spec motor. One of the still available current 16D style should work. :)


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#5 havlicek

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Posted 06 December 2016 - 07:03 AM

I think that, by accident and necessity, I've been on the vintage-style (VS) bandwagon for some time, so I "get" this idea.  Being a tinkerer by nature, I like to open stuff up, see where I might improve things, and if my "improvements" don't exactly pan-out, figure a way to fix my improvements :D  Then again, I think slotters in general share that kind of attitude.  Also, being of a certain (ahem) "vintage" myself, it's understandable why the earlier periods of slot car racing appeal to me so much.  As Steve put it so well, building/rebuilding (in my case...motors) things from that period is fast becoming cost-prohibitive, and sometimes just impossible.  Even something as ordinary as an FT16D end bell in clean/NOS condition has become "unobtainium"...partly because they melted if you just looked at them sideways, but also because they haven't been manufactured for close to 50 years (or something like that).

While I admire the absolutely-period-correct stuff, I never let being so correct necessarily be an obstacle to having fun.  Let's face it, it may be more than a little self-justification, but Larry's comment above is certainly true.  The spirit has always been about using what you could find...as well as what Steve said..."build what you will" and "run what you brung".  Sometimes, I will try my best to ONLY do things using the correct parts and that is very cool.  Other times I'll make things up, sort of the slot car equivalent of musical improvisation, but even then I figure it'a easily all in the spirit of the scratchbuilders.

There's no reason why a certain interest held by one person or group should preclude a different group's interest from being seen as valid.  If you want to have "VS" fun, you ought not let the price of a Champion "Orange Picker" get in your way.  After all, brass sheet, rod, tube and piano wire are still cheap.  I think that proceeding with a "VS" mindset, only increases appreciation for the totally vintage stuff.  When you DO see that lustworthy Champion, Mabuchi or Mura in minty-fresh condition, it's like "oh wow"!  Then again, you can either wait to build something...or half-finish something, or you can just build.

Very cool Steve!

 

-john

 


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#6 Samiam

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Posted 06 December 2016 - 07:39 AM

Like Steve,I have had similar thoughts on this concept.  These are the kind of cars I started out racing BITD. A few thoughts:

 

Angle winder of course.

Two classes. Drop arm and solid nose.

1/8" axle in drop arm. 1/32" in solid nose. 

Solid front axle for drop arm. L-axles for solid nose.

C or D can. No modern ultra light set-ups.

Wasp/Contender in drop arm. Gp20 or Open :shok:  in solid nose.

All chassis rails must be straight and parallel.

Only 90 deg. cuts in pans and chassis parts. Except notch for motor box.

Wire and brass.

Body list from SCRRA Retro Pro class.

 

Just thinking out loud. Sorry for the thread hijack.


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#7 slotcarone

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Posted 06 December 2016 - 07:46 AM

Sam I think Steve is referring to much earlier times when it was run what you brung--in other words your fastest  car in the box!!


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#8 Samiam

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Posted 06 December 2016 - 07:52 AM

I was thinking the solid nose cars would be RWYB. Maybe with some small period korrect aero aids.


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#9 havlicek

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Posted 06 December 2016 - 08:06 AM

I don't know if Steve is talking about a "race class" or just a building discipline, maybe he can clarify that.  While I think there are probably some folks scattered around who would like to race these things (*after all, there have been fairly successful thingie proxies), I don;t know if there are enough in any one place or at any one track for that sort of thing.  Personally, I have enough fun just building the stuff and don't think that many of my motors are used for racing, outside of the vintage racing done in Europe.

Anyway, using easily-available and affordable parts as analogs for the old stuff that has become too expensive and difficult to get for *whatever* reason seems like a very good idea!

 

-john


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#10 John Streisguth

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Posted 06 December 2016 - 08:10 AM

Sounds like jail door-era with motors that are a least a little more "period correct".  :)

 

Or maybe any era, as long as it's in the spirit of what was done "in the day"?  


"Whatever..."

#11 Eddie Fleming

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Posted 06 December 2016 - 08:20 AM

This is all on the line of retro.

 

Just like old times in slot cars (I want to make up rules the way I want them)

 

I would love to see the retro angle winder class take off, and we can talk about and build anything we want but support retro as we have it.

There are some rules in retro I would change but all in all retro is doing well so I will play as it is.

 

I am not putting down Steve's ideas I am just saying in large part what he purposed is what we have now in retro. 


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#12 havlicek

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Posted 06 December 2016 - 08:36 AM

Not being a retro racer, or a racer of any kind, I don't think this is at all overlapping, much less the same as retro Eddie.  For one, retro is very tightly controlled, and I see lots of times when some would have the sanctioning bodies install more rules.  That in itself is very different from a "run what you brung" type of thing.  Retro itself obviously works for a lot of people.  Then too, eurosport is really popular (I guess more so outside the US?), and then there are various open type classes.  Steve is well aware of all this, and I doubt he sees this as a "sort of retro" thing.  Then again, I still don't know if he's talking about a racing class or a building discipline, so all this talk about rules for racing may be...how do they say..."jumping the shark".

 

-john


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#13 Mattb

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Posted 06 December 2016 - 08:55 AM

Fun building and simple enough for everybody, our little small group strives for that. We go back to 64/65 for our approach. Solid platform frames, no hinges, a solid pan or brass rod. No drop arm. Inline motor (we use a small motor similiar to the H&R motors. 1 inch rear tires, silicone, no glue, no smaller than 3/4 inch fronts. Hard bodies for whatever class we are running, hot rod coupes, no fenders, trans am sedans, 60's indy roadsters. This is about the simplest car to build and is what all ran back in the early days.

Basic rules for the build only have to cover those basic areas.
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#14 Eddie Fleming

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Posted 06 December 2016 - 09:24 AM

For the most part I agree with you John. On the other hand if you look at Steve's guide lines A B & C that looks very much like retro. As I said we can talk about and build anything we want. I raced run what you brung back in the 60"s and loved it. You know what I still love it, but these days RWYB gets far out of hand very quick, so we add rules. Now if we are talking about building like we did back in the day for fun I am all for it. If we are going to race them I think it turns into retro or some variation of retro very quick.


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#15 slotcarone

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Posted 06 December 2016 - 09:51 AM

Anyone who competed in our current IRRA jail door class races will tell you about how much fun it is. We do have rules though!
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#16 don.siegel

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Posted 06 December 2016 - 10:20 AM

Basically, as soon as you have races, you will have people bending rules, holding endless discussions, taking out their switchblades, etc. 

 

I believe that Steve is talking more about a state of mind, and it's what a lot of us already do: drop arms really don't help these days, but when I do a 60s style build, it's gotta have a droparm! 

 

By the way, if you switch from can motors to open-frames, you immediately lower your costs by a substantial amount - lots of those still around, cheap! And, as people mentioned earlier, if you're not looking for Champion 525s and Cukras Muras, there are lots of affordable can motors around, well some... but not a lot of good endbells, that's true! 

 

Don 



#17 TSR

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Posted 06 December 2016 - 10:31 AM

There are three "classes" of vintage replicas that could be defined quite easily and provide fun for everyone.

- Inline cars, 1963 through 1968, with motors being strictly Mabuchi-based, FT16 or FT26 models. Such motor parts are abundant as millions were sold in the day and thousands have survived, in new or used condition. 1/8" axles only, as 3/32" were a few years ahead. Wheels, tires, gears are also abundant. Armatures to use Mabuchi-based or Hemi blanks, again, all over the place. Bodies to be of correct, pre-1968 styles, since the 1968 cars had not been modeled yet by vacuum-forming manufacturers. Cox or similar guides as the Jet Flag had yet to exist.

- Anglewinders, 1968 through 1972, meaning cars with two solid axles. Motors: anything from modified Mabuchi FT16 to Champion 517 to 535 chrome or black cans, Champion C-can based, Mura "16D" and C-can motor parts, 1/8" or 3/32" axles, Jet Flag or similar, realistic bodies without built-in air control. Drop arms mandatory since no one was making chassis without one.

- Anglewinders, 1973 to 1978, pre-cobalt motors, meaning Champion or Mura C-can based, no perimeter frames, solid center sections with side pans, front axle optional, no wing-car bodies, semi-scale only.

Anything after that can hardly be called "vintage," may be "old and obsolete"...

These are suggestions, but as an old fart having used all three types, I can see a clear difference between the three, and believe that this would provide lots of fun and relatively even classes if racing was involved.
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#18 Eddie Fleming

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Posted 06 December 2016 - 10:36 AM

Don,

You are probably correct. I suspect Steve is talking more about a state of mind.

In my case I am a builder/racer and as a racer my first thought on guidelines/rules is from the racer standpoint.
My view is if you are not racing, why have rules?
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#19 Lone Wolf

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Posted 06 December 2016 - 10:49 AM

Steve, I must admit I have very little knowledge of things after 1967. I never actually raced on a commercial track back in the day. Missed the age window by a couple years and I was really into HO.
 
My question is this, what parts are you generally referring to? Do you have pics of some of the more hard to get pieces? Just wondering, don't go crazy if you don't have the time.

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#20 dc-65x

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Posted 06 December 2016 - 11:06 AM

    :popcorm1:


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#21 Detroit Dave

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Posted 06 December 2016 - 11:06 AM

I am excited about the possibility of Vintage-style instead of trying to stay with just the vintage parts.  

I always feel a bit like I am cheating if I build something and it doesn't use '60s bits. My fun is in the building and my love is for the vintage look.  

Interested in seeing where this goes.
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#22 MSwiss

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Posted 06 December 2016 - 11:32 AM

This just sounds like Retro to me.

 

What exactly is different?

 

Slightly looser chassis rules?

 

And the the term "commercially available" is really up to interpretation.

 

IMO, you would have a real big, complicated rule book, or the most hated tech director on the planet. LOL


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#23 dc-65x

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Posted 06 December 2016 - 12:10 PM

I am excited about the possibility of Vintage Style instead of trying to stay with just the vintage parts.  I always feel a bit like I am cheating if I build something and it doesn't use 60's bits.  My fun is in the building and my love is for the vintage look.  Interested in seeing where this goes.

 
I believe Dave "gets it"...  :)


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#24 MSwiss

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Posted 06 December 2016 - 12:26 PM

I get it, also.

 

I don't get how you tech the "vintage look" when you state "Innovative design solutions are encouraged."

 

This sounds like a great idea if there were eight-dozen retired guys, hanging out at the track three days a week, building, and they could run their "innovative designs" by the track owner or tech director.

 

All you need is someone putting six hours into a chassis, and be told it can't run, to kill the class.

 

This sounds like it could possibly work if all items that could be used were determined to be in ample supply and were on a list.

 

Sort of a much expanded version of my Kurtis Indy car proxy race.


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#25 Jairus

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Posted 06 December 2016 - 12:48 PM

Steve posted last night and now after a bunch of discussion and no clarification from him... I still do not know what his original intent is.
But the wildly ranging responses suggest that I was correct in my first post.

That it's a presence of mind that confines us to build what we choose to build.
 

Consider the many Thingie proxy races held from 2005 to 2012. I would build a vintage style era correct entry while Sir Steve Kempson would build a more modern entry. I like the "vintage-style" and he likes the more current-style. Neither was better because sometimes I would do better and sometimes he would do better.

It is a frame of mind more than anything else.

And I get it now.  

 

Bravo, Steve! 
 


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