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#1 Steve Okeefe

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Posted 10 December 2016 - 06:26 PM

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

 

The Problem

 

Building these cars as period correct replicas depends heavily on the ability to acquire actual period correct parts. Some period correct parts have been easy to find, while others have been more difficult, but lately even the once more plentiful parts have become scarce, and their prices have risen considerably.

 

As if this is not enough, there is the reality that some parts just cannot be had at any price because they simply no longer exist (or never did exist as a product with a part number).  As a result I find there are some vintage replica project cars I’m simply never going to be able to finish. It’s been frustrating me for too many years.

 

Despite my frustration, I have always avoided using a mix of vintage and modern parts.  It is not heresy to mix vintages; some builders do that with great success and that’s perfectly okay with me.  It’s just my own personal choice not to do it that way.

 

A Different Approach

 

For me this leaves only one other reasonable solution; if I cannot acquire and build with all vintage parts, then I go the other way and use no vintage parts at all.  The result is a category of cars I will call “vintage-style”.

 

Vintage-style cars are intended to look and perform like vintage pro-racers but could never be called period-correct vintage replicas because they will not contain any vintage parts.

 

Vintage-style cars are not intended to be racers and in any case will not interfere with any established racing series because they would never conform to any current rule sets and thus never pass tech

 

Vintage-style cars should in general be built for the fun and exercise of building and intended to be run hard without worry because all the parts will be easily replaceable.

 

Modern Parts, Vintage Rules and Self Discipline

 

It is historical accuracy in technical detail, not vintage parts, that defines a vintage-style car.  To build them you will need a working knowledge of slot racing history, or at least a good resource to look it up, and the self discipline to do the research and apply that knowledge to your builds.

 

Each vintage-style car should be built with modern parts that conform first to vintage rules in a specific year (your choice), and also state-of-the-art chassis and motor design and construction for the month in that year your car represents.

 

Examples of Historically Accurate Technical Detail

 

1966 sports and coupe cars will have, among other things, inline drive, rod or tube drop arms, outrigger style body mounts, endbell drive D-can motors with 29 gauge wire, 1/8” axles, 15/16” rear and 7/8” front tires, and bodies available during 1966 or a few years earlier.

 

1967 sports and coupe cars will have, among other things, inline drive, built-up rod drop arms but no hinged body mounts until October, endbell drive D-can motors with 28 or 27 gauge wire, 1/8” axles, 7/8” rear and front tires, 1967 or earlier bodies.

 

1968 sports and coupe cars before April will have, among other things, inline drive, slab drop arms, side pans, endbell drive D-can motors with 27 or 26 gauge wire, 1/8” axles, 7/8” rear and ¾” front tires, 1968 bodies.

 

1968 sports and coupe cars between April and August will have, among other things, anglewinder drive, slab drop arms, side pans, endbell or can drive D-can motors with 26 or 25 gauge wire, 1/8” axles, 7/8” rear and ¾” front tires, 1968 bodies.

 

1968 sports and coupe cars after August will have, among other things, anglewinder drive, slab drop arms, plumber hinges, side pans, endbell or can drive D-can motors with 26 or 25 gauge wire, 1/8” axles, 7/8” rear and ¾” front tires, 1968 bodies.

 

And the list goes on.  By now you should be getting the idea; vintage-style cars are built to look and perform like the originals did, but with all modern parts.  Putting some work into it to achieve a reasonable level of historically accurate technical detail is what gives the whole effort a sense of purpose – for me, anyway.

 

Summing it all up

 

Here’s a new approach to building vintage-style cars that neatly avoids the problem of rare, fragile, irreplaceable and ridiculously expensive vintage parts.

 

I will be building a series of vintage-style cars and posting pictures and descriptions.

 

If anyone else wants to participate and build their own vintage-style cars, feel free to post pictures and descriptions in this sub forum.

 

Questions, comments or constructive criticism and always welcome.


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#2 havlicek

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Posted 10 December 2016 - 07:01 PM

I eagerly await!

 

-john


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#3 Eddie Fleming

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Posted 10 December 2016 - 07:47 PM

Just an observation or thought that comes to mind looking at cars of this type.

 

The originals of these cars were built as state of the art and often built very quickly. Raced, then used for parts for the next hopefully better one. They were used in anger if you will in a war to be the best. I look at recreations of these cars and often they are more like jewelry with the precision and polish of the build and I know they will never see that give it all run the originals were built for.

 

 I love to look at the workmanship but somehow I also feel a little sad.


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Eddie Fleming

#4 slotcarone

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 06:22 AM

The IRRA Jail Door class uses an idea similar to what you are talking about Steve. Of course we are using a modern motor for ease of purchase and to level the playing field. Here is one of the chassis I build for this class.

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#5 havlicek

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 06:48 AM

Eddie, I get what you're saying and can sorta relate.  On the other hand, these builds...whether absolutely period-correct or "VS" do a couple of things.  First, they serve as a history lesson, but they also illustrate the engineering that went into these designs.  ***The funny thing about all this is that, as a kid, I just thought these things looked cool.  I mean, all those nicely laid-out parallel (or not) pieces of rod, wire and tubing are eye-catching.  :)  Then, when you got your hands on one and started to see how they moved or flexed and realized that they weren't built to look cool, they were built to run fast and handle.  ***Now, I've come full circle and appreciate them as "art", almost like "industrial art", because the function and design of the things stands on it's own, even outside of the race track.  So, when someone restores/rebuilds say, an old Lotus that is never destined to be run hard in a race again, one that will never have oil and track dirt all over it, I'm cool with that.  It makes me imagine what it must have been like sitting in it and running at speed in a pack!

 

-john


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#6 havlicek

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 06:50 AM

Mike...that's a beauty of a chassis!

 

-john


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#7 slotcarone

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 07:22 AM


 

 

 

Mike...that's a beauty of a chassis!

 

-john

Thanks John! I have built probably 20 of these chassis over the past few years. My favorite class to race. I usually get beat by my own stuff though!


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#8 tonyp

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 08:02 AM

Katz is king of the jail doors!
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#9 John Streisguth

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 10:22 AM

HVR is holding a jail door enduro next month

 

And I love this concept, and how Steve has laid out the timeline of the development of the chassis and components. Looking forward to seeing some builds


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#10 Steve Okeefe

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 10:56 AM

Mike,

 

That's a gorgeous chassis; neat, simple, elegant, no nonsense.  :good:

 

Retro Racing is carving out it's place in slot racing history too.  Someday some young kid who is Retro Racing right now might be building and promoting "Vintage-style" retro cars.  Stranger things have happened.

 

If you're king of the jail doors (like Tony says- Hi Tony!  :wave: ) Then that chassis deserves a drawing just like I do for other chassis and other builders.

 

Drop me a PM if you're interested.


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#11 Steve Okeefe

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 12:06 PM

Just an observation or thought that comes to mind looking at cars of this type.

 

The originals of these cars were built as state of the art and often built very quickly. Raced, then used for parts for the next hopefully better one. They were used in anger if you will in a war to be the best. I look at recreations of these cars and often they are more like jewelry with the precision and polish of the build and I know they will never see that give it all run the originals were built for.

 

 I love to look at the workmanship but somehow I also feel a little sad.

 

Hi, Eddie,

 

Sad but true.  Pro-racing cars were weapons of war in a desperate arms-race.  Their pro-builders understood this, and properly treated them as such.

 

And, while it is also true that vintage-style cars may never be used for the same purpose as their prototypes, they are at very least intended to be slot racing history made into a physical reality you can experience, rather than just read about.

 

Come to think about it, this is a little bit like Jurassic Park.  I just hope it doesn't end up the same way...  :laugh2:


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#12 havlicek

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 03:10 PM

 

 

 

Thanks John! I have built probably 20 of these chassis over the past few years. My favorite class to race. I usually get beat by my own stuff though!

 

 

It shows Mike...oh...and by the way, don't look now, but Tony P just called you "King of the Jaildoors"!!!  :good:

 

-john


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#13 slotcarone

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 05:44 PM

What I found  interesting is back in January of 2013 I got an inquiry from none other than Mr Bob Emott himself asking about building him a JD chassis and putting the entire car together with a Noose body! :)


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#14 havlicek

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Posted 12 December 2016 - 08:17 AM

That's pretty danged cool Mike!

 

-john


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#15 Mbloes

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Posted 20 December 2016 - 04:13 PM

Steve, what parts are you finding scarce?  Here's my list:

 

16D endbells (most were melted)

Magnets

Drop arms

"Certain" front wheels

Orange donuts

Bodies (although a more recent pull would be indistinguishable once painted).

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Pans I can make.

Motor brackets exist.

Guides appear plentiful.


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#16 havlicek

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Posted 21 December 2016 - 06:30 AM

Steve, what parts are you finding scarce?  Here's my list:

 

16D endbells (most were melted)

Magnets

Drop arms

"Certain" front wheels

Orange donuts

Bodies (although a more recent pull would be indistinguishable once painted).

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Pans I can make.

Motor brackets exist.

Guides appear plentiful.

 

I would add, clean Mura A,B, older (Green Can)C end bells and hardware including buss bars and elephant ears.  These range from "out there but getting scarce and pricey" to pretty much gone.  Even when the end bell is found, and it's an A or B, if the bushing is shot, you either figure out a way to make one or find someone with machining capabilities. The can bushings in some cases are very difficult to find.  Even clean Green Cans are scarce.

 

Not sure which magnets Mike is referring to, but the correct long magnets for both the B and C Muras are scarce. (*Greg just came through for someone in this regard).

 

Even clean 26D end bells are getting scarce, especially the Champion ones with the pentroof hardware.  Even the "Tradeship" replacement end bells with the pentroof hardware don't seem to be around...but those melt just as easily as the original Mabuchi end bells.

 

Clean Mabuchi "anything" really at this point.  I guess the 36D stuff is still around, but only because people have less use for it, but the 36D Arco mags seem to have dried up from a time when they "seemed" plentiful several years back.

 

-john


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#17 SlotStox#53

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Posted 21 December 2016 - 08:26 PM

A lot of the original parts are drying up, or at least I'm not seeing anything pop up on epay (where I've collected a lot of my parts).

Second the rarity of A and b can parts, only B cans in complete cars, no motors/parts on their own :(

Really would love a better condition A can endbell & can bushing, plus several B can endbells. Any tips for replacing well worn B can endbell bushings John?

#18 Steve Okeefe

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Posted 21 December 2016 - 10:28 PM

Mike, John and Paul,

 

You guys are all right on the mark, and you are making my job easy!  The fact that so many original vintage parts are getting harder and harder to find, and more expensive seemingly every time you look for them, is exactly why I am proposing not using them at all in "vintage-style" cars.

 

Save the rare and expensive vintage parts for your occasional rare and expensive vintage builds, and have fun building and running a whole stable full of vintage-style cars that look and perform like their historical equivalents - without being either rare or expensive.

 

The whole idea is to make the cars out of modern parts so when you crash them or blow them up or wear them out all you have to do is... get some more modern parts over the counter or over the Internet and rebuild them!

 

Anyone who has searched for weeks or months and paid an obscene amount of dollars on ebay for a 45 year old open arm that goes once or twice up the straight and then suffers total comm failure at 90,000 (or more) RPM should have no problem appreciating this idea.

 

After the holidays I will get some cars finished up so you can see what I'm talking about.


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#19 grooverunner

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Posted 22 December 2016 - 01:21 AM

Hi Steve,

I'm on board! Here's a picture of the chassis I'm building it's the same chassis that you did.It has .62 rails, drop arm is .62 brass I stamped it,
Bat pans are .30 brass as is motor mount.

The wire bender is great idea!

Thanks
Ken

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Ken  Hill

#20 SlotStox#53

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Posted 22 December 2016 - 12:53 PM

Looking great Ken! :D

What did you use to stamp the drop arm?
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#21 grooverunner

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Posted 22 December 2016 - 04:14 PM

Paul,

Just like this,a friend of mine made the die and I use the 1 ton arbor press.

Ken

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Ken  Hill

#22 SlotStox#53

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Posted 22 December 2016 - 04:21 PM

Superb :D Makes a neat looking drop arm, saw a similar die offered on epay a while back, should of grabbed it.

#23 MSwiss

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Posted 22 December 2016 - 05:41 PM

If coining wasn't a deal breaker, I could easily have my CNC brass guy make drop arms.

 

Holes wouldn't be a problem, although they would have to have a slight radius on each inside corner.


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#24 Steve Okeefe

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Posted 22 December 2016 - 06:49 PM

That is "impressive" Ken  :laugh2:

 

I might be able to fashion a die like that, and then all I would need is a 1 ton arbor press...  :wacko2:

 

Slot car guys are endlessly inventive and innovative.  I love it!

 

Ken, why not start a separate topic in this sub forum for your  build?



#25 SlotStox#53

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Posted 22 December 2016 - 07:21 PM

If coining wasn't a deal breaker, I could easily have my CNC brass guy make drop arms.
 
Holes wouldn't be a problem, although they would have to have a slight radius on each inside corner.


Maybe coining wouldn't be an issue seeing as this is "vintage style"? So if you can't make/scratch it and don't want to afford that illusive "Nutley" windowed drop arm then modern alternatives I'd imagine would be fine :)





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