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Love dem Trans-Ams


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#1 rvec

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Posted 20 January 2017 - 07:26 PM

I grew up in the car crazy 60s. Back then, cars were king and a symbol of freedom and independence. Every teenage boy wanted a slick ride to show off his cool and impress the girls. Of course, I was caught up in the frenzy. Being too young to drive, I got my kicks by racing slot cars. In 1959, my brother and I got a four lane model motoring set for Christmas. Almost immediately track was added and friends came over to race. In 1963, I purchased a 55 Pontiac for $200. With a little help from friends, I rebuilt the motor we repainted the car in its original two tone motif of white and aqua. My love for all things automotive ultimately led me to the school of mechanical engineering at Georgia Tech
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Living in New York at the time, I gravitated toward Bridgehampton to watch Trans-Am, Can-Am and Formula 5000 races each and every year. After graduation, I accepted a job with General Electric Aircraft Engine division in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Mid-Ohio race course wasnt too far away and again I made the trek each year to watch the pros battle it out. My favorite series was Trans-Am. The series featured street cars that anyone with modest means could afford. It was not obvious that these machines were far from stock. Trans-Am rides featured massive brakes, racing tires and wheels, special transmissions, differentials, adjustable shocks, revised suspension geometry, high revving 305 cubic inch motors churning out more than 450 horsepower. Roll cages ostensibly for safety were actually space frames which stiffened the chassis immensely. The series attracted big buck factory support and top notch drivers like Mark Donohue, Parnelli Jones, Dan Gurney and many more. All big three makes (and later American Motors) were represented.

My love for both cars and slot cars continues to this day. In the early 2000s, I built Electron Raceway. The wood track with about 90 running feet of track in each lane resides in our 2,400 square foot shop. Slot heads gather about twice a month to run hard body scale cars. Several years ago, we began running True Scale Trans-Am cars. In order to widen the appeal of the class, only production chassis are allowed. To date these include inexpensive, H bracket chassis such as Scholer, Slotting Plus and Scale Auto. In order to keep costs down the only motor specified is a sealed 16D ProSlot unit. The class features 1/25 plastic models of cars that actually ran in the Trans-Am series from 1966-1972. During development of the class, we found that the models were quite narrow and a handful to drive. In order to improve handling and level the playing field between makes, we decided to fix the front and rear track (3.15 inches for the front and 3.25 inches for the rear). This required builders to fabricate fender flairs. In reality, cars are closely matched with no single make or model a dominate force.

I currently have two completed cars competing in the series: a 1969 Penske Camaro and a 1970 Hall Camaro adorned with Fred Cady decals. Both feature Scholer chassis. The 1969 runs an older Scholer Pantera chassis with one half inch side pans. The 1970 Camaro runs the 1/32 Scholer Intruder chassis with 3/4 inch side pans. Images of both cars are shown below. In addition, I just completed a spare 1970 Camaro body also shown below.
 

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Recently, I decided to build another True Scale Trans-Am ride and chronicle the build in this thread. I decided to build a replica of the 1970 AAR Cuda driven by Swede Savage.  As a starting point, I decided to use a Revell 1/25 1970 Plymouth Hemi Cuda kit and a Scholer 1/32 Intruder chassis. The AAR Barracuda decals were purchased from Pattos Place.
 

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The first order of business was to cut out the wheel wells in order to accommodate the scale wheels and prepare the body for the fender flairs. Then the body was stretched so that it would fit the chassis with 3/4 inch wide side pans. The stretching was accomplished by spreading the body out using a piece of 2 by 4 and then immersing it in 165 degree water. Below are a couple of images.
 

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Rich Vecchio





#2 rvec

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Posted 28 January 2017 - 04:13 PM

Progress on fender flairs.

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#3 Mark Johnson

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Posted 29 January 2017 - 03:22 PM

really nice



#4 rvec

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Posted 29 January 2017 - 03:32 PM

Thanks Mark.

Here at Electron Raceway we focus on Scale hardbody cars. Check out this link http://slotblog.net/...aceway-classes/ and select Historic Trans-Am to see other examples of these early Trans-Am cars. Also you might want to view some examples of cars in the other classes we run.

Rich Vecchio


#5 rvec

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Posted 30 January 2017 - 08:07 PM

Fender flairs are finished and body has been primed. Images below. Also, I have worked on the new chassis for the car (the one I have been using for testing is for another car). I have modified the center section of the chassis and cut the side pans. Tomorrow I hope to paint the body dark blue, mount the side pans and ream out the front and rear axle hangers to fit bushings for a 1/8 inch axle

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#6 rvec

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Posted 31 January 2017 - 11:27 PM

Finished side pans, axle hangers.

On left of first image is a stock pan. On the right is the modified pan with side pans. Tomorrow, I hope to install the motor, mount the body and test. Then the body will be painted. While paint is drying, I'll fabricate a custom front pan and tune the chassis using a different body

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#7 Metalflake King

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Posted 01 February 2017 - 05:47 PM

Great work as always Rich!  :good: 


Max Mohring

#8 rvec

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Posted 01 February 2017 - 08:59 PM

Thanks Max,
BTW It looks like you are getting a very good turnout for hardbody racing on the East Coast on a regular basis. Keep up the good work.

Progress today. Painted the body, installed the motor and tested chassis. It runs quite well. Below are a couple of images. Still have to fabricate front pan but will have time while the paint cures, decals affixed and cleared

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Rich Vecchio


#9 rvec

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Posted 17 February 2017 - 03:34 PM

Body mounted and ready for decals

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#10 rvec

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Posted 02 March 2017 - 08:43 AM

Finally complete except for the wheel inserts. The decals are from Pattos place. I found them easy to apply and they mold to the contours of the car. The car runs well but some tuning is in order. Below are a few images of the Cuda and a couple of my three Trans-Am rides
 

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#11 rvec

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Posted 07 March 2017 - 09:50 AM

The final product compared to the real deal!
 

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