Jump to content




Photo

Model car racer in the '50s


  • Please log in to reply
22 replies to this topic

#1 Cheater

Cheater

    Headmaster of the asylum

  • Root Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 23,011 posts
  • Joined: 14-February 06
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Norcross, GA

Posted 17 July 2017 - 02:44 PM

Old British Pathé newsreel footage.

 

 

He can keep the slot cars, I'll take the Rolls-Royce drophead!


Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap





#2 MSwiss

MSwiss

    Grand Champion Poster

  • Advertiser
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 19,967 posts
  • Joined: 16-April 06
  • Gender:Male

Posted 17 July 2017 - 03:13 PM

"... results in a crash, and Elleston reprimands the guilty party."

Sounds like "The Adventures of Mike & Bernard," On Wednesday night, at C/R. LOL.


  • RodneyZ likes this

Mike Swiss
IRRA® Components Committee Chairman
Five-time USRA National Champion (two G7, one G27, two G7 Senior)
Two-time G7 World Champion (1988, 1990), eight G7 main appearances
Eight-time G7 King track single lap world record holder

17B West Ogden Ave Westmont, IL 60559, (708) 203-8003, mikeswiss86@hotmail.com (also my PayPal address)

Note: Send all USPS packages and mail to: 5858 Chase Ave., Downers Grove, IL 60516


#3 kvanpelt

kvanpelt

    Checkered Flag in Hand

  • Full Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,064 posts
  • Joined: 29-January 08
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:IL

Posted 17 July 2017 - 05:38 PM

Such excitement! I forgot how fun slot cars were and what drew me too them. :bad:



#4 MSwiss

MSwiss

    Grand Champion Poster

  • Advertiser
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 19,967 posts
  • Joined: 16-April 06
  • Gender:Male

Posted 17 July 2017 - 05:56 PM

It turns out the star of the video is the author of "The Flight of the Phoenix," which became a pretty entertaining movie.


  • Cheater likes this

Mike Swiss
IRRA® Components Committee Chairman
Five-time USRA National Champion (two G7, one G27, two G7 Senior)
Two-time G7 World Champion (1988, 1990), eight G7 main appearances
Eight-time G7 King track single lap world record holder

17B West Ogden Ave Westmont, IL 60559, (708) 203-8003, mikeswiss86@hotmail.com (also my PayPal address)

Note: Send all USPS packages and mail to: 5858 Chase Ave., Downers Grove, IL 60516


#5 Joe Mig

Joe Mig

    Posting Leader

  • Subscriber
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,960 posts
  • Joined: 25-February 07
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Queens, NY, USA

Posted 17 July 2017 - 06:04 PM

Thanks, I really enjoyed that.


Joseph Migliaccio. Karma it's a wonderful thing.

"Drive it like you're in it!!!"

"If everything feels under control... you are not going fast enough!"

Some people are like Slinkies... they're really good for nothing... but they still bring a smile to your face when you push them down a flight of stairs.

#6 boxerdog

boxerdog

    Race Leader

  • Full Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 708 posts
  • Joined: 10-November 10
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Modesto, CA

Posted 18 July 2017 - 08:49 AM

Very interesting. I can remember twisting a knob at the first raceway in town, because it had a separate model train transformer for each lane. Those cars in the video seemed to get around pretty well!


David Cummerow

#7 Dave Crevie

Dave Crevie

    Checkered Flag in Hand

  • Full Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,081 posts
  • Joined: 16-February 09

Posted 18 July 2017 - 01:32 PM

I want to know what he was doing running the tire of one car against the drive pulley of the lathe. Some

speed secret only the Brits knew?



#8 MSwiss

MSwiss

    Grand Champion Poster

  • Advertiser
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 19,967 posts
  • Joined: 16-April 06
  • Gender:Male

Posted 18 July 2017 - 01:55 PM

Maybe he has sandpaper (or some sort of abrasive) glued to the belt.


Mike Swiss
IRRA® Components Committee Chairman
Five-time USRA National Champion (two G7, one G27, two G7 Senior)
Two-time G7 World Champion (1988, 1990), eight G7 main appearances
Eight-time G7 King track single lap world record holder

17B West Ogden Ave Westmont, IL 60559, (708) 203-8003, mikeswiss86@hotmail.com (also my PayPal address)

Note: Send all USPS packages and mail to: 5858 Chase Ave., Downers Grove, IL 60516


#9 Mattb

Mattb

    Checkered Flag in Hand

  • Subscriber
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,370 posts
  • Joined: 13-August 11
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:IN

Posted 18 July 2017 - 02:52 PM

I couldn't tell from the video, but was he running an actual slot car or were they rail cars?


Matt Bishop

Vintage Cox Slot Cars

#10 boxerdog

boxerdog

    Race Leader

  • Full Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 708 posts
  • Joined: 10-November 10
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Modesto, CA

Posted 18 July 2017 - 03:43 PM

The pipe was impressive, too.


  • tonyp likes this
David Cummerow

#11 Mattb

Mattb

    Checkered Flag in Hand

  • Subscriber
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,370 posts
  • Joined: 13-August 11
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:IN

Posted 18 July 2017 - 06:30 PM

Every picture in the rail racing book has a guy smoking a pipe, wearing a white lab jacket and most/all of the men are wearing coats and ties!!!    Bloody good show!


  • tonyp likes this
Matt Bishop

Vintage Cox Slot Cars

#12 Dave Crevie

Dave Crevie

    Checkered Flag in Hand

  • Full Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,081 posts
  • Joined: 16-February 09

Posted 19 July 2017 - 01:35 PM

Mike, I have looked at that video over and over. I don't see anything on the pulley. He is doing a front wheel, so I suspect it is not a traction issue.

 

Anyway, a good look back in time.



#13 don.siegel

don.siegel

    Posting Leader

  • Subscriber
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,066 posts
  • Joined: 17-February 06
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Paris, France

Posted 20 July 2017 - 04:53 AM

Slot cars, not rail if I remember correctly. There was also an article on this guy in one of the early Model Maker magazines - will post if anybody wants more info... 

 

Slot tracks were pretty rare in the UK at the time, but Scalextric had just come out - what's not clear is whether he started all this before Scalex or about the same time. 

 

Don



#14 Mattb

Mattb

    Checkered Flag in Hand

  • Subscriber
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,370 posts
  • Joined: 13-August 11
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:IN

Posted 20 July 2017 - 09:41 AM

I went thru Model Car Rail Racing book last nite and there wasn't a picture of this track in there, kind of surprising.   There was a diagram of the rail  track the Southport Model Engineers built for their 1957 ? Souithport Exposition and it was this same track plan.     As Don said, there just weren't many slot tracks as we know them at this time period, Rail tracks were the common method of electric car racing.  I think in the book they show and mention one guys "sunken rail " track. That's how they describe the slot design.    

 

I could spin this into another thread, but this is all related to film clip and the state of car racing in the 50's.   After reading the above book a few times over the years and the Model Makers which have articles about car racing.   I have realized it is the beginnings (or close to it) of our hobby and have tried to learn what I could.   Of course resources for this info are pretty slim, not like 60's slot cars.  The trick is that these guys made everything and designed everything at this time, they called nobody for parts until the hobby was established a little and MRRC started making some pieces to help build tracks.

 

The Kalamazoo club in Mi is credited with building the first rail track in America,  Tom Cook, maybe the main guy.    Anybody with any knowledge of Cook and this club?? 

 

The English hobbyists  refined rail racing as much as it could be refined in the 50's, but  by the 60's, it faded away for the most part.    I know there are cars out there and I would like to find one and maybe build a section of track 20 inches long or so to illustrate how they worked.    I could do it all from scratch like the early guys, but an old built car would be better.   There were also some components manufactured in the later stages to make it easier to build a track.

Anybody  have anything like that, or know of any collectors that do this stuff?

 

I think a few years ago a small group of guys in England did build a small rail track and illustrated how it all worked, maybe one of the guys wrote some kind of updated book.  Anybody know anything of this?

 

Lastly, from what I have read Ken Wallis is still the guy that built the first functional slot track back in 1942.   There is great piece on youtube os him showing the track and cars he built, or maybe a replica of it, that is not clear.   Here is the link to his youtube.    

 

 

 

I know many don't care, but this is the history of our hobby.  I will scan and post some pix here  sometime the next few days.   Here's nice piece about rail racing and the early days.

 

http://slotcarhistor.../railracing.htm


  • Samiam likes this
Matt Bishop

Vintage Cox Slot Cars

#15 don.siegel

don.siegel

    Posting Leader

  • Subscriber
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,066 posts
  • Joined: 17-February 06
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Paris, France

Posted 20 July 2017 - 11:44 AM

Matt, that was Jeff Davies and mates back in 2000 at Brooklands (which I attended), and he later did a book on rail racing, published by John Ford... book is rather disorganized, and not really a book, but still has a lot of excellent information and photos in there. Pendles or somebody else in England probably still has some copies. You might also check out SlotForum, under Brooklands rail racing - don't remember offhand what went on the forum at the time, if anything. 

 

Building a rail chassis is not that hard, but, contrary to what everybody said at the time, building a rail track is a lot harder than in looks, according to Jeff!

 

I believe that DJLD and other early editors of Model Maker had more of a vested interest in rail racing, so they might not have promoted early slot tracks to same degree. If i remember right, the article on Ellison's track would be in 57 or 58 (on vacation so can't check). And PdL has ferreted out some of Tom Cook's history... try a search here. 

 

don



#16 Mattb

Mattb

    Checkered Flag in Hand

  • Subscriber
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,370 posts
  • Joined: 13-August 11
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:IN

Posted 20 July 2017 - 05:38 PM

Don, I did a search for the Davies book and pulled up some related material, including the articles about the Brooklands event on scractbuilder.    I had forgot about these and am going to post the link here for anyone that has some curiousity about it.

 

I was surprised to read the Jeff Davies did not build any rail cars but had his cars built by someone else.    He is credited with building the actual track with other people, so maybe he didn't have the time.  I would think the skill level would be no higher for building a car as for building the track.

 

Don since you were there, how did they mount the rail and what did they use for the rail?   What was used for the flat contact on the track?    

 

This is what we would have been doing back in the 50's and it's good to know the origins of our hobby.   Here is a link to a good report of the Brooklands  Memorial Race.

 

http://scratchbuilt....railracers.html


Matt Bishop

Vintage Cox Slot Cars

#17 don.siegel

don.siegel

    Posting Leader

  • Subscriber
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,066 posts
  • Joined: 17-February 06
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Paris, France

Posted 06 August 2017 - 12:50 PM

Hi, 

Had forgotten about this, but it popped into my mind all of a sudden. Here's the original article on this track, from the November 1957 issue of Model Maker. One detail I had forgotten is that one of the three developers of the system is our old friend Ken Wallis, referred to above - and he's the one with the patent! But it's at the home of Elleston Trevor, a well-known author of the time (well enough to have a Rolls in the same garage spot usually!). 

 

The circuit would seem to predate VIP and Scalextric, altho in the article it's compared to them. The slot is only 1/16" wide and the pin goes down 1/8". Otherwise a pretty modern system. Doesn't say when it actually started into operation. 

 

Don 

 

Elleston%20Trevor%20track-MM1157-1_zpsth

 

Elleston%20Trevor%20track-MM1157-2_zpsym

 

Elleston%20Trevor%20track-MM1157-3_modif


  • MSwiss and tonyp like this

#18 Mattb

Mattb

    Checkered Flag in Hand

  • Subscriber
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,370 posts
  • Joined: 13-August 11
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:IN

Posted 06 August 2017 - 03:43 PM

Don, that's an article I haven't seen.   Where does this fit into the timeline?    You think this was the first multi lane slot track as we know it?   Probably based on Wallis' design from the 40's?     They mention VIP and Scalex as using this design, but I'm not sure they were available in 56.   What do you think?   Anybody with more info?


Matt Bishop

Vintage Cox Slot Cars

#19 don.siegel

don.siegel

    Posting Leader

  • Subscriber
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,066 posts
  • Joined: 17-February 06
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Paris, France

Posted 06 August 2017 - 03:52 PM

The issue was November 57 Matt, and between time needed to build the track and lead time for publication, I assume this was at least started in 1956. Scalex and VIP came out in the spring of 57 - I think the Scalextric track was announced at a toy fair in February of that year. With Ken Wallis, the concept was already around, so he wouldn't have to wait for Scalextric to see it could be done. 

 

So this does seem to precede it, and almost anything else. But there was the Charles Woodland slot car from the early 50s, or late 40s (see Greenslade book), and he had articles on his slot system, but not sure he ever really built a track. And, if you remember the Rod & Custom Models article on slot history from December 64, there was a patent taken by Irma Boyer, for a very modern looking slot system. Bernard has a photo of one of these cars, but that's about as much as we know - and that seems to be the first mention of a real slot racing system - 1926. Ken Wallis' track was during WWII, and there were a few concepts in the meantime - plus the German Bub set in 1953 and a gas car slot setup by Henri Baigent in late 40s, early 50s - but it's very hard to know if these guys were all aware of each other, and/or previous experiments. 

 

Don 



#20 Ramcatlarry

Ramcatlarry

    Posting Leader

  • Subscriber
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,079 posts
  • Joined: 08-March 06
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:St Charles, IL 60174

Posted 06 August 2017 - 11:55 PM

Another reference is book:  model car Rail Racing by DJ Laidlaw-Dickson - all 176 pages first printed in Oct 1957,Published by Model Aeronautical Press, ltd, England.  They are also the Model Makers Magazine publisher.

 

Chapter six gives proper credit to the Southport Club for establishing the (+) positive left and (-) negative right 12 volt DC electrical standard.  Chapter ten covers the commercialization with MRRC manufacturing a standardized rail for track building and VIP for the first "as we now use it" slot track design with braid pickup and track with flush/recessed braid.  The Scalex gimbal wheel with metal slot that they have perpetuated is considered the first commercial slot track.

 

Read a lot of the Model Makers in the day.  The Richards Brothers Hobby Shop in Aurora, IL sold MRRC pot metal 1/32 kits for their rail racing track in the basement as early as 1958.  I was 12 then, but they only held races for persons over 18.  The track is part of the landfill under the Old Second Bank parking lot.


Larry D. Kelley, MA
retired raceway owner... (for now)
race directing around Chicago-land

USRA 2017 member #404
USSCA  member

Host 2006 ISRA/USA
Great Lakes Slot Car Club member
60+ year pin Racing rail/slot cars in America


#21 Ramcatlarry

Ramcatlarry

    Posting Leader

  • Subscriber
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,079 posts
  • Joined: 08-March 06
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:St Charles, IL 60174

Posted 07 August 2017 - 12:17 AM

We used 25 watt round rheostats as controllers for the Aurora rail track.  Ours were hand held so that both hands could twist the 300+ degrees of power.  No red brake wire, but the alnico motors had all coast anyway.


Larry D. Kelley, MA
retired raceway owner... (for now)
race directing around Chicago-land

USRA 2017 member #404
USSCA  member

Host 2006 ISRA/USA
Great Lakes Slot Car Club member
60+ year pin Racing rail/slot cars in America


#22 Mattb

Mattb

    Checkered Flag in Hand

  • Subscriber
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,370 posts
  • Joined: 13-August 11
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:IN

Posted 07 August 2017 - 09:07 AM

Larry, you could buy a rail car kit at the hobby shop?    there is not much first hand info about rail racing in the US.   A little bit here and there about the Kalamazoo group, but not anything else.   Tell us what you remember about the track you went to and any others you know about.

 

The MAP book gives credit to a few people, but the original Southport group was strictly rail racing, until around 61, I think.   Baigent tried diesels, racing in troughs, and rail, but I don't think he ever did much with slots.   Might be the article Don posted was the first multi lane slot track.

 

The history of how we got to where we are is of interest to me.   I'm made that way!   I am aware of Lionel, and the English scene, I am not aware of Bub in Germany or any other early forms of model racing.   I have seen Goerings home layout.

 

If I could find a vintage rail car, I kind of thought I would build a small 18-20 inch section of rail track and put the car on it to show what was the most common system of the 50's and what was part of the evolution to slot racing.    Not really a good project, but I would do it for myself.


Matt Bishop

Vintage Cox Slot Cars

#23 Ramcatlarry

Ramcatlarry

    Posting Leader

  • Subscriber
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,079 posts
  • Joined: 08-March 06
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:St Charles, IL 60174

Posted 07 August 2017 - 01:55 PM

I looked for the early cars around Aurora and never  found any. The potmetal frames that have not dissolved on their own are very rare. One  racer even took one to a local foundry and made some brass frames - even those have eluded me.

 

We had a simple track, call it a flat paperclip in to days design.


Larry D. Kelley, MA
retired raceway owner... (for now)
race directing around Chicago-land

USRA 2017 member #404
USSCA  member

Host 2006 ISRA/USA
Great Lakes Slot Car Club member
60+ year pin Racing rail/slot cars in America






Electric Dreams Online Shop