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New BRM 1/24 Trans-Am cars


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#1 n9949y

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Posted 03 February 2018 - 01:50 AM

Just bought BRM's 1/24th version of one of Penske's '69 Cameros. The #6 was driven by Mark Donohue, and
the #9 driven by either Ed Leslie or Ronnie Bucknum.
 
L945st7.jpg
 
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SoifvWk.jpg
 
ilLrAqe.jpg
 
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Of course at Pelican Park it's all about improvement and innovation. Those who may already have
obtained other BRM 1/24 Trans-Am cars may notice mine sits lower. Tweaked the chassis, fixed a longer guide
tongue with a JK guide flag, removed a few thousandths off the front tires, replaced the 3 mm axle
assembly with a 1/8" axle housing to match all my other cars and exchanged the hard rubber tires with
large diameter Pro-Tracks. Shaved shorter the four mounting posts so the car sits lower on the chassis.
Chassis/track clearance is .5" front, .60" rear. Some lead weight here and there.
 
Re-worked cockpit appearance by detailing the driver figure and I re-glued the roll cage more flush with the roof inside for better modeling accuracy, though I didn't sand thin the roof - didn't go that far with that Penske innovation!

May use some N scale letter decals to place on the roof that will spell: "No Push."
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#2 A. J. Hoyt

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Posted 03 February 2018 - 08:34 AM

Nice, nice job. I can really appreciate a well turned-out hardbody car from any scale.

 

It's still a proper slot car racing hobby when all of the mods you described are allowed in a racing series.

 

The photos seem to show a black roof - I assume it must be a painted way to tell the sister car from the #6 at a glance while on the track - surely Roger Penske did NOT use a black vinyl topped Trans-Am car! (The sight of a vinyl-topped "Pony Car" on the street made my skin crawl when they were new cars.)

 

I have to believe that there was a rule in Trans-Am (back in the day) that the wheel well openings remained their factory position and shape for brand recognition reasons (NASCAR had similar guidelines, either in the rule book or the inspection "theme"). This body has the hand-hammered flared-out fenders and quarter panels (in the areas of the wheel wells) that the top racers exploited to get the widest track they could.

 

When properly modeled by the slot car manufacturer, this helps in selecting the better available Trans-Am hard bodies in 1/32 scale because it works for handling at scale just like in 1:1. Then you just need to be creative (like they did in the 60's and early 70's in 1:1) on how to cram some wide tires in a wide track up in there - a fun part of the hobby!

 

Nicely done.


Never complacent - striving to race to ever increasing levels of mediocrity!

 

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#3 Tex

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Posted 03 February 2018 - 10:19 AM

I believe Penske DID field a Camaro with a black vinyl roof at one time. I'm not sure of the exact reason at the moment. It may have been a situation where a race car got damaged/destroyed and he reached out to a local Chevy dealer to obain a car to quickly convert to a race car.... OR, was the vinyl roof a bit of subtrefuge(sp?) to disguise an overly acid-dipped body and the roof was seriously thin and needed the vinyl to help it keep it's shape, at least during scrutineering(?).


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#4 MG Brown

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Posted 03 February 2018 - 12:40 PM

I believe Penske DID field a Camaro with a black vinyl roof at one time. I'm not sure of the exact reason at the moment.

 

Somewhere IIRC in the book "The Unfair Advantage", Mark Donohue said that the Camaro's vinyl roof was an experiment to lower drag much in the same manner that dimples on a golf ball do. Now if this was the actual reason or not, only 'The Captain' knows.


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#5 Dave Crevie

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Posted 03 February 2018 - 01:53 PM

Actually, the vinyl roof was to cover the holes left from leaving the body in the acid dip tank too long. I know the guy who restored the car, he told me about it.
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#6 James Wendel

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Posted 03 February 2018 - 02:02 PM

Well done, Todd!!! That's a beauty for sure.
 
Of course, if raced at Pelican, you will be severely disadvantaged against the "less scale" racers. Personally I would support a two-lap bonus for a car such as yours for scale accuracy.  :good:
You can't always get what you want...

#7 n9949y

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Posted 03 February 2018 - 02:27 PM

One of the best accounts of Trans-Am racing in its hey day is author Dave Friedman's book: Trans-Am. The Pony car wars 1966-72. MBI Publishing Co, 729 Prospect Ave, P O Box 1, Osceola WI. 2001.
 
“The 1969 Trans-Am season had all the qualities found in one of Hollywood’s’ epic Western Movies. There were good guys, bad guys, angry words, an uncaring sheriff, treachery, cheating, suspense and several good shootouts. SCCA officials were continuously accused of favoritism in the application of the rather loosely written rules. Some of the rule infractions that were handled in a rather questionable manner was the Penske vinyl top controversy”
 
Chuck Cantwell who was Team Penske’s top Engineer is said to have remarked, "We acid-dipped our cars to reduce the overall weight. In 1969 we got a bit carried away and the tops of the Cameros became so thin that they rippled. That’s why we ran the first couple of races that year with a vinyl top to reinforce the roof. Had we not done that the tops on the cars would have probably collapsed during our first race at Michigan.”
 
The book with its many photos contain several showing the vinyl tops.
 
Thanks, AJ, for your compliment and James, thanks for yours. You think I can get five? My evolving Camero  gets around the corners as surprisingly good as many of our Clubmans cars, and would be even be more competitive with a stronger motor than the stock one - my continuing effort to improve its performance.


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Remember folks, traffic lights timed for 35 MPH, are also timed for 70!

#8 n.elmholt

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Posted 03 February 2018 - 03:40 PM

BRM always makes some beautiful bodies, but their chassis and general assemble is often crap - sad that they they does not seem to learn from earlier faults.

 

"Out of the box" is normally impossible with their car, which is a great pity :-(

 

Niels, DK


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#9 Mattb

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Posted 03 February 2018 - 05:19 PM

It was good to see some 1/24 Trans-Am cars hit the market. I think they really are more suited to the non-builder guys. I look at them and figure I can build the same car for less money and have a better car with a bras chassis, something simple like H&R, Womp, FCR. 
 
I have a Carrera P4. I love the body, but only bought it to use the body on a chassis of my choice. While these cars have outstanding bodies, the chassis always leave something to be desired.
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#10 Dave Crevie

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Posted 04 February 2018 - 01:19 PM

The BRM and Carrera 1/24th scale cars are just bigger versions of the 1/32nd scale home set cars. I have a few,
and raced in their own context they are fine. But will never race with commercial type cars. And they are not very substantial. After a few heats most of the small detail parts will be gone.

#11 Justin A. Porter

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 01:37 PM

BRM has made light-years worth of advances in their chassis from their plastic chassis Group C cars.

Their Porsche 917, Ferrari 512M, McLaren F1, 911GT1, and now this line of Trans-Am cars use machined aluminum chassis much closer in execution to Scaleauto or Scholer.
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#12 olescratch

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 03:30 PM

The only problem I see with the new chassis is that there aren't any instructions included with the purchase as to how to make any adjustments! You get the box, a car, and the few additional pieces located in the bottom of the box. 

I agree, they are beautiful cars, but without the customary motor change, I couldn't see them "racing" against anything other than BRM cars!
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#13 Tex

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 04:21 PM

...but without the customary motor change, I couldn't see them "racing" against anything other than BRM cars!

 

Exactly.

 

That's what we do with our BRM Group C cars. Think of the BRM cars as a class of slot cars similar in use as, say, retro Can-Am slot cars; retro Can-Am's are only raced against other retro Can-Am's(albeit scratchbuilt). BRM Trans-Am's are only MEANT to be raced against other BRM Trans-Am cars. It makes for VERY competitive, close racing. Since all the cars are so evenly matched, you can't come from behind and win by making up time. Instead, you try to stay ahead by not coming off in the first place; each deslot just puts you deeper in a hole you can't drive your way out of.


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#14 Justin A. Porter

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 04:50 PM

Effectively my thinking as well. Really the only overlap BRM has in the marketplace is with Scaleauto's line of modern GT2 and GT3 cars if you REALLY want to stretch and include their Mclaren F1, Porsche 911GT1, and their Renault Megane Trophy cars. Hopefully they see fit to continue the line because I'd definitely like to see a 1971 Javelin and 1970 AAR 'Cuda in the mix.


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#15 n.elmholt

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 05:38 PM

Richard, I understand what you mean, but dont give these these guys another excuse to keep up supplying cars that repeatably don't drive reasonably out of the box.
Their recent NSU's etc are a good example. Super nice bodies, funny construction ideas, but cars that drive like sh.. on most slot car tracks.

The good thing is that their bodies are very nice :-)


I know that people can make them work decently on small home tracks - but that is not good enough :-(

sorry, Niels, DK
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#16 Tex

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 06:31 PM

Richard, I understand what you mean, but dont give these these guys another excuse to keep up supplying cars that repeatably don't drive reasonably out of the box.

 

An excuse? That I like close racing? I didn't speak to the construction of the cars, only their relative competitiveness against each other. I believe the BRM construction is somewhat lacking; yes, we must tweak them to attain some semblance of "handling". I like close racing, even with BRM cars; I like the challenge of trying to keep them in the slot. I bet Clark, Gurney, Andretti, etc all had to deal with less than optimum rides at times also. But I prefer(over the BRM's) similarly close racing with the Scaleauto cars. Scaleauto's also suffer some construction issues, at least in my mind; there are WAY too many screws and such keeping it together, BUT.... they handle much better than the BRM's. I'll eventually get a BRM Trans-Am... other priorities for now.


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#17 Mattb

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 06:50 PM

It is amazing to me that after slot cars as we know them have been around for over 50 years, a company can't make a car you pull out of the box and it runs great.   I can't believe a $150 car needs tweaking and tuning!    


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#18 Tex

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 07:52 PM

 I can't believe a $150 car needs tweaking and tuning!    

 

Can't or don't want to?  LOL   It's true. I wish it weren't true also, but that's the way it is.


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#19 MSwiss

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 08:01 PM

In the last year or two, I ran one of the more modern BRM cars on my flat track (917 body?)

 

IIRC, it had an aluminum chassis.

 

I thought it ran real well


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#20 spudboy

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 10:46 PM

" Chuck Cantwell who was Team Penske’s top Engineer is said to have remarked, "We acid-dipped our cars to reduce the overall weight. In 1969 we got a bit carried away and the tops of the Cameros became so thin that they rippled. That’s why we ran the first couple of races that year with a vinyl top to reinforce the roof. Had we not done that the tops on the cars would have probably collapsed during our first race at Michigan.”

 

Not surprisingly the Penske cars were wicked fast.  I seem to recall that other teams eyeballing these Penske Camaros to determine what the Penske "Unfair Advantage" was decided that it was - the vinyl roof!  Soon after some of those teams started showing up at races with, yep, vinyl roofs.  Of course for some odd reason they still couldn't keep up with the Penske Camaros.

 

I imagine Roger and Mark shared a chuckle over that.

 

:laugh2:

 


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#21 Mattb

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Posted 08 February 2018 - 08:31 AM

This is my version of the Penske Camaro, built with an H&R brass chassis, total cost under $70 if it is all bought new.   I would put against a BRM for handling any day.  I could be wrong.   With a 15,500 rpm motor, it runs 7.8 on a King.

 

sunoco camaro.JPG


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#22 n9949y

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Posted 08 February 2018 - 02:48 PM

Am noting consensus re: 1/24 RTR cars, B.R.M., Scale Auto and Carrera  which keep supplying cars that "repeatably don't drive reasonably out of the box." The designers of these RTR appear to have little knowledge about putting together cars that can withstand the vicissitudes of frequent racing in competitive environments. All those tiny screws and bolts for example. screwing into plastic-yeah, that'll last about 4-5 times before the plastic wears out. These products are really superb shelf models that will enhance any collector's displays, but as sturdy slot cars? no. Probably because the manufactures, especially BRM and Scale Auto don't test their product in real world settings on real slot car tracks. Carrera is a whole different paradigm- Carrera cars designed to run on Carrera tracks.

 

And the costs of them, so bloody expensive- I suppose because manufacturing them is so labor intensive -again all those tiny bloody screws to fashion parts and pieces that don't really work well. Am not sure why such construction methods that appear uniquely Euro-centric are stubbornly adhered  to- will someone from over there explain their compulsions for designing impractical chassis replete with all those tiny screws and bolts, none of which makes for sturdy slot cars?


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#23 Justin A. Porter

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Posted 08 February 2018 - 03:08 PM

Easy explanation - they don't race them on Kings.
 

These cars with their Shore measured tires and lower-power motors are meant to live their lives on scenery-laden two to four lane flat tracks where they are raced in club settings or on home layouts by hobbyists.

 

There ARE serious competitions for cars such as these, just ask gentlemen like Fola Osu or Nick de Wachter who build phenomenal carbon and brass chassis GT's and Prototypes that race in multi-driver enduros. 

 

No. They're not designed to be pranged off of the walls of your local King track at twice the designed speed because YOU up-motored it "Cause it's not as fast as my FCR". Go figure.


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#24 n9949y

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Posted 08 February 2018 - 03:37 PM

 

"These cars with their Shore measured tires and lower-power motors are meant to live their lives on scenery-laden two to four lane flat tracks where they are raced in club settings or on home layouts by hobbyists."

 

They don't even work well enough in our club setting: scenery laden, 4 lane flat track, multiple elimination heat racing format.


Todd Messinger

Remember folks, traffic lights timed for 35 MPH, are also timed for 70!

#25 Tex

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Posted 08 February 2018 - 04:52 PM

While I'm no fan of the myriad of screws used to assemble a Scaleauto, I will testify that they stand up pretty good to the bashing we give them on the commercial 1/24 track at Dallas Slot Cars; the hard bodies protect the chassis' pretty well. It's a source of local hilarity, the collection of odd bits and pieces off the bodies that get collected during/after a race... but it's just the small add-on bits and pieces, the bodies proper holding up well to flat-out, full-bore T-boning hits. And again I testify... with just basic setup of making sure pillow blocks are square to one another, guide flag depth set properly, ProComp sponge tires trued up properly... the Scaleauto's DO handle pretty good. Once having set the car up, we can race the car, put it in the box at the end of the day, and only have to pull it back out of the box and put it on the track at the next event. That's a BIG plus.... such low maintenance... just pull it out of the box and go racing. I can't stress that enough... throw it in the box and just put it on the track at the next event. I'd be remiss if I did not tell you that I DID bulletproof my SA... pillow blocks and guide assembly parts are soldered together as well as using some kind of "threadlocker" adhesive to keep those darned little screws from coming undone. But all that is done one time and one time only. I think I'm the only one who has gone to that level of bulletproofing. It's a tank!... but a GOOD HANDLING tank nonetheless. Racing the SA's is a very low-stress escape compared to the hours and hours we spend building, crashing and rebuilding our retro cars.

 

I will also say that, at times, the BRM's(Group C) can handle almost "decent"... the problem comes when that invisible line is crossed and the car just heads for the wall! (mirrors and headlight lenses flying!)  LOL   If you can be disciplined enough to toe the line with your trigger finger, racing BRM's can be enjoyable. Obviously, they aren't for everyone though.


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