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The rarest American production slot car?


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#1 TSR

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Posted 30 August 2018 - 06:14 PM

Announced in a couple of American slot car magazines in late 1967 and early 1968, were three new 1/24 scale Pactra RTR models. A BRP-Ford Indy car, a Lotus 40, and a Ford Mk IV.

As Pactra had shut down their Stormer slot car body company in mid-1967, all three used Lancer bodies made of thick clear polystyrene butyrate, factory-painted metallic red with silver backing.

The Lotus and the BRP-Ford used a new "iso-fulcrum" style chassis in which the motor bracket was hinged from its axle bearings, while an anodized aluminum pickup arm was screwed to its Igarashi "Hemi" motor. This chassis was also offered separately and featured a "dropped" 1/16" steel wire front axle. The wheels were likely supplied by Riggen and there were gray sponge tires and black rubber ribbed front tires.

The Ford was apparently the last Pactra car ever advertised and had a chassis identical to that of what is believed to be the very last (and never advertised) Pactra slot car, the Meyers "Manx" dune buggy, another rarity. Their common chassis had a brass drop arm, now hinged as on a period "pro" chassis in a conventional manner, ahead of the motor.

The motor itself was an exclusive Pactra product, called "Eliminator," likely made in Hong Kong. This was a departure from an exclusive use of the Igarashi "Hemi" motor. This Eliminator was of the size of a Mabuchi FT16D, but had cylindrical brush holders and brushes. It had a drawn, chrome-plated steel can with a sintered bronze bushing. Drive was on the endbell side. This motor is rare and has never been used in any other model. It was also offered separately by Pactra in a small black cardboard box, with a brass motor bracket.

All three cars used a new lower profile guide flag, also unique to these cars.

The Lotus 40 appears to be the most commonly found today, while still a scarce car, and no boxed example is known to exist at this time. The BRP-Ford is far rarer, and so far, we have only seen two examples, plus one in metallic blue and with a Mabuchi FT16D motor, produced by Pactra's sister company, "Competition," but with an almost identical chassis. One mint and boxed example of the Pactra model and one loose Competition model are on display at the LASCM.

But what of the Ford?

After many years of search, one in rather poor condition appeared at an online auction, and the LASCM purchased it. This was over five years ago. The body had some damage, now repaired, and the decals are the same as on the Competition Ford GT, the first model issued by the Santa Ana-based company, and fortunately not rare, so they were replaced.

The chassis and all parts were cleaned, and all original parts were reused.

Now, the car has been restored, and at this time, is still the only known example of this RTR car, putting it in that very special class of truly rare production slot cars made in America in the 1960s. If you have one or know of someone who has one, we would love to know.

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#2 NY Nick

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Posted 30 August 2018 - 06:42 PM

Nice car.
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#3 Champion 507

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Posted 30 August 2018 - 08:39 PM

I think Steve Okeefe has a couple of them.  :sarcastic_hand:  :laugh2:  :wacko2:


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#4 Mattb

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Posted 31 August 2018 - 07:54 AM

I wonder how many of us have seen these chassis and just thought they were homebuilt. We have guys on here that could duplicate that chassis exactly, except their copies would have better-looking solder joints.
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#5 TSR

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Posted 31 August 2018 - 05:47 PM

Matt,

A learned collector would know by now about these Pactra chassis, because they are not that rare by themselves and were shown many times on various forums in the past 20 years, and 30 seconds are all it would take for one to realize that these are mass produced in jig fixtures, not individually handbuilt:

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Of course, replicas can be made, up to a point, but I seriously doubt that any of the guys you know would have the 10-ton press necessary to make that complex and very precise dimple in the 0.050" thick drop arm. I also doubt that they would be able to replicate to tool marks that show on the brass rails from machine forming.

Also, where would they find a factory-painted body in that very color, with the correct interior and drivers' head?

And where would they find one of these motors?

pactra_eliminator_3.jpg

Here is the same chassis as fitted on another rarity, the Pactra Meyers "Manx" buggy (interestingly painted the same color):

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Replicas are fun to make and run, nothing wrong with that, but they are just that, replicas, and can never be confused with an original item once under close scrutiny.

#6 Mattb

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Posted 31 August 2018 - 06:30 PM

P,

Over the years many slots have passed through my and many others hands. Having no interest in any pro cars or scratchbuilt stuff, I could have seen one of these and never gave it a second thought.  I would have thought it was something a guy made up with some parts he had laying around. Only guys with the knowledge and wide interest like you would have  scrutinized it and found out what it was.   
 
My interest has always been stuff built up till around 1968. After that I don't know much (or even less than I know about early stuff). I never heard or saw this chassis till Don posted pix of his last year.
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#7 TSR

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Posted 31 August 2018 - 07:21 PM

Matt,

This is why we started this museum, and this is why we are putting our noses on the ground, looking for those truly rare truffles hiding below the dead leaves.  :)

If we did not do that, that bit of history would be forever lost, and that would be rather sad, would it not?

As an example, if had not noticed that used up car being offered (for a song) on ePay, we may never have known that the Ford Mk IV had actually been marketed, since many such cars announced in early 1968 magazines, never were, or likely never were.

Pactra is one of the few, if not the only "pre crash" slot car company, to have manufactured cars patterned after what the serious and knowledgeable hobbyists had devised to make slot cars handle and perform decently, vs. the literally thousands of cars that looked so great and performed so poorly. This is why I am a personal aficionado of the Pactra and Competition companies and models, because there must have been one person there who had his eyes open, and that was certainly not the case for most others.

After Pactra/Competition pulled the rug from under their slot car business, there were new companies, of which Champion became the leader in chassis and RTR design. But it is Pactra that was first to take notice of what a small group of teens were building out of brass rod and a Russkit motor bracket, to race in serious contests such as the first Rod & Custom racing series, and act on it.

#8 Kim Lander

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Posted 01 September 2018 - 06:18 AM

Beautiful... thanks for all the info, history, and pictures.

#9 don.siegel

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Posted 01 September 2018 - 02:48 PM

Actually, I have the rarest production slot car in the world, which I built found in the bottom of a box that I bought in Lichtenstein back in 1976, during my first trip to Europe. It's got the iso-fulcrum chassis, a candy red painted body and a Pactra Hemi type motor, although I'm not sure it's original. No box unfortunately... but this one is so rare, it wasn't even mentioned in the magazines! 

 

Pactra Lola.jpg

 

Pactra Lola chassis.jpg


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#10 Bill from NH

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Posted 01 September 2018 - 06:02 PM

Don, what's the body? Is it one of Lancer's Lolas or is it a Pactra Lola?


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#11 don.siegel

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Posted 01 September 2018 - 06:06 PM

Not really sure Bill; it was in one of my boxes and matched the Pactra chassis. Could well be a Pactra, but don't have another one to compare it, or a Lancer in the same model. 

 

Don 



#12 Martin

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Posted 01 September 2018 - 07:29 PM

Guys, I believe it is a Revell, It is a match to their RTRs, and I do have clear bodies (with card) that were sold separately. But not sure if they were made in house.


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#13 TSR

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Posted 01 September 2018 - 08:12 PM

Don,

That's a Revell body on that Pactra chassis with added soldered body mounts.

#14 don.siegel

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Posted 02 September 2018 - 09:39 AM

Just a little joke among friends, guys. Thanks for identifying the body for me! 

 

Having seen PdL's photos of these rare cars, and having found a chassis like this (that somebody had actually converted into a regular drop arm chassis, I bent it back), I wanted my own version. But didn't have an appropriate Lotus 40 body, so thought a Lola would be nice... of course, now that I know the Mk IV is even rarer, I should have done that one! I have a MIB Lancer body, too... 

 

Cheers, 

 

Don 



#15 TSR

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Posted 02 September 2018 - 01:58 PM

Don,
 
As you likely grasped from reading the "Pactra/Competition" chapter while so kindly editing the new book for me, for which you will get the credit you deserve, when the Stormer vacuum-forming body company was shut down by Pactra Chemicals in mid-1967, Pactra and Competition, the two sister companies (alongside Testor, another token in this threesome) depended on Lancer for their supply of bodies for both their kits and RTR models. Hence, the last three advertised models (BRP-Ford, Lotus 40, and Ford MkIV) sported Lancer bodies, all painted in the same metallic red with silver backing.

Now and since I posted that thread a few days ago, I discovered that indeed, all three models were first issued with the same chassis components, the Pactra #308H chassis, with the (Igarashi) Hemi Super X88 Mark II motor (sounds like a name for a 1960s Plymouth!) and gray sponge tires over rather plain aluminum wheels. The 1/16" bits of "pin tubing" used as body mounts for the Lotus and the Ford were soldered on the chassis' main rails. This chassis and motor combination is described in the old magazine where all three cars are introduced.

Now, this Ford we found has a different chassis, the same as the also very rare Meyers Manx dune buggy, and has that also very rare "Eliminator" motor. And since it came from a regular customer who purchased it at his local raceway (in Iowa!) and there are only four pin holes on the body, it looks like it came that way, hence there must have been two versions, a final update. And just like some of the very last American 1/24 scale slot cars produced before the whole hobby collapsed, not many must have been made, and even less have survived.
 
I can think of a short list:
- International "Furious Fiat"
- Pactra Meyers Manx buggy and Ford Mk IV
- Unique Mako Shark
- BZ Chaparral 2E

... and a few others of less historical importance.
 
This is what makes the hobby fun for serious collectors and, of course, for our museum.
 
:)
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#16 Geekster

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Posted 15 September 2018 - 10:00 PM

Here is what I have. Let me know if it is the correct one. Thanks Ryan

 

 

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From The Great White North
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#17 TSR

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Posted 16 September 2018 - 11:08 AM

Hello Ryan,
this is why these forums are so valuable for collectors and historians. Yes, your model is a genuine Pactra Ford MkIV, one of the rarest if not the rarest production American slot cars from the "Classic Era". I have now enough evidence that it came first with the chassis you have, then with the one I show (very last issues).

If you wish to restore the body to the correct decals (they are identical to those found as a complete sheet inside the Competition Ford GT/Ferrari 330P2 RTR "square box" model, it is quire easy:
- First, strip the all the decals from the body by putting the body for 24 hours in lukewarm water. Then, using a wooden tongue depressor ground into a blade, scrape the decals under running water to avoid any scratches to the body.
- Wash the body with soap and water.  Rinse well, then dry with soft tissue and make sure that no lint or any other material is clinging to the surface.
- Next, install the decals as shown on the car seen in the opening post.

If you cannot find these decals, PM me. They are not rare and I know a guy who has a stack of them, I can soft-talk him out of a sheet.

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