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Ray Gardner's 1969 Team Champion NASCAR squasher


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#1 TSR

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Posted 11 September 2018 - 07:42 PM

In 1965, Ray Gardner was one of the first employees of the newly created "Champion of Chamblee (GA)" company. Anne Williams, one of company founder's Jim Williams' children, told me so. The company was set inside the Williams machine shop building in Chamblee. Ray became the advertising manager and produced numerous artworks used in the company's propaganda.

But Ray was also a fierce racer, a Team Champion member who self-named himself "Old n' Slow," in a modest sort of irony. Not quite the case if one looks at his racing record between 1967 and 1970. For one, Ray was one of the stars of the "Race that Shook the World." when the first 1/24 anglewinder cars instantly obsoleted piles of brand-new-just-released inline racing chassis produced by Champion, Pactra, Lancer, Dynamic, BuzCo, and you can add a few more.

The car below is one of Ray's own creations and was his NASCAR ride in early 1969. I just finished restoring it, with a Dynamic Ford Torino body artistically painted by Joe "Noose" Neumeister in the style of the late and regretted Dave Bloom.

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The chassis came to me with its motor, guide, lead wires, and a scarce 72-pitch British gear set manufactured by Taylormade (thanks, gentlemen, for the correction). Champion briefly distributed those fine gears in the USA, so it makes sense that Ray would have a set on his car.

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Rebuilding meant a mere clean-up as the car was in excellent condition with minor corrosion, but the motor was completely stripped, the endbell cleaned up, and the hardware polished "as new" as its hardware was corroded. The Champion lead wires were also renewed because we are lucky to have plenty of NOS material in stock.

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The armature is a single 25 on Champion blanks, with Champion pigtail shunted brushes and Champion springs, and their Cycolac endbell. Arco DZ magnets and assorted two-piece shim are fitted inside the "Group 7" can.

Those two little screws retaining the endbell can make any sane man a bit jagged. Better be patient and have an 0-80 tap handy anyway...

The front and rear tires are also NOS Champion stuff, and the 1/8" axles were polished with Scotchbrite on my EMCO lathe.

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The body, created by Jack Garcia, is about as squashed as it gets and was outlawed shortly after it became the choice of most go-fast pros, and I believe for good reasons. One can chop and channel a racing body, but this is truly outside the envelope. Of course, it looks as mean as can be, and while today, an illegal proposition, this car will look great as a display piece.


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#2 Bill from NH

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Posted 11 September 2018 - 09:15 PM

This body doesn't look like a Dodge Charger to me. I looks more like a '68 or '69 Ford Torino. I had a 1:1 '68 Torino with this roof style.


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#3 Dominator

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Posted 11 September 2018 - 09:39 PM

Another beautiful find!

A motor is only as fast as the chassis it's in.
 
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#4 Chris Stemman

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Posted 12 September 2018 - 08:53 AM

Monsieur Phillipe, the gears on this beast were made for Howard Taylor and retailed under the Taylormade brand here in the UK. I think others have also confirmed this on the SF thread.

 

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#5 Martin

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Posted 12 September 2018 - 10:02 AM

"Taylormade brand here in the UK"  That's what I remember too, Chris; popular for while there.

 

I actually have a set on my stock car I raced in England. I used a Corvair body; it was a bit more nibble the longer American cars, but they were exciting to watch them fishtail through the banking.

 

Beautiful restoration, Phillipe. You have been a busy boy.


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#6 TSR

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Posted 12 September 2018 - 10:22 AM

Gentlemen, thanks for the corrections on both count. And yes, it is a Torino, not a Charger. :)


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#7 Dave Crevie

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Posted 12 September 2018 - 11:19 AM

It's interesting that it is still endbell drive in 1969. This was a period in slot racing I missed out on. I was doing big car drag racing then. Some of the motors I rewound in 1966 I reversed the rotation so that they could be mounted by the can end using very short panhead sheet metal screws. I, along with some of my slot racing friends, had too much trouble with stripped out screw holes in the plastic endbells.

 

Super restoration. I can't tell you how much I enjoy seeing the old cars brought back to life.



#8 brnursebmt

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Posted 12 September 2018 - 11:46 AM

The first picture shows the car with an added rear spoiler. Did the rules allow this in 69? It sure looks cool and I'm sure it made quite a difference!


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#9 TSR

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Posted 12 September 2018 - 11:55 AM

Each region and each raceway had its own rules, even after the NCC rules were published. This car was built before the NCC rules came out, so you may assume that yes, it was legal where Ray ran the car.



#10 tonyp

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Posted 12 September 2018 - 12:08 PM

I believe the Car Model rules allowed a 1/2 inch spoiler.


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#11 brnursebmt

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Posted 12 September 2018 - 12:40 PM

We ran stockers at the track I grew up at in the mid-'70s with the same type body and unbalanced Gp. 15 motors. A handful to say the least!  A spoiler would have been nice then. 

 

The tires are so much better now I don't think there is a need for a spoiler in IRRA® stock cars.


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#12 zipper

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Posted 12 September 2018 - 12:44 PM

Is this corpse similar? Don't know if it's a factory-painted Lancer.

 

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#13 brnursebmt

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Posted 12 September 2018 - 12:48 PM

Even more air control!!


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#14 Eddie Fleming

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Posted 12 September 2018 - 01:24 PM

Anything that preserves Ray Gardner's contribution to the slot car hobby is great by me, and this is a beauty.

 

I grew up south of Atlanta and Ray was a great influence on me. In the late '60s Ray sat me down and said, "Boy, this is how you solder and how you build a chassis." One of and probably the best person I ever met in the slot car world.

 

Thank you, Ray.


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#15 TSR

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Posted 12 September 2018 - 08:34 PM

Don't know if it's a factory-painted Lancer.

 
Lancer factory-painted bodies are always a single color, solid or metallic, with silver and black painted details such as intake or exhaust stacks or radiators.

Anything with stripes is never a factory-painted body by any company.

Air control devices on that battle-weary survivor are period typical. Why don't you restore it? If you show the bottom of it we can likely tell you exactly when it was built, but the Limpach stickers put it around 1972-73.



#16 Jay Guard

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Posted 12 September 2018 - 10:12 PM

Sorry to disagree with you, Doc, and I understand that anything can be restored, but I've got to agree with Pekka on this one, it's a corpse!  :D


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#17 Martin

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Posted 12 September 2018 - 10:18 PM

I've fixed worse, not 100% but good enough to bring back some of its former glory.

 

If it has meaning to you, I would give it a go.


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#18 TSR

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Posted 13 September 2018 - 03:36 PM

Jay,

It all depends on its worth as a historical slot car. If driven by Joe Schmuck to 23rd place in the Wednesday night weekly race at Podunk Raceway, I'd say, forget it.

If driven by Jay Guard at the Nats and qualified on pole, then there is a case... :D
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#19 zipper

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Posted 13 September 2018 - 03:56 PM

Lancer factory-painted bodies are always a single color, solid or metallic, with silver and black painted details such as intake or exhaust stacks or radiators.
Anything with stripes is never a factory-painted body by any company.
Air control devices on that battle-weary survivor are period typical. Why don't you restore it? If you show the bottom of it we can likely tell you exactly when it was built, but the Limpach stickers put it around 1972-73.

 
So it must be a paint job by my pal Jaakko Mannio, probably for the hobby shop where we bought our stuff. The chassis is pretty well preserved from 1972 - the sole year we ran a stock car Finnish championship. It was agitated by Jukka and I built two chassis, mine and Jukka's. I won... The chassis is quite primitive and old fashioned but did what wanted. With Pooch 25. 46 years old dirt...
 
StRunko640.jpg
 
A new body dearly needed... The old body is mostly destroyed due to using Lexan glue.
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Pekka Sippola

#20 TSR

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Posted 13 September 2018 - 11:29 PM

You should restore it and get a replica body on it. It is a winner, and should be celebrated as such.


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