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#1 Carter

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Posted 06 July 2019 - 01:02 PM

Can someone tell me the definition of a Thingie? Thanks for helping a Rookie


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#2 Rotorranch

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Posted 06 July 2019 - 02:42 PM

Can someone tell me the definition of a Thingie? Thanks for helping a Rookie


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"Thingie" 

 

A slot car body not based on any real automobile. A figment of the designer's imagination.

 

Rotor


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#3 Carter

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Posted 06 July 2019 - 02:59 PM

That’s what I was thinking but wasn’t sure. I like them. I am going to show a couple I have. Thanks


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#4 Rotorranch

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Posted 06 July 2019 - 03:15 PM

A few examples...

 

Rotor

 

IMG_20190706_161030.jpg

 

IMG_20190706_160943.jpg

 

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IMG_20190706_160854.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

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#5 don.siegel

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Posted 06 July 2019 - 03:15 PM

That is in effect the basic definition Rotor. 

 

With all due modesty, here's my contribution, really more of an historical explanation, from the introduction to Edo Bertoglio's photo exhibition on Thingies in Milan a number of years ago. 

 

Don 

 

What is a Thingie?

 

A Thingie is an abomination, a betrayal of everything sacred in model car racing. At least that’s how it started out in the early days of the hobby.

 

Model racing cars were supposed to duplicate real cars, often to within 1/16 inch of the exact scale dimensions. When they didn’t, the cry went out from the defenders of the faith: “What’s that god-awful thingy?” This started on some of the early “magwinder” style dragsters, which made no pretense of resembling a real car, and was soon applied to certain road racers as well: typically a sports car like a Maserati Birdcage with huge slicks sticking out of chopped wheel wells and a purple paint job,

 

Hence, Thingies.

 

As early as 1964-65, the slot car manufacturers began to produce their own Thingies, although they didn’t use that name. They were called dream cars, or outlaws, or bandits. They were often based on real show cars of the time, to give a veneer of respectability – from the 1950s Firebird, to the later Manta Ray and Astronaut. Some of them actually looked like show cars, and others just borrowed the name.

 

The aim was two-fold. First, they were cool, and immediately appealed to teenage boys, the core of the mass slot racing market in the boom years of 1965-66. Only a few youngsters may have been stirred by a carefully detailed scale Birdcage or Lola T-70. But just about any 13-year-old boy could look at a Classic Astro V and say, “Hey, that’s cool”.

 

Second, performance. A low, wide slot car will handle better than a high, narrow car, all things being equal. And of course the Thingie could be made as wide and low as the designer wanted, without worrying about scale dimensions: in the early days they had huge slicks for higher top speed, but rear tires quickly evolved towards the low, wide “steamroller” type for greatly improved handling.

 

Like other outlaw movements, the Thingie soon became its own rallying cry, defended by adults and not just kids. They were also adopted by the pure performance crowd, who claimed that slot racing was an entity in and of itself, and not just a copy of real race cars – since in any case there was no gas engine and no driver inside the car!

 

For many youngsters, a commercially made Thingie, almost always in “ready to run” (RTR) form, was the easiest entry into slot racing – instant gratification, for the eyes and for the thumb. Some of these designs were just tossed-off, others were more carefully styled, but almost all used cheap and easy to produce clear vacuum-formed bodies, instead of the more expensive injection molded bodies used in plastic kits and scale slot cars.

 

Companies like Classic and GarVic quickly found their niche and made almost nothing but Thingies. But even the established model companies like Monogram and Cox, seeing the impressive sales figures, soon entered the field. In 1966, Cox introduced the legendary “La Cucaracha”, with a well engineered “iso-fulcrum” chassis (an invented word, but one that entered the vocabulary of slot racing) and a unique bright orange polypropylene (“Tupperware”) body. For a short period, this car would revolutionize slot racing, and was one of the all-time best-sellers, just behind the Classic Manta Ray.* The “Cuc” concept was copied by companies worldwide, from Switzerland to Brazil. 

 

Meanwhile some performance-oriented adults were also exploring ultimate slot machines. In Detroit, automobile designer Larry Shinoda was pulling his own Thingie bodies with outlandish names, like XXX. They were designed for pure performance, low and with no limits on width, but they also had a real style, as could be expected from the designer of the XXX. Out West, near San Francisco, John Chotia was doing the same thing, with bodies that were even more stark and aerodynamic – prefiguring the “wing” bodies that would later become the standard in high-end commercial slot racing (cars in the unlimited class cover a 155 foot, six-turn track in 1.4 seconds!).

 

But at the same time this also sounded the death knell of the Thingie. By 1968 not only had real racing cars and their tires become much lower and wider, but semi-scale “handling” bodies had become the norm in competitive slot racing, negating the traditional advantages of the Thingie. Plus, the fad was over, commercial tracks were disappearing by the hundreds, and there was no longer a mass market for slot cars. But the Thingie was a mass market slot car par excellence.

 

The Thingie went into limbo.

 

A collectors’ market was gradually emerging, however, and enthusiasts began to look more closely at the history of the hobby-sport. Thingies were not only ill-considered, they were often blamed for the demise of commercial slot racing.

 

But as more people began to delve into their slot racing past, it turned out that a large number of today’s 50- and 60-somethings still had a soft spot, or even a passion for their old Thingies. Even some of the young racers and collectors were just as inspired by these symbols of mid-60s America, perhaps the last gasp of the spaceship design trend of the 50s – and a symbol of rebellion against the “establishment” of exact-scale hobbyists.

 

It was a uniquely American phenomenon, although with large echoes in several European countries, especially Italy – and Italy was the only country to produce a wide selection of their own striking home-grown Thingies, now highly prized.

 

Curiously enough, while America saw heated battles between “Scalers” and “Thingies” (often outlawed), many racers in Europe, especially Italy and Switzerland, raced their Thingies with no second thoughts – after all, they were racing “bolides”, not miniature cars.

 

One of those who rediscovered his inner Thingie is Edo Bertoglio, fervent racer from XXX, Switzerland in 1966 and 1967, unconditional Cuc fan, photographer, filmmaker, artiste and, above all, the Thingie Kingie.

 

* according to Philippe de Lespinay, author of “Vintage Slot Cars”.


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#6 Carter

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Posted 06 July 2019 - 03:43 PM

Don thank you very much that is some great info on the Thingies. Is the book Vintage Slot Cars a good reference book or is there better? I would like to pick one up but they are kinda pricey.


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#7 Rotorranch

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Posted 06 July 2019 - 03:47 PM

I'll buy at least 2 copies. I also bought the first book. Lot's of good information.

 

Rotor


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#8 MattD

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Posted 06 July 2019 - 05:14 PM

Some  guys look down on "thingies" and think they contributed to the end of the "craze" era of slot car hobby.    Other guys love them.     I think they were a non-factor..Most of us end up  liking all slot cars. 

 

A new thingie thanks to Gene'sWorld

  my shinoda.jpg

  

 

 


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#9 Martin

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Posted 06 July 2019 - 06:51 PM

Not forgetting the 2 most popular slot cars of the day were thingy's. The Cox Cucaracha and the Classic Manta Ray


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#10 airhead

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Posted 06 July 2019 - 06:54 PM

Thingies Will live on for ever, 

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#11 Martin

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Posted 06 July 2019 - 08:42 PM

And to add, this contribution from Edo (you reminded me Don) I still love watching this.

Carter, this will visually explain what a Thingy is http://slotblog.net/...been-six-years/


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#12 Carter

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Posted 06 July 2019 - 11:15 PM

Martin that was a awesome video thank you for sharing.


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#13 Carter

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Posted 06 July 2019 - 11:26 PM

Here are my Vendetta Thingies. From what I have learned both cars are stock and original. But I could be wrong. IMG_1632.jpg IMG_1633.jpg IMG_1634.jpg IMG_1635.jpg


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#14 Martin

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Posted 07 July 2019 - 12:10 AM

They look stock to me.

knock offs on the red car would add a finishing touch.

Nice you have the Vendetta label on the nose and both the inline and the sidewinder configuration.

The blue car has the correct guide.But there could be a variation on the red car?I am thinking they are both correct.

IMO the number 5 and the black and white stripe de-tracks from a really clean car. No offense if you added them I hope?

 

What other cars do you have Carter?


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#15 Carter

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Posted 07 July 2019 - 01:56 PM

The red car already had the stripes and 5 when I got it. I do agree with you.
I have been selling cars on eBay recently. I actually have a couple cars on auction now. These are cars I have sold in the past month. IMG_1398.jpg IMG_1499.jpg
This car I still own IMG_1636.jpg IMG_1637.jpg


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#16 Martin

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Posted 07 July 2019 - 02:50 PM

I really love the #48.

Please let me know if you would sell it to me?

I did send a p.m. also.


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