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K&B chassis evolution


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#1 don.siegel

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Posted 05 January 2020 - 10:47 AM

Hi, 

Am trying out a cut and paste from a thread in another forum, so bear with me if it doesn't work right away... 

 

Quickcars' recent thread on K&B slot cars

https://www.slotforu...howtopic=192959

finally got me off my butt to post a thread I've been thinking about for awhile. 

 

Over the space of 3 years or less, K&B released cars using something like 8 different chassis! That always seemed rather odd to me, especially the 3 cars with chassis used on no other models - not really very cost-effective. 

 

Anyway, here's a not so quick look at the chassis and cars issued by K&B from roughly mid-1964 to mid-1967. I've included rough release dates, just based on a quick look at their ads, without double checking actual dates. 

 

Starting with the Dragmaster, in mid-1964, to compete with Russkit's contemporary dragster - both just rolling chassis, without motor or gears, but K&B's had an aluminum sheet body... 

 

post-187-0-05908900-1577647604.jpg

post-187-0-79534900-1577647620.jpg

post-187-0-30066200-1577647637.jpg

 

About the same time, they also came out with a large line of spare parts, including a selection of mostly brass chassis, for both dragsters and road racing cars. The blue chassis actually came out about a year later, as explained below... 

 

post-187-0-48089700-1577647729.jpg

 

Then came their first traditional and complete slot car kits, with the all-American Challenger motor (kind of a T-jet turned on its side, with the disk commutator...) and a well-designed aluminum channel chassis. These were not that fast, but were easy to put together and ran smoothly, so they sold a lot of them! Issued in early 1965. My favorite... 

 

post-187-0-49454200-1577647914.jpg

post-187-0-57110000-1577647933.jpg

post-187-0-21986900-1577647952.jpg

post-187-0-31612700-1577647973.jpg

 

That blue aluminum chassis in the above picture was designed for these bodies, by the way, allowing folks to use the K&B Bobcat 36D if they wanted a bit more speed... 

 

In early 1966, one out of left field: the K&B Sportsman, with a unique aluminum chassis and the Bobcat motor. Plus big wide sponge slicks at the rear, and of course a vac-formed body to get with the trends! 

 

post-187-0-74734700-1577648172.jpg

post-187-0-04563500-1577648198.jpg

post-187-0-27252200-1577648218.jpg

 

To be continued... 

Don 


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#2 don.siegel

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Posted 05 January 2020 - 10:48 AM

At about the same time, early 1966, they released two cars with hard plastic bodies and odd clamshell chassis: a Lotus 30 and a Cooper F1. Not bad looking cars, but why choose a clamshell design for the very competitive 1/24 market? Most of the Lotus 30s came in this orange, but there was also a green version. I think all the Coopers were white. The Lotus was powered by a Bobcat, and the Cooper by a Wildcat 16D version (about the only one with a floating bearing and endbell drive...). I really like the boxes... 

 

post-187-0-93155600-1577648478.jpg

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post-187-0-27173100-1577648516.jpg

 

post-187-0-71907400-1577648536.jpg

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By spring of that year, K&B admitted that the Challenger was behind the times and came out with a new line of cars with the Super Challenger, using a regular barrel commutator and a hotter wind (not sure about the magnets). The chassis was basically the same, but they added Posi-lok type wheels - they also upgraded the earlier models with the motor and wheels, but a lot of them were still sold with threaded wheels, despite the claim on the box of Posi-lok wheels... 

 

post-187-0-82097300-1577648831.jpg

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In the middle of the year, in the midst of Bat-mania because of the cult TV series, K&B released their own Batmobile... I don't have one of those (highly desireable in the collectible market...), but here's the new chassis they developed for it: the amusingly named Kangaroo, with a "pouch" to hold different types of motors: 36D, 26D or their own "revolutionary" Hellcat! 

 

post-187-0-45747400-1577649017.jpg

 

Towards the end of the year they began running a "teaser" campaign about the "revolutionary" new "Blue Monster"... which turned out to be a McLaren-Elva painted in blue metallic! With another unique chassis and the Hellcat motor... nice looking and running car, but already obsolete by the time it came out.... 

 

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to be continued... 


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#3 don.siegel

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Posted 05 January 2020 - 10:49 AM

Early 67, the third and last unique chassis, and a transparent effort to get rid of the obsolete Super Challenger - but they tooled up a brand-new chassis to do it! Nice looking car, but again, totally obsolete. Not a lot around either, it must not have been a good seller, but by early 67, most of these traditional type slot cars were not selling well at all, as everybody grabbed a 26D, a bunch of brass rod, and started scratching... The McLaren sponsored by big Chicago Chevvy dealer, Nickey's Chevrolet (Nickey with the backwards K). 

 

post-187-0-94361400-1577649406.jpg

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A few months later, K&B finally stuck their own 26D, the Jaguar, in a Kangaroo chassis and offered a Chaparral 2D with a metallic red body - probably a good runner, but I still haven't tried mine... and the body is rather torn up, like a lot of these cars. Not super-rare, but hard to find in good condition. Body mounting with 4 self-tapping screws. 

 

post-187-0-19532100-1577649536.jpg

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And to close out the K&B saga, as far as I know, their very nice Ford GT MKII, released that summer I believe. This time, it used the inline version of the Kangaroo, called the "Hot Shot", with one of their mechanical brakes, and again the Jaguar. Odd body mounting method, with a pin tube and two straight pins in the front, and a screw through the back of the body, into a nut on a screwed on body mount...; Not a lot of these around, and often with body issues, once again. I was going to run mine, but now that I know how rare it is, I have second thoughts... 

 

post-187-0-22908800-1577649779.jpg

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Just as a footnote, of course K&B also made 1/32 cars, mostly in conjunction with parent company Aurora, but they just used a smaller version of the Challenger chassis and a Challenger motor (was it different from the 1/24 model in fact?), so nothing really different. Of course, the motor is kind of tall, so not really appropriate for sports cars, but on GT model it's ok, like this early Ford GT40... 

 

post-187-0-34880900-1577649940.jpg

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Seems to have worked, thanks to Greg for putting me on the right path! Hope you enjoyed this voyage through K&B land. 

 

Happy holidays all! 

Don 

 

 


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#4 strummer

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Posted 05 January 2020 - 10:59 AM

Very interesting, thanks for posting all this stuff.   :)

 

Since my first slot cars (in 1966) were 1/32 Auroras, this thread is of particular interest... 

 

Mark in Oregon


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#5 Martin

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Posted 05 January 2020 - 11:08 AM

Nicely done Don.

The K&B kitchen were making lots of spaghetti to see what would stick.

Your correct to point out that is a lot of tooling in a short amount of time. Then add what the other big companies were producing, it gives an idea of the incredible demand at that time period.

Thanks for putting this together.

 

Added one of my favorites that I finally got in my collection. The 2D

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#6 don.siegel

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Posted 05 January 2020 - 11:10 AM

You're very welcome Mark - and if you have any of your 1/32s left, feel free to post. 

 

As far as I know, the chassis were all the same and the main difference was between the K&B and Aurora versions of the 1/32 cars, with threaded wheels on the former, and press-on wheels on the latter. I assume the motors were the same, but were the Aurora models detuned? I'l have to find the release date for the 1/32 models as well - I assume 65 or 66... 

 

Help, we need a K&B 1/32 expert! 

 

Don 



#7 Dallas Racer

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Posted 05 January 2020 - 01:16 PM

Good thread. Don!

 

I didn't know that there different versions of the Challenger motor. I didn't even know it had a name. I have a few somewhere. I'll have to check them out.

 

I have two K&B rail kits with bodies. Mine only have the scoop formed. Otherwise they're completely flat and require the builder to form it to the chassis. I think this explains why you rarely see them with the body. Forming it is a difficult task for the typical builder.


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#8 Martin

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Posted 05 January 2020 - 08:23 PM

Phil,

the Super Challenger motor is / was very competitive in our Vintage Box Stock class.  This is racing against other hard body cars like Cox, Monogram, etc.

The standard Challenger motor is a dog by comparison.


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#9 Dave Crevie

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Posted 06 January 2020 - 10:02 AM

Here's that blue anodized chassis under a styrene model Willys body, with a Bobcat motor. They were pretty

popular with the drag racers at my local track. I never had a Dragmaster, but a lot of guys did use them with

Ram 857 motors.

 

IMG_0585.JPG  

 

IMG_0584.JPG

 

 


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#10 don.siegel

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Posted 06 January 2020 - 10:08 AM

Great color coordination Dave! Our local hobby shop originally had a dragstrip, along with a 4 lane Strombecker setup and an HO track, but then they moved next door and installed an 8-lane formica high-banked track (never knew who made it), so I never got into dragging. 

 

My dragmaster came with a Kemtron X503... it came from Roger W. Greenslade, who wrote his book on vintage slots back in 1986, when parts weren't that available, especially in England, and there was a lot of stuff we didn't know yet! 

 

Don 



#11 Dave Crevie

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Posted 06 January 2020 - 12:55 PM

Not surprised yours has a Kemtron/KTM motor, probably easier to get over there. But those motors just could not compete with a built

Pittman DC-85 or Ram 850/857. It wasn't long before guys started eliminating the motor endframes and contouring the magnet lams,

and everything else was left in the dust. 

 

Most of the early tracks I raced on were formica laminates on chipboard, mostly from kitchen countertop material. Not too many of those

were banked.  



#12 Dallas Racer

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Posted 06 January 2020 - 11:36 PM

Phil,

the Super Challenger motor is / was very competitive in our Vintage Box Stock class.  This is racing against other hard body cars like Cox, Monogram, etc.

The standard Challenger motor is a dog by comparison.

 

Martin, I just found them. I have two, one complete car and one missing the body. I probably have a few more motors and bare chassis somewhere. The one with a trashed Chaparral body has a Super Challenger. I'll have to take it to the track and give it a spin when./if I go.

 

Funny that I have both and never noticed the differences between the two. Heck, I never even noticed that the original has a flat comm.


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#13 strummer

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Posted 07 January 2020 - 02:11 PM

You're very welcome Mark - and if you have any of your 1/32s left, feel free to post. 

 

As far as I know, the chassis were all the same and the main difference was between the K&B and Aurora versions of the 1/32 cars, with threaded wheels on the former, and press-on wheels on the latter. I assume the motors were the same, but were the Aurora models detuned? I'l have to find the release date for the 1/32 models as well - I assume 65 or 66... 

 

Help, we need a K&B 1/32 expert! 

 

Don 

 

Thanks Don

 

That original stuff is long gone; I have managed to pick up a few items in the last year...

 

First is the Mustang (a "replacement" for the same model I had back in 1966):

 

unnamed-19.jpg

 

unnamed-20.jpg

 

I just got this chassis last week from a fellow Forum member (now to find a yellow GTO body for it!):

 

unnamed-17.jpg

 

unnamed-18.jpg

 

Both chassis are the same (stamped with the words "Aurora  Plastics Corp." and the oval logo) except that the Mustang's wheels have the "kidney bean" feature; the other has solid wheels. Dunno if that means anything... They are both very smooth and quiet runners, and are plenty fast enough for me.   :)

 

Mark in Oregon


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