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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

post-187-0-37547000-1577648637.jpg

post-187-0-27173100-1577648516.jpg

 

post-187-0-71907400-1577648536.jpg

post-187-0-21929700-1577648598.jpg

 

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

post-187-0-55062600-1577648860.jpg

post-187-0-52876400-1577648877.jpg

 

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.... 

 

post-187-0-43183000-1577649119.jpg

post-187-0-15630000-1577649137.jpg

post-187-0-53733000-1577649152.jpg

post-187-0-28463800-1577649170.jpg

 

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

post-187-0-32738500-1577649422.jpg

 

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

post-187-0-58613300-1577649547.jpg

post-187-0-36474500-1577649561.jpg

 

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

post-187-0-92014700-1577649802.jpg

post-187-0-41649800-1577649821.jpg

 

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

post-187-0-67668300-1577649956.jpg

 

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.


Phil Smith ® ©


#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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#14 sledge57

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Posted 20 February 2020 - 01:15 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.

 

attachicon.gifIMG_0585.JPG

 

attachicon.gifIMG_0584.JPG

 

 

Interesting, I just picked up one of those blue aluminum chassis, very nice but with HUGE wheels on it (tall not wide)

 

I think I might mount the Charger on it for now, not sure...

 

 

L7b2fdu.jpg

 

gfGn2or.jpg

 

uIncC4f.jpg


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#15 strummer

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Posted 07 March 2020 - 06:20 PM

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

to be continued... 

 

 

 

While looking through the "new" book I just got:

 

3:7 book.jpg

 

...on page 11 is this add:

 

K&B.jpg

 

Please note how many different manufacturer's motors are listed. Very cool.

 

One of the things the scale model railroad industry did early on was to set up a set of standards, so all makers' stuff would be compatible with others'. A good, far-thinking strategy that paid off. 

 

This approach kind of reminds me of that...  :good:

 

Mark in Oregon


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#16 Martin

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Posted 07 March 2020 - 11:32 PM

Basically any 36D motor 

The adjustable wheelbase is a good idea.

Note, this a variation on the RTR cars like the 2D and Batmobile.

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#17 strummer

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Posted 07 March 2020 - 11:41 PM

Very nice Martin

 

The chassis that came with the Strombecker Porsche I've been working on is also adjustable, I believe...tell me if I'm wrong.

 

3:7 chassis.jpg

 

Thanks!

 

Mark in Oregon

 

 


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#18 Martin

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Posted 07 March 2020 - 11:52 PM

You are correct Mark.

There are a lot of chassis that are adjustable, Dynamic (cast). Revel, Monogram and your Strombecker to name a few.

I just like the sliding post design locked in with set screws. Clever design.


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#19 don.siegel

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Posted 08 March 2020 - 04:16 AM

Hmm, we're talking about two kinds of adjustables here guys. 

 

The Strombecker is adjustable for wheelbase, like a lot of the production chassis mentioned above. 

 

The Kangaroo has a fixed wheelbase, but adjustable gear ratio - important for a sidewinder and not always offered: take the first series of Cox sidewinder chassis and many others. 

 

As Martin points out, although the Kangaroo takes many different manufacturers' motors, they're all basically the same type! A lot of manufacturers made the same claim... In the early days, a few manufacturers did come out with "universal" chassis, where theoretically you could mount inline or sidewinder and some really different motor types. But turns out that wasn't really needed, and it was probably not the way to high performance either. 

 

Don 


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#20 Dave Crevie

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Posted 08 March 2020 - 09:23 AM

Looks to me like the Kangaroo has an adjustable wheelbase, as Martin points out. I never had one of these chassis, K&B had a bad reputation after

their "Challenger" series, and most of us steered away from K&B chassis. Did a lot of their motors, though.



#21 don.siegel

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Posted 08 March 2020 - 09:44 AM

Right you are Dave, my apologies to Martin. 

 

Just took a closer look at a new one and of course the two chassis parts slide along an aluminum rod, so yes it's ajustable. I should have known that too because I spent a couple hours not that long ago trying to "unfreeze" an old Kangaroo chassis, where the setscrews holding the two chassis parts were totally frozen... never did manage that, despite chemical and physical means, so wound up using another one I had to build up my Ford MkII... 

 

Don 

 

KB%20Ford%20MKII-front_zpsrfllnewe.jpg

 

KB%20Ford%20MKII-chassis_zpsie7wpqxn.jpg

 

KB%20hot%20shot%20chassis-top_zpswflfhag

 

They also used a very particular guide shoe on this car: 

 

KampB%20hot%20shot%20guide%20top_zpsp1ig

 

KampB%20hot%20shot%20guide%20bottom_zpsn

 

Don 


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#22 Martin

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Posted 08 March 2020 - 10:15 AM

Which is a rare guide itself I had to repair this one as it had a broken post. FYI Notice the copper clips can be taken from a junk super challenger motor.  

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#23 strummer

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Posted 08 March 2020 - 10:42 AM

Don

 

Nice GT.   :good:

 

I'm a little confused (so what else is new?) by a few things:

 

First off, when you say the K&B had an "adjustable gear ratio": isn't that determined not by the chassis itself but by what gears are attached to: 1. the motor and 2. the axle? In that regard, don't almost all cars have "adjustable gear ratios"?   :)

 

Martin/Don:

 

Secondly, in my ignorance  I don't see where that pick-up shoe is all that "different". What did you use Martin to repair that guide?  Seems that it would be difficult to find an adhesive that would be strong enough to hold up...

 

Please explain.   

 

Mark in Oregon

 

 


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#24 Martin

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Posted 08 March 2020 - 11:51 AM

The part you see next to the guide is my first attempt at a tight fit. Even has a bit of an under cut. Like a dove tail only round.

Once I was happy with the press fit I roughed up the mating surfaces and used CA cement.

Strong enough? that will never be tested. I do not intend to drive it into the wall.


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#25 don.siegel

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Posted 08 March 2020 - 12:01 PM

The K&B was the only one of its type, with that "overhead" clip holding the braid; earlier guides mostly had little screws holding the braid and lead wire - not the best system! There were a number of other arrangements too, but I think K&B was the only one of its type. After that, the Cox easy change type came in, and that led to the current "jet flag" type guide... 

 

The early Cox sidewinder chassis is non-adjustable, meaning you can't change the distance between pinion and spur gear, which means you're stuck with the original gear ratio, unless you change the number of teeth on both pinion and spur... The next Cox sidewinder chassis introduced a motor cradle kind of like K&B's, so you could slide the motor back and forth and more easily use different gear ratios. 

 

Don 

 

PS: I found a good method for replacing the post in an old Tom Malone article in Car Model, but only for 1/8" posts: clear off all old post material, drill a slightly undersized 1/8" hole and pound in a 1/8" axle - Tom used a Russkit green teflon coated one - then cut off to length


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