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Monday musings...


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#1 strummer

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Posted 10 February 2020 - 10:44 AM

I'm posting this here, but I guess it could apply to any scale.

 

In the current thread I started about the Cox Chaparral, it was recently pointed out to me that there is an eBay listing for the same model, this one done by Strombecker.

 

The little I know about this hobby tells me that Strombecker was one of the very early manufacturers of slot cars: I have a couple of 1/32 Strommies, and I find the die casting work on the bodies to be very nice. 

 

I also have learned (from the book "Vintage Slot Cars") :good:  that Cox was a very highly respected maker in the field, so it's probably safe to say that their die work was very well done, too. Certainly the lone example I have bears this out.

 

I guess Strombecker was first and foremost, a "toy maker"; Cox more of a "model maker".  So I wonder how the two manufacturer's approach to this iconic model would "match up" in a side-by-side comparison?

 

 Thoughts and photos, anyone?

 

Some players in the field, such as Revell and Aurora had been making nice models for quite a while prior the getting into the slot car game, so they probably already had their die casting down to a fine art.

 

Mark in Oregon


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#2 Martin

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Posted 10 February 2020 - 11:34 AM

The Cox cars are the best scale representations IMO. Monogram  made a really nice Chaparral 2 as does AMT these are a little on the small side but nicely done.

The Stombecker and the Marx for that matter are a little more toy like. But with some effort can be made to look scale. 

I am talking 1/24 hard body here and who else makes a Chaparral 2? Let me think. K&B


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#3 Dave Crevie

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Posted 10 February 2020 - 12:53 PM

Generally, the Strombecker 1/24th bodies are pretty good. They tend to be a little thicker in wall thickness, hense a bit heavier. But I have adapted a

couple Strom bodies to Cox and other chassis, simply because they are easier to get, as well as much cheaper. I believe that Strombecker was geared

more to the kids, being more robust than Cox for the most part. The Cox magnesium chassis is brittle and has some weak spots, while the stamped

Strombecker chassis can be easily straightened if they get bent. The bottom line, of course, is that the Cox cars were faster out-of-the-box. So were

the choice of serious racers.

 

By the way, in the industry, plastic parts cast in permanent steel tooling are referred to injection molded. Die casting refers to metal parts cast in permanent

steel tooling. Confusing, I know.     


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#4 TSR

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Posted 10 February 2020 - 01:22 PM

Mark,
Strombecker was the second known slot car manufacturer of 1/24 with adapted static kits, then with dedicated 1/32 scale slot cars in the United States. That was in 1960. By 1964, there were plenty of models available, all in 1/32 scale.
Cox got involved with parts (chassis and wheels) in 1964.
Strombecker came back to the 1/24 scale with a Lotus Indy car by 1964 end, and Cox issued their first 1/24 scale kits in 1965.

Strombecker was an old toy company making wooden toys before and after WW2, then embraced the slot car racing hobby as sales of their standard toy kit line was tanking against the Revell and Monogram plastic kits competition. While their slot cars were immediately successful, the company was bankrupt and had to sell to the oldest American toy company, Dowst, based in Chicago. Dowst, the long-time manufacturer of the Tootsietoy die-cast models of cars, planes and doll accessories, adopted the Strombecker name and for 6 years, manufactured and marketed slot cars and accessories, becoming the world's largest slot car manufacturer (possibly even larger in generated $$$ than Aurora and their HO models, something that is still debatable to this day).

The Strombecker Chaparral 2 are patterned after the 1964 model, with 'flat sides' and "wobbly" magnesium wheels. As Chaparral widened their cars in early 1965 to fir the far wider Firestone tires, using new "wire" 2-piece magnesium wheels, Strombecker, alsmost ready to release their new models, precipitously retooled the wheel inserts to "update" their model, which effectively became inaccurate, while Cox used the correct "Coke bottle" body shape and the correct wheel pattern.
 


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#5 strummer

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Posted 10 February 2020 - 06:57 PM

Yes, it's "injection molding"...I totally spaced that out!

 

It seems that you slot car guys are often as interested in the history of the model itself, as much as the prototype the model was based on: something I find very interesting.

 

I wonder if someone who has examples from different makers of the same car would be willing to post some side-by-side shots...please?  :)

 

Mark in Oregon


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#6 NHBandit

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Posted 10 February 2020 - 07:45 PM

TSR can you provide any logical reason the Marx Chaparrals marketed by Sears came with light Blue bodies rather than White ? I have one and that little detail has always bugged me.


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#7 Ramcatlarry

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Posted 10 February 2020 - 07:52 PM

TSR can you provide any logical reason the Marx Chaparrals marketed by Sears came with light Blue bodies rather than White ? I have one and that little details has always bugged me.

At least it was 'A' shade of white,  The Russkit green Ferraris and red English cars frustrated me, but then I HAD to paint them the right colors anyway.


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#8 TSR

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Posted 10 February 2020 - 08:59 PM

Larry, thing is, there were green Ferraris and red Coopers, but not those specific models...

I have no idea why Marx molder their Chaparral 2 in pale blue plastic. But then, look at other Chaparrals molded in funny colors, most of them "2D" models: the Kal Kar "2D" in metallic rose, the K&B in metallic red, the 1/32 scale Strombecker in dark metallic red etc.
They were toys, at least for the manufacturers... most of them in charge of such choices with little clue about the real thing.


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#9 Dave Crevie

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Posted 11 February 2020 - 09:39 AM

I suspect the metallic colors were meant to make the car more attractive to the toy buyer. They are not necessarily concerned with correctness. And

they were the largest demographic of the hobby.  


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