Jump to content




Photo

Some Sandy Gross chassis from 1966-68 plus a surprise


  • Please log in to reply
9 replies to this topic

#1 loudspeaker

loudspeaker

    Mid-Pack Racer

  • Full Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 180 posts
  • Joined: 10-February 07
  • Location:Baltimore/New York

Posted 29 May 2021 - 06:58 PM

Hi,

 

I have had a few requests to publish some of my chassis, so here they are with a surprise or two. Unfortunately I do not have many left, but a few in any event. Please realize that in the day we did not bring the finish to a jewel like level, as some great builders do today. I used to finish them with steel wool and never tumbled. In spite of which, these all have their original patina, even though over 50 years old. Honestly I can not remember the history of each, but will try my best to provide a little context and discussion. Some of these were published about 10 years ago by Steve Okeefe.

 

The first chassis, which may look somewhat crude, is actually very interesting from an historical perspective. I built this in the winter/early spring of 1966, after Jim Russell met me at Peter Pan Raceway, gave me one of the Team Russkit cars, and asked Howie and I to form Team Russkit East. Needless to say we were thrilled to join and work with Mike Morrissey et al. This was my first attempt to emulate the west coast cars, which I built immediately after receiving the car from Jim, and it was probably the first west coast style car built on the east coast. 

 

055.jpg  056.jpg

 

The next chassis, which is minus its drop arm, must date to the fall of 1967. I would often salvage drop arms from older chassis to incorporate in later ones, as in the days before plate drop arms the drop arms were rather complex multi-rod affairs. And even when we started using unstamped plate arms they were still rather complex. I was not churning out chassis, so there were really not that many and each was unique. This would have come early in the days of floppy body mounts. It appears that it may have been a converted Formula One chassis, and may have been the first one I did with floppy body mounts. This would have not been unusual as I often did this. As I recall the first anglewinder that I won with at Hamilton Raceways was originally an inline that I cut down, and then later added floppies to to make a sports car chassis. I know that this one came before the one that follows because of the simpler bracing of the motor bracket.

 

064.jpg  065.jpg

 

The next one also appears to have been a Formula One chassis that was converted into a sports car chassis. You can clearly see the evolution of the bracing of the motor bracket, which continues in the next chassis. To the rear of the drop mount hinge is what appears to be one of the body mounts for an F1 body. Also note the complex construction on the front of the drop arm to hold the guide. I am not certain, but I believe that this is a chassis that I ran at the Arco Nationals in Atlanta. If it was I would have run it as both a coupe and Can-Am car. While it is possible that I ran the next chassis in Atlanta, I believe I ran this. I can't remember the order of the races there, so it is possible that I ran it there as an F1 and then converted it, but I don't think so. I was in three of the four finals in Atlanta, finishing as high as third (probably with this chassis) and was fourth overall. Just out of the money, sigh...

 

062.jpg  063.jpg

 

Next is a later more refined chassis. As I said, possibly run in Atlanta. It was over 50 years ago, so please forgive me for not remembering. PdL has pointed out that this chassis matches pictures of the one I ran and won the final East Coast Car Model race and the series championship with) at Mini Wheels Raceway the winter of 1968. It must be that one then as I never built the same chassis twice. Again note the yet more complex motor bracket bracing and the wider drop arm. This is how it appears to me that this came after the previous one, even though it is using four frame rails on each side rather than three plus the piece of flat brass. This surprises me, as normally the chassis were evolving heavier and heavier. Well, the drop arm was. Otherwise I can not explain it, unless I was trying to make it more flexible and more similar to the chassis I ran and won with at Don's in California the summer before. 

 

060.jpg  061.jpg

 

Next is not my build, but certainly my design. This is Steve Okeefe's gorgeous recreation of the rather unique Puzzle Pan that I built in California the summer of 1968. Needless to say, Steve did a fantastic job and I thought I should include it. This was my attempt to reduce the chatter I (and many) were encountering with the new anglewinders. It was based loosely on the 1/32 chassis that the cub racers were running in the midwest. The idea was to combine a heavy low center of gravity pan with slightly loose jiggle elements. It worked really well. I ran it at a major race at Buzz-A-Rama the fall of 1968. I did not qualify for the main, because I qualified late and the power was really down. I made it up through the consistency and semi, but the motor was overstressed and got very hot due to power issues, plus pure fatigue, and the pinion actually separated from the motor shaft, spinning freely. I loaned it to Howie who qualified really well at a major race at Nutley later that fall and I believe came in second to Mike Tango, the owner of the track. Then it was stolen.

 

pp.1.jpeg  pp.2.jpg

 

And the final chassis is not one of mine, but rather a Bob Emott creation. I borrowed this from Bob and Chris Vitucci and ran it in my final Car Model race in Baltimore the fall of 1968, where I was going to school at Johns Hopkins, and won. PdL has claimed that this was not an Emott chassis but I know for sure that it was as I personally borrowed it from them. It was pretty current with what was happening and I am proud to have it as a memento of my friendship with Bob.  

 

066.jpg  067.jpg

 

Sandy


  • milmilhas, MSwiss, Jens Scale Racing and 22 others like this
Sandy Gross




#2 Martin

Martin

    Posting Leader

  • Full Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,034 posts
  • Joined: 22-February 09
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:US

Posted 29 May 2021 - 08:36 PM

Amazing development Sandy, so glad you kept them. Thanks for taking the time to show them and give us some background. :good:


  • Alchemist and Isaac S. like this
Martin Windmill

#3 tonyp

tonyp

    Grand Champion Poster

  • Member at Peace
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 15,325 posts
  • Joined: 12-February 07
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Sanford, FL, land of lizards and big roaches

Posted 29 May 2021 - 09:15 PM

I like how the Emott has the piano wire and brass rod rails flipped side to side.


  • Eddie Fleming and SpeedyNH like this

Anthony 'Tonyp' Przybylowicz

5/28/50-12/20/21
Requiescat in Pace


#4 mdiv

mdiv

    Posting Leader

  • Full Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,314 posts
  • Joined: 13-December 06
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Wall, NJ, USA

Posted 30 May 2021 - 01:47 PM

Sandy,

 

Great stuff!

If I remember correctly, you are Polk Audio? Your handle leads me to believe that is true.

 

Best regards,

 

Mike


  • JerseyJohn likes this

Mike DiVuolo

 

C.A.R.S. Vintage Slot Car Club

"Prosecutors will be violated"


#5 loudspeaker

loudspeaker

    Mid-Pack Racer

  • Full Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 180 posts
  • Joined: 10-February 07
  • Location:Baltimore/New York

Posted 30 May 2021 - 03:38 PM

Hi Mike and Tony,

 

Regarding the asymmetrical placement of the piano wire and the brass chassis rods: at first I thought that this might have been done in some way regarding flexing or vibration control. But as I look at it, it seems like he did in in order to have the steel rods as the main and more secure attachment to the motor box. 

 

Regarding Polk Audio: I have been involved in the loudspeaker industry all my life since I graduated from college in 1972. I always say slot cars helped prepare me for this and spurred me on. I was a co-founder of Polk Audio in 1972. I left in 1988 and co-founded Definitive Technology in 1990. We sold Definitive in 2005 and left in 2009. 

 

In 2010 I co-founded GoldenEar Technology. We sold this last year in January and I left in May. I was sales, marketing and also did the basic design and concept work on the speakers at all three companies, working with my engineering groups and industrial designers. They call me a serial entrepreneur. It was a lot of fun and not all that different from slot cars, sort of: toys for big boys.

 

I am attaching a cover of a magazine that featured a review of one of my last products. This is a rather high-end magazine and they selected the Triton Reference to receive their highest Class A rating. This is normally reserved for very high-end speakers and is given to less than 20 speakers. The average price of a Stereophile Class A loudspeaker is over $60K a pair! The Triton Reference sells for under $10K.

 

Now I am retired. Mike, are you Howie's friend who has the slot car track and is hosting the world championship race in Atlantic City in the fall?

 

Sandy

 

unnamed.jpg


  • milmilhas, Howie Ursaner and Peter Horvath like this
Sandy Gross

#6 mdiv

mdiv

    Posting Leader

  • Full Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,314 posts
  • Joined: 13-December 06
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Wall, NJ, USA

Posted 30 May 2021 - 05:34 PM

Hi Sandy,

 

Great story and career!

No, that's a different Mike. I am a humble technician at a power supply company who had a Polk Audio setup (best friend from middle school  and roommate brought his stereo and speakers, the TV, the 100 CD changer, N64.... :) ) in his dorm room when I went to Rutgers. Class of '02 Electrical Engineering.  Damn, that system sounded Great!

 

I've been on the blog since '06 and I forget if Tony or one of the other fellas mentioned it sometime over the years that you were a part of Polk Audio. If I'm not mistaken there was a Polk Hobbies in the City in the '60s/'70s? Your name stands out because of your slot car career in the heyday, and I've always had a strong interest in electronics from seventh grade. For a while there I was into building vacuum tube amplifier kits, guitar pedal kits, and restoring old guitar amplifiers. I live down the road from Camp Evans where Marconi did some very famous work and is now a historical site for Marconi, US military communications from WWI and II, it has a very cool radio museum and other really neat historical attractions about the area. Proud of my little area where I grew up. 

 

I am always interested in reading and learning about the different young stars of the heyday, and what they went on to do afterwards. If I'm not mistaken, Terry Schmid went on to be a literal rocket scientist, but that's the other coast! ;)

 

At this point in time I am enjoying my slot cars in a much smaller scale, collecting and garage racing with a very, very local group.

 

Music is a very important part of life. While I am not a musician myself, my father, mother, and two older brothers were and are very musically talented and active. I like to "feel" the music. A good setup makes you feel the music! :)

 

Best regards,

 

Mike


  • Peter Horvath and boxerdog like this

Mike DiVuolo

 

C.A.R.S. Vintage Slot Car Club

"Prosecutors will be violated"


#7 Highnoon

Highnoon

    On The Lead Lap

  • Full Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 229 posts
  • Joined: 20-November 18
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Northern OH

Posted 30 May 2021 - 08:14 PM

Sandy, hopping you can clear up a question I’ve had since August 31, 1968. Did you use the puzzle car or have it in your box at the Hinsdale Arco race in 1968. I remember checking out one of your cars and it blew my mind, I always thought it was the famous puzzle car.

 

Also I have a theater surround system from Definitive Technology that I bought in 2000; still works great.

 

I raced from 1964 until 1975 then quit. I retired in 2017 and started racing slots again in 2019; it's been a blast. You should try it.


Gary Cooper

#8 stevefzr

stevefzr

    Race Leader

  • Full Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 595 posts
  • Joined: 23-February 06
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Melbourne, Australia

Posted 27 August 2021 - 06:51 PM

.... Unfortunately I do not have many left, but a few in any event. Please realize that in the day we did not bring the finish to a jewel like level, as some great builders do today.....

Thanks for sharing.  It looks like you didn't sign your chassis?  I always thought that the team racers of the time signed their chassis.  I'm struck by how similar your chassis are (except puzzlepan) to dozens that I have in my collection.  That's not surprising  I guess, as we all copied anything we saw photographed in the magazines.  It did get me wondering how many of my scratch built collection came from pro racers who didn't sign their work and  how many are from amateur copiers.  It's a moot point as I guess there's no way to ever find out, and without provenance, they are all assumed to be amateur copies.  

 

Regards,

 

Steve C


Stephen Corneille


#9 loudspeaker

loudspeaker

    Mid-Pack Racer

  • Full Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 180 posts
  • Joined: 10-February 07
  • Location:Baltimore/New York

Posted 06 September 2021 - 03:54 PM

Hi Steve, I think that chassis were signed when the builders were engaged in making multiple copies to sell. I only built my chassis for me to run, outside of maybe one or two, and so really never signed them. I wonder where the chassis that I used to win at Don's the summer of 1967 went? I wonder if I sold it to Bruce Paschal? I know that I sold Bruce at least one car. I suspect that it went with his gear to the slot car museum, but since it was not signed, nobody would know it was mine. Philippe? Sandy


  • Tex, Howie Ursaner and Rotorranch like this
Sandy Gross

#10 Pablo

Pablo

    Builder

  • Administrator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 17,984 posts
  • Joined: 20-February 06
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Cleveland, Tennessee

Posted 10 September 2021 - 08:45 PM

Sandy, send him a PM to wake him up. He's a very busy guy, just like you  :)


Paul Wolcott






Electric Dreams Online Shop