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Real vs. faux Champion chassis


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#1 Jairus

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Posted 22 August 2008 - 11:45 AM

Philippe,

Okay, maybe it is actually NOT a Champion chassis... but was identified as such to me on another forum.
This car has an Iso hinge for the motor box...

Posted Image
(photo courtesy of Scratchbuilt.com)

Scratchbuilt.com identifies them as being sold by Mura but I have since heard that they were actually made in Japan. I owned one for a short time equipped with a Champion 525 "thumbprint" motor and it handled very well on the Hillclimb, though was a bit disconcerting when picking up as the rear axle dropped 'bout 1/4"! :D

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#2 TSR

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Posted 22 August 2008 - 12:05 PM

Scratchbuilt.com identifies them as being sold by Mura...

They were made in Japan by the same company that made LOTS of chassis for US and UK consumption, but not the same that made the Champion chassis. Riggen, Mura, Phaze III, and even Dynamic sold this chassis, mostly as RTR cars in 1971 and there was an un-plated version sold by an outfit called "Billy Boy" (no joke!).

#3 Steve Deiters

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Posted 22 August 2008 - 12:47 PM

The chrome-plated chassis that was shown was introduced as an alternative to the Group 20 chassis which was a bust. As I recall the NCC rules makers took the Group 20 to the next step by allowing these fully articulated (when compared to the Group 20 chassis) chassis and they called it Group 27. A iso-fulcrum plumber chassis with a Group 20 motor. It really didn't get any traction either since by this time people were clandestinely winding their own non-spec Group 20 arms which were very fast and complete with official looking Group 20 tags epoxied to the arms which made the concept unmanagable and it faded into the mist.

Philippe is correct that the chassis was pretty good for its day; in fact it was very good for a ready to run. I built enough ready-to-runs using it to attest to that fact. It was little bit on the heavy side but aside from that it worked well. I believe it was also used on Group 15 cars which were basically upgrades of the original Group 12 group, but sold for a little more money.

I always wondered if slot racing had something like this in the early days if it could have gone farther than it did. A quality chassis that worked with off-the-shelf parts. You could literally build your own from scratch, but not to be confused with scratchbuilt.

#4 Steve Deiters

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Posted 22 August 2008 - 01:59 PM

Correction. I think I had a neuron misfire. Those chrome chassis were not used on Group 27 cars. What I meant to say the class was Group 22. If they had Group 12 motors in them they could be used in Group 15 as I recall.

#5 Ron Hershman

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Posted 22 August 2008 - 02:35 PM

At the time the difference between the Group 12 and Group 15 was the stack lengths of the armatures.

#6 Prof. Fate

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Posted 23 August 2008 - 12:48 PM

Hi,

That was later.

12s initially were production frames, no limits, but all production. The motor rules were any unbalanced arm until the mid '70s.

15s, initially, were frames limited to a single hinge... think the 888. Motors weren't defined by stack length yet, just wind, a 29.

Later after the motor guys were epoxy balancing and getting 28s to live as "unbalanced", they changed the motor rules to both being 29 tagged winds.

20 was originally a single maker RTR chassis with multiple hinges with a single Mura motor with a 27 wind. Later, as the market collapsed, similar chassis by others like Riggen were made legal.

27s were initially running a 20 in an open scratchbuilt frame (Group 20 7, get it?). Some of the motor builders started producing supposedly special handwound better arms to 20 specs also confusingly called "Group 27".

National specs were often trumped by local lonely tracks creating their own classes based on the equipment they could buy and sell and what the local racers would put up with. That often included classes called 22 or 27 that weren't in accord with supposed national rules. Group 15 didn't change much in this period and seemed pretty popular wherever I traveled. One could get some variant like the 888 and a 12 or 15. Most ended up using the 12s when they started being tagged short stack 29 winds and proved to be faster than the 15s. Racers almost always argued that "12 was less than 15, so it MUST be legal, right"? Parma did a "Group 18" car that was $18.95 and essentially a badly-done 15 frame with a group 12 motor in '76 or so. When I moved to Denver in '77, I was surprised that they were allowing the older Champion 20 frame to run as a "18" as well as the more modern "Riggen" and other frames.

Fate
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#7 sportblazer350

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Posted 07 September 2008 - 07:15 PM

Hi Jarius,

I have used this same chassis with a Can-Am period body, and the car handles great!!

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Glenn Orban
vintage slot car enthusiast
NJ SCALE Racing

Hardbody Racing at The Race Place


#8 TSR

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Posted 07 September 2008 - 11:53 PM

Scratchbuilt.com identifies them as being sold by Mura but I have since heard that they were actually made in Japan.

Glenn,

MOST of the stuff sold in the US in the 1960s WAS made in Japan! :)

Scratchbuilt.com was and is correct on both counts, and the guys on "another forum" who have little clue of what they are talking about (the experts ARE on Slotblog!) are also wrong about this being a Champion chassis.

This Japanese-built chassis was sold by Mura, Phaze III, Billy Boy Products, and Riggen but NEVER by Champion.
  • Dakolector and Jocke P like this

#9 Ron Hershman

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Posted 08 September 2008 - 12:16 AM

This Japanese-built chassis was sold by Mura, Phaze III, Billy Boy Products and Riggen but NEVER by Champion.

Ummmmm... errrrrr... you may want to do a little diggin' on that... I have heard from many that were there at the time at the time... Champion did bring in a chassis from Japan similar to the one pictured.... it was nickel-plated. They were going to be used for NCC RTRs. Champion brought in three or five thousand pieces and the bottom fell out of the NCC gig. But they did OEM them to many other companies at the time and REH has many of these yet today.

I remember a conversation at a RCHTA show between Bob Rule and Ken MacDowell about the Champion Jap chassis "mistake", as Bob so gently put it.

#10 TSR

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Posted 08 September 2008 - 12:38 AM

Ron,

Let me repeat this again for the XXX time: I know nothing about slot car motors past the C-can, but I know a LOT about the history of Champion and their products before they folded. Champion NEVER had that chassis. Champion had their own Cozine, Lane, and Gardner-designed units, all made in Japan, and there are not too many of them.

1) Sidewinder aluminum chassis used for both he FT36D and FT26 motors, issued 1964 (marked Champion on drop arm)
2) Inline die-cast aluminum with stamped aluminum tongue for FT16 and FT26 motors (Snuggler MK1). No ID.
3) Inline stamped aluminum for FT16D, FT26 and FT36D motors (Snuggler MK2). No ID.
4) ISO nickel plated wire setup for the above
5) Inline wire F1 chassis in nickel or gold cad plated, issued 1966 (motor bracket with no ID).
6) First type "tapered" jailhouse inline in both nickel and gold, 4" and 4.5" wheelbase, issued 1966. (ID on motor bracket and drop arm)
7) Second type "parallel" jailhouse 4" and 4.5", issued 1967 (ID on motor bracket and drop arm).
8) First angle-winder with narrow pans using all stamped sheet steel for center section (with possibility of using both sides for motor mounting), issued end of 1968. (ID on chassis and drop arm).
Another later version had the wider pans.
9) First and ONLY anglewinder using brass rod, wider pans, right-hand drive only, nickel or gold, issued mid-1969. (ID on motor bracket and drop arm) The very one you possibly are thinking of:

champion-gp12-4.jpg

10) Group 20 chassis using #5 center section and #6 pans, issued 1969 for the NCC. (ID on chassis and drop arm)
11) Group 22 chassis using #7 with added plumber hinge behind the front axle, issued end of 1969.

This above is the full extent of the Champion chassis production.

NONE of these chassis has ANYTHING in common with the Riggen/Mura "5" and "7" hinges chassis.

Later production (before and after Carl Ford bought the place from Rule) were US-made and similar to Womps, Flexis, an "L" chassis kit and are irrelevant here.



#11 Ron Hershman

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Posted 08 September 2008 - 07:18 AM

Let's clarify a bit... Champion never folded, sold out a couple of times, but never folded. Unless by folding you mean selling out to Parma a year or two ago. ;)

Carl Ford purchased Champion from Bob Rule in '82 and it could have been '83. I would have to look through some old mags to get the correct time frame. Carl Ford was the last Champion Dist (Champion East) and continued Champion from '82-83 until he sold it to Parma.

Again, Champion brought in three to five thousand chassis from Japan at one time... what they did with them? Who knows except Bob Rule.

#12 Steve Deiters

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Posted 08 September 2008 - 08:07 AM

We used these iso-plumber chassis at REH and they were purchased directly from Champion. Trust me I built up enough of them.

If the question is was Champion the original importer (I remember being told they were imported from Hong Kong, but the the sake of minimizing the argument let's just call it the "Pacific Rim") I don't know. I believe and almost certain they were also used by Riggen. I do know the chassis that we bought and used came from Champion directly. Period.

Keep in mind back then there was a lot of buying stuff in bulk (even chassis) and repackaging it as your product brand going on. A good example recently appearing on the blog is the "B" motor and even more so the Mura Grou 20 motor of the era.

#13 TSR

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Posted 10 September 2008 - 10:21 PM

Steve,

With all due respect, I am 100% sure that you are wrong on this. IF, and it is a big if, Champion EVER sold these chassis, they would have inherited them from another manufacturer gone bust and simply wholesaled them to get rid of them. But they NEVER were Champion products.

Please contact Bob Rule and Carl Ford. If they can even remember, they will tell you that they NEVER sold that chassis or even the other five-hinge job still distributed today by REH and wrongly dubbed "Champion" by many uninformed collectors, simply because they "look like Champion chassis" They are NOT. These chassis are unmarked. Champion only sold their OWN chassis, ALL marked "CHAMPION" on either the drop arm, in the case of the anglewinders, or the motor bracket, in the case of the inlines. Champion NEVER sold chassis not labeled with their name until the early 1980s when they made the "L" chassis kit, and those five and seven-hinge Japanese jobs were pretty much gone by 1973.

In fact you would be hard pressed to find any mention of these in ANY of their catalogs, newsletters, or press releases, of which we now have a large amount covering the very years when these chassis were sold in RTR cars. The supplier of Champion chassis in Japan was NOT the same that made these five and seven-hinge chassis as still sold today by REH. In fact, ask Bob Haines himself, he MIGHT remember where these five and seven-hinge chassis came from originally.

A look in ALL the Auto World illustrated catalogs shows these chassis inside Riggen RTR cars as well as others, but NEVER is Champion mentioned relating to them.

The LASCM has now at least one each of EVERY product ever made by Champion, from motors to motor parts to chassis to chassis parts to virtually every kit or RTR cars they ever produced. I spent weeks to establish every stock number from their 1964 debut to 1977. None of these two chassis show anywhere in the Champion listing or product line.

We just purchased the entire Champion collection ex-Jim Williams, Bob Rule, and Carl Ford. Lots and lots of cars, kits and chassis covering 1964 to 2007. NONE of the five or seven-hinge jobs in there, not even a sample.

But I remember them well when I was working for Al Riggen, as the girls were assembling RTR cars with both types, picking the chassis from large cardboard boxes, each chassis in a pre-lubricated cellophane bag simply marked "Japan". There certainly was no Champion mention anywhere there either, as Riggen as COMPETING with Champion for what was left of the market.

Now if you tell me that what was left of these when Al Riggen sold to Gayla Industries in 1973 was sold to Champion which in turn wholesaled them, that is plausible but difficult to believe because they were already totally obsolete, so why would Champion do that and sell those against their own product?

#14 Howmet TX

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Posted 11 September 2008 - 02:01 AM

At the risk of taking this even further off topic...

While it's obvious that a lot of manufacturing was going on in Japan and elsewhere in the far east, I've never read or heard of any actual slot racing activities over there. Were there any raceways or clubs recorded? Or have I missed a lot of obvious and well-known slot history?

Love the Puzzle-Pan, by the way!

Yours, in awe...

The Bodies for Beer Corporation, Inc.

John Dilworth


#15 dc-65x

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Posted 11 September 2008 - 09:16 AM

Geez guys, didn't your mother teach you never to say "never"? Isn't this an early Champion inline chassis with the first generation motor bracket that is NOT stamped "CHAMPION"?

Photo courtesy of Mid-America Raceway:

Posted Image

I'm not ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY, POSITIVE about anything in a 40-year-old cottage industry of little toy cars.

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#16 TSR

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Posted 11 September 2008 - 10:11 AM

Indeed the F1 chassis you show is the exception to the rule. :)

I've never read or heard of any actual slot racing activities over there. Were there any raceways or clubs recorded? Or have I missed a lot of obvious and well-known slot history?

John, there was PLENTY and I will take that to a new thread soon.
:)

#17 Jairus

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Posted 11 September 2008 - 10:42 AM

Why split the thread?
Steve is done with the car! It is posted without interruptions on his web site... .and the OT keeps it in the public eye. Just saying....

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#18 TSR

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Posted 11 September 2008 - 10:50 AM

The faux-Champion stuff is going to be moved to a new thread because it is irrelevant to this one.

#19 Cheater

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Posted 11 September 2008 - 02:28 PM

This thread was split off from arodyn's Sandy Gross Puzzle Pan thread over in the Pro Racing Cars & Replicas forum.

It got put here in History because that's what it is! :lol:

Gregory Wells

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#20 endbelldrive

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Posted 11 September 2008 - 03:48 PM

I'm not ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY, POSITIVE about anything in a 40-year-old cottage industry of little toy cars.

... except that building your own is a heckuva lot of fun! :sun_bespectacled:
Bob Suzuki

#21 TSR

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Posted 11 September 2008 - 05:52 PM

No doubt. Some of the posts above were slightly edited to reflect their new place in the sun. I also added to the actual listing of Champion chassis.

Below are some pictures to make it more clear to all:

1) First Champion chassis (US-made, sold from 1965 to 1969):

cp101-chassis.jpg

2) On top: second Champion chassis called "Snuggler Mk1 (US-made, die-cast aluminum).
On bottom: third Champion chassis called "Snuggler Mk2 (US-made, stamped aluminum). Both had many variations and options including an Iso setup or the "L" front axle shown here on both:

snuggler-2.jpg

3) First soldered Champion Japanese-made F1 chassis (nickel or gold cadmium):

f1-chassis.jpg

4) Second soldered Champion inline chassis built in 4" and 4.5" as well as for FT16 and FT26 motor brackets, nickel or gold:

taperedframe-1.jpg

5) Third soldered Champion inline chassis built in 4" and 4.5" as well as for FT16 and FT26 motor brackets, nickel or gold:

sportscar-chassis.jpg

Also exists as an F1 chassis for the wider 1968 F1 bodies.


6) First Champion anglewinder chassis. It exists with narrow or wide pans. The center section will be re-used in three other models that include the Group 20 and the Group 22 models:

chassis-plate-type1-3.jpg

7) Second Champion anglewinder chassis and the ONLY one made with a brass rod center section:

champion-gp12-1.jpg

champion-collection-023.jpg

8) Third Champion anglewinder chassis for the NCC Group 20 formula, derived from the chassis shown in #6:

group20-chassis-1.jpg

9) Fourth and LAST Champion anglewinder chassis made in the 1969 to 1975 period, built for the NCC Group 22 (and the hardest one to find in all of the ones described above):

champion-collection-022.jpg

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Chassis commonly called "Champion" and that are NOT by Champion:

The two chassis below were likely built in Japan by the same company that also built the nickel-plated brass chassis for the Cox Ford Galaxie and Lola T70, that also worked for K&B, Riggen and in the UK, RIKO, and BMW Models:

1) "Five-hinge" chassis for "900 Series" Riggen cars, still sold today by REH:

You can see it here in the Auto World 1970 catalog:

riggen-900-series.jpg

2) "Seven-hinge" Riggen RTR chassis:

266.JPG

Please note that these chassis were never manufactured or sold by Dynamic either, as I have seen printed elsewhere...

wink.gif

 



#22 TSR

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Posted 12 September 2008 - 03:27 PM

OK, gents, I contacted Carl Ford, who should know, and asked him to ID the two chassis in question and here is his answer word for word:

Philippe,

I don't THINK that Champion ever sold them under their name and don't know if they ever bought them, but there were a few in with samples sent from Japan. They may have been sold by Cobra or Phaze III or Riggen and maybe REH but I really don't know for sure.

Carl

So it at least proves my point that these chassis are NOT Champion products.

#23 endbelldrive

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Posted 12 September 2008 - 04:58 PM

1) First Champion chassis (US-made, sold from 1965 to 1969):

Posted Image

Now that's a Champion chassis! That chassis with a 703 motor is without a doubt my absolute favorite production slot car of all time! It used to sound like a truck when it was picking up a head of steam... compared to the high pitched whistle of those lightweight F1 rewound Mabuchi 16D firecrackers we ran back in the day.

I might just have to buy me another one.
Bob Suzuki

#24 TSR

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Posted 12 September 2008 - 06:05 PM

It used to sound like a truck

It also looks like one! :laugh2:

#25 mcseitz

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Posted 12 September 2008 - 10:23 PM

I have a nickel-plated Champion of Chamblee anglewinder that is the second series version but it has side plates that look identical to the 1st series anglewinder. A unique variation?
Marcus Seitz





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