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#1 Steve Okeefe

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 02:56 PM

Gar-Vic Enterprises, Inc. Bodies

 

Gar Vic Bodies 13 Nov 2009.jpg

 

Gar Vic definitely ended up in the Thingie business, but it apparently didn't start out that way! Their McLaren II is a reasonable if not recognizable scale body, and the "Firebird GTX1000" was supposed to be Gar Vic's version of General Motors' experimental division turbine powered "Laboratory on Wheels". As though it were some sort of an attempt to bridge the gap between scale cars and Thingies...

 

Meanwhile in 1966 the Thingie craze was in full swing, and this was not lost on Gar Vic. Batmobiles were hot, so Gar Vic repainted their Firebird a gold color, put some stickers on it and re-named it the "Bat Car".

 

Gar Vic's other offerings, the Coronado the Ocelot and even the X-Stream for example, retained a semblance of reality; more like a "fantasy car" than an outright Thingie, but under market pressure Gar Vic's paradigm was changing. If anyone out there has photos of Gar Vic's "Lunar" and is willing to share them, I would be quick to post them up here.

 

With the introduction of the "Sonic Needle", Gar Vic completed its metamorphosis into a full fledged Thingie manufacturer.

 

Then the Thingie craze collapsed.

 

Some photos and scans:

 

Gar Vic McLaren a.jpg

 

Gar Vic Firebird GTX1000.jpg

 

Gar Vic McLaren b.jpg

 

MCT V3N4 Apr 66 p72.jpg MCT V3N5 May 66 p8.jpg

 

CM V4N12 Jul 66 p83.jpg MCT V3N7 Jul 66 p8.jpg

 

MCT V3N12 Dec 66 p40a.jpg

 

MCT V3N12 Dec 66 p40.jpg

 

Gar Vic Sonic Needle a.jpg

 

Gar Vic Sonic Needle b.jpg


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#2 TSR

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 05:21 PM

A little requested help:

 

The Lunar in its ultra rare kit version:

 

gv121.jpg

 

The also rare Sonic Needle with the spare bodies:

 

gv128.jpg

 

gv128_1.jpg

 

You are talking true rarities here... I have only seen one of each in over 25 years, and yes, I DO get out more often... :)

 

It is hard to assess if the McLaren MK2 was marketed only as a body or also as a RTR, and for each, in which packaging form? I believe that these painted bodies were the next product but were never released before the company tanked, and ended at REH or on the open market "loose", but it is easy to stick a chassis to them since the mounting holes are already punched.

 

 


Philippe de Lespinay


#3 sidejobjon

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Posted 19 May 2018 - 07:46 AM

Did Gar vic release a HO scale set?

Thanks SJJ


John Falzarano

#4 TSR

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Posted 19 May 2018 - 01:03 PM

No, but they had a track layout as a stillborn project.


Philippe de Lespinay


#5 don.siegel

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Posted 19 May 2018 - 03:20 PM

Yeah, it was shown in a fuzzy photo in one of the magazines, but never seems to have been released. 

 

Thingie fan Danté Gates thought he had tracked one down, but I never saw any photos - he may just have caught a glimpse of semething that "could have been" the set... 

 

Don 

 

A Lunar in the built-up flesh with its very groovy Jetson's style box! 

 

GarVic%20Lunar%20and%20box_zpsdhmrfvqj.j

 

GarVicLunarandbox_zpsb6de3e47.jpg


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#6 don.siegel

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Posted 19 May 2018 - 05:35 PM

GarVic HO set-RC1266.jpg

 

Here's the GarVic HO set, from the Dec. 66 issue of Rod & Custom... 

 

 


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#7 Steve Okeefe

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Posted 20 May 2018 - 03:18 PM

That Lunar looks a little bit like a 1950s Indy roadster that has been fitted with a bubble canopy.

 

All it would need is an external 4 to 1 exhaust pipe (for the Offenhauser engine of course).  :good:


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#8 TSR

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Posted 20 May 2018 - 05:02 PM

:laugh2:
True enough! Fortunately for slot car lovers, there is such a beast, produced by Western Hobbies and called "Bonneville Special" despite that it represents a Novi-Ferguson Granatelli Indy car...

w104_4.jpg

 

w104_3.jpg

 

 


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#9 Pete L.

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Posted 22 May 2018 - 09:27 AM

 Dok,

 

 Thanks for you post above, I've never seen this body before. Really Cool !!!! :good: :good: :good:


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#10 TSR

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Posted 22 May 2018 - 03:47 PM

Peter, my pleasure. The body is of course, on top of one of the three RTR cars marketed by Western Hobbies in 1966. The body was never sold separately.
These three cars used a Dugan chassis, a white Mabuchi FT36D motor, Riggen wheels and tires and the scarce Model Rama white guide also used on all the BZ RTR cars. The driver's head was sourced from Pactra. The cars' decals were from a large Russkit sheet. Now, who supplied the bodies to Western Hobbies? Likely Stormer, then a division of Pactra Chemicals, but it is pure speculation on my part.


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#11 sidejobjon

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Posted 27 May 2018 - 05:25 PM

attachicon.gifGarVic HO set-RC1266.jpg
 
Here's the GarVic HO set, from the Dec. 66 issue of Rod & Custom...

This picture is why i asked guess it never came out.
Thanks for help
John Falzarano

#12 Steve Okeefe

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Posted 01 June 2018 - 08:09 PM

Doc,

 

It's a shame that body was not available separately; it seems there were more than a few slot car bodies like that. :frown:

 

Anyway, about the body itself (and I apologize in advance for being picky about it), the famed (and some say cursed) Novi engine was a large, heavy and very powerful V-8, not a four-banger like the Offenhauser.

 

Although the Novi engine was designed in 1940 by Bud Winfield and Leo Goosen, it is ironic that they were all built by Fred Offenhauser, and in the same shop that turned out all the overwhelmingly successful four cylinder "Offys" used at Indy throughout the 50s and into the 60s.  The sad fact is that the Novis never won, or even came close to winning any races.  The best they ever did was 3rd place in 1948.

 

Other than that, the body does bear a distinct resemblance to an early 1960s Ferguson.  :good:

 

 



#13 TSR

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 12:49 PM

Steve, indeed, virtually all specific racing engines after Duesenberg gave up, were designed by Leo Goossen for various customers and built by Fred Offenhauser and his crew of fine machinists. The Novi V8 coulda-woulda but never achieved its promise, despite all the efforts of the successive owners, Andy G the last in line.
The Western Hobbies model was made from a modified, shortened Lancer version of the 1964 British built Ferguson 4WD car that Bobby Unser drove, but just as they added that funny Ford 4-cam Indy exhaust on their "Modified Ford GT", they also created a fantasy by adding the 4-banger exhaust on that "Novi" that of course never existed.
Unfortunately, it appears that neither of the three bodies from the three Western Hobbies models were ever sold separately.
All three cars in various colors, several in their scarce original boxes, are on display now at the LASCM.


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#14 TSR

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 12:53 PM

The Gar-Vic "Lunar" original box artwork, and that of the "Sonic Needle" have survived and are today at the LASCM. Looking for more...

lunar_artwork.jpg

Someone, somewhere, may have one or more of the others...


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#15 Mark Mattei

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Posted 18 December 2019 - 07:28 PM

Hi, resurrecting an old thread here, but the Gar-Vic McLaren II, as pictured in the first submission of this thread has me puzzled. May this have been offered early on as a factory painted body but with no packaging? Can anyone confirm if the it was offered in kit or ready to run form, and if so with which Gar-Vic chassis? Thank you, Mark.

#16 Martin

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Posted 19 December 2019 - 04:26 PM

Mark, interesting question I have had myself.

I have a mint unused Gar-Vic McLaren II body.

I have seen plenty of mint loose bodies come up for sale.

I have never seen a package body or a RTR factory car.

My thinking was that Gar-Vic offered it as a replacement body for the scale crowd. Thingies were not for everyone and they were not legal for racing in some cases. 


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#17 TSR

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Posted 19 December 2019 - 08:46 PM

Actually, it is likely that while hundreds of the McLaren bodies were produced for a possible RTR model, the business tanked before the project was completed. While this is speculation on my part, there is a solid record of plenty of slot car racing companies that ended that way, with prototypes or pre-production models, or even very limited production of cars that are now truly rare.
The McLaren was the last Gar-Vic effort in the larger scale, at a time when demand for such products had vanished. The HO attempt could not save the company.

So what of all the bodies that found their way to collectors? Simple, really, as usual, Robert E. Haines (REH) bought all remaining cars, chassis, bodies for a song and marketed them well into the 1990s.


Philippe de Lespinay


#18 sportblazer350

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Posted 02 January 2020 - 02:11 PM

the prototypes for the h.o. and l-shaped 1/24 layouts would be a rare find indeed. Maybe one or more of each is out there, somewhere.......??


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#19 idare2bdul

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Posted 06 January 2020 - 12:30 AM

Well the Golden Age of slot racing wasn't inexpensive. $11.98 in 1966 is $94.49 in today's money. Minimum wage then was $1.25 which went up to $1.40 in 1967 so 9.58 hours to buy this little gem. Now if you stuffed it away as a collectable you missed the whole point of slot racing in the 60's. 

The Golden Age is now but mostly applies to the aging racers who can appreciate the range and quality of options for racing.


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#20 Dave Crevie

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Posted 06 January 2020 - 10:12 AM

Exactly, Mike. I worked at a hardware store back then and got $10 for 12 hours work. The local slot track was two doors away, and the

money went from the hardware store to the slot track.  Slot racing is now one of the cheapest hobbies to get into, unless you run the

very expensive technical classes.


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#21 NSwanberg

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Posted 07 January 2020 - 01:37 AM

Hard to beat a JK RTR with a Professor Motor controller for fun for the buck. JB at Downriver is selling a lot of this combination.


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#22 Bill from NH

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Posted 07 January 2020 - 08:04 AM

This is a good combination, but with Parma now being out of the equation for both items, is there really any competition in this segment of the market?


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