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Building and racing an Alfa Romeo 158

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#1 Graham Lane

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Posted 13 April 2020 - 07:38 PM

My wife and I moved to south-west France less than a year ago.  One of my first missions was to find a slot car club to race at.  The closest club is just outside Neuvic.  It’s a fabulous facility, just reopened after a five-year refit costing 300,000 euros!  There are two tracks at the moment, a six-lane Ninco of 50m and a four-lane digital Carrera of 60m.  The Ninco is analogue but can quickly be converted to digital if required.


Neuvic club decided to field two teams in the Léguevin Grand Prix near Toulouse earlier this year.  The event was for Formula One cars from the 1950s, the first decade of Formula One racing.  One team was all French racers and mine was all British.  I decided to build a car for it and I chose the Alfa Romeo 158 that Emilio Giuseppe Farina drove to become the first F1 World Champion.




I already had a beautiful bodyshell by Dave Jones and bought the remaining parts from over 20 different suppliers.  The rules were strict.  There were seven tracks and we had to race on every lane of every track, over 11 hours in total.  It was more of an endurance race than a sprint!  Thirty-eight teams entered.




So the car had to be tough and every detail had to be considered in order to make it competitive but I also wanted it to look good too.  There was a concours up for grabs.


to be continued...

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#2 Graham Lane

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Posted 13 April 2020 - 08:44 PM

I decided to use a Penelope Pitlane chassis rather than make my own.  They are really very good.  Once I had it set how I wanted it I soldered the whole thing up and added fillets of solder to the points where the chassis is folded.




I prepped the body and used a red primer.




There is no model of Farina, as far as I know, so I chose the nearest I could find and modified it slightly.






I sat him as low as possible without losing the realism.


The motor is fixed as a Slimline by SRP.  I put one in for testing but it would be replaced by an issued one for the actual racing.  The gear ratio had to be 10:26 by Slot.it.  Various other items were free choice so I went for a hollow front axle with independently rotating wheels.  My choice of guide was Scaleauto with a locknut on the post.  I used the last of my treasured gold-plated braid, which lasted the complete event.  We were issued with two pairs of rear tyres, and used both sets!  I used 3D printed body mounting posts by JS Chassis Designs.  They’re good and strong and did the job.  I sprayed the shell with an acrylic can in rubino red.  It’s a nice rich colour well-suited to an Alfa Romeo.  The correct decals took some finding.  They came from Calcas in Spain.  The blue and white one that went round the grill was a nightmare to Install as the body curves in all directions.  I used Microsol and Microset to do that.  The set even came with dials for the dashboard.




The exhaust was a piece of sleeving from electrical cable with the shield made from kitchen foil.  Steering wheel was by John Warren in Australia.  I fitted gruyere axle stops by Sloting Plus rather than the more usual brass tube.  The windscreen was completely scratch-built using staples and clear plastic packaging.


All-in-all it was a very enjoyable car to build.  I would have liked to add suspension detail but this was a car to race, not sit on a shelf.  Whilst it didn’t win the concours it did get a lot of second place votes which gave me a nice warm feeling!  It was also extremely competitive and easy to drive.  I loaded quite a bit of lead to the chassis to achieve that.  We did suffer from an over-heated motor at one point but a quick squirt with lighter fluid cured that eventually.






I have to add that this was probably the most enjoyable event I’ve ever competed in.  The hosting club were amazing and my two team mates, Gerald Lambourn and Keith Charles, were great fun to be with.

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#3 Alchemist


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Posted 14 April 2020 - 12:19 AM

Hi Graham,


What a great event and it's exciting to see so many participants attending.


Glad you had fun - what a wonderful project build Graham!


Thanks for sharing.



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Ernie Layacan

#4 Regis4446


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Posted 14 April 2020 - 02:20 AM

Very nice job Graham



Photos here




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Régis Baron

#5 strummer


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Posted 14 April 2020 - 08:08 AM

Great build, great event, great photos!   :)


Mark in Oregon

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#6 Dave Crevie

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Posted 14 April 2020 - 08:27 AM

Totally amazing!

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