My problem is that I was too darn honest to cheat !
Well I didn't consider it cheating as much as taking advantage of the rules gaping holes in almost every case. The big problem I had, was I kept telling all those I raced with, what I was doing to go faster after I found it worked.
I also figured out early on if you keep kicking the oppositions butt week after week you soon have no one to race against. So I and my friends all started to help the others to be better builders and showed them how to win. Then we had some worth while competition. and life racing was fun again.
The problem now is trying to remember all the ways I found around the rules. Too many times and too few memories. Dang it! It is a bitch to get old. (A clue to you younger guys), write it all down now and save it for later in life.
I will think of a few more soon, after the fun week in Vegas gets over and I have time to ruminate through my dysfunctional brain cells. A fun four days is coming up.
Lovely stuff, Cheater! I wonder if your 'fishing line' guide was the inspiration for Clint Finger's 'barbed' jet flag as used at the West Hamley finals in '68? I could never believe Clint was smart enough to come up with that one by himself.
By the way, young son's current favourite school-yard joke-
Why shouldn't you play cards in the jungle? Because there are too many Cheetahs.
He is very young. But maybe that's why there aren't any slot clubs out there either. Or are there?
Howmet, anything done in 1968 greatly pre-dated my fishing line guide flag, so perhaps he did come up with that on his own.
To tell you the truth, I did not know the track was a T-slot track when I first conceived of that guide mod. My thinking was that when a car begins to come out of the slot, the guide starts to rotate from the nominally vertical running position and that having a wider "flange" along the bottom of the blade would cause it to contact the side of the slot sooner once it began to rotate, helping to keep the guide from coming out of the slot. Of course, the T-slot made it work far beyond my wildest imagination.
Larry, I have been on a mission for years to pass along to as many people as possible what I have learned about making a slot car work better. I've taught motor and chassis building classes in multiple raceways, written and distributed articles, made videos for tracks to lend out, helped newbies at every opportunity (forced advice on many of them, actually), sent free chassis and motors to folks I barely knew, etc., etc. Recently, since I chose to go to Vegas this year instead of the USRA Scale Nats in Portland, I sent unbidden a total of 20 freshly-built and rebuilt S16C and D-can motors to a new friend (we met at last year's Nats) who was attending this event. He was rather surpised to get them. I was very pleased when he ran my motors in three Expert classes and made two mains using them. I just hated to have all those motors not being used.
Our hobby simply must work harder to shorten the learning curve for newbies and inexperienced racers so they do not become frustrated and move on to other activities. It actually pleases me to get beaten by someone I helped when they were starting racing, something that happened last year at the USRA Scale Nats.
And you are absolutely spot on when you say that where there is no competition, racing is far less interesting, far less fun.
The things I have been describing here were not motivated by a desire to win at all costs but were attempts to extend my personal knowledge of how a slot car works. To me, real cheating is running a dewound and/or a knowingly mistagged arm, cobalt magnets hidden in a non-cobalt motor, batteries in the controller, etc. I fully realize that others may take a stricter view.
The last sordid tale I will relate concerns what I have termed the angled-anglewinder. Chassis flex is an important parameter in handling, both the amount and the location of the flex. Running stamped steel cars, we don't have much of an opportunity to play with this factor, but here's something I did to a steel chassis that did prove beneficial, though it is pretty clearly an illegal mod under most rule sets.
I wanted to add flex to a Champion Turbo-Flex chassis and felt that the more flexible I could make the rear portion of the chassis, the better it would handle. Using a flat piece of glass and something like 120 grit wet-n-dry sandpaper, and lighter fluid as a lubricant, I sanded the bottom of the chassis center section while applying downward force only at the rear. After more time than I will admit (hours, not minutes) I was able to taper the chassis from the standard .035 thickness at the front of the center section to roughly .020 at the very rear. After finishing this taper grinding, I glass-beaded the plating from the chassis in a further attempt to gain overall flex. I suppose these actions also removed weight from the chassis, but I never weighed it to check for this as weight reduction was not the intent.
Since I was not trying to be deceitful in what I was doing, when I soldered in the U-shaped rear upright brace, I did not place it at the very rear edge where it would have hidden the thinness of the metal, but rather about 1/4 inch forward of that point. The .020 thickness of the rear of the chassis was fully visible to anyone who looked hard enough.
This did make for a very noticeably better handling chassis, especially on the American Orange we raced on then. After a few weeks, the sharp trackowner spotted what I had done and indicated that he didn't want to see it at tech-in again. I took the hint!
Unfortunately, that's pretty much the last interesting "cheating" story I can relate, so it's time for some of you other "rule benders" to start pounding your keyboards. I've shown you mine, now let's see yours!
QUOTE Philippe, you tell your stories and I'll tell mine!
Greg, really, I never even thought of it the whole time I ran pro racing. The car had to pass tech, and they were impounded after, so if they did not fit the Champion tech tool, I would be out. As far as "group" racing, we only had the Group-20 with the horrible Champion soft-steel pile, and I did nothing more than what was allowed. Since I was not a motor builder but an assembler, my G-20 arms were given to me first by Bob Green (MURA) then by Bill Steube (Team Checkpoint). Did they cheat? I remember my cars to be no faster than anyone's in a straight line, but I also remember that from the next corner, I would edge the other guys slightly and build on this lap after lap. I believe that I had a genuinely better setup, better understanding of aero at a time when it was in primary stages, and generally my cars were better built with more understanding of the mechanical necessities and function. Cheating? HOW or WHY?
When I quit pro-racing in the middle of 1973 after two hectic racing years, I returned to motorcycle road racing and bought a pair of Yamaha TZ production racers. These things were so bad and so un-reliable, I just built my own bikes (engines et all!) just like I did with the slot cars, and began winning big, beating the works entries of youngster Randy Mamola or the vastly experioenced and blindingly fast Jody Nicholas! I won the CMC championship in 1975 and the AFM's in 1977 on aggregate points. My bikes were featured in magazines of the period as "not your usual home-built scooters". Just like for the slot cars, I chose the right people (All American Racers...!), the right engineering and tried to do what mechanically made sense. My 125 and 250 were often unbeatable until 1977 when I got a factory ride with the Italian Morbidelli factory, then I did not even have to think, just ride their world-beater to a string of easy wins with incredible mechanical reliability.
Cheating really never entered my mind because I was just trying another method of winning, that of having BETTER machinery than the opposition.
I must say that I did cheat in the following manner: by writing LOTS of well illustrated stories about my slot cars for period magazines, I think that I psyched out my opposition (from Lee Gilbert to John Cukras to Mike Steube to Joel Montague etc.) which never believed anything I wrote. It was THEIR loss as I correctly represented everything as I saw it, and from the results on the track, they would have been better inspired to read it again... I also had a serious edge in controller technology with my one-offs "Ice Box" controllers, later sold to Parma as the basis for their Turbo line that laster until today.
My private paying customers did like my cars very much and I kept some of the testimonial letters received from them, some of them very funny. I sold a complete RTR car once to Bernd Mobus (now prez of Kyosho in Germany) and he promptly won the 1974 European championship with it. No cheating there either.
In my fading memory, wasn't there a ridged and inversely tapered guide flag commercially available at some point, the rationale being exactly as you describe, Cheater?
But great sentiments! I'm afraid I was too chicken to cheat in my club racing days, but all this ingenuity is fascinating.
The short version of my nickname "Prof.Fate" dates from a rant I did at the track on the line of "what's so great about the "Great Leslie"? At least Fate built his own stuff!" But the other part was that I was often asked to leave a track with the statement "I dont know what you did, but it cannot be that fast and be legal!".
In the 60s, this was a problem in that racing paid the rent. Later it didnt' and when it happend, my wife was puzzled until I explained that when a track does this, all they are saying is that they cannot beat you.
Cheeter's flexi story described something I never thought of. Interesting. However, I do REMEMBER the rules which said "Anything not described as allowed is NOT allowed". Which as a race director ment I would bann it. Hmmm.
Anyway, other CHEATING!
In 65, pro car tech really diverted from the kits and rtrs. Such that most tracks I knew had special races for "kids with kits and rtrs". Often this would include "36ds". Mostly these races were for Cox, Classic and K&B cars. There were so many racers and so many tracks that it was impossible for anyone to keep track of which "kids" were actually Pro-Racers and which were genuine novices. Now, most of my circle of "kids" who were pros had a Movie Gunslinger attitude. They wanted to make the big races and measure up against the other "fast guns". As I was building for some of them, I already knew I was not the fast gun as whoever I built for would beat me with my own car! I would monitor the tracks and which ones were having "promotional races". Usually involving some serious money. Besides the fact that half the entry fees would be given to first(and these races commonly had 40/60 racers), there would also be someother consideration. Target Rich environment. Friends of mine in the Mid west informed me that Dick Dobson had designed a "state of the art 64 vintage car" for AMT to produce. I had them send me a pair in both scales. Specifically for these "kid" races. The cars were never carried in the Mountain West. I am not sure exactly where they were sold. I prepped them like a pro car, would show up at the kids races with the car IN the AMT box, with controller and bits, oil and the like. Looking like any other kid, walk in and take their money. In the day, my girlfriend working at Artic Circle was getting 55cents an hour. So, walking off with a 30-50 buck win was SERIOUS.
QUOTE In my fading memory, wasn't there a ridged and inversely tapered guide flag commercially available at some point, the rationale being exactly as you describe, Cheater?
T-guides were made by AMR for their rental cars and only worked on their tracks. You put one on a Pro Car and you are in the wall real quick because these guides were junk and their design awful.
In the early 1970's , Associated produced a ribbed guide called "Steube" for more retention inside the slot. It worked OK but I personally improved on it: My own pro cars had a standard "Jet" flag, cut with a Dremel disk into 6 small sections about 1/8" tall from the guide's bottom, and then sprayed lightly to each side. The purpose: having the BOTTOM of the guide riding the BOTTOM of the slot. Then I would boil them in hot water with a color die (green) for strenght. The new TSRF metal pin guide has a taper for the same reason. How is this cheating and not standard prep when the slot is straight up, and even if it was not? "Use you brain, Luke..."
P, my remark was meant to tweak you for the post of yours it followed, not to suggest that you had any slot car cheating stories to tell.
Honestly, you raced under rules that had few limitations. I raced under rules that rivaled stock car racing for the number of restrictions we had to observe. And again I want to point out that in the time frame I was doing this stuff I only raced locally for ribbons. I would never have tried those sort of "innovations" at a money race.
The design and building parts of the hobby are what appeal to me most, more than the pressure of actually racing the cars myself. I would come home from our Friday night race every week and just stare at the car I had run, wracking my brain to come up with some little tweak I could perform to make it faster or better handling the next Friday. Over time, this approach bore fruit. Since I have never been one of the better drivers, I felt I had to have a better car than the rest of the field to have a chance of winning.
I also have tried over the years to come to a better understanding of the factors that are important for making a better slot car, rather than just testing every new part or demon tweak to come down the pike. To apply intelligent thought to improving the product, if you will, rather than just opening my wallet for something being sold as a better mousetrap. Most of the time my ideas were wrong, but as Edison commented, "one learns just as much from failure as from success."
What rankles me is now that feel like I have a good handle on the factors that are important in building competitive slot cars of the types I run, I'm getting too old and decrepit to be able to drive the silly things!
1971 in Ogden Utah, there was a single track surviving from the 60s. It was a 275 foot Mille Miglia brand track. It was molded in fibreglass and painted with a surface that had SAND in it, for traction.
I had heard that they had an active program with a lot of racers, but the oddball owners had decided to have a SUMMER series. Now, in the rural western U.S. when the long snowy winter ends, people tend to LEAVE TOWN. Go live in the mountains or desert or someplace else without phones or slot tracks. During the "boom days" there were so many racers that summer still had people racing, 30-40 racers instead of 60-100! But by 71, the numbers had dropped. And the guys in Ogden decided that if they put SERIOUS money into the program they would have racers taking time off to go race. So, they set up a 12 race series that would guarantee $150 for first, 75 for second in every race. The series champion would get $750 and second would get 500. However, if you WON a race, you had to be the race director for the second race. This was supposed to make it less likely that someone would just win a bunch early and end the series. Actually, the track owning brothers were certain that they would never have to pay out the series money as they were entered! Figured they would take turns winning and that would be it.
Anyway, I drove up with my racing partner, great driver, non builder, in his VW Microbus, and checked out the thing. The critical information is this, they had a gated powersupply rated at 12 amps and 18 volts...unregulated! But gating ment that each lane got a minimum of 1.5 amps and 18 volts. Oh GEEZE.
Most of the racers used friends in California to buy SoCal stuff. Commonly 6 oz cars with a 25 single wind. You could, in the day, buy cars for ca $175/200. Investments!
The power supply was the wrinkle. It seemed obvious that you needed a car that was happy on 1.5 amps and 18 volts. So, went back to the bench and dug out a couple of 66 vintage pianowire inlines that were MUCH lighter. Built up a couple motors with lightened cans, 30 s winds and very very good white dots. On the dyno, I was only pulling an amp. Cool!
Sort of. See, running alone with 12 amps, the monster cars FLEW. So, my partner and I qualified DEAD LAST. My partner was whining and moaning and all, and I just kept saying "have faith, my child". Bottom main, 8 cars lined up; power goes on and these FAST cars barely move. They CRAWL down the straaight amp sucking like crazy. Our super light mild cars were just as fast as always. So, we zipped down the straight (80 feet long) into the 90 degree bank, down the short straight to the first dead man and hit the brakes. And swoop through the corner. The rest of the field hit the bank get a mild surge from our hitting the brakes somone panics and hits the brakes and the others get a surge and.. well suddenly 4 cars hit the "dead man" hairpin sooner than explected and crash. That is how that main went!
My partner and I moved up. And did the same in that heat, and so on until we made the money main and ran off and hid. 1-2 finish.
As expected, my partner won, so he ran the next race, which I won and so on.
Now, we did not find out about the series right away, and missed the first 3 races. 4 through 12 we took turns winning. 9 races, 9 wins, $1350. Another 1250 for the series. Oh, my rent for my 2 bedroom apartment in that day was $45. A good year! Tax Free!
Ahh, but broadcast power, you ask? Race 10, they stopped the race before the last heat and disassembled our controllers. "Why" "We think you have batteries in your controller". Huh? "well there is no way you have all that power".
Look guys, your power supply is a gated array that gives... "No No No,we have a great power supply, YOU ARE DOING SOMETHING!"
Race 11, they stop the race and insist on crawling under the track looking for some sort of hidden power supply. One of the things I would do in the day, is keep a slot box next to me at the driver panel, incase I needed a tool or something. So, they took apart the box looking for wiring or batteries or SOMETHING.
Race 12, the made me move all my stuff OUT OF THE BUILDING to the Microbus.
"Why?", I asked. "We figure you have some way of broadcasting power to the cars from your box". ................................
"Look guys, If I could broadcast power I would be a billionaire and I wouldnt waste my time making money off you".
Ya, right, they said.
The owners muttered darkly about folks wanting to talk to us in the parking lot. But at the time I was a 235# football player, so that didn't happen. But they told us NOT TO COME BACK.
So, in 73, when they had sort of forgotten or sort of figured they were "much better now", they held the series again, and we returned with the SAME cars and took their money.
The track closed at the end of that summer.
So, that is the story of "Broadcast Power". Some of the guys I race with now, were there, then, and still tease me about that.
Most of the time I was a local area racer as I had no money to travel to LA to get in the big races down there. When I was there, it was just to visit, either on the way to or going home from visiting family down in Riverside Ca.. So we mainly ran non group or class racing in the local area tracks. We mostly ran "run what you brung" races up till the advent of the group racing here in the late 70's So any advantage you could come up with was basically legal. So no cheating was involved only how could you beat the next guy and what he was doing.
I hated the spread of the group class type racing as it stifled development or scratch building and as found today hardly any one does it anymore because it is not allowed or most don't know how to do it, or even use the tools to do it.
So what I had to do was take the cars allowed as they came and make them the best that they could be. All the tolerances had to be made right. axle heights had to be made with in a few thousands of an inch of being equal. Axles had to spin absolutely freely in the bearings, the bearing surfaces had to be polished and aligned so that the axle, gear and wheels had to be free spinning for many seconds before being run. The motors had to be made the same way before the magnets were added then if balanced, they had to be right. Armatures not balanced had to be found that were as close to balance as could be found. so went you thru a bunch to find one better than another, etc. etc..
This all took time to make a car as good as it could be within the rules. Most racers didn't have the time or wanted to take the time to get their cars to this point. They would get to the track and fix it from when it broke last week or remember they had to do something to make it run better than it did last week qnd they had 10 minutes before the race started. Easy to beat racers like that when you are prepared to race when you get there.
We started another racing class here that is now fun for me. We race flexis with vintage bodies. But you can do about anything to the chassis as long as the main pieces are still there. You can drill, cut, remove pieces etc to remove weight No ball bearings and you have to keep a stock Falcon motor to keep costs down. We will soon demand that you run 3/4 inch front wheels and 7/8 inch rears to keep the vintage look getting better. No cut down or chopped bodies. And we race a with a break out time set to get the best available times from the Falcons but not encourage tweaked motors or buying a bunch to find the best. As going faster lose's you laps. Here is a shot of my great handling reverse motor mount Flexi IV weighing 95 grams with sheet lead added up front. Reverse motor mount, as I found the last batch of JKII Falcon motors run better in the reverse direction, they supposedly made a mistake timing them.
Rocky, when you get your broadcast power developed, let me know how it works! (by the way, it's a crime you don't write down all these stories in more complete form - sounds like you have about the most complete personal history of slot racing from 1960 to present in the USA).
(by the way, I just saw The Great Race the other night on French TV - what an awful movie! and I don't think it was just the French dubbing either....)
On the guide question, Cox also came out with one in ca 65 that had a sort of "log" on the bottom, to stay in the slot better... and one other RTR manufacturer, maybe Rannalli, also had a wedge-shaped guide for the same purpose. Neither of these seemed to catch on, among other reasons because the slots weren't routed all that carefully and there were always narrow spots where they hung up.
Can't think of any personal "pushing the envelope" stories offhand, but I like one I heard about an R/C race with handout motors: a couple of the guys took these to their hotel rooms, or a back room, grabbed the shaft with heavy pliers and shot a few volts through to advance the timing! Don't know this personally, and maybe it's even a shaggy-dog story - there's probably a lot of those floating around too!
I often wonder if Larry and I are not twins separated at birth, we have so many stories in common.
I talked about RTR/Group 12 racing. But when slot car racing died.....
The first time I saw actual Group racing, as in ONLY GROUP racing was when I moved to Denver in 1977. In the 60s, the magazines were in New York and Los Angeles, and racing elsewhere didnt get that much coverage. So, when I moved to Denver, I discovered that the tracks I thought had disappeared, sort of DID NOT. I wish I could remember the guy's name. I was a professional writer at the time and had done some war game design and ghost writing for a wargaming company. So, one of my employers directed me to meet up with the wargame distributer in the colorado area, and when I met the guy, he had a slot car in his office! So, we talked slots and I found out that he had bought and stored a number of the tracks. AND had one of them in operation. Run by his brother in law who was living on an inheritance. THUS, the track didnt need to do much but pay its rent.
The track was hidden away in a small neighborhood "boutique" area. That is, at one time, it had been a local small town shopping area, but had declined to being a row of antique stores, boutiques and a couple small restaurants with Cinzano umbrellas over their tables. The track was 235' custom built thing with the WORST power I have ever seen. It had batteries, but the batteries were in the basement connected with a single tap at the driver panel. When you were more than 40' from the panel, the power had dropped off so much that you could not come off!
So, walked in, checked the track and the stock. Rented some time, ran one of my oldies for fun(an AMT!). Went to the track owner and asked about the program. Jim Benton looked at me and started describing his Novice program. I explained that I had been a pro since 64, and he hautily explained to me that this did not matter. They had seen pro racers but Denver, while it did not get the press, had the fastest racers in the world. I had to EARN EXPERT. I first had to win 6 Novice races in a year. Then 6 Amatuer, then 6 Semi-pro, THEN I would get to run in Expert.
OK, what are the rules? "Well, you take this Parma RTR Group 18 car and you run it Box Stock". Can I weight and reinforce? "Sure". It was called "Group 18" because it cost $18.95, it was a simple Gp15 style mass produced brass and wire frame with a single hinge and a Mura Wasp. 3/4" fronts and 7/8ths rear.
When I took the car home I was SHOCKED. The thing had been assembled out of old Associated stamped pieces from about 69. Whoever put it together had not managed to do much in the way of a good soldered joint. And NOTHING was straight.
I started with the motor(as usual, I LOVE motors). Took it completely apart and aligned the bushings, brushes, and magnets. Cleaned and polished everything and carefullly reassembled the motor. Better now. Disassembled the entire car,replaced the rusty rails with new wire. And Built the thing up straight.
Silk Purse out of a Sow's Ear time.
I show up for my first race and there are a bunch of racers. The program looked healthy. Nice people, joking and talking. Nice. So, we get down to cases on a saturday afternoon, and one guy has a Champion Group 20. GROUP 20! I ask one of the others about this. "Well, he is a buddy to the owner and gets to run a Group 20 in Novice". What, how does anyone move up to amatuer? "Don't worry, he only shows up about once a month and wins and then goes away".
Crap! OK, out of some 28 racers I am number two qualifier behind the Group 20! ARRGH. Ok, a learning experience. They were doing the "heat and move up" system where the slowest 8 race, the top 2 or 3 or 4 move up to the next field of 8 until you supposedly have the fastest few qualifiers against the fastest few racer move ups. Focus, focus.... The short version of the race is that Iran well. The others fell off a lot, being novices. The group 20 guy had a FAST car, but fell off a lot. I won by so much, that I did not actually have to run the 8th heat! The 20 was second.
After the race, they did a full tear down on the car. No one NOTICED the car was straight or the motor was straight. Jimbo decided I was a hero driver, after all. Looked me in the eye and said "I am moving you up to Expert". Oddly, the novices who were tired of this 20 guy spanking them CHEERED. Actually congragulated me. The 20 guy never showed again.
I didn't win much with the experts, the Denver crown WERE fast. Two of them ended up doing the "tour" in the 70s and 80s and being national champions.
Are you bored with the stories yet?
So, was I cheating as a novice to take a "stock rtr" and make it MORE STOCK?
NEVER bored with your stories, Prof! Keep them rolling. Make them up if necessary!
Gives an old UK club racer a little glimpse of the exotic lifestyles of the rich and famous. Well, relatively.
Hardly. All of those stories took place when I was a student, or my wife was. The last story in 1977... We had two kids living in a small two bedroom apartment.
The sub-text of my hobbies in the day was that I had to make money off them! I could not afford them otherwise!
I like to wargame, but with the cost of the wife in school full time, for instance, I went to 8 conventions a year. I would do so by painting up a bunch of Dragons and heros and the like and sell them to the D&D players. Commonly, they would would talk to me about their favorite character, and I would build and paint a fig to match for a LOT of money. So, my weekends at conventions would net me about $200 a day.
It is amazing how SWMBO can like your hobby if you bring home money from it!
In 59-63, I was the only slot racer I knew and built cars for a one lane track.
In 63, I moved from the Philippines to North Carolina (well was briefly in California in time for the Times GP), where I ran into my first 1/32 club. On base, often guys whose dad had been stationed in England. In 64, a commercial track opened locally and from there through73, most of my racing was on routed commerical tracks usually in 1/24. Usually.
Well, in late 66, the cars got suddenly NOT AT ALL SCALE. By the fall of 66, for instance, my Pro car at the time was a wire and brass inline with a modified hemi and a Pactra 66 Ferrari body(I still have the car...PdL keeps me in bodies as he does repros...THANKS PHILIPPE, I broke my last original 2 years ago). But to be competitive, the fronts were only 3/4" in diameter, and the rears 7/8ths diameter and 5/8ths wide...The minimum required by the rules.
Anyway, in 68, I was at a Pro race chatting with a friend. Not only were we using the tiny tires allowed with the rules, we were using "handling bodies". F1s that were WIDE AND FLAT(still have that car as well!).
Friend of mine looks at me and says "you know, I miss racing my old Cox cars that were scale". Well, I never did cox cars, but I USED to do scale. I said "ya, I agree. You know we could be doing 1/32 club racing for fun...there are NO non scale bits for 1/32 makes rules simple" And he replied with "I have a 4 lane Revell track". And So DID I. And we had a club!
Now all the club members were pro-racers who scratchbuilt their cars. By co-incidence, Auto World was selling off a huge stock of Atlas cars for about 3 bucks. I had money in my pocket and bought several.
I was and am no where near the good driver in my circle. But for the next sevearl years, my Atlas '65 Ferrari F1 was untouchable. UNTOUCHABLE. We were all scratchbuilders and we built some pretty exotic cars over the years trying to catch that car. I was slow on the uptake. Staring at this car. Wondering why I could not build a faster car, staring.
Sitting on the revell track. With steel rails.... Oh. Oh, I get it. The magnet is only 1/16thfrom the rail and. Oh.
AND I KEPT MY MOUTH SHUT. I was winning races and I was happy about that!
And I assumed that lot of people probably already figured it out as around the country, the people I corresponded with often remarked that they were still running Pittmans.
Anyway, in 1971, a track in Murray Utah was doing a promotional Indy Car race. The format was that you came in during the month of may and ran a qualifier. Top 8 would race with 4 alternates mostly as corner marshals.
Now, the secret of hustling pool is NOT, as in the movies, just outshooting everyone. You get hurt that way. The Secret of hustling is only being a LITTLE better than the guy thinks you are. You take his money and he thinks you were just lucky.
So, I had the 1/24 race covered my Pro Car worked. But in 71, they added in a 1/32 Indy 500 race for 500 scale miles. Some 750 laps on this track.
The track owner was LAZY. Whenever the braid lifted, instead of properling cleaning up and re-gluing the braid, he would just take a big staplegun and WHAM put a steel brad in the trouble spot to put it down. As time passed, all the corners became a solid line of steel staples through the entire corner.
So, I took my atlas frames, built a car with a hotter Pittman 196B rewind, added a Lotus 56 Indy Turbine body(in green). The pros who normally came round looking to have me build a car, looked at my Turbine and walked away. Well, one racer had no choice being "tool challenged". By the time he made up his mind, there was no time. So, I took anothe atlas, stock motor, lenghtned it to fit a second turbine body.
Oh, the WHINING (vintage). In Practice, the others are just BLAZING down the street. Commonly running hot 16d and C can motors. The "tool challenged" racer was just beside himself. Whine whine whine.
We line up for the race. Power goes on, and 8 cars explode down the straight. Well, 6 cars. The start straight was 16feet, and we were behind by 2 feet by the first corner. Bunch of people came off, and we sneaked through. The cornermarshall was so overwhelmed that the race directer killed the power, but we had already made the next straight and corner.
And the racing was fast and furious. But WE didnt come off.
I won the race. Beat my friend by 25 miles. He beat 3ed by some 50 miles.
The track never did another 1/32 indy race.
So, 25 years later, the third place guy, the guy who had first suggested doing 1/32s so many years ago was at my home track playing with cars. He saw my old Atlas Ferrari sitting there and picked it up with a smile. "ya know, this was a slick car in the day. I could never figure out why we couldn't come up with something that would run with it. I mean, it is only a KIT CAR. But nothing I cam up with would stay with it. And it is SLOW. Is this the same car?"
"So did you ever figure out why this car worked?"
"na," he said, "can't be, that race at the slot spot where you KILLED us".
"did you ever notice that Motley had used steel staples to tack down the braid in the corners?".
Silence. Silence "Oh, I am so disappointed. I thought there was something SPECIAL".
There was, I had magnitraction and no one else did.
A forum community dedicated to slot car owners and enthusiasts. Come join the discussion about collections, racing, displays, models, track layouts, styles, reviews, accessories, classifieds, and more!