SlotForum banner

1 - 20 of 42 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,593 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just happened on TSRF/Pdl/Dr P./Basil Fawlty's fantastic history of Champion of Chamblee via Google. I'm afraid, being a Computer illiterate, this discovery was akin to monkeys with typewriters producing Shakespeare, so I can't direct anyone there.
I wondered if the man himself (or men- so many names, so many personalities) might be able to provide a link, and raise the discussion here.

I have fond memories of the Champion/Mura battles of the 60s-70s.
The only hot motor I ever bought as a pre-built package was an Orange Picker- I loved those exotic names. Ironically I was a Mura supporter myself. Could never afford a whole one though, until one particularly beneficial Christmas, and for some reason the Orange Picker was it, rather than a Mura B or whatever. But other than that we kids were always buying bits of motors, gradually 'hopping-up' the one we had by degrees, swapping bits with mates, and the recipes that involved Arco magnets with Mura arms and so on and so on got really interesting! When things moved on to the low profile cans and the bits ceased to be interchangeable with the old 16D we started out with, serious money was needed.
But that one motor did battle for me in about four different chassis in both scales. Particularly fond memories of a 1/24 GT bodied Gulf Mirage, a 1/32 Camaro and a Side tank McLaren, and a ghost white Lola T70 GT... Zap! Pow!

Doc.... Doc- could you grace us with further comments? Anyone got the Mura story down?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,593 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Chapman!
I hope a few more folks enjoy it as much as I did- any thoughts/reminiscences/anecdotes?

And thanks Doc P., too!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
386 Posts
Hi

I did not buy a whole motor until the Bob Green "Green Can/Vulcan" was released.

One thing that is not obvious but was real if you were there was this: The magazines were not the source! That is, From 66 on, the compeition was so hot for the latest bit on the commercial scene that by the time it was reviewed in the mags, or advertised, it was all over! That is, by the time an advertisement for the "orange picker" actually appeared in a magzine, every track already had been selling them for months!

By the time a chassis idea had been developed, it had been spread person to person all over already. It was OLD news.

As an example, I had friends, "pen pals" really, all over. I was getting photos of anglewinders from Midwest racers in late 67! The so.Cal pros who were big on brass rod chassis in 66 and 67 would usually only run a given chassis ONCE. If they were factory pros, they would often, after a race, just give the frame away. I had an underage pal whose Dad was in L.A. Every few weeks visiting his dad, he would come back from So.Cal with the latest cast off frame he had talked someone out of. 3 or 4 months later, that RACE and that frame might appear in CM (or not), but by then, everyone had tried at least one copy of it!

The pace of the race was intense. New parts, new chassis ideas were happening so quickly, that your car changed race to race, week to week and a month later would not be recognizeable as the car you started with. Often, with me, I would have something become obsolete, but like the "feel". So, I would toss the thing in a box. Years later, I still have some of those cars. As play toys.

Fate
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
9,654 Posts
Ditto - I mean how many teenagers could afford one of the $10+ motors? And when I look at the import prices in the UK, I cringe....

Mostly, we scrounged old cans, plunked down $3 for a pair of Arcos, wound our own and sent it with a buck or two for balancing... For some reason, the Champions or Muras never tempted me (or I never even considered it feasible), but I did spend (or get offered?) $9.95 for a Versitec SS-101! Must have been late 1967 or early 1968... It was fast, but not super-fast, although maybe just seemed that way because it was quieter than a lot of rewinds. Anyway, at some point it slowed down, or seemed to, and I tore it down, thinking to... well not sure what: clean? rewind? But there it stayed, in pieces, of which I still have the two ball bearings, 37 years later and 10,000 kilometers away...
Don
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,455 Posts
As I posted on OWH threads the Mura and Champion stuff from the US was very pricey. A MKVII Cox controller was £7-10shillings, the Champion & Mura specials Cukuras were heading towards £15 (I might be wrong but somewhere in the mists of time £30 pounds was mentioned for a motor). The cost of Scalextric cars was £1.15shillings. Cox kits were between £7 - £8. These prices killed the sport then. What newcomer could afford to race competively with the outlay needed? I remember going to Tottenham Raceways when I was at art college in the early 1970's when the prices had risen. And buying a Tamiya King Cobra to race. It did not stand a chance.
 

·
Graham Windle
Joined
·
4,442 Posts
GT 40 I have to admit it was not untill the strap motor at £100 plus came on to the scene that I decided we need a cheaper way to go racing .At that time I was racing at bolton and we introduced what has now become BSL to the UK with the Parma flexy series This first series gave the best racing I have ever had with the chance that any one could win ,standard 16d hand out motors at every event 2 man teams lots of race time and cheap .but unfortunatly thats escaleted into the BSL circus of today and I now believe the motors have just been upgraded again ,history repeats its self
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
147 Posts
I sent off to the US for an armature advertised in car model magazine from a company called ReeTeez . I have never seen any mention of the company since my re entry into the slotting world , does anybody recognize the name ?
I remember it being quite competitive against the Mura,s and Champion,s ect.

Richard
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,148 Posts
Howmet,
I am pleased that you like the story, which is upgraded time to time. I have to finish the Mura story and will have another on other "hot" motors of the blessed 1960's. Interestingly, it has generated a lot of enthusiasm lately for old Champion products, which are now getting a bit pricey. Sorry!

The "Orange Picker" was one of the multiple versions of the Champion 525 fitted with an "upgraded" orange-color end bell and a sigle #26AWG arm. There was a special UK-only version called the "Big Louie", possibly because of Team Champion Louie Meyerowitz and his eer... portly embonpoint.

The end bell was not very good on these late-series 525 with a weird brass plate holding the bearing. The plate being screwed (both literally and figuratively) on the end bell but also being used to hold the motor on the chassis. A real mess.

I am still DESPERATELY looking for an original Champion of Europe red motor box from that period... HELP! I will trade a really nice looking white virgin with a very good mind for one of those.


QUOTE I sent off to the US for an armature advertised in car model magazine from a company called ReeTeez...

ReeTeez was Mike Reedy, still today THE motor man for the Associated R/C racing team. Seing them run in the early 1970's in Kali-Fohnia (we are getting used to Arnold), I never thought that his arms were any good... but he is a really good guy, just a bit older nowadays...
There were many rewinders at the time: Pete Zimmerman, Mike Reedy, Bill Steube, Bob Kean, Joel Montague, Dick Wittenauer just to name a few. The best? Bob Green, later of Mura fame. His arms were just absolute rockets and very reliable.
I used them until hired by Team Checkpoint, after which I was FORCED to use Bill Steube's marvellous arms. Right!


Before I moved to this very different and oh-so attractive land in which I got so lucky, I was also as you all were, an impecunious slot racer (as well as an impecunious full-size car and bike racer) in Paris, where, as in UK, slot car bits prices were HUGE. So I had to win my races the smart way: cheap Dynamic chassis, de-wound 26D that we kept from melting with various attempts in air cooling, Russkit Lotus 40 bodies... making our wheels and tires from local junk etc.
The home built brass chassis really never took off in Paris and I only dabbled with it sometimes in 1968.

Those were the days...
Dok Pea
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,509 Posts
QUOTE (GRAH1 @ 10 Nov 2004, 00:42)...but unfortunatly thats escaleted into the BSL circus of today and I now believe the motors have just been upgraded again ,history repeats its self
<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Indeed, it has now (for next year) gone up to the Hornet. The rationale? Well apparently you can now just buy one motor and after the morning session rip it out of the 1:32 car, remove the pinion, add a new pinion for your 1:24 gearing, resolder into 1:24 and be ready for the afternoon session. Yeah right....

Local opinion is strongly that the extra expense and motor prep time will kill off the BSL which is a shame as otherwise it's a great series.

Coop
 

·
Graham Windle
Joined
·
4,442 Posts
thats why I dont race em any more coop cheap and cheerfull is the way to go with flexy cars I mean who wants to be swapping motors .The original series started as an enduro and has now become a support race for the 1/32s The problem is that when the series passed out of boltons control the orginiser who will remain nameless decided to "improve " things and instead of keeping it simple introduced too many variables which only led to scaring prospective racers away .You could no longer turn up with your £25 car and be competitive you needed all the whistles and bells that go with it and also a 1/32 car to have a full days racing .
I just dont understand why people want to fix something that isnt broken ?
 

·
Russell Sheldon
Joined
·
2,855 Posts
Yes, yes, yes! Wonderful stuff, more please, Mr Pea!

And yes, I agree with GT40MKII. Unfortunately, as early as 1967 slot racing had become a veritable 'arms race', with the cars becoming increasingly sophisticated - and expensive. Manufacturers had formed their own factory teams, finding the best drivers and sponsoring them in the big races. An over-the-counter car was no longer competitive, since you now had to rewind the motor, design and build your own chassis and spend hours tuning and testing. As a result of the escalating cost and competition, it was becoming impossible to compete, and youngsters deserted the commercial raceways in droves. By 1969, there were only 50 commercial raceways left in the United States.

Back to Champion. I know that it didn't work too well, but Ed Lewis' Team Champion sidewinder chassis certainly made a huge impact on the Brits when he raced it at Tottenham in 1970. Although Lewis had won the 2nd Annual Gasparilla race with it, he only made the semi at Tottenham in England."

Barry Magee, who really should have known better, wrote this in the September 1970 issue of Model Cars magazine:-

BARRY MAGEE ON SIDEWINDERS

Speeds at Tottenham Raceway have soared in the last few months, due to one major thing - the sidewinder chassis.

At the last Open Meeting I was very impressed with the handling of Ed Lewis' cars, with their flat, grippy stability on both very tight corners and the loop, which on some lanes is almost as long as the main straight.

A week later I decided to build one for myself, in stainless steel. The finished car, which had a much-lightened Mura B can motor, weighed 4½ oz, which is full ounce lighter than my previous car. On the track, however, it seemed incredibly stable and quick down the straight, but not until I raced it did I realise that it was making up most ground coming out of the corners and going around the loop.

The reason for this is that with a straight sidewinder, you don't get the twisting effect caused by the torque reaction that you do with an inline or even an anglewinder. Both rear wheels break traction at almost the same time, which makes the "snatch" less as you come out of a corner. The "snatch" can be reduced even more because the heavier rear end tends to swing (when pushed very hard) as opposed to tipping; therefore a narrower rear track and more goop can be used. The lack of torque reaction also makes the car more stable in a straight line and it is less prone to lifting its nose.


Do you have any pics of the Lewis car for us, Doc?

For no reason at all, here's PDL's all-conquering 1973 US Nats winning "diamond" chassis:-



And a cutaway drawing of it by the man himself:-



Kind regards,

Russell
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
576 Posts
Is it really the same chassis?

The drawing shows double rods up front, whereas the photo shows some sort of solid lead/brass part.
Also the drop arm middle cutaway seems to differ.

Either "the man" couldn't draw properly.
Or he couldn't build...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,593 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I know we've been through all this before, but the best and most successful car I ever built was a Barry Magee/ Ed Lewis straight Sidewinder rip-off. I loved it. Maybe as much because of the radical and elegant design- very important to be different and 'new' back then, and the time that went into building it- as for the results it got me!

'Best' and 'Successful' you will understand are purely relative terms...
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
9,654 Posts
Howmet, you're a man after my own heart!

Sounds like you have a great slot attitude....

I have a full sidewinder I picked up at a British swap meet a couple years ago, from about this era. Body is pretty wasted, but the chassis is very nicely done, and it's got a Cukras signature arm. Runs extremely well also, although we don't really run that class of car in France. I'll have to learn how to post pictures one of these days - not to mention using our new digital camera... Trust me, it's a great looking chassis, and undoubtedly of great historical significance!
Don
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
386 Posts
Hi

1969 was still a good year for racing. The bid die off was not until 72-3. THEN it got down to about 100 raceways.

In 69, there were still 8 centers in Denver, 6 in Salt Lake, 3 in Vegas, singles in a dozen towns I would visit and "poach" on for the money within an hour's drive.

Those "B" and "C" cans were POSSIBLE because there was still a LOT of racing in the U.S.

However, in 68 or 69, or 70, if you ran a modified RTR, you would not make the "A" or "B" main. In '71, when PdL was a nationa champ, you could find races every night of the week on almost every track.

In '71, for instance, I would be in a Friday Night pro race with 40+ entries(running from 6 to 2am), 1/32 club racing saturday afternoon, Saturday Night another "local" race with 40+ entries at a different track, and Sunday Another Track with 40+. And it was PURE GAMBLING.

The entry fee would be 4 or 5 bucks, and half would go to the winner, 25% to second, 12.5 to third, and 6% to fourth! That means $100 for First in "local" weekley races. I was selling rtr pro-cars for $150-175(for them I would just throw in their choice of motor). In '71, There was a promotional race at a local track in a mall with a $5000 purse. I finished 5th! 5th ment $350(or 7 months rent on my two bedroom apartment), and a color TV(my first). And I sold 4 cars to other racers at $175 each. My "day job" only paid $80 a week!

The intensity was just CRAZY. And I did not understand the kids who would show up week after week, race after race to compete in the "D" main for nothing with their Dynamic Aluminum with a 'rewind'. When they went away, the hobby died!

My Fault(and PdL's Grin).

Fate
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,148 Posts
QUOTE Either "the man" couldn't draw properly.
Or he couldn't build...


Chapman,
really, BOTH, eh!
Truth is, they are TWO different cars. the one in the photograph is the 2-piece keyed-in spring-steel car with brass side pans that I used at the US Nationals, while the drawing shows a steel-WIRE car using a soldered-in Associated drop arm between two sets of 1/16' steel wire. The dimensions were otherwise identical and both used my 3-bearing rear axle setup. The wire car was used to win the biggest pro race of 1973, with all the big names in US pro racing watching in disbelief as the car just ran away with the race in cruise mode. I just found a picture of it so that you may see the difference:



I sold a total of 125 replicas of this wire car (with 2-bearing rear axle) and my customers won tons of local races with them, including Bernd Mobus who used one to win the Euro Championship in 1974. Indeed, I got once the funniest letter I have ever received from an apparently satisfied customer, and I ought to scan it and publish it some day...

Howmet,
The full-sidewinders built by Ed Lewis were exquisitely built, and indeed Ed won ONE local pro race (not a national) in Gasparilla with one.
However, when confronted with serious artillery from national-level pros, Ed's sidewinders could never make a main or even set any kind of decent speed to show competitiveness.
Now as an old pro, I can't really tell you why other than I think two factors worked against them: too narrow of a center section caused too much flex, and too wide of pans caused too much body tilt, confusing the dynamics, but the explanation by Barry Magee is utterly optimistic IMHO, and apparently plunged the Brits into a blind alley. Indeed, while Ed Lewis (a Champion of Chamblee employee) and the Brits used such sidewinders for nearly a full year, the other Yanks and yours truly were miles ahead in actual speed and overall performance and never bothered with full sidewinder because of practicality: too hard to build, too hard to maintain.

Indeed I still have one of these Ed Lewis cars, a late one with flat spring-steel center section and a Champion "C" can, and I was restoring it a few years back for Russell but it has been in a box, unfinished, for at least 4 years. Lack of interest on my part. I ought to finish it some day but first, I need to make myself a diamond tool to grind the back magnet for axle clearance.
Some day...

Dok Pea
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,593 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Diamond tool???? I used up a whole box of rat-tail files. Sitting in my mate Tony's garage hunched over a bench vice for two weekends.
Maybe THATS why I was so pleased with the thing when it was finished.
Stupid, stubborn, self-deluding pride. And it did run faster than anything I'd built before, but that maybe says more about the stuff I'd built before....
Thanks for the moral support, Dgersh!
 

·
Graham Windle
Joined
·
4,442 Posts
I have to go with Phillippe on this one , Sure I built full side winders but It never seemed to give any real advantage.Today I feel the smaller lighter components can help in !/32 but its not essential and an angle winder will still deliver the goods
 
1 - 20 of 42 Posts
Top