SlotForum banner
1 - 20 of 299 Posts

· Pete Shepherd
Joined
·
1,693 Posts
i recently got hold of a large selection of 1960's slot car mags. i noticed while reading through that lots of the clubs ran classes for modified and standard scalextric formula juniors. this got me motivated to repaint and sort one out myself. it is a lotus 20?, i have it running well and it is on ortmann rear tyres. it is based on a car that i have seen race in vscc and hscc club racing.
i would like to see other peoples efforts, whether it be simple repaints like mine or totally modified cars. please show what you have done!

cheers
Pete





 

· Jim Moyes
Joined
·
6,521 Posts
Pete,

I think the early Lotus FJ was an 18. Could be wrong though!

At Liphook, we usually run a standard Formula Junior class about once a year. The French ones seem a little bit quicker than the UK versions. I have no idea why, as they appear identical.

Jim
 

· Registered
Joined
·
2,785 Posts
Hey scudbong,

can I just say nice one !!.

I had such standard when I was 11.5 earth years !!.

I reckon I've got a few wrecks lying about somewhere and a new motor unit !!.

Reckon I'll fish them out having seen yours !!.

thanks Chris A.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
4,591 Posts
You pulled on my heart strings there, Scud.
I loved those little sweeties... would love to get some more to play with, but havn't seen any for many, many years. Those little minilite wheels are enough to send me into a swoon.
Lovely job, and a nice reminder.
More please!
 

· Graham Windle
Joined
·
4,971 Posts
Back at the dawn of time I remember an artical in miniature auto showing some one sticking a ks mk1 in one of these .I have a body shell somewhere so maybe its time to dig it out and build some thing along these lines .
Pete can you give some details of your paint job and what paint and prep you did as I recall paint didnt stick to well to the polythene material scakex used on these and other cars of this era
 

· Pete Shepherd
Joined
·
1,693 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
i have seen similar articles in miniture auto, which is where lots of my inspiration came from. i would like to maybe put a k's or slimline motor into one of these neat little cars.
i cleaned the shell up with a sharp knife, taking away all the flash from the mold. it cuts off very easily. i made sure the body was cleaned up and left to dry over night.
i used halfords grey primer, about 2 coats. they don't take much to cover! i then used halfords for the top coat of gold, probably about 3 coats. i then used tamiya masking tape and sprayed a tamiya black for the stripe. tamiya paint is much thiner than halfords and it meant that i could give another 2 coats which covered well. there are a few chips from taking the body apart when i have had a tinker and i know what you mean about the paint not sticking, but i think this is going to be fine.

howmet we are planning on running a class for these at the southend club. the next car i am doing is a cooper. i have 4 cars which all run well but the lotus is the only repaint so far. after the cooper i would like to change the motor in another one and maybe have a modified class. they are quite easy to get hold of from swapmeets and generally cheap. the secret is to get one with a motor working because they are often knackered. glad you like it anyway.
chris i would love to see some efforts from other people so fish yours out and get it sorted!


jim do you run the cars as standard? what do you allow, new tyres etc?

so is it a lotus 20 can anyone confirm what john and i suspect?

anybody else built anything similar?

Pete
 

· Jim Moyes
Joined
·
6,521 Posts
QUOTE (scudbong @ 19 Nov 2006, 16:31) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>jim do you run the cars as standard? what do you allow, new tyres etc?

Pretty much, Pete! Tyres don't seem to be too much of a problem and are often still usable despite their age. But then we're not talking about a great deal of power


I think we've had the odd guide mod in the past. Comb tooth or electrical insulation over the pin.

Why did I think it was an 18? It's just listed as an F2 in Gillham's book, so I can't have been misled from there. Good job it wasn't a quiz question
 

· Graham Windle
Joined
·
4,971 Posts
Thanks pete I dug mine out of the shed this afternoon . Why dont you and the south end lads do an F J proxy then we can all send what ever weve managed to cobble together out of the junk box and see how they go. I have a cunning plan"mooh haa haa"(Crawls off back into the depths of the shed laughing evily)
 

· Pete Shepherd
Joined
·
1,693 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
proxy race, i like the sound of that. whether we could do it at southend is another matter. i'll speak to the important people see what they say. if anybody else has more thoughts on a proxy race, venue perhaps? i have no idea about organising this type of event so if anyone can help

graham, your cars are usually pretty quick so i am banning you, only joking. i look forward with small boy excitment to seeing what you build.
howmet i am going to the orpington swapmeet at the weekend, i can have a look for you if you like. pm me if you are interested.
jim i agree with the tyres they do seem to last quite well. i will be testing different on my track next week. i'll let you know how i get on. i have ortmanns at the mo but i have been oiling some unused originals which might be quite good.

Pete
 

· Slot King
Joined
·
4,666 Posts
I think that young Peter has struck a cord with the older generation here.
The rose tinted glasses of nostalgia have obviously made us forget how unreliable the little darlings really are.

I do like the idea of a proxy race. Our next vintage meeting will probably be too soon for that, but we should have another in the new year.
We may insist on compulsory repaints though.

I dug out all of mine, and I can confirm that I am the proud owner of a French Cooper Austin, (with "the" black motor) it was found by my brother in a rubbish dump in Brittany a few years ago.

Howmet, I have several spare cars, please PM me your address and I will put one in the post.

Joel
 

· Premium Member
Joined
·
5,559 Posts
Pete

I snapped this Lotus Formula Junior at the HSCC Summer Festival at Brands Hatch in June, it appears to be the inspiration for your repaint!!



David
 

· Premium Member
Joined
·
3,446 Posts
I ran the following article about these cars in the April 2004 issue of the NSCC Journal - may be of interest.

Norman Griffiths oversaw Scalextric production from 1964-1971. Now in his 80s, he gives us an intriguing insight into the problems he encountered when he first arrived at Havant.

Paul Strange reports

Part 3 - the Formula Junior pile-up
Until February 1964, Norman Griffiths had mainly worked on Rovex train production, but all this was about to change dramatically. He'd already had some dealings with Scalextric, including setting up the Calais factory around 1962, but nothing hinted at what was to come on the Scalextric front and the vast problems he would be asked to solve.
An unexpected phone call from one of Lines Brothers' top brass was to send him scurrying down to a hotel in Emsworth just outside Havant near Portsmouth and a meeting the following day with the managing director of Minimodels. Much to his amazement, Norman had been appointed the new general manager of Scalextric, but there was little time to celebrate. One of the reasons for his sudden appointment became crystal-clear as soon as he entered the Scalextric factory. The Formula Juniors (the C66 Cooper and C67 Lotus) were high-volume lines and the cornerstone of Scalextric's early-60s success. Much to Norman's astonishment, he discovered a mountain of returned Formula Junior sets, piled high in the repair department, and it was his job to sort it out.
"There were 30,000 returns on the Formula Juniors alone!", he says, as we chat at his home in Broadstairs, Kent. "Can you imagine - 30,000 returns! It was dreadful! In fact, I reckon for nearly every Formula Junior set they sent out, one came back! I arrived in February and the rejects from Christmas were still being stacked high in the repair department. There was no organisation whatsoever - it was diabolical. They had a big moulding shop, all the things were there that you needed, but there was poor organisation."
Norman discovered the returned sets had common faults. "The Formula Junior motor was going very badly when I arrived... it was diabolical. There was also a problem with the crown wheel being sheared from over- enthusiastic acceleration. And the original hand controller burned out repeatedly and was very, very finicky."
Norman realised that much of the motor's weakness originated in its manufacture, in particular its slim shaft. "Like the larger RX motor, the Junior motor was made in-house. The shaft was only 1/16th inch diameter, compared with 3/30th inch for the RX motor. When the motor was made, the shaft was fed into a press tool and the armature was stamped out around it and stacked up until it was completed. A tenth of a thou difference meant that the armature didn't fit, or if it was 1/10,000th inch smaller, then the shaft sheared and it was loose. I experimented with the windings on the armature. As far as I was concerned, it was just trial and error. Lots of improvements were made to the motor in this way.
"The old hand throttles were eventually ditched because they used to burn out very easily. And, initially, the new ones weren't too brilliant either! I was only involved in the original hand throttles for a short time; the original design was on the way out as I came into Scalextric. They evolved into the trigger type which was easier to manufacture."
Gradually improvements to the motor, the crown wheel and the hand throttle began to pay dividends. "It took three months to clear the initial backlog of repairs, but the proof of the pudding was that after my first year the returns of Formula Juniors began to go down."
The Formula Junior went on to become one of Scalextric's biggest sellers, and blossomed into an increased range of vehicles, such as the C72/C85 BRM, the C73/C86 Porsche 804, the C81 Cooper and the C82 Lotus. To meet the high production demand, some of the Formula Junior components were made by outside firms. "The braided pick-ups were always a problem," says Norman. "The tension on the pick-up was very important and it depended upon the manufacture of the braid. Some of them were very firm, but occasionally you'd get a batch in made of a softer braid and they'd fray more easily, and consequently you got shorting. It was very easily overcome, but when you're volume manufacturing, it was easy for slightly sub-standard braid to go through and then you've got problems on your hands with 300-400 cars going through before you know it."
They had few problems with the bodies, though. "The people we used a lot to mould the Junior body - and many other Scalextric bodies during this period - were Riverhead Tools, based at Riverhead in Kent. They'd made lot of railway bodies for us in the past and we were impressed with the detail and quality and their price, which was very good."
Apart from the braids, the body and the sintered magnet (made from steel that had been heated, powdered, compressed and had no grain in it), the bulk of the Formula Junior - including the guide assembly, gearbox and windscreen - was made in-house. Once manufactured, the drivers' heads were sent outside for painting.
"We had herds of people from the local estate and they'd come in with their shopping bags and whatnot to pick up the heads. It was too much bother to paint them in-house. Someone would take away say a thousand heads and they'd paint the helmets, goggles and all that sort of thing - the minute detail - and then they'd come back."
With many of the Formula Junior sets being sold mail-order, robust packaging was also vital to the operation. Minimodels used a local firm, Drings of Portsmouth, to design and supply this packaging. It was Drings that came up with the classic boxtop artwork, yellow cardboard interiors and chequered-flag inlay cards that are a distinctive hallmark of the early 60s sets, such as the glorious V3 Vintage Car set, the highly sought-after GK-1 Go-Kart set, and later on, the humble set 45, with the battling front-wheel drive C76 Mini Coopers. The boxes were built as tough as possible to survive the rigours of the postal service.
To test a prototype for a new set, Scalextric staff would fill the box with track, cars, hand controllers and so on, seal it up, hurl it high up in the air and allow it to crash to the ground. This extraordinary behaviour was repeated several times, then the contents of the box were inspected for damage to see what might happen to a boxed set in transit. "We were impressed with the quality of Drings' work," says Norman. "Every time we had a new set, a new design was ordered and was tested in this manner. Our own packing people tested them and I certainly had a go - gleefully! And development were always there to see what was going on. I don't recall many returns due to the boxes collapsing."
To produce a high volume model like the Formula Junior and to keep costs to a minimum, speed of manufacture was paramount. "Once all the component parts were ready, you're talking literally minutes to build a Formula Junior. We operated a flow-line - similar to the ones used in regular car factories. We would have maybe 20 girls sitting either side of a moving belt, one to put in the motor, another to put on the wheels, the body caps, and so on. At the end of the line there was a quality inspector, checking the finished products. A whole car could be completed in two to three minutes. The assembly was all done on a bonus system. It was all piecework that wouldn't be allowed today."
Having solved its teething problems, reduced the repair pile to a minimum and meeting the large production targets that his bosses required, Norman became very fond of the Formula Junior.
"I always liked the big volume cars. The other cars seemed a bit pedantic when they were going round, whereas with the Formula Junior you could smack it round the track and they were always a great deal of fun. With the steering you could manage to slew it round a corner and get quite a good skid with it. And of course when we had a competition in the family or elsewhere, I would try to make myself a motor which gave a little bit more speed - never with any certainty, may I add! Just a ten-thousandth of an inch was the difference between a good and a bad motor.
"Scalextric made a lot of money on the Formula Juniors. It was nice to be associated with that, because the car was such a pig when I first got there."

Brian
 

· Registered
Joined
·
4,591 Posts
Excellent! Thanks Brian.

The rose-tinted glasses of nostalgia don't blind me completely to the truth. The reason I don't have my FJs any more is that I impaled the first ones on a rusty screwdriver out of utter frustration... at the age of 11.
Then I got another pair and rigged up an oval in my bedroom with the throttles sellotaped so that the cars could go round and round all day, just like in the toyshop window. Guess how long they lasted.....
 

· Graham Windle
Joined
·
4,971 Posts
Pete, Joel if you want to go ahead with the proxy thing I would say for rules just an F J body shell and free choice on motor for reliability, but stipulate tyre size and type to keep some control over performance. Also I would say that any scratch build chassis should be of a rigid design no hinges or flexy points.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
5,404 Posts
The article reproduced from the NSCC journal was among the most pleasurable things I have read in my whole time with SF. Thank you so much. I hope there might be more like that to look forward to, in time.

 

· Premium Member
Joined
·
3,446 Posts
Ah you say the nicest things Tropi!

The article was the 3rd instalment of a 10 part series about Norman's time at Scalextric. It ran from February through till November 2004.

Parts 1-8 can be found in pdf format on the NSCC website: Linky

I should have put a lot more issues up on the site but haven't found any spare time lately - perhaps next year.

As far as I know Norman is still alive and well and recently celebrated his 90th birthday.

Brian
 

· Pete Shepherd
Joined
·
1,693 Posts
thanks Brian. i too found that a very interesting read. unfortunatley i am not nearly old enough to have had one of these sets first time round. set 30 though is probably the most common set that i get hold of. i have several of the boxes on my shelf!

Graham, how is the build of your FJ coming along? i will be testing mine out some more tonight, i have hopefully improved it some more.

David, that is indeed the car. as ever a neat photo from the new david friedman! the car looks nicer than i remember. is it a lotus 20? David you usually know these things.

Pete
 

· Graham Windle
Joined
·
4,971 Posts
Pete Ive only made a start on the body so far Ive cut the driver out and the motor bracket to alow a bit more room the chassis will probably be similar to my wooden lotus 18 but Im not sure yet as I have a few mini motors left so maybe I'll use one of those I think I still have a bag of the minilight wheels but I'll have to sort some tyres yet I think we should specify ortman then its the same for every one
 
1 - 20 of 299 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top