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Collect and race Strombecker primarily, but have other makes, too.
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
The name's Andre Ming. I live in eastern OK of all places.

I think I remember being registered here at Slot Forum eons ago using my moniker LAMing. However, that was so long ago my old email address for the password reset email went to to a defunct email account! SO, I had to start over and "OkieLand Slotter" it is.

Like most here I suspect, I was into home set racing in a major way pretty much throughout the 60s and into the early 70s. My first set was for Christmas of '63 (I was 11 years old at the time) that my kind folks picked up at Montgomery Wards. Here's a page from the catalog depicting the exact set (set "A") I had:

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I dearly loved that set and played it to death within a couple years. For Christmas of '66 I received a truly HUGE Strombecker set with the aluminum 3-pin frames w/open can motors (a red Ferrari Dino coupe' and a blue Chevy Cheetah). There were no frills or gimmick tracks in the set my folks obtained from Western Auto (of all places!) just standard curves and straights. BUT, it was truly huge. I recall it had something like 22 curve and 35 straight track sections!

As SOON as the Christmas Eve festivities were completed, I wrestled that large box down the stairs to the down stair den, set it up exactly like the advertisement illustration (diagram was included in the set) and my new older brother-in-law (he was at least 19 years old!) and I raced until 4 AM! The entire down stair den smelled of ozone! Such wonderful home set memories.

I didn't really do a lot of commercial track running, though I did have a handful of 1/24th cars for that, mainly American "Nascar" stock cars of the era. (I was quite the fan of Nascar at the time.)

My home set racing begin to fade away in the early 70s, but it did survive into marriage and the new wife and I raced some. Mid-70s I eventually traded all the leftover slot stuff for set of headers for a small-block powered hot rod I was building at the time.

That was it for me and slots. Tried again with 1/32 in the early 1980s, but availability of decent cars/etc was pretty much non-existent and the Bachman "Supertrax" cars were awful. So to, trying to run wide, ugly "Womp" cars on Strombecker (Bachmann) track. Tried HO scale, but compared to my memories of the handling of the home set 1/32 cars, HO was an absolute bust for me.

That was it until about 1990 when I discovered the "Scale Auto Racing News" newsletter via a model magazine ad. I joined up and discovered therein that there was a niche hobby: Vintage collecting and trading. WOW! I was BACK!

Using the SARN newsletter, I began to gather up vintage Strombecker track, cars, accessories, parts, and such. During that time I even discovered that one of my old R/C car racing friends had installed an old commercial slot track in his R/C shop! From him I learned that the later model Strombecker (plastic 3-pin chassis w/"Peanut" can motors) NOS cars were STILL AVAILABLE. I stocked up buying multiples of what was available. Individual models were raced, and the duplicates were used to provide their entire chassis under vintage Strombecker 3-pin cars that were not part of the French (Canada?) Strombecker entity. My interests spread to Revell cars and track, Monogram cars, Aurora, on and on.

At the time I was a pastor at a rural church that had a decent sized "fellowship hall". Oft times we (family) would declare Thursday or Friday (or both) to be "Race Night". I would use a two-wheeled dolly to cart the boxes of the track of choice (either Strombecker or Revell) over to the fellowship hall, along with boxes of cars. I would shove together several 8' folding tables, and thereon and set up huge racing circuits (sometimes with 21' straights!).

While the daughter and I were setting up the track and cars, the wife would go get a Pizza Hut "Big Foot" pizza, and the wife, daughter, and I would eat pizza and race until bedtime! We did this off and on for several months. It was great!

However, by the end of the 1990s, I had burned-out the girls, and thus I had no one to race with. At the time, that caused me to eventually make the fateful decision to liquidate the seldom used slots, and that was that. Via the new email slot list I had become a part of several years prior, the liquidation was like a feeding frenzy of piranha's! Within 24-48 hours 99% of my stuff was cleaned out!!

Dear me, this is getting entirely too long and tedious for you to read. :oops:

I'll return in a bit and conclude this, along with where I'm at today with slot cars.

All fer now!

Andre Ming aka "OkieLand Slotter"

EDIT: Typos and other ineptitude's.
 

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Collect and race Strombecker primarily, but have other makes, too.
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
So that was that for slots until the early 2000's when I tried this Ninco set:

279947


Hated it. Track was way too abrasive. The cars, of course, stuck like magnets. It was like racing a large HO set. I might have set it up twice? The set went up into the attic. (I eventually offered it via a slot forum priced so low I figured in would sell. It did.)

A year or so later I heard about digital. After doing some homework I decided to give it a try with a Carerra COT Nascar set that Carerra was offering at the time. Hm. This digital thing had potential. Using a ghost car, or cars, I could actually devise ways to race against myself. Plus, if I kept it a simple oval and went with a dirt track theme.... it just might fit the dining room table.

SO, I began to pick up a few Carerra D132 stock cars. Plus, I bought all sorts of bodies that I intended to adapt to Carerra D132 stock car chassis'. My "dirt track" theme seemed to have promise, and I did seem to enjoy piddling and diddling with car projects.

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Shucks, I even had the idea to resurrect an old concept I developed as a kid with my Strombecker long frame and K&B chassis: Paper shells for crash damage! Turned out that paper cars were great for representing dirt cars. (Back then, actual dirt cars lived a rough live and started looking pretty beat up by the end of a season! Still that way today within some of the classes that race dirt.) Anyway, with the advent of computers, I could take my paper car concept way past what I was capable of doing back as a lad. Here's a cut and assemble template I found on the internet somewhere that I downloaded, printed, and assembled. It used a modified Carerra D132 COT chassis:

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And here's an early experiment using the above template:

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SO, I continued to putt along occasionally messing with cars.

Interesting point No. 1: I never finished ONE car project. Not one. All my project cars sat about in various stages of completion, but none had reached completion.

Interesting point No 2: Aside from the initial setting up of the Carerra COT Nascar set a couple time, I never set up a D132 oval in spite of having the needed radius curves and straights, along with all the needed aprons. Not once.

Hm. This dirt oval idea doesn't seem to be panning out. Though the dirt oval idea seemed like a great idea... I just wasn't making meaningful progress, nor did I seem to have sufficient motivation to actually set up the track and run cars.

Instead, my slot car day dreaming had evolved toward a direction that sort of caught me off guard.

However, that's a story best told in it's own installment.

All fer now!

Andre
aka OkieLand Slotter
 

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Welcome Andre, that's a great story, and seems to be unique in the annals of slot racing! The paper bodies are great. Have you found any fellow enthusiasts in OK? I've corresponded with a fellow vintage enthusiast in Broken Arrow...

You have some very precise memories of things that happened long ago. Did you grow up in OK? Why didn't the 1/24 commercial racing grab your interest more? I'm curious because I had pretty much the same path, but started with Eldon, then Aurora HO, and transitioned from home, mostly HO and a bit of 1/32 racing, to 1/24 commercial racing in a fairly big way - after that, the home racing didn't interest me that much. (When I rediscovered slots in 1992, I did "modern" slot racing (Parma, etc.) for about 10 or 15 years, but only do vintage these days - there's a relatively active vintage scene in Europe)

When you mention Scale Auto Racing News as a newsletter, I wonder if you don't mean Vintage Slot Racing Newsletter - VSRN? That was a real newsletter dedicated to vintage slots, but SARN was a magazine published by John Ford that covered all scales, but more on the 1/24 commercial racing scene, and it didn't have much in the way of classified ads.

Welcome back to SF!
Don
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hi y'all! Thanks for taking the time to add a reply! Lessee' what 'cha said...

Steve:

Thanks! I'm sure my paper car efforts back then were pretty crude, but I remember making such things as paper bumpers, and some involved bends to reflect the Nascar's of the '63/'64 era. By the mid-sixties I had migrated to dirt cars on account of the way dirt cars were beat up. Made some fun stuff with paper back then. I may find myself piddling with paper bodies again, this time with the help of a computer. It IS fun to have a crash and the car body suffers for it!

Don:

Thanks for the questions and interest! Let's see if I can make up some answers! :p

* ...that's a great story, and seems to be unique in the annals of slot racing!

Well, I'm definitely "odd", if that's what you mean. :D

* ...The paper bodies...

Thanks. Aside from slab/flat surfaced cars like contemporary Modified's or "Late Models", paper bodies tend to be bit crude, but you don't want to sink a lot of time into a body that truly is going to eventually (and sometimes quickly) get so beat up it needs to be replaced.

* Have you found any fellow enthusiasts in OK?

No. But, frankly, I haven't looked. I'm quite the loner type, and have been all my life. I enjoyed racing with my family (and could still enjoy that), but I get to control the rules, if you know what I mean. Parity among the cars is important to me. All-out racing (the never ending quest to build lightning-quick cars) wore thin back as a lad.

* You have some very precise memories of things that happened long ago.

I'm a bit OCD (the wife would say a lot :) ), so I remember some things really well. I also think that my nature (loner) and things of interest (very "hobbies" and "toy" oriented) contribute to the retention of some of my memories. Toys and hobbies have been a huge part of my life ever since I can remember, so a lot of my childhood memories are centered around them. The OCD part helps me to remember details.

* Did you grow up in OK?

No, actually I was born/raised in the Kansas City area. However, by January of '69, my parents had decided to get back to their roots (Arkansas) and sold the very successful supermarket they owned in North KC, and purchased a 90 acre farm atop "Black Jack Ridge" near Abbott, AR: Population 12 souls and three blue-tick hounds :p. Our closet neighbor was a 1/2 mile away! I was 16 years of age at the time, but it took maybe 1-2 weeks for me to absolutely love country living. In the late 1970s, the wife and I ended up in the Arklahoma region and we've pretty much lived in the Arklahoma region ever since. We love it.

* Why didn't the 1/24 commercial racing grab your interest more?

Boy, you ask thought-provoking questions! Lemme' think on that a sec. :unsure:

Okay, I think it was a combination of things, but the biggest was probably the inconvenience. (I had to wait until my mom, or dad, was going to the shopping mall that contained the slot track.) Also, I just didn't enjoy it like I enjoyed my solitary time in the down stairs den racing and tinkering with my 1/32 home set stuff. For some odd reason, "structured" racing of slot cars never appealed to me. No wonder you said my story is "unique" among the annals of slotdom!

The path you've taken is probably more well trodden than mine.You are correct, my "things" that make me want to be in slotting aren't the norm.

I'm somewhat envious of your situation in the Europe in regards to vintage and home-set racing. On YouTube I see a lot of very nicely detailed tracks from Europe. I also envy the vintage Scalextric presence there seems to be in Europe, the UK especially! Yes, I am getting keenly interested in vintage Scalextric, but that will belong to be elaborated upon in my last "Hello" installment.

* When you mention Scale Auto Racing News as a newsletter, I wonder if you don't mean Vintage Slot Racing Newsletter - VSRN?

CLICK! You just jogged a memory file! It was through SARN that I learned of VSRN!!! And VSRN was where I made contact with several vintage enthusiasts and started trading/collecting vintage cars! Many of us VSRN'ers migrated to an email list back in the very early 1990s. I don't remember names, but I remember locations, and one fine couple in Australia in particular ended up corresponding with us (wife and I) for a time, even after my involvement in VSRN. The Aussie's Mrs name was "Rose". (I remember that because that's my wife's middle name!) They were a wonderful couple and we enjoyed corresponding with them.

Thanks Don for your very thought-provoking input and questions. I've enjoyed pondering them and providing answers.

All:

I'll see if I can wrap up this "Hello" thing I've got going on sometime today or tomorrow, and then get about the business of getting caught up on what's going on within my areas of interest within slotting.

I'm pretty sure I've distilled my "Givens n' Druthers" concerning what gives me my best gits n' shiggles in slotting, and that's where I'll be staying within slotting for the foreseeable future.

Cheers!

Andre
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
TODAY...

Which brings me to where I'm at with slots today.

The "digital dirt track" idea simply fizzled out. No denying that. Oddly, though, amid the "digital dirt track oval" idea life span, what really began to grow within me was an increasing fascination and appreciation for the racing cars of the 1950s up to the mid-1960s. Love those cars, and really loved the racing scenes from that era. During my attempt at my "digital dirt track oval" concept, Ninco was releasing their Porsche 356 series of cars, and other mfg'ers were releasing superb looking cars that fit that era... all analog. (Carerra made precious few such cars in D132 at the time, if any.)

SO... the "digital dirt track oval" theme died, and that meant slots were dead to me again.

Over the recent slot-less years, I distilled a primary reason for my 1990s departure from vintage-type home setting into one word: Complexity.

It simply got too big and too complex. I had boxes upon boxes of Strombecker and Revell track, dozens and dozens of cars, etc. My cars of interest were far flung and spanned various genres, including converted statics/etc. I had more projects than I could manage, but was still acquiring more. (Sound familiar?) Concurrent with this, setting up a track for a night of family racing (or car and track testing) in the church fellowship hall was getting to be a really big deal, which eventually it turned into a really big ordeal, which eventually drove the "H" factor up the scale past the "F" factor. (i.e. The "Hassle" factor soars up past the "Fun" factor. When that happens, any of my hobby interests get into serious trouble.) Plus, I learned that large, expansive, circuits means de-slotting becomes an ever increasing annoyance.

COMPLEXITY is what happened to me and slotting with a vintage emphasis during the 1990s. Then my "digital dirt track oval" idea joined it at the cemetery. I was unintentionally making things too complicated.

But the fascination with the cars of the 1950s - mid '60s kept growing. (You can thank YouTube videos of the Goodwood Revival for part of that!) Plus, during these past few slot-less years, I also came to the realization that the most fun I've had in slotting have been found in vintage cars and vintage home set type racing.

For example, I used to thoroughly enjoy restoring vintage cars as well as simply dabbling with them. Racing with the girls (wife and daughter) was frosting on the cake (and provided wonderful family experiences/memories)... but the act of racing wasn't as etched into my memory files as much as the fiddling with the cars. Even the solo running of vintage cars was enjoyable... and relaxing.

So this got me to thinking:

* What if I intentionally make the conscious decision to keep this simple? That is, my slot racing hobby to NOT be dependent upon a digital slot system, NO digital lap counting, NO wireless throttles, No compatibility issues, etc, etc.

* What if I returned to the aspect of slotting that I seemed to enjoy the most? That is, allow myself to get back into true vintage slot cars with ANALOG being my primary emphasis?

* What if I determined that whatever I do for a circuit MUST either fit the largish-dining room table OR a lightweight center folding 8' table that can be stored compactly?

* What if I made my established affection for the racing cars and racing scene of the 50s - mid 60s the primary emphasis?

And THE ABOVE is what I've decided to do.

Over the past few weeks, I've re-entered the hobby, but with a "simplicity" emphasis. I've also decided that the vast bulk of my purchases will cater to my 50s - mid 60s interest, this will include any scenic props that may be added along the way.

I've already purchased a couple of vintage Strombecker sets...

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I already have the set cars refurbished and waiting for my tire order to arrive. Here's the cars from my first set:

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And here's the cars from my second set (I have a parts car on the way that will supply the missing headlight lens for the Testa Rosa!):

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In addition, our decent-sized dining table can host small circuits that I can enjoy while seated and REACH the cars while seated when they de-slot! Here's a basic Strombecker oval set up on the dining table:

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I've also been purchasing true vintage (such as the NIB Strombecker Corvette pictured below) and vintage-type models (such as more recent Carerra cars pictured below) so I can have a good selection of 50s - mid 60s cars to pick and choose from:

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AND... after doing some home work, even though my sentimental favorite for true-vintage stuff is select Strombecker cars and track... I have decided that the Scalextric Sport track system offers far more versatility than Strombecker AND it's currently in production! Thus, I have the following "start here" track package headed my way:

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Thus far I'm very comfortable with my "Givens n' Druthers" for my re-entry into slotting, and I fully expect such will reward me with a (remaining) life-long involvement of simple dabbling and enjoying my highly evolved "thing" with slot cars.

I'm very hopeful that my 50s - mid 60s era span will help guide the overwhelming bulk of my car purchases, and my commitment to "Simplicity" will keep the "Hassle" factor at bay.

I'm looking forward to enjoying my remaining years of retirement with slot cars sharing a part of my "hobby circle" that I indulge in as mood and energy incline! (And right now I'm definitely in a "Slot Car" mode!)

OH... and my vintage interests seems to be expanding to include select Scalextric true-vintage cars... but that's another story for another time!

All fer now! I shall see you over at the "Vintage" forum here at SF!

Andre
 

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Thanks Andre, very well explained indeed!

I can identify with some of that, but I also like the competition part of it, and the "friendly competition" of many of our vintage meetings (altho there's always a few guys who get carried away to win a plastic trophy...). I like racing against people, not so much by myself.

When you say,
I had more projects than I could manage, but was still acquiring more. (Sound familiar?)
That sounds REALLY familiar - I'm up to 2,000+ cars and haven't been able to keep track of them in awhile, but still keep buying... However, if I wasn't able to run them in competition once in awhile, I'd probably lose interest. And I quickly get tired of running on a small figure 8 (partly because it doesn't really help preduct performance on a large wood track), altho now that we have a few neighbor's kids coming around our apartment, I'll try to set one up occasionally.

Carry on sir, looking forward to the next installment.

Don
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hi again Don!

Competition...

I understand about the competition part. Some personality types really need the competition aspect as an additive to their interest in something. For example, I've been an off road motorcyclist for over 50 years now. Early on I started racing motocross, which was a common path at the time. Anyway, after a summer of motocross racing I discovered trail riding. The personal enjoyment I found in trail riding so far surpassed what I found in competition that I never raced a motocross race again. Similar to my slotting, at least 90% of my riding has been solo riding.

Too many projects...

LOL! Well, what I intend to do, and what actually unfolds over the coming years remains to be seen!

Yes, a simple figure eight will get a bit tiring if it's day after day. That's one of the reasons I have embraced the Scalextric Sport track system: Given the hairpins curves and such that Scalextric offers, I should be able to do a bit more than just a simplistic figure eight. However, by necessity, the table top circuits will be small.

Also, I'm considering this table as a means to offer the ability to have a larger circuit for times the family may want to be a part of the fun:


In fact, two of the above tables could hold very fun circuits for racing with my daughter and son-in-law, along with the grand daughter the soon-to-be new grandson-in-law. Such tables can easily be set up in the garage for some racing on select evenings/days when they visit. The storage "footprint" of the above tables when folded is very small and I will easily be able to find room to store a pair of them out in the garage. However, all this in good time. My current approach is going to suffice for the foreseeable future.

Carry on...

I shall and thank you for the well wishes! I've started my migration over to the "Vintage" forum here at SF with my first post to that forum. I'm sure I'll have LOTS of questions to ask over at the Vintage section because of my Scalextric track choice as well as my growing interest in vintage Scalextric. I find a lot of charm and quaintness in several of the Scalextric cars released in the 60s! I'm going to have to have me some eventually.

Andre
 
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