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· Russell Sheldon
2,846 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Usually I scratch build cars, which then get to be raced by proxy. This time, I did it the other way around… my cars for the Presto Park Classic were scratch built by proxy, and I get to race them!


During the early to mid-1980s, when we all lived in South Africa, Dennis Samson, Alan Seymour and myself raced competitively in the country's national championship series. This was the type of car we used to raced, circa 1982 -1983:-

They were 1/32nd 'wing' cars; all side dams and spoilers! Betta Ferrari 312P 'silhouette' bodies were almost universal. Chassis were hand-cut spring steel centre sections, with stainless steel or brass side pans. Motors were 13UO Johnson or 1-O-1 Inphinity cans with polymer cobalt magnets, turned-down Mura endbells and Pro Slot, Koford or Mura armatures.

Alan and myself were both members of the Ecurie Elite Model Racing Car Club in Durban and raced as team mates in the nationals, while Dennis was a member of our staunch rivals, Pretoria Model Car Club (PMCC), which is also multiple South African Champion Gustav Heymann's club.

During the mid-1980s I went to work in Europe and eventually ended up here in the Middle East, while Dennis went to the USA. Alan later took retirement and moved to the UK, where his children and grandchildren reside.

While Dennis has remained an active slot racer, except for a period racing R/C gas cars, Alan stopped racing completely. With nowhere to race, thanks to the internet and forums such as this, I maintained interest in the hobby as a keyboard racer and occasionally built cars for proxy races.

Alan took up the hobby again a few years back, racing 1/32nd Falcon-powered cars and when he moved to Norwich around a year or so ago, he joined the Presto Park club, where they race plastic r-t-r cars such as Scalextric,, SCX and the like.


Earlier this year, the Presto Park club decided to host a 1/32nd scale race to CSRA rules for scratch built hard-body 1970s/80s sports and GT cars, as well as a class for 1970s/80s Group 2 saloon (sedan) cars. I thought that it would be a wonderful opportunity to see Alan and this weekend, almost 30 years later, Alan and I will be racing again as team mates.

Being pushed for time, I decided to enlist the help of others to get the cars built. Of course, I wanted nothing less than the very best, so I got Chris Clark to do the bodies, Dennis Samson the chassis (Dennis actually very kindly offered to build them) and do the final assembly and testing, Jim Difalco the controllers, and Dan De Bella the armatures. At least I assembled the motors!


These are the cars we will be racing:-

1970 to 1981 over 2-litre Saloon and Touring Cars - Inline Chassis

I wanted the biggest and the widest cars eligible, so decided on these:-

SCA Road Services Group 2 Camaro, driven by Frank Gardner in the 1972 RAC British Saloon Car Championship.
Third overall.

SCA Road Services Group 2 Camaro, driven by Frank Gardner in the 1973 RAC British Saloon Car Championship.
First overall.

I sent Chris a couple of Scalextric Camaro bodies and the only pictures of the cars I could source; the two pictures above and two others. Chris is the ultimate master modeller and the transformation he made to the Scalextric bodies is almost unbelievable, with his usual impeccable attention to detail. The SCA decals were made by Dave Wisdom.

These are the finished cars:-

1968 to 1981 Sports/GT Cars

For the Sports/GT class, I thought these would be most appropriate:-

David Piper / Lucky Strike Racing Porsche 917-010, driven by Richard Attwood and Dave Charlton in the 1971 Rand Daily Mail Kyalami 9-Hour Endurance Race.
Charlton / Attwood qualified 4th but did not finish the race.

David Piper / Lucky Strike Racing Porsche 917-021, driven by Tony Adamowicz and Mario Casoni in the 1971 Rand Daily Mail Kyalami 9-Hour Endurance Race.
Adamowicz / Casoni finished 4th, having qualified 6th.

Tony Adamowicz' account of the race:-

"We were leading early on, when Clay Regazzoni crashed me intentionally in the right rear at the uphill hairpin prior the straightaway. He was frustrated that Ferrari brought their new 3 litre open cockpit cars that were no match for the big Porsches. He just wanted me out of the race. I was stuck in the pits for 20 minutes with severe electrical problems and replacement of battery damaged in the attack. He had a simple nose change in the pits. I was furious and approached Regazzoni with vigour, Mario Andretti came in between us. Anyway it is all history: Casoni and I finished fourth overall."

Once again, Chris and Dennis fully applied their amazing skills. Chris did an absolutely incredible job with the NSR bodies, including making all the decals. Dennis took a tried and proven route with the chassis design and built them to his usual impeccable Samson Classics standard.

The finished cars:-


My specially made flybe-specification flight box is packed and I'm ready to go. Flying Emirates Airline A380 to Manchester early on Friday morning, then onto Norwich by flybe Bombardier.

Many thanks to Chris Clark, Dennis Samson, Jim Difalco and Dan De Bella. Also to Gustav Heymann for making some custom controller resistor networks. Not least of all, many thanks to Mike Harvey of Presto Park, for organising the event and making our little reunion possible.

Should be fun!

With kind regards,


· Jon Grainger
3,547 Posts
Good Evening Russell,

A stunning selection of cars, and superbly put together, I for one cant wait to have a mooch round them at the weekend!
The anglewinder chassis on the 917's is something to behold in itself!

Both the Camaro and the 917 are personal favorites of mine, and coincidently I am running these models too. Your Lucky Strike 917 blows my Escuderia Nacional car in to the weeds.

Look forward to meeting you at the weekend,

· Registered
64 Posts
Mr Sheldon,

Long time follower and admirer, first time poster, (to borrow a "line" from the Radio 5 - Martin Bailey morning show)

In fact we were speaking about you, or more precisely about Air Emirates a few days ago, this was in our 2012 strategic planning session, all about "client experience" and at what point do you start "wowing" the client. According to the experts Emirates does this very well and much earlier than most, at the "decide to travel point".

But this is a slot car forum, so back to the topic. The above cars look brilliant the work done on that Scalextric body is amazing and the 917 is a firm favourite of mine, in fact I entered a similar painted car (NSR white kit) in my first ever proxy last year. Due to my rookie status the #3 & #4 was unavailable so I had to compromise. In fact anything with Gunston, Embassy or Lucky Strike works for me. There are very few better looking racing cars IMHO than a Perana with a #181 on the side, painted in the familiar orange, going through Malmesbury...however that monster Scheckter BMW 535 in Capital Radio stripes comes close.

Also a few fantasy liveries to show my allegiance:

The fine work of Mr Samson is of course no surprise. Although I did not know Dennis from his slot racing days (as a kid in the late 70"s I was a closet Scalextric racer in CPT) however I did race against him in 1/8 scale RC...his meticulous attention to detail remains in tact! In fact, I had a proxy entry race on his track only a few months ago and we exchange emails from time to time, we now both live on the West in Vancouver BC and he in California. Small world indeed.

Great to read your post and nice to see the cars, looking forward to reading about the event and more than anything a seeing few pictures.......of the A380 first class cabin. I trust the job has it perks!

Chris aka - F1Fan

"go Bokke go"...RWC 2011!

· Anthony Bartlett
4,010 Posts
Russell - superb cars as usual with names that are even better! Having driven a couple of Dennis chassis - I know how good they are and as for Chris and Gustavs work - simple outstanding!

Looking forward to seeing you again in March!!


· Russell Sheldon
2,846 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hi DJ,

I'm not familiar with the expression "flash git" but "lucky b&[email protected]" would definitely be appropriate!

Hi Chris,

Your cars look stunning! The "tobacco war" era of South African motor racing, particularly from 1968 - 1975, brings back fond memories. The Basil Green Capri Peranas were awesome and I absolutely loved the sound of the Chevy Firenza V8 Can Am, the brainchild of SA saloon car champions Basil van Rooyen and Geoff Mortimer. Yup, looking forward to my early morning shower on the Emirates A380.

Hi Anthony,

It will be great to see you again at the Presto Park International event in March. It looks like it will have a top class field, with an impressive list of entrants already. I will try my best to get Dennis to come over too and I'm sure that Alan will be there as well. Perhaps we could have a braai, weather permitting, of course!

The last time I built a 1/24th scale car was in 1970 and I'm looking forward to replicating what I built back then. We pretty much copied what the US Pros and the top UK builders were doing at the time. My heros were the USA's Bob Emott, Mike Steube, Tony P. and Howie Ursaner, and the UK's Barry Magee. Yes, I also got suckered into building sidewinders... Steube, Tony P. and Ursaner are all racing again in the Retro classes in the US, and Howie Ursaner obviously hasn't lost any of his driving skill, having won the IMCA Worlds in Barcelona this year.

There is no doubt that Chris Clark and Dennis Samson are the best there is in their respective areas of expertise. Wonderfully talented and very nice guys too.

With kind regards,


· Registered
389 Posts
Thanks Russell for the cool words... It was a pleasure working with you and Dennis. The chassis look great and based off the video i saw, the cars look like they will be a handful for your competition. Lovely work again Dennis.

Here's some extra photos of the cars.

Good luck in the race brothers

· Registered
474 Posts
Well, if Chris did not post a pic of his Lucky Strike 917 I would have!
QUOTE (Russell Sheldon @ 28 Sep 2011, 03:30) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>....and I absolutely loved the sound of the Chevy Firenza V8 Can Am...
QUOTE (F1Fan @ 27 Sep 2011, 21:29) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>...., going through Malmesbury...
Both your posts brought back some wonderful memories. Extrememely poor photographs but firstly: a combination of your comments: one of the Firenzas going through Malmesbury! Too much adrenaline + 400mm lens - tripod = shakes! Clearly a bit too much enthusiasm with the throttle there!

Marginally better shot of the "Little Chev" in the pits


· Anthony Bartlett
4,010 Posts
In the years just before I left SA - I had an Audi S2 and as the car was an import - the only person who was able to work on it was Geoff Mortimer. He was instrumental in building and developing the 'little Chevs' and still have the classic pic of him cornering Sunset on 2 wheels in the Chevy Can Am. He really is a great guy.

Sorry for Hijacking your thread Russel
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