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386 Posts
Hi

Short version:Dutch socialist sees slot racing and in fact the History of the West, through the paridgm of correct thinking!

As a "culturaless American" I was facinated to realize this guy thinks that hobbies are only indulged in by the dregs, the unemployed and socially redundant.

Hay Russell, he is essentially saying you have time to collect because you are a useless drone!

I run across this sort of "analysis" every so often.

Fate
 

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2,509 Posts
There's an even better one on that site somewhere, in which JPVR goes on to use mathematics equations to prove that.. wait for it.... the war in Iraq is wrong! And you didn't read that wrong - he really does do some complicated maths on it...

JPVR's site is cult reading in our club, entirely for amusement factor but it is worth a look at the lovely 1:24 slot cars.

Coop
 

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Premium Member
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5,147 Posts
As one of the 56 millions of dumb Americans, I read that tripe with a mix of amusement and bewilderment. That is, I gave up on page 2 because I have better things to do.
I of course noted that "cousin Jean Pierre Roos" must have been raised in the same asylum at JPVR.

If only ANYTHING in there could have even been close to accurate, it could have been a worthwhile reading. But JPVR just makes them up as needed, as usual.
Regards,

Dok
 

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Rob
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3,430 Posts
I must admit that I didn't read the entire article, a couple of pages was more than enough for me. It comes over as a pseudo-academic, snobbish rant.

And he wrote this in a slot-car magazine and wondered why it didn't sell?!!

Rob
 

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2,457 Posts
I saw this thread when it first arrived, but couldn't be arsed to read the article.

Much better to let you lot do it and tell me if it's worth reading!

With this much controversy, I might give it a flick through later.

McLaren
 

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Premium Member
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Eh Mac, let us know what you find out, and your summary must be less than 3 pages, eh!
Also leave the BBC politiks out of it, we already know that we are a bunch of dumb arses.

 

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Russell Sheldon
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2,855 Posts
Here's an abridged, edited version just for Mac:-

A Brief History of Slot Car Racing

Although the origins of electric model cars can be traced back to the turn of the 20th century, it is generally accepted that slot car racing is a direct descendent of rail racing, which was popular from the mid to late 1950s.

According to Richard Dempewolff's Table-Top Car Racing, the first model electric racing cars started to whiz around table-top tracks in England shortly after World War II.

D.J. Laidlaw-Dickson, editor of Model Maker magazine, credits Geoffrey Deason as the founder of rail-racing, which led directly to slot racing as we know it today. Deason wrote an article for Model Maker in 1948, suggesting that battery-driven cars could be raced on small indoor tracks guided by wooden rails. The idea appears to have been an adaptation of the king-size outdoor tracks long used in England and the USA (where they originated) for racing diesel and gasoline engine cars. These big cars, built to a scale of 1/18th to 1/16th, ran largely uncontrolled on sprawling tracks, held on a rail by a pair of spool-shaped devices known as 'zonkers'.

Late in 1954, one reader wrote to Model Maker to say that he had installed an electric motor in a wind-up toy car that ran on a slightly raised rail, from which it picked up current. A second rail, flush with the track surface, provided the negative current. Brass shim-stock was used for pick-ups beneath the chassis and a rheostat controlled the speed. A single shoe-type guide, attached to the chassis, guided the car along the raised rail but allowed it to slide and even leave the track if driven too quickly.

Refining the theme using HO scale electric train motors and 12 volt car batteries for track power, a group of British hobbyists from the Southport Model Engineering Society built a six-lane track with a 60 ft. lap length. The guide-rail was made using HO scale train track. In the same year, the Southport club held it's first Grand Prix, with some 30 cars entered. This event was reported in detail in Model Maker magazine and table-top racing took off in England in a big way. Early in 1955, a group in Kalamazoo, Michigan, formed the Model Automobile Racing Association (MARA) and built a track and cars to conform to the 'Southport Standards'. In 1956, MARA mailed four cars to Southport, to be raced by proxy in the Southport Grand Prix. The cars took second and fourth place in the event, the first officially recorded 'proxy race'.

On the 20th of August 2000, history was re-created in the Chequered Flag room of the Brooklands Motosport and Aviation Museum in England, when a series of 1/32nd scale memorial rail races were held to commemorate the first rail race held at Southport. The event was organised by Jeff Davies, who also constructed the track, a replica of the Southport circuit. I'm honoured that Jeff had asked me to restore an original Walkden Fisher-built chassis for this event, which I'm pleased to say won both the races it competed in. It's quite sobering when you think about the fact that when Mr. Fisher originally built this car, around 1955, the Mercedes W196 was the latest Grand Prix car at the time. I must say just how impressed I was by the craftsmanship of the original chassis. When one considers the materials and tools available in 1955/56, it puts it into an even more impressive perspective.

The Rise, Fall and Re-emergence of Slot Car Racing

Although the origins of slot racing can be traced back to before World War II, slot car home racing systems only started to become popular in 1957, when a small British company, Minimodels Ltd, unveiled a commercially available slot car home racing system at the Harrogate toy fair, under the product name Scalextric (Scalex - electric). Having a recessed slot with electrical contacts on either side, the system looked far more realistic than the protruding rails of the rail racing tracks. Orders flooded in, outstripping the company's production capacity so much, that in November 1958 Minimodels sold out to the Tri-ang group, a company with larger resources. Tri-ang quickly introduced many improvements and additions; the variable speed hand throttle replacing the original 'dapper' type controller and the track was changed from rubber to polyethylene.

Scalextric proved immensely successful both in Britain and abroad, and other manufacturers soon climbed on the bandwagon. Within a short space of time, British companies such as VIP, Wrenn, SRM and Airfix introduced their own slot racing systems, and in America manufacturers such as Aurora, Strombecker, A.C. Gilbert and Eldon produced theirs. In Europe, manufacturers included Miniamil, Circuit 24 and Jouef in France, and Faller, Fleischman and Carrera in Germany.

By 1963/64, slot car racing had become so popular that it fast became big business. You even had Jim Clark appearing in advertisements for Scalextric, while Jouef had Alain Delon and Aurora featured Stirling Moss. During this period, Aurora, for example, sold some 2 million slot racing sets and over 12 million cars.

The hobby side of the industry was also booming, with the first national association, the ECRA (Electric Car Racing Association), being formed in Britain in 1963. At the end of that year, Revell came out with the first mass-produced low-price, high-quality slot racing car kit, soon followed by Monogram, K&B, MPC, AMT, Cox, Atlas and others. The Japanese toy and hobby manufacturers were quick to follow suite, with companies such as Tamiya, Tokyo Plamo, Marusan, etc. producing cars and sets.

The popularity of the hobby was fuelled by the amazing growth of commercial raceway centres, particularly in the USA. The first ones probably sprung up around 1961 (in either California, Texas or Chicago, depending on who tells the story). The race was on, and new owners soon opened up luxurious slot car racing emporiums, some of them featuring up to seven professionally-manufactured 8-lane tracks, some over 100 meters (300 ft) long, with 80-degree banks at the end of 17 meter (50 ft.) straights. By 1966, there were some 3,000 commercial raceways in the United States and over 200 in Europe. They sold the latest cars, controllers and parts to hordes of enthusiasts, resulting in the slot racing industry generating annual sales in excess of $500 million for three years in a row.

In addition to established hobby brands such as Revell, Monogram and Cox, more specialised companies like Russkit, Dynamic, Classic, Champion and Mura emerged to ride the crest of the wave and gave rise to professional slot car racing. In the United States, the American Model Car Racing Congress announced a contest with $100,000 in prizes, and Strombecker organised a nation-wide contest for young drivers, with the grand prize being a trip to Paris. In Paris, meanwhile, a major competition at the Palais Berlitz racing centre in 1966 attracted an incredible 10,240 drivers - all vying for the first prize of a real Matra Jet motorcar.

Slot racing at commercial centres had reached its pinnacle in 1966. Unfortunately, as early as 1967, the bubble began to burst. It had become a veritable 'arms race', with the cars becoming increasingly sophisticated - and expensive. Manufacturers formed their own factory teams, finding the best young 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 using brass tube and piano wire, 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.

Fortunately, many slot racing clubs around the world survived and Scalextric continued to produce home racing sets and cars, but the halcyon days of the mid 1960s had slipped into oblivion. The early 1990s saw the beginning of a revival, particularly in home set racing, thanks mainly to a new Spanish manufacturer, Ninco, who began producing cars and later sets of far superior quality than Scalextric' offerings at the time, which had started to take on a 'toy-ish' feel. By the mid 1990s another Spanish manufacturer, Fly Model Car, upped the game even further when they introduced cars with an exceptional level of detail. This impetus gave rise to a mini-boom in commercial raceway centres, particularly in the USA. On the home racing front, the hobby is currently experiencing good growth, with Scalextric again producing top quality and innovative products, along with Carrera, SCX, Revell-Monogram and a host of smaller manufacturers all producing excellent models, the most notable being Italy's Slot.it.

Kind regards

Russell
 

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Anthony Bartlett
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3,255 Posts
Great summary Russell - BUT - way too much fact and not nearly as opinionated to reflect the original


Couple of the comments though started a train of thought (that is dangerous but here goes anyway
) - " the boom of the nineties" - what boom??? does 10,000 cars per release by the current manufacturers ( Fly have been around now for nearly 10 years and have only now hit 3 million) - compare with 12 MILLION sold by Strombecker in a far shorter time period - I mean even 1 or 2 of the Cox models sold millions...... so was the 90's resurgence a boom? Or merely a bubble or pinhead compared to the sixties? I think maybe we have lost perspective as the word 'boom' is often used in conjunction with 90's slot cars....
 

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Russell Sheldon
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2,855 Posts
I'd agree with that, Anthony. In terms of production volumes, the resurgence of interest in slot car racing in the 90s can hardly be called a "boom", when compared to the 60s -- hence my description "the early 1990s saw the beginning of a revival".

Warehouses full of the stuff made in the 1960s have however been found (as JPvR would no doubt say, unlike Iraq's reputed WMD) and I'd hazard a guess that demand and supply is better managed these days. I think that early model announcements and pre-ordering helps the manufactures in gauging demand a great deal.

Digital, I believe, will add a whole new dimension and hopefully we can really talk about a "boom" a year or so from now.

Kind regards,

Russell
 

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Beppe Giannini
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1,696 Posts
Hazard indeed, Russell !! Those things are dangerous and cannot be allowed to fall into the hands of wahabites like Edo who dream of a "thingie" revival - we should call in U.N. inspectors and have them sealed in a salt mine


"Digital, I believe, will add a whole new dimension and hopefully we can really talk about a "boom" a year or so from now"

Precisely - and you know there will be an Emirates Open in Dubai (music score from High Noon)

Ciao

Beppe
 

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447 Posts
Hah !! So JPVR is still around. I had managed to forget the spectacularly bizarre events that seem to follow JP throughout his involvement with slot racing. Happy days indeed to know there is still controversy to enjoy.

I was involved in the IMCA Worlds in Chicago for two years, and wrote several articles for the magazine. Certainly an experience to remember !! I actually look back on it quite fondly, and have to shake myself to believe some of the things that happened were for real.

Similarly with the fated excursion into F1 with Onyx that followed the worlds events, more happy days and nostalgia. Lets face it, the world (and slot racing) NEEDS characters like JPVR or we would all degenerate into blandness.

When reading the parts of the articles that I could load up, I was amused by the reasons for circulation figures at the time the magazine was handed over to Andy Smith, as I was involved with both the mag and Andy at that time. There is another issue of the mag that is hard to find now, as copies were ordered to be destroyed. I was also involved in the ensuing court case, and thereby hangs another very interesting tale..................

Happy days indeed !!
 

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Alan Tadd
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4,030 Posts
Ummmm....Russell any idea where i might find one of these warehouses?.....Just a casual question naturally.

Regards

Alan
 

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Premium Member
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Sorry to interfere for a moment in this thread but democracy is at great risk:

Beppe (Xlot):
in a democratic society "Thingies wahabites" should be integrated and welcomed.
Now as our religion prescribes it you'll be punished with a neverending Thingie thread.
Better yet: I throw you a Thingie fatwa, so as soon as your sacrilegious digital track is ready my many brothers (howmet and all) and I shall come and race all our Thingies on it ad eternam

Best regards
Edo
 
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