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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Amongst the artists who built cars with plate brass, piano wire, a dremel and a soldering iron in the 70's and early 80's, Steve Walker stood out because his cars were so neat and so fast (especially in his hands), resulting in 10 UK national championships between 1976 and 1981 (plus 4 Constructors Titles) including a clean sweep of all 3 classes in 1981, following which he retired.

Virtually no information about these iconic cars is available online, apart from this item on Chris Frost's excellent slot web site; http://uk.geocities.com/slot_racing/historic/nats/82nat3.htm

Hopefully, all that is about to change. Speaking to Steve last weekend, he still has the 1981 title winners and is proposing restoring them to running condition, possibly even making some copies if interest exists. He still has his tools and various bits of kit. Indeed, he spent some years restoring and rebuilding 1960's US kit cars (Monogram, Cox, Revell etc) after he retired, some of which he still has and which have been know to appear on ebay - I'm looking forward to seeing these as I bet the standard is impeccable.

So watch this space and I will publish as and when the material becomes available.
 

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Great, Stan, it would be really good to see these.

His cars were exquisite, 1/32 versions of the 1/24 state of the art of the time. By chance I picked up one of Graham Sampson's Timaru club cars of the same era in very nearly new condition a couple of years ago - I'll post a picture after the weekend's national festivities at Newbury are over, as an appetiser!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
An Afternoon with Steve Walker

I spent a very pleasant afternoon with Steve Walker, lots of memories and stories about slot racing in the 70's and early 80's.

Steve still has a workshop and all the tools, not to mention a large amount of spares and various bits of kit, and is just starting to get interested in building cars again. I knew of Steve the super fast slot racer but what I didn't know was just how interested he is in scale models as well, particularly the 1960's US kits of which he has a fair number of parts, including chassis, bodies and motors, which are gradually being rebuilt into running models, often with some Walker inspired modification.

Steve at his workbench (all very neat and tidy in typical Walker style) with the 1981 National champioship winning Saloon (now how can you guess that he is a Lotus fan?)



I also didn't know that Steve started slot racing with his father, Ron Walker. Originally they went to the Curzon Club in Barking, Essex, later to the track at the Wall Models shop in East Ham. These are two examples of Ron Walker built cars from that era (mid 60's) in 1/32 and 1/24 scale



Steve's greatest victory was the clean sweep of all three classes at the 1981 National Championships. The 10ft wheelbase Dodge Daytona Saloon, the 6 wheel Tyrrel F1 and the Can Am Shadow Sports car were beautifully built examples of the art of chassis building from that era and 28 years later, here they are, not quite as they left the 1981 Nationals, as Steve did use them a few times subsequently, but very close.

Firstly, the Dodge Daytona Saloon





Notice the little yellow sleeves acting as an additional up stop on the pans



Notice the locking mechanism (with removable piano wire pin) immediately behind the front axle. This was to lock the movement between the pans, front wheels and the 'drop' guide so that it ran just as a 'board' chasses rather than an Iso Fulcrum. Steve says that he preferred the car with this set up on smooth flat tracks.





Now the Tyrrel 6 Wheeler. Steve felt that the extra pair of wheels at the front made these much more stable that ordinary 4 wheel models.











Finally, the Nationals winning Sports Car from 1981 (minus a braid and the rear wheels, axle and gear).











Finally, a very rare beast, a Steve Walker built 1/24 scale chassis (Steve being an avowed 1/32 scale fan).





That's all for this visit but I will keep in touch as I want to see the finished Lotus 38 he is building (brass and piano wire chassis), also several Monogram/Revell/Atlas/Cox kit rebuilds he is currently doing, as well as find out more about several 'didn't quite work' chassis which he has kept including angle winder F1 (banned before completion!), floating chassis F1 and pinion in can F1 (wonderful handling but the heat of the motor kept desoldering the pinion).
 

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Fabulous, absolutely fabulous. I think I'm going to need a bit of help working out all the movement in those chassis, but what masterpieces!

Thanks for posting.... can't wait for news on he Lotus 38 (and anything else)
 

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Phil Smith
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I have known Steve since I started full time slot car trading in '92, when he was doing the same thing.
He packed it in about seven years ago to start dealing in Ceramic Figures

I was lucky to be able to buy most of his stock from him at the time, including a lot of spares from Monogram, Revell, Cox etc , which I am still using


I always thought Steve was one of the 'good guys' always a pleasure to talk and deal with and it's great to see him getting back into slotracing, especially scale cars and I can't wait to see him at one of the retro meetings with some of his fabulously prepared cars
 

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Ditto! What beautiful workmanship, really a pleasure to see.

Quick question on those 81 cars: were those still ceramic magnet motors, or do they already have the hot magnets? Can't quite tell from the pix...

Don
 

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Really marvelous !

I have one "Walker copy" chassis, made by 101 (Dave Harvey) in 1983.
Mine has a Infinity can, instead of Scalex 13UO can used by Walker in his 1981 cars.
And I have another copy, using a C can, also made by Dave Harvey, this one in 1984.

Really great !

Thanks for the photos.

André Acker.
 

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Tony Condon
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Hi Don
The magnets in those 13uo cars would have had cobalt samarium magnets in them as that was the breakthrough that enabled the jets to use the hot winds in the smaller cans
I am not sure why this topic is in the clubs section but i am sure there is some interest in some one as iconic as steve
coincidentally he rang me last week and ordered a book from me so i suppose he may have been inspired by his contacts with stan kirk
He was on the phone for about an hour chatting about old times ,which is probably more chat than he ever gave me during the time we raced together, he always seemed a very intense character and very rarely socialised during those days

Cheers tony
 

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Graham Windle
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I have what is alegedly a steve walker car in my collection whch I bought from Pete Crane after Steve stopped racing This one however uses an scd nexus can which was a little heavier than the infinity
Don the 13u0 would have had soft cobalts fitted .
 

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Looking at the details, it seems that the Shadow sports car does not use bearings for the rear axle.
Is that true ???

André Acker.
 

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Based on the very apt remark by Tony, Mr. Superhornets, I have in fact moved this to the vintage section. Hope that's okay with you Stan, and thanks indeed for starting this topic and getting Steve back in the swing of things!

Don
 

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Eddie Grice
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QUOTE (andre acker @ 12 May 2009, 14:44) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Looking at the details, it seems that the Shadow sports car does not use bearings for the rear axle.Is that true ???
Would imagine they have just gone missing, or been used on something else since 1981.
Thanks for the pictures Stan, hope we see both you & Steve at some vintage/scale meetings this year.
Eddie
 

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Tony Condon
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Hi Andre /Eddie
it looks to me as if the back axle on the shadow chassis is a piece of 3/32 bore brass tubing
This was not on uncommon in those days ,and certainly Ian Fisher and myself were doing that around that time ,and it worked fine .You did however need to get close clearance tubing which seems to have disappeared recently

Cheers tony
 

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Russell Sheldon
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Thank you for moving this wonderful thread 'mainstream', Don! I would have missed otherwise.

I've long admired Mr Walker's workmanship - and his driving skills - and raced with similar design chassis myself in South Africa during the late 1970s and early 1980s. The Johnson 111 cans have turned down Mura 'B' endbells and use soft polymer cobalt magnets, supplied by Dave Harvey. Fabulous motors.

With kind regards,

Russell
 

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Great to see high quality photos of those cars

To sort of answer André's question, quick cars were heavier in those days - At the '82 Nats I weighed all the finalists cars and nearly all the F1s were between 4 and 4 3/4 onz - about 110-135 gms. I don't think the cars were weighed in '81 but the chassis were pretty similar.

Chris Frost
 

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Fabulous photos, Stan, and great work by Steve.

When 'Chassis Movement for Dummies' finally gets published, I'll be standing in line right behind Howmet.

Regards,
L.
 

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Aaaah...thank you for the photos in glorious colour! Do you know hard it was trying to figure out how all of the twisty turny bits worked from the black and white photos??!!


cheers,
Bob
 
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