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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Last week a very good old friend got in touch to say, amongst other things, that he'd found an old suitcase at his Mum's house containing all his old slot cars. Now Tony James & I used to frequent the Richmond Vineyard, Nordic and Tottenham tracks circa 68/71. He was always a better racer and builder than I, and I mainly used to stumble around in his wheeltracks. Tony was very competitive at Tottenham, and made the final at at least one open meeting, and placed well in concours. He still has the prize ribbons in that suitcase stash. Now when I moved out of slot cars, I sold all my bits 'n pieces to buy my first sax. Tony was smarter- he built his own guitar and kept all his cars. We spent many many hours together in his garage, where he had a beautiful routed wood track, building cars and listening to John Peel, before the track got junked and we spent the time jamming Black Sabbath tunes instead. What bliss it was to be alive in those times...

So indulge, and hopefully share my nostalgia meltdown for the moment, chums, when Tony sent me this picture of the M8A he'd just dug out of his old suitcase;





All the blood rushed to my head and pumped the riff to 'Paranoid' between my ears. Flashback alert!

At first I thought it was the car featured in the Model Cars issue from February 1970 that Phil Smith has kindly posted in another thread here. I remember it well- for us 16 year old kids to get into 'Model Cars' was as good as getting on Top of the Pops, but typically, Tony's car was wrongly captioned. He got the credit for someone else's. As his mate at the time, I shared both his pride and pain....
But on second look, this car is obviously not the one from that report- the November 1969 First British Arco race, but a slightly later one; same Tony paint work, but different number, and a different chassis.

Now the chassis is a bit of a mind blower for me. I really don't recall anything quite like it at the time (certainly 1971 at the very latest), with no drop arm, torsion (not hinged) plumber and pan movements, but still with 1/8" axles. But switch those axles for 3/32", and you have a very modern looking D3 frame with solid nose piece, etc. Why Tony built it that way, with no drop arm, I don't know, and he doesn't seem to remember, but it must have been pretty radical at the time. The last thing I recall building with him were the straight sidewinders that swept the board in '71, I think, still with drop arms and all sorts of complex and probably unnecessary hinges. I know the M8A body was obsolete by then- everyone went over to the the Ti22 immediately it arrived.

Tony & I (probably mostly Tony, actually) devised a trick way of imitating the cool contemporary U.S. fade paint jobs without having the spare money to invest in an airbrush. Since everyone ran M8As that year, we made a simple shaped cardboard mask that dropped inside the uncut shell, with a slight clearance all round, not actually in contact with the surface,only resting on the untrimmed vacform 'skirt'. We could then just spray through with a rattle can and get a very similar airbrush fade effect, usually with a 'Kovacs' style broad centre stripe already tape masked. Then all you had to do was finish off with a main body colour behind the fades. Here, Tony shot a pale green through the cardboard mask, backed it with darker green, probably an emulsion paint colour, then took off the centre tape mask and brushed on the red. All the lettering and panel lines were done with Humbrol white and an OO brush if I remember right. We went into small scale production of these and sold loads to people at Vineyard. Although I remember he got justifiably mad with me when I flooded the market while he was away on holiday with his family (Hayling Island I seem to recall...). Tony used to hand paint a lot of interiors too, and sold them through the counter at Tottenham. Don't know why the drver's head on this one is unpainted. Maybe it was a hip 70's reference to artificial mind enhancement practices...

Tony is still keen to track down the Model Cars issue which shows him in the subsequent Tottenham open final, wearing a top hat made out of bacofoil..... All the rage then, I promise. If anyone has it, we'd both be very happy to hear.
 

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Sweet indeed.
Is Tony interested in racing his suitcase stash again, How?

He, and anyone else with a Tottenham jones, should be aware that these cars have formed part of the 'D3' inter-club series for the last two years. Very successfully too, as Howmet will attest.
Next year the series is most likely to be expanded to three locations with North London joining Raceway 81 near Newcastle and Wellingborough in holding rounds. Time to crank out those Mura 27-28 double wind clones!

Regards,
L.
 

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Howmet: As you say, the equivalent of getting onto Top of the Pops. Amazing that the body has lasted the last 40 years so well. Are you able to post bigger pics so we can fully appreciate it? Thanks, Richard.
 

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Russell Sheldon
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Great find and great post, Howmet!

That Tottenham Open race meeting had historical (hysterical?) significance, in that it started the trend of building sidewinders, despite Ed Lewis' rather dismal performance, especially since he was a Champion 'factory' racer and considering the dominance of this event by US Pro Bob Emott at the previous year's event.

I think that the sidewinder craze was spurred by the article below written by Barry Magee, published in the September 1970 issue of Model Cars magazine. In South Africa, we were still building sidewinders in the early 1980s!

I note in the tech sheet from the Tottenham March 15th, 1970 event above, that Barry Magee used a 'lowered Mura B can'. I'm sure it must have been a lowered Mura D can, as described in the article below. I mean, how low can you go, Low?

I wonder if the 104th finisher, R. Parker, who hit the wall, is our very own Ralph?





BTW - Unfortunately, I think that the two bodies you kindly sent have been lost by the post office!

With best regards,

Russell
 

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Dammit, after forty oneyears I,d just about recovered from that particular humiliation( along with countless others.....( I I learnt the hard way about only using drill blanks that day,pity the axle wasn,t as hard as the lesson.
 

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Sorry Ralph!

Thanks for that article, Russell. Now I know where Tony got the idea for the hingeless plumber. And I'll send some replacement bodies pronto.
But the sidewinders were fun, especially the dawning realisation, after talking to John Secchi recently, that they must have been illegal, strictly speaking. As Barry pointed out in the article, the gearing is with a 36t spur, and reading the report of the subsequent Tottenham open, that is what all the finalists ran. But you can't get the required 1/16" clearance under that diameter spur. Anglewinders worked on a smaller 34t. No-one bothered about it though. Clearance checked under the chassis only. I ran one at a Nordic open and never gave it a thought as far as I remember.
 

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QUOTE (howmet tx @ 21 Oct 2011, 09:07) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Bliss! Thanks Revvs. Now to track down a hard copy of the mag...

John, have you checked the NLSME library (turn left when you enter the door - not right to the track room - and up the stairs to what is used as the pit room for larger meetings)?

This has an extensive collection of Model Cars from that era - including several which I have - (and I have this one if you still need it). I remember writing to Model Cars (and they published) to complain about their front page captions often being wrong at that time, including this one. I think it is attributed to British GP when in fact it is the earlier non championship race at Silverstone.

If you still need it, PM me.

Stan Kirk.
 

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Tony Condon
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Hi John
got a knock on my door this morning and the was a smiling bloke with a beard ,wanted to know if I was tony condon
once I,d ascertsained he wasn,t from the fuzz or the inland revenue I admitted that I was
He asked if He could purchase a book from me
A paying customer on my doorstop ! How good is that ?
So I invited him in and shook him warmly by the arris and made him a cup of tea
Turns out He is your mate Tony james who by a geographical quirk lives a couple of miles down the road from me in darkest somerset
When I asked how he had heard about the book he says you pointed him towards SF and he found my address here
So thanks for that john
Reckons he might invite you down ,and If he does we must meet up and I,ll buy you some of those ales I owe you
Small world isn,t it !

Cheers tony
 

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Cool stuff!
Would any of you gentlemen know the present whereabouts of Ron Kiddell and Michael Finnessey?
 

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It was amusing for me to see the picture of Barry Magee and it brought back memories of the Hammersmith raceway. I used to race as a 10 year old kid on the track at Hammersmith and one day the 'famous' Barry Magee walked in and started practising. Many of the locals noticed that as he went down the main straight he lent his head over to one side. Thinking this was his 'secret' many of them started to lean their heads over as they went down the straight, it made no difference to their lap times, just promoted a few sore necks. Some people will do anything to find an edge.


Nightrider
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Tony J. is pleased as punch with his book, Tony. I'm prepared to waive my commission in this case, as I have a nice bottle of beer already to hand.

Cheers!
 

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Tony Condon
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Hi john
There are still a couple in my Ale cabinet with your name on
funny name for a beer really ",old Howmets golden nutstrangler "

Catch You soon
 

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Martin Finnesey was involved with electric RC racing in the 90,s with a company called Tanaplan.
He sponsored several top uk drivers with motors and cells and managed to get one in the off road worlds 4wd main final held in Basildon, ended in tears because the driver got disqualified due to motor irregularities!
[oneofwos]
 
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