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Al Schwartz
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3,392 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In another forum, as part of a side excursion discussing entrants to a 1961 race, the "First Whitehave Grand Prix", I wrote:

QUOTE My Maserati finished second in its heat with 19 laps to the winners 20. The Vanwall finished less well at 15 laps to the winners 20 although the winner of that heat posted the fastest time and was the eventual overall winner.

A side note: At the time of the race, I was engaged to be married to a young lady who lived in Perkasie, PA. Sellersville, the then home of Pittman motors was the next town. I visited the Pittman factory and met Mr. Pittman, working at his stand-up desk. I showed him what I had done with some motors spirited out of the locomotives from my now supplanted HO guage system as well as my adaptation of the DC 703 to a side winder configuartion in Merit cars. Several weeks later I received a package containing two motors with integral brass axle carriers and pinion and contrate gears and having the brush gear mounted on the side of the motor (as in the DC62A/B). He asked for my evaluation. I believe that these were the first slot car motors that Pittman made. They were used to power my entrants. Like the bodies, they survive today.

The follow-up seemed to be better placed here. Here's the Vanwall as it looks today:



The body pattern was carved by a chap named Fred Parker. He lived in Connecticut and was, as I recall, a telephone lineman. While I would not want to take a scale to Fred's bodies, he had a real knack for capturing the "feel" of a car. The balsa pattern was covered with multiple layers of brushed-on latex and cheezecloth (no silicone in those days) and the glass body laid up inside. The rear springs are from tire valves.

The second entrant was a Birdcage Maserati with a body by Bob Braverman. It was a real squeeze to get the mechanicals in. (I think Bob's bodies tended to be a bit small) The windscreen was bent up over a balsa form with plastic heated with a steaming kettle (accounts for the cloudiness) and the exposed chassis structure is soldered brass wire.



My eye was better and my hand steadier in those days:



Both cars were powered by the "experimental" motors sent me by Pittman:



You can see, just in front of the motor, the small phenolic plate with a surpressor cap (I was told that it was an absolute requirement). the chassis is machined aluminum which was my material of choice in those days.

These motors are as quick as, or perhaps a bit faster than a DC 62A. Both cars ran on S.M.E.C. wheels and tires - perhaps 0.140" of rubber at the rear. It is understandable that the hosts and proxy drivers, more accustomed to Triang motors and the very tall Eldi gearing (about 2.3:1 as I recall), found them a bit twitchy!

So, FWIW, scratch building from 43 years ago

(I'm beginning to wonder, do I have the dubious honor of being the most ancient on this forum?)

EM
 

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Brian Ferguson
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I don't know if you're the "most ancient", EM, but I truly love seeing the scratchbuilts from so long ago. The history of this hobby is worth preserving. Thanks for sharing these pics and the story behind them!
 

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Brian Ferguson
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Okay... my wife just checked in.
She says you and EM may be "well aged", but I'm just "aged" and haven't done "well" at that! ...There must be a reason I keep her around....


BTW Dennis, we're eagerly awaiting your account of hotel room racing! Of how you're scamming the locals and all that!
 

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Those are wonderfully evocative cars, EM. Thanks for posting them! It's fantastic what you 'pioneers' were able to do with bits 'n scraps. We're spoiled with parts and materials and specialist manufacturers these days, but it takes a certain artistry to make a car that looks 'right'.
As to well-aged, well, food was still rationed here when I was born, and Bruce Forsythe still had his own hair, so they tell me. It's all relative, as my uncle used to say.
 

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Lovely to see those cars EM, they have so much character and "warmth" about them.

howmet, food is still rationed in our house - Mrs. JohnP keeping the crisp packets and choccy bars firmly under lock and key at all times
 

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JP- you may be stuck in a time warp there. Next time you see Brucie, give his hair a tug. It's the only way to find out....
 
G

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EM,
Their are lots of pictures of this kind of car in the book, Have you thought of restoring them? as it is so important that as many as possible survive.

RR
 

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Another great aspect of SlotForum - little snippets of history popping up all over the place! Thanks EM.

On looks alone I would have said that macp is the oldest pit man
on here, but then again, by his own admission he's only 29. Building fine resin bodies and keeping a mistress in tow takes a terrible toll on a man!


Mark.
 
G

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This rail car was built out of original body (which I bought painted) with a paint finish so good you could shave with it.

It was built as a model for the cover painting of the book, by the artist who painted the picture. The chassis has a great steering system using to fixed posts. The wipers are mounted on spring steel.

RR
 

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Old Fart Racing..

Some years ago, EM was chatting about our early days when we were racing Merit, Strombecker and so on 1/24 shelf models converted to slots.
We got together at the first Las Vegas convention and had a RACE for our survivors.
Now, my stuff, done as a kid are crudly soldered up bits of brass with Pittman DC60 somethings in them. However, EMs stuff is BEAUTIFUL. I get to see and play with his cars all the time. However, YOU GUYS should demand that he post pics of his stuff. Particularly his 1/24 Vanwall. The chassis is machined out of a solid block of aluminum.
Beautiful stuff. Time to demand.

Fate
 

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Al Schwartz
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3,392 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
QUOTE please post some pictures of your cars because we would love to see them.

QUOTE ...and I very meekly and politely request you show us your cars too EM

I will be more than happy to share them - who does'nt like to have his handiwork on display

-I am about to leave the premises for a week or so but promise, on my return, to unleash the torrent!

We'll start here:



A 1961 shot of my original rubber Sclextric track with, L to R, A 4CLT Maserati, A type 159 Alfa, W196 Mercedes and Vanwall, all motorized Merit kits, at the start line.

All of these cars, in one form or another, are still around although the Vanwall is the only one in running condition.

EM
 

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Premium Member
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Most important in this thread is that Alan's mills are indeed the very first Pittman motors specifically designed for slot car racing use.
Keep the focus on the subject...
Regards,

Mr. Pea
 
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