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Maybe these days with just about every dream car you can think of available as an RTR or kit from some manufacturer or other, is it time we revived the Thingie?

I know they almost tore the hobby apart back in the old days, but I must admit to a high degree of admiration for those imaginative souls who designed wholly orginal shapes for slot cars. What would be the perfect shape for a slot car these days, if all prototypical accuracy was ignored?
Lets carve some wild cars, suck some zombies in those home-made vac-formers, get the creative juices flowing into some wild shapes and bizarre colour schemes!

Back then, I seem to remember some pretty serious real car designers threw up some shapes for commercial track slot-racers. Why not try it again now, when the hobby seems to have hit new heights? Or are we just scared of a new schism?

By the way, this is actually just a very thinly disguised ploy to get some more vintage slot car pics posted. Where are those great West Coast Thingies of yore?
Doc?
 

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Interesting question.... no pictures here, but look at a couple of my cars in the scatchbuilt.com site....

Unfortunately, the answer to your question about the ideal shape for a modern no-holds bar slot car is the current wing car - you just can't get any more efficient than that!

There were actually two currents to the Thingie trend - one, and here you're thinking of the Manta Ray in its lessor form, or the Testor Marauder or BZ Banshee in better form, is the "dream car", or an exercise in style to show what a real car could look like if designed by the perpetual cool teenager. You would include the Cucuracha and most other commercially made thingies in this category. Early on this meant huge rear tires, spaced way out.... later, the tires shrunk, but they stayed way out.

The other trend, which started way back in the Round The Pole era, is, do whatever works! ie, low, wide and nothing to get in the way, then aerodynamic devices once speeds were high enough. Here, you're probably thinking of the Choti type bodies from Northern California, being raced when all the SoCal racers you saw in the magazines were still racing good-looking semi-scale bodies. These were already aerodynamic devices, with super-light frames, super-wide back tires and tiny front o-rings. The Choti bodies still have a little style to them, but very soon the wing car bodies lost any aesthetic sense at all... There were also the Shinoda bodies from Detroit way, done by the automotive designer, and these were sort of the same idea, but much nicer looking....

All thingies, but very different... and if I'm not mistaken, a very American phenomenon... Of course, curiously enough, thingies seem to be accepted very early on as standard race cars in Italy and Switzerland, right Edo? the period photos I've seen are dominated by Asps and chopped Cucs, followed by their own home-grown Mini Dream Cars - beautiful beasts!

Don
 

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QUOTE What would be the perfect shape for a slot car these days, if all prototypical accuracy was ignored?

If you are looking for pure function, then this horrid thing is it:



If you are looking for neato looking thingies, the Shinoda are IT.
Regards,

Dok Pea
 

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For those who did not see them on the "what do you collect" thread here are a few:

BZ Banshee


Classic Asp competition:


Classic Stinger:


Classic Viper:


And here chopped up Cucarachas the way we were racing them in 67 in Italy and in south Switzerland.


The Marauder is coming as soon as I have silicone tires for it as I race my Thingies on my Carrera track
(BTW Thanks to my slot history consultants dgersh and Doktor P)
Regards
Edo
(If anybody would like to see what chassis they have underneath just let me know and I will show pics)
 

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Graham Windle
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Never acualy had a thing for thingies although I have a couple of cucharachas as historicaly this was one of the cars that influenced my building ,when on the quest for cucharachas I did a repo version in styrene right down to the chassis Theres some pics over on scratchbuilt .com if any ones intrested
 

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OK OK - let's get this straight: thingies have been blamed for the downfall and destruction of the slot car hobby in the 60s, when it was at its peak.... so now Howmet, you figure lets bring them back now???

Wait a minute - did you happen to be in the west coast in the late 60s, Howmet?
 

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A few people have blamed 60's era socio-ecomics factors for the slot racing bust too - doesn't mean it's true!

I know you're just kidding, but we all should remember one thing: the slot car boom of the 60s was largely a thingie influenced phenomenon! If you look at any random sampling of cars from the time, I'd guess about 3/4 had thingie characteristics! Face it, there just aren't enough pure hobbyists/scale builders around to sell the millions of 1/24 commercial cars that were sold in the boom period of 65-67. This happened because there were lots of RTRs that kids or adults could buy and plunk on the track - and if they went better with 3-1/2" tread and marble silicone tires, so be it!

Everybody gets all nostalgic about the wonderful 60s, with a track at every corner, etc. (me among them...), but don't forget that a lot of junk was being run, without bodies, or with unpainted bodies, goop-infested tracks, junky equipment (say what you will, the Flexi is an excellent running chassis), etc.

Also, don't forget the push for performance: that's what most people at the time wanted, not scale cars. Maybe we had to take this to its logical extreme before getting some perspective on the whole problem.

I wasn't really all that keen on Thingies either (although I did have a Cuc at the time), until I started doing some research to help an American friend who was planning a book. The more I looked into it, the more interested I got in the phenomenon, although it still isn't what I prefer to run. Going to be very interesting seeing the vintage Thingie race in Turin next year...
Don
 

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Some of us still race thingies! This was taken at Christmas 2002 at the Oaklands club in Smethwick. To comply with homologation rules for BSCRA these cars are supposed to be models of real cars but generally at 1:24 scale they are shapes designed to be aerodynamically efficient with a rough layout configuration and/or headlamp designed borrowed from a real sports car.

Any guesses as to what they are called?



Coop

P.S. Love the Stinger. I think it is one of the coolest things to have ever been vac-formed. Patto in Oz offers re-pops of many of these 60s thingies.
 

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Russell Sheldon
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There is a nice feature on the Shinoda bodied thingies over at VSRN. Take a look here.

Kind regards

Russell
 

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Yes! Go ahead! Let's blame Thingies for the crash of 29 too.


In the mean time you got me started and here is a few more;

Testor Marauder (chassis being put togheter):


Classic Asp green:


COX Cucaracha before race preparation (see above for the swiss-italian race version):
.

While some of you guys may salivate for the latest Skoda's perfect slot model release I keep appreciating a time when a chassis was made of aluminium or brass or steel and not cheap plastic, where there were all different design being tried instead of just a nice proper scale outer shell and mediocrity underneath it. Where there was fantasy and creativity being unleashed and not just mere perfect copying of what's available on the car market .
And while some people are getting enthousiastic about the release of another rice burner painted with racing colors I'm having fun reading vintage magazines, questioning very old slot experts and historians on a few forums, looking for the right parts, restoring, cleaning and finally racing my Thingies (which actually have quite serious electrical motors and not toothbrush's

Best regards
Edo (Thingie lover)
BTW I play with contemporary plastic beautiful toys like everybody else to my full satisfaction and no I do not consider wing cars attractive . It's just that I prefer to lissen to a closing of a Bentley's door than a Fabia's . If you see what I mean...
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I'm right with you, Edo. I personally think those Shinoda-type thingies were a kind of high point of imagination and creativity in the hobby. That twin-motored Flat Iron car on Scratchbuilt is wonderful. Some of the paint jobs should rank as folk art of the highest calibre!
But I guess I was reflecting as to whether any of the current manufacturers would have the sphericals to produce a completely original model, as the Cuc was, and the awful old Scaletti Scaley cars (wash my mouth out pah! pah! pah!) to a lesser extent. I wasn't necessarily concerned with 1/24 cars- but it does raise the point as to what the 1/32 equivalent of a current wing car would be.
And if not, what a fun thing it might be to scratchbuild a few completely off-the-wall designs. Take a break from rivet-counting for a bit.
My fantasy car would be a sort of hybrid between an All States Special Indy car and a ca. 1970 Can-Am wedge, with some pinstripe and candy coloured metalflake paint job. Know where I'm coming from? Can you guess my age?
I hoped someone maybe had already....
Thanks for the lovely photos, fellas!
 

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Just to prove i,m not a total " scaley " I did build and race cars at several Tottenham opens , and raced a Grp 12 wing car here in Canada !
Now I just scratchbuild with brass and piano wire , having got bored with the RTR "as is" specials . : )

Richard
 

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Hi Howmet
I have the impression that this thread is populated only by very old sad and bitter people like me (i am 53), dgersh (pretty old), a certain doctor who shall remain nameless (he was born during the war of 1914-18) and you, howmet, who musst be well middle aged if not more (no offense meant).
It would be nice if a good creative modeler would put togheter a series of, let's say, 3 special 1/32 Thingies with a carbon fiber chassis, titanium wheels and axles (in an edition of 10 cars perhaps?).
Maybe the youngest generation (13 to 16 years) accustomed to admiring Tooners ( and that awful movie "Fast and Furious", phhleeease!!!) would come to their senses and begin to see the light after seeing what a good craftman, actually an artist, could do with his fantasy.

In the mean time let me show some more pics of incredible fantasy cars dgersh has sent to delight us:
Shinoda body 1:


Shinoda body 2:


Cucaracha inspired italian Thingie which actually caused the slot car crash of 69:


And the incredible Swedish flat iron Thingie


So scrachtbuilders and modelers let's get on with those new Thingies we dare you (howmet and I)


Best regards
Edo

(Hopefully Swissracer will let Mini Swiss see this pics: after Mini did that beautiful black and gold Carrera Panoz special rendition I think there is hope in the yougest)
 

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Thanks a lot, Edo, see if I am going to send your parts anytime soon...


Hey, I am with Don and Edo, I LOVE "thingies", and they have very wrongly been blamed for the demise of the heydays of slot car racing.

Thingies actually were commercially VERY successful, and this is why it is still easy to find some today. Nearly a MILLION Cucarachas and over a MILLION Classic Manta Ray were sold! And anyone wants to compare this to ANY of those cheap (but very good-looking) plastikar toys of today that have a tough time selling 5000 units worldwide? Cut me some slack, eh!

If ANY thingies are hurting our hobby today, they are not the old 1960's ones but the current air-shovels with go-kart wheels or stickers mimicking such that are raced at commercial raceways and the incredibly narrow and selfish mind of the people who sell and race them, the ones that will not ALLOW any form of exact-scale racing to share track space with them. So these people and their modern thingies WILL take the commercial hobby to its death, when all the commercial raceways will eventually closed down from lack of enough interest from the general public.

Now back to REAL Thingies, my favorite kind:

The Testor Marauder was designed by well-known stylist Tom Daniel, the author of many Monogram wild designs.

The Classic Serpent, Competition Asp, Gamma Ray and Stinger are the work of ex-GM designer (and the actual guy who designed the exterior styling of the 55-56-57 Chevies) Robert Cadaret.

The Classic Manta Ray (which started the Thingie craze) and the BZ Banshee were designed by John Powers, another well-known stylist.

The competition was fierce at that time for the most outlandish thingie design, and it is tough to pick a favorite. I MUST have them all...

Old and Decrepit,

Dok Pea
 

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Rob
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I'm slightly younger than some of you gentlemen, but I can still see the appeal of some of those cars, especially the Banshee, Marauder and Asp, they are beautiful shapes.

And as a pure racer - why not? Already some of the RTR makers are making 'racing' cars - lightweight, less detail, uprated motors etc. These are just a logical progression (or regression, or history repeating itself!).

As Doc P says, as long as clubs and/or commercial raceways run them as another class rather than the only class, I don't see why they would 'damage the hobby'.

And I'm sure that some of the Le Mans racers from the last ten years or so (MacLaren F1, GT1-98, R390 etc) would make the basis for some great 'thingies'.

Rob
 

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How about some super mod thingies!


Seeing some of those thingies made me dig in some old photos. Found these two mods, I made up about 10 years ago.

Just for Fun and doing some body updates with more modern aero devices such as wings etc. They still run good and are in my friend Steve's collection for contrast to the originals he has, in his collection.

The first is my version of a the Super Mod Cuc by Cox.

The second is my version of the Super Mod Asp by Classic.





The flares on the tough Cuc body were done if I remember right with the old heated metal shape. This time it was a 1/1/8 inch diameter piece of steel tubing with a wooden dowel stuck in one end for a handle.

Then the bodys wheel wells underneath were coated with Vasoline to prevent sticking and I just kept heating the tube with a propane torch a little at a time till it started to reshape the stock wheel wells.

The rest of the wings and stuff were made of sheet styrene stuck in slots cut in the body and epoxied in place on the inside. The body is the stock Cuc color of course.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I love that Cuc, Larry!

And Edo- I agree absolutely. But in fact I am 18 years old, but blessed with an unusually long memory.
 

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Yep, absolutely love that Super Cuc II Larry! Looking at it closer this time, I noticed the Chevy logo, an interesting touch, and moving the driver to the right-hand side, leaving room for ... his lunch box? a propane tank? a Roots supercharger?

I give up - what is that thingie?
Don
 

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Larry LS
those pics are exactly what I was going to ask you to show. I remember them from OWH a while ago. Fantastic!!!
Now if you would just think about that Special Edition 1/32 new Thingie? Any ideas you could post here? Maybe we get this thread going ad infinitum and have other great modelers and scrachtbuilders inspired. Graham, Mr Sheldon, anybody out there? You know who you are (but I don't remember all the names, it's bad to be very old, you know?!)

Howmet are you really 18 years old ? So there is hope!!!
And thanks a million for bringing this thread to life and perhaps getting people interested in proposing new homebuild Thingies.
Best regards
edo
 
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