SlotForum banner


156868 Views 649 Replies 77 Participants Last post by  Spurman
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?
1 - 20 of 650 Posts
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.

Dok Pea
See less See more
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
See less See more
Alfetta got some broccoli for lunch, but otherwise the consensus is general:

-Larry, you are SICK.

Keep at it!

See less See more
With all due respect, Leo's Mini Dream car described as "completely original, never been on the track" has a Champion 607 motor, a Cox rear gear, a Jet-flag and threaded Associated telescopic rear wheels, which appear to be highly un-original...

However the rest of the car looks like in very nice shape.

The question I have is this: Edo's car has a fogged paint job in various colors, Leo's car and my own are plain orange. Which is original and did Mini-Dream produced the bodies in various colors?

Last, did anyone in Italy made reproduction bodies for these cars?

Dok Pea
(No, contrary to vile rumors, I do NOT know everything
See less See more
Willibald P. von Cyclops here...

Well, I hate to have to say this, but the Pactra "Jupiter" IS indeed, patterned after a real car and is not really a "thingie". The same is true of the "Astronaut", also patterned after a famous Oakland-show roadster powered by a hopped-up Caddy engine. The original Jupiter (yes, bearing the same name...) was constructed in Kali-fohnia (this is how the guvernator Schwarzzy says it, he's got an even thicker accent than I do) around 1963 with two Pontiac engines and lots of Mickey Thompson parts. Unfortunately, the fellow got killed while testing the lump on the El Mirage dry lake when he lost control of the thing and it litterally flew at over 200MPH. I am currently trying to find a picture of the beast pre-kaboom in old Rod & Custom mags.
Now Phil, the rear wheels for the slot car depend on WHICH version you have: either it is a Pactra (stock #7400H in RTR form, 7400KH in kit form) and should have the same wheels as on the Lola T80 Indy car with nicely profiled tire and 6-hole Riggen wheels, or someone placed an aftermarket body on a "Competition" chassis (sister company to Pactra using a chassis of similar design except without drop arm fitted with Mabuchi FT16D motors), with slotted wheels and fatter rear tires.
I don't know if it is the picture but your car appears to not bear the original gold color, looks like a customer paint job. Am I correct? The original RTR and kit bodies are very thick and had a standard Pactra driver's head punched through a black cardboard "interior" glued on the body after it had been painted. The gold finish is backed by a silver coat.
So whotizzit?

QUOTE As I know, In the late sixties all the car manufacturers got together and decided to introduce licensing fees in the UK.

I think that I related the story here not too long ago, when the infamous (and now dead-as-a-door-nail) Reeves Whitson concocted this idea of getting the "guys" together to get some royalties on the model cars produced by the toy companies.

See less See more
QUOTE (philsmith @ 21 Nov 2004, 12:47)Here's what it look like from underneath
Front tyres are marked 'competition' so I guess they are right.
Body does not have the silver coat so maybe not factory painted, but it is very thick material.


Hi Phil,
Indeed, this is a put-together car using a "Competition" (not Pactra) chassis with the Pactra motor and an aftermarket customer-painted Pactra body. The customer also soldered some brass tubing to hold the body as the original cross tubing is missing. The rear wheels are Twinn-K sillies.
The front wheels should have a 3-hole thin kidney-bean pattern.
Quite a mess but lots of fun nonetheless!
The original Pactra "Jupiter" are indeed not so easy to find in decent shape. They always have the silver backing behind the gold paint with fogging accents in silver. I always liked this car but obviously some here hate the thing...

I LOVE thingies.

See less See more
Hi Phil,
Here is one to show you the correct chassis, wheels and paint. The decals are part of the standard Pactra decal sheet sold in each kit. Too bad the body is cracked... Note the third pin holding the body from the top.

Looka here...

See less See more
QUOTE its a JAD thingie version of the Lola T70 MKIII coupe!!

With a lot of imagination...

A small detail: this is NOT a JAD car, but a Brimhall car. Gordon Brimhall produced these cars AFTER the Riggen-JAD series of kits, and they were sold strictly as RTR under the Brimhall banner. There ARE physical differences: wheels and tires and body colors are not the same as the JAD's.

QUOTE That was from the 1968-1/2 Auto World catalogue; In the following years it was the same price as their other cars, $9.50 in 69 then $8.95 as a low cost Group 12 in 1970.
In 1969 there's another real thingie listed, the "Mach 1" - I've never seen one of these in the flesh tho...

The Mach 1 was never a JAD, strictly a Riggen car with the brass inline chassis. It looked like a fish with scales on its back. Body had a 2-tone blue and silver paint job.

QUOTE Riggen also did a lot of loose interpretations in this line: the Chappie-XL, Ferrari Custom Coupe, Riggen Spyder and some very flat Lola T70, Ford MkIV, Porsche 917, Ferrari 612, etc. -- whoops, same bodies, but by 1970 they used either the flat pan brass chassis and 26D motor in the low cost version, or a Group 12 anglewinder chassis.

. Don, the JAD-Brimhall bodies cited above were NEVER used by Riggen after the "split" between Al Riggen and Gordon Brimhall. Brimhall sub-contracted Riggen to keep producing the JAD chassis and his bodies for himself, while Riggen had new bodies fit their brass chassis with drop arm, first inline, then the tooling modified for angle-winder use. It is at this exact time that I was an employee of the Riggen company. I know that it was easy to switch one chassis to the other type, but that was done later by customers or even retailers.
The TRUE Brimhall bodies, used STRICTLY on the JAD chassis except ONE (the Riggen Special, the very car shown by Edo here, because the mold was shared by Brimhall and Riggen) are the following:

Semi-assembled kits issued under the Riggen-JAD banner:

-Watson-Ford Indy
-BRM H16 F1
-Custom Ferrari P4 roadster
-Custom Ferrari P4 coupe
-Custom Chappie XL (Chaparral 2E with a long node and no wing)
-Riggen Special

And that's it.

Re-issued under the Brimhall banner as RTR:

-Watson-Ford Indy
-Riggen Special
and a brand new one:
-Lola T70 Can-Am (shared with Riggen)

Re-issued under the Riggen banner with brass inline, then angle-winder chassis:

-Riggen Special

The other later Riggen 1/24 scale brass cars were (all RTR):

Abarth 3-liter V8 RTR
Cyclone II RTR
McLaren M8A RTR
Mach One RTR
Dune Buggy RTR
Lola T70 RTR
Riggen Special RTR
Cro-Sal Olds RTR

Most cars re-issued in 1969 as "600" series, and in 1971 as "900" series w/ nickel-plated AW wire and plate chassis w/ Mura "A" motor

Issued 1969

Lotus 49 F1 RTR (a really ugly WIDE car...)
Indy Eagle RTR (Same)
Chevy Camaro RTR
Ford Mustang RTR
Porsche 908 RTR
Abarth 3-liter

Note that ALL these bodies share a common wheelbase and common attachment by clips to both the JAD Iso-fulcrum chassis and the Riggen brass chassis.

Dok Pea
See less See more
QUOTE ...after all, Jim Hall used blue tires on his Chaparral 2K, didn't he?


QUOTE You mean the red car above has the Serpent's chassis? That's it? That is great!

Indeed. Only the rear wheels ans wheel spacers are not original. Unfortunately, the person who mounted this Du-Bro Coyote-Ford Indy car body also badly bent the front of the drop-arm tongue (notice that I did not say "tounge" like those lost wing-car racers...
) and bent or chopped the rear body mount on the brass motor mount. Too bad as the chassis appears otherwise near-new. To mount a Serpent body, it will be necessary to acquire a mid-mounted body mount that attaches right behind the Classic CM450 motor.

QUOTE leomonti who sold me the Mini Can Am just gave me 2 inserts and a tool to mount-unmount them

The tool appears to be a Classic wrench, but could also be an Italian-built copy...

Mysteries still to be resolved in the country of pasta and ALFA.

See less See more
Assuming that my (real) doktorrr allows me to fly, I will also be in Torino, if anything to visit with my friends the talented Italian slot racers, Ezio, Bruno... my good friend Don Siegel who is without a doubt one of the most knowledgeable persons in the field of vintage slot cars, Edo whom I only met so far on the telephone, and of course Phil Smith and many others because they are all good guys and provide spirited company, and this with or without fermented grape. Also I would like to visit with Thomas Wanner if at all possible in his Switzerland home.
I could almost swim to get there, but I may not make it in time.

Dok Pea
See less See more
The Pactra "Astronaut" is not a "thingie" but was a real showcar that won awards at several west coast shows in 1965.
The real car had a Cadillac supercharged engine and was metalfalke gold in color.
The Pactra model, issued both as a RTR and a kit, is KOOOL!

Dok Pea
See less See more
Don, well said. Indeed, any "off-the-wall" cars even if they had a real counterpart should be welcome in this event. I am myself tempted to bring a fine selection of Batmobiles if I can make it there. Or even, a Pactra "Vulture"... not too many have seen one of those, and it would be a good show car.

Dok Pea
See less See more
Prefering a lousy apple to a Serpent is good cause for divorce!
See less See more
Unfair comment?

QUOTE ...makes Cox et cie look pretty tame....
The Italian wonders were built nearly 6 years after the famous thingie that inspired them was first produced. The Cox cars also present a quality of construction and finish never approched by even Unicar, the best of Italian manufacturers from the period.
Please be fair!

Dokk P
See less See more
Edo, the "La Cucaracha" hit the market in february 1966. The last of the Italian thingies HAS to be at least from 1972 since the body it represents is of a car that was first shown at the Milan auto show in January of 1972.
This is what I was referring to.

Thanks for the great pictures and the help to Tom Scott for posting his pics.

Da Dokk
See less See more
Hi Edo,
Yes this MPC Manta Ray has seen better days... someone stuck a Cox Ford GT engine stack where the original Chevy V8 was, and the chrome stripe along the body is gone along with part of the body. Outch!
Well, ANYTHING can be helped with a bit of a clean-up and some attention, so I will post for you a pic of a mint car so that you may see what you have to do to fix this one.

Dokk P
QUOTE as some are at least based on actual race cars.
Really? Which ones?
This car actually ran at Fremont in the late 1960's with this motor. The Mura stuck in it did not fit but this Russkit motor acquired with the car did, so I put it back in place. Since then I found out that the chassis was produced in small numbers by a yet unknown local manufacturer. The Lancer Stinger body is quite rare.

Now for answers to questions:

QUOTE On the subject of Garvic thingies, what's the deal with chassis? I get the impression that the blue anodised inline (the prettiest IMHO) is worth significantly more than the others, maybe 3 times as much. I presume therefore that it's the rarest? Was it released concurrently with the sidewinder? Was it sold differently? If you had to pick one Garvic to make a vintage racer, which do you think would be the fastest, the gold anodised sidewinder, blue anodised inline or the Lunar? I've left out the other sidewinder frame with the light blue anodising as it looks too bendable to make a vintage racer.

Gar-Vic made 3 different chassis for their RTR cars. A sidewinder and 2 inlines. The sidewinder is most common and came in black, gold and blue, while the inline came in gold and blue. The other inline was for the Lunar, the only open-wheel car in the series. Most are gold.
The sports car inline was sold mostly as a chassis kit, bit a few late-production cars were released with them and the usual pink FT36D dual-shaft motor.
The Gar-Vic "Sonic Needle" (not Sonic Probe) is a very common car. Swisher, the toy you got is in rather poor condition and the body is shot. There are perfect bodies available for a very reasonable prices on E-Pay all the time. Only the red bodies are scarce.
The front wheels are not the correct ones, as Gar-Vic fronts have no spokes and a ribbed tire.

Here is a listing of all Gar-Vic RTR cars:

GAR-VIC 1/24 Kits and RTR (VB)
Gar-Vic Enterprises Inc., a division of Transition Systems Inc., 7737 Greenbush Ave., North Hollywood, CA.91605 USA

Firebird RTR Blue, Red&#8230;
Coronado RTR Green, Red&#8230;
Sonic Needle RTR Green, Red Ocelot RTR
Ocelot RTR Green, Gold&#8230;
X-Stream RTR Blue, Gold
Lunar RTR Gold, Bronze&#8230;
McLaren MKII RTR Red/Silver

Now for the goor or bad news depending on which side you stand: most collectors HATE Gar-Vic cars and want nothing to do with them, meaning that prices are depressed and rather low even compared with other slot car abominations such as the Classic Manta Ray, the world's most successful selling slot car of all times at over 1 million. So if you like them piles, knock yourself out while they are at bottom-feeder prices.

QUOTE Well, I'm pretty sure it's loosely based on the CanAm Schkee circa '77-'87... which was a bit of a Thingy in its own right, but maybe it isn't quite a full-blown slot Thingy.

If this was the case, the Lancer company would be a direct cousin to Nostradamus since this body, named "Hornet", was issued by the San Bernardino, CA company in 1966...
The car in the auction is indeed a semi-thingie since it was never issued that way. The ONLY RTR car ever sold with that body was the cocktail built by the distributor Cannon, this specially painted "Batray" using a KalKar chassis, a Hemi 16D-size motor and K&B wheels and tires.
A rare car today, painted in fogged metallic green and sold in a plain-jane box.

Dokk P
See less See more
These Renwall cars are no thingies since they are patterned after real cars, all designed by noted stylist Virgil Exner. The two static kits are the Bugatti EB101 and the Packard Super 8, all modern 1960's redesigns of the old cars.
Elvis, the King, had one of those Stutz Blackhawks in silver and gold, and the car is still in production somewhere in the midwest. Customer are mostly deafening-racket artists and most cars include some kind of gold plated accessories like grilles, bumpers... or ostritch upholstery or some other exotic bird.
I recently saw the real Mercer (built over a 289 Cobra chassis) as it resides in Sir William Lyons collection in Newport Beach, CA. Looks exactly like the slot car.
1 - 20 of 650 Posts