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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The small California-based model train component company Ulrich obviously entered the booming slot racing market as well. They are perhaps best remembered today for their suspension chassis, very popular at the time - and still today if ebay prices are any guideline! They first introduced a complete chassis with rear suspension for $3.98 in 1964, then followed it with a complete front suspension and steering unit not long after, for about a buck less.

So for $7 early slotters had their dream setup, 4-wheel suspension and steering. We all still thought that would make our cars faster, since they would really be like the big ones... The chassis was mainly designed for a conventional inline Pittman like the DC-70, or the RP77 from Revell-Pittman. It was mounted on its side, not flat...

But these weren't really the most powerful motors available at the time, and since slotters always like to change stuff, they quickly came up with modifications... First, I don't have a complete chassis to show you, but here's the assembled stock rear suspension kit, much more common than the front end assembly.



Followed by three variations on a theme, found on ebay some years ago before the price for these relatively common items skyrocketed (a complete one will now set you back about $200).

First, moderate mods to mount a Kemtron X503, Screaming Banshee, popular at the time, especially for Figure 8 tracks. Either this didn't come with a body as I found it, or it was so junked I tossed it (not a good idea, I know...). It turns out that the track on this chassis is pretty wide, so it was more appropriate for open wheel or wider sports cars - not all that common in 1964! The Corvette Grand Sport must have been a good candidate.





Here's a Novi for Indy, again with a Kemtron motor, but this time their special SR-21 "pancake" model.







And of course somebody had to try a rewound Mabuchi, adapted to the chassis, and this time with a scratchbuilt front end, a bit messy unfortunately, all under a Lotus-Ford body that's been cut down a bit...







Over the years I've accumulated a number of Ulrich parts for these chassis - but never the right one when I need it! None of the cars has really been restored for racing, but one of these days... And I've also already shown my Allard, using an Ulrich rear section combined with the K&B front steering unit.





Don
 

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i got one and waht do just as you said a Corvette .. got a metallic red one just need to do the work
 

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HI Don,very nice stuff ! Iwill check tonight & see if i have anything myself.Thanks for bringing up long lost memories.Bernard
 

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Tony Condon
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Hi Don
When is was akid .I was in awe of the engineering in these models ,in much the same way as I did with the 4wd mercedes by MRRC
Not withstanding the fact that no one seemed to be inporting them over here I could never really convince myself that they would give me a performance advantage over more conventional chassis
So the question is ,How good ( or bad )were they on the track . did they ever have any success in the states at open meets and things ,or were they really something lovely to look at and useless to drive ?
any one know ? perhaps you ought to build one up for one of these retro events

Cheers tony
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
In fact I did race one a few years ago at Bordo, Tony, in a pre-60s sportscar theme year. But I think you know the answer to your question - stuff like this doesn't really help, and at the best it won't interfere! I've never seen a reference to any of these types of cars winning a major race, although there were probably some front suspension systems that did ok.

Here's the car I race a few years ago, with Ulrich rear suspension and K&B steering front. Wanted to use the Ulrich front, but it just wouldn't fit comfortably under that body. And the Caddy-Allard is modeled on a real one that raced in the Pacific Northwest, USA, in the 1950s... It ran pretty decently actually, and I think I finished about 12th in the race, out of 45 drivers or so, but would have to check that! It's got a 6-volt DC77 that runs pretty well (and had the torque to make up for losses in the rear transmission!)









 

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Hi Don,

Nice Allard.

I actually have the brass chassis component, seen in photo #1, and again in photo #10.

Didn't know what it was !!.

Perfect condition, came in a lot of other bits and pieces, no use to me, give me a pm if you are interested.

vbr Chris A.
 

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QUOTE (dgersh @ 25 Feb 2012, 17:57) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>So the question is ,How good ( or bad )were they on the track
I think you know the answer to your question - stuff like this doesn't really help, and at the best it won't interfere! I've never seen a reference to any of these types of cars winning a major race, although there were probably some front suspension systems that did ok.
No surprise there!
Anybody got any ideas on why they were produced in the first place.
Perhaps in those days it wasn't common knowledge that stuff like this doesn't really help, and at the best it won't interfere?
Perhaps they wanted it to work more like a full size car and didn't care if it made in slower? (Come to think of it a full size car with short swing axles and no damping could be a menace on the roads)
Any other thoughts?
 

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Evenin
I'm having a bad picture day, hope you can see it. I've had this for years
and had forgotten about it. do you see any bit's, pieces that relate to the
chassis?, i have MDC gears and threaded axles for the rear section but
curious about the front axle carrier?. Thanx CG

 

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CG,

That's the chassis and rear suspension all right, just looks like somebody flattened out the front part of it! The original one just came with a small casting that was screwed into the two front holes and had its own holes for the guide and front axle. Not really a very elegant solution! The steering front end unfortunately kept the mounting system, being just hung on the same single bolt. Looks like you're just missing a couple pieces of hardware for the rear - I've got an extra axle if you want...

300SL,
I think nobody really knew that much about what would work better in 1964, and the manufacturers were trying all sorts of approaches. Also, don't forget that the tracks were a lot bumpier at the time, and it would have seemed logical for some kind of suspension system to help, as with the drop arm. Nobody was really thinking in terms of damping, etc., at least not very seriously. It was a younger and more innocent time!

Don
 

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It's great to see these old kits, I'm quite a fan of intricate design that never succeeded and this is one aspect of slot cars that fascinates me. For one of the comments above, I don't think dampers were fitted because there's not enough space to get anything hydraulic in place and a friction damper would be too difficult to adjust at that scale.

I'd love to see it going around the track even if it's not fast, here's my own steering and suspension setup for comparison - click the picture for the youtube video

 

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Holy Euro! That's a lot for one of those piles!


But I am happy that someone recognizes a Tucker when they see one.
 

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Here is mine I built several years ago. When I got the kits, it was the first time I saw them in person. I had only seen pictures before that. The brass center section I had in my parts box and never knew what it was for until I opened the boxes. I used that one and was planning on replacing it when I got the chassis sorted out.













The track I tried it on was a commercial track in my friends basement. We ran only vintage cars on it. He did not allow any glue or liquid traction aids so we always ran silicone tires. I had them on this chassis, but it would not go w/o the front end coming up so high it deslotted. I tried higher ohm controllers, different gear ratios, and eventually went with NOS rubber tires. If I eased the throttle it would go, but even accelerating out of a curve the front end still came up too high. I eventually gave up and use it as a display item. Maybe some day I will try again. I want to put an open wheel body on it. It would be a shame to cover up the suspension.

Marty
Marysville, OH
 

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That looks great Marty ! One of the cleanest Ulrich chassis out there ! Looking at the front end Marty , possibly those front springs may have too much tension for the guide to stay in the slot! Try to either compress the springs a touch, or find some with less tension. From memory, my friend replaced the front springs on his Ulrich car , and it did go well after the spring change. Sure, it will not be original if you change the front springs, but you can put the original springs back after you have your fun. Zig
 

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Thanks. It is all NOS except the brass center section. Even the motor and the RussKit wire wheels were NOS.

I thought about that too. I am also going to try some weight towards the front.

Marty
Marysville, OH
 

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Also Marty , that front aluminium section, which is incorporated with the guide, is bent on the right hand side. if you look at Don's pics , it is meant to be straight. I am no expert with Ulrich chassis, but it could be the problem. Zig
 

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To get one of these chassis to run well without de-slotting , I removed the screw that holds the guide flag assembly to the aluminum chassis front, and replaced it with a longer screw and used a plastic axle spacer between the guide flag assembly and the aluminum chassis front. I use a piece of track to view how deep the guide goes into the slot , and this depends on the front tire diameter and the type of track you are using. I also added some lead weight in the brass center section near the front.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Yep, that's one of the main tricks on the Ulrich chassis - it needs some kind of shim to make the guide go deeper. I learned that from an article in Car Model on making a car with this chassis... the guy used a piece of wood cut to the shape of the guide.

Don
 

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QUOTE (Spurman @ 14 Jun 2013, 00:45) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Also Marty , that front aluminium section, which is incorporated with the guide, is bent on the right hand side. if you look at Don's pics , it is meant to be straight. I am no expert with Ulrich chassis, but it could be the problem. Zig

Yeah, I saw that when I posted the picture. I'm sure it bent from being stored during the several moves I have done. It is EXTREMELY flimsy! I really hope I never hit anything when I get it on the track!

Marty
Marysville, OH
 
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