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The Blue car built by G K Jarvis (boss of Super Shells) is my favourite rail car. The car has the most wonderful chassis and is a real work of art. It must be one of the first vac bodied cars raced. This car is on display in my living room and is exactly as it was last rail raced.

The red car is a 1/27 scale MRRC vac rail racer, both cars used the wooden MRRC driver figure.

RR
 

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QUOTE I've never seen anything else by Darnell - does anyone know anything of this manufacturer?

Darnell briefly made styrene vac-formed bodies from early 1964 to mid 1965. I have several including a Repco-Brabham sports car. Ugly things they were...

And yes, "behind the 8-ball" is a derogatory term and means that someone is lagging and rather late. My meaning was that yes, the American invented rail racing with Lionel on 1911, later copied by Marklin and Fleischmann, then by the Brits in the late 1950's. And yes, an American invented and patented the slot car and the slot track before WWII, while apparently not doing anything with the patents. And yes, this was revived by the Brits in the late 1940's then the late 1950's (patents expired and new patents wrongly afforded to Scalex-Startex), but when the Yanks got interested, they made all the main technical advances in the hobby and industrialized vacuum-forming, dwarfing the cottage industry practiced in UK and creating the most beautifully crafted bodies ever seen from this technology (Lancer-Monogram-Pactra-DuBro-MPC etc..)
And yes, I lost the Xylon(s) because Jeff is correct, I answered the wrong question, so sue me. I believe that there MIGHT have been predecessors, but commercialisation has to be fist by MRRC, even if on confidential quantities.

Dr. Pea
 

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Discussion Starter · #43 ·
Damn...and here was me thinking you were being polite, Doc.
Never mind. I was going to send you the Xylon anyway because I want you to suffer. It's been in my house too long, and there's a little storm cloud hanging over us. Visitors won't come anymore, all the mirrors have cracked and the milk curdles in the fridge. And is that Jack Nicholson outside the front door with an axe???
 
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Dr Pea,
I had to laugh when I read your reply. I don't think sueing you would be a good idea.

Their were lots of experiment by people before WW2 in Britain and in other countries, but nothing is really recorded about them, for example Tim Birkin had a system that he used commercially in the 1930's but even though the Brooklands museum claim to have pictures of this I have never seen any. A of lot of evidence I think was destroyed in the bombing of WW2 of early French and German systems.

RR
 

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Jeff (et al),
There were pictures of the Birkin system in The Autocar issues of 30-31, plus other systems in the late 30s (including one very much like some of the current homemade digital systems) - this is the main evidence we have of commercial racing systems, but there were undoubtedly others, based on various evidence (including two chassis that friends have of commercial rail type cars made in Italy, with AC motors! - probably post-WWII). The Birkin photo was even reproduced in a Classic Sportscar mag from the 80s or early 90s.

And for patents, there are dozens going back to about 1920 or so, although curiously I haven't seen any for the moment predating the Lionel system of 1912... maybe just a problem of patent search. Some of these systems are remarkably modern, and others remarkably complicated, baroque and unfeasible (if it isn't baroque, don't fix it!)

After MRRC, I think the earliest US vacforms probably date from 1961-62, along with the earliest commercial raceways in California: Shark and other local producers - any dates on these Philippe?

cheers,
Don
 
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Don,
What date were the Super Shells vac's from like the one used to build the rail car? and can you post a picture of the Birkin system?

The last question is, would we have the slot racing that we have today if the 1950's rail racing in Britain had not happened considering this is what started Scalextric and the other British systems? Don, Philippe, Russell, Ect.

RR
 

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Discussion Starter · #48 ·
I say ban nationalism in slot racing. As every atheist knows, God created Scalextric on the eighth day, for all man(and woman)kind to enjoy. It's just that I couldn't find the bit about vacforms in Genesis when I had a look the other day. I should ask the vicar- she'll know.
 

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QUOTE Damn...and here was me thinking you were being polite, Doc.

TX, have you ever met a polite doc? I am just trying to fit the mold.


Thanks for da Xylon, we will add it to the collection of Brit oddities we collect, that includes a piece of fossilized boiled veal with chips and a cricket bat.

To get back to the Birkin system, I could not find any patent on it, but patent search is not an easy task. The American 1936 patent on what amounts to the modern slot racing system is of course well known by now since the grand-son of the inventor made it public through the Internet a few years back. It appears that only the Brits picked up the ball after WWII and without the rail racers and the pioneers from MRRC, things might not have developed quite as they have today.

As far as the vac-formed bodies, I also recall that Jim Russell began making white styrene pressings as early as 1961 to fit over Strombecker cars, which by that time were vastly superior in performance to the Scalextric offerings. Some other US pioneers MAY have produced some vac bodies before this date to supply private clubs, but it is kind of doubtful at this time.
MOST of the British early vacs were manufactured in confidential quantities after 1961, simply by looking at the vintage of cars they represented, and the first available clear plastic sheet (butyrate) was available at about that time. The MRRC Auto-Union was available in late 1961.

GT Models and Wonderland Raceway had the most extensive line of vac bodies by 1968-69, but the masters, produced byt the dozens, lagged in accuracy compared to what was produced in the US at that time.
Of all companies, Lancer has to be the best, their 1/24 scale Chaparral 2G body being the finest in detail and accuracy ever produced as a clear plastic vac body in my opinion, unsurpassed ever since.
Regards,

Dr. Pea
 
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I believe that had the British rail racing not happened in the 1950's we would not be enjoying the slot racing that we all enjoy so much today. As much of what we have today, leads in a direct line back to the 1950's rail tracks.

RR
 
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