For our birthdays which fall on April 10 we have a race at Matt Biederman's house on his Monza track. I bring the club members from Fort Wayne and he gathers the local racers from the Cincinnati area for a day of racing. As an ice breaker we have a Cartrix GP race with everyone drawing a team name out of a hat. The racers are paired by teams and get to pick the cars they will be racing from Matt's collection of well prepared race cars. Each team member races on both lanes and the total score for the team is added up, the team with the highest number of laps is declared the winner.
This year will be a bit different, not only will we be competing with Cartrix cars we will also be running my pre-war cars. I have been working on building cars to make teams since the holidays when I finally felt well enough to go to the basement and work. I have another Mercedes W125 coming from George Turner to make the two car team and Matt has a W163 on his shelf to finish out that team. Not all the cars are new builds but some freshening up will be needed for all the cars to get them to run similar lap times.
It should be great fun this year since we have some die hard Alfa, Mercedes and Audi fans in the list of racers competing. I can hear it already from a guy who draws an Alfa that the car is slow since it is not his beloved Mercedes.
Never been a fan of the silver cars, although the first model car I ever carved was a W154 in 43rd scale, but only because that was the only plan I had at the time! I'd go for the red cars every time, Ken.
I needed more modified wheels for the Carrera tire conversion so i had to replace the burnt out motor in the second hand lathe. Finally got the dang thing running yesterday and started making shavings. Only four or five more steps before the wheels are ready for cleanup, primer, decals and installing the frets. Time is counting down.
Is that one of those cheapo Chinky lathes Ken? The electronics with all the speed controlled stuff seems to be very iffy. I had a Unimat PC. Worst pile of Eurojunk I ever saw. Swapped it for my American Taig/Peatol and have never had a moments trouble many years later. So impressive, my son has just bought one. With more bits on it than mine. Damned cheek of the kid! Had a Unimat SL90...OK and a Unimat 3, nice, but the bed cracked! Also had a Simt (Flexispeed), but it needed a lot of fettling from new to get it to run well. The Taig has been the best by a mile and only second most expensive, by which I mean not expensive AT ALL. Carter Tools in the States for spares too.
I bought it used without a functioning speed control for $200, I bought a Dayton DC speed control and wired it in to replace the low buck electronics. After about six months I figured out why the original speed control burnt up. I found a bad winding in the motor that made it get hot when I put a big load on it. I put in a new motor and it does the trick for what I need. The slides are tight and there is hardly any backlash in the controls. It does the job for what I need.
I bought a no brand old thing from a decent gent who had a homeworkshop to die for with a bigger lathe sitting there with other engineering machinery. Initially I was uncertain as I bought it unseen online but when I arrived to collect it I was completely reassured.
Ken, I think that replacing the electronic bits was a good idea. It tends to be those aspects that go first with those cheapo lathes. But $200 is very cheap if you have the wherewithall to swap major bits.
Yesterday was the first day of testing for the cars for the birthday race. Test drives were don with all the cars and some of the cars with tires other than the PCS rear tires that were found lacking in grip were changed over to the PCS rear tires. The cars range in age from 8 years old to just a few days or weeks old and a old black label first generation NC1 just does not have the legs of some of the newer replacement motors. On Matt's Monza track straightline speed is essential so some motors got changed out to the H&R 14 K motors that have a bit more torque for these heavier cars. As expected Mercedes and Auto Union topped the speed charts with very respectable 6.3 second runs and Alfa was lagging behind with 6.7 second lap times. There are two more Auto Unions that need completed but they are waiting for wheels to be finished and motors. There is also on more Mercedes in the mail somewhere from GTM that will be added to the lineup.
Good grief, what a line-up! I built an Auto Union a while back entirely from MRRC parts. Completely unsorted it was as fast on the long Norwich straight as a fiddled with Slot.it, which apparently means something to some people, but it needed careful sorting. It has now disappeared! And that, is the most I have built for myself in 45 years, apart from a Standard 10 from Penelope Pitlane, as I did the master. Also astonishingly quick round Norwich until the pinion fell off. To have such a line up as the above is completely alien to me!!
Martin, my goal is to have two of each of Mercedes GP cars from 1934 to 1939 in my collection including the 1939 W165. I had to write a book report in third grade on a biography from the school library, mine was on an interesting book that I read about Caricolla and his racing for the Mercedes team. It left an impression on my that has lasted till today. I think the early cars have an art deco style that just scream speed. I do need to find another Penelope Pitlane W163 somewhere. I have done all the cars from the 1956 Belgian GP at Spa that have found homes in the hands of the local club drivers. I think I may have one of those cars left yet.
Whilst I prefer pre-War cars generally, I have never been a GP fan. I wouldn't know the difference twixt W163 and W165, except maybe is one the Tripoli car? For me, it is entirely aesthetic with all things. And F1s never struck me as that beautiful, except the BRM P 261. Martin
The Birthday project is progressing well with one exception, I am still waiting on wheels and tires from the UK. The 262 Pound order I placed had two parts that were not in stock that somehow managed to get my order misplaced. I received notification that they shipped my order out today. I have all the chassis done and all the cars painted and the decals on. I just have the minor finishing touches and the final clear coat to do along with the wheels and tires that are in transit. It feels good to be on or a bit ahead of schedule for a change.
And with a deep sigh of relief may I humbly present 3 months work in preparation for a race with my friends. I still have two sets of wheels to machine, paint,decal, assemble and seal for the Auto Unions along with a set of knock on to put on an Alfa that I keep forgetting.
They may have not been some of my best work but at least I can still build them, which was in doubt 4 months ago. Thanks for peaking your head in to see my accomplishments.