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Thread: Spindizzies

  1. #1

    Spindizzies

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    I've been fascinated by these manic little race cars for a long time. Spindizzies are fuel powered scale model race cars, that rose to prominence in the 1930s. They’re propelled by a fuel motor, usually from a model airplane, and are incredibly fast and noisy. The early examples were all custom built, usually by the owner, until the hobby grew to a point manufacturers began building them. As the hobby started out in the US, and was always strongest there, most Spindizzy cars were miniature versions of Midget racers, Bonneville racers, or hot rods.

    There were two types of Spindizzy racing; those that raced on an oval track, in which there were multiple lanes, each with a rail that held the car on track; and tether cars, which were attached to a central pole around which they circled at high speed. Although tether cars usually achieved higher speeds, due to less friction, they were limited to only one car competing at a time.

    My preference has always been for the oval track cars. The tracks were created from scratch, usually from wood, with high banked turns so the cars would remain on the track at speed. Several cars could race at once, usually on four lanes. The cars were started by a quick push, which ignited the motor, and would be stopped using a trip wire triggered by a cloth held over the car as it sped by.

    Most cars used air-cooled model airplane motors, which often sat inside the bodywork of the car, requiring various vents to get cool air to the motor. However, there were also a small number of custom made and quite intricate water cooled cars, which required a tiny radiator, flywheel driven water pump, and even a cooling fan!

    Although tether car racing continues today, the oval track racing died out in the 1980s, with the growth of RC cars. However, there has grown from the hobby a robust collector market for anything Spindizzy related, and in particular, the early cars and related marketing material.

  2. #2
    And and awesome piece of old oval rail track footage:


  3. #3
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    Digging through my mountain of old mags - found this from 1949
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  4. #4
    Wow, that is beautiful! Someone has put some serious time into building that.

  5. #5
    Who said inboard cantilever suspension was new?
    I would love to see the rest of that article.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oldfart View Post
    Who said inboard cantilever suspension was new?
    I would love to see the rest of that article.
    hope this is readable
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    Cover
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  8. #8
    What an incredible effort! Not only make the body, but the engine from scratch as well. And then be reticent about painting.

  9. #9
    I agree with Rhys, really impressive work.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Holmes View Post
    I agree with Rhys, really impressive work.
    Me too Steve - love to see a close up of that ebonite steering wheel, I wonder if it survived somewhere?

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    this one came via the H.A.M.B.
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    A couple more
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  15. #15
    For anyone in Sydney who are interested in models there is a place at Luddenham called Model Park they don't have the spindizzies (at least the last time I was there) but they do have slot cars, R/C cars, boats, planes and tether cars that are capable of speeds around approx. 200 mph, HO trains and even large scale trains that kids and adults can ride on. They have a monthly open day to the public. Here is the link to their site http://www.ssme.org.au/

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