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"They Don't Make 'Em Like They Used To..."

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  • "They Don't Make 'Em Like They Used To..."

    In Chris' recent thread about his 1/24 K&B Lola, he made some observations about the high quality of the parts included in that (50-year old) kit.

    On the old forum, I had mentioned something similar; in that case, I had received some mid-'60s Aurora/K&B controllers and was struck by how logical everything had been assembled, and how that made for relatively easy maintenance, even after all these years.

    In the model train field, there is a very similar dynamic; as much as we can all appreciate the modern stuff, one wonders how well it will hold up over time.

    Could it be that this sentiment, as much as nostalgia, is why some of us are so drawn towards the stuff we had as kids...if nothing else, it's an added bonus.

    Happy Holidays everyone!

    Mark in Oregon


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  • #2
    The bean counters took over everything to make a profit. Quality doesn't matter too them. Just the bottom dollar..
    BTW
    I found a body you may enjoy and boxed it with your chassis. Just waiting on the MO to arrive.
    Merry Christmas Mark

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by williamg View Post
      1. The bean counters took over everything to make a profit. Quality doesn't matter too them. Just the bottom dollar..
      BTW
      2. I found a body you may enjoy and boxed it with your chassis. Just waiting on the MO to arrive.
      3. Merry Christmas Mark
      1: All too true, I'm afraid.

      2: Cool; I can hardly wait! Given the volume of mail this time of year, you may not see it until (early?) next week...

      3: Same to you and yours.

      Mark in Oregon

      Comment


      • #4
        For a lot of us buying the older stuff, we're buying items that we couldn't afford as kids. For my self, I've always a home set of some kind and got to go to a few commercial tracks that my Dad took me to, but by the time I was old enough to drive myself there was only one track left out on SE Stark Street in Portland. And about the third time I drove myself out there it was gone.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Mitch58 View Post

          1. For a lot of us buying the older stuff, we're buying items that we couldn't afford as kids.

          2. For my self, I've always a home set of some kind and got to go to a few commercial tracks that my Dad took me to, but by the time I was old enough to drive myself there was only one track left out on SE Stark Street in Portland. And about the third time I drove myself out there it was gone.
          1. For sure; how lucky for us that this stuff was manufactured so well and has lasted so long. And there seems to be so much still out there!

          2. ... ...

          Happy Holidays to you too, Mitch.

          Mark (also) in Oregon

          Comment


          • #6
            While several of the manufacturers of yesteryear had some really well engineered/produced parts in their kits (which would be hugely cost prohibitive today) , Cox likely produced the "best" kits in terms of including really neat stuff in their boxes.
            From their cast magnesium chassis, taper lok axles and hubs, to their cast magnesium wheels,.....specific to each model, both in 1/32, and, 1/24 scale..........far from cost effective for todays' market size and consumer. To put things in perspective, in the early/mid 60's, it was estimated that there were 4000+ commercial tracks in the US alone, ( more tracks than bowling alleys), and Companies like Classic and Cox, produced and sold more than a million cars each, and I have read that the US market at the time was in excess of $250 million.

            Anyway, back to Cox stuff.........as a result of their engineering/production quality, they are by far the most sought after vintage kits today......don't confuse quality with performance, as in the mid 60's there were many cars/manufacturers that would run rings round the Cox stuff.........but, from a pure quality perspective, they can't be beat !!

            Cheers
            Chris Walker

            An example of their cast magnesium chassis......purist look away,...as this one has been given a light coat of metallic grey to avoid the typical Cox magnesium oxidation.
            This chassis is from their "Dino" kit.

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            One of their coolest features was their cast magnesium wheels.......specific for each car model, and, many had internally tapered hubs that fit their tapered axles, held on with model specific wheel nuts !!

            These are from various Cox 1/32 and 1/24 kits, and are in various states of restoration........you can easily see on some, the dreaded magnesium oxidation.


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            Last edited by chrisguyw; December 19, 2019, 01:38 PM.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by chrisguyw View Post
              While several of the manufacturers of yesteryear had some really well engineered/produced parts in their kits (which would be hugely cost prohibitive today) , Cox likely produced the "best" kits in terms of including really neat stuff in their boxes.
              From their cast magnesium chassis, taper lok axles and hubs, to their cast magnesium wheels,.....specific to each model, both in 1/32, and, 1/24 scale..........far from cost effective for todays' market size and consumer. To put things in perspective, in the early/mid 60's, it was estimated that there were 4000+ commercial tracks in the US alone, ( more tracks than bowling alleys), and Companies like Classic and Cox, produced and sold more than a million cars each, and I have read that the US market at the time was in excess of $250 million.

              Anyway, back to Cox stuff.........as a result of their engineering/production quality, they are by far the most sought after vintage kits today......don't confuse quality with performance, as in the mid 60's there were many cars/manufacturers that would run rings round the Cox stuff.........but, from a pure quality perspective, they can't be beat !!

              Cheers
              Chris Walker

              An example of their cast magnesium chassis......purist look away,...as this one has been given a light coat of metallic grey to avoid the typical Cox magnesium oxidation.
              This chassis is from their "Dino" kit.

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              One of their coolest features was their cast magnesium wheels.......specific for each car model, and, many had internally tapered hubs that fit their tapered axles, held on with model specific wheel nuts !!

              These are from various Cox 1/32 and 1/24 kits, and are in various states of restoration........you can easily see on some, the dreaded magnesium oxidation.


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              Nice...and a "sidewinder" type layout, like (forgive me!)...Aurora's!

              Mark in Oregon

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              • #8
                Originally posted by strummer57 View Post

                Nice...and a "sidewinder" type layout, like (forgive me!)...Aurora's!

                Mark in Oregon
                Sidewinders were fairly common at the time, with lots of manufacturers offering them,....but, most, were using the 36D motors,....as were Cox in most of their 1/24 cars......I think Cox (whoops forgot about Russkit) were one of the first first major manufacturers to offer the 16D sized motors in a sidewinder.(Dino kit).
                The much smaller 16D's mounted sidewinder were a massive boost to the cars' handling, as their dimensions significantly lowered the cars' cg., but, more importantly allowed much smaller dia. rear tires, (further lowering the cg),..even with higher numeric gear ratios that the 16d's loved.

                Cheers
                Chris Walker

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                • #9
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                  Cox rules the market for the best looking kits. The kits they produced sat on the shelf with the lid off and the back flap up to show the car to it's best light. They had the best art dept in the business, I guess and they understood how important the eye appeal was. The tapered hubs are the equal or better than the K&B posi loks.

                  Cox wasn't completely alone, though, Russkit and Classic both had nice looking retail packaging.

                  Realize we are talking slot cars that are 55 years old. I still get a lot of vintage cars and I take for granted the motors will run and the cars will run and 95% of the time they do and silicone tires still work great. Imagine how the current Chinese produced cars will run in 55 years if they have been thrown in a shoebox and put in the attic after a couple years of flogging.

                  Some numbers I've heard over the years: nearly one million Classic Manta Rays produced, Over 400, 000 Cox Chaparral 2's. Supposedly the highest production numbers for any Cox car. I tend to think these numbers are pretty close.

                  No I don't have all those cars anymore. Most of it was bought back int he 80's when an ad in a Model Car magazine was sufficient to get modelers to call me with the slot cars they had or found. Back then prices were nothing compared to today. At the height of the vintage craze, I sold most of them. I have always kept one Cox kit just to show what the slot car craze was all about.






                  Matt B
                  So. In
                  Crashers

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                  • #10
                    Russkit and Classic also had great art departments and the pictures Russkit used were taken on the MESAC track in LA,. It's the color that jumps out when you see these kits. This really cheap package from International held the Tijuana Taxi. The car itself is just a vac body on an aluminum 36D s/w frame and nothing very sophisticated, it is my favorite car. The clear lid is vac formed and the rest of the package is stapled together cardboard and paper. I have seen 2 packaged cars in 40 years., and 7-8 original loose cars. I had one car many years ago and carefully removed the driver head to make a mold and the body stickers to photo copy. I did have a body from Speed and Sport who owned the mold at one time. I sent a new mold to Bruce Patterson in exchange for some bodies and I built 10 repros of this car. This one I kept for myself. This packaging was recreated by a friend using Photoshop or some other computer art form. The bubbles were actually made on the original mold from International. I like old slot cars! Thanks to LASCM for the use of the Stinger and the Russkit picture below.

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                    Last edited by mattb; December 19, 2019, 06:30 PM.
                    Matt B
                    So. In
                    Crashers

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                    • #11
                      never saw that taxi, gotta love it it's too funny.
                      I've been thinking of doing a polar lights bat mobile up, but now that taxi has me thinking....

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        William I think there is a Model A sedan in HO cars. You could cut the top off, maybe get or make a windshield frame like the hot rods and you could copy the Taxi. You can cut a sombrero out of any piece of round plastic. Before I had the real deal, I made a hat with my dremel and the plastic handle of a screw driver!
                        Matt B
                        So. In
                        Crashers

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by williamg View Post
                          The bean counters took over everything to make a profit. Quality doesn't matter too them. Just the bottom dollar..
                          I haven't posted in this sub forum before and I hope no one minds the intrusion, but the topic interested me.

                          When I studied a middle management course at a government funded college in the late 90's (75% of the course was totally irrelevant and some of it was totally wrong and misleading by the way) we were taught that the definition of quality is whatever the customer's expectation was. So that meant that shoddy quality was completely acceptable if the customer was willing to pay for it. So if manufacturers really think like this then they are blaming the customers for accepting these products, which is why it is important to report faulty products back to manufacturer or the relevant authority if it is not a "saleable" product. (at least thats the process in Australia where I live)

                          Totally agree with your comment williamg. Its setting the tone for the demise of anything worth buying any more.

                          On the other hand, I can understand that manufacturers need to have a healthy business model that WILL turn a profit. That has to be their reason to exist if they are going to survive financially. So they will often build in some degree of obsolescence or limited life of product in order to make future sales. But perhaps a better way would be to build products that last, that you can just keep buying more extensions for, such as a good track system

                          Risking rant status here but its something I have been thinking about a little bit.

                          Steve.

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                          • #14
                            At my tiny corner of the 1966-67 slot car phantasmagoria, there were WAVES of what everyone showed up with. Cox cars and other brands were fine until experienced racers showed up with crappily soldered scratchbuilts (one with a DC65 sidewinder!!) that ran 10 laps to our 9. Quickly I found a re-tired Testors inline (Harrison Special) would win heats and go to a final on our 220 foot track, though not win against Globe-powered scratchbuilts. By Halloween '66, the Russkit pans (our term for them in upstate NY) were showing up and a mass movement rushed to them, including me. At our track, most put Riggen foams on everything. I favored U-Gos. The Russkit 23 ran well, but better when I rewound it.

                            I rewound the bigger 36s and later 26s with #24 wire - yeah, I know, I was nuts - and, trying everything, found a Cox Cheetah regeared to under 3:1 (2.6:1, I think) with even the stock Testors 36D and foam tires replacing the chattering, chunking stockers would run quite competively. But I set it aside, because there were Russkit pans (Chaparral 26F) and Competition/Pactra brass tube cars to race with my rewinds. What could we do with a Cox magnesium sidewinder today with more sober heads, not 13 or 14 years old? The sheer craftmanship of it would make me stick with it. On a long track, the small price in higher CoG would matter less.

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                            • #15

                              Originally posted by RBPhillips View Post
                              A
                              What could we do with a Cox magnesium sidewinder today with more sober heads, not 13 or 14 years old? The sheer craftmanship of it would make me stick with it.
                              A few years ago I decided to put some effort into making the good old Cox Magnesium chassis handle as well as the other RTR cars available at the time, and there were 3 basic things that needed addressing....1/Freeze the drop arm, but, allow for adjustable guide height,...2/Reduce the overall front track clearance, but, still use somewhat scale sized tires,...3/.....add weight low and wide.

                              I did fiddle around a bit, and came up with the following,.......it easily stays with my Russkit Carrera chassis

                              Some may have seen this chassis on the "old" forum.

                              Cheers
                              Chris Walker



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