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July 2018

What’s in a name? Well, when it comes to desirability or something for sale, a huge amount, as the right name can multiply the final price by untold amounts, even if the item may be worth no more in intrinsic terms than any other. In the model world certain manufacturers names and models carry considerable cache although often the manufacturer is the name and the product might be a standard, mass produced model from their company or factory. It is where the name indicates that the item is ‘out of the ordinary’ or has had attention that the standard product doesn’t that can create the interest, such as those magic letters TWA of which there are probably far more in existence than ever saw the hands of either T or W? Then there are the ‘tuners’, or those who undertake engine preparation that offers the customer something that the standard model does not. Almost impossible to track down when the first such person put their name to a model engine, but many are well know today, even if what they did to the motors might now be considered vandalism. Mention the name ‘Buskell’ and what the ED Racers will look like is well known and are often referred to as ‘Buskellised’ even if he had nothing to do with them. Another name that can divide opinion is George Copeman with the ‘Copeman Special’ Olivers, already a fine and carefully produced motor, so were his any better? There were ‘Eifflander Specials’ produced by PAW and then there were Specials by Gig Eifflander, not the same thing at all but carry the same name. Of course the one name held in most high regard in Britain, is that of Fred Carter who gained his reputation by extensively modifying existing motors to create record breaking and championship winning engines,which bear his name before that of the original manufacturer. There are not too many of these still in existence, but those that have survived and have provenance are highly prized.

This phenomenon is hardly ever seen in the world of tethered hydroplanes, but tethered cars are a different matter. Looking back through the records shows any number of engines identifiable by only a name, although they have commercial components as the basis, and then there are those where the manufacturer is recognised, such as the many MOPS motors in use from the late 70s, OPS motors modified by Adi Malik. We know who built the AFA or Kapu, but what was a Dino or the basis for a Novak? Currently, Peter Halman has the same status with the ‘Halman Specials’ that started life as modified Irvine 15Rs many years ago but have now morphed into carefully crafted, hi-tec and exceedingly fast motors bearing the logo HS15R. The only other person that we know of in Britain still actively preparing motors for others is Taff Bolen, who has breathed on many team race and speed motors over the years and is still the go to name for high quality engine work.

Footnote: A Rothwell R250 lasted a matter of minutes before it was snapped up off the BAMOPRO website early in June at a not insignificant price either.

Our Pitbox this month is more of a Gallery as it pays tribute to Fred Carter with some of the motors that he has been responsible for, including his first ever built for speed flying.

Our new Album takes us right back to one of the very earliest articles we ever published, and that was a ‘Historic Hydro’ contribution by Peter Hill. The subject was George Lines’ Sparky and the engine that inspired untold clones. Since then we have been lucky enough to receive numerous original images of George and his Sparky boats that we present for the next two months, and we are even more delighted that we should have been contacted recently by George’s granddaughter.

The Photo was a little gem amongst the latest tranche of images from the Westbury collection and features two current competitors and the now wife of one of them, but taken a very long time ago.

A perfect day for running boats at Althorne Lake at the beginning of June, even, in most cases, if the aforesaid boats did not respond to the conditions and cooperate.

A commercial conundrum, and not for the first time. A vendor puts a tethered car up for auction with a completely spurious description. Several people contact the vendor pointing this out, and provide the correct description, manufacturer, country of origin etc. The considered response was to inform said helpful correspondents that they were wrong and that the original description was correct, even though this at variance with the name stamped on various parts and the lettering on the tyres. How far does one go in a case like this if the vendor will not take heed of the correct information? Happened twice this month alone, and yes, someone has been bitten on each occasion.

Oliver Monk is proof positive that enthusiasts seldom restrict themselves to a single discipline, whether it be boats, cars, engines, planes or steam, as his past Ramblings have illustrated. The latest edition brings us up to date with one of his most fearsome projects so far and progress on a fascinating retro/modern build.

Back in the days when anything other than a Ford, Austin etc were just pipe dreams, there were always cars that we would drool over and one in particular was the Facel Vega, it looked so stylish. Not the first subject you would think of for a tethered car, yet Steve Betney has managed to produce a delightful model of this car, which he has kindly described for us. He is really on fire at present with the number projects that he is turning out, and there are more in the pipeline we believe? Thanks to Steve for putting these articles together for us.

Still on the 'retro theme', Club members enjoyed a 'grand day' at the June track meet, with a garden party atmosphere and some sparkling runs recorded, including a number of cars with best ever performances.

Empty Spaces:  John Ellis passed away on June 3, 2018 and the tether car racing community lost one of its most influential and respected members.

John’s father, Joe Ellis, was a respected tether car builder and racer, and John inherited his father’s love for the cars and the competition. Growing up in that environment, John maintained a healthy respect for the history of tether car racing and especially for the fellows who contributed to the hobby before him. John was a fierce competitor, whether on the track or in his heroic battle with the dreaded disease which ultimately took his life. Never one to compromise, John’s 10 cc Eagle engines and the open wheel tether cars which he designed and built were well engineered, beautifully executed, and fast…really fast! John will be sorely missed, but his legacy is preserved in the form of the engines and cars which he designed and built as they continue to compete on race tracks across the country.                                                Thanks to John Lorenz for providing this appreciation.