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July 2019

No matter how good a handle you feel you have on a manufacturer or a particular model, along will come a version or variation that is new to you to put the proverbial amongst the pigeons. Oh the joy these can bring to the dedicated collector when one turns up, or conversely the annoyance as you thought that you had ‘one of every size in every colour’, but now you don’t. Then comes the inevitable search, firstly to confirm that this was indeed a recognised variation and secondly, to find one. Then you discover, to your cost, that the red box is immeasurably more valuable than the blue, or that the two bolt head can command many times more than the three bolt. The value is not really the issue to us, just knowing what did exist in order to record and increase the combined knowledge. There are also the subtle differences or idiosyncrasies lurking to catch out the unwary like 1066 producing 4" tyres but with the same 6.00 x 16 wall marking as the much more common and smaller ones. The same company also had different logos at stages in their short existence, used several versions of labelling on the car and engine kit boxes as well as advertising things that do not seem to have existed, or did they? Even for this company, there are a bewildering number of alternatives of the same basic products. This appears to be where the obsession and compulsion begins to creep in and the pursuit of the unobtainable begins. Every motor made by ED, enough of a challenge. Every mark and variation, just about possible for one type, but impossible for the range. Include the more obscure like the Condor, just about, or the Fireball, yes, it did exist, and the task becomes all-consuming. It does concentrate the mind if the object of desire is a rarity, such as we discussed last month, but then there are the odd occasions when it just falls into your lap, and then you cannot quite believe your luck? Yes, the 1066 tethered hydroplane still evades us.

A change of tack this month with our Album. A regular feature of the late, lamented, Retro Club magazine was a selection of photos of reader’s cars, both original and modern builds. We thought that it would be a nice gesture to give a wider audience to some of the huge number of cars that have been built over the last thirty or so years since the retro tethered car movement got into full swing.

The photo is along the same theme as it comes from the period a short while ago when there was a great deal of enthusiasm for running vintage tethered hydros, again both original and those of more recent construction. Indeed, there is a trophy still awarded each year for the fastest vintage speed of the season that still attracts a number of entries, especially now the Victoria Club is featuring vintage hydros at each of its regattas.

The Pitbox this month is something of a mystery. We know what it is, who owned it but have no other information other than what can be determined from photos. Even the son of the original owner has no further information.

Another manifestation of our favourite gripe, and we quote, 'a very rare and increasingly difficult to find vintage model diesel engine'. All very well, except that it happens to be a current production PAW?

Difficult to believe with all the rain that has been falling over the last few days that we enjoyed twelve days of hot and sunny weather on our annual 'spring tour' to Basel and Kapfenhardt. Something of a landmark for one of the OTW team with a first place and a new British record. The rain did relent though for the first regatta at Kingsbury. Three very happy competitors and a new class record into the bargain.

Sign of the times with the news from the US that Roger Phillips has set a new outright, American, record for tethered cars at 210mph or 337kph in new money. An achievement in itself, but this is the latest development of the Vector electric car, with carbon fibre construction that puts it within the Class 5 weight limit, unlike the previous incarnation. Still a bit to go to beat Picco's record but with the fastest tethered hydro in the world also electric, it shows where we are headed. Nothing quite replaces the sound of an IC motor winding up to peak rpm though.

Stop Press: On 23rd June Roger and his Vector could lay claim to being the fastest tether car in the world with a quite incredible run at 222mph. Watching the youtube clip, the readout flashed up over 350kph, the final speed being 357kph. An amazing achievement for Roger and all the guys that helped in the design and building of the Vector CF. We seldom include photos in Pylon, but this landmark achievement deserves recognition.

Not quite so fast at the June Retro Club track day but a goodly turnout and several new cars making their debuts. Them as would start ran well with some new personal bests, but still, some of the motors refused to play, causing a great deal of frustration in some quarters. Oliver Monk updated all those attending on the current situation regarding the proposed car track at the BMFA facility at Buckminster. What an incredible investment in time and money in the States on the resurfacing and complete upgrade of the track at Whittier Narrows. It is great news to hear of investment in a track rather than news of one closing. Facebook has several posts on the amazing amount of work being done there.

Amongst all the car related material that arrived in a series of packages was a newspaper article from 1979 featuring the European Championship at Lyon. Sadly, the track is no longer in use so we reproduce the photos as a reminder of that excellent facility. We thrive on coincidences and this material also included a set of plans for Jozsef Peto's 5cc car. The Hungarians almost had a stranglehold  at the European Championships in the 2.5cc and 5cc classes for several years in the 60s and early 70s with Peto winning six on the trot from 68-73. Just a couple of days later, Michael Schmutz posted a photo of a set of framed drawings for the same car, but then the results from Pecs were posted, and there was Jozsef Peto competing, still with his number 48 car.