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Sources of Information

OTW We have a spares page that can put you in touch with people and companies offering a range of bits and pieces but is entirely independent of On The Wire.

Cars:- The tethered car enthusiast was very well catered for with several books and magazines being published. Any of the items below will provide a valuable insight in to the world of tethered cars.


Motor Racing In Miniature. G.H.Deason. Published in 1947, this book covers the early days and illustrates many of the pioneering home built cars. The appendix contains descriptions of the ‘famous model cars’. Excellent resource.

Model Car Manual. Again by Deason but moving on to 1949. Good range of, designs both simple and sophisticated with full constructional notes. Comprehensive details of ignition, transmission and fuel systems for cars. Numerous illustrations of commercial cars and components.

These are both excellent source books and relatively freely available secondhand.

Model Race Cars. D.A. Russell and D.B.M. Wright. This is the original book, published in 1945, that featured the 'pioneer' cars and background information about the sport. It compliments the plans that Drysdale produced for each of these early cars.

Model Racing Cars. Norman Taylor. From 1955, this book has technical details about classes, regulations and rules, chapters on construction and building a simple car. Line drawings only and several prototype drawings to work from.

More rare secondhand.

The Olivers And A Tiger. A comprehensive and profusely illustrated history of the Oliver concern, published by John Goodall, and written with the full cooperation of John Oliver. A must have for all ‘Oliverphiles’ and those interested in cars or engines.

Contact Barton Model Products for this superb volume.

Vintage Miniature Racing Cars. Concentrates on the American Scene. This large format book by Robert Ames is a modern publication but went out of print quickly. Plenty of good quality pictures and information.

Spindizzies. Featuring the collection of Eric Zausner, this very large and ridiculously expensive coffee table book has beautiful colour pictures of most production cars from around the world as well as the very best of the craftsmen built cars. A superb resource, now that the collection has been broken up.

Both the above books can be found secondhand on the net but both contain captioning errors that get repeated.

Spindizzy by Ron Britzke and Miniature Racing Cars by Arthur Suhr are good sources for the American scene.

British Production Tethered Cars and Components 1 Peter Hill. Self published collection of dated adverts, tests and press releases covering the entire period of the British tethered car scene. An invaluable resource.


Model Car News. Published by Percivall Marshall, 43 issues from 1946-50 cover the growth of tethered cars from the early pioneers to the latest developments. Constructional articles, race reports and adverts give a valuable insight into the British aspect of the sport. Commercial and home built cars are covered in detail. Plenty of useful research material.

Can be found occasionally but was available as a two-volume reprint.

Model Cars. As well as the two excellent books, Drysdale Press published 24 issues of this magazine between 1947 and 1950. Similar content to MCN but in a larger format and more material per issue, Model Cars provides a better insight into the personalities involved in the sport.

Very rare to find copies of this magazine.

Model Engineer. Car content in several issues prior to the publication of MCN and continued with a more comprehensive coverage after that magazine ceased publication.

Model Maker. When Model Cars ceased publication in 1950, the editorial team produced Model Maker, which was of more general interest to modellers. Most issues have articles relating to tethered cars and the changes in the sport can be followed through to 1956 when interest in tethered cars faded.

Both these magazines are freely available on the secondhand market.

Rail and Cable News. Model Race Cars. American magazines, available as reprinted volumes.

Model Mechanic. Model Craftsman. Both these magazines have car content and Model craftsman has numerous constructional series.

Hydros:- Huge amounts of historic material and information available in books and magazines but much less so in modern times with almost nothing published since the millenium.


Model Engineer. The prime source of information, plans, constructional articles, regatta reports, boat and engine development and personal philosophy from 1898 until the 1950s. Plenty of contentious topics as well. Less material into the 1970s and then nothing.

Model Boats. Occasional articles and international regatta reports from 1966 until Peter Hill became involved around 1985 with monthly historic articles, regatta roundups and related engine material. Occasional articles only from 2000 until 2008 when editorial policy changed.

Marine Models. Monthly articles from 1933, first by John Innocent and then Ken Williams describing development of their own boats and engines as well as more general hydro related material through to the start of the second war.

English Mechanics. A quirky alternative to ME with basic hull and engine designs that carried the EM prefix as well as regatta reports and other articles, principally by W Cooper, believed to be a King's Lynn member.

Model Ships & Power Boats. Another Percival Marshall publication, much material repeated from ME.

Model Maker. Rose from the ashes of Model Cars and Model Mechanic in 1950 as a more general modelling alternative to ME and part of D A Russell's publishing empire, later to become MAP which in turn spawned dozens of other titles and subsumed al the opposition. Occasional articles and regatta reports.

Model Crafstman - Model Mechanic. In depth coverage of the American scene, plans, articles and regatta results.

Le Modele Reduit De Bateau Maurice Bayet. Post war French material

Most of these magazines are available on the second-hand market.


Model Power Boats Edward Hobbs first published in 1914 with further updated editions through to the 1930s. Good historical content, especially regarding early racing. Can be found second hand, but usually expensive.

Model Boat Building F J Camm, Published by Newnes in 1940, interesting for the chapter on Bowden's 'Jildi Junior'.

History of Model Power Boats Edgar Westbury published by Percival Marshall. Short and selective history that stops at 1939, most material appearing elsewhere.

Experimental Flash Steam John Benson & Alan Rayman. Published by MAP in 1973 and then further editions, standard work on flash steam and in particular hydroplanes.

Flash Steam Edgar Westbury, ME articles gathered into one volume, available as a reprint.

Steam powered Hydroplane Model In depth look at the American flash steam powered 'Elmara' that claimed a world record around 1916. Now available as a digital download.

Engines:- Most publications based on the building and running of model engines for practical purposes, later acknowledging the rising interest in collecting, for which several specialist publications now exist, even attempting valuations.   


Model Engineer Nearly 120 years of articles, series, designs, notes, letters and adverts relating to steam and IC motors primarily intended for cars and boats.

Model Engine World John Goodall. 66 issues looking at all aspects of model engines with lots of information and personal recollections not to be found elsewhere.

Mechanique et Modeles Gems Suzor. IC and steam and related material from France and elsewhere, fascinating if you can read French, but excellent photos.


Model Petrol Engines Edgar Westbury. Drawings and descriptions of a variety of both his and other engines designed for home construction.

Pictorial A-Z Mike Clanford's volume featuring in excess of 1200 photos and identifications of model engines. Not always entirely accurate.

The 'Blue Book' Anderson's annual listing and price guide, now collectable in its own right.

Collectors Guide D F W Fisher, published by MAP 1977, photos and details of a number of engines.