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Pit Box 2017



By Geoff Sheppard

In the late 1970s, a number of people in the UK tried to rekindle the interest in tethered car racing through the modellers weeks at Brean and via the short lived Model Mechanics magazine. The late Geoff Sheppard of the Bristol Club created these two easy to build designs that were published in the first edition of Model Mechanics in February 1979. Both were simplified versions of the Swedish SMRU car using a single ended PAW 1.49cc motor driving one wheel. Plans were available from MAP at 50p, but with limited opportunity to run the cars and the early demise of the magazine, interest waned. The cars remained with Geoff until his untimely death, eventually being sold on eBay in October 2013.   Thanks to David Giles for passing on the photographs.  Dec 2017



This boat was built by Dickie Phillips as a successor to his record breaking Foz. When he retired from racing the boat was passed on to Doc English without the engine. 'Dickie' was run for a short while around 1967, possibly with a McCoy 10cc motor, and then effectively vanished for fifty years, only surfacing after the then owner made contact. Several people have made enquiries as to its whereabouts over the years with no success. It is now hoped to reunite it with its original motor, which is still in existence.
                        Thanks to Russ Hague for this item November 2017


'Amco Martin' four:-

 In the late 1940s, the Anchor Motor Company of Chester (AMCO) started producing engines for model use designed by E C (Ted) Martin. By way of diversification he also designed and built this flat four motor as a design exercise and prototype for a remote controlled target drone. The engine is dated 1950, shortly before Ted moved to Canada and Anchor sold the model business. As seen here it has conventional needle valves and venturis feeding separate rotary valves, although it was originally intended for fuel injection through ports now hidden by the aluminium plate.  Although not a 'model engine' in the true sense of the word, Peter Chinn included it in December 1954 in his Notable IC engines series in Model Engineer, where a full description can be found.                                                 We are indebted to Richard Dalby for sharing this item with us. October 2017


Neither car nor boat

This was amongst the collection brought back from Germany for Norman Lara. It is, in fact, an ice racer, built by Karl-Heinz Rost, a leading tethered hydroplane competitor from East Germany in the 1960s and 70s. Rather than wheels or sponsons, it has three wire skids, two on the rear wing and one on the front of the boom. Even with the tiny Jena motor it would have been quite rapid. Oddly enough, many of the Eastern Block air cars of the period also dispensed with wheels  and used titanium skids for running on the track. There was an even larger version of the ice boat amongst the collection, but sans motor.

Thanks to Norman Lara for this item  Sept 2017


1066 'Holy Grail'

At first glance this looks like hundreds of other 1066 Falcon engines. It is not until it is seen alongside one of these, or picked up, that its significance is revealed. It is the rarest of the 1066 motors a 10cc Falcon. These were advertised alongside the normal 5cc and an even larger 15cc version from 1946. It was not until two sets of castings were discovered  and recognised a few years ago that it could be confirmed that the dies had been made and castings produced. There was no further mention of the 10cc version and the 15cc one is something of a mystery, did it ever make it beyond Geoffrey Hastings' advertising material?

Thanks to Eric Offen for allowing us to photograph the motor. Aug 2017


Bottoms Up with history

This Oliver 'Bottoms Up' or Tiger Cub, to give it its proper name, has a unique place in tethered car history as Ron Thrower used it to finish 2nd in two classes at the 54 European Championships. Yes, with a quick engine change it did 73.05mph as a 1.5cc and 78.32mph as a 2.5cc. This was a common practice, either to change the entire engine unit or just the barrel and piston, which took less than 10 minutes. This car predates the longer and slimmer GRP car featured below in February

Thanks again to Jim Hampton for another super item                 July 2017


Cloisonné treasure

Most model engineering societies and clubs produced enamel badges but there were far fewer specialist car clubs and as yet, this example is unique. That is is from the Surrey Club makes it even more fascinating as this was one of the earliest clubs formed. It came into being in 1947 essentially to allow members of the Pioneer Club to run outdoors on the track at Christmaspie.

OTW has already published details of the Club's chequered history, with original photos from the Westbury Archive and the late John Carter who was the owner of the badge shown here.
Thanks to Alan MacMillan for providing this item.                                               May 2017


Elegant flash steamer

Beneath the damaged paintwork is a really elegant stepped hull, reminiscent of the full sized racing boats of the 20s and 30s. The motor is a homebuilt, high speed twin with a shuttle inlet and exhaust valve coupled to a similarly well engineered set of pumps. A petrol/paraffin vaporizing blowlamp and tank occupy the transom area but the steam generator is unfortunately missing. Nothing more is known about the boat, but what a fascinating and worthwhile restoration project it will make. Thanks to Dennis Ling for this item and the superb set of photos. April 2017


'Curly carb' variation

This unusual treatment of the Tiger inlet system was by B V Harris of Bristol. It is difficult to believe it improved  on the Oliver venturi and would require a new housing and a purpose made crankshaft for the right side as that is running anticlockwise.  Makes for a very long inlet tract as well and does all sorts to the gas velocity?

Another gem, courtesy of Jim March 2017


Ron Thrower's Oliver special

Ron was one of the youngest British competitors and very successful with his Oliver 'Bottoms Up' car, running in both 1.5cc and 2.5cc classes by changing the twinshaft motor. He won silver medals in each class at the 1954 European Championships at Woodside near Luton. Following this he decided that the Oliver car could be improved for the smaller class by making the car narrower and longer to improve road holding. Rather than cast up a new chassis he built this lovely little GRP flyer that he described in Model Maker. Large lump of lead still needed.
                                                                                                   Thanks also to Jim Hampton for this item. OTW photo Feb 2017


Tethered Hydro Class E 2.5cc 'Tiny'

We have featured this boat before, but then it was minus its 2.5cc Supertigre engine. 'Tiny' and its builder Jim Hampton share the distinction of being the the only medal winners to date in the smallest E or A1 Class at either a World or European Championships. The SuperTigre was a very successful motor in both cars and hydroplanes from the 1950s through to the late 70s
Thanks to Jim for this item. OTW photo Jan 2017