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Pitbox 2022

Unusual Class 2 car

If Class 1 was almost entirely dominated by eastern Bloc competitors then Class 2 showed a much wider range of cars and competitors. Most cars were of a similar design, but occasionally someone came up with something a bit different. Alexander Weiner was one such, machining his pans from bar stock with a flat bottom and square sides. The all enveloping bodywork gave it a unique appearance although the flat bottom would cause what the Americans call a 'blowover' if too much wind got underneath. Weiner won the European Championship in 1993 resulting in the sale of a few of these unusual cars, but unfortunately we understand that he died in an accident just a few years later, so that these are very rare indeed. 

Gianni Mattea has three that he still runs and there are a couple in Sweden including Weiner's own car. The car illustrated was owned and run very successfully by Wilfrid Sott from Germany in the late 90s and into the next decade and features something seldom seen on a 2.5cc car, an exhaust valve. It is still registered to Sott, the Swedish decoration is a spurious addition. If anyone can provide any further information about Weiner it would be very much appreciated. 
                                                    Thanks to KJO and John Goodall for this item December 2022


Early Oliver?

It is widely believed that the Olivers based their first engine, the Battleaxe, on the Swiss Dyno. This could well be one of their very earliest, as the bottom half is definitely Oliver, but the cylinder and fins look very much like original Dyno, particularly the restricted movement of the compression screw within the machined sector on the head. Production Battleaxes seem to have used a pin to restrict the screw, much easier to fit after setting up the motor. In addition, this motor has just one, tiny exhaust port on the left hand side, whereas twin ports as on the Dyno seemed to become standard. A very rare engine indeed and probably fills in a gap in the early history of the Oliver concern?              Thanks to Miles Patience for this item and photos. November 2022


Mystery Hydro

This, lovely 1930s hydro, has been in the same family for many years up in Scotland. As yet it has not been possible to identify who built it, but the four stroke motor shows elements of design and engineering that put it a cut above the more usual commercial engines of the period. The current owner has completed an extensive renovation of the hull and motor and has had the engine running on the bench after a great deal of work. He has also produced a very detailed diary and photo record of the work but has not been tempted to run the boat free on a loch as it did on its last outing, many years ago. His record of the renovation now forms the basis of an article on OTW.                
                                          Thanks to Dougal McIntyre for this item and photos  October 2022


Jim Dean's 1956 5cc car

For 1956, Jim Dean built two 5cc cars, a Moore/ZN spur drive in GRP that remains something of a mystery and this Dooling powered bevel car from a ZN pan. Several of Jim's cars featured this trailing link suspension system as well as his own take on the cut off, which was mounted between the motor and the tank and came out in unit with the engine. Although photographed and described, the car had remained, unidentified in a private collection for many years. Unfortunately, it was not until the research was done into Jim's cars and racing early in 2022 that it was realised how significant this car was, but by then it had been sold and has again vanished without trace. Full details of this and Jim's other cars are in May 1956 Model Maker. 
                                                                     Thanks to John Lorenz for this item September 2022 


Another 'Moore Special'

Until the arrival of the commercial ZN spur and bevel drive 5cc cars the class was dominated by Ivy Moore with her original Moore Special and any number of similar cars built by individuals, as the pans all had to be formed by hand. The Dooling 29 was the motor of choice, as in this example, but what is different here is that the body is a GRP moulding, rather than hand beaten aluminium. There is a possibility that this may have been another car from Jim Dean's stable as it matches the description of a car he was working on before adopting the ZN bevel drive pans.             
                                                         Thanks to Neil Warne for this item August 2022 


Roger Haydock's Planet 61

This 10cc car was built entirely by Roger Haydock of the Blackpool Club. The motor is unusual for the period in having a tail shaft for an ignition system, although there is provision for a conventional timer on the front of the engine. The system was inside a built up unit so no idea could be gleaned of how it worked. The engine does not follow any existing design of the period, and again how the induction system worked can only be guessed at. Eight head screws again unusual, either then or now.   
                                                                       Thanks to Len Yeadon for this item and photos July 2022


Ivan Prior EVY or IVY

Ivan Prior was notable for the live steam locos he produced, but in the late 80s and into the 90s he started producing replica Oliver tethered car kits, engines and parts. The shortage of twinshaft engines led to him offering this motor based on PAW components priced at £130 as an alternative to a replica of the Oliver Jaguar at £240.  Although Ivan passed on all his tethered car interests to the Retro Racing Club in the mid 90s, production of the IVY and Jaguar ceased at that point. The invoice is dated March 1994 when it was sold to a member of the Retro Club. There was something of a question mark with this particular engine though as the invoice stated EVY but those seen in Ivan's Oliver cars cars are stamped IVY with serial numbers. It was not until April 2024 when Ivan explained that this engine was actually the prototype and that the production versions were different in several respects.              
                                                   Thanks to Neil Warne for this item and photos May 2022


Super Tigre G60 car ME feature in 1978 Bill Bennett car, Yellow Jacket power Bill Bennett's cars at Mote Park
Tony Higgins' cars

Amongst the huge collection of cars that the late Tony Higgins acquired were the, as yet unidentified G60 car and Bill Bennett's number 7 car. Bill was one of a small group of enthusiasts in the UK that carried on running cars, following the collapse of official racing at the end of the 1950s. Racing continued at Mote Park Maidstone for many years where the #7 car was credited with a new absolute record of 167mph. This was clearly a lap scoring and timekeeping error as the true speed of the car would have been a more realistic 133mph. Both cars were sold on ebay in the US in March 2021.       
                                                    Thanks to Phil Garcia for these items and photos. April 2022


NAVIGA medal

This is the medal awarded to the MPBA by NAVIGA for organising the 1975 European Model Power Boat Championships. Until the 1980s, every NAVIGA class shared the same event, which put a huge burden on the organising country.

Unfortunately, and for the second time in forty years, all the MPBA archive material was destroyed, so this is all that remains of the week in August 1975 when the very best modellers in Europe congregated at Welwyn Garden City.

               Thanks to Peter Hill for this item March 2022


A 'real' Yellow Jacket

The Yellow Jacket name and Bruce Underwood's Model Power Company both predate by several years the Dooling Yellow Jacket with which the name is more usually associated. The Company and name came into being in 1944 but it was ten years before the cast, Dooling replacement crankcase was made available. The Dooling was the most successful motor of the era but was a bit delicate if subjected to big loads of nitro or the ingestion of any water in a hydro. The result was inevitably a two piece motor. The YJ replacement was developed to overcome this problem starting with the YJ-61A in 1955 with a series of versions appearing through to the YJ-61P model as seen above that dates from 1975. The foundry mark might indicate that the casting predated this by a couple of years. The engine #U969 was delivered new in 1975 to a British enthusiast working in California at the time. Despite what publications show, the P was not the last version produced as examples of a front exhaust, tuned pipe YJ-61R have been recorded.  More recently, a number of YJ replicas of varying quality have come onto the market, but the model, part, foundry and engine numbering system on the originals should preclude any confusion?
                                                          Thanks to John Goodall for this item and photos February 2022


Stelling 'Treasure'

Edvard Stelling and other members of his family used to make regular trips from Lithuania to race in Sweden and it appears that cars used to get 'left behind'? This could be why there is never a builders name attributed to the cars in the entry and results lists? Oblique lighting revealed the racing number that led us to Bjorn Larsson who raced the car in the 80s. The car is from Stelling with an AFA 1.5cc motor and is now just on forty years old but apart from not having damped suspension it could pass for a current car. Unraced since around 1985 it has been meticulously restored but not registered again.
                                                                              Thanks to John Goodall for this item January 2022