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Pitbox 24

Lothar Runkehl 'Loru'

Lothar Runkehl had an incredibly long racing career of over sixty years, remaining in the top flight throughout. Yet more importantly, his successes were achieved with cars and engines he had built. In 1.5cc and 2.5cc he managed to interrupt the stranglehold that the eastern Europeans had for so many years. Not only that he supplied engines and cars to others in order to compete.  Here are two of his hand crafted 1.5cc motors, one with a tuned pipe that is a work of art alone and a 2.5cc car, early history as yet unknown.
                    Thanks to Roger James, Christoph Zaugg and Kjell-Erik Odelius for these items. June 2024


The 'Modella' M&E

M&E Models of Exmouth marketed their kits and cars through numerous dealers across the UK. Modella in Bradford manufactured the 5cc, fixed compression Owat, which was a standard fitting in the front engined M&Es. It is understood that the car featured here is the 'works' Modella car with one of their own motors fitted. Several motors of the period required 'pyramid' engine mounts as the mounting lugs or flanges were way above the crank centre, none more so than the Owat where the mounting face is on the top of the crankcase flange. When the car was found it was in something of a state with more missing than was there. It has since been the subject of a two-stage rebuild, the first by Keith Bragg who built the wooden Mercedes body. The second restoration remanufactured the rear steering and suspension, completing the installation of a correct M&E gearbox.
                                                    Thanks to Peter Hill for this item May 2024


Swedish pedigree

When the Johansson brothers ceased production of the Swedish Komet engines, the manufacture of these was passed to a small company in Vasteras run by Roland Wahlstrom and Sven-Erik Ohlsson. It appears that the new concern only continued production of the 5cc and 10cc motors, specifically for tethered cars, as this was their prime interest. However, in addition to the engines, they sold pans, bodies and other car parts. Both their 5cc and 10cc cars were based on very short pans with front wheels on long extensions and a steeply, forward raked front to the body to accommodate the tank, also seen on some other European cars of the period. This car now has a McCoy 60 motor and humungous bridle bolts, probably as a result of a very recent and rapid rebuild to render it saleable? 
                                                                 Thanks to John and Paul Goodall for this item April 2024  


Series 1 Oliver 'Tiger Two-Five'

This must be the earliest and most original of the 'Tiger Two-Five' cars yet discovered. It appeared on ebay where the beady eyes of OTW noticed the venturi sticking out of the right hand side of the car. It was snapped up as a BIN and when the new owner opened it up the reason for the venturi became obvious, the motor was one of the very first Oliver RVs #208, possibly either the second or third ever made. Still not resolved whether the RVB and RV versions started with the same number? The car is the first series of castings with the twin brackets for a wire bridle, which, along with the motor, would have it being produced early in 1950. The passing seventy years has not done anything for the tyres, but apart from that, an amazing discovery.
                                               Thanks to John Goodall for the item and photos March 2024


ZN Discoveries

It was common practice in the late 40s for commercial tethered cars to have axles, wheels and nuts that were handed, ie. left hand threads on one side, right hand on the other. This was so that wheels were self tightening when under power and many a wheel has been ruined when brute force has been used to remove it, rather than turn it the opposite way. Paul Zere's patented semi pneumatic wheels extended this concept to the locking rings that held the two halves of the wheel together. Most will be aware of this information stamped into these rings. Last September though, amongst a large box of ZN related material discovered in a model shop, many years ago were the original ZN press tools that were used to stamp them. One imagines that a flypress was utilised in making these and note the holes for register pins so that the embossing is equally spaced either side of the indentations for the wheel key.   Thanks to Jim Hampton for this item. February 2024



The origin of these two engines remained a  mystery for many years, as the owner scoured books, magazines and touted them round swapmeets, hoping that someone could put a name to them. That was until one of those coincidences that continue to baffle and amaze us. Having shown it to a stall holder at a swapmeet with no success, a fellow member of the public leaned over and said 'I know what that is', 'it's an EMCO, and not only that I have the drawings for that and a smaller engine from the same company'. This single piece of information made sense of the name, as it is the acronym for the Model and Experimental Company, better known to us as E&M of Coventry. Some of their adverts mention model engines, but no photos have ever been found, either of this engine or the smaller 2.2cc model. What makes the 6cc version so unusual is the mounting holes that go transversely through the crankcase, possibly unique in model engine design. The smaller motor had one single bolt into the rear of the crankcase. So far, no one we have spoken to or any of the resources we have can shed any light on this obscure and rare British engine, especially as it emanated from a relatively well established company?

Information on this and the smaller motor is almost non existent, so if anyone can provide anything further such as an ad then we would be most grateful.
                                                                          Thanks to Jim Hampton for this item. January 2024