BuzCo was one of those slot car companies in big bad trouble in 1967 as the whole slot car racing hobby was collapsing on its own weight. Looking to save themselves from bankruptcy, they created this device on the tracks of the (almost) Indy-500 winner, "Silent Sam", the helicopter-turbine powered Paxton, designed by Ken Wallis and financed by Andy Granatelli and his STP company with a good chunk of cash from the Firestone rubber company.
A transmission bearing that ran short of lubrication collapsed two laps from the end of the race when the car had lapped the entire field and as Parnell Rufus "Parnelli" Jones was cruising to an easy win after dominating the event. The car lost its drive and simply coasted to a halt. The most cruel luck if you ask me. A brilliant interpretation of the rules had allowed the construction of this incredibly creative vehicle, built around a center fabricated spine made of riveted sheet-aluminum.
The car was hated by most of the Indy establishment, as original derision turned into astonishment, then lots of crying. Total relief was the general feeling as the car failed so closed to the end, but Granatelli would be back the following year with a brace of Lotus 56s, powered by another helicopter turbine. Again, rotten luck and a bit of a mistake in understanding the lubricating properties of kerosene VS gasoline cost an almost certain win, and that was it once and for all for the turbines as USAC regulated them out of business.
BuzCo obtained a license from Andy and issued this odd toy, a 1/24-scale model of the Paxton using a vacuum formed body and a steel chassis. It was powered by compressed CO2, that evil gas that our so-smart supreme court decided a few years ago to be a poisonous gas under pressure from the global-warming crowd, despite its presence being crucial to sustain life on Earth. Better not exhale or drink your Pepsi, you could die on the spot according to those bright minds.
The toy is now fairly rare and I was lucky to get that one, then have it signed by PJ during a meeting at the Riverside International Auto Museum.
The box also contained these two period stickers, not sure if it came that way or if they were added later:
These decals were also enclosed, and are STP issues made for slot cars or other 1/24-scale toys. I assume that they are original to the toy...
... as well as these recycled Modelrama/K&B Firestone decals that could be used on the car.
Older guys here might remember this oddity that is now just a fun curiosity...
Pictures copyright Topline Inc., 2013