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Spindizzies?


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#1 stuartbrs

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Posted 11 October 2002 - 03:29

This is a request from my old man.

In the late 50`s early 60`s people here ( Australia ) used to race things called spindizzies. Basically a 2 stroke motor in a chassis ( rudimentary bodywork in a 50`s grandprix style ) tethered by a rope and racing on a banked course ( driverless of course! ). They`d race multiple cars together at different heights, ran on Castrol R and could do almost 100mph, here in Tassie they used to run in the town hall and apparently the noise was deafening but very impressive.

My question is, does anyone here have any pics? And did anyone here ever race them? They were quite big in their day ( or so the old man says ).

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#2 petefenelon

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Posted 11 October 2002 - 11:08

Originally posted by stuartbrs
This is a request from my old man.

In the late 50`s early 60`s people here ( Australia ) used to race things called spindizzies. Basically a 2 stroke motor in a chassis ( rudimentary bodywork in a 50`s grandprix style ) tethered by a rope and racing on a banked course ( driverless of course! ). They`d race multiple cars together at different heights, ran on Castrol R and could do almost 100mph, here in Tassie they used to run in the town hall and apparently the noise was deafening but very impressive.

My question is, does anyone here have any pics? And did anyone here ever race them? They were quite big in their day ( or so the old man says ).



There's a whole section on these beasties in the Georgano Encyclopedia of Motor Sport. And amazing they are too.... I guess this was before radio control cars were common.

pete

#3 dretceterini

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Posted 11 October 2002 - 23:15

Like everything else, these things have become very collectable. There are a number of books on the subject.

#4 Bladrian

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Posted 12 October 2002 - 07:48

What you referring to are also known as tether car racers. Here's an Aussie site about them.

http://www.alphalink...avage/vmtra.htm

#5 Ray Bell

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Posted 13 October 2002 - 13:27

A few small points...

They ran on a flat track, not a banked one. They still race on the same tracks. They do, I believe, closer to 200mph.

#6 stuartbrs

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Posted 13 October 2002 - 23:07

Thanks for the info everyone, they look amazing.. 200MPH must be pretty beserk to watch, have there ever been any accidents with these things? they look almost as dangerous as the cars they are replicating!

In Hobart they used to get huge crowds in the Town Hall to watch these cars apparently, was it Radio Control cars that killed them?

#7 Rob29

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Posted 14 October 2002 - 07:38

Thanks for the link bladrian,now I have established we are talking about MODEL cars,this is starting to make sense! From the first post I was imagining full size cars tethered to a post in the local town hall.
The models existed in UK in the 40s early 50s. I think they were replaced by rail cars,which I remember seeing at an exhibition in London. These were in turn replaced by electric slot cars,much cheaper and practical in ones own home.

#8 Ray Bell

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Posted 14 October 2002 - 12:05

Originally posted by Rob29
The models existed in UK in the 40s early 50s. I think they were replaced by rail cars,which I remember seeing at an exhibition in London. These were in turn replaced by electric slot cars,much cheaper and practical in ones own home.


Do you really think so?

Each type has a following of its own... I don't think slot cars or radio control cars replaced them. The adherents to each kind find their own ways of deriving pleasure from their pursuit.

#9 Vitesse2

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Posted 14 October 2002 - 12:30

Rob: the models stuartbrs is talking about are more closely related to traditional r/c cars with miniature engines similar to those used in r/c aircraft, not to anything electrically powered like slot cars, railed cars or modern battery-powered r/c cars. Generally scratch built too.

#10 Rob29

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Posted 14 October 2002 - 13:57

Yes,I remember reading about them when I was at school. I was not cricticising them,just comenting that it was an expensive specialised hobby, which I could not afford at the time!
Around 1962 Airfix slot cars came out-I had a Lotus 24 & a Porsche.

#11 MOTORSPORT RESORT

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Posted 14 October 2002 - 14:18

Check out these 2 sites... http://www.spindizzie.com

www.spindizzies.com
Peter...

#12 Bladrian

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Posted 14 October 2002 - 18:17

... and even the name, 'Spindizzie', is still intact. This is obviously a hobby rich with history and tradition - and those are two wonderful sites.

Thanks for showing them, Peter. I'm sure Stuart's old man will be highly impressed - as am I!

#13 stuartbrs

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Posted 14 October 2002 - 22:24

The old man is very impressed! As am I , they have a look about them dont they... Id love to see them run, dad said the sound was extraordinary, and the smell.. castrol R mmmmmmmmmmmmmm

#14 Ray Bell

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Posted 15 October 2002 - 10:42

Owen Wuillemin did a bit with this stuff, in search of an elusive speed record...

Using engines from model aircraft, he found that he had to modify the little crankcases (5cc?) so that the different thrust forces to that of the aeroplane propellor wouldn't destroy the things.

#15 FrankB

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Posted 17 October 2002 - 15:43

This thread triggered memories of my father telling me about his father racing tethered boats in the model boating lake in the local park. Both are long dead now, so I can't get any more details, but I should think this was probably in the late thirties, but possibly just after WWII. Grandad built his boats and engines from scratch.

I have found this page http://www.maineanti...es/pond0198.htm - has anyone got anything else?

A few other questions -
Presumably the cars mentioned above were run against the clock - was that for one flying lap, 10 laps or what?

How are the cars stopped? - or do they just run until the tank is dry?

The Bugatti on http://www.spindizzies.com/enggal3.htm (an impressive piece of work in itself) appears to have an anchorage on the left side of the chassis and also a bogey arrangement under the front axle. Would this be so that it could run on a tether or on a rail / slot system?

Thanks

#16 Ray Bell

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Posted 17 October 2002 - 20:51

They run a lot of laps... maybe a hundred laps at a time...

Owen Wuillemin told me that you almost can't see the cars because they go so fast... they don't pull up in a hurry.

Stopping is achieved by putting something in the path of - not the car itself - a thing something like an aerial that sticks up from the car. When this is struck, it kills the ignition. Compression does the rest...

There's a bit of science about them, other than the engines... aerodynamics come into it, very skinny wheels... and you can see on the Bugatti photo that the anchorage for the tether wire is in the centre of the car. It has to be at the centre of gravity otherwise centrifugal force might cause some kind of havoc.

#17 Vitesse2

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Posted 26 September 2010 - 09:41

BUMP

Interesting article in the New York Times today. Love the model of Shaw's Pay Car ...

http://www.nytimes.c...i...tml?_r=1

#18 T54

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Posted 26 September 2010 - 17:10

The Dooling bros and Korn were instrumental in establishing the prewar spindizzy machinery, as well as other pioneers such as McCoy. But it did not end; in the UK, enthusiasts such as Baigent and Adams (MRRC) kept the hobby going on built-up road courses were slower, diesel powered cars of smaller size were raced well into the mid-1950's. The hobby is still alive today in such countries as Slovakia and Russia, where it never abated.
But it is true to say that in the United States and the UK, electric rail-racing, then slot-racing cars took over from the late 1950's to this day.
Spidizzies are highly collectible and bring huge prices for the "right" cars, but enthusiasts can still purchase at auction the smaller cars produced by Leroy Cox under the "Thimble-Drome" brand, as well as plenty of other inexpensive gas-powered models made in the USA into the 1960's, for very reasonable price. The last of the great Cox cars was this splendid 13" Mercedes-Benz powered by a glow-plug, .049ci two-stroke engine burning a mix of methanol, nitromethane and lubricant based on Bardhal mix. While made mostly of plastic, it is quite a beauty:

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#19 Paolo

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Posted 27 September 2010 - 11:33

This thread triggered memories of my father telling me about his father racing tethered boats in the model boating lake in the local park. Both are long dead now, so I can't get any more details, but I should think this was probably in the late thirties, but possibly just after WWII. Grandad built his boats and engines from scratch.


Tethered boat racing is alive... and they have steam engines!

http://www.steamcar....hydroplane.html




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#20 Vitesse2

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Posted 26 November 2011 - 22:43

Spindizzies exhibition at the NHRA museum:

http://blog.hemmings...izzies-exhibit/

#21 fbarrett

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Posted 27 November 2011 - 00:01

The definitive book on the topic is the large-format Spindizzies by Eric Zausner, published maybe 10 years ago. It's rare, so if you find it on Amazon, make sure you are sitting down before you read the price.

Frank

#22 gray chandler

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Posted 27 November 2011 - 01:56

There is one on Ebay in the U.S. [hope you are sitting] for $45,000.00. Roy Richter Hand Hammered Tether Car, Batzloff Engine. Look under tethered cars. The market has gone nuts !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Edited by gray chandler, 27 November 2011 - 01:59.


#23 helioseism

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Posted 27 November 2011 - 02:04

The definitive book on the topic is the large-format Spindizzies by Eric Zausner, published maybe 10 years ago. It's rare, so if you find it on Amazon, make sure you are sitting down before you read the price.

Frank


It's currently available for $275 at Autobooks-Aerobooks.

Link.

#24 helioseism

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 19:32

Inspired by Tubosocca's request on the book thread, here is some more information on tethered gas-powered model racing cars.

American Miniature Racing Cars Association

Tethercar.net

This last site has a page listing seven books on the subject:




#25 Michael Ferner

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 19:59

BUMP

Interesting article in the New York Times today. Love the model of Shaw's Pay Car ...

http://www.nytimes.c...i...tml?_r=1


Ha! Old post, I know, but that is not the Pay Car, it's the Catfish!

#26 harbee

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 23:43

Reccomend : http://www.onthewire.co.uk/

All you ever wanted to know, enjoy. Plus put Tether Car into you-tube and watch 200mph laps. :up: