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  • #16
    This is me

    Time to quit the kidding, and get down to business!

    First I'd like to thank Lawrence for asking me, and I consider it an honor to get the chance to join the eminent members in the "Meet the members.." section. I'll split my answers into several posts, since some answers are rather long. Here goes:

    1. 356speedster.......where did you come up with your screen name?
    The Porsche 356 Speedster has sort of been my “Eleanor”. When I was a teenager I bought a VW beetle to make a Speedster replica. I spent years on it taking apart every nut and bolt, shortened the chassis added adjustable “puma” front-end and restored every piece on the chassis to prepare it for the Speedster body.

    But “life” got in the way and I had to sell off the project before it got finished. Later I have been looking to buy a running Speedster for a simpler restoration project, but they are very rare and expensive here in Norway, and whenever there has been one for sale at a decent price, something else has gotten in the way. But the interest in the 356’s comes from my general Porsche interest as you will learn later.

    Then when I later got into modeling static 1/24 plastic kits, I bought about every one of the Fujimi Enthusiast kits of the different 356 versions, but I am yet to finish one, even though I have built many models in the meantime. It seems as I set my self too high goals when it comes to the 356's so I never get them done in fear of getting them wrong. The same seems to happened to all the 1/32 Tomy kits I've gathered to make into slotcars. But I got a few Ninco's though.

    Looking good

    2. Tell us about the slot car racing scene in Norway. Is it a major hobby or more of an underground movement?
    It’s not a major hobby in Norway, most people don’t even know that Slot cars still are available, but think of it as a toy from the past. It looks like there's not enough money to be made in slotcars, so it seems to fall behind two chairs, where the Toy stores chains stack a few starter kits on top of the shelves, while the hobby shops seems to prefer selling expensive RC cars and HO scale railroad stuff. The Toy stores usually sell Scalextric and Carrera kits, while the Hobby shops stick to Ninco and the occasional Fly exotic. But they have no chance to compete with the worldwide delivering on-line shops. The RTR prices for slotcars in Norwegian shops usually range between 80$ - 120$!

    As for clubs, there are only two clubs with tracks that I know of in Norway, one is "Badet Raceway" in Oslo and the other is Trondheim BilbaneCenter, but I’m not the “club type” so I haven’t visited any of them yet.

    I prefer to play with myself , eh... for my self in my own basement. Not sure about the right term here, but you get the picture, right?


    • #17
      I love my Porsche's

      3. Which of the 1:1 cars interests you the most? Have you had any 1:1 racing experience?

      Simple: Porsche’s in any size color and model year. These cars are remarkably well built and have the perfect balance between a sports car and a daily driver. But you have to understand that in Norway the government thinks of cars as a goldmine for claiming extra tax money, so this silly little oil drilling country with less habitants than an average German city, has an investment fund worth over 2 trillions NOK (400 Billions USD), but still treats their citizens with a 100% extra import tax on all cars, and 500% tax on fuel! But we have free health care though! Anyway, the result is that the average Norwegian doesn't dare to dream of anything more exotic than a Porsche, because the Ferrari's and other real exotics are too unrealistic to even think about. But I must also confess that the racing tradition the little Stuttgart Company has achieved adds extra flavor to the badge. It just feels great sitting behind a Porsche steering wheel!

      When I was young and went to school I was fortunate enough to have a 1984 Porsche 924 which was kind of an exotic car back then, and the girls just loved it! So 15 years later when I and a few friends decided to build a workshop and get us some hobby cars to take to track days, I came a cross a very nice 924 with low mileage and full documentation. It didn't take long before the car was mine. The plan was to keep it running stock for a year or so while gathering parts to convert it to a Porsche 924 Carrera GTR replica.

      More pics of my 924 here

      But I also needed to get me a new daily driver since the hobby car was to be stored during the winter. Working in a small ad-agency in Oslo I have to commute 75 miles every day, so I needed something that could cruise comfortably at 80 miles an hour on the highway and slide through the traffic jam in the city. I saw an ad for a low mileage 1990 Porsche 928 S4, went to test drive it, started the engine and I knew instantly that the car was mine! Probably not a very wise choice for a commuter car, but what a sound that old German V8 makes! It still gives me goose skin every time I start it up. The “Landshark”* became my daily driver in the summer, and in the winter I switch between the light footed Porsche 924 and my fourth car, a 1995 Fiat barchetta roadster (I’ve promised my wife to sell at least one car).

      * The Porsche model 928 is often referred to as a "Landshark" due to its ability to "eat up miles" like no other car. In addition, the front of a Porsche 928 resembles that of a shark.

      More pics of my 928 S4 here

      The Porsche 928 S4 got to be one of the most underrated GT cars ever made. It’s got a 5 liter aluminum V8 with 48 valves and fuel injection. In stock European trim it delivers 320 HP which is enough to get up to cruise speed rather rapidly. On my 928 S4 I have ditched the catalysts and installed a X-pipe performance system that is documented on a rolling road to add 25 extra HP. BTW: did you know that Al Holbert sat the land speed record for a stock production cars with a 928 S4 in 1987!


      It’s as comfortable as a Mercedes-Benz on the highway with all it’s creature comforts. But put the pedal to the metal and it transforms to a beast. 0-60 in 5.2 seconds and top speed around 170 miles an hour! The handling is also very nice, it always feels stable and secure no matter how hard you push it. But it’s when you pack the whole family and weekend luggage into it, that you discover that this is a true GT car!

      The Porsche 924 is a completely different car. It’s simple, rough and “mechanical” without any comfort gear. The 2.0 liter motor is a bit underpowered with only 125 HP, but somehow Porsche did a great job on the gear ratios, so the car really takes advantage of every HP in the motor. It has fantastic handling and very precise steering response. It’s a joy to drive on curvy roads, and a great car to get track experience in, where you can focus on maximum curve speed without worrying about spinning off.

      I have some track experience, but so far it’s limited to open track days. The Norwegian Porsche Club offers club days on different tracks in Norway and Sweden during the summer, and even training with instructors. They are very eager to recruit new drivers to the Porsche Club Cup they are running, but that is a really expensive hobby, so I am sticking to open track days for the moment. My friend has a 200 HP Turbo tuned BMW 2002 in full race trim, so we plan to get some more track training this summer, and the goal is to travel to Germany and see how fast we can get around the Nürburgring Nordschliefe.
      Last edited by 356speedster; 04-12-2008, 08:53 AM.


      • #18
        I'm a driver not a racer

        4. What is your favorite class of cars to race in 1:32 scale? What is your least favorite class?
        Well.. actually I don’t race, I drive! My kids are the only ones I know that love the slotcars as much as me, but they are too small to race (3 and 5), they play with the cars and figures, drives a lap and stops to fill up fuel etc… so I’m mostly stuck being a “lone racer”, except when my nephew comes over every second week or so, and then we race low-magnet low-voltage, but this is mainly because he needs more practice to keep the no-mags on track when the race heats up.

        The most intense “racing” I get is against the clock when I workout on my training bike besides the track and do a couple 200 lap sessions while on the bike. It makes the boring cycling much easier, and it's good training for concentration as well. I also put down lots of laps when testing the Proxy car for RAA08.

        Since I've not been to a club yet I have no idea what classes they race, but when I drive for myself I prefer no-mag GT cars from sixties to the eighties. I learned a lot while building my first Proxy car, so I have gathered a taste for super smooth cars and expensive tuning parts. But my goal is not to make every car the fastest car on the track. Instead I try to group the cars based on the classes the real cars raced in, much like in the RAA and CPR proxys. Then I try to tune them to some level of realistic speed between the classes.

        I like most cars (classes) but the cars that appeal less to me is modern LMP and modern F1.

        5. Plastic or wood?
        I’d have to say plastic at the moment, since I’ve never driven on a wood track, but if wood tracks are anything close to what I imagine they are, then I’d probably prefer wood.

        One day… I’m going to build a "all in one" huge multi lane wood track with lane changers and lots of alternative routes. Something like this:

        6. Magents or non-magnets?
        No-magnet all the way, except, as mentioned, when racing against unexperienced drivers, then light magnets have a mission. The worst thing I know are cars stuck down so hard that you can hear the flexing chassis hit every track joint.

        No-magnet cars just feels more natural to me, but they do require some work, and often tune-up parts to bring out the good feeling of a well balanced, smooth and grippy no-mag car. After learning how to setup a decent no-mag car, and finding tires that grip on my track, the magnet cars behavior just lost all appealing to me.

        I'll also throw in that I have learned to prefer low voltage too, usually between 10-12 volt. As grip and handling increase you can drop the voltage and still maintain speed by getting the available power down on the track instead of spinning it off into heat. The GT2 cars from this years RAA shows this very clearly where stock scalex and SCX motors outrun many powerful motors in the GT1 class. As they say: Power is nothing without control!

        7. Ice Hockey or Curling?
        Hockey? Nah… that’s for Swede’s and Canadian’s…. It’s not often I find myself voluntarily in front of the TV watching sports other than motor sport, but there are two sports that are great to follow from the couch when you have had way to many “Jäger shots” the night before. Ski jumping and Curling. It takes most of the day, and everything happens in a nice slow pace, so you really don’t have to bother your aching head to focus on anything. And those fantastic slow motion replays! Like balm for the sore eyes.

        I’m no “sports jock” but my wife was an elite handball player, and now she coaches a teenage female team, so I get my fair share of sports if I want it or not.
        Last edited by 356speedster; 04-12-2008, 08:53 AM.


        • #19
          I like railroad scenery but not trains...

          8. DO you have a track at your home or do you race at a club? How about posting some pictures of your track?
          I have/had a permanent scenic Scalextric Sport track on a U shaped wood table measuring about 11 x 6 feet and housing about 50-60 feet of track. Powered by one 3-15 Volt 7 Amp. Stabilized DC PSU. I have both Parma Economy and Professor motor diode controllers.

          The layout of the old track, where I tried to squeeze as much track as possible into to the limited space available:

          The old track room a long time ago:

          The old pit lane in funky colors:

          It was first built about 2 years ago, but got torn down in the end of last year, to make space for a new layout that’s more like a real racetrack, with more sweeping and technical sections than the first “point and shoot” layout. The track will get full scenery modeled after the Nürburgring and Spa tracks as they looked in the early 70’s.

          This picture from Nurburgring about 1973, is my reference for scenery work along the track.

          This was the initial layout for the new track

          But It looked too parallel and needed a little bit more technical sections, so this is the current layout:

          Some pics of the initial building progress:

          But a few days ago I ended up in the layout program, and this is my latest layout idea that I am eager to test out before it's too late to reverse the current track project:

          or inverted horizontally:

          I never seem to run out of track ideas, only time to execute them.
          Last edited by 356speedster; 04-12-2008, 04:25 PM.


          • #20
            Stamps are for collectors...

            9. Imagine this: you must sell your 4 most favorite slot cars. Which 4 would you be forced to sell and what regrets would you have about losing these cars.
            Hm… I usually don’t collect rare liveries and make them into shelf queens, so most of my cars are easy to get hold of again, but there are some that’s getting worth keeping.

            1. Any “Jägermeister car”, especially the Fly Porsche 934. These are always popular items among collectors and opportunists, so it gets tough to find them for a decent price.

            2. Ninco Classic’s, especially the Porsche 356’s. These are way too popular, there is always a higher demand then availability, so the price sky rocket!

            3. My MG Vanquish collection, these are bound to get “rare” in the far future.

            4. Any of my Fly Porsche 911’s and 934’s, what can I say… I love them!

            10. By now, you have seen previews of cars yet to be released this year. What release are you looking forward to the most? Why are you looking forward to that cars' release?
            - Spirit VW Golf MKI, since I owned a MKI Rabbit when I was young.
            - MRRC Porsche 910, any new RTR Porsche is very welcome.
            - MRRC Ford GT 40 MK IV, Good running mate for the Porsche's and will run decent with the new Sebring chassis.
            - Fly Ferrari F40 with racing chassis, The F40 is such a typical slotcar, so it's about time to replace the old Scalex/SCX versions. But will it beat the version?

            I’m also eagerly awaiting the Revell/MRRC Sebring chassis to be released as a loose spare-part, and I’m just about to order the new HRS2 chassis.

            11. Slot.It or Ninco? Carrera or Scalextric? Fly or Spirit? Racer or Le Mans Miniatures?
            You forgot SCX, which really has released some good cars lately, but I must confess that I prefer FLY, they offer a great range of cars that is right up my alley. They need some tuning to get running good, but have great handling character once they are sorted out.

            I also love the Revell/Monogram cars for the great bodies, and when the Sebring chassis gets released it will be a good upgrade for the not so good handling chassis they have used up to now.

            I can't say that I prefer any particular brand over another. Basically they all need some tuning to work well without magnets, except maybe, but it's way too boring to only have group C and Prototype cars.

            12. Of the cars that have yet to be modeled into 1:32 slot cars, what car would you like to see modeled next??
            This one is pretty easy You probably figured out by now that I am a Porsche nut, and the Porsche 914 is now available as a resin kit. So what’s missing? The front motored Porsches! There has been a few 928’s racing in Le Mans 24 hour, but I’m afraid the 928 don’t have enough racing history to get considered by the slotcar manufacturers.

            But I’d really love to get the Porsche 924 Carrera GTP that raced in Le Mans 1980, 81 and later in IMSA.

            Other than the Porsche’s I would also like to get the BMW 2800 CS and A Ford Capri RS 2600 which both where major opponents on the European racing tracks in the early 70’s.

            Ford Capri RS 2600

            BMW 2800 CS

            Phew... that was all. Feel free to ask any questions.

            And again, thanks Lawrence.
            Last edited by 356speedster; 04-12-2008, 04:21 PM.


            • #21
              Originally posted by 356speedster View Post
              One day… I’m going to build a "all in one" huge multi lane wood track with lane changers and lots of alternative routes. Something like this:

              If I'm following this plan correctly the white lane can be set to wander all over as a single rally track. Very cool idea. If you did that and added an oldslotracer style single lane conversion piece you could run all the lanes (and the white one's rally loops) for a single lap. That would be a very long and very challenging solo track.


              • #22
                I've got different sketches of the large track, here is another one. But I need to rebuild my basement to get the space, so it won't happen soon.

                But also take a look at this cool Belgian track with very nice racing lines and Scorpious wireless digital. This really opens up for a lot of cool track ideas.



                • #23
                  I've seen that track. The BSLT concept looks really good to me and the Spa track is nothing short of stunning!


                  • #24
                    Awesome answers 356!!!! Totally unexpected in a great way!!!!. Your track designs are incredible. We both love Porsches, although I know only the history of the 956/962 prototypes and am learning about the 911's and all of their iterations through the 997.

                    But I gotta ask a question: CURLING? Most of us in the US watch it during the olympics late at night. Did curling originate from Bocci Ball? Speed skating and skiing I can understand, butcurling................... . We want answers dude!!



                    • #25
                      Curling is Scottish not Scandinavian. My guess is the highlands were too frozen for golf and some kilt clad dude stated sliding big rocks down the pond...


                      • #26
                        Originally posted by rolltidevet View Post
                        ...CURLING? Most of us in the US watch it during the Olympics late at night...
                        Well that's about how I watched it too, there has been some close fights between the Norwegian and Canadian teams in the past Olympics. Other than that I don't know much about Curling.

                        I haven't been very active in sports, except a few years of training boxing during high school, and some fun years competing in archery when I was a teenager. But I broke my legs in the downhill ski-slopes, and while recovering I discovered other "activities" and that was the end of any sporting careerer.

                        If you are digging into to the 911 racing history you got your hands full for a while. I had some fun researching when the first wide flared 911's raced in one of the CPR09 threads.

                        Nice that you like the layouts. The "wood layouts" are early sketches, I have put a lot more work into the layouts for the Scalextric track. And one thing I have learned is that a layout that looks good on paper doesn't automatically transfer to a good layout to drive on. It's very difficult to predict how a car behaves through a combination of turns, and parabolic turns sometimes end up being better to drive in the other direction than intended.


                        • #27
                          Just because, I looked up the history of curling today. Indeed, the Scots seem to have originated the hobby about five hundred years back; though the Dutch were not far behind. You would have expected them to do better with it really, due to the flatter lakes and ponds you find there.

                          Although the Norwegians and Swedes have had their moments, we Canadians pretty much rule when it comes to curling these days.

                          Watching curling on TV is about as exciting as watching golf on TV. But believe it or not, it's actually a lot of fun to play.

                          Of course, I like Bocci too.

                          We now return you to our regularly scheduled programming.


                          • #28
                            Yes, curling is a hoot. I need to try doing that again, been years... Watching on TV becomes more interesting once you've tried curling. Suddenly it all begins to make sense and you can't stop watching.


                            • #29
                              356 Your answers were very interesting. I owned two 356s in my younger days, I really enjoyed those two cars.



                              • #30
                                Originally posted by Wet Coast Racer View Post
                                Just because, I looked up the history of curling today. Indeed, the Scots seem to have originated the hobby about five hundred years back; though the Dutch were not far behind. You would have expected them to do better with it really, due to the flatter lakes and ponds you find there.
                                Flatter lakes and ponds?