Monogram made my favourite slot cars back in the mid-60's. After my Scalextric starter set of blobby Formula Juniors and my brother's hopeless/hapless Airfix cars (an E-Type and a Sunbeam Rapier of all things!), the introduction of the brass chassis Monogram Ferraris, Cooper-Ford, Porsche 904, Lola GT and Ford GT were an engineering and aesthetic marvel. When they were joined by the jewel-like Lotus and Ferrari grand prix cars, they made me a fan for life.
Unfortunately, my cars from that time suffered terrible abuse. Most of the bodies ended their lives against the hard walls of the giant commercial tracks and routed club tracks we raced on then. The chassis were chopped and soldered, sprouting brass undertrays and pin tubing for mounting the clear vac bodies from Lancer, Dubro or GT Models that replaced the now-shattered plastic Monogram originals.
When I got back into the hobby 4 years ago, I started to assemble a collection of vintage Monogram (and other) cars and parts to replace and restore the ones I so cherished 40 years previously. Some I've just cleaned up and preserved, others required more restoration, a few I've had to put together from scattered parts. There are still other cars awaiting my attention and I guess there always will be. No rush. I'm in this hobby for the long haul now.
Anyway, I'm posting these pictures for your enjoyment. For some of you, they may bring back fond memories. For others, younger and perhaps new to the hobby, I hope they both delight and educate.
Before Ninco, Slot.it and Fly ... before magnet-traction ... before Digital Electronics ... was a time when slot cars were assembled by hobbyists from kits. A time when a kid had to practice the crafts of gluing, painting and applying decals. When he had to teach his fingers to assemble and adjust a chassis with nuts and bolts, bushings and washers, threaded axles and wheels. It was a mechanical age. It was the age of BRASS.
Porsche 904 - #SR3203
Cooper-Ford - #SR3204
Lola GT - #SR3206
Ferrari 275P - #SR3207
Lotus 33 - #SR3208
Ferrari 158 - #SR3209
Ford GT40 - #SR3210
Ford GT40 RTR Set Car - #RS3031
Ferrari 330P/LM - #SR3211
Ferrari 330P/LM RTR Set Car - #RS3030
Hope you liked them. Now I've shown you mine, why don't you show me yours!?
The book on Monogram plastic models says the model making staff at Morton Grove rushed through these cars, and did one car after another without spending much time. Like nearly all the Monogram models of the era, they are great scale models.
The chassis were subcontracted to a Japanese company. All that brass was Japanese, which to a model railroader means crooked mechanisms and motors. These cars are straight, no wobbly axles or axles, unlike the Revell kits (wheels wobbled). The Mabuchi "Tiger X-100" motors started off rough but got smoother. The ones in the first several photos are mostly early-run, with misaligned armature laminations; they could keep pace with the better Pittmans and were lighter. Speeds increased as the winds got hotter, and the motors were better fitting and able to spool up.
Last edited by Robert Livingston; 02-27-2008 at 06:45 PM.
Great cars, I think I have to start looking for some to restore.
Btw: Does the old brass chassis fit directly on the bodyshells from the newly released Revell range? and where there several options of different brass chassis/motors for these cars, or where there just one type available for each model?
The first brass chassis was superceded by the second brass chassis, shown under the Ferrari 330P/LM #7, which also had a can-drive, faster motor (Tiger X-110). The third type of chassis was the pin-guide set car (sold assembled only) under the Ford GT and the unpainted Ferrari 250P/LM. The F1 never changed, as far as I know. You could buy the car only the way they manufactured it; I am pretty sure they also sold the chassis parts separately, too, but as the design changed, the older type was considered obsolete and dropped from production (even though in many ways it was better).
The gears were plated brass or steel "contrate" (crown) type, and tended to ring, almost like a bell, if set up just right. The pinion was steel. The plastic gears in the photos are NOS Cox. The white motor under one car is a replacement Revell SP80. Monogram motors were red.
I think the body posts have been left alone in the various re-releases by Rev-Mono/MRRC.
It's always fun to explore new (old) parts of the hobby. I guess a little collection of these cars can bring a some historical depth into the slotcar room, and having read a lot of threads I understand they also run quite nice too.
Is there a list of wich cars they made somewhere?
Btw: I bought a MRRC nos Ferrari 275P body kit, but the body was very twisted, is this usual, or have I just been unlucky?
Last edited by 356speedster; 02-28-2008 at 07:49 AM.
Over on the Slotblog forum there are threads going into minute differences (even in packaging) among the Monogram production series. Philippe de Lespinay (whose site that is) is writing a book about slot car history, an expansion of his first book on the subject. I have no idea as to publishing date or publisher. He will be including plenty of detail about Monogram cars.
While Cox cars are venerated among collectors, I found their cars inferior to Monogram in many key ways; little variety, chassis ill-suited for tuning, and impossible to solder (magnesium alloy). Nice cars, but I never sought them out as I have the Monogram cars. Cox got caught up in the commercial track frenzy, which produced a world of poor design (my opinion).
Revell started out strong, but stayed with an antiquated ladder chassis, again, difficult to solder (aluminum). The wheels were a little loose on the axles, and the wheel-nuts were askew, which cause the wheels to wobble. Revell's bodies were the best part.
Last edited by Robert Livingston; 02-28-2008 at 08:03 AM.
You have been unlucky. The Ferrari was one of my favorite REAL race cars. Big John Surtees at Sebring, nuff said.
I kept mine running and as we were actively racing these things over the years, some parts became a problem. But the bodies...I had a stack. But eventually I was running out and just in time John Robinson at MRRC was issueing new ones! The irony was that the whole car was cheaper than buying a NOS body on the market! They made one change. In the original, the rear transaxle cover was a separate bit that glued on, the repops were molded in (but still said Monogram 1964). Oh, and tougher tailpipes on the chassis.
Anyway, the first gears for the chassis were actually a soft zink alloy that liked to strip out the set screw.
Atlas had an interesting bit for their AT208 motor/chassis car. One could buy a "univeral mount" for that frame that alllowed the used of the Atlas stuff in the Revell and monogram bodies.
As I couldn't get the Cooper/Cobra to "sit" right with the stock chassis, I always ran the flatter Atlas and mout in that car.
I'm glad people are enjoying these old cars. Some comments on your comments:
Robert, I never knew the Series One brass chassis was Japanese. De Lespinay never mentioned that in his book. The "white" X-110 motor is actually silver and is indeed an original Monogram issue. I have several pictures of new-in-box Series Two cars with that motor still under the blister wrap. Philippe shows a Lola GT with one in his book and states that Monogram also issued some nickel-plated with a red endbell in addition to the standard red can. Your Porsche picture made me wince. My white painted 904 came to me with a beautiful paint job I wanted to retain, but a bisected rear deck. I glued it back together, sanded the joint and camoflaged the repair with a diagonal red and yellow design! You could indeed buy all the chassis components separately, and often still can on Ebay, still sealed in their blister packs.
ProfFate, the MRRC re-pops from the Monogram moulds that I have (Chaparral and Ferrari 275P) follow no general rule. Both have the thick mounting posts from the original, though only the Ferrari has the threaded brass insert for the machine screws. The Chaparral uses thinner and longer self-tapping screws and no brass inserts. The Chaparral retains the original (I assume) copyright statement "Monogram Models 1966" on the underside of the body above the crown gear. While the original Monogram Ferrari had a similar statement in the same location, the MRRC reissue has replaced it with a copyright "Revell-Monogram 1965" on the underside of the driver platform. Of course, Revell and Monogram were distinct companies then. The scroll-shaped transaxle cover is a separate piece on both of my MRRC 275P's, just like the original.
356Speedster, it's interesting (to me anyway!) that RevMons re-issues of last year all have thin mounting posts and self-tapping screws. The mounting points are in the same places, but I can't guarantee that the posts are the same height. With a little fiddling, filing or spacer insertion though, I'm pretty sure you could mount one of the re-issued bodies on a vintage chassis, or vice versa.
One of the things I loved about these early metal chassis was their adjustability. The same chassis could be (and was) easily adapted for a number of cars, and those cars could be designed to scale dimensions that varied per the real car. I cannot understand why the new generation of slot manufacturers went down the road of custom-designed, non-adjustable, plastic chassis for each model they produced. One would think that retooling for each chassis would be a lot more expensive than using a standard, adjustable unit but what do I know...? Anyway, perhaps MRRC's Sebring and Slot.it's HRS are pointing the way to some sanity on this front.
Abie321, I'm very envious of your Lola T70. I always wanted one, but have never been able to find one on Ebay at an affordable price.
Very interesting thread. I always liked the Series 1 chassis much better than the Series 2. The Series 2 always seemed too light and the cars did not stick to the track as well. (This was in the old days, before we ahd magnets for downforce.)
Anyone else have any thoughts on Series 1 vs. Series 2?
By the way, I seem to recall that P de L said once that he designed a metal chassis for Monogram to use in their reissue cars last year. Monogram instead used the Sebring chassis, presumably to save $. P de L said on his site that since Monogram owns the rights to the chassis he designed, he could not post pictures of it. What might have been...
Last edited by J. D. Clampett Racing; 02-28-2008 at 08:53 PM.