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View Full Version : Eldon (or Strombecker) websites, virtual colections?



pgtr
12-18-2002, 10:31 AM
Hello,

My web searching capabilities may be slipping a bit but I haven't really found any good in-depth websites regarding Eldons or perhaps Strombecker cars. I was looking for pictures of various Eldon or similar cars, chassis and perhaps some track sets that were popular in the 60s, early 70s. A little history about these, evolution of chassis etc like what I found on some sites chronicling old Auroras would be cool.

Anybody have any suggested links for me to check out?

thanks,
-T

TSRF
12-18-2002, 08:41 PM
...is it because nobody cares? Eldon products (cars, track, accessories) were the lowest common denominator in slot car racing in the 1960's. Their enormous popularity (explaining the vast amounts that survived) was with the parents, because their prices were so much lower than others, and parents were generally looking for low price, not quality.

The Strombecker has pretty much the same story, with rather crappy cars produced in the millions (same pricing story) except for a short period (1966-67) where they actually produced quality cars and kits using a stamped pan brass or aluminum frame.

So, they are not exactly...popular, which explains the lack of interest...
Regards,
PdL

pgtr
12-18-2002, 10:24 PM
Since I am somebody and I do care - if anybody does have any good links to suggest RE: Eldon cars, box art, catalogs, etc... from late 60s I'd still apprecaite any links/suggestions.

thanks,
-T

TSRF
12-18-2002, 10:34 PM
I am just a nobody but... I do have the catalogues that they published, and one of the "Concours" 1964 BRM F1. If you need copies to help your search, it can be arranged... I also have a listing with stock number of every car they ever made under their name (I.E. not under Ungar)...
:confused:

Rick56
12-19-2002, 12:45 AM
Come on PdL, don't be badmouthin Strombecker. My Strombecker Cheetahs are sweet, but you can crap on Eldon if you want, I don't have any of their stuff:D

TSRF
12-19-2002, 08:58 AM
The Cheetah was one of the better Strombecker, and part of the 2-piece alloy chassied cars of the '66-67 period. Strombecker made it in both 1/24 and 1/32 scale sizes, in nicely packaged kits (two versions, one with and one without cast zinc drop arm) and also in RTR form in hegagonal window boxes. The 1/32 scale body was later used for new cheaper versions using plastic chassis, with motors from bad to worse, until the final collapse of the company.
The 1/24 and 1/32 scale alloy and brass-chassied cars had great motors built by Hitachi in Japan, called "Hemi". The big one was called TC24 and could give any Mabuchi FT36 a run for their money, while the smaller TC32 was the second finest stock 1/32 scale motor made in the 1960's, right behind the Versitec SS101.

The early Strombecker were crude, but still bettered the Eldon because nothing could be worse than Eldon. Actually, not true, because some of the Euro and Chinese slot cars from the era were even worse...

To be fair, the Eldon had, however, an inherent quality: they were very rugged, and while they had terrible performance, they had terrible performance for a very long time.
Regards,
PdL

Prof Fate
12-19-2002, 10:05 AM
I much prefer the "Championship" series of Strombecker cars with brass frames and Scuttler Motors. The Scuttlers were wonderful and terrible. If you got a bad one it was DEAD right away. If you got the others, like a pittman, their lifespan with only oiling is measured in centuries. A decent Scuttler would outrun its contemporary Pittman 196. Still does.
I would remind you of my Mercedes W154 that you drive every so often.

Fate

Prof Fate
12-19-2002, 10:08 AM
The Other Good Stromie was the two piece Brass frame with a Hemi. The alloy frame was a flexi-flyer----kind of like the matra MS80! I won't go into details, but they are a pain to set up and a pain to run. All the ones I have seen came NOT with the TC32 Hemi, but with this awful can that sort of looked like it might have been a 16d once before some foul beast sucked it guts out.

Fate

oldgrrl
12-19-2002, 01:27 PM
pgtr -
For pictures of at least some of the cars from these manufacturers, you could try here:
www.paceautorama.ppg.br/
Use the links down the left hand side to connect to manufacturers you are interested in.

Another good site is this one by Luiz Claudio Valdetaro:
http://valdetaro.com/database/bigmaker.htm

These sites do not have pictures of the sets, but the examples of the cars shown are complete and quite nice.

I hope that helps...

Mr P. -
As for the merits of Eldon (or lack of them), I'd say this: the first slot cars I was ever exposed to were Eldons. When I was a whelp, my brother and I would race on an Eldon "Gold Cup" set, a figure-8 with two rather strange "kinda Ferrari Testa Rosa" cars. Your comments about them being rugged are quite right - the set lasted a long time, and the controllers burned out long before the cars stopped. I have fond memories of this set even though it was of very poor design. It got me interested in the hobby, and I think that's a testament to the "play value" of such "junk."

Compared to today's products (or even those in the mid-'60's), they were pathetic, but they were about all you could get your hands on at that time. Too bad they didn't improve their products greatly over time instead of continuing to occupy the low end of the food chain. No matter - I still have fond memories of them...

- Susan

TSRF
12-19-2002, 02:29 PM
I was introduced to El Don when hired by the Cox company in Santa Ana to fix whatever was wrong on the those sets so that they could sell them without getting more than half of them returned by disgruntled customers.
By that time, the cars had anglewinder chassis, very poor tires and the track elements were pretty agressive... The controllers were also little atomic bombs and the power packs anemic.
So of course, my view of these products is certainly tainted...
But I do understand that for a majority of American slot racing enthusiasts who wanted something larger than HO, they were IT, because...there was little else, at least that hobby shop would carry. Revell and Monogram sets were of vastly superior quality but they also were vastly more expensive and the average hobby shop probably would not carry them, too afraid they could not sell them.
So I understand the fondness... like remembering your blankie.

What's a "whelp"?

Best regards,
Philippe
:)

oldgrrl
12-19-2002, 03:22 PM
..from the Old Norse word "hvelpr" meaning "puppy."

Re: the Eldon "Gold Cup" set - we're talking WAY before Monogram or Revell got involved - late '50's here. I'm sure my parents got this out of the Sears "Wish Book" (read "Christmas catalog"). See:
http://www.gasolinealleyantiques.com/kits/images/SlotCars/296-624a.jpg
http://www.gasolinealleyantiques.com/kits/images/SlotCars/296-624b.jpg
http://www.gasolinealleyantiques.com/kits/images/SlotCars/296-624c.jpg

The front wheels of these cars were just glued on - no axles, they didn't turn or rest on the track for that matter. They also had a pin guide and "wipers" made of spring-loaded copper rivets. They would go fast enough that you had to slow down for corners, but not fast enough to destroy anything.

And at least they had the A.C. Gilbert set I had later beat by a mile.:(
http://www.gasolinealleyantiques.com/kits/images/SlotCars/gilbert-figure3.JPG
http://www.gasolinealleyantiques.com/kits/images/SlotCars/gilbert-figure4.JPG

One word for that - hideous.
- Susan

edit - I see that the "Gasoline Alley" site lists the "Gold Cup" set as circa 1962, but I know the set we must have predated that by at least a couple of years. Perhaps they're wrong, or perhaps our set was an earlier model...?

Bwaminispeed
12-19-2002, 04:49 PM
Yep,you guys can all blame Eldon for my involvement in this Whackey hobby.

Not sure if it was the Gold Cup set,But my first slot car set from mid 59 had those same cars with the rivet pickups.

I had endless hours of fun with it.I had the set about three weeks before I had one of the cars all ripped to bits,and used the pieces to scratchbuild my first chassis.

It was 1/16 brass tube,and even had hand fabricated steering that worked.Even at the tender age of 10 years old,I could allready handle a Soldering Iron better than I could a pen or pencil.My handwriting still stinks.

When I get a few extra pennies,I am deffinitely going to track down a couple of those cars.I see them a lot on Ebay in pretty mint condition for not outragious money.

Reegs
12-20-2002, 04:03 AM
Philippe -
When you designed that last gasp attempt, what was the business reason for that bizarre 1/40 scale?

TSRF
12-20-2002, 07:52 AM
The Eldon track was, like the Scalextric, too narrow for true 1/32 scale cars. As soon as one would slide a bit, it would fall off the track. So the marketing department decided, since it would be too expensive to re-tool a new track, to reduce the size of the cars. I fought against it because I knew that if it would happen, it would place the Cox sets as just another toy on the shelves, instead of competition to Scalextric.
I lost.
PdL

dgersh
12-20-2002, 08:30 AM
The Eldon history may turn out to be more interesting than we all think!

Yes, the early cars were crap, but they got a lot of us started. I got an early Gold Cup set too (I wanted Scalextric, but it was $49 without the transformer), but mine were anything but durable: they broke down within a week.

From various cars and documents, the early history goes something like this (educated guesses):

First sets, ca 1959: Ungar brand with the little "Indy" cars, using batteries and a Kako 3-volt motor directly driving the rear wheels. Front wheels on pegs off the track as Susan said. These were in a set with a figure eight and level crossover in the middle.

Then the same cars were changed to use the same motor but inline driving a crown gear. Eldon must have bought the Ungar brand about this time, say 60, or 61.

I think the little "Ferrari-ish" cars came next. Mine had worm gear drive, in the Gold Cup set which was circa 62 - I know I didn't get it before - it was either December 62 or 63, probably 62. I've seen lots of these cars since, but always with a regular crown gear instead of the worm gear I had. Also front and optional rear guide pins, plus the funny little sprung-button pickups. These sets had regular transformers and cheapo controls.

Then in 63-64, they came out with their Selectronic sets, which actually worked pretty well (judging from a friend's), and had bodies comparable to Strombecker: Ferrari, stock cars, etc.

I'll leave the rest of it to those who follow Eldon, but does this early history jibe with your sources and memories?

Don

oldgrrl
12-20-2002, 09:21 AM
I can only speak from what I remember and what I have seen since. The cars from the set we had contained crown gears if I remember correctly (though I have since seen Eldon cars with worm gears). My guess about the year of the set would have been '59 or '60. It came with a transformer and some cheap controllers (though I don't remember what they looked like). Seems like the motors were Pittman-type inlines, but I'm really not sure of that. (I still have a couple of Eldon power packs, and they are 3 volts, though I have no idea if one of them dates to that original set.)

Believe it or not, that set actually lasted about a year and a half before the resistors in the controllers let go. And that set was used *a lot*. Sorry that you got a dud, Don...
- Susan

Prof Fate
12-20-2002, 10:35 AM
The eldon and other 3 volt and battery stuff showed up in toy stores. I remember a cousin had one and his parents chortled about buying it in a local mass market store for 8 bucks. I would see my cousin, who had no mechanical skills, about once a year and he would have me fix it while I was in town.
Typically, in 59 and on, I was off chasing a dead end. Strombecker 1/24 rail cars. I bought the car kits and the adapter sets to motorize them and get them running on a rail(stolen out of my dad's Amercian Flyer).
Early Stromie had an Advetisement in every car mag on the market. I think it was mail order from Polks. But the growing list of "1/32" cars and parts was the stuff dreams were made of. Unfortunately I was living in the Philippines at the time, mail order from polks was a minimum of 8 months. So, I scratchbuilt a one lane slot track and some cars.
What I seem to remember was that the quality Revell and Mono WERE carried in hobby shops and commercial tracks in the early/mid 60s. But I only saw Eldon in toy stores and mass market places. Along with Strombecker sets, but the cars were in hobby shops. In late 63, landed at Travis AFB in California and the local hobby shop sold me the August CM, and 4 strombecker "kits". My dad was not happy with my "routed" track and the space it took up. So, he bought the Stromie Indy set with the Cooper and Watson for Christmas...mostly so I could PUT THE TRACK AWAY.

Fate

TSRF
12-20-2002, 10:42 AM
Parents with no consideration for their children's legitimate needs should all be shot.
:D

pbj59
12-20-2002, 11:59 AM
I still have a bunch of eldon stuff from the late 60's so if anyones parents want to buy it, let me know!
Roy W.