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Thread: Origins of Retro

  1. #1
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    Origins of Retro

    Many racers enjoy the popular but relatively new genre of Retro Racing. There have been many discussions of what it is,what it's supposed to be and why it is what it is today. Here is a brief synopsis by Keith Tanaka as taken from a thread on the subject:

    Posted 25 June 2015 - 07:04 PM
    By Keith Tanaka

    Retro racing as we know it today was started in April 2006 (actually earlier than April as it took several months for enough racers to build cars for this new racing class at the time) at Buena Park Raceway in Southern California.

    Paul Sterrett had unsuccessfully tried for many years prior to 2006 to get racers at BPR interested in a scratchbuilding racing class. No one was interested.

    Along comes Mike Steube who had been reintroduced to slot car racing by PdL prior to 2006 with TSRF racing at BPR.
    Paul talked to Mike and PdL about his idea of having a scratchbuilding racing class, but only Mike was interested initially.

    Paul and Mike agreed to create a scratchbuilding racing class similar to what was built/raced in the 1966-1968 timeframe (golden years of slot car racing).
    They co-founded SoCal D3 racing which originally was granted a racing category (D3) within USRA by Chris Radisich who was a USRA National officer at the time. It didn't take long for a few very vocal racers to protest being associated with USRA in anyway, so D3 never raced under the USRA banner.

    As D3 started, Paul, Mike, PdL along with help from Dennis Samson, created the original D3 racing rules.
    As PdL posted D3 race results online, the Steube name caught the attention of some famous East Coast racers (John Gorski, Tony P., Noose) who quickly joined D3 forming a racing group on the East Coast (which eventually became part of IRRAź).

    A number of situations occurred back in the pre and early days of D3 racing at BPR which eventually resulted in Retro racing as we know it today.

    The original concept of D3 was to have a scratchbuilding/racing program at BPR. D3 racing groups did form in other parts of the country as well as a few foreign countries. IRRAź took the next step by actively promoting Retro racing across the nation and wherever there was interest. SCRRA replaced D3 several years ago at BPR.

    The above is my brief recollection of how retro racing started at BPR with D3 and some of the events that occurred later resulting in what we have today, Retro racing.

    Keith

    And the rest is history.......

    Thanks to these legends of Slot Car Racing and many others, we have one of the most popular forms of slot racing here in the USA and many other countries around the world. From England to Japan. An entire industry has evolved around the class. Bringing new products and racers to raceways around world. Retro has been the best thing to happen in Slot Cars in many years. I want to personally thank all those involved in bringing this great class of car to our hobby.

    Sam Levitch
    Last edited by Sam pan; 03-07-2016 at 10:57 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Denton, Texas
    Posts
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    I appreciate all those that helped bring retro racing about also. It was around April of 2006 when I rediscovered slot cars after a 30+ year hiatus. When I first opened a door to a commercial slot car track back then.... the SOUND!... the SMELL!... I knew I WAS BACK. And then, the icing on the cake... I read of the D3 scratchbuilding class in SoCal. SCRATCHBUILDING! YES! That was the state of the art when I dropped out in Feb. of '73 and now it was going to happen again! I haven't looked back since. I've raced some flexi's but my slot car world revolves around retro racing!
    Let me know if you want to know my real name... it's not "Tex". LOL

  3. #3
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    Feb 2003
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    barrington, il.
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    972
    My date may be a little off, but we began "retro" racing at Mike Swiss's in 2007 with Red Fox f-1's and Parma Death stars. 20= entries weekly,great fun. My highlight was when I had gone 18 heats without an "off" winning two in a row. Race anouncer Mike shouted out: "Fiedler is letting Austin by!" Great times.
    Racing now at Wanker Valley Raceway and awaiting puppies!!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Irvine, CA
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    I think it would be good to acknowledge the source of this material. It looks like Keith Tanaka was the original author.

    Not that it is important now, but some of the details are not strictly correct in terms of what actually happened back then.

    We raced until the end of 2006 before Paul starting talking about USRA affiliation, and it was only after that idea was shot down that the name "D3" was adopted for the 2007 season and onward. Before that, it was "Nostalgia CanAm".

    There were a number of scratchbuilt classes already running at BPR at the time, one of which was called "Vintage Spirit F1". The rules for this class were adjusted slightly and incorporated into the eventual D3 rule book. Another class was the "Vintage Spirit Hardbody Stock Car" that used 36D motors, and provided the foundation for Keith's current successful and popular scratchbuilt hardbody racing classes.

    I think that Noose, Gorski and Tony P will tell you that they never actually "joined D3", although they were motivated by PdL's internet coverage and used some of the Nostalgia CanAm rules. They started East Coast Retro using Puppy Dog motors and 1 5/8" wide F1 bodies based, as John has said above, on the Red Fox F1 frames and bodies that were available at the time.

    IRRA only came into being in late 2007 after the first Sano race in Chicago.

    D3 as a retro organization lasted until 2012, when it was superceded by SCRRA, but that is a whole other story....

    Dennis
    Dennis Samson

    Scratchbuilding is life
    Life is scratchbuilt

    Samson Classics

  5. #5
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    Sep 2011
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    Long Island,N.Y.
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    Thank you Dennis for your input on this. Your eye witness accounts of how the scratch building renaissance evolved is appreciated.

    I did mention the story was originally posted by Keith, but I added it to the top of the text to make it clearer.

    This great genre of slot racing has deep rooted origins that go back to the early sixties when the first racers started soldering brass and wire together into competitive cars. My first builds were meager attempts at clones of Lee Gilbert magazine car build ups. I skipped scrubbing the chassis clean in the bathtub part.LOL While I admire the development of the so called "Flexi Kar" movement, it was soldering away till 1 AM with my father's Weller gun that brings back fond memories. Made some early attempts at a few Int-15 chassis, but ended up buying a "Dick P roller" in order to compete. After that it was all EDM steel chassis. Just had to solder the guide tongue,pillow blocks,and rear brace. BORING. 20 years later I'm racing at Slots-A-Lot and George Blaha and Joe Mig tell me about this Retro racing. Been hooked ever since.

    "Finger Burners Forever"

    Sam Levitch

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
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    3,382
    Quote Originally Posted by brassrodman View Post
    My date may be a little off, but we began "retro" racing at Mike Swiss's in 2007 with Red Fox f-1's and Parma Death stars. 20= entries weekly,great fun. My highlight was when I had gone 18 heats without an "off" winning two in a row. Race anouncer Mike shouted out: "Fiedler is letting Austin by!" Great times.
    We started racing the Red Fox F1 cars in late 2005.

    While there was a lot of enthusiasm for these cars, it was certainly the PDL Slotblog coverage of the going's on at BP and Mike Steube, that got the worldwide slot car community fired up about scratchbuilding and Retro racing.

    My experience with the fun and excellent performance of the Red Fox cars was certainly very instrumental in me believing in inline cars, and the viability of a national race, with the thought of uniting the East and West, in one common rule set.
    "Get Yourself Retrofied"
    Chicagoland Raceway
    17B West Ogden Ave.
    Westmont,Il. 60559
    Phone-708-203-8003
    mikeswiss86@hotmail.com

    Check out Chicagoland Raceway on facebook.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    NYC/Long Island
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    176
    From the origins of Retro less than 10 years ago, the baby has certainly grown up.

    In addition to luring back a lot of old and older racers (like me), it now attracts some of the best slot racers from many other disciplines such as wing and Eurosport cars, guys like Chubby, Matt Bruce, and Chris Radisich.

    They have found it some of the toughest and closet racing around.

    Cheers

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
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    HollyHill FL
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    When I first tried retro I thought it was ok at best.

    I now love retro racing and glad I race.
    KellyRacing

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    mechanicsville Virginia
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    364
    It yields the closest racing and keeps the trigger-man in the drivers seat. The inline is the great equalizer. Viva la retro!
    Anything worth doing is worth overdoing

  10. #10
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    Kirkland
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    ACTUALLY ! some of the so-cal folk would come up & race at THE SLUG FEST'S , at LEE GILBERT'S Auburn shop on the Mtt & i think they got the idea from US ! as we used to race WHAT WE CALLED A RETRO class of a brass chassis w/group 12 motors & CAN-AM bodies as far back as 2001- 2003 ?? somewhere in there ? we even modified the rules to attract the SO-
    CAL crowd !
    Last edited by flyracing; 03-15-2016 at 11:02 AM.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by flyracing View Post
    ACTUALLY ! some of the so-cal folk would come up & race at THE SLUG FEST'S , at LEE GILBERT'S Auburn shop on the Mtt & i think they got the idea from US ! as we used to race WHAT WE CALLED A RETRO class of a brass chassis w/group 12 motors & CAN-AM bodies as far back as 2001- 2003 ?? somewhere in there ? we even modified the rules to attract the SO-CAL crowd !
    That was a spin-off from a VMRA Retro-Pro class we used to race. It used old GT-12 brass & wire chassis with a c-can motor & Can-Am type body. One of the main racing classes we raced was the F1/Indy cars, featuring in-line drive brass & wire chassis with 16D motors (sounds familiar?). It was always one of our most popular race classes. You can check more about VMRA here: https://www.facebook.com/VMRA-Vintag...66703/?fref=ts & find the real origins of retro racing.
    Russ Toy
    I am team burrito and I approve this message.

  12. #12
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    Apr 2006
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    Denton, Texas
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    I'm sure glad ALL you guys kept scratchbuilding alive!
    Let me know if you want to know my real name... it's not "Tex". LOL

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