Things about Thingies

Things about Thingies

SlotCarAcademy goes back to 60s and makes a twist to this age. We talk about “Thingies”: these models were built to emphasize efficiency and performance of running gear.

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Things about Thingies

A Thingie is a term for a four-wheel vehicle that is not based on a real model.

Running with Thingies was a rage

It is not clear who invented the term for these types of slot cars. Some claim it was Garvic to describe their Firebird model. Bob Braverman used the term already in his book in 1964 but the term was already used in the late thirties for some gas-powered tether cars. I concluded the following description: a Thingie is designed to increase speed and handling. Any similarity to a full-size car is accidental and not necessarily intended.

Although there have been outcries of rage against the ‘Thingies’ by the rule of the scale enthusiasts, but it has been a way to introduce youngsters to the model racing hobby in the sixties. Running with Thingies was a rage.

Original futuristic designed models

Many manufacturers released Thingies. The La Cucaracha of Cox was a very nice example of the Thingie. The "King of the Thingies" was the Classic. The American company produced a few Thingies, the Viper, Astro-V, Serpent, Gamma Ray and ASP. The futuristic model-racing car named "Snake" was introduced by Monogram in 1967.

"There's nothing closer to the ground than a snake, so that seemed the best name for our new original-design racing car," Jack M. Besser, president of Monogram once said.

The Assassin (It's a deadly performer!) was a 1/24-scale original futuristic designed car of Monogram. Another great model of the same brand was the Vampire. Garvic released the Ozelot, Sonic Needle, Xtreme, Coronado and as mentioned the Firebird. The Banshee was a model of BZ. Dynamic created the Renegade and the Bandit.

High-tech slot racing

Some created Thingies from leftovers, but serious scratch-builders used high-tech slot racing parts. At the time the only restriction on Thingies was the maximum overall width of the car. The builders were allowed to use a wide variety of parts. The majority of Thingies use the in-line motor arrangement because larger gear ratio's can be used with small crown wheels, although several sidewinders have been successful.

Two camps

The thingies divided those who were involved in the hobby in two camps: racers who liked the traditional ‘model’ car racing and the other the ‘out of scale’ slot car racing enthusiasts.

As usual for rages, the rage of racing with four-wheeled things was soon over.

Things about Thingies

Ostorero’s DreamSlotCars

In 2010 new Thingies came around. But these cars were 1/32 scale. Ostorero created DreamSlotCars. DreamSlotCars was a project to repeat in modern way the old lexan "Thingies" of the 60s. These slot cars were not based on any life-size cars. The chassis design is similar in concept to the famous Cox Cucaracha of the 60s. The cars were made of strong, light Lexan. The mechanical components were all made for Ostorero by Slot.it. The nations series cars were created in 12 versions; the colour and decals represented different countries.

These cars of Ostorero were very popular among slot racers but the release was not the comeback of the thingies. Ostorero ceased the production after the first production run.

Things about Thingies

Published: 13 September 2015

By Jan Willem van Capelleveen / @jwvcapelleveen

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