In The Beginning.....
The first HOUROC Open was the beginning of my H.O. racing career, and more significantly, the beginning of big time H.O. racing in Southern California. The recent article in Scale Auto H.O. Journal highlighted what went on. For me it was an overwhelming and exciting event. Never did I think that so many people would come together for such an event. I ran a Riggen car patterned after the one that mid west pro racer Gary Rider was having so much success with. It was my friend John Hubbard that dragged me to that first HOUROC Open. We then continued to attend monthly events held by HOUROC. For the next couple of years we raced and built many pan cars. The pan cars had a lot of character. There were many different designs and racers were constantly trying different ideas. Dave Ferguson's three-part retrospective in H.O. Journal #6, 7, and 8 chronicles the era.
The protagonists during this era of racing in southern California were Gary Beedle and Jim Cawthon. Jim always had cars with alot of horsepower and exotic chassis designs. His full pan AFX wiper car with A-arm front axles is still one of my favorite H.O. racing cars. Gary, by contrast, had the smoothest running cars. The contest between these two kings of the sport was one of the more entertaining aspects of the sport. Jim and Gary's rivalry highlighted this early era of H.O. racing in southern California. Jim then joined the Navy. Gary continued and kept the racing events at a high level thru out the 70's and 80's here in southern California.
The most exotic chassis that I built during this early era was the pc pan car. This concept was thought up between John Hubbard and myself. The car was a AFX with the motor magnet dropped flushed with the bottom of the chassis. With the magnets providing downforce we did not have to use so much weight, so our thoughts was to make make the pan cars lighter. Instead of using thin brass, which made for a fragile chassis, we use .050-inch thick PC board material, which was light but also stiff. In a crash the chassis would not get tweaked like the brass chassis did. The copper was etched to provide the electrical connections to the motor, and wipers were use for pickups. It was also the first time I employed CA glue to attach the PC pan to the AFX chassis. Before this, most people used epoxy to attach the pans to the main chassis.
Dave Ferguson is writing a upcoming article in H.O. Journal about our pc pan cars. I am quite pleased that the picture of the PC pan car on the back page of #9 journal and on the preview cover of #10 journal is the PC pan car that I built and campaigned in my early H.O. racing career. The PC pan cars were some of the last cars that John Hubbard and I raced during this era. Soon after this John went back east to music school to further his music career. I raced another version of the PC pan with some success before I also took a hiatus to attend college. Today, John is up in Oregon and racing again. This early era of racing, to me, was the most interesting. There was a lot of creative designs in racing cars and one of the most intense rivalries between Jim Cawthon and Gary Beedle.
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