Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Round and round, the sound...

On my shelf, I have a line up of old model aircraft engines. Starting with my beloved old ED Racer and working through a PAW 1.5, Merco 61s and ending with a brand new Leo from a weekly parts deal with a coupe of oddballs here and there.

Now, what do I do with them?  Model aircraft are too expensive, with the cost of belonging to a club, mad costs of insurance, etc.  I gave up the idea of doing some nice model aircraft because of it.

Model boats? No, because almost every damned pisspot little pond that has model boats has banned IC engines on totally spurious "environmental" grounds, usually because we're forced to share the unsuitable puddle with those odd persons who are happy to sit and stare at a bit of coloured stick all day in the vain hope of hooking some feckless fish for the tenth time in a year and putting the poor thing back so they can re-catch it next time they need to escape the nagging wife.

There is only one thing left to me.  And then only because I am within travelling distance of the only example of a place where I can run a tether car.  Yup, tether cars.  A wonderfully English group of old farts, (and my God they're old!) have formed a collective under the guiding hand of Peter Hill (who goes under the pseudonym of R.T.Pole, geddit?)and in Peter's garden in Lincolnshire he has built a suitable circle of concrete with a pole in the middle allowing tether cars of a certain age to trundle round, purely for fun as he doesn't really want super fast things there. I think it's stop-watch only currently.  There's a youtube of a car going round on leaves, rain, bits of muck and having a good old time.  I figure what I can't afford to buy I can make except tyres.  A very reasonable membership fee opens up a quarterly magazine and an archive of plans and articles which I can use in conjunction with my collection of Model Car News magazines from the 40s, which I have carried with me from move to move for the last 40 years!  Back then there were not more but actually fewer circles to run on, Peter's being a relatively recent construction. The hobby in Britain died out in about 1960.

It is from rather earlier that I am going for inspiration. Being a Romford lad, I remember going to the shop of J. S. Wreford in North Street on a Saturday morning and watching him run diesels INSIDE on the counter!  I have loved that smell ever since.  It turns out that he made a series of tether cars called the Half Pint and the Pint.  I can reproduce a Half Pint using my metal bashing abilities and thereby run a car to which I have an historical connection.  I have gathered Pinterest pictures of the Half Pint and reckon it's well within my skills to re-pop. I have joined the Retro Racing Club for a sensible 16 quid and await my first bundle of goodies from Arty Pole.

Mine's Half a Pint.......


  1. Can't afford to buy one, mate, so I just have to make one. I'll need to get some idea of size before I start bashing metal.

  2. Thanks for sharing the very nice info.and please keep updating........

  3. Curious, I looked at eBay and "How much!!!". More to the point, how can racing something that yoy bought be as much fun as racing something you set up yourself. I'll admit the appeal of round the pole stuff is a bit of a mystery to me but I'm sure a lot of it is in the engineering challenge.

  4. I know, the prices are outbloodyrageous! And driven entirely by collectors, of course, who never use them. For me I like the idea of making something in which I can use my engines without breaking the bank and replicate something from my youth, or even earlier. Boats only really go round and round, so they bore me silly, which is why I like straight running and steering contests and sail, which is much more involving. I shan't be buying anything more than tyres, mainly because I'm a tight sod.

  5. Just trying to see if Google will allow me to communicate.
    Google and I just don't seem to ever hit it off.

  6. Well you got through this time, Rich!

  7. Good to know so brace yourself in the future.
    Do you have to wrap a chord around the bloody flywheel to start your engine in that contraption?
    I could use some of that to strangle the people at Google who seem startled when I use my computer and my phone on the same day. I return you now to your regular viewing. Sorry bout that.

  8. No, they used to upend a pushbike and plunge the little flywheel onto the spinning tyre to start them or just push them round with a long stick till they spluttered into life! We knew how to have fun in them days, mate and no mistake. We'd stink of diesel fuel for days and love it!