Greetings from upstate, where some friends and I are spending a long weekend eating, drinking, thrifting, lake-swimming, bowling, attending a lumberjack festival, and so on. Drove up last night, will be coming home on Sunday night. I don’t plan to be spending much time on the internet, so Monday’s Ticker may be very, very small. Thanks in advance for understanding.
But I have something really wonderful for you today: A few weeks ago I wrote about Marty Hick’s awesome Uni Watch-themed pinewood derby car and invited readers to send in photos of their own and/or their children’s pinewood derby cars. Several readers responded, and it’s no exaggeration to say this is some of my favorite content on the site in months. Here’s a sampling (for all photos, you can click to enlarge):
1. Sam Chandler had a lot to say about his pinewood derby activity:
Here in St. Louis, some of the advertising agencies put together a pinewood derby each year. I love making them because I love racing and I get to build something cool. Last year my design was based off the Lotus Turbine Indy car from the ’60s:
I said it was due to the orange being similar to our company’s branding, but mainly it’s because I love that era of Indy cars and that’s one of the most iconic designs. Plus it lends itself perfectly to a pinewood version. We ended up finishing fifth out of around 65 cars.
This year I went a bit more radical with the body design being minimal and simple but incorporating real carbon fiber as an element to see how it affects the car. Plus, I got to make some graphics similar to my favorite race cars: SPRINT CARS! Here are some photos:
2. Matthew Walthert made this Edmonton Oilers-themed car with his dad for Scouts competition in the ’90s:
“My dad brought home his postal scale from work and we loaded the bottom with lead weights to make it as heavy as the regulations allowed (adding ballast, as the F1 engineers say),” says Matthew.
3. “In the late ’70s my sister (third from left) and I (second from left) won the top two spots in the pinewood derby run by the AWANA club (a religious version of Scouts),” says Douglas Ford. “What makes this pic even better for Uni Watch is the Browns jersey and the sweet Dolphins jacket:
4. Excellent submission from Tris Wykes, who writes:
My eight-year-old son Easton was pretty darn excited when he wound up third in the Boy Scout pinewood derby held in Lebanon, N.H. If you look carefully, you can see the washers glued on to his car. The idea is to get your vehicle as close to the weight limit (5 ounces?) as possible without going over it. His mother built it with him because I am all thumbs:
He then qualified for a regional derby, where a scoring error knocked him out of contention. It was a good teaching moment about how life is not always fair and how to handle unexpected disappointment with grace. Here’s the scene itself, in the local high school cafeteria. Those are the judges sitting down and they took their job VERY seriously:
5. I could do an entire entry based just on the photos and information Ron Ruelle sent in. Take it away, Ron:
At a pinewood derby in my parents’ town a few years ago, they put out a call for vintage cars to display:
In the back row, cars 32, 90, and 9 are all by my younger brother, Rich, from the late 1980s. In the front row, the yellow 18 car is by my older brother Russ from 1973. It is styled to resemble a classic 1950s Indy car. Note how skinny the stock wheels were back then! The silver grille in the front of the car was cut from a dinner fork. My dad put the dismembered utensil back in the drawer to await my mother’s reaction. I think he slept on the couch for a few nights. The red car next to that, number 21, is mine from 1975. More on that later.
Fast forward to 2009. My nephew Connor and his dad built his first car at my house since they didn’t have a workbench available. This one goes for the look of an early-1960s Indy car:
The flaming skull logo became my nephew’s trademark and showed up on future cars. As you can see, while I still have the keys to number 21, the driver from my car disappeared over the years. More on that later, too.
The original driver for my car came from a Hot Wheels Rrrrrumblers motorcycle. I eventually found an identical replacement for him on eBay for $30. Here he is in the driver’s seat:
Yes, his uni includes a top hat. He is permanently glued in now. The front bumper/grille for this car was part of the hinge from an old Timex watch case. Somehow my dad saw that shape and had a vision.
Next: Another year, another new car for Connor. Still going old-school, this time with experimental twin engines:
The car was way below the maximum weight, so putting those engines on the hood and decorating them was the easiest and coolest solution. The back end is designed to resemble a 1971 Buick Riviera. Note the return of the Flaming skull.
For Connor’s final car the next year, he went for a late’60s GT theme –specifically, the Mach 5 from Speed Racer. Despite the lack of auto jacks, sawblades, and periscope, he was very proud of the effort. It performed quite well, finishing second in the races:
6. Probably the most unusual entry came from Joshua Johnson. I’ll let him explain:
Here are some photos of the pinewood derby car — er, truck — that my father and I made over 20 years ago. I confess, the truck concept and most of the work were his. As you can see, one of his ideas was to add a set of monster truck tires we stole from some plastic toy that had been laying around the house:
And here’s the real genius: these tires couldn’t be used for the race, so dad created a “plate” that allowed the tires to be easily detached and replaced with standard derby tires. Sadly, wear and tear was causing the plate to fall apart, so it is now glued permanently in place and I have no photos demonstrating how the whole system worked.
Pretty awesome stuff! My thanks to all of these contributors for sharing this great content with Uni Watch. If I was the sort of person who said things like “You’re all winners in my book,” this is where I’d say it.
All-Star helmet update: Yesterday I mentioned that reader James O’Hare said he recalled seeing Reggie Jackson wearing an Orioles helmet in the 1969 ASG. That prompted a note from A’s equipment manager Steve Vucinich, as follows:
In 1969, Sal Bando and Reggie Jackson both wore Senators helmets [in the ASG], as the visiting batboy in Anaheim put their helmets in the wrong bag. We didn’t know about it till game time on Wednesday (the game was originally schedule for Tuesday but was rained out).
So now we just need to get a video of this game. I’m working on it.
Meaty reading: As some of you know, I collect vintage recipe booklets with the word “Meat” in the title. A bunch of them were featured yesterday in this piece on Grub Street. Enjoy.
Correcetion: Yesterday’s entry about glove re-lacing incorrectly stated that Pecard’s Glove Conditioner is “a lanolin-based conditioner that contains no oils.” Pecard President Phil Wadzinski set us straight, as follows: “None of Pecard’s dressing or leather conditioners contain lanolin, or any other type of animal byproducts such as neat’s-foot or mink oils, fats, or tallows. Although the actual formulations are a trade secret , I can tell you that they do contain a combination of USP-grade (good for incidental food contact) petroleum products, along with a mixture of waxes, one of which is bees wax.”
I removed the incorrect wording from yesterday’s post at about 2:15pm Eastern, but I wanted to run this correction for those of you who had read the entry earlier in the day than that.
Uni Watch News Ticker: The Charlotte Hornets are officially back. … Here’s a comparison of the Blackhawks’ 2010 and 2013 championship caps. … Grand Canyon University has a new logo with an apostrophe catastrophe. … Good article about a new that looks at what happens to former Olympic villages (from Adam Hainsfurther). … Buried within this article about Ultimate Frisbee is the following: “In 2009, the University of Oregon’s Ultimate team, then ranked third in the nation and a favorite to win the national championship, had its season cut short after the school discovered they had played Oregon State wearing nothing at all.” Never heard that one before (from Adam Kowalsky). … Here’s Oregon football in solid yellow. “They haven’t gone all-yellow for the last couple uni designs, and it’s always bothered me that they always wore black or grey pants with the yellow jerseys,” says Chris Aquino. “Last all-yellow were these things.” … Dan Kennedy watching that episode of The Brady Bunch with Joe Namath and, well, there’s a lot to discuss here. … Here’s an animated GIF showing what AT+T Park would look like if sea levels continue to rise. Expect to see more stadium animations like this one as global climate change continues apace (from Adam Herbst). … Todd Radom sent along this great team portrait of the American League squad from the 1967 MLB All-Star Game. Note the batboy at the end of the front row! The league-specific jersey is great, natch, but I’m also curious about his striped stirrups — what colors were they, and which team were they from? That game was played in Anaheim, but they couldn’t be Angels stirrups, because the Halos didn’t wear striped hose in the late ’60s. (Indeed, you can see an Angels player at the far-right end of the back row — no stripes.) And they don’t match up with the striped Bosox, Chisox, or Orioles stirrups that are visible in the photo. Hmmmmm. … New football uniforms for WKU. Further details here (thanks, Phil). … Also from Phil: The Diamondbacks have a new mascot — and he’s a Mexican wrestler! … Rory McIlroy’s shirt at the British Open yesterday had this weird little black dots on the shoulders. “I have not seen that on any other Nike shirt, including any style worn by any of their other tour pros,” says John Agre. … Incoming UNLV freshman Kendall Smith appears to have leaked the school’s new basketball uniform (from Ahmad Billal Samady). … Holy moly, look at this 1912 shot of Sens skipper Clark Griffith wearing an amazing plaid coat! (Great find by Bruce Margulies). … New gold chinstraps for Baylor (from Jimmy Couto). … The Altoona Curve and Erie Seawolves played a red-on-red game last night (from Dan Rerko). … Great story from Joshua Johnson (one of today’s pinewood derby contributors): “I work for the local communications company, and it turns out we used to have a slick-looking mascot known as Teddy Telephone. He appeared on our trucks, uniforms, letterhead, etc. He died an unfortunate death in the ’80s. I assume the corporate bigwigs felt he’d become dated. Your blog inspired me to launch a campaign to bring him back. To support my cause, I made my own retro Teddy Telephone T-shirt to wear on casual days. The old-school employees loved it. I even fulfilled some requests for additional shirts.” Very cool. I think Teddy might have been the inspiration for Phoney McRingRing in the “New Springfield” episode of The Simpsons. … The Orix Buffaloes are calling this “shining red,” but it sure looks fuchsia (from Jeremy Brahm). … Also from Jeremy: Hanshin Tigers pitcher Shintaro Fujinami will be using a purple glove for the All-Star Game. … New football uniforms for Memphis (Phil again). … To commemorate NAIDOC (National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee) week, all of the teams in the Western Australian Football League wore jumpers featuring indigenous designs (from Graham Clayton). … Rob Neyer has written a very good analysis of baseball stadiums in general and the Mets’ ballpark in particular. He left out my biggest gripe about the latter, namely that you can’t get to the escalators to the upper decks without walking past all the food vendors and shops, which is both inconvenient and transparently manipulative, but it’s still a good piece. Recommended (from Chris LaBella).