Back From The Dead: Chapter 1

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When sorting through things to go to a boot sale or swap meet most people will find something that’s so broken and battered and they will think to them selves “no idiot will buy that” and throw it away. Every now and then one item slips through the net and makes onto the stall. People will look at it and will shake their heads as if to say “he’s got some cheek, asking for actual money for THAT!” Then you get the cretin who actually buys it without even haggling for it.

Ladies and Gentleman; I am that cretin!

What I purchased was a Scalextic C128 BMW 3.0 CSL from the late 1970s. From the factory it would have looked exactly like this one:

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(Thanks www.scalextric-car.co.uk for the pic. These guys make loads of reproduction Scalextric parts for restoration and sell restored cars such as the one above.)

The one I brought, yes brought with £2 of actual money, was this:

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So where shall we begin? At some point in it’s life a tub of brown paint, Lord only knows of what variety as it was impossible to clean off, was dropped on it. The wing has been snapped off and then, oddly, loving sanded back to make a flush(ish) boot lid. The bonnet and bootlid have been painted blue at some stage and the rear arches have been painted black.

Speaking of arches… At some stage a longer ale has been put on the car which has pushed the rear wheels out too far. Instead of shortening the ale so the wheels fitted flush with the body the owner has tried to make some ghetto over fenders out of body filler!

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Well, I hear you not thinking, there must be some reason you brought this heap of junk. Maybe it has a super duper chassis under it or maybe it has a fast motor? Nope, things actually get worse once you’ve taken the body off….

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As you can see the chassis has snapped in half at some point in the car’s life. The previous owner, for his love of filler, also tried to fix the two halves back together with his trusted P38. The rear tyres are also rock hard and bare Scalextric markings suggesting they are the original from the 1970s. The guide is also missing and the plastic that holds the guide in place also appears to have been on fire at some point.

I think that’s just about it for the faults so let’s begin work! First, lets remove the interior and windows from the shell by removing the 30 year old strip of sellotape holding it there…

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Those hideous rear arches were removed simply by getting a scalpel between the shell and filler. Little more than luck seems to be holding it together but the previous owner had sanded the arched to make them an adhesive surface for the filler haha!

I then used some super fine 2500 grit wet and dry to remove the black paint and to sand the brown, nasty bits into a nice smooth surface.

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With that done I can shorten the rear axle to the correct length. If you have a car with an axle that’s too wide simply measure how far the wheels protrude from the body (in this case I think it was about 3mm either side), take the wheels off and cut the axle down by the offending amount on either end. You can use either a junior hacksaw or if you are lazy like me a rotary tool. Your wheels will now sit flush with the arches.

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The windows prove to be a bit more challenging. AS you can see they were covered in this blown paint and had frosted from super glue.

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I could have jut brought another screen, I know, but the only one I could find was £3.50 posted and that’s worth more than the car haha! I wanted to clean this one up!

I couldn’t use sand paper as it would scratch the windows and render them useless. I first tried washing up liquid and warm water. That got rid of the super glue marks but not the paint. A member of a Facebook group suggested soaking it overnight in Mr Muscle kitchen cleaner. Tried that, didn’t shift the indestructible paint. Finally, I found this dremmel bit:

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I’m not exactly sure what it’s supposed to be but it’s far to smooth to sand with. A light going over with the windows with this removed the paint but didn’t damage the plastic. I must iterate, if you want to try it, that I went over the plastic really, really, really lightly!

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Not perfect! But at least the little driver can see where he is going!

The chassis itself didn’t need much doing to it. I plugged a guide into the original mount. As I said before it looks to have been fire damaged but it holds it ok. The wires were already stripped at the ends s I simply put them through the little plugs and plugged them into the guide. I was going to rewire the car as the old wires do look a little crumbly but we’ll see how it goes before hand!

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The motor did have some surface rust on the inside so I sprayed it up with some electrical contact cleaner and gave it a run on my “dyno”

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All this is is a mains adaptor. It can be set from 3V up to 12V and the polarity can be reversed. All I do is put the car’s braids onto the 9V battery connector and that will run the motor.

The good news is the motor spins freely(ish) and the gears are perfect! The motor does get a little hot but I’ll wait for a test drive before coming to a final verdict!

On to the body!

I have a livery in mind that needs to be a zombieish green. I refuse to spend money on the car so I’m using the “Aqua Frost” colour that I used on my George Turner Bentley but am going over it with a matt lacquer to take the shine off.

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Whilst that’s drying i’ll paint the silver into the wheels and put new tyres (that I had lying about) on the back.

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I then put it all back together and painted the details onto the body such as the lights, window surrounds and rubbers and door handles.

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At this juncture I must confess that I used super glue to hold the two bits of chassis together. Hopefully it’s stronger than the filler and if needs I must I can always freeze and then snap the glued joint.

Now for my favourite bit: stickers!

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I did take it for a quick test drive at my Dad’s. The car handles well and the wheels clear the arches but the motor has had it… It runs super slow and gets very hot under load. The Johnson can is rebuildable though so that’s what I will be covering in the net chapter!

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