March 26, 2014
An interesting bit of slot car history, as told by the daughter of a 1960’s slot car manufacturer – Ted Lech of Dyna-Rewind.
– Paul K @ OWH
If you lived in the Midwest of the United States in the mid-1960′s chances are good that you knew about slot car racing. It was the craze back then for hobbyists, car enthusiasts, boys, and the girls with brothers! And if you were into performance slot car racing, then you would have selected either a Mura, Champion, or Dyna-Rewind motor to win. Not familiar with it? Check out these pictures:
A slot car racing enthusiast in the mid to late 1960s would bring his best cars in a wooden gear box to a local track. For about $.50 he (or she) could rent a lane and race whomever showed up that evening for 30 minutes. Competition was always fierce with fans and racers taking turns spotting cars around the track that had spun out or flown off in the heat of the battle. Each car had rubber tires, an electric motor, chassis, body, and plastic tongue-with-flat-metal-brushes on the bottom. The cars ran on a track with a groove in the middle of the lane and tiny metal or wire filaments on either side of the groove (which conducted the electricity as it made contact with the metal brushes). Each “driver” held a controller by which he (or she) could adjust the speed of the car by squeezing or releasing the lever on the handle. If you went too fast your car would either spin out or fly off the track! While the latter was quite spectacular it would often damage the car beyond repair — at least until the next Thursday night of racing!
Formal competitions and even professional drivers became legendary. In 1966 one racer in particular began beating the pants off of everyone in the Detroit area and carrying off all the trophies with his car powered by a special motor. Ted Lech had discovered how to make the motors faster by employing the adhesives, balancing principles, and rewinding concepts from his work at the General Motors Tech Center in Warren, Michigan. Soon others were clamoring to purchase the motors. Ted and his co-worker, “Bud” Stordahl created Dyna-Rewind and were quickly overwhelmed when orders came in from just about everywhere (including the UK and Japan) with each successive motor. In an interview with Pete Hagenbuch in the Car Model magazine of July 1967, “Mr. Motor” as they called him reveals the genius behind Dyna-Rewind motors. All was well and very exciting, however the slot car racing industry was beginning to diminish when toy manufacturers could not keep up with the performance output of the small-shop car guys. But the small-shop car guys couldn’t support the overall industry either. Then suddenly Ted Lech absconded with some of the business assets and vanished in 1969, never to be heard from again in the slot car racing world. Bud Stordahl closed Dyna-Rewind.
What happened? Well I guess you could say that not everyone handles success well. Ted Lech was my father: born March 30, 1937 in the Detroit, Michigan area. He married my mother, RoseAnne, in 1959 and I was born 9 months, 2 weeks, and 3 days later. We were living in a trailer park when I was born: a red and white mobile home at the beginning of the block. There was a sidewalk out front in which I rode my red and white tricycle with a bell and streamers on each of the handle bars. I loved riding my bike. Life was good for a 3 year old!
See full article here: The Genius Between Us