Slot Cars 1945 Style…

Posted: June 15, 2021 in Fotos, Obscurities
Tags: , ,

A burly Aussie bloke prepares his model car for a race at the Victorian Model Race Car Club (VMRCC) meeting, Como Park, South Yarra, 1945.

I can find no record of the 1945 meeting, but in 1951 Lee Marget’s 10cc model did better than 100mph over a quarter-mile. Not so sure how my near neighbours in South Yarra would feel about motor racing in their twee-suburb now, olde bean…

The VMRCC had classes for cars, the length of which varied from 10 to 18 inches. Proto were the biggest and fastest, then Proto-Spur, Spur and Might. Proto’s did better than 100mph, the tiny-Might about 70mph.

All were powered by 10cc two-stroke engines fed by a methanol/castor oil brew. Fitted with torch-batteries “The batteries are charged on high-speed rollers, and the cars are then attached to a cable, which revolves around a pole in the centre of the track, and are started by pushing them with a pole for a quarter lap or so.”

“The cars quickly gather speed…when maximum speed is attained…the operator signals the timekeeper to start timing…A midget is timed over 6-laps, 440 yards, and is then stopped by the operator tripping a lever,”

In November 1950 the lap record was held by ‘Juan-Manuel’ Bailem of Maribynong at 116mph.

Clubs then were operating in South Yarra, Maribynong, Geelong and Cowra NSW, as well as clubs in South Australia and Queensland. Some club members imported their racers but most were home-built.

I’ll bet it was fun until CAMS got involved…


National Archives of Australia-Sketching naval life: the war art of Rex Julius, Trove,


(NAA-R Julius)

W.R.A.N (Womens Royal Austraian Navy) driver standing by her ute (brand folks?) at HMAS Rushcutter, April 2, 1944. Why this? Just coz…

Able Seaman Rex Julius enlisted in 1940, he trained in submarine detection, but when the higher-ups became aware of his pre-war career as a commercial artist, he was appointed an official war artist for the Royal Australian Navy in 1944.

He died of a throat abscess and gangrene in New Guinea the same year – great shame, he was a talented man.

The sketch above is one he made of activity around the naval base, HMAS Rushcutter, Sydney Harbour.

(NAA-R Julius)

This one has a particular resonance. While the blokes have a swim off the side of HMAS Lithgow, on the way to Milne Bay, New Guinea in 1944, “One rating sits under the motor boat with a Tommie Gun in case of sharks.” Only ‘in’ Australia!


  1. robert king says:


    Not a comment, just an aside: Lee’s son Tino is a good friend of mine. I also know his younger bros, ‘Drew, who used to race Mustangs and I think promoted Bianti car racing. I think Tino said that Drew has a factory in Moorabbin with his Dad’s cars – might be worth a visit.




  2. Paul says:

    i think a tether car rather than slot

  3. Bill Turnbull says:

    Ute based on Ford Prefect I would say.

  4. John Ballantyne says:

    Ford Prefect

  5. Hi everyone.

    I am pretty sure that the ute in the sketch is a 1942, Ford Anglia – Coupe Utility.



  6. convergentsafety says:

    On second thought, it does look very similar to the Ford Prefect Ute from 1947…Well done Bill and John!

    1947 Ford Prefect Ute

  7. William Ludwig Turnbull says:

    How do I upload my photo?

  8. William Turnbull says:

    Hi Mark,
    Have done by email.

  9. Ron Savage says:

    Tether Car racing still continues (when not in lock down) today in Australia, Brisbane and Sydney and is fully covered in the book “Circle Torque Tethered Car Racing in Australia 1940-2010” by Dr. Lyn Peacock and is available in the State library’s in Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney and Brisbane.
    The Tether Car World Championship was held in Brisbane in 2019, max speed was 347.490 km/h.
    Ron Savage

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