John gay's crazy driver is a fun model

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2nd April 2011 - SELMEC Meeting

My secret weapon was too powerful and flipped on the start line - Oh well there is always next time...

The South East London Meccano Club is special to me as this was the first Meccano club I joined way back in the early 80’s since then I have taken the odd break as life got in the way of Meccano but now attending meetings is like ‘old slippers’ I can usually spend the day totally absorbed in what I am doing without the worries of real life getting in the way.

Hot Rod Dragster with it's modest V6 engine

At this meeting the usual Secretary’s challenge has been set and over and above this, I found myself along with fellow club member Chris Fry, hosting the Pull-back Dragster challenge. Chris had suggested this and at the time Sue and I had already built a couple of dragster models. These were more for show than go as the new motors are not intended to pull any amount of weight. This did not stop Sue suggesting that a good test track could be found at The Kent & Canterbury Hospital where they have one of the longest corridors I have ever seen. I pointed out that they probably had security cameras and we would never get away with it!

My all Meccano dragster - the green spoiler and chrome exhaust pipes are genuine Meccano parts

The pull-back motors come from the Dragster set, one of several offerings introduced by Meccano as part of their new Xtreme range of sets. See more details of this set HERE.

Full of confidence, after winning the Magic motor racing, I threw down the gauntlet and told everybody they were only racing for second place! In the event my state of the art, aerodynamically designed machine did not live up to the pre-race banter.

Winer of the classChris won the look a-like race

There were two classes of race, one for the look-a-like models and one for the stripped to the bone speed machines. My Hot Rod won the first heat of its class but failed to do the business when it mattered.  Chris won with his sleek looking, ‘rocket’ powered model. In the speed class I decided to use the new wheels and tyres from the Turbo racer set. This was a mistake as the car simply flipped over on the start line leaving me my confidence in tatters – Still I can always tell myself that I was only giving the others a chance. Alan Wenbourne won this class with his absolute minimum approach… now that sound familiar…

Alan Wenbourne's minimal dragster takes the prize

Better news on the challenge front. This time the challenge was to construct a model using no more than fourteen parts plus as many nuts and bolts and semi-circular plates as required. After a lot of head scratching I came up with my garden roller. Fourteen parts, nuts and bolts and 102 semi circular plates! I could have entered the model I built for the last meeting’s challenge (a tribute to Barbara Hepworth) but that might be a little too easy.

John G'ys battle ship

Apart from the challenge models there was plenty to see I particularly liked the small battle ship from the No2 manual of the 50’s built by John Gay. More models from the day can be seen on the SELMEC website HERE.

A sewing machine built by George Foard - I bet he does pink too!

Time flew by and before I knew it I was back in the car slicing through the traffic on my way home thinking about our next outings. April is going to be a busy Meccano month!

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The turbo charged V8 engine and horizontal radiator fitted to the chassis
Chris Fry's speed machine was pipped at the post
Brian Leach built the spiral staircase as one of his challenge models