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Shocked Thimble Drome Champion

Post  crankbndr Tue Mar 19, 2013 5:07 am

My first Champion restoration project, I still can't tell how to ID the three Cameron engine sizes that came in these cars.

Thimble Drome Champion Scan_311
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Shocked Re: Thimble Drome Champion

Post  SuperDave Tue Mar 19, 2013 8:38 am

Can't help with identifying Cameron engine size but To have a good source of the cast aluninum parts you'll need: engine header, brake handle, etc. (Lots of good info also here)

TLCEN1@GMAIL.COM

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Shocked Re: Thimble Drome Champion

Post  crankbndr Tue Mar 19, 2013 9:18 am

Thanks Dave, any help is welcome. I have found some things, even new tires, rims.
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Shocked Re: Thimble Drome Champion

Post  Mudhen Tue Mar 19, 2013 9:26 am

The powered Champion came in three power sizes: .15 Champion, .19 Lightning Bug, .09 Doodle Bug.
Both the .15 and the .19 have piston rings. The .09 was lapped.
Both the .15 and the .09 have the same cylinder head. The .19 ‘s head was noticeably larger.
The head on your engine is small. So, if it has rings, it’s a .15. If there are no rings, it an .09.
Mud

Edit: This is a .19 Lightning Bug. Notice the head is much larger than what you've pictured.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Thimble-Drome-Champion-Gas-Powered-Tether-Race-Car-/190813823435?pt=US_Radio_Control_Control_Line&hash=item2c6d63e1cb


Last edited by Mudhen on Tue Mar 19, 2013 12:25 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Shocked Re: Thimble Drome Champion

Post  SuperDave Tue Mar 19, 2013 9:28 am

Crank:

I found Gary Arnold's site in Michigan very helpful in finding parts and info on my Cox Thimble Drome Champion race car that I got as a newspaper sales promotion circa late 40's.

I restored the car only to the extent of the cast aluminum parts keeping the paint and decals with the patina of wear. Very often thats a good idea. Trying to make something "perfect" is a daunting and never ending task.

SD
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Shocked Re: Thimble Drome Champion

Post  SuperDave Tue Mar 19, 2013 9:46 am

Crank:

Found Gary Arnold's web site, there 'tis:

TLC Enterprise - Thimble Drome Champion

SD

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Shocked Re: Thimble Drome Champion

Post  Mudhen Tue Mar 19, 2013 10:14 am

Before purchasing any reproduction accessory parts, you need to determine the focus of the restoration.
1. Do you intend to run the vehicle?
Then repro parts are fine.
2. Do you just want a simple desktop model for display?
Then repro parts are fine.
3. Do you want a high-end restoration to return it to original condition?
Then only use genuine Cox parts.
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Shocked Re: Thimble Drome Champion

Post  crankbndr Sun Mar 24, 2013 8:29 am

@Mudhen wrote:The powered Champion came in three power sizes: .15 Champion, .19 Lightning Bug, .09 Doodle Bug.
Both the .15 and the .19 have piston rings. The .09 was lapped.
Both the .15 and the .09 have the same cylinder head. The .19 ‘s head was noticeably larger.
The head on your engine is small. So, if it has rings, it’s a .15. If there are no rings, it an .09.
Mud

Edit: This is a .19 Lightning Bug. Notice the head is much larger than what you've pictured.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Thimble-Drome-Champion-Gas-Powered-Tether-Race-Car-/190813823435?pt=US_Radio_Control_Control_Line&hash=item2c6d63e1cb


Thanks for this great info,I printed and saved it. Now if only I could find some parts.
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Shocked Re: Thimble Drome Champion

Post  SuperDave Sun Mar 24, 2013 9:48 am

Crank:

Specifically, what parts do you need? Cox Champion cars really aren't that rare.

SD
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Shocked Re: Thimble Drome Champion

Post  crankbndr Sun Mar 24, 2013 10:15 am

I could use a pinion gear and needle valve for the Cameron engine.
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Shocked Re: Thimble Drome Champion

Post  SuperDave Sun Mar 24, 2013 11:21 am

Crank:

Such things turn up on E-bay from time to time.

You might wind up buying an entire parts car.

SD
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Shocked Re: Thimble Drome Champion

Post  Mudhen Sun Mar 24, 2013 6:58 pm

Looking at the car from rear to front, the left hand rear nut has standard threads. But the right hand nut has left hand threads.
To remove the front tires from the rims, I let soak in warm/hot water for about 30 mins to soften the rubber. I hold the axle and rim with a dry rag to avoid burns. After I remove the tires I'll clean them. When you're ready to put the tires back onto the rims, soak them in hot water. Have a dry rag and another rag soaked with Armor All. Drop the tires into the water and after they're warm, dry them, apply Armor-All and then install on the rim.
Between the tank and engine is a very thin, fragile steel gasket. Be careful when removing it.
The fuel line should be black, not clear. (The same as found on later PT-19's.)
It's very difficult to remove the cylinder liner. Make sure to clean as much dried oil first. Afterwards try applying heat to remove it. If it doesn't budge, don't try to force it. It's fairly soft metal.
Don't try to remove the piston rings. They're very brittle.
The fuel filler tubes on some cars were brass, then cadmium plated. To clean these I'll lightly use Novus #3 to bring back the shine. But don't overdue it beacause you may remove the cadmium.
The accessories (hand brake, wobble pump, and grill,) are made from cheap aluminum/pot metal. The threads can easily strip with the brass nuts. Oil first before trying to remove them. When assembling, don't use much more than finger tight for torque.
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Shocked Re: Thimble Drome Champion

Post  crankbndr Tue Mar 26, 2013 4:59 pm

I got the paint stripped and sanded the body with 400 wet, the castings are rough boy but no cracks.
The body work is going to be something like prime, fill, sand, prime, fill, sand, prime, sand, prime, sand. I'll have to be more careful what I buy next time lol!

Thimble Drome Champion Img_1719
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Shocked Re: Thimble Drome Champion

Post  crankbndr Thu Mar 28, 2013 4:03 pm

Almost ready for color, for the larger flaws I used PC-7 epoxy, it feathered nice with a wet sand and when primed disappeared.
Then I got to the glazing putty, that stuff would not fill the dimples in a fat ladies butt, could not feather an edge made a big mess and 10 times more work to fix.
The edges of the castings where the two halves meet are very rough, I filed, filled, sanded these to make them nice.
Now for a color, I love candy apple red!

Thimble Drome Champion Img_1720
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Shocked Thimble Drome

Post  n-rob Thu Mar 28, 2013 4:40 pm

Great looking restoration, glad to see the Thimble Drome Cameron engine will be in great hands. Now if you are interested in restoring my 1964 Austin Mini Traveller woody wagon, lets talk.
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Shocked Re: Thimble Drome Champion

Post  crankbndr Fri Mar 29, 2013 4:58 pm

I got the color on today, the body still has some minor flaws but sometimes you just have to stop and say it is what it is.
Still got to paint the seat black.
Thimble Drome Champion Img_1721

Thimble Drome Champion Img_1722
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Shocked Re: Thimble Drome Champion

Post  Pinchflat Fri Mar 29, 2013 5:25 pm

That is gorgeous!
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Shocked Re: Thimble Drome Champion

Post  dckrsn Fri Mar 29, 2013 6:14 pm

I'm enjoying the hell out of this thread Doug.
Great work and photos. Keep us posted on the
assembly.
Thanks! cheers
Bob
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Shocked Re: Thimble Drome Champion

Post  SuperDave Fri Mar 29, 2013 6:38 pm

Crank:

Looking great so far!

Remember the source that I sent for the decals, tires and cast-aluminum pieces: exhaust header, brake handle, pump and grille.

SD

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Shocked Re: Thimble Drome Champion

Post  Admin Fri Mar 29, 2013 9:47 pm

Looking Good!

Clapping

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Shocked Re: Thimble Drome Champion

Post  crankbndr Fri Apr 05, 2013 7:03 am

Thanks for the nice posts guys, the new Cameron .199 was delivered yesterday, it even had the Ohlsson & Rice plug. Buying from n-rod was a good experience, we agreed on price and it was here in two days.
A nice manual for the .199 Lightning bug was included, the manual has been a big help in learning about these cars. Going to send a copy to Jacob to post.


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Thimble Drome Champion Scan14
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Shocked Re: Thimble Drome Champion

Post  SuperDave Fri Apr 05, 2013 9:39 am

Crank:

If it will do you any good starting the car I have a 12V electric starter with or without a gel-cell battery the I will DONATE to the cause. You pay only for the shipping from 98387.

The starter is intended for use on model airplane engines but could easily be adapted to belt-start a car.

The starter was given me some years ago and I have no use for it.

Please advise,

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Shocked Re: Thimble Drome Champion

Post  crankbndr Fri Apr 05, 2013 10:03 am

Thank you Dave, I appreciate your offer but though I want my cars in running condition I won't run them.
I used auto lacquer for paint and clear that is not fuel proof, I thought about a finish coat of LustreKote clear
just in case I got froggy but not sure if its compatible. Would have to test it first, LustreKote is acrylic lacquer so it should be
compatible. But not likely I'll fuel these cars.
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Shocked Re: Thimble Drome Champion

Post  SuperDave Fri Apr 05, 2013 10:10 am

Crank:

I've used Lustrecoat over decals to fuel-proof them with good result. It's important NOT to lay-on Lustrecoat too thick or it will sag.

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Shocked Re: Thimble Drome Champion

Post  crankbndr Thu Apr 18, 2013 10:36 am

The body is almost done, I need to place black decals over the hood straps. That black paint can jump at least a foot and get on you and everything else and you don't
know how it got there. Painting the seat was a real PITA, my hand shakes to much to freehand it, I had to mask the body and no kind of tape would work. I wound up using Bob Dively Liquid Mask, I had to paint it on
then knife the paint lines and remove the excess. It worked OK. The trim parts are repro from eBay seller Keller-Kraft, they are not bad. Now for the drivetrain.

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Shocked Re: Thimble Drome Champion

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