By Jerry Broz
OSCAR THE TRACK CLEANER TRUCK.
Twinn-K‘s famous, highly demanded “Oscar the Track
Cleaner”, a special HO slot car difficult to keep in stock.
Over forty five years ago, the well-known HO slot car and
accessories manufacturer Maurice Winn of Twinn-K fame
introduced, through its division AJ’s National Raceways, a new,
different, purpose-built track cleaning vehicle in HO scale.
It was the first of many design projects from Broz Engineering,
a design and development service. To facilitate removal of
oxidation from the track rails, I combined an abrasive rail
cleaner beneath the front of the car with a wick saturated with
cleaning liquid extending from the rear of the car. This unique
combination cleaned the tracks and picked up any remaining dust and a small particles lying the track, thus keeping the HO track in
excellent condition. An attractive body with a driver and cleaning
liquid tank, designed to snap on/off the completed the track
cleaning truck. This very successful and popular “Oscar the
Track Cleaner” (Patent #3,789,768) led to Twinn-K’s
HO “Fun” Vehicles.
Both, the “Oscar the Track Cleaner” and the “HO Fun Vehicles” were manufactured in Hong-Kong with a metal chassis having the swing drop part carrying the motor and two part pick-up and guide pin assembly. The vehicles featured Mabuchi SM-02 motors with metal (Track Cleaner) or plastic (Fun Vehicles) worm gear sets to achieve a realistic, track service vehicle speed. For long lasting performance, all trucks were furnished with SILIKONE hard wearing tires made from a heat treated tear proof silicone and bonded to a precision, polished, and threaded aluminum hubs. The front and back wheels were secured to the threaded front axle and threaded and knurled back axle with four 0-80 brass jamb nuts.
The Twinn-K “Fun” vehicles, aesthetically appealing and
marketed as AJ’s Race Savers, became popular
additions to HO race track layouts. The advanced body
style and implied functionality made them the latest accessory
for realistic HO racing. The three AJ’s Race Savers were:
AJ’s SPEEDWAY HOSPITAL AMBULANCE. A must for track
safety, finished in white with Red Cross markings and red body
stripe. The truck had a working emergency red light on top of
cab when in service. This vehicle was an attractive addition
to any HO race track.
AJ’s INDY WRECKER/TOW TRUCK. The HO scale tow truck
was able to hook-up any HO car on the track and haul the car
back to the pits.The model was finished in bright orange with
a working emergency red light on top of cab when in service.
This vehicle made for a realistic addition to any HO race track.
AJ’s CRASH TRUCK. This emergency fire truck is necessary
when crashes occur. It was finished in fire red and equipped
with working emergency red light on top of cab when in service
and two fire extinguishers. This vehicle provided a final touch
of realism for any HO race track.
A proposal, concept, drawing of the AJ’s RACE CAR HAULER
TRUCK . This proposed HO Race Car Hauler Truck was
supposed to be the last in the line of AJ’s Race Saver vehicles.
Unfortunately, this attractive truck which was capable of
hauling any of the Aurora, Tyco, Riggen, Bachmann, Faller,
etc., HO cars, was never produced.
In all, Twinn-K (AJ’s division) produced (as AJ’s Race Savers)
the following trucks:
OSCAR THE TRACK CLEANER – 2 yellow versions.
OSCAR THE TRACK CLEANER SPIRIT OF ’76 – 3 versions
red, white & blue.
SPEEDWAY HOSPITAL AMBULANCE – white.
INDY WRECKER/TOW TRUCK – orange.
CRASH TRUCK – red.
The last picture shows the originally carded “Oscar the Track
Cleaner” and the “Speedway Hospital” ambulance in the
special container. With the introduction of the Twinn-K “Fun
Vehicles”, all trucks, including the Oscar the Track Cleaner”,
were sold in attractive Dome Cube Container as the “AJ’s
Race Savers”, and included, inside the box, the detailed
instructions on how to operate and care for each car.
In the ’60s and ’70s, Twinn-K (the manufacturer of the
famous “Oscar the Track Cleaner”) was the largest
producers of the slot car and RC racing tires. Over the
years, Twinn-K made tires for HO, 1/32, and 1/24 slot racing
cars along with RC tires of all scales. Twinn-K was the first
to manufacture precise, ground tires, to be mounted and
glued on threaded aluminum wheels for HO slot cars. All
Twinn-K tires were quality products, superior to any other
HO tires at that time. Later in life, Maurice Winn, the owner
of Twinn-K, suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease and, in 1991,
his children sold Twinn-K to an investment group. In 1993,
the company moved to Cleveland, Ohio. By early 1996,
Twinn-K was shut down completely and Maurice Winn
passed away in October 2011.
I first met Maurice when I designed the “Oscar the Track
Cleaner” in the late ’60s and then on several occasions
afterwards. He was easy going, a pleasure to work with,
and a very out-going individual. In fact, my family and I
stayed at his Indianapolis home when we went to the
Indy 500 in 1970. Maurice was a great man and a credit
to the slot racing car industry.
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