My name is Bob Stormer. I've been in the RC industry since it's heyday back in the early 80's. It's all I've done, my adult life. We've been around as Stormer Hobbies, advertising back in the day in magazines most of you have never heard of like RC News. And we're still here today, in the same location, helping bring RC cars and trucks to the world. I still remember our first actual "phone call" order, and who it was. Was all "mail in" before that. Almost named our first child after him. My wife still remembers who it was. That's pretty cool to me.
He has no idea, and I haven't bumped into him since the 1989 dirt oval regionals in Walla Walla. I'll save that for another story.
I still love my job here and the opportunities we get to help people enjoy their hobby. And I think it's great that kids we used to race with back in the day, call here looking for advice on racing with their kids who are now the same age they were when I first met them. That's pretty special when you think about it. Over the last few years, I've been noticing more and more things I remember about the industry becoming less and less common. The people involved in our collective history are getting older and we are losing great industry people. The knowledge they had, the great storys, mostly go with them. I know when Jim Greenemeyer passed, that was hard on me. not hard like a family member, I never even met the man in person. But I talked to him almost every day in the mid 80's when I was driving for Checkpoint and Team Pitstop. I was one of the guys who got to test a then protoype chain drive transmission. I liked Jim and he believed in me, and I appreciated that. And now, Checkpoint is something you read about in the 1/12th vintage forums. Most people don't know that much about it. he sent me some photos of a chain drive setup he put on a pan car back in the day, he was thinking of marketing it. proclaimed it as "to much Harley influence". I'll post those photos on the Big Jim page when that time comes.
Mike Reedys passing was hard on me as well. I didn't spend that much time with Mike. I bet I hadn't spent more than a few hours with him total in 20 years. But Reedy and Associated are something we deal with every day here at Stormer Hobbies, since there was a Reedy at Associated. It's hard to put it in perspective, but I felt like a little piece of something that we fought hard for had gone. And a piece of the industry that I was a piece of, was gone. We don't get to talk to Mike now and ask about all the great stuff. I asked Mike in 2003 why he thought 235mm pan car had withered. He told me at the last worlds that they ran it (not sure on date), guys were hitting like 60mph indoors on carpet and the corner marshals were standing behind these man hole cover style grates to protect themselves from flying cars. They were just to fast. Only 3-4 people in the world could drive them effectively is what he told me.
I didn't interrupt him, not once, and the story just flowed on and on. It's almost like he knew how important the RC history was to me, and he wanted to whip out a proper story. He had some great thoughts and opinions on the matter. It was a time I will cherish. was a great conversation, and I don't know why, but I get a little teary eyed thinking about it. I think it's because a part of something that has been my whole life was now gone. In Mikes honor we raced nothing but Associated and Reedy batteries all summer. I'm quite proud of that. (see pic in next post)
Same with Ron Paris. MAN, that guy had some great storys and things that he did for the sport that were AWESOME! Chris Chianelli was an awesome dude too, I liked that guy.
Gualtiero Picco, 71 started in the early 80's, passed this year. You know who else is 71? Ken Campbell of Delta. I talked to Ken this week, quite on purpose, before we don't have Ken. I have some great storys to share about that call, we chatted for over 2 hours. I'm glad he's still with us.
Ken MacDowell (Parma) passed in 2010. MAN, I can totally relate 100% to Ken. That guy was a rodder, fabricator, car guy, toy guy, and it showed. That guy was awesome. Parma raceway in 1964. His own badass slot raceway back in the day. can't be more than 4-5 people left that have been in the industry since the 60's.
I talked to Jeff Davis this week (designed the original racing pan car, the "Predator" in I think 1982-1983). You know what got me to ramp up my efforts on the whole project more? I couldn't find one, NOT ONE picture of a "Predator" online. NOT ONE. we almost didn't even get the Predator because the Lynx was penned about the same time and they were just going to do it instead. the predator was the last car made that used the bolink tires and rims, before TRC made the BBS tires that came standard on every pan car up until the 10L.
Anybody else design a part for Hot Trick back in the day? I did.
If you sent in your cool idea, and they made it, they'd give you one of what it was. I found the original photographs of the part I made for Bill (the Hot Trick guy), and I need to do something with those photos and the story before I forget. After Hot Trick, Bill worked for Parma for a period of time.
Bob Hosch in 1993. A lot of the legends of the sport owe it to Bob Hosch and the "Whip". A LOT of the craziest industry storys relate to the Whip. back when you had to show up and race on a track and the only way to hear about it was to be there or call somebody on the phone or wait a few months for a magazine. That was truly hallowed ground to me. I'd get a call on a Monday morning. "Dude, did you hear what happened at the WHIP?!?!?" NO MAN, WHAT, SPILL IT.
Rick Jordan, still around in the industry since like the mid 60's.
Bud Bartos. I like Bud a lot. he's got a big heart full of love for RC. I think at Cleveland, something recent, maybe 2007, he had a booth in the hall and he had some old video from back in the DAY. like the first race at Celeveland, something along those lines. Not even sure how they filmed stuff back then. Did we have camcorders? Anyway Bud is showing the video at his table, and I stopped watching the video and just watched Bud as he watched it. He'd smile, lean in, smile more, lean in, get tense, lean out, smile, get tense, narrate a bit. It was a nice thing to see. he couldn't have cared any less if we were there. I completely get it.
Ernie Provetti, still around, and I have no idea how. His own heart has tried to kill him 4 times now. (I can tease Ernie, it's okay)
I remind him that same thing when I email him. Just proves he really has a heart. HA!
talked to Ernie today and he's going to let me shoot photos of some great stuff from the Trinity museum of cool stuff. Old important cars from like Joel and Kinwald. the first motor, etc. That's important stuff!
Pops, I like Pops.
let me sit in the Indy car when I had the greatest mullet ever worn. Great Pops story. He calls me right after the Traxxas Nitro Hawk comes out (1991-1992). "what do you think about this nitro truck stuff"? Nobody was doing it yet, mostly electric with the exception of people dabbling with the rampage? (I might be off on that by a year with the Rampage reference) Kunio Dudgeon got us all excited about it with his cool conversions for the RC10T trucks back in the day. I tell Pops, it's a massive fail, we've never had more returns on a single product or more pissed off people EVER. (nitro was different back then). People would stand on them like a lawn mower and rip the cord out. Anywho, Pops ignored me, probably for the best, and they did nitro trucks anyway.
and Traxxas SERIOUSLY learned from their mistakes and made nitro RTR a viable option, and DOMINATED. good Job Mike!
I talked to Erick Soderquist a few weeks ago. anybody remember him? He very nearly became a partner at Stormer Hobbies around the time the tekin 100L (maybe it was the bc100) had come out... whenever that was. I just remember the charger being "new" when he was here. Few people knew that until just now. He and I were both driving for Twister at the time. I about threw him out a window in Cleveland in 1986 or 87. "did you dump?" yea, didn't make 6:30... " I knew you were gonna, I was just trying to see if you'd make 7 minutes for this other guy on the team." Headlock ensues and I'm thinking about tossing him out a window. we were sharing a room at the time and I didn't want to have to sleep in a room with no window... Good times. :P Might have been that race, I'm catching Mike Reedy standing by the straight away while I'm driving. I glance at him and he's watching my car. I remember thinking, WOW, Reedys watching my car! POW, I drill the wall at the end of the straight... A corner marshal picks it up, wires holding together 3-4 different pieces of car, it's now 3 feet long... Reedy stops watching my car. ...lol...
Seems I chat Dieter up a few times a year, along with Lunsford, Hohwart, and a few others. I truly need to call Eustace (MIP), I haven't talked to him in years. One of the most cheerful guys ever. Made you happy just to talk to him on the phone. Art Carbonel, etc. Art is still AWESOME!
Can't be more than 30 people (like Bob Novak) that have been in, continuously since the 1980's. Reminds me I have to call Bob.
Long story short.
One of us needs to ramrod this project, that would be me. It's something I truly care about and want to preserve. I know most everybody or have talked to them at one time or another. I also have what is believed to be the largest 1/10 and 1/12 pan car collection in the world. So we can photograph and document things in a proper way. there are a few holes here and there, but it's a solid and deep collection. I counted 12 MRP gp-10s the last time I looked. Sadly or interestingly, depending on how you look at it. I've raced most of the cars in the collection. I don't want to tell you how many cars are in it, I think it borders on a being a problem. Suffice it to say that my wife is of the impression that it's my personal goal to buy back every car we've ever sold.
it's a 4 digit number, and dominates my life, for better or worse. We were at an offroad race in 2002, some local kids were in our trailer, chatting us up. Finally one of them says, "There are 67 cars in here!" I looked up, "Really?" Sure enough. That's when we started to NOT leave spare cars in the trailer, for security reasons.
and I'm quite proud of this next little tidbit of trivia. I am also the official LAST 1/10 pan car National Champion. That was the NORRCA nats in Minneapolis in 2002. Making me, the last Dragon (so to speak).
Pan car is very important to me, I love them all. I know 1/10 pan car was done when we raced, had been for years at that point. I know there were only about 150 racers there, I know I'm not as fast as people like Hara or Blackstock. but the simple fact is, on that day, and for the very last time, I got to TQ and win the very last nationals in a class that dominated my life and business for nearly 20 years, 1/10 pan. As a guy that collects 1/10 pan and grew up in it's heyday, Truly, I had to take a personal minute. The moment was not lost on me. I smile every time I hold a old pan car, or can hand one to somebody and say look at this, check out what we did there, or how this works. I think Scotty announced that race, made me do a stop and go for aggressive driving during a qualifier...
haha! Scotty.I swear the guy "checked up".
Do NOT think I take this History task lightly. It's going to take YEARS to get this done. But it's very important to me, and the legacy is important to all of us. and as the days go on, it's going to get harder and harder to do this.
What I need from as many of you industry people that are still around, to drop me a note and let me hear from you so we can get some things documented. If for example you're Chuck Massey, the PR7 car designer, drop me a note, that's a lost reference for a lot of you. But if you were making cars, and are now NOT, DROP ME A NOTE. Seriously, I need to hear from you.
How many people know what an SR5 is? I'm guessing 12 for sure, and maybe 100 others that knew, and now have forgotten. I made a 1/10 pan car in 1990, beautiful piece of work. After a lot of testing we cut the first 18 to sell. Sold 12 the week we sent out flyers in the mail. Spent the next week on the phone, our toll free number at 25 cents a minute, helping people tune and dial them in for HOURS. I bet we lost $100 a car due to man power. There was no other way to dial in a car back then. you had to know or call somebody. I saw the handwriting on the wall and we stopped selling the car right there. Sold 12. I still have 6 of them. 2 of which are assembled and raced. ah, good times.
That's going to get a proper documenting on the site. If we didn't have a toll free number, we'd very likely still be making cars. I've designed two 1/12th cars since, the "spent" and the "cobra".
There were so many pan cars that most of you never heard about, little garage companys back then. No internet, no way to get word out if you couldn't afford ads.
Here's where it's all going to eventually happen. I think we can do the majority of it with cars I own (1/10 and 1/12 pan) going to be the majority of it at first. Nothing here yet.
The last Dragon.