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6/15/06
Aurora Tub Track - Marty makes a two piece
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Marty Ruiz
Aurora Tub Track. Just the name brings back a flood of memories to many of us. To others it is a curiosity that needs to be satisfied.

What is an Aurora Tub Track? Back in the 60’s Aurora had a 12ft long by 5ft wide fiberglass tub made that would hold it’s slot car track in recesses. It was made for commercial raceways, not for the home. Home tracks then were sitting on the floors, card tables, mounted on old doors and anywhere else a young race fan could set it up. The privileged few had a 4ft by 8ft piece of plywood with permanently mounted track and scenery.

Fast forward to the late 1990’s early 2000’s and home track are as big and as elaborate as many commercial tracks. Looking for the nostalgia of original 60’s racing many people started looking for the Aurora Tub Tracks. What did their search come up with? Much of the time, nothing. If they did find one it was well used and abused. Track had been replaced by newer AFX or TOMY track. The fiberglass had faded from years of neglect. Sometimes the fiberglass was cracked. Holes in the side of where the “Drop Boxes” were. Several holes had been drilled in the side to accommodate new ways to connect controllers. Whatever shape they were in they were usually very expensive. A lot of work and more expense to restore it is what they found.

How did our reproduction 2 piece Tubs come about? Dave from WV made a trade for some Hot Wheels and cash for a complete original Tub Track. One weekend a couple of us went down there to help him get it back to running condition. It was in good enough condition that we did it in one day! I was hooked!! I wanted one!! The search was on.

I received a phone call from a friend telling me that there was an ad for an HO slot car track for sale and it sounded like a Tub Track. I called the number in the paper and sure enough it was! Dave and I went there the next day to look at. It was covered with stickers, cracked on the side, several holes in the side, and had junk AFX track on it. Just like my description above. After some negotiations it was mine.

With the help of friends I had my Tub Track back to my apartment. Again with the help of friends I acquired enough track to get it up and running. I used original Aurora L&J track on mine. I would have informal get together races with friends and we had a ball! Out of curiosity to find out how many Aurora Tub Tracks are still out there I started a Yahoo! Group just for Tub Tracks:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/auroratubtrack/

It was slow getting started but we currently have 160 members. There are only a few members that actually have Tub Tracks.

People would tell Dave and I that they would like to have a Tub Track also but could not get them in their houses. They had room if they could just get them in. It was suggested I volunteer mine to let someone make a mold from it and make a two piece tub. Yeah right.

One day while I was the internet I found an auction for a Tub Track that was in a guys basement and already been cut in two! I called Dave and asked if he wanted to go in half with me and buy it. Fortunately he said yes. I contacted the seller and had several questions for him. A deal was made and Dave and I now owned a two piece Tub Track! Now we just had to get it back from Iowa to Ohio! We hooked a trailer up to the back of my PT Cruiser and we were on our way. It turned out to be in better shape then we expected! It was complete with original Aurora L&J track, six Aurora power supplies and six TYCO controllers. We brought cars and tried out every lane. The Tub sat in my garage for several months waiting for me to find the time to do something with it. Things were about to change quickly.

While attending the Good Guys Rod & Custom Show in Columbus, OH there was a vendor that was selling fiberglass reproductions of the TV Batmobile! I struck up a conversation with him and asked if he did other fiberglass work. At first he did not know what an Aurora Tub Track was. I sent him pictures and his memory was revived! Dave and I loaded up the two halves and took them to him. A deal was made and he was going to make Reproduction Two Piece Aurora Tub Tracks for us!

The mold shop tried to line up the two halves to start making the molds. The original cut was not very well done. The shop used the original track and realigned the two halves. The decision was made to make the two halves one piece again and make their own cut. A “dam” was made in the middle of the Tub and then they made two molds with an end cap, or flange. After the mold was made they had to reinforce it so they can consistently make parts that are always the same. We discussed the “Aurora” logo on the Tub. To avoid legal hassles we decided to make our reproduction Tubs without the logo. The original Tubs have wood glassed on the sides and on the bottom. The side wood is there for some support. The bottom pieces are there to bolt the legs to. Our Tubs have the wood installed while still in the mold, again to make sure every part comes out the same.

Dave and I bought the first one out of the mold. We wanted to make sure the track was going to fit properly before taking orders for them. It fit just like the original!! I was able to wrestle the two Tub halves around by myself and mount the legs. I also put the two halves together and just clamped them at first. I recommend you have at least one other person to help you bolt yours together. With just three clamps on the flanges it was very sturdy. I drilled holes and bolted the two halves together. If it weren’t for the small seam you wouldn’t know it was a two piece Tub.

Our Tub made its first public outing at the Inaugural Marysville Automotive Memorabilia Show February 20th. The reaction was very good. There was an owner of an original Tub Track and he gave it very good remarks. We only have two of the six lanes running. I did not want to drill any holes in it yet to run wires to the underside. I have an Aurora power supply hooked up to two lanes and a controller hooked up. I brought along a couple cars so people could play. It was running most of the day. I brought a magnet car (UGH!) and a T-Jet Chaparral. The Chaparral was the most popular car. Unfortunately I was so busy with the show and talking to people about the Tub, I forgot to take pictures!! RATS!!

The most popular question we get asked is “What track fits in the Tub and do you sell track?” We tell them original Aurora L&J and AFX track will fit. If you want to use TOMY track you will have to custom make a straight piece because TOMY does not make a 5in straight that is required. Brad Bowman of Brads Tracks

http://www.bradstracks.com/

has one of our Tubs at his shop and is currently working on making a routed track for Tubs.

Another popular question is what to use for legs. The originals had pipe flanges bolted to the bottom wood, pipe connected to them and another flange on the bottom. The first one we have I used flanges and steel square tubing used for decorative railings. It works fine. I have had people tell me they use PVC pipe for the legs on their Tubs.

If you have any questions or would like ordering information please contact me at:

Mruiz2@columbus.rr.com

Or Dave at:
Djordan@teays.net
Due to circumstances beyond our control we are forced to revise our pricing. Effective immediately the new price for our two piece reproduction Tub is $1500.00 USD. Payment will be as before, 1/2 down and remainder due when the Tub is finished.

If we have had private negotiations, e-mail or phone conversation, we will honor the quoted price until April 30, 2005. After that the new price will be in effect. Prices quoted on public internet groups, BB's or discussion boards are void.

If we have to crate the Tub for shipping there will be an additional $125.00 charge. We will be using Specialized Transportation. They will ship C.O.D..

If we are going to deliver the Tub the charge will be negotiated based on distance traveled.

If you are going to pick it up yourself the date and time will be arranged.

If you missed the prior announcement the Tubs will be made in orange only.

Thank you,
Marty & Dave
Original Aurora Tub Track
In The Beginning...
Crated, and ready to ship
View from the bank