Yes, our Central Iowa Model A Club has a “Hubley Derby Track”. Built in 2019 for the Regionals to specifications by members of the club in 2019 for MAFCA Regionals held here in Des Moines.
Our club will be having at a Hubley Derby at our March 2024 Meeting. Members and their families are encouraged to build and race their Hudley’s at this event. You are also encouraged to take part in the Hubley Derby’s sponsored at the Regional and National Events of this Summer Touring Season.
No wet oily substance that could drip on the track please.
The Hubley Company of Pennsylvania made accurate metal replicas of Model A Fords and other cars for many years. There are seven Model “A” Ford body styles available: Fordor Sedan, Station Wagon, Coupe, Roadster, Pickup, Victoria, and Phaeton.
One day many years ago, someone got the idea that it might be fun to “race” these model cars down a track similar to the “Pinewood Derby” that the Boy and Girl Scouts use. Initially only appearing in local and regional MAFCA events, the “Hubley Derby” came into the national spotlight when it was an official event in at the 1994 Tacoma MAFCA/MARC National Meet.
Over the years, three separate manufacturers have taken over production of these model kits; Hubley, Gabriel and Scale Model. All the parts are interchangeable between them, and they are equally suitable for racing. The model kits are no longer being produced today, but the original Hubley, Gabriel and Scale Model kits can still be located at swap meets, antique stores and at online sites like eBay.
The kits contain several metal body castings and an assortment of plastic parts. It does take some time to clean up all the pieces and paint them, but the results are well worth the effort. This is a great family participation project for the younger members, as everyone who races a car must be involved in some part of the building of it. And for those of us living in a Northern climate, what better way to chase away the winter blues than playing with toy cars.
Hubley races are a great participant and spectator sport. Crowds really get involved in the runoffs and cheer for their favorites. The format is side by side racing on a two-lane track with elimination races until the age group champion is finally crowned. Some of the fiercest competition is in the 18 and over age group.
It is very important to make sure the inside surface of the wheel hubs are smooth so they turn freely against the brake drums. The outside of the brake drums are sanded smooth to remove any casting seams so the wheels will spin freely. Dry lubricants such as powdered graphite will help to make the wheels spin freely. This is important because some cars will run as if the brakes are dragging if that step is neglected.
When assembling the front end, insert the screws which hold the tie rod on from the bottom rather than from the top. This will allow the front wheels to be locked in a straight-ahead position without having to remove the body. It may take some adjustment to get the wheels pointing straight. Whether the front wheels are locked straight ahead or able to turn easily is up to the individual racer.
The overall weight of the car is critical for a gravity racer to be competitive. Make sure the car is as close to the maximum allowed 21 ounces as possible. Any weights added must be permanently secured in the car.