Team Riggen Ferrari P3

Cukras 1966 Car Model Replica

John Cukras was one of our hobby's first superstars and this build-up is a replica of the '66 Car Model winner Team Riggen Ferrari P3. Since I do not have the actual car in front of me to copy, I will have to do my best by studying the photos of the original car found on Electric Dreams web site. Incidentally, follow the link to Philippe's write up of the restoration of ol' number 24! The original car was not that unusual when compared to other cars of the era, being a simple four-rail brass rod inline design.

The following image was published in the December 1967 Car Model magazine and was ably drawn by Tom Daniel.


To start with all the bits are laid out just like a model kit. The motor I built up earlier using an early Mura 24 single which was epoxied, tied, and balanced. It should have more than enough grunt! The rear tires, although worn and used, were clean and not scratched up. The rubber will be replaced with a set of gray rubber donuts that are very vintage but still soft enough for this buildup. They will be glued and trued up to a 1966 spec. 15/16" diameter.

The first step in building the frame is to add enough rails to tie the front and back together and then scrub it clean! The outer rails are now mounted and the drop arm and guide weight installed. Frame is now done! Outriggers installed, gearbox braces and guide stops are now solidly attached. Chassis at this point is fairly light, weighing in at about .050kg.

Chassis assembly

Couple of changes. Turns out that the arm is actually a 27-28 double, as I found the arm card that came with it. Other than that, I got the chassis together finally. Took a LOT of fiddling and adjusting but here it is:

I didn’t have the correct color of lead wires (light blue and black) so a set of medium blue will have to suffice.

The ring gear is a 37 and the pinion an 8, which gives a ratio very close to the original car. The gray rubber has to be the rarest items on this car! I found the rubber wrapped around a set of threaded wide aluminum rims which had an outside diameter of more than an inch. What was even more exciting was the rubber simply peeled off the original rims, as the glue was soooooo dried out. They glued up to the 1/2” wide Riggen threaded rears with little complaint and trued up nicely. The rubber is still supple and soft enough for a hundred or so hot laps!!

I really could not tell what the original front tires were on the Cukras car so I threw on a set of rubber wheels which left them about 3/4” dia. John could have turned the original rubber "O" rings down but I had no idea so...

The guide is Cox and note the guide stop.

Motor Details:

Built the motor today. Took a while but I got the magnets shimmed up and epoxied in the can. The can was a brand new Rannalli item so the can and end bell are new
and not worn, bent or melted. I had to strip and paint the can Russkit gold and add the little push pins that John Cukras used to hold on the endbell.
The arm is a Mura 24 single (tied, epoxied and balanced) and the magnets are brand new Parma Deathstar items. The deathstar magnets
gauss out to equal that of vintage Arco or Mura Magnum magnets which is the closest that I can come to vintage. The motor spins and
sounds FREEKING BEAUTIFUL!!!! You are going to have to be careful not to let this baby get too hot! WARNING Will Robinson! There are and were NO shunted brushes, nor were the brush springs insulated or was the spring post sleeved. This car is built as close to the original as I possibly can!

Update: Turns out that I was mistaken on the arm, it is a Mura 27-28 double and I will include the Mura Products business card that came with it. That motor screams... and I had to take some precautions,. I bulletproofed the motor further by soldering the brush tubes to the brush hoods and insulated the springs. Was really worried that just a few laps would damage the mint unused endbell. I was getting too much heat in the brush springs so I felt some protection was in order, regardless if John accomplished this or not. Bench testing shows no heat in the springs NOW so this baby should give you some good lap times.

Blog question: But did John Cukras actually use Magnum 44 mags? And Dokk, was there actually a separate Magnum 44 magnet or were they re-named magnets?
TSR response: Indeed, Tom Taber who built the motor for this car, used the Magnum 44 magnets in this setup. The "44" was Mura's first molded magnets (after using the "broken" magnets as Champion and Dynamic did). The upgraded "44" made of Indox 3 were renamed "88" and were fitted only in the newer oval-hole nickel-plated Mabuchi FT16BB (ball bearing) cans.

Blog Comment: Rick dc-65x
I just realized you built the 1967 Cukras CM racer to 1966 R&C rules. You now have the opportunity to engage in the joys of disassembling the rear end of your chassis and setting it up for 7/8" diameter tires ....or not . It's a really cool car the way it is but the Cukras car COULD IF THE BUILDER CHOSE TO have used rear tires as small as 7/8" diameter and as wide as 5/8".

Jairus response....there was NO statement on the dia. of the finished tires yet the information I had was that the car was a 1966 winner. So... I assumed that the rules were that it was completed and won in....1966!Thus under 1966 standards and rules! Now, why would I think the car was built under the rules of 1967????Philippe stated it was a1966 Model Car Winner!Okay, So now what do I do.....?It's enough to drive a man to drink...

Addendum:I am changing the gears to a 7/33. I no have a FREEKING Weldun gear so a Cox will have to suffice.

After considering what would John do when painting the original car... I realized that he would have simply shot one color and applied decals... (Maybe even in the parking lot before the race!) Therefore, the inside of the original body was most likely rattle can red!
But my biggest questions regard the interior... was the back end of the Porsche interior cut off or simply taped in place? What color helmet? Is that a gauge I see on the dash in the original picture? So many questions...

But I did paint a mustache on the driver figure as I read somewhere that John did that on all his driver figures.


Electric Dreams version:

More photos:

and finally, with the rare Magnum sticker affixed....