... Control Knobs
The control knobs, along with the jewel bezels, are chromed plastic slot car wheel hubs from the Aurora "Vibrator" series that first came out in 1961. The Vibe line was phased out and replaced in 1963 with the better-crafted "Thunderjet" slot car series. The remaining stock of Vibe hubs, all what we're calling the "C" style (see below), was repackaged as T-Jet parts until depleted. Then Aurora retooled to make the flat-bottomed Classic T-Jet hub, which was never used in any authentic comm. Likewise the aluminum. As for the "Small Flange," it seems to be a rare oddity with no known original usage or part number, pictured here just because we had a couple:
The original comm knobs as seen so far are all the Vibe "C" style. We have produced exacting dimensions of this part here:
> > > > The Plans - THE AURORA HUB < < < <
Hubs were originally packaged in small manila envelopes. The "A" and "B" came as part #1573:
The "C" (and "D" which are exceeding uncommon) first also came in envelopes but with the the part # 8316 (#1350-16):
Once the ThunderJet cars replaced the Vibrators, the small inventory of remaining "C" hubs was repackaged in blister cards (12 blisters with four hubs each) with the identical part number 8316 (#1350-16):
After the "C" hubs ran out, Aurora retooled the part to be what is now known as the classic T-Jet flatback hub with again the same part # 8316 (#1350-16) available only on the same blister card:
Years of monitoring eBay suggests that when you see up for sale some carded T-Jet hubs, there is a 95% probability they are plain classic flatbacks and only a 5% chance of them being communicator-ready Type "C." Thus if you are considering purchasing carded hubs and you can't tell from the photo(s) which type they are, ask the seller for a better close-up. And prepare for disappointment.
..1) Original Aurora Vibrator and ThunderJet hubs can occasionally be found selling on eBay, commonly under the search words:
hubs -oldsmobile -olds"
Note that what most commonly comes up are the flat-bottomed "classic" style, that is when they're not from different slot car lines (AFX, Hot Rod, Tuff Ones, O-gauge, etc., none of which are anywhere near a match). Going price for a genuine "C" in mint condition (often called "NOS" or New Old Stock) in the past was about $2 per when you can find them. Classics flat-bottoms tend to be less. Be warned that nearly all slot car dealers, even those in the business for decades, are actually unaware of all the different hub styles, so if sold as loose the hubs will often come as a random assortment. If you are determined to get a particular type only, you must be completely clear and insistent in what you want. Oh, and you must have patience.
1a) You can always take an original Classic flat-bottomed T-Jet hub, which are somewhat easier to find, and sand down the thickness of the flange to match that of a "C," then insert a tiny plastic disc of equal height to the height you just shaved off. The shaved hub should be 0.121" thick and the disc insert below 0.019" thick. While labor intensive, this is an excellent way to render a perfect vintage knob appearance while not using up a valuable supply of authentic "C" hubs.
you can't find authentic hubs, have no fear! An impressive reproduction
of the Type C hub with nice sharp edges is now made by HO Reproductions.
Even our experts here have to work to tell the difference. Made
using a grey plastic base, they're sold through their website at https://thunderoil.webs.com
for $3.25 (which includes shipping) for a set of 4.
2a) Model Motoring, Inc. also sells via their website ModelMHO.com replicas of this hub. $2.50 for a set of four. Though with more-rounded edges, they use a yellow plastic under the chrome. Click "Shop Now" and enter in "Search" the item number 9502.
Star Trek is a Registered and Copyrighted Trademark of Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved. All subject matters referring to Star Trek are trademarks of Paramount Pictures.
This website has not been produced or endorsed by Paramount Pictures. Any material belonging to Paramount’s Copyrighted Material that may appear on this site complies with fair and/or acceptable use for the purposes of review, study, criticism, or news reporting.