Oscar Koveleski to speak at Model Car Show

Staff Writer
The Chronicle Express
Oscar Koveleski

The International Motor Racing Research Center is hosting its 2nd Annual Model Car Show Friday through Sunday, March 27-29.

Oscar Koveleski, co-creator of Auto World, the beacon for model car hobbyists of all ages in the 1960s, '70s and '80s, will speak at 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 28.

Admission to the show and to the talk is free. Show hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. The Racing Research Center is located at 610 S. Decatur St., Watkins Glen.

Upwards of 30 exhibitors are expected, with some exhibits changing each day.

A new feature this year is People's Choice Awards, organized by Keystone Cards of Sayre, Pa. Owner Rich Chernosky is moving the awards and his annual Model Car Concours d'Elegance from the September Watkins Glen Grand Prix Festival to the Racing Research Center's spring show.

Koveleski's Saturday talk will focus on Auto World, the mail order company he co-founded in 1958, after growing up in his father's Scranton, Pa., hobby shop and model manufacturing business. Koveleski says the first catalogs, in 1959, were produced by him and his wife, Elaine, on their kitchen table and an ironing board.

The annual Auto World catalogs are vividly and fondly remembered by subscribers.

"They were filled from cover to cover with slot cars and go-fast parts, as well as model cars, supplies, and full-length articles on everything from tuning slot cars to detailing plastic models," Kurt Ernst wrote for Hemmings Daily last year. "The 30th edition of the catalog, issued in 1978, featured stories on how to build an HO-scale replica of Watkins Glen and how to craft HO-scale car bodies out of heavy-duty aluminum foil, ideal for those seeking added rubbing-is-racing realism."

Until the last catalog was published in 1991, Koveleski was the go-to guy on slot cars, model cars and radio-controlled cars as he promoted events all over the United States and internationally. That is, when he wasn't earning victories in racing series such as Can-Am.

Koveleski's talk is presented as part of the Racing Research Center's Center Conversations series.

Upcoming talks include Martin Rudow speaking on April 18 about racing in the Pacific Northwest. He is author of "Long Straights and Hairpin Turns, The History of Northwest Sports Car Racing" and publisher of Vintage Drift magazine for SOVREN, the Pacific Northwest's largest and most active vintage racing club.

On Sept. 12, Koveleski returns with acclaimed motorsports reporter Pete Lyons and Jack Deren to headline a daylong program celebrating Can-Am racing. Deren was chief mechanic for Koveleski's Team Auto World McLaren.

The Racing Research Center is an archival library dedicated to the preservation and sharing of the history of motorsports, of all series and all venues, through its collections of books, periodicals, films, photographs, fine art and other materials.

For more information about the Center's work and its programs, visit www.racingarchives.org or call 607-535-9044.