Deuce Eswylde the proprietor of Deuce's Cycles is always on point when there's a buck to be made.
On October 7, 1963 while painting his latest chopper for a customer, the radio on the workbench played a new song by that California surfin' group "The Beach Boys" called "Little Deuce Coupe".
That got Deuce's attention and he backed away from the chopper and the fumes to listen to the whole song.
Anything to do with fast motorcycles and cars was right up Deuce's alley. That got him to thinkin'..."I need to get in on this whole surfin' and hot roddin' thing before I miss the boat!"
Shortly thereafter Deuce began to scour every junkyard within a 100 mile radius of Tymewarrip City where he operates his speed shop and managed to buy a large collection of beat up, worn out 1932 Ford Coupes. The '32 Ford Coupe was the star of "Little Deuce Coupe" and Deuce began to rebuild, repaint and hot-rod up every one of them he could find.
He wanted to ship them to hot-rod dealers far and wide. Deuce hit the jackpot with his idea and the orders kept rolling in. The fastest way to ship his treasures was by rail to far-off dealers so Deuce secured a contract with the nearest Railroad to supply him with 3-tier open autoracks.
While most deliveries limited Deuce to loading his '32 Coupes on only two levels of the rail cars some car dealers located in the flat lands of Kansas had no height restrictions and Deuce got to ship 12 of his creations on one car!
That's the end of the story! Everyone lived happily ever after! Yay!
Here's how he (I) did it.
The Lionel O27 open three tier auto carrier is a pretty neat car. In S scale the car measures 11' wide X 68' long and stands 20' 3" to the top of the side posts. That width of 11' is wide for a rail car but being as how there ain't no other competition in S scale it'll do.
Removal of the O gauge trucks is easy. Some trucks have metal rivets which can be drilled out while others have a plastic shank securing the truck which can be snipped off.
I decided to abandon the original truck mounting locations and move the S gauge trucks closer to the ends of the cars. That way they could more closely resemble the truck locations on S Helper flatcars. I used a mix of roller bearing and friction bearing trucks cause that's what I had.
Near the car ends is a rectangular space molded into the car floor. I filled the space with a piece of masonite cut to size and thickness and then glued it into the rectangular space.
I was able to secure the trucks with short screws screwed into the masonite. The screws didn't penetrate through the car floor.
I knew these cars would be top heavy with a load of diecast autos so the first thing I did was apply 8 ounces of weight to the underside of the floors of the cars.
The weights I used were automobile self stick wheel weights in 1/2 ounce increments. You can get them at many places. Mine came from NAPA Auto Parts. $40.00/box. Amazingly the weights fit perfectly without any trimming needed. They can't be seen from the car sides while on the rails.
With the empty cars weighted below the floors they showed a 15 ounce weight:
So now the fun part started. How to secure the autos onto the cars so they wouldn't slide around while the car was moving?
My first attempt (the PRR car) had me disassembling the car floor by floor so I could glue the autos in place. That was a big mistake. The car floors are secured to each other with tabs. They are easy to break off and the pressure exerted can distort the color of the plastic the car is made of. Not only that what if I wanted to change the loads on the cars to another type of auto?
The answer is pretty simple. Each car floor has a molded center channel. I cut some 3/32 thick Plexiglas strips to fit each floor channel width and length. (Note that the lowest floor is slightly shorter than the upper two). Repeatedly scoring the Plexiglas with a sharp utility knife and then gently snapping at the score lines did the trick. In the past I found that trying to glue something to painted Plexiglas sometimes would fail. So I masked off the areas where the autos would be placed and then spray painted the non-masked areas with several coats of red oxide primer. That color seemed "Rail-Roady" enough and sort of looked liked it belonged on the car floors in the center channels no matter what color the car was. I then used dots of hot glue to quickly glue the '32 coupes at the locations I chose.
With the autos glued to the strips you can quickly remove them from any car floor and rearrange them or substitute alternate loads when desired.
That's about all there is to say about this modification. I managed to acquire 48 Hot Wheels '32 Ford Coupes so I can run a six car string with 2 tiers loaded each or a four car string with all floors loaded. My layout doesn't have any height restrictions (bridges, etc.) so running the 3 tier cars fully loaded is neat. Be advised though that these mods will make for a heavy train if you use diecast autos. Weighted cars with two tiers loaded weighs 1 pound, 7.8 ounces. (Don't over stress your engines and keep all the cars wheel sets oiled as needed for free rolling.)
While a fully loaded weighted car will weigh in at 1 pound, 11.5 ounces.
One last thing. Those black plastic retainers shown on each floor end are useful. They cover up the end of the Plexiglas strips and look like maybe they really need to be there on every floor. You could easily remove them (they snap on and off) if they look out of place to you.
I know the scale guys will claim "Nuthin' new here"... and it really isn't anything new. Lots of operators have S scaled these cars. I think the Plexiglas floor channel strips are an improvement though. If I can create another type of S gauge car to operate while the manufacturers proceed at a glacial pace bringing out new product I'm happy to do it.
Now...where did I put those M2 Machines '57 Chevys? Hmmmmm......
Edit...The ladders shown on the cars are not stock. I added 4 O gauge boxcar ladders to each car so those RR employees can have a way to climb up to the upper floors of the cars.