A wondefull picture seen towards two new starting boxcars 1980. Ref 1
A wondefull picture seen towards two new starting boxcars 1980. Ref 1

SSK Boxcar race 1978-1982
Gunnar Nilsson show

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Text and pictures Björn Bellander

A action picture from the end of the double curve. Ref 1
A action picture from the end of the double curve. Ref 1
Created
2008-12-01
Updated
2021-05-13
©Copyright
The history how SSK came to Elmia fair in Jönköping. Note that these memories are seen from my view and may be remembered in an other way by people who were involved from the time. Note that I have chosen the word boxcar instead of soapbox.
SSK had through their members Jan Agrén and Gunnar Elmgren arranged successful shows at Ostermans Marble Halls Stockholm.

At that time it was directed towards racing and sport cars, which we could find amongst our club members. One so called popular public favorite was hired. It was a formula race car from Mercedes Benz museum. One of the

The "Silber Pfeil" from 1938. See also my site about Mercedes museum. Ref 1
The "Silber Pfeil" from 1938. See also my site about Mercedes museum. Ref 1

early "Silber Pfeils" The car was delivered in a separate transport under supervision of an elected representative person. It took plenty of time to
unload and jacks was only allowed on special places. Sorry to say there were different opinions within SSK who should get the income from the show. This led to that 2 members left the club. Another show was organized under the wings of SSK. This became though a to big effort for the small club. The economy was now very bad. Any salary was not paid to the working members only travelling salary account was paid. this was cheaper for the club. Money was gathered in order for pea soup lunch in a coffee house nearby. Picko Troberg took over the show activities and SSK rented one

Several boxcars crashed the first day. Ref 1
Several boxcars crashed the first day. Ref 1

part of Picko's office in Stockholm. The Marble Halls was closed and there were some shows in some other places and SSK only hired one exhibition case. These shows did not gave SSK any money. Picko got in touch with Diclin, which can be read as Leif Lindström and Stanley Dickens. They had an advertizing office in Linköping. Later "Swedish  Messages" and art director Jüri Kann took over. This last firm was hired by paper Expressen. 1977 was Elmia up for discussion. Elmia had got a new general director. His main purpose was to get Elmia on feet again. The economy was not good at Elmia.

Here Picko was able to arrange a Motor Show. He supposed that it was cheap to hire the exhibition halls. At a meeting at Diclin this was under discussion. We realized that our knowledge about the place was not good enough so Picko said "Let's

go there!"
Everybody were pressed into a car and we burned down to Jönköping in a typical race driver manner. Here we met the Elmia boss and a discussion ended up with a declaration of interest to hire Elmia every Easter. Robin had read about a boxcar race in Tranemo and got the idea at once to fill up the main hall with
Info paper about Gunnar Nilssons Show. Ref 18
Info paper about Gunnar Nilssons Show. Ref 18
a boxcar race for children upp to 15 years of age. For this he got Expressen paper as a  sponsor. The exhibition itself was called Gunnar Nilsson Show. He had already started his fund against cancer. He had it himself. Sorry to say he was so ill of his cancer so Ronnie Pettersson was coming instead. Gunnar  died in October the same year.
The most simple boxcar. Look in the background, there you see Ronnie Pettersson. Ref 1
The most simple boxcar. Look in the background, there you see Ronnie Pettersson. Ref 1
We, the arranging people stayed at Ramada Hotel place on the road just
before Jönköping. As a memory from the celebration dinner I was placed just in front of Ronnie. He was not easy to talk to. For dessert we got ice cream that was so frozen that it was not able to eat. Well, nothing is perfect.

This exhibition was a success and 36000 came to see it. Many of them was there so see the boxcar racing. At that time Elmia was much smaller and it became so crowded that the emergency exit doors had to be opened. We had except the boxcar racing even put some racing driver license
Coming race drivers doing the test. Ref 1
Coming race drivers doing the test. Ref 1
lessons. Robin and I were teachers for this. Then I held these lessens for several years. In this way we got many new active drivers for SSK-series. The race officials were working at the boxcar track and also were responsible for cinemas and our exhibition case. The club economy was quickly on the right side of the zero sign, everybody were happy and we had money to start up all our new costly race ideas in the SSK-series.

Photo from 2008 showing a 45° line from 1978 boxcar racing. Ref 1
Photo from 2008 showing a 45° line from 1978 boxcar racing. Ref 1

SSK Boxcar 1978
Gunnar Nilsson Show
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1:st instruction info for boxcar racing. Ref 17
1:st instruction info for boxcar racing. Ref 17
Gunnar Nilsson Show was the debut for SSK. This arrangement should demand lots of work for all of us. Even for those who had an ordinary job. Picko had talked with a firm Aldo in Eskilstuna about a small ski slope. They had constructed this from element for scafolds. Aldo had got this years reward for distinguished company. This slope was bought and I got the task to change it for our use. I had to learn how to put it together in the best and most simple way.  Therefore I went to Aldo to talk with the boss, who was called Alderin Junior, about this matter. I was very anxious that parts should be missing. The slope was inspected and some part was missing. I asked for them but Aldo was not interested. Perhaps, it was already paid. I don't remember if I took the slope direct to Jönköping or transported it home to Virsbo first for training. Anyway I had lots of work to raise it at the fair. The slope was covered by straightforward plywood laminas. On this I put a fully covering vinyl tile. For fair starting of the boxcars I constructed a starting device which Hedlund Machines in Virsbo manufactured. It used
The manual plates. Ref 1
The start plates which were pneumatic released. Ref 1
two pair of iron plates which were welded on a bar. This held the cars in position. A stop was releaed and the plates fell down because of the force of the cars. By internal communication the clock was started. This clock was rented from Esselte time where Dick Biström worked. Normally this clock was used at our club racings. Christer wall was our computer expert and organized all result lists.

Lasse Söderholmen' wife worked at an office and could use a type writer. She prepared them and
The pneu valve which released the starting plates. Ref 1
The pneumatic valve which released the starting plates. Ref 1

made copies. After some time opinions came up that the box cars could loose tenths of a second on this manual start so the following years I mounted a pneumatic cylinder that took the flaps down and at the same time a pneumatic - electric valve sent an impulse to start the clock.
This system was also later up to discussion about the proper start. It was about the heaviness of the cars and the release of compressed air. I did not
On their way to goal. Ref 1
On their way to goal. Ref 1
agree to any changes for this. 1982 the roll for children boxcars racing had reach the end of people's interests. The fair gathered less people and also competitors. Instead there were several  local races where I with my knowledge and for the race surrounding stuff could be a good help. 1978 was though a test year and many things should be changed up to 1982. One was the building of a platform beside the slope. When this platform was realized I don't remember but probably 1980. The first years the cars had been pushed up the along the slope. Now they were taken up from the side through 2 stairs instead. This became a good solution, we could  have the next 2 cars for next the heat and the frequency could be raised. Another thing was the recording of the result. I had for several years worked on a timing program for car racing this was changed for boxcar racing in my ABC80 computer I could connect two photocells which automatic registered the time for 2 racers at the time. The computer could take the smallest difference of 0.02 sec. If it was smaller they got the same time. For this I had to program a special shorter way in the program. When I saw two cars close together I pressed a key. These recorded times where stored in the computer on the flex disk. At the same time the program calculated the positions of the best
Christer Wall fix the time keeping system. Ref 1 Christer Wall fixing the time keeping system. Ref 1
times. Good for the speaker. For printing the flex disk was moved to another computer and I activated a printing program. Nothing was so good that I didn't have any problem.

Once a big loudspeaker was used beside the disk unit. It was so loud that it destroyed my disk. We had big problems to fix it. Thank you Christer Wall. Anyway I had reserve disks and the loud speaker was not allowed to be used when racing. My program was used the first time 1980. Till then it was our club racing program.

Congratulation to the winner. Ref 16
Congratulation to the winner. Ref 16

SSK Boxcar 1978
Gunnar Nilsson Show
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On the way to give the winner a hug. Ref 16
On the way to give the winner a hug. Ref 16
Gunnar Nilssons Show was for the first time in Sweden since the 50th as boxcar racing were organized in Sweden. Now 2009 it was another 30 years since SSK arranged these competitions.

Expressen was the main sponsor for this race and
Smokey Åsberg's relative crossing the line. Ref 1
Smokey Åsberg's relative crossing the line. Ref 1
 their local expedition wrote lots about this almost every day. The interest was boiling. One shall also understand that this were arranged in the furniture district of Sweden and there were lots of clever parents who could build such a car. Every small village had also their own blacksmith who could help with axles and wheels. This was a good combination.

I got help from one from a black-smith, Per-Anders Henriksson, with help
A fast car with dangerous driving position. Ref 16
A fast car with dangerous driving position. Ref 16
to change the slope so it functioned better. He is worth to mention. During several years from 1979 we had near contact when it was dealing about boxcar racing. Without his help it had been a lower level on the arrangement.

One important thing was that the slope could be stored behind his workshop.
The boss from Anderstorp Raceway Sven "Smokey" Åsberg with his family member. Ref 16
The boss from Anderstorp Raceway Sven "Smokey" Åsberg with his family member. Ref 16
But how did we succeed the first race. All competitors were not familiar with driving and the cars were in several parts built too weak. But this was only for the joy of audience. Several cars crashed in the curve. Normally they had only a nail holding the front and rear axles so when rolling over to the main straight the rear axles loosened.

Other cars had to bad precision in steering and smashed into the wall. The wheels from children wagons had rubber that could not stand the forces in the curve so the rubber rolled off. It was not the fault of the driver that they did not succeed. Those cars that had maximum diameter on wheels, ball bearings and hard neoprene as contact surface rolled fastest. Per-Anders kids drove with these parts and were placed high up in the end list.
He had also manufactured wheel for several cars. Although his boy didn't win. It was Hans Bergner
On show for the audience. Ref 16
On show for the audience. Ref 16
and Bo Petterson. First price was a journey to Formula 1 in Monaco, while second place was tickets for Formula 1 in Anderstorp. For a while the crash percent was serious large but my opinion was that those who manage the track should have credit for their skill.

Afterword I heard that the directors of Expressen were serious worried and discussed to take the curve away just for that everybody should reach the goal. Anyway it showed that already after the first (there was one training race) timekeeping race most of them had learned to manage the car. Only too bad cars crashed in the wall.  Everything went the way of SSK and the audience appreciated that the race didn't became timorous by worry of the children.

A happy winner with ticket to Monte Carlo F1. Ref 16
A happy winner with ticket to Monte Carlo F1. Ref 16
Of course many of them became sad but most bad were parents who didn't behaved in a good manner and could not hold back their letdown in front of their little driver. As I had overall responsibility of the track I told  those parent to tighten their control and told them that here it must be the word of consolation. It should show up that the development of boxcars went very fast and soon there were a gang who could race just as fast as the others. The difference became the handling of the cars. This had one disadvantage that those who could not build so sophisticated cars disappeared from the races.

This was one cause that the races with many entrants ended and the last race was 1982. But 1979 there should be another large race.

4 happy officials. Ref 1
4 happy officials. Ref 1

SSK Boxcar 1978
Gunnar Nilsson Show. Pictures collection. 21 pics.
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One of the best boxcar constructions with driver Mikael Henriksson. Ref 1
One of the best boxcar constructions with driver Mikael Henriksson. Ref 1

SSK Boxcar. Ref. 1
The selling folder made by Diclin.
SSK Boxcar. Ref. 1
At my visit 2008 at Motor Show, I searched for markings of the boxcar track. The only thing I found was this 45° line. It was a marking for the curve. It is supposed to be a memory from 1978 -1982.
SSK Boxcar. Ref. 1
Here you can see the slope and two cars ready to go. It looked just the same every year so sometimes my photoes are not in this case not from 1978.
SSK Boxcar. Ref. 1
The drivers is on their finish line after a smooth driving through the chikane, where the best driving almost every time gives the win.
SSK Boxcar. Ref. 1
One of the most simplest cars. The car should have max weight, contact surface on wheels and precise steering, but also a good driver.
SSK Boxcar. Ref. 1
In this case the photo is from 1980. The cars have reach the goal line and the officials have stopped them. Time is registered. The car from Sven Smokey Åsberg and Industricrom has won its game and is lifted of the track into the return straight.
SSK Boxcar. Ref. 1
Christer Wall who several times handled the time keeping had his program from SSK club racing. The time was registered by a clock from Esselte Time, then the time was written in our ABC 80 computer. Later it was sorted by computer.
SSK Boxcar. Ref. 1
This low boxcar had a design that later was not allowed. The rule became that feet shouild go first over the goal line. This was due to that the driver became afraid when going aginst the main stop and raised up. Once it happened and the car crashed the time keeping system.
SSK Boxcar. Ref. 1
This car was a good one and designed by an engineer from Volvo, The driver had good control over the steering and could make it with pecision. Everyting had been good if he had had courage to trust the official for stopping him. It was luck that the design was stopped in time.
SSK Boxcar. Ref. 1
This pnematic valve which control the compressed air to the cylinder and releasing the starting system. At the side you can see the pneu-electric valve to start the clock.
SSK Boxcar. Ref. 1
This is the slope with starting system.
SSK Boxcar. Ref. 1
This driver will get hugs from his sister. The press of course sad that it was his admirer.
SSK Boxcar. Ref. 1
 One of the hugs.
SSK Boxcar. Ref. 1
Well now you can take photoes.
SSK Boxcar. Ref. 1
Pommac for the winner.
SSK Boxcar. Ref. 1
..and of course the hug from the coronary vessel.
SSK Boxcar. Ref. 1
Boxcars on line for the audience.
SSK Boxcar. Ref. 1
 Here you see Sven "Smokey" Åsberg with his family member in a later generation.
SSK Boxcar. Ref. 1
 Here there are only 10 cm between the two cars. As you see the car with big wheels are first.
SSK Boxcar. Ref. 1
The slope was not high enough so I had to have it higher up. This was the suggestion. We got also a surface beside which normally was used as a scene.
SSK Boxcar. Ref. 1
First page for the ABC 80 program. This was not used until 1980 or 1981. It became later the main program for my folkrace program and also for car racing on track. Transponders was not yet invented so it was difficult to put race car number with the right time. 


Pictures from the following owners have been used in bjorns-story with apropriate agreements:   
Referens 1: ©Björn Bellander  bjorn.bellander(at)telia.com
Referens 16: Rolf Alkhagen Jönköping
Referens 17: Jüri Kann Penhouse

Referens 18: Diclin Leif Lindström
Webbsite handle SSK and boxcar taces at Elmia Motor Show.

© Björn Bellander