Memory Lane: ‘The Visible V-8’

Unbuilt 1960's Renwal The Visible V8 Engine plastic model kit 802:1298 |  Toys Trains and Other Old Stuff LLC

Hey, boys ‘n’ girls! How would you like to build your own V-8 engine that really runs?

This was a hot toy in 1960–the Visible V-8. A lot of the parts were transparent so you could see how the engine worked. My father got my brother one for Christmas that year. Mark was pretty handy, but this model was too advanced for him; and I don’t get machines, so I was no help. Dad wound up having to assemble it.

I had to admit this was pretty cool. Push rods and pistons and rocker arms, and the fan propeller! Just hook it up to a couple of flashlight batteries, and you were off to the races. Lots of transparent parts so you could see what was going on inside. Even I learned a thing or two about engines from this. (“If them parts don’t move like so, it’s to the garage you go…”)

We had a lot of those “visible” models–the Visible Man (skeleton with guts–horrific), Visible Frog, Visible Cricket (yes, really)… and the coup fourre: the Visible Head. Crickey, you could open up a doctor’s office with this stuff. Just add a fake diploma.

Since 1960 there’ve been any number of “visible” engine model kits; I’m afraid to ask what they cost.


9 comments on “Memory Lane: ‘The Visible V-8’

  1. To have the flashing of the simulated spark plugs synchronized to the timing of the engine components was a real innovation. Assembling that, and getting it to work properly was educational. Any child that accomplished that was going to come away with some useful info, especially useful for the world of the ‘60s.

    I just checked, and you can buy a visible V-8 kit for $75. There’s also a visible flat 6 (Porsche style engine) for $60. That Porsche mill is pretty intriguing, with overhead cams, etc. I also saw a $900 kit for a non-transparent, but very elaborate model of a very complex V-8, and a tiny, very elaborate V-8 that actually runs for the budget-friendly price of $2,109. I now realize that what I am missing in life is a 5” long, Dual Overhead Cam, 4 valve per cylinder, V-8 that I can fire up at will. 🙂

    1. I never had a Visible V-8, but I definitely learned a lot about mechanical principles from model cars. In an earlier phase of my life, I worked as an aircraft mechanic. That’s mechanics for real, and you had better not have any parts left over after you fix an airplane. I wouldn’t sign off an anything until I knew it was done right, and up to spec’.

      In aircraft, everything has to be done to specification and parts, even the simplest of parts, have to be from approved manufacturers. Something as inconsequential as a simple flat washer has to be from an approved aviation parts source, and if I were to sign off on a repair that contains an unapproved part, I could lose my license.

    2. Yeah, you know you’ve done something wrong if you wind up with a trayful of parts that weren’t there to start with.

    3. It pays off in the long run. If you keep those parts, eventually you’ll have enough to build a second car. 🙂

  2. I had a visible horse model. I loved it.

    Yeah, I am still here. Been in a lot of pain for a while and haven’t felt like making any comments nor doing any writing.

    But, if you would you like to read a few more details of my journey of pain, with a bit of humor (it would be a bit long), let me know, and I will write all about it.

    1. I’d feel a bit odd, asking for anyone’s journey of pain. If you want to write about your experience, though, please by all means do so.

  3. I thought about that, brother. Right now, the infection is giving me a lot of pain, but is getting better. So, how about I relate a slightly different journey.

    I have been writing to a friend over the last few years, about some of the grief and pain I have gone through during my life. He wrote, “I’ve wondered, many times, where do you find the strength to go on?” Here is a bit of my reply.

    It really doesn’t seem unusual or that bad, the things I have gone through so far. And without those interesting events, what would there be to write about? I think, compared to a few other folks, my life has been to some extent, just a joyride. And when those dreadful, and at times awful things take place, I know, someday the sun will shine again (yeah, but then I will get a sunburn, for it’s probably been hidden a long time). And if I write down what I have gone through, the list would be very extensive, so much so, that it would be awful. Accordingly, if all the bad things would have taken place over the course of just a few years, it would have been a crushing and devastating blow. But its taken a lifetime for these things to occur.

    Many of life’s everyday joys and blessings have not been listed nor written about. The wonderful times spent with my wives (Sue and Maribeth), the birth of my children (the wonder of watching Nathan, my firstborn come into the world), the purchase of our first home, being able to buy four brand new cars over the years, the bond with my dog Leo, the times I took him to wide-open spaces where we played hide and seek in the tall grass, helping Nathan climb a ladder the first time to the roof, going camping with my first three children, laughing hard at the humorous things my children have done and said.

    I took Ben and Rachel to Wisconsin Dells, and while there they went on go-carts, it was Rachel’s first time. Of course, she was the last one in. Ben was already standing with me, as the attendant waved to park her cart, and motioned to slow down (she wasn’t going very fast), when we heard a terrified seven-year-old girl’s voice “I don’t know how to stop,” just before the attendant jumped out of the way, and her cart bumped into the parked carts. Ben laughed so hard he fell on the ground, and I laughed until tears were flowing. Years later, when I think about it, a smile still comes to my face.

    I took all three children camping when Rachel was four. We set up camp and Rachel and I walked over to my friend Gary, who had just made venison stew. It was very spicy, but really good. Rachel asked for some. I said; “No sweety, it’s very spicy, too hot for you.” Well, she wanted some anyway, so I gave her a bit on a spoon. Within two seconds of her chewing, tears and a scared look crossed her sweet face as she cried: “Water Daddy!” I and Gary burst out laughing. Again, I smile whenever I think about that.

    I think of the time I spent with Maribeth at 5-star hotels and other places because of her great effort with her Amway business (I did help a bit). Because of her due diligence and time spent, we rose to the Platinum level within two years and enjoyed the rewards, such as an all-expense paid three-day trip to the Cebu Imperial Palace, a 5-star hotel. I had never been in a three-star, much less a 5 star. And that wasn’t the only time we were rewarded for our efforts with Amway (and whenever there was a reward, such as stays in 5-star hotels, Amway paid for everything and took care of all the arrangements). Besides that, for a while, we had more income from Amway, than my pension! During those times, Sam stayed with grandma, so we had time for just us, for not a lot of Amway business took place on those outings).

    Yes, if I made a list of just 10% of the joys and blessings I have known throughout my life, you would be reading that list for a very long time.

    At age 20, I became a born-again Christian and gave my life to Christ. Jesus never promised His followers deliverance from life’s problems or trials. The sunsets on the just and unjust, just as the rain falls upon all. The pains and griefs that fall upon those that follow Christ are given, and allowed to occur by the Lord. And many times, we understand not, why God allowed evil or pain to happen within our family or friends. For those who are God’s, all things happen for a reason, which most will never know. Job, the man who loved God and hated evil did not know why the evil came upon him, and probably never did during his lifetime. But we can read his story, and from it gain comfort and reassurance God is still in control and has reasons and purpose behind those things which happen during the lifetime of His children.

    At times I have grieved the loss of a loved one as much as those who know not the Lord. Nevertheless, during a few of those times, I truly felt the comfort of the Lord, such as when Hannah died (she only lived 23 days). But this last great loss, the passing of Maribeth, for most of the time, I have felt all alone, with no presence of God, like he was hiding His face from me and had shut out my prayers for relief or for comfort. But along with those thoughts and grief, also came hope and pondering of Jesus’ promise, “Blessed are they that mourn; for they shall be comforted.” I have also placed my trust in Christ as Job stated: “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.” I also know my loved ones are waiting for me, they are not here, but one day, I will see them all again, and walk with them in that land that knows no grief, anguish, or sorrow. And I will meet the one, the Lord Jesus who made this all possible by His death on the cross.

    So, each of my brothers and sisters who read brother Lee’s blog (thank you brother for letting me share this), I pray you live long lives, with just enough pain and grief to appreciate the joy and happiness when it comes around. May you be a blessing to others, may you strive to bring comfort to others, and share your good things with those who lack. May the Lord rain down abundance on your lives, and fill your coffers to overflowing, and then don’t forget where such blessings came from…

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