Astron Belt
Laguna Racer
Star Wars ESB
Neo Geo Conversion
MAME Invaders
Sky Gunner
Space Invaders Pinball
Sky Hawk
Speed Shift
Space Pilot
Helicopter Trainer
Ghost Town
Terminator 2
Virtua Cop 2

Project 5 Speedway by Chicago Coin EM

Temporary Insanity

While I was looking around an arcade warehouse and talking to the owner I explained that I was looking for stuff he could not use that I may be able to. He offered me a Speedway cabinet for $25. An original 1969 Chicago Coin's Speedway. or Here and again more Chicago Coin systems including the Motorcycle which was similar to the Speedway Here. It also seems this is a Cult Collectible.

It was in terrible shape, water damaged sides, missing back panel, real rough. I said sure, I'll take it. I cant pass up a $25 cabinet delivered especially when it is for an old game I never heard of. After I got this game home I started looking at it and realized it is not a video game. There is NO monitor! It is a true original Electro Mechanical(EM) arcade game with mechanical graphics connected to a motor and the steering wheel is physically connected to a little red car image that moves back and forth. The cabinet is full of relays and rotating things.I knew not to plug it in because you never plug in an EM game to test it, it can damage it worse than it may be already. After a good inspection I finally did plug it in, but only when I was convinced nothing would be further damaged. The car did not move and the wheel did not spin, only the top half of the cabinet seemed to work, there were no lights to project the image into the mirror. It may be possible to fix so I have to decide if I want to restore this game or rip it apart and make a new mame driver cabinet. I hate to take it apart. This is one game that will never be emulated so I will try hard to get it fixed before doing anything drastic. It looks like remaking the painted graphics on the sides will be easy since they were originally made using a spray paint template. I can make a template from the one complete side and use it on both sides to make two perfect copies after stripping off the bad wood. Once that is done the cabinet will look 90% better.

My water damaged speedway game

After some experimenting I found that the top half of the game seemed to work fine but the bottom half was dead. Totally dead. I thought this was strange. Even if it had been water damged the lights and some of the deep motor parts should still work. All of the mechanics seemed to move freely. I obtained a manual, at They not only had the manual but had both versions(there was a B version of this cabinet) and some supplemental diagrams. The manual was really a schematic diagram with some notes. I guess manuals were not as thick in the 60's. I made a photocopy of the schematics to make notes on as I worked and also had it scanned to a PDF. The manual set was $30 and the copies/scanning service was $40 (and remember I paid $25 for the cabinet).

It Begins......

I finally got tired of looking at this Speedway cabinet in my living room so over a July 4th, 3 day weekend I decided by Monday I would have it finished.
I took some posterboard and made templates of one side(2 of them) I then took tracing paper and glued it together in a big sheet to trace the orange and black painted areas of the cabinet.

I was planning to strip the bad wood layer off the outside and put a new veneer layer on it but once I pulled away the bad outter veneer of the plywood the next layer was in such good condition that I hand sanded it smooth, touched up bad spots with wood putty and painted it.

I then painted the cabinet and as it was drying I made my templates by cutting out the patterns for the orange and black parts of the graphics. It worked fairly well but I had trouble keeping the posterboard tight against the sides. If I had a better place to work I might have bought some 1/8" plywood and cut templates out of that. I am sure that is how it was originally manufactured and it would eleminate some overspray here and there. I did some touch up and you can see from the picture how it turned out. Both sides totally restored.
There was a lot of touch up here and there, little fixes, cleaned bulb holders etc. Tightened some springs that were not pulling hard enough and lubricating everything with wd-40. The 'crash' sound when the car crashes is actually a small microphone placed near a metal sheet. When the car crashes a solenoid is triggered and slams the metal sheet. The resulting sound can be heard through the front speaker(this game has 4 transistors in it and all of those are in the sound amplifier, no microprocessors, no memory chips). The 'motor' sounds come from a fingered wheel on the road motor that passes by a magnet but it does not seem to work yet. The amplifier does work for the crash sounds quite well.

As I was working on this cabinet restoration I noticed some odd differences between my cabinet and the brochure.

  • My cab has a lightable "1" for 1000 scores, the brochure does not.
  • My race car appeared to have been yellow which is what I restored it to, the brochure shows red
  • The stripes seem to be black over orange while my cabinet was orange over black but it also appears the brochure may be an even lighter color of white or yellow.
  • The racing stripe on the kickpanel on my model is under the silver accelerator runners on the right, not on the left as in the brochure.
  • My cabinet had a black frame for the glass, the brochure shows a silver liner?
  • My cabinet has a full enclosure over the accelerator, the brochure shows no enclosure and other pictures I have seen show only an open enclosure.
  • My steering wheel was missing the horn button shown in the brochure

If you are looking for replacement bulbs see or you can go to radio shack and get the smaller ones for pennies. There are two types, the #44 and #47, both fit but the #44 is hotter and will damage the paint on the glass. The #47 is not as bright but is also cooler.

The projector bulb should be replacable by a 6volt car taillight type bulb(not a 12v it will not work) or any similar hack of 32 candle power(MSCP:32) or you may find it easier to locate a 6volt with 2 tips on the bottom, just file one down flat(preferably the lower intensity one) and cover it up with something non conductive, then carefully solder a larger base in the center or a small loop of wire to make contact in the projector socket. The 2 to 1 hack is what I had to do. I tried a 12v single tip but it would not light up and only the 2 tip types were available locally. I didnt really want to mail order a 50 cent bulb and pay $20 to have it overnighted to me(I'm impatient). You can find specs on the bulbs at All bulbs are actually powered by 6 volts AC.

Did you think force feedback was something new? This game from 1969 has a force feedback steering wheel and it jumps with a loud rumble every time you have an accident.

The glass painting was falling apart. I had to be very careful with what was left to keep it from flaking off. I touched up the largest places with model paint and then sealed the flaking paint using large lamination sheets. Not the best method but it will keep any more paint from flaking off. Hopefully it will not be a problem with the incandescent lights behind it. There are a number of sites on the internet including at with info on touching up pinball backglasses. The same techniques apply here.

I did not want to alter the cabinet or wiring if it was not absolutely necessary but I did need a coin button. I added a simple switch mounted in contact with the coin return mechanism so anytime the coin return button is pushed it is the same as a credit now and no holes were drilled.

This was the foot panel during restoration
I added the caster, I like for my cabinets to be mobile

This is the foot panel after. You can see a little
bad wood because it was so badly warped but if you are
not laying on the floor it looks fine.

During the Restoration

During the restoration, after painting
You can see my Empire Strikes Back in the background

After the restoration


This picture is terrible but I could not get a
good shot of the screen. It is projected through
a translucent peice of plastic onto a mirror.

I discovered you can cheat at the game by inserting a peice of paper between the fingers for the red car contacts, then you never have an accident.

The final cabinet turned out pretty well and I now have a real appreciation for EM games.