I had my first MAME cabinet about 75% percent completed when I started getting interested in Race Drivin. I wanted one for several reasons:
1) Race Drivin is my all time favorite arcade game (I once spent a Friday night plugging about 15 dollars into one at the local bowling alley).
2) It is unemulated, and it will probably never be emulated, because the PCB of the game is very complicated. They made the game work by chaining several seperate processors together to work as one. (Update: this game is now actually emulated!!)
3) What made the game fun was the four speed shifter and force feedback steering wheel. Even if it is emulated, the gamer would have to play without these controls.
4) It is a huge, awesome looking machine.
From newsgroups, I found out about a web site called Funcrafters. They run most of arcades in the malls across the country. I was able to search for all the Race Drivins for sale in the state if Illinois. There were four of them. I called about all four. Two of them were broken, but the third one was fully working and only three hours away in Shaumberg, a suburb near Chicago. I went there and backed up to the loading dock. Myself and two guys rolled the 750 pound beast into my truck. It was in great shape, but the marquee was severly burned. Someone had replaced the fluorescent fixture with a normal light bulb. The bulb was too hot for that type of marquee so it put a scorch mark in the center of the marquee. I figured the game worked, so who cares about the sign. Once I got home, I had to figure out how to get it into the house. I took the marquee sign off (it is probably 50 pounds in itself). We decided to leave the rest of the game assembled and just drag it in. It took 4 guys to get it in the house.
It stayed on the main floor for about 6 months. Then I moved it to the basement. To get it down there, it required a complete dissassembly of the cabinet. After having it in the basement a month or so, it failed to start up one evening. The power supply for the main PCB had failed. Even though power supplys are easy to find, I still had not found hardly any other spare parts for the machine. Then I found another machine only 35 miles away. It was cheap enough so I could strip it for parts, fix my Race Drivin and replace the marquee. Then I would either throw away the cabinet or put a MAME computer in it. It had several problems:
1) the monitor was much too bright and had retrace lines on the screen.
2) the monitor showed interference whenever the force feedback wheel moved.
3) the seat did not lock during gameplay.
The monitor over brightness problem was easy to fix. I could lower the brightness by adjusting the screen control on the flyback transformer. This also removed the visable retrace lines. I also found one of the pins bent over on the monitor plug on the main PCB. After straighting the pin and correctly plugging the video connector into the PCB, the interference was gone. The seat problem was just a broken bracket. Now I had two working Race Drivins. I thought since they both worked, I might as well link them together. Neither of my Race Drivins had the proper software to link. My machines both had version 2.2. I was able to get an upgrade set of roms (not a complete version, just the chips that were different from 2.2 to 2.4). After I swapped the chips, both machines linked right away. It also added a functional rear view mirror to the game. Since I already knew how to take one Race Drivin down the stairs into my gameroom, the second one was a piece of cake to move into the house. Here are some pics: