Monday, November 30, 2009

Slot cars: Small-scale racing; big-time fun

1/32 scale Fiat Abarth slot car by SCX - Subcompact CultureFor a time, I worked as a magazine editor for a couple of hobby publications. I dealt with plastic model kits, die-cast models, radio-controlled vehicles, model trains, books, board games—you name it. However, my favorite hobby genre was 1/32 scale slot cars. I recently took out my slot car set and quickly remembered how fun this hobby is!

Slot car collection - Subcompact CultureI began collecting 1/32 slot cars in 2005, and currently have 36 cars and a Ninco track (it's larger then the loop above). When I used to live in Wisconsin, I was even involved in a slot car racing league. Those tracks usually had four lanes, computerized lap counting, and full scenery. Really cool stuff and lots of fun—and very fast.

Most slot cars can be modified for better handling and more speed. Modifications can include stickier tires, faster motors, stronger magnets, different gearing, and more. Most of mine are stock, with the exception of some sticky silicone tires on a couple cars.

Some of the big names in the 1/32 scale slot car world include Scalextric, SCX, Ninco, and Carrera. All of these brands also make tracks, too. Prices generally start around $30–$40 for an analog vehicle; analog tracks start around $100. Digital slot cars have come out in recent years, but haven't caught on much.

Whether you're into classics, rally cars, F1, NASCAR, street vehicles, or even trucks, there's undoubtedly a slot car for you. Many of them are highly detailed with full interiors. Here are a few of my favorites from my collection:

1/32 scale Cooper Climax by Scalextric - Subcompact Culture1/32 scale Skoda by Scalextric - Subcompact Culture
1/32 Toyota Celica by Slot-It - Subcompact Culture1/32 scale MAN race truck by Fly - Subcompact Culture
1/32 scale Pontiac GTOs by Carrera - Subcompact Culture1/32 scale Renault Megane by Ninco - Subcompact Culture
1/32 scale F1 car by Scalextric - Subcompact Culture1/32 scale Toyota Supra JGTC car by Scalextric - Subcompact Culture

My full list of cars:

- IRL car by Scalextric
- #2 Cooper Climax by Scalextric
- "Kimi" McLaren-Mercedes by SCX
- Ferrari F1 car by Scalextric
- #31 MK1 Ford Lotus Cortina by Revell-Monogram
- Caterham by Scalextric
-#24 DuPont Chevrolet Monte Carlo NASCAR (Jeff Gordon) by Scalextric
- Stock car by Artin
- Lamborghini Miura by AUTOart
- Nissan 350Z by AUTOart
- Lamborghini Gallardo (AWD) by AUTOart
- Mercedes-Benz SLR by Scalextric
- 1966 Pontiac GTO (with working "spinner" wheels) by Carrera
- 1966 Pontiac GTO by Carrera
- 1966 Ford Mustang GT350 by Carrera
- "Starsky and Hutch" Ford Gran Turino by Scalextric
- Group 5 "Rodenstock" Toyota Celica by MRRC
- John Greenwood's BFG #48 Corvette by Scalextric
- SISU SL250 "Spirit of America" truck by Fly
- #00 March 83G "Kreepy Krauly" by Revell-Monogram
- #22 Tommy Archer Dodge Viper by Scalextric
- #5 Audi R8 by SCX
- #38 Au Toyota Supra JGTC car by Scalextric
- #32 Epson Honda NSX JGTC car by Ninco
- #8 Peugeot 307 "Snow Effect" (AWD) by Ninco
- #14 Ford Focus "Mexico" rally car (AWD) by SCX
- Renault Megane touring car by Ninco
- #14 Skoda Fabia WRC rally car (AWD) by Scalextric
- #42 BMW M3 DTM car by Ninco
- #16 Opel Vectra DTM car by SCX
- #24 Ferrari 330 P4 by Scalextric
- #129 Gulf Fiat 500 Abarth by SCX
- Texaco Fiat 500 Abarth by SCX
- Toyota Supra Tuner by Ninco
- Mini Cooper by Ninco


gokartride said...

I wholeheartedly share your enthusiasm and am officially envious of your Gulf Fiat 500 Abarth!! Slot cars are a great way to partake in one's automotive enthusiasm on a managable scale.

My area of specialization is 1950s GP yes, Fangio, Moss, Schell, Hawthorn...all the greats are frequent visitors at my home track. There are some wonderful models available, and to be able to actually drive them at the limit is pretty cool.

Unknown said...

Totally agree, it's completely small town racing, big amounts of fun!