Lamborghini Diablo

Lamborghini Diablo
One of Lamborghini’s most intimidating supercars, the Diablo had an 11-year production run (1990-2001) including six generation revisions. It was named after one particularly infamous fighting bull. Scalextric released the Diablo in 1990 and added a rear wing (an optional addition for the full-size car) in 1991 with the final release in 1999 being the only tooling amendment to the Scalextric car body despite many real world car revisions. This is normal in the world of toy and model cars – no need to make expensive tooling amendments if demands don’t dictate. It is very unlikely that the tooling will be used again so that fact makes the Diablo a good candidate for a concise and achievable collectable Scalextric range with a few ‘specials’ as tantalising options.
The full size cars were raced in GT1, GT2, Lamborghini Supertrophy and JGTC series essentially as factory backed teams.
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Scalextric models:
In 1990, the Diablo was first introduced as a business-to-business incentive to boost sales in the Spanish market via Spanish wholesaler Hisinsa under Hornby’s ‘SUPERSLOT’ brand. SUPERSLOT is the name under which Scalextric was sold in Spain due to ‘SCALEXTRIC’ already being a separately owned brand name in Spain. The C360 & C361 brown and white liveries bearing the ‘Palau’ slot shop’s name, a major Spanish retailer in Barcelona, were released in Spain via the retailer and are now quite hard to find. They would from the basis of a collection quite nicely as being the only single-colour livery Diablo cars in these colours together with their standard black windowed card box with red pin-striping with individually numbered limited edition certificate inside!
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The first general release Scalextric Lamborghini Diablo arrived in 1991 and, confusingly, carried the reference C127 which had already been used for the McLaren M23 in 1978. (Note: C360 was also a reused number!) The 1992 release, the black Diablo, also doubled-up on the reference of C283 which had previously been used on a Rover 3500 in 1981. Why reference numbers were duplicated, a practice that still occurs to this day, is a mystery. Human error, probably! In 1991 the black C283 road car was released in Set C770 Road Racing and as a solo car and without a rear wing and then quickly followed up by another black solo version with a rear wing fitted – but still sold as C283. So, C283 has Type 1 – no wing, Type 2 rear wing versions. The winged version was thought to be a limited release at the time but has since been found to be just as common with or without a rear wing. Plain red (C411, no wing) and green (C452 with wing) versions followed.

The annual Scalextric Range Presentation of 1998 saw the Diablo (C2069) used as the representation model for the year despite having been in the range for eight years. This limited availability car, only given to Hornby business account holders, was sprayed gold but due to a paint or body preparation error the paint finished soon ‘crazed’ on most examples to a lesser or greater extent.
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The Diablo was also produced as a clear plastic model to be part of a ‘Crystal Classics’ range which was abandoned due to lack of retail interest. This interesting model allowed all internal parts of the car to be seen. Having the appearance of glass crystal the intention was that it would be more of a decorative retail item aimed at high-street stores selling presents and cards, etc. There were also clear cars for the Brooklands slot-car swap meets and Barry Potter Auctions. They were available with or without lights but as they were not released in commercial quantities they were not assigned official ‘C’ references – though I have assigned references in the Scalextric Ultimate Guide book to help in recording these and similar such releases.
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Due to the lack of real world Diablo race cars most of the Scalextric range is dedicated to road liveries and ‘event’ cars and just three pseudo-race liveries.
Part of the licensing requirements from companies such as Lamborghini is that they do their utmost to protect their brand image. A privately owned Lamborghini race car is of little importance to Lamborghini’s branding department so their main focus is on encouraging a model/toy manufacturer to make a car that represents their official factory cars. That is why most Lamborghini Scalextric models simply reflect their standard house colours of orange, green and yellow. Other colours take a distinct back seat. Liveries bearing the raging bull outline or the letters ‘SV’ (one of their models) make regular appearances throughout the range of Lamborghini in addition to the Diablo model.
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Special one-off liveries have appeared over the years such as a Police car with working flashing roof light but was never released. Brand tie-ups with Premier League football were launched with a range of Ferrari F40 ‘football’ cars. In the initial stages a range of test liveries were created and offered to the respective licence holders. Some were supplanted on to the Diablo and a Manchester United and an Aston Villa decorated car have been recorded. Neither were released as part of the football range and therefore are rather collectable. Another football connection may have been considered with a Brazilian CBF decorated football liveried Diablo. It’s only one more step to another Brazilian connection with a range of cars, not just Lamborghini, celebrating F1 World Champion Senna. Chromed cars used as official competition road show prizes exist as do various coloured body shells. These are always very rare with only a handful or single examples known to exist. Examples of the engineering process in adding the rear wing to the car also exist. Some body samples, usually in different shades of green, exist that show round pin holes for the planned rear wing. However, the design was changed at some stage before production so that the rear wing slotted in to larger, stronger rectangular slots.

The ‘Senna’ collection range included Audi A4 touring car, Williams F1 car, Subaru Impreza rally car and the Lamborghini Diablo. This brand tie-up worked well and saw two Diablo cars in blue/white (F2223) and yellow/green (F2224) liveries as solo cars and a Set F1037 GT Championship. This range of Senna items were all prefixed with ‘F’ rather than ‘C’. I believe the ‘F’ should have been a suffix, not a prefix, and so should have been C2223F, etc. These solo Diablo cars are packaged in a plastic base, crystal box lid and card sleeve fully branded with SENNA graphics.

Variety; plain road livery, race livery, chrome, with and without lights, football, police, clear, licensed, dual-branded solo cars and Sets. Something for everyone!

Lamborghini has a tradition of naming its cars after breeds of fighting bulls. The Diablo was named after a ferocious bull raised by the Duke of Veragua in the 19th century, famous for fighting an epic battle with ‘El Chicorro’ in Madrid on 11 July 1869. In this day and age it is not necessary to go to such lengths in achieving such a collection but to be the conquistador of this herd of bulls would still be quite a challenge but a devil of a collection.

References: Ultimate Guide, 8th Edition,
If you believe you have a yet unrecorded variant and seek confirmation of its authenticity, please contact me at slotcarportal.com.
“Scalextric – The Ultimate Guide 8th Edition” book, with over 700 pages, is available from the Internet. Search online! Also see http://www.slotcarportal.com

NASCAR – “Start your Engines” with Dale Earnhardt Snr.

NASCAR – “Start your Engines” with Dale Earnhardt Snr.

1997: Dale Earnhardt’s famous No.3 Goodwrench sponsored car was to be the first NASCAR car to be released by Scalextric. In the 1990s, Dale Earnhardt Snr was the man to beat on the NASCAR oval and circuits. Earnhardt, known as ‘The Intimidator’, was a hard charger and had a huge fan base through winning the NASCAR ‘Winston Cup Series’ championships between 1975 and 1994 a record breaking seven times. Scalextric took the decision to go with a new racing theme and Dale Earnhardt’s car was to be the first one to market.

In 1997, SCALEXTRIC released their first take on North American Stock Car racing with a range of Chevrolet Monte Carlo and Ford Thunderbird cars. It was a ‘toe-in-the-water’ moment for Scalextric as they had not previously released NASCAR model racing cars. There was, rather obviously, a large market potential waiting to be tapped. NASCAR racing has always been a huge spectator sport in the USA but, for the rest of the World, the final decades of the 20th century began to see widely available   broadcasting of NASCAR races. Our awareness of the cars and drivers grew with such manufacturer names as Pontiac, Dodge, Chevrolet, Ford and drivers Earnhardt and Gordon – and, I’m sure for many fans, this list would more-or-less be endless. Drivers and cars were deeply associated with commercial branding such as Dupont, Valvoline, Kellogg’s, etc. so one’s allegiance may be with a driver, car or brand. Would SCALEXTRIC find a fruitful market? The answer was ‘YES’ but it wouldn’t be an easy road for Hornby Hobbies even though the commercial feedback from the USA and European retailers suggested that NASCAR slot cars would be good for 32nd scale racing.

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From 1997 to 1999, SCALEXTRIC released the Ford Thunderbird and Chevrolet Monte Carlo in a one-piece body format and generic chassis with stronger ‘down-force’ magnets. They were not particularly refined or accurate, indeed they used the F1 front hubs and tyres from the ‘Team’ single-seat range, but they did provide a racing theme that had not been available before. The well-known brand names were there; Ford, Chevrolet, Valvoline, Kellogg’s, Kodak, Exide and their drivers. There were already different versions of the same ‘C’ number which caught the interest of the serious collectors with the Kellogg’s chicken ‘looking left’ or ‘right’ on the famous number ‘5’ car of Terry Labonte. With as many as fifty-plus cars on the famous US ovals and road courses, SCALEXTRIC would find it impossible to meet demand so plain black and white versions were also released to allow racing or modelling enthusiasts to decorate their own cars with 1/32nd scale waterslide decals. There were some car liveries that never made it to market including the one that everyone wanted – Dale Earnhardt’s famous No.3 Goodwrench sponsored car! Due to licensing issues the car was never released and the plain black or white issues were eagerly seized to allow fans to decorate their own ‘Intimidator’ car livery. Business-to-business activity had also begun with a ‘BRYAN’ #30 sponsored car which was sold in sets in the USA by the sponsor and team. This red and black liveried SCALEXTRIC car is very hard to find. Other proposed liveries included sponsors such as PEPSI and CARTOON NETWORK amongst others. This first clutch of NASCAR cars were part tampo-printed and came with an additional sticker sheet. This was partly due to keeping the cost of dozens of tampo-print operations down to a minimum so that the car could be recognized with a basic livery and a single sponsor decoration and with an accompanying sticker sheet with the many minor sponsor logos. They were robust and colourful cars though they may not have survived this initial arrival to the slot car market-place if it hadn’t have been for the arrival of a new slot car manufacturer called FLY. This new manufacturer from Spain raised the bar in terms of design, handling and decoration. SCALEXTRIC had to respond. They did, quickly!

1999: The on-coming ‘Tide’.
SCALEXTRIC released the FORD TAURUS and PONTIAC GRAND PRIX and, this time, the car was much more detailed with a driver pan and driver, NASCAR wheel hubs and a switch-over to full tampo printing and stronger bar magnets. For the NASCAR fan, and with nearly twenty different liveries issued during the next two years, the favourite cars were on the grid with liveries from McDonalds, Valvoline, Home Depot, DeWalt, Exide, Tide and others. If this wasn’t enough to feed the insatiable appetite for US stock cars then there were a further re-liveries of these cars each year.

2001: Not enough?
The 1999 TAURUS model was replaced with the 2001-shape TAURUS car with a further ten liveries but now with a full driver interior and a side-winder motor configuration. The side-winder chassis layout was another foray in to the unknown as Scalextric were normally ‘in-line’.

For the collector, the Pfizer #6 car is difficult to find. The CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO, released in 1999 spawned an incredible fourteen liveries with STP #43 and LYCOS #10 being particularly hard to find now.
There were multiple versions to collect if following the driver, the sponsor or the car brand. The most prolific liveries are of Tide, Exide and Valvoline. Plain white models were released with the introduction of every model release to offer the option of decorating cars – replicating the real-world liveries or one’s own creations.

2005: ‘Tide’ floods the market.
Other slot-car brands couldn’t let Scalextric have the pie all to themselves and quite predictably slot car manufacturers SCX and Carrera released NASCAR cars over the coming years very successfully at first. It wasn’t too long before the market was saturated with 1/32nd scale slot cars and all three manufacturers were struggling to sell through and bargains were available for slot fans.

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On track, driver Jimmie Johnson was challenging Jeff Gordon for the championships and the Lowes #48 and Dupont #24 became a CHEVROLET staple in the SCALEXTRIC range – and the final pickings in a decreasing market affecting the hobby in general. The 2005-shape TAURUS was released with only a further two liveries.

As with many sports such as F1, there is a ‘silly season’ in NASCAR when drivers, teams, sponsors and manufacturers end and begin new contracts. This presents problems for all merchandisers in the form of licensing with huge corporations involved in NASCAR, legal machinations can over-run. This can have a domino effect reaching down to the comparatively small minnows in the pond. Toy and model manufacturers may have worked on models and decoration over the Winter on the assumption that the teams would continue as per the prior year. Minor sponsor changes can be accommodated but sometimes mid-season changes can scupper plans as happened with the 2005 Chevy Monte Carlo teams of National Guard, Kellogg’s and US Army (C2892 and C2895) which were announced in the catalogue but were not released.

2008: …and now a drought!
Having had such a good run with releasing these cars in recent years the slot car manufacturers were finding it difficult to sell the remaining stocks around the World. Carrera and SCX jumped out of the game. Collectors and racers enjoyed a bonanza for nearly a decade and after a two-year drought of new releases from SCALEXTRIC, demand for the cars was still evident and, surprisingly, a final model was released in 2008 in the form of the CHEVROLET IMPALA.
The model was released in the form of the ‘Car of Tomorrow’ (COT) shape CHEVROLET IMPALA with nine releases. Familiar names, sponsors and car numbers appeared; such as Gordon, Johnson, and brand names Kellogg’s, Lowes, Dupont and National Guard.

2009: Ending the race with Earnhardt Jnr.
Perhaps, the most notable and quite coincidental name to appear in final batch of releases is the famous racing family name of Earnhardt. Son of Dale Earnhardt (Snr), Dale Earnhardt Jnr drove the #88 IMPALA with the National Guard livery. The car of father Dale (Snr) was the first livery proposed for release back in 1997 but was cancelled at the beginning of the bountiful decade of NASCAR releases.

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2011: The final flag:
Amongst the final SCALEXTRIC NASCAR models issued featured as part of the PRO PERFORMANCE kit range. The kit provided a plain white IMPALA body, glass, chassis, driver tub, driver and all the running gear, motor, wiring and guide blade parts to complete the kit with, of course, the option to decorate as required.

2012: Return to the garage:
From the first NASCAR releases, credit has to go to SCALEXTRIC USA who were principally involved, naturally, in recognising the demand for decorated and plain white cars. Since NASCAR grids in the real world were huge, not every fan was going to be catered for even though SCALEXTRIC released over 50 liveries plus many variations during the period. Plain white cars were popular for replicating cars by modelling with spray painting and water slide decals. Many NASCAR liveries (real world) were one-off decorations. In fact, it is common, not only in NASCAR, but from F1 downwards, cars will often have sponsor and decoration changes from one race to the next whether they are minor sponsor amendments or complete livery changes. Using the plain white-bodied releases, slot-racing fans can decorate a car body in a very specific livery such as STAR WARS, SUPERMAN, SCOOBY-DOO or from an incredibly wide selection of alternative water-slide decals available around the World.
For now, with no slot car manufacturers producing NASCAR car, fans will have to be satisfied with creating water-slide creations, collectors can finally complete their collection and racers & clubs will have to be satisfied with the diminishing availability of models and liveries. Racing NASCAR slot cars is great fun as they are generally very robust models whilst collecting the models gives a very colourful presentation to display of the famous drivers, cars and brands. Sadly, though, not Earnhardt #3!

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“Scalextric – The Ultimate Guide 8th Edition” book, with over 700 pages, is available from the Internet. Search online!

BENTLEY 4.5 Litre – ‘Well I’ll be blowed, a RED one?!’

BENTLEY 4.5 Litre – ‘Well I’ll be blowed, a RED one?!’

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Let’s do the history first! We all know, don’t we, that any Bentley is a high value prestigious vehicle aimed at high society. Well, they were but that didn’t excuse them from being (ab)used on the race track. Bentley had a 3 litre model and a 6.5 litre model. The 6.5 litre model had the potential to win but needed something extra. W.O. Bentley didn’t approve of forced induction systems but, nonetheless, Sir Henry ‘Tim’ Birkin made five blower Bentley’s for the Le Mans race. Two cylinders were removed from the 6.5 litre engine reducing it to 4.5 litres (or thereabouts) and a supercharger, otherwise known as a ‘blower’, was fitted to the front. Fifty-five copies were made by Bentley to comply with Le Mans homologation rules. Tim Birkin was one of a small group of racing enthusiasts, to later be known as the ‘Bentley Boys’, who would go on to help the team see the Bentley 4.5L ‘blower’ cars to victory at Le Mans over a winning streak from 1927 to 1931. The rest is history, including the sale of Bentley Motors to Rolls-Royce during the 1930’s financial recession post Wall Street. The racing successes made this car a famous British icon carried in the hearts and minds of a growing public awareness of motor sport.

When collecting Scalextric cars one will undoubtedly come across the between-the-Wars Bentley or the current Continental GT3 cars. Both handsome beasts and certainly both are monsters on the race track. Not to everyone’s taste but they can’t be ignored as Scalextric models as there are standard issues and some very, very rare pre-production   models as well as very, very rare fully decorated models.

Bentley 4.5 Litre

In 1962, catalogue 3 displayed the new Scalextric 1929 Bentley 4.5 Litre race car complete with a blower in front of the famous radiator grill. Referenced as C64, it was available in black or green. There are some quite delicate parts to the design of the model. The headlamp stalks, the four mudguards and the fan-tail exhaust would very likely be the first components to break or go missing. Pretty much the same as the real race car! Today, a second-hand in a far worse state than this can be found but the fun is in the chase for a nice boxed and unspoilt model. They can be found, at a price usually, but they were produced in goodness knows how many thousands in green but the black Bentley is the hardest to find. The black version was only released once, hence the rarity of this livery.
A Scalextric Set was the place to begin one’s fascination with electric model car racing and Scalextric were quick to also release a Bentley set. Referenced ‘V3’ and named ‘Vintage Motor Racing’, the set contained both black and green Bentleys.

The second Scalextric factory, located in Calais, France was also producing the entire Scalextric range as fast as it could to meet the incredibly high market demand during the 1960s. Tooling moulds were often shared between the UK and French factories. In France, the Bentley was issued in the green livery as well as a lower number of black versions. These can be identified by the light brown tonneau covers (grey for the UK) over the rear seats and red spoked wheels (black for the UK). The underpan may be embossed, using an interchangeable insert inside the steel mould, as ‘Made in England’, ‘Made in France’ or simply a blank space where the ‘Origin’ stamp wasn’t available ((or forgotten!).

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The more common green variant was also released in 1982 (C305) as part of the ‘Vintage Collection’ series, a little know release in 1986 (C839 but identical to 1982 C305) and then again in 1992 as part of a ‘Power & Glory’ collectable range following a TV programme called ‘The Power and the Glory’’.
A dark blue version was released in 1995 (C242), and in Spain as H242 under Scalextric’s Superslot brand created for the Spanish and Mexican markets, as part of another collectable range called ‘Racing Classics’. Why blue? As far as I know, it didn’t reflect any of the full-size race cars but at least it was something other than ‘another green one’! The guide blade, motor and entire underpan evolved as the decades rolled past. A complete specification of each model is in the ‘Ultimate Guide’ book.
Note: On a black Bentley, beware of replacement mudguards or head lamp stalks painted black!

For something different turn to the pre-production and other factory prepared models such as the chromed Bentleys giving to guests to the factory, to race competition winners or for other special occasions. It had always been quite normal for Scalextric to use the technique of chrome-plating components such as bumpers and lights to provide a rather unusual prize or gift of a car completely chromed and, usually, mounted on a wooden plinth with a plaque marking the occasion. Chromed Bentley’s are interesting items especially if the provenance of the plaque or story from the recipient accompanies the model.
Pre-production models are very rare but they do turn up. Models in white, blue and red have been seen and are photographed in the ‘Scalextric – Ultimate Guide, 8th Edition’ (see page 398). There are only two recorded models of the red car. One of these and had been painted green when it was produced at the factory and decorated as a display example for its forthcoming release in to the Scalextric range and had remained undiscovered for thirty years before it was realised.

These Bentley models were presented in a variety of boxes from the original card light blue with black & white chequer, the French version of this has a striking pink to one end of the box. The Power & Glory, Vintage and Classic collectable ranges have raised backing cards with attractive graphics.

Bentley Continental GT3

Coming up to date, 2012 saw the introduction of the Bentley Continental GT3 to the race tracks of the world – a welcome return for the famous Le Mans winning brand name. The 4 litre, V8, twin-turbo, 550bhp GT3 race cars are still being developed for racing after 120 podiums and 45 race wins. Pretty impressive.

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Scalextric began with the fully detailed white and green Works liveried car (C3514) and the ‘super-resistant’ ‘Generation Bentley’ team car (C3515) in 2012. All GT3 Bentleys are fitted with a DPR chassis. Since 2012 the white/black M-Sport (C3595), a green No85 (C3713), white ALD No84 (C3714), a white 60th Anniversary celebration (C3813A), a red/black ALD No84 and a blue ‘ONLYWATCH’ No84 cars have been released. Perhaps a few more will follow these.

A Bentley race Set was released with ‘road’ versions of the car. The Set, C1349 Bentley GT3 Racers, contained a black/red car and a black/white car. Both cars had no other decoration and might, perhaps, be typical of ‘play things’ the rich and famous might commission direct from the Bentley factory!

Once again, an anomaly has been thrown up with a particular model. C3515, the Generation Bentley car, should have a white body with blue, silver and grey Union Jack flag on the roof and flanks. A few incorrectly decorated pre-production samples were released by Scalextric to the collector’s market via various fund-raising and marketing events in the UK. These variants have a silver body instead of white.
More variants include GT3 Bentleys used for testing decoration techniques. About ten bodies were sprayed and painted in several techniques to create some interesting designs at the Margate factory. A number of these samples were issued as prizes or samples for feedback. There are only two known body types, one of which was only part of the engineering process when it was discovered that early pre-production samples have two air-jack connectors on the rear boot valance instead of the eventual (and correct) single connector. Tooling differences can be interesting to collectors.
Finally, just as there was a very rare plain red 1929 Bentley 4.5 Litre there is also a very rare plain red Bentley Continental GT3 out there somewhere.
The GT3 cars come in three packaging styles; blue base, grey base and card boxes.

Which to collect, then? Both super-cars of their days, the Bentley range of Scalextric cars is a definitive and achievable collection if sticking to the mass produced standard range and enough to fill a very presentable and modest display cabinet. On the other hand, where thee fun is in the chase, seeking the rarer 4.5 litres or GT3 cars will be an enormous challenge. The cars described here are NOT a definitive list. There are at least twelve 1929 Bentley 4.5 Litre variations and twenty-four GT3 variants! Whichever the preference, they are probably a ‘must have’ in most collections.

References: Ultimate Guide, 8th Edition,
Bentley 4.5litre: pages 82, 393, 398, 411.
Bentley Continental GT3: Page 82.

If you believe you have a yet unrecorded variant and seek confirmation of its authenticity, please contact me at slotcarportal.com.

“Scalextric – The Ultimate Guide 8th Edition” book, with over 700 pages, is available from the Internet. Search online!

Margate Swapmeet 2018, 14th October – IN THE SCALEXTRIC FACTORY!

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Following the Margate Swapmeet of 2017 held five miles away from Margate we have now negotiated with Hornby Hobbies to hold this year’s swapmeet in the Scalextric factory.

‘MARGATE SCALEXTRIC OPEN-DAY AND SWAPMEET’
Venue: Hornby Hobbies Visitor Centre, Westwood Ind Est., Broadstairs, Kent, CT9 4JX.
Date: Sunday 14th October 2018
Time 10am to 3pm for the public.

Contact: Adrian 07464 992000

* The event is aimed at attracting local people as well as collectors and racers. With a rich history of Scalextric in the area we hope that many ex-Scalextric employees will visit.

* Track layouts for the public to try out.

* Trade and enthusiasts stalls for swapping, selling, buying.

* Club and Magazine stands.

* Advertised on local radio, papers and social media.

* Ample parking, easy loading access. Access for the disabled.

* Full amenities with recently reintroduced cafeteria serving snacks, coffee, tea, etc.

* The venue, with easy access via Calais-Dover, is geographically central to Paris, Brussels, Rotterdam, Aachen, Manchester, Swansea, Plymouth and Hull.

* The venue is 20 miles from Dover but, more importantly, inside the old Scalextric factory.

Please SHARE & LIKE this information and image in your social media and local communities.

Any questions, please ask.

The Scalextric and Hornby Railways production plant was closed down around the turn of the century and continued as an administration head-quarters for a further decade before selling the site and moving their administration home to Sandwich in Kent but maintaining the Hornby Visitor Centre at the old factory.

Collecting Sets: C861 Daytona 24hrs

1988 C861 Daytona 24hr
Throughout the history of Scalextric, occassionally, a ready-to-race (RTR) Set is released exclusively to a targeted market. This Daytona rtr set was released in the USA in 1988 and exclusively sold through the ‘Children’s World’ toy chain. The basic track shape is of the Daytona tri-oval race circuit’s in-field road course and itself is unique to this Set. It is unclear how the Set format was decided upon, or who decided upon it. It is possible that this was a specifically commissioned Set from a US source and sold through ‘Children’s World’ in the USA.

Collecting cars from rtr Sets is a common theme since quite often the cars in Sets are unique to the Set and not released as solo cars. Sometimes, solo versions of Set cars only differ with some extra decoration but every now and then a Set may have completely unique livery. Alas the artwork on some rtr Sets can be deceiving. Usually, the car liveries on the Set box lid will be replicated on the models within – not so with Set!
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The box lid artwork shows the Jaguar XJ8 bearing race number “88” on the car but the car within the Set bears the regular number “60” as issued on regular release solo cars.
In the 1988 Daytona 24hr, Jaguar ran race numbers 66 and 67 (and generally in the US always 60,61,66,67). The No. 88 livery was the Jaguar Castrol presentation car shown in advance of the 1988 IMSA season. It is likely that the Scalextric art department only had images supplied to them by the sponsors Castrol and Jaguar or that they sourced imagery from the media and press not realising that the eventual racing livery would bear a different race entry number.
The model cars photographed on the Set lid are not production Scalextric models.Bth the jaguar and the Porsche are either ‘borrowed’ from another manufacturer or are early plasticard models from the Scalextric engineering department.
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An interesting rtr Set only sold in the USA.

The Scalextric James Bond set from 1967 – Boxing clever!

It’s is difficult to find a James Bond Set from 1967/68 these days and just about impossible to find a mint one. Well, does one exist! Using reproduction boxes is a sensible way of preserving rare Scalexric items. Repro boxes for cars have been around for decades and are very well accepted. Boxes for Sets, though, are not sought after – even the originals are usually dispensed with even if they are in mint condition – EXCEPT, that is, for the 1967/68 James Bond Set box. The James Bond Set box is worth more than most collectable Scalextric cars so, this box is always repaired or preserved but rarely thrown away!
Richard Johnson offers an excellent quality reproduction James Bond set box (search for “Scalextric reproduction boxes” on Facebook).

A significant part of Scalextric sales has always been achieved by producing sets based on characters or cars appearing in popular films or television series and, of course, ’James Bond 007’ is no exception. James Bond 007 was the first of the special Scalextric themed sets, available during 1967-8. This followed the success of the full-length features films, ‘Dr No’ 1962, ‘Goldfinger’ 1964 and ‘You Only Live Twice’ 1967.  The Set disappeared from the catalogue after just two years, which explains why they are difficult to find and command a very high price. Surprising perhaps as the films were enormously popular. Their discontinuation was possibly prompted by high development and production costs resulting from the complexity of the special cars and track items, which made the set quite expensive.

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007’s car, a white Aston Martin GT, was extensively reworked from the basic Aston Martin (C68). The main body alteration from the standard model was the construction of the body shell in one piece. The underside was open to allow for the passenger seat ejector mechanism, while the incorporation of a sunroof allowed the spring-loaded seat to eject its passenger. A ‘Race Tuned’ type of swivel guide blade was also used. A further feature of the 007 Aston Martin was the spring-loaded rear number plate, which when rammed by the pursuing Mercedes raised a ‘bullet proof’ screen behind the rear window. The track section in the set included straight and curved chicanes and a 90° crossover. Other set contents included a special straight track section with a concentrically mounted dummy ‘rock’, which is allowed to turn freely in its mounting. The passage of the cars going past gradually turns the rock around, and it is so shaped that when in a certain position the rock will hit a lever mounted under the side of the Aston Martin as it passes and send the passenger flying through the sunroof.

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The villains’ car is a black Mercedes 190SL, standard except for a long wire spring fastened to the body in front of the rear bumper, which, when the bumper is hit, causes the car to overturn. The normal racing driver figure is replaced by a gangster type in a mask, accompanied by a passenger leaning over the windscreen with a gun. A wire roll-over bar fitted behind the rear seats completes the changes. The standard production C75 and C94 Mercedes 190SL continued to have the hole in the passenger’s compartment and the extra moulding underneath where the overturning spring was located on the 007 version. The cars were never available individually, so no factory ‘C’ reference numbers were ever given; neither do they appear in price lists or other literature. However, C97/C68 is stamped onto the underside of the Aston Martin, so the reference number C97 can correctly be used. Whilst perhaps it is logical that C98 could have been allocated to the Mercedes 190SL it has to remain without a separate official reference number. It seems that the cars were intended to be available outside of the set in the HP4 007 Accessory Pack. Though a pre-production example has been seen on the collector’s market it doesn’t appear to have been produced officially.

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It is probably true to say that more solo James Bond cars are circulating in the collector market, than the boxed Sets. It is quite difficult to find a Set box that has not all but collapsed! Though the quality of box was pretty good for the era the sheer weight of the contents was enough to break the base of the tray. The yellow card inner sections which hold the track, cars and accessories in place, will not do their job with a collapsed tray. The contents would fall out and parts lost – the ‘shooter on the bank’ figure being particularly difficult to find! The lid would likely lose its form and become damaged rather quickly. So, being a Film related item, unique Scalextric content in track, cars and accessories and a disintegrating Set box made the entire ensemble a pretty rare item.

For a James Bond Set box that needs repairing or replacing there is an answer – buy a reproduction box! So, I searched online and found that I could buy the fully decorated lid, the tray and yellow inner sections. Richard Johnson offers box, the inner pieces or both. I soon found myself in discussion with Richard to find out more about his offering which happily revealed an interesting story about how he researched the project.

 

Richard found that the original box and most set boxes were high quality back in the day and would have been quite costly to produce. The owner of the printing service that Richard used reckoned that  Scalextric didn’t cut corners because back then word would soon get about if it were sub-standard. Also, the set would be shipped in the box so it would need to be sturdy as well. Unfortunately, the 007 Set box together with the quality contents made it expensive for the day and hence a rarity today. When Scalextric made the boxes, the print placement wasn’t very accurate so all original boxes vary with the main picture not always in the dead-centre of the box – though you can’t tell unless you put a few original boxes next to each other, then it’s quite obvious.

Richard described the biggest challenge was trying to reproduce the print. “The box,” Richard said, “…started with was pretty much mint although faded to some degree with some small tears which had to be digitally removed. Trying to get the colours right was tricky, too dark, too light, too red, too yellow. It seemed to go on forever until we got it almost perfect. The insert was quite straight forward although colour was an issue again as the original yellow on my insert was bleached so took a few goes to get it right. On making the insert from flat pack I can see why so many inserts are torn in the same places. I think this was done at the factory from new and not the contents of the box tearing it. Pay special attention to the track end of the insert (not grass bank end) as this, when bending to shape, will tear in the same place as the originals, so don’t rush it!

I stamp all the pieces with “Auric Enterprises 1967” as a homage to Auric Goldfinger the best villain ever! The stamps distinguish the reproduction box parts from the original.

All the parts of the reproduction box are exactly the same dimensions as the original, so they are interchangeable with the original.”.

Having kept an eye on third-party Scalextric products, or ‘Code 3’, as such products which are further worked on by someone other than the manufacturer are known in the auction and collecting world, a reproduction box is better than no box.
Check out “Scalextric reproduction boxes” on Facebook for more information about Richard and his box.