C50 Lotus 72 – an exhausting issue.

C50 Lotus 72 – an exhausting issue.

C50 Lotus 72, No.8 – the original, issued in 1973 with factory applied stickers on body top, side intakes and rear wing.

Hidden in plain sight!
Collectors around the world usually love to know if there is a rare or interesting item out there to be discovered. Once contact with the collecting community is made an understanding of the well-known variations can be understood. Books such as ‘Scalextric Ultimate Guide can also help in gaining the knowledge.

C50 Lotus 72, No.1 issued in 1975. – now with tampo-printed decoration.

However, every now and then something that’s been hidden in plain sight for years appears. Such is the case with the well known C50 Lotus. Unlike the C126 Lotus 77 that has many known variations the C50 Lotus 72 only has two known variations: the No.8 and the No. 1 versions as far as SCALEXTRIC were concerned… perhaps three, if you include the French versions!

The French C50 Lotus 72 – a UK chassis and body, assembled in Calais with French made parts to incude driver helmet, chromed wheel hubs and tyres.

A new era of quality in SCALEXTRIC cars
The C50 Lotus 72 was one of the new models released in the 1970s using the more modern techniques of the era. Scalextric models of the previous decade were, in the main, fairly basic in design and lacking in detail – a typical toy of the 60’s. The 70’s, however, heralded a new thinking in design and the opportunity presented itself when the Scalextric factory was moved to Margate in Kent from Havant in Hampshire. After a settling in period, production of a new range of relatively high detailed models hit the market and were shown in the catalogues as ‘SUPER FORMULA’ cars. Made in the UK, French and Spanish Scalextric factories, the models included the Porsche 917K, March Ford 721, Ferrari 312 B3,  Ferrari 330 GT, McLaren M9A, Mercedes Wankel C111, Jaguar E-type, Mercedes 250SL, Tyrrell Ford and, of course, the championship winning Lotus 72. It was stunning in its black and gold JPS livery. The model was a massive hit with Scalextric fans and the model can still be found quite easily half a century later.

One of the accepted variants of the 1975 release – black wheels with gold painted rims.
The known variations
The Lotus 72 was released in 1973 with the race number ‘8’ applied as a decal, as were all the graphics. Silver or gold chromed 5-spoke hubs were fitted. The version assembled in France is easily identified by the French made full face helmet which has a different profile to the UK head. The tyres on the French version are also made in France. These ‘slick’ tyres have an unrealistic square edge profile.

The chassis was amended for the 1975 release so that the Johnson motor would be fitted. At the same time the front of the chassis was amended to allow the motor wires to move more freely as the guide blade rotated.

In 1975, the model was again released as C50 but now with race number ‘1’ reflecting its Championship winning status and, furthermore, the number and all other graphics were now tampo-printed on to the car. The RX motor is replaced by the Johnson motor. The chassis was also updated at some point to allow the wires from the guide blade to the motor to move more freely.

After an exhausting search…
Not obvious to the eye, until pointed out, is a huge assembly error that besets both French and UK models. During assembly of the exhaust components a significant amount were fitted to the engine casing in the wrong orientation resulting in the exhaust pipes pointing forward to the side pods next to the driver!

C0050T1FRexhausts wrong direction
C50 Lotus 72 with exhaust pipes feeding in to the cooling pods next to the driver!

It went viral!
Not only was it a general production error, it was also released as an official spare part. The officially bagged part, labelled as “Part No 06014PLTD ENGINE/EXHAUST” can be found incorrectly assembled with the exhausts pointing in the wrong direction. The moulding, as a whole, is in three separate pieces, with the exhaust headers “swaged” or heat-staked into place from the inside of the engine body. Of course, the exhaust pipes should point backwards.

Images, inside and out, showing how easy it was for factory staff to assemble the exhausts pipes incorrectly.

The moulding was made in England, assembled and fitted to the Lotus 72, sold in the UK as a Engine/Exhaust part and also exported to the factory in Calais as a component, along with the chassis and body parts for the C50 Lotus 72, that was also being assembled and sold there for the European market. The French version of the C50 model was assembled with the addition of the French driver’s head, fully chromed wheels hubs and slick tyres. The French versions would however, still state “Made in Great Britain” on the UK produced underpan. This was quite normal for models of this period where they were shared in the UK and French production ranges, and sending parts abroad for assembly was often a means of avoiding import duties.

And there it is! Like a virus it was installed in to the distribution chain in plain sight but was unseen until it was too late. Whether anyone in the SCALEXTRIC workforce knew about this or not is unknown though I suspect enthusiasts may have raised this with SCALEXTRIC. It would have been far too late to do anything about it.

Mistakes can certainly be manifold!
With all the help and knowledge available it does make you wonder how a basic mistake can be so easily made – and go undetected through the entire production process right through to market. It should be remembered that the factory operatives would not know how a modern F1 engine would work or what it would like. Fitting the exhaust headers 180 degrees out of true was an easy mistake to make. The QC Department and the foreman in charge of the build process is where any blame might lay. If it wasn’t for the convenient fit of inverted manifolds to look like they were designed that way then the error would probably have been realised by the operatives.

C0050T2 engine not chromed
More QC problems? Engine and exhaust unit not chromed but more likely an engineering sample.

Four decades later,…
Scalextric released the Lotus 72 again but, this time, with new tooling. So far, no variations that we know of!

Who would have thought then, a different production version of the C50 Lotus 72 has been under our noses for so long?

But Hey! This, and the hundreds of other production errors since 1957 to date, is what makes out hobby so interesting!

Reference: Scalextric 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!

All about Electra – a g(r)eek tragedy!

Electra is one of the most popular Greek mythological characters in tragedies. She is the main character in two Greek tragedies, Electra by Sophocles and Electra by Euripides. In our modern world, of course, Electra is simply a model in the Scalextric range. Unlike, the Greek relation, our Electra is not the most popular. Quite the reverse, in fact. The standard orange Electra, usually bearing the scars of a warped or splintered windscreen and a tardy complexion due to many of its own racing tragedies, it is definitely not one most of us care to remember.

C0004 T1 Orange 3

As a collectable item it has many variations. Ten distinct colours are recorded. Ten! Yes, there are and body variations also cover a similar number. Many collectors don’t give the orange Electra a second glance but may be missing out on an interesting item.

The Electra was designed, perhaps, to give a Can-Am flavour to the Scalextric range and was released in 1968 in the usual orange colour under reference C4-11 moulded on the underside of the body. The plastic was of a cheap quality and would scuff very easily. The model doesn’t have a chassis but a motor and axle assembly that screws together to form a solid unit that clips in to the driver-pan. All were fitted with G20 guide blade and aluminium motor mount for an E7 Raymond electric motor and all were made in the UK with the exception of a yellow model which was produced in the USSR under licence (probably!). All Electra models bear the mark ‘C4-11’ which the manufacturer chose to indicate that both C4 and C11 were to be released in 1968 so that they didn’t have to insert a ‘C’ ref ID in the mould tooling. Efficient but a little short-sighted as the very next year Scalextric released C13, another Electra! So, C13 still shows ‘C4-11’ embossed on the underside! However, the factory did manage to produce a number of Electra with the marking ‘C3-11’ as well as blank IDs! Two chromed wheel types were used; five-spoke and six-spoke versions.

Surprisingly, perhaps, for such a cheaply made racing car there was quite a bit of development behind the model even though it would never set the track alight. Let’s have a look at the evolution.

The first release of the Electra in 1968 had a ‘number plate’ (perhaps a radiator) under the front grill, a flat rear panel and round wheel arches. Why there would be any need for changes to the moulding is unclear but nevertheless in 1969 the rear arches were slightly squared off, a rim was added to the entire rear panel and the ‘number plate’ at the front was removed. Why? A mystery! The development team or tool-maker wasn’t finished yet! In the same year a wide wheel arch extension was added. A rear wing was added during the year which required two slots in the rear deck.
There was also an amendment to the driver pan with supporting ribs added to support the motor clip. Despite all these changes, the weakest part of the car was the windscreen and roll-over bar!

Type 1 2 3 4 5 6
Year 1968 1969 1969 1969 1969 1969
ID C4-11 C3-11 C4-11 C4-11 C4-11 C4-11
Front ‘Number plate’ Yes No No No No No
Rim around rear panel No No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Slots in rear deck for wing No No No No Yes Yes
Rounded rear wheel arches Y Y        
Squared-off rear wheel arches     Y   Y  
Squared-off rear wheel arches with extended lip. Y   Y

The C11 issue was a Race Tuned version with a red can motor and the C13 issue was known as the Tiger version with black Tiger-like markings on the bonnet.

These body amendments are obvious when compared side-by-side but who takes the time to look at an Electra for more than a few seconds!

What is of interest are the colour variations. Orange is the standard and, essentially, there were not meant to be any other apart from green which is quite hard to find but by no means impossible and is the only official alternative colour. Orange and green.
However, as we have learnt with other cars the ‘art’ of creating the correct shade of dye isn’t an exact science by any means. Consequently, shades of orange can be found ranging from a light-ish orange through to red.
The unusual colours are almost all Type 1 bodies in translucent blue, green and orange which were possibly mould flushes. There are also a very rare Type 1 black and white models of which only one of each are known to exist to date. A yellow example also exists on a Type 1 body.

Finally, a yellow example on a Type 5 body was produced as part of the NOVO commercial tie-up with USSR. This C13 Tiger body has ‘Made in USSR’ (in English) embossed on the underside and was possibly a test to see if the model was a good fit for the USSR market.

The story of Electra, the daughter of Agamemnon, is a brutal tale. Yup, I think the Scalextric Electra story is as equally tragic. The opportunity was there to make a great racing car using in-house design but it was not to be.

Reference: Scalextric 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!

Is manufacturing abroad Tenable?

Producing Scalextric Around The World – UK, China … anywhere else?

The majority of the more mature Scalextric enthusiasts will probably be aware that Scalextric has been produced in the UK and also saw production in Europe. The younger Milleniums are more likely to think that Scalextric has only ever been made in China. But… How many other countries has our favourite Scalextric hobby been made in? Four? Six? Ten? … or more?

Can you list the top ten countries to have manufactured the most SCALEXTRIC product since 1957? Can you score a perfect 10!

OK contestant, write down the names of ten countries, in order of where the most product has been made.

Or, errr.. read this list of you’re not in the mood for party games!


ENGLAND – Produced from 1957 to current date. Though the principle manufacturing has been in China since 1999, there are still operations in the UK through third –parties to manufacture Scalextric product as part of strategically spreading business risk.

SPAIN – Produced in the 1960s through to the 1990s. Initially, Lines Bros and Spanish company Exin S.A. joined forces to form Exin-Lines and produce Scalextric, initially supplied from the Calais factory in France until tooling and production supplied the Spanish speaking markets including Mexico. Product was shared in the annual catalogues of the UK, France and Spain.

CHINA – Production transferred from Margate, UK in 1999.

FRANCE – Produced in the 1960s and 70s at the Calais factory.

MEXICO – Spanish made tooling was duplicated in Mexico, mainly in the late 1960s and in to the 1970s, with many colour variations.

NEW ZEALAND – LINES BROS (NZ) manufactured Sets, track and accessories through Reid Rubber in Panmure, Auckland.

AUSTRALIA – In the 1960s Sets, track and accessories and cars/bikes were manufactured by Moldex, Fairfield, Victoria up until 1969 though cars were eventually imported from England and Hong Kong in the latter half of the 1960s.

HONG KONG – 1966 to 1971, cars were made in Hong Kong and supplied to Australia and New Zealand and to the UK for worldwide distribution.

CANADA – In the 1960s, Scalextric was manufactured in Toronto by Lines Bros and in Montreal by Meccano Tri-ang.

RUSSIA – Production of NOVO Sets in the latter half of the 1970s took place in Moscow and St Petersburg with marketing information from the period claiming six locations in the USSR.

Did any of those country names surprise you?

Well done if you got all ten AND in the correct order! To be honest though, the order is only a estimation as the production figures are never published.

If you answered, or thought that JAPAN – was a tenable answer, well, (sound of buzzer) “Incorrect answer”! Japan is untenable! QUATTROX was designed and manufactured in Japan by Takara, under licence and was not sold and labelled as Scalextric. No assistance came from the UK. The cars were designed in Japan and the Digital Chip was also designed in Japan using the technical information from the Chinese factory used by Scalextric. Therefore, it isn’t a product manufactured by Scalextric. However, Scalextric did purchase stock from Takara and sold it in Scalextric packaging.

Well, that is the top ten list of Scalextric producing countries … but we haven’t finished yet. There’s more! For bonus points, can you name the additional countries that have also produced Scalextric?


ARGENTINA – 1970s decade saw Sets, track and accessories produced with regular Scalextric tooling. However, the cars were sourced from alternative suppliers.

VIETNAM – Production of Sets and cars commence in 2019.

USA – LINES BROS (CANADA) Ltd ordered the production of the Scalextric Autothrust MP55 transformer from a supplier in the USA for the Canadian market.

WOW! Thirteen countries!!!

For more detailed information about the history and production of all things Scalextric use the enthusiast and collector book “SCALEXTRIC – THE ULTIMATE GUIDE – 8TH EDITION”.  Available from Pendle Slot racing, Scale Models and Scalextric.com .

SCALEXTRIC – a tempestuous ‘C’ of numbers.

SCALEXTRIC – a tempestuous ‘C’ of numbers.

To B2 or not to B2!

Motorbikes, in 1962/63 were labelled as B1 and B2. Cars were similarly referenced with a ‘C’ prefix. This sounds logical and I can see a pattern forming already.

Collecting Scalextric and understanding the ‘C’ reference system, might at first, seem simply a case of starting at C1 and working up through C2, C3, etc., as far as you want to go. Well, no! C1 was introduced in 1968, eleven years after the first Scalextric cars were released. There are many more peculiarities. Let’s go back to the basics to understand what a ‘C’ number is used for in the world of Scalextric.
B2 Motorbike and Sidecar in yellow:  OK, I got it! All bikes will have a ‘B’ prefix.

Why have a ‘C’ number?
Almost every Scalextric item has a reference number. In the late 50s through to the 70s each item for sale had a catalogue number for sales and accounting purposes. This reference was repeated on the tooling for the item by being engraved upon it to ensure that the correct item was moulded and the orders fulfilled. That was all fine until 1966 saw the release of C87 Vanwall, a ‘Race Tuned’ version of the C55 Vanwall first released in 1960! – another example being the C66 Cooper (1963) which was re-released in 1968 as C81 – now the system is broken! Oh no, the James Bond Aston Martin under-pan is marked C97 and C68! So, what happens next?

C0097C0068 Aston Martin : James Bond – Licensed to confuse!

Mould Tools – a block of high quality steel with a machined cavity, usually of two parts or more, that when molten plastic is injected, produces a plastic component such as a car body, underpan, window ‘glass’, grills, wheels, bumpers, mirrors, etc. etc.

The mould tool of under-pans, or the underside of the body, were stamped with the assigned reference to identify the chunk of steel. In the 60’s and 70’s decades it was only necessary to have the ‘C’ number and name of the car engraved in to the steel moulding tool of the under-pan. Where there was also a body top then that steel mould would usually be marked physically on the exterior of the mould for identification purposes by the mould-shop staff. However, when the same car or accessory was modified or released in a different specification, such as ‘Race Tuned’ versions, then a new ‘C’ number would often be assigned. To account for this eventuality, the engraving within the tool was often amended, added to, completely removed or a plate known as an ‘INSERT’ would be used. The insert plates, a separate steel plate in-set over the original engraving by the mould-shop engineer, would have the appropriate new identification engraved on them. The C72 BRM model had C85 added to the engraving whereas some of the other Formula Junior models of the 60s used INSERT plates so that only the correct ‘C’ identification number was displayed on the resulting extruded plastic, brand new, hot, shiny underpan or body.

C0085 BRM : C72 ‘upgraded’ to C85!

How does the wrong ‘C’ number appear on some cars?
Most collectors soon find out that the Javelin has ‘C3-10’ and ‘C4-10’ as well as no ‘C’ reference at all! C4 Electra also has the options of ‘C4-11’, ‘C3-11’ and also no reference on the underside. C13 Electra has ‘C4-11’ on underside. These incorrect markings are just down to a lack of discipline in a toy factory production processes.

Also C1 Alpine Renault, made in the French factory at Calais, is stamped ‘C1 / C13’! There are many more which are listed in the 8th Edition of the Ultimate Guide book.

C0003T2 C0004-10 Javelin

C3 (type 2) : It’s a C3 Javelin marked as C4 – an Electra!

Why did Scalextric start in 1957 at reference C51/C52/C53 and not C1 ?
The first three Scalextric cars to be released were made of tinplate. C52 Ferrari 375 was released in 1957, then in the following year, C51 Maserati 250F and the very rare and highly sort-after C53 Austin Healey 100/6. The cars were adapted from the Scalex range of push-along toy cars with the revolutionary gimbal-wheel, electric motor-driven chassis.
The Scalex tinplate car catalogue references reached C50 in 1957.
C52 Ferrari in green : The first Scalextric release was C52, the Ferrari 375 but a year later C51, the Maserati 250F was introduced, of course!

The development of the Scalextric versions of the already existing Scalex model cars saw the ‘C’ references carried forward to the Scalextric range. Numbers below C51 had already been allocated in the Scalex range so it wouldn’t be logical for the factory to allocate those numbers to Scalextric products. In 1960 Scalextric released the Lotus 16 under reference C54 and the Vanwall under C55.

Blank origin plates!

INSERT plates were used a lot in the 60s and 70s when the Scalextric factories at Calais, France and Madrid, Spain were opened to absorb the world hunger for slot racing products. Not only were mould tooling reference numbers replaced with INSERTS but also the origin markings had to be changed. This is required for Customs purposes when trading on a world-wide basis. For instance, C68 Aston Martin DB4GT and C69 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta models can, today, be seen with markings on the under-pan that show which country the item was made in. ‘Made in England’, ‘Made in France’, ‘Made in Spain’ as well as ‘Hecho en Mexico’, ‘Made in Australia’ and ‘Made in USSR’ and many more derivatives including, bizarrely, blank plates showing no ‘origin’ mark at all!
C68 Type1. Made in England : Variations in underpan markings.

The use of origin plates also made it easier for the factory to move the mould tools from country to country to avoid the expensive and time consuming process of creating new mould for each factory, in each country. The INSERTS are witnessed, in shape, as a lozenge, a rectangle and circular impression marks. Blank INSERT plates were mounted in to the receiving cavity in the mould when not in use. Many of the products made in the French factory at Calais used the moulding tools from the UK. This is when the blank origin INSERTS were still in the moulds. The reasons why this might have happened may have been due to machine operatives being unclear on the use of the tooling or, since the Calais products were essentially sold in the European mainland (Yes, before the UK was part of the EU!), there were financial or EU regulations that made sense to have a blank INSERT plate.

When did C numbering marks cease on cars?

1979 appears to be the general date when Scalextric ceased engraving the ‘C’ reference in to the tooling to imprint the number on the underpan. This was probably due to the realisation that the days of single coloured car bodies, released usually in red, green, blue and yellow, under the same ‘C’ reference were over. In the real world Colin Chapman of Lotus pioneered sponsorship the result being that racing cars were now decorated with a leaning toward the sponsor or teams colours and not the traditional national colours. The discerning customer now wanted similarly decorated colourful liveries on the car models. This meant that the under-pans could be generic whilst the bodies could be decorated differently and issued under a unique ‘C’ reference number.

C126 Type : ‘C’ numbers on the under-pan come to end thanks to Colin Chapman!

C126 Lotus 77, C127 McLaren M23 and C128 BMW 3.0 CSL appear to be the cars at the change-over point in 1979/1980.
Today’s products now have a part number engraved in to the tooling. The number can be seen usually on the inner surface of the plastic component. On a car body, for example, the part number will usually be under the bonnet. However, on a small components such as the clear glass items the parts number will be engraved in to a plate on the sprue that such small parts are produced on. The Service Sheet is normally available from Scalextric from the launch date and for a further seven years – being the usual duration that spares are kept in stock before being deleted.

Why are C numbers duplicated and why are low C numbers suddenly used when the current year numbers are much higher?
Initially, in the early 1960s, the French and Spanish factories used the UK tooling for reproducing models in the current range (C54 upwards) or had the bodies and parts produced in the UK and sent to them for assembly locally. Demand was such that it necessary to start manufacturing Scalextric in France and Spain and modelling cars more attuned to European tastes than the, thus far, British racing cars in the Scalextric range. Working under the guidance of the UK administrative headquarters, ‘C’ numbers were assigned in the UK and instructions given to the Scalextric factories in France and Spain.

In 1968 the French factory started their own mould tooling with the Renault Alpine and Matra Djet, C1 and C2 respectively, and appear to have been given the range C1 to C29 whilst the Spanish factory were assigned the range C30 to C49 and started to produce their own mould tools with the Fiat 600 and the Mercedes 250SL, C31 and C32 for these models. The UK administration perhaps decided that with the UK range starting from C51 with the tinplate range, then C54 and upwards for the plastic cars, then it would be reasonable to assign the unused number range C1 to C49 for the new factories in Europe. I mean, how long would slot racing last anyway! We can see from this decision that, inevitably, duplication of model numbers was going to occur. So, in the very ‘DNA’ (Duplicate Number Assigning!) of Scalextric a logical progression of unique ‘C’ numbers was doomed.

C1 Alpine Renault and C31 Fiat

Aside from the ‘DNA’, there has also been a catalogue of man-made decisions in model reference numbering leading to duplication. The Spanish distributor, Hisinsa, made orders for existing models and the UK office assigned low numbers to the products. C408 Ford Sierra Cosworth was released as H001, C411 Lamborghini Diablo released as H002. At least they had an ‘H’ prefix! Some ‘C’ references have been assigned three distinct models. Where a lower number than the current range has been used there seems to be no logic. For instance, the famous JPS Lotus 77, released in multiple livery variations as C126 over a period of five years from 1977, had the reference ‘C126’ released again as a Ford Escort XR3i in 1991. There doesn’t appear to be any logic this ‘C’ number assignment. This kind of duplicate assignment has occurred randomly throughout the 20th century but seems to have settled in to a more orderly ascending order in the 21st century.

The ‘X’ factor!
Many products have prefixes and suffixes and almost all of the alphabet has been used by Scalextric to describe its product categories and markets. It should be noted that ALL products have a ‘W’ suffix (e.g. C2345W) whilst they are being produced in the factory as a job of work. ‘W’ is the factory code letter for WIP (work in progress) and remains with the model forever. For instance,  cars in a ready-to-race Set or a presentation pack with two or more cars retain their ‘W’ numbers away from the public eye.
C2529A with three cars C2463/4/5W.

As an example, the C2529A Goodwood Ford GT40 pack of three Ford GT40 cars has a retail code of C2529A, the three cars have WIP codes of C2463AW, C2464AW and C2465AW.  Unless one refers to the Service Sheet then the ‘W’ suffix is never seen or needed – unless you are a collector! If a Set car is also assigned to be a solo retail car then the ‘W’ is not used on the retail product code labelling. Therefore, it is only the retail packaging for race Sets, car presentation packs and solo car boxes that have a plain ‘C’ reference – such as ‘C2529A’ for the Ford GT40 triple pack. Oh! And in this example the ‘A’ suffix means that the cars have uprated components, ‘RACE TUNED’ if you like. There are many more suffixes and prefixes. See the ‘Ultimate Guide’ book for more details.

To B2 or not to B2! (That’s illogical, Captain!’)

Well, yes! Pretty much, the entire range of numbering from the very first Scalextric cars of the 1950s to the current day is strewn with illogically assigned reference numbers. The first bikes were referenced as B1 and B2. Logical enough. So, why were the various Motorbikes/Sidecar combos from the 70s and 80s not assigned to a ‘B’ product range? Why were the MotoGP bikes assigned to the C6000 range? What will happen when the Scalextric car model range reaches C5999? Who knows! The answers to these questions keep us guessing and makes our hobby just a little more frustrating but equally compelling.
It’ll have a ‘B’ prefix, right? C6000! Oh no, call the Doctor!

For a complete listing of all the ‘C’ number issued by SCALEXTRIC please refer to the Scalextric Ultimate Guide, 8th Edition.

Reference: Scalextric 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!

GULF sponsored Scalextric racing cars

GULF – Collect or Race?

Whether you are a collector or racer, the Gulf liveried racing cars have always been amongst the most popular slot cars. There is a very concise range of Scalextric cars making it an achievable, and displayable, collection theme. For the racer, the ‘Gulf’ range primarily comprises sports cars, most of which are pretty good racers.
One of the definitions of the word ‘gulf’ is to describe a large difference, or division between, two groups, or between viewpoints, concepts, or situations. Fitting then, that ‘gulf’ liveried cars have a very strong following of two groups of slot fans carrying the opinions that gulf liveried cars are ‘shelf queens’ or ‘for racing’.
Why do racers like them? The livery is attractive and, importantly, its bright, vibrant colours can be easily spotted on a black slot racing track. Why do collectors like them? Gulf liveried slot cars are evidence of a long history of success for GULF, the global oil company, in motor sport.

GULF, the company.
Gulf Oil was a major global oil company from 1901 until 1985. Its beginnings go back to 1901 at the enormous oil gusher on Spindletop Hill, Texas. Gulf was the first oil company to enter the consumer gasoline market when it opened a drive-in filling station in Pittsburgh in 1913.

GULF, the colours orange and blue.
It was 1967 when, the now iconic Gulf racing colours, made their first appearance. Gulf’s corporate livery of dark blue and orange was considered too muted for team car colours, so powder blue and orange (the colours of the recently-acquired Wilshire Oil Company) were chosen to reflect the vibrancy of the brand. It wasn’t until forty years on that Gulf became the first lubricant company to officially trademark its racing colours.

GULF, motor sport.
Gulf’s star-studded motor racing record extends further into history than many people can recall. It was Gulf’s interest in frontier-extending motor racing research that prompted it to attack the Indianapolis 500 with the fabulous rear-engined “Gulf-Miller” four-wheel drive cars as long ago as 1938.

The Gulf-JW Automotive team became a legendary force between 1967 and 1975 with the Ford GT40, Porsche 917 and Mirage cars. Gulf achieved victory at Le Mans in 1968, 1969 and 1975 as well as taking World Championship Sportscar honours.


After the sale of the Mirage team it was almost 20 years before Gulf made a welcome return to the international motor racing arena.

Between 1995 and 1997 Gulf renewed its successful link with McLaren in sportscars, with the racing version of its million-dollar road car – the McLaren F1GTR.

The Gulf-McLarens broke with tradition and ran in Gulf’s official corporate colours – dark blue and orange – for two of the three seasons before reverting to the iconic Gulf racing colours in 1997. During this time the team took nine race wins and won the Global GT Championship title in 1996.

In the 20th century there were but half-a-dozen GULF livery SCALEXTIC cars to choose from but in the new millennium this has exploded and you can now collect over twenty different models and twice as many liveries. This is mainly due to GULF’s involvement in motorsport and teams such as Aston Martin Racing with the successful DBR9 and the Aston Martin LOLA LMP1 car. They also supported the McLaren 12C GT3, the Aston Martin Vantage GT3 and more recently the Porsche 991 RSR and Mercedes AMG-GT3 teams.

Of course, many private teams and drivers gained sponsorship, had a working relationship with, or simply ‘borrowed’ the GULF livery or likeness to it, for their race cars as, indeed, did toy car makers. SCALEXTRIC produced several more GULF liveries on Ferrari, Porsche, Lamborghini and Caterham cars.

During the last 5 years, SCALEXTRIC has developed their license with GULF to produce the GULF branding with an orange plastic display base and branded inlay card with the GULF logo.

For a more complete picture of all the GULF livery models produced by SCALEXTRIC please refer to the Scalextric Ultimate Guide, 8th Edition.

Reference: Scalextric 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!


BATMOBILE – “It’s the car, right? Chicks love the car.”

The quote above is from Batman Forever, uttered by Batman. Though the phrasing might not be PC correct today, is the Batmobile in vogue as a collectable object?

TV & Film related Scalextric products usually sell very well and the Batmobile is no exception. Other Film related characters include Starsky & Hutch, the General Lee car in The Dukes of Hazzard and, of course, one of the most sought after Scalextric cars, the Aston martin  and Mercedes from the 1960’s films era as well as the Aston Martins and Jaguar from the Bond films of recent years. Depending upon what generation or era you relate to might determine which Bond car means the most to you- as perhaps it will be with the Batmobile cars.

Unfortunately we have to discard arguably the most famous Batmobile – based on the Lincoln Futura concept car with open top cockpits, black livery with the distinctive red pin-striping – from the 1960’s Batman TV series era. That car would have been a top seller as a Scalextric car, I think. Most likely because of a difficulty to obtain such an attractive and possibly expensive license, Scalextric did not model this car. Possibly having the James Bond license in the cast was enough though.

So, Scalextric would see another twenty years pass before the opportunity of adding the Batmobile to the Scalextric range. The film Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992) revealed a new Batmobile car, a long sleek creation with features galore such as shields, machine guns and much more. Very James Bond-esque! In 1990, Scalextric released two Batman sets (C562 Batman Chase and C563 Batman Leap) as well as releasing the car C465) as a solo item.
C562 C551 C553 Batman Chase

Scalextric put together quite an inexpensive item in that the car was a simple affair. A chassis, a one-piece body, hubs from the Ford Sierra, axles, motor, wiring, brown magnet and guide blade. It doesn’t get much simpler than that – today we would refer to it as ‘Super-Resistant’. Not to belittle it in any way, like the film car, it was ‘atomic’ on track, the fastest vehicle in the pack.

A variations does exist. The rear upright wings were designed with a moulded round tip at the rear most end of each wing. The design was later changed so that the round tip was removed. It has been suggested that this was to remove a delicate object from the car that children might bite off but it was more likely a tooling problem where a high percentage of these extremities were not forming properly when the plastic was injected in to the mould tool and so a decision was made to simply remove it from the equation and reduce the number of rejected body tops.

Pre-production Batmobiles are hard to find but are well known in the Collector world. Perhaps most hard to find is a clear plastic mould flow test. A handful of blue cars have been seen in various stages of their pre-production life. Green bodies are slightly more common. All colour variants have been found in with or without the yellow front lights and Batman roof logo. Early pre-production Batmobiles with a plain black chassis with no brand and safety embossing are also out there to be collected.

The TUMBLER was released in 2005 as a limited edition boxed presentation pack (C2669A) mate black vehicle with a Ford Crown Police Car as well as in a regular Set ‘Batman Begins (C1157) with both cars.
C2669A Ltd Ed pack
It was also released as a regular solo car and then again in 2012 as a boxed presentation pack as a ‘camo’ livery (C3333A) and regular issue (C3333). The TUMBLER car features twin wheels on each end of the rear axle and two small diameter wheels at the front. Again, like its fore-runner 30 years previously it can be described as super-resistant. The modelling scales of both the Bat car and the Ford Crown police car are undersized and not equally so. The police car is down-sized to near 1/43rd scale. At the regular 1/32nd scale the TUMBLER would have been far too big to allow a police car in the other lane and is about 1/36th scale. Therefore, both had to be down-sized in scale so that they were in proportion with each other – a compromise.

Which to collect, then?
“It’s the car, right? Scalextric fans love the car.”

They are both collectable and will always be popular. Throughout the past thirty years the standard production issues have never commanded any value despite their TV/Film iconic popularity. Whether from the 1990s or from this decade the Scalextric models can always be purchased at a cost near their original retail price. Pre-production items can command up to ten times their original shop prices.

Quote “Alfred Pennyworth: Will you be wanting the Batpod, sir?
Bruce Wayne: In the middle of the day, Alfred? Not very subtle.
Alfred Pennyworth: The Lamborghini, then!”

If preferring to include pre-production models in a collection then the Batmobile options definitely represent an interesting range. There is a big following for anything that is different or reflects the story behind Scalextric through the various production steps of a product’s development. If you just don’t like the idea then, in Alfred’s words, “The Lamborghini, then!”

Reference: Scalextric 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!

124 Giants walk among us!

Giants walk among us – 1/24th scale SCALEXTRIC


In the world of regular SCALEXTRIC the scale is 1/32 but the American market and some clubs favoured the larger 1/24th scale already catered for by other manufacturers. Scalextric entered this rather specialist field in 1968 with a basic three-lane system and a range of six superbly modelled and detailed cars – the system was called SUPER 124. The accessory range included figures; three standing pit crew and three standing drivers. The figure accessories were labelled as SCALEXTRIC SUPER 124 RACEWAY FIGURES.

The cars themselves were little masterpieces, being extremely well made and engineered. Attention to detail on the open wheel Ferrari and Lotus racing cars included an instrument panel, removable driver, and elaborate suspension and engine detail. The figures, too, were also little masterpieces. The three driver figures and three mechanics were set in convincing poses and fully painted. The drivers were mounted in a card box with cellophane window with a decorated pit-lane inlay card.

Figure set 24F400: The driver with the green helmet in hand and goggles around his neck appears to wave to the crowd, the blue driver is about to jump in to his car whilst the red driver sprints to his car.

Figure set 24F401: The mechanics are all kitted-out in yellow caps. The mechanics are attending to their duties in a more general sense. Both mechanics and drivers are very nicely modelled and it’s a shame more figures weren’t added to the SUPER 124 range.

The cost of the Sets and individual 124 cars were expensive, about double that of standard 1/32nd range. The amount of space needed for even a small layout, meant that the 124 system was really only suitable for clubs. Also by the late 1960’s, the tremendous initial growth in slot car racing had passed its peak. Altogether this meant that Super 124 was destined never to succeed, and production ceased in 1970 after only three years.

Reference: Scalextric 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.

Scalextric Police Force

Quote: “So I was like, ‘I want to be either an undercover cop, or I want to race cars!’”
Well, you can do both with Scalextric.

For many years Scalextric have produced models of police vehicles often with working lights and sometimes (to parents’ annoyance) a working siren. Enjoying Scalextric is not always about racing and the addition of these cars can add more play value with car chases and other ‘cops and robbers’ games, perhaps as an alternative using the 4×4 Trucks and Articulated Lorries that have been available in the past. The ‘super resistant’ bodies with no interiors are very suitable for this type of fun. Many set circuits feature a crossover, or the section can be purchased individually, so that skill and judgement are necessary to avoid or possibly to force your opponent off the track. The use of chicanes and sideswipes will add even more excitement. Add Scalextric Digital in to the equation and the game-play options are endless.

The Scalextric models range from the recently produced 1960s Mini Cooper ‘Panda’ car, the Rover 3500 of the 1980s to a Lamborghini Gallardo. An attractive model is the Range Rover used by many traffic police departments, this comes complete with working siren and lights. The Range Rover from the set has a 360 degree guide blade assembly instead of a standard guide blade. Other models include the Ford Sierra Cosworth, Subaru Impreza, Vauxhall and Opel Vectra, Ford Focus and Ford Crown (Batman), the BMW and Audi of the German Police and the Alfa Romeo 159 used by the police in Spain. The C3149 Alfa Romeo 159 of the Guardia Civil Trafico is particularly noteworthy in that the siren is a digital sample of the real car’s siren recorded as it drove through the streets of Madrid. The sample lasts for a long time and transitions through the multiple sound voices used on the real car. The Italian police are also represented by an Alfa Romeo 159 and the previously mentioned Lamborghini Gallardo! – One lucky police driver. Two quite rare models are the Vauxhall Vectras of the Jersey (Channel Islands) and London Metropolitan Police. The Lamborghini Diablo is a rare beast hand-decorated and fitted with the lights and siren at the factory to prove that the electronics could be fitted within such a confined area. Alas, it was never released.

Terms for police cars include (police) cruiser, squad car, area car and patrol car. They may also be informally known as a cop car, a ‘Black and white’, a ‘Cherry top’, a ‘gumball machine’, a ‘panda car’,   ‘jam sandwich’ or ‘battenburg’. But what of these markings; 24 – 46 TD18 – D8 – A 06 – 20 173 – 679 – 12 641 – 20 641 – 44398 – HH01 – HH15 – HH18. What do these mean? Don’t worry this isn’t a keyboard malfunction or a secret code used by the police but they should seem familiar. They are the references printed on the police car roofs. The police forces reflected in the Scalextric range were quite happy not to have their cars replicated too accurately and would usually request deletions or amendments from the real-life cars. So, often, shortcomings in the various constabulary’s insignias and car markings were left to the discretion of the model decoration team.
The roof markings would often seem random but actually reflect the birthday, age, and initials of the decorator, family or friend. However, the latest Audi R8 police car (C3932) follows a new rule – the year of release. The roof number is HH18 which simply equates to Hornby Hobbies 2018, the same is true for the HH15 QuickBuild car but not for the very first Audi police car bearing HH01 on the roof which was simply the first basic reference in the HH name convention. We will have to wait to see if the format continues.

Which to collect, then?
“The best car safety device is a rear-view mirror with a cop in it!”

Police cars are all collectable and will always be popular. Throughout the past thirty years the standard production releases have never commanded high values despite their theme popularity. Whether from the 1980s or from this decade the Scalextric models can always be purchased at a cost near their original retail price. Pre-production or production errors can be found for all examples of Scalextric police cars and standard production items are always available. Collecting police cars is an achievable objective at a reasonable price or treat yourself to a jam sandwich or a slice of battenburg. Tough choice!

Reference: Scalextric 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!