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 – 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

“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

“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

“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

“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

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

Technical developments of Scalextric

Inventor: Fred Francis of Minimodels Ltd.

1957       Introduced as Scalextric at the Harrogate International Toy Fair between the 12th and 19th January. The track was made of rubber with an inset twin-rail for each lane into which the car’s gimbal wheel rested. Electricity passed through the twin rails, through the two-piece insulated gimbal wheel and onward to the electric motor. Initially, an On/Off button was the only means of controlling the amount of electricity sent to the motor – and therefore, the speed of the car.

1960       Introduction of the plastic range of cars; production of the tinplate cars ceased.

In the 1960s the first plastic track system was introduced, called ‘flexi-track’ then it is now known as the ‘classic’ track system. Around the turn of the century the ‘Sport’ track system was introduced. The race track surface was smoother in texture and offered less grip than classic track. However, although not perfect, it was flatter due to additional support walls on the underside and doesn’t suffer from the warping that affected classic track. The track connections were changed to make it easier to assemble and the rail electricity connectors were changed to improve electrical continuity. The whole system is nicer to look at and easier to assemble. Alas, the nett result is that the grip is less (arguably the most important element), track connections are less positive leading to electrical breaks, the rail connections are not an improvement and still lead to electrical discontinuity – power loss or complete power failure! On top of this many iconic track pieces were not converted from classic to Sport resulting in a track system which is a shadow of its former self.
In the 2000s, a new track system called ‘Start’ was introduced. It was innovative in that its geometry was designed in such a way that only 8 pieces were required to make a figure of ‘8’ layout where the normal Scalextric system needed 15 pieces in Sport track and 17 in the Classic system. However, one huge flaw existed – it was designed with a completely different geometric system where by it was not compatible with the current Sport system! It only had a 90 degree standard curve (R2) and this was of a radius somewhere between an Inner Curve (R1) and a Standard Curve (R2) and the straights were not standard. Consequuently, it was withdrawn from the range after three years.

1960       The first Lap Counter was announced in catalogue 1, 1960, although it was probably not available until 1961 when it was advertised for either electrical or manual operation. Since then there has been a variety of lap counters marketed both mechanical and electrical, some more successful than others, all relying on the car operating a mechanical switch in the slot. However, it was not really until the ‘Sport’ track was announced that the system worked really well when not only did it count the number of laps but could also record fastest lap, including various race and practice modes. By 2014, technology had moved forward a pace and a Scalextric APP for use with smart media such as mobile phones and tablets enabled a much better and more reliable way to count laps and display lap times and other in-race data.

1970s     Autostart, Think Tank, Sound Track, Fuel Load Gauge, a working Public Address system, Supersound and Hazard (track pieces with rows of flashing LED lights) were all electronic analogue devices to provide, for their time, exciting real world-like.

1991 saw the release of Permalite Control, an accessory designed to keep cars’ lights full on when racing instead of varying intensity when the throttle was released, including when they were standing still on the track.

1992       A major improvement in 1992 was the availability of Power Base, a simpler and more efficient method of fixing the current supply to the track, transformer and hand controllers.

1993       Following on from this in 1993 was Supersound which featured in many of the sets that year; three different racing sounds came from a separate unit. The same year Megasound was to be found in the more expensive sets, this had a sound unit built into the controller itself so that an engine sound actually worked in conjunction with the speed of the model. This system lasted for some four years when Pole Position Sound was announced.

2002       New CD-driven RMS Race Management System programme for use on a personal computer. This features race times, fastest laps, lap counting, start lights, pit stops, a track design facility and much more. It will accommodate up to six lanes.

2004      ‘Digital Scalextric’ introduced– the invention to take Scalextric into the future.

Sport Digital:  A separate lap counter/race position unit C7039 was added to the range as an accessory, this unit counts up to 999 laps, pre-set as required and will show the lead car on each lap finally displaying the winner at the finish, it can handle up to 6 cars.  Catalogue 49 (2008) illustrated the new Pit Lane game (C7041) adding more play value. 6 cars can be accommodated with up to 3 random pit stops and penalties if a pit stop was missed or entered at the wrong time. This new unit was accompanied by a new 6 car (digital or analogue) Powerbase (C7042), including 5 skill settings, various game modes and even individual hand controller calibration.

2007       The Sport World System allowed Scalextric racers worldwide to race against each other by connecting their layouts to the internet via a PC or laptop. The hardware comprised a control unit incorporating a LCD screen connected to the circuit through a half straight. 9 different race modes were available and the software also included 3D circuit design with buildings and landscapes, pit stops and even weather strategy.

2008       The Gadget Show set a Guiness Book of Rcords record for the fastest Scalextric car.

2008       Whilst earlier games generally were independent of the track the advent of the digital system now allows far greater scope. With C7041 ‘Digital Pit Lane’, introduced in 2008, the game play is actually attached to the circuit layout itself.  Up to six cars can be accommodated and the object of the game is to select and complete up to three pit stops throughout the race. Enter the pit lane when the randomly applied ‘open’ light shows; leaving the pit lane extinguishes the ‘pit’ light for that particular car, enter the pit lane at other times and a pit lane penalty is imposed. The winner is the first to complete all the selected number of pit stops, adds more play value. Additional to this game play device is the C7042 6-car Advanced Power Base which allows full race parameter set-up, race time variable such as Yellow Flag and Penalties. Full power can be lowered for individual cars to either better balance cars against each other or balance the driver abilities.

An important policy decision was taken by Hornby that it would encourage the slot car community to develop its own independent firmware and software options for enhanced race control. C7042 was, therefore, developed and built with a output port for such Open-Source activities. Indeed this led to the active participation of experts from the community to give substantial input in to the systems development. The decision to make the 6-car powerbase compatible with a computer was a sensible idea and has proved to be so with enthusiasts and slot racing clubs taking up Scalextric Digital software systems.

2011       Apps: The advent of digital ‘Smart’ media devices such as iPhone, iPad and similar tablets created more possibilities with Scalextric to create tracks and race cars by oneself.  An ‘App’ (application) software program could be downloaded from the iTunes App store (59p in 2011) called simply SCALEXTRIC.

2013       A new APP called SCALEXTRIC DIGITAL was launched.

2014       A new product was announced in the catalogue – ‘RCS’ –  Race Control System! During 2014, before it was released, the product was renamed ‘ARC’ – APP Race Control to reflect the important point that it used blue-tooth technology that required smart devices such as an I-Pad or similar notepads and smart phones and from which an APP could be downloaded. The APP, called ‘ARC’ allowed the owner to set up races, penalties, driver names, number of laps, etc., etc., from the smart device. When the race was in progress all the race time information would be displayed on the smart device. This enabled a huge step forward in that the need for electronic lap counters, hand controllers with wires and plugs and such ‘cumbersome’ devices such as computers would be a thing of the past. How quickly technology becomes redundant!

2017 saw the introduction of the high-end ARC-PRO system. Essentially a digital version of ARC-AIR featuring many more game play scenarios, wireless hand-controllers and the ARC-PRO APP.