Scalextric – The Ultimate Guide 9th Edition, Volume 1 – That Initial Spark – NOW AVAILABLE!

It’s been a long time since I started work on the 9th Edition, which has now exploded into ten volumes.

Volume 1 – That Initial Spark is available now.

Volume 2 – Scalextric in Argentina, Australia & New Zealand, Canada and USA will also be available today.

Volumes 3 to 10 will be released throughout the rest of this year.

Check the page for an expected Index of contents for all ten volumes here at http://www.slotcarportal.com homepage where there is also the link to go to the online website to purchase a book.

Coming soon – Edition 9 in 10 volumes!

The Ultimate Guide book comprises ten volumes that, together, cover many aspects of the history and current products of an iconic British toy. Initially a toy, Scalextric grew into so much more. It quickly became a hobby pastime for young and old whether for casual racing and modelling at home or worldwide championships across many countries. The popularity was such that the records show Scalextric has been made in twelve or more countries in its sixty year history.

The volumes are A4 size and have a page number range of 250 to 350 pages in full high quality cover on premium paper in a hardback printed cover. The spine of each volume includes a single prominent letter, which, when all books are stacked side by side spell out the name of Scalextric. The volumes are also available in a standard colour quality both in paperback or hardback A4 formats.

Because of the huge subject range coupled with global interest the volumes have been divided into regional topics as well as product types. For example, there is a volume dedicated to Scalextric made in Argentina, Australia & New Zealand, Canada and USA where Scalextric was manufactured in these countries. Another volume is written for those Scalextric fans interested in Spanish and Mexican produced Scalextric and another volume covers European products.

Of course, the obvious breakdown of subject matter is by sets, cars and accessories produced over the decades and, of course, this covers an extensive amount of items. So much so, that two volumes cover the cars made from all countries. Cars are undoubtedly the most collected major theme of Scalextric and rightly, a considerable number of pages are dedicated to this aspect of the hobby.
Buildings, track and accessories are covered thoroughly in a separate volume.

The volumes also cover facets of the hobby not previously covered in detail in the eight previous editions of this series. The book, now in its 40th year, has expanded from the 1st edition book or 250 pages to more than a massive 3000 pages! The separate volumes now include colour images of almost all the products and, additionally, cover subject matter in detail. These additional chapters include, in more detail, the inventor of Scalextric, Fred Francis, competitions, events, roadshows, layouts and track plans, product information files, service sheets, catalogues, advertisements and other collectable material such as point of sale items, badges, pens, cups, T-shirts, leaflets, stickers and other promotional items.

The volumes also contain Feature articles on various product lines and ‘Did You Know’ bitesize pop-outs that might be of some surprise to many readers. Catalogues are also covered and their pages make an interesting reflection on the social aspect as well as marketing trends. The artwork from the late 1950s through to today’s digitally created material reveals much about how Scalextric is regarded.

Almost every aspect has been covered, whether it is about very basic electric tinplate cars of the 1950s to the latest highly detailed cars or from the simple on/off power button introduced in 1957 to the technical innovations evolving to a point where a car can now be raced using an App as the ‘hand controller’!

More information about this book and its contents is available at http://www.slotcarportal.com where an extensive image library is available to help identify vehicles and includes Code 3 product (items further decorated or altered post-production) and items made outside of the normal advertised ranges.

Many miles have passed under the 1/32nd scale wheels since 1957 and before the journey or race ends this book attempts to capture every aspects that might interest the home racers, the club racers and the collectors all of whom keep this hobby alive.

Happy reading!

C50 Lotus 72 – an exhausting issue.

C50 Lotus 72 – an exhausting issue.

C0050T1
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.

C0050T2
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!

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA
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.

C0050T2blackwheels
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!
C3703A

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.
B2Ylw6WheelMadeInEnglandRound
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?
C0097C0068underpanrear

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.
C0085NoOriginLIGHTREDpan

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.
C0052green
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!
C0068T1EnglishAndNoOriginUnderpans
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.
C2529Abox
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.
C6000
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.

C0046Blu

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.

SCALEXTRIC models
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.

OFFICIAL SCALEXTRIC GULF BRANDING
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

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.

BATMAN/BATMAN RETURNS BATMOBILE
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.
C0465T1

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.
C0465T2

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.

TUMBLER BATMOBILE
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.
C3333


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.
3.

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.
24F400

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.
24F401

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.
14.

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.
C3213

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.
C2467

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.
C2808
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.
C2223P


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!
C0315

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!

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.

Scalextric Figures: Girls in Scalextric.

Meet the fairer sex in the Scalextric family – or do I mean the female gender or feminine genre?
QX04b
No, wait! No need to be overly politically sensitive here. We’re only reviewing plastic toys.

An entire ‘family’ have existed in the Scalextric range snce 1961. Unfortunately, the individuals concerned didn’t age a day for over forty years or changed their dress sense. So, let’s look at how the fairer sex was represented in the Scalextric range since the Scalextric-man first set foot in this World.

The Ascent of Scalextric Wo-Man: In 1961, two ladies appeared in the first Scalextric figure Set F301 Spectators & Press Photographers which contained six figures. One lady is sitting and often painted in blue and green. The other lady stands holding aloft a white pamphlet. Let’s christen them ‘Sita’ and ‘Pammie’! The figures were moulded in pink plastic and remained in the official range throughout the 60s until 1971.

A second Set of figures, F305 Press & Vendors (6 figures) was also released in 1961 that only contained one standing female figure decorated in a green outfit and green hat. I’ll call her ‘Hattie’. She appears to be selling programmes or similar.  This accessory set is harder to find. The boxes for F300-301-302-303-304-305 came with blue or yellow inner cards. The ‘F’ series figures were produced in pink plastic and pre-painted at the factory. Be careful today, though, as the paint is prone to flake off very easily.

 

In 1963, F306A Grandstand figures kit (5 figures as one piece and unpainted) and F306B Grandstand figures kit (5 figures as one piece and unpainted) entered the range. These pair of Scalextric ‘Famous Fives’ figures were intended for the grandstands, you would imagine, and offered in the range as plain unpainted pink plastic figures for the enthusiast to decorate in whatever colours the enthusiast preferred. Unfortunately, they do not ‘sit’ well on a grandstand bench and would fall forward as a group. They could of course be used anywhere on a circuit that seemed appropriate but ‘empty Grandstands’, as is the case to this very day, was the eventual outcome.

F306A’s group of seated figures had a lady resting her head on the shoulder of the man to her right. Let’s refer to her as the ‘Lena. F306B’s group has a lady at the end of the group sitting next to, perhaps, her son and husband. I’ll name her ‘Endora’.

 

In 1971, Scalextric figures appeared to have been made extinct, none were in the catalogue! Further releases of F301 and F306A & B in rebranded packaging appeared during the next 25 years to ‘top up’ thinning retail stocks. Easily confused with the earlier soft pink plastic characters the later range was produced in a harder cream-coloured plastic but painted in the same colours! The seated grandstand figures appeared in both painted and unpainted forms in white, cream and brown base colours – as did the standing spectators.

 

On the top row sits ‘Lena’, leaning on her boyfriend and at the end of the lower row is ‘Endora. Second picture: ‘Pammie’ holds a programme aloft and ‘Sita’ sitting pretty, both with full ‘make-up’ – being pre-painted. On the right, the unpainted grey/brown versions sold in accessory packs.

Figures mass1
Here’s a family album photograph of part of the 20th Century extended Scalextric family!

By the 21st century demand for figures to adorn a scenic Scalextric layout was growing with the recent introduction of modern trackside buildings and in 2004 the next evolution of Scalextric man appeared modelled as pit crews were introduced and dressed in the style of modern F1 overalls and helmets in silver, blue and, for only two years, red crew liveries – but no female crew.

As far as figures of the fairer sex were concerned the tooling from the 20th Century was stuck in time…but then came Woman from Tokyo! “Talk about her like a Queen, Dancing in an Eastern Dream.” (Deep Purple lyric) Despite the need for modern figures for track layouts or dioramas this, all too brief, appearance from the Far East would be the last manifestation of female figures in the Scalextric range.

QX06
The grid girls were only produced, under license by Takara, in Japan along with their Japanese GT C car range and branded ‘Quattrox’. The ‘Scalextric Digital – ready’ cars were produced under license from Scalextric and sold principally in Japan in their TAKARA-Quattrox packaging. Each car came complete with a grid girl clipped in to the plastic base next to the race car. The SCALEXTRIC branded equivalents, sold in the UK and around the world, came WITHOUT a grid girl posing next to the car in its presentation case.
QX05

“Fly into the rising sun, Faces, smiling everyone. Yeah, she is a whole new tradition…” In the 1970s, Deep Purple seemed to have predicted what should happen in the next century – but ‘No’, Hornby decided that the girl figures weren’t politically correct! Imported by Scalextric to the UK market, the race car models didn’t have the grid girl figurines on the plinth.

Quattrox Grid Girls a
From left-to-right:
Roku is the grid girl for the QX06 Toyota Supra GTC au Cerumo 38 car,
Shi is the grid girl for the QX04  Honda NSX GTC Takata 18 car,

Go is the grid girl for the QX05 Toyota Supra GTC Esso 6 car,

Ichi is the grid girl for the QX01 Nissan 350Z GTC Xanavi 1 car,

Ni is the grid girl for the QX02 Nissan 350Z GTC Calsonic 12 car,

San is the grid girl for the QX03 Honda NSX GTC Raybrig 100 car.
Whites, blues and greys are the principal decoration colours of these women from Tokyo though none were dressed in Deep Purple!

So, the female family tree is as follows:

1962 Pammie, Hattie and Sita

1963 Lena and Endora

2006 The six Japanese grid-girls: Ichi, Ni, San, Shi, Go and Roku.

Please refer to the Scalextric Ultimate Guide Edition 8 book, available from Pendle Slot racing and Scale Models, and the accompanying website slotcarportal.com for more information.

SCALEXTRIC From Russia … probably!

It is often impossible to ascertain what Russia has been responsible for despite ‘evidence’ or conjecture. So it is with the story of Scalextric produced in Russia! Did they or didn’t they?
Many Scalextric enthusiasts are aware of the NOVO branded Scalextric sets. BUT! Were the Sets made and sold in the UK, Russia or somewhere else?

In 1975, a British company called Novo Toys Limited was founded and were based at Maxey, near Peterborough, England. Novo Toys was part of the Dunbee-Combex-Marx Group of companies which owned Scalextric. An announcement of that year from DCM explained:

 

“Novo Toys enjoys and exclusive agreement with the Soviet Union to supply moulds and tooling to enable them to help satisfy a growing internal market of some 70 million children. Payment for these moulds is made in products moulded from them and this form of compensation trading is unique in the Britih Toy Industry. Novo personnel are constantly travelling within the Soviet Union and our engineers ensure that high quality standards are maintained. Our range this year covers pre-school items and construction kits and features the successful Big Big Train. New to Novo is our G.T. Racing set together with twelve new additions to the kit range. Shipments from Russia arrive by road trailer from six different locations situated from Moscow to Tashkent and all merchandise is received and inspected in our warehouse in Maxey before being shipped throughout the UK and around the world. Novo Toys is a part of the Dunbee-Combex-Marx Group of companies and is therefore able to draw from an ever increasing supply of moulds and tools which in turn should ensure that a continuing range of attractive products at competitive prices wll be added to the Novo range in the years to come.”

Another Novo leaflet, printed in 1978, in English with Spanish translation, announced:

“New for 1978 Novo introduces “G.T. Racing”, a super value slot racing set. Over 4 metres (420cms) of dual lane flexible track with high speed curved banking ensure record breaking speeds from the Lamborghini and Mirage Ford which are included in the set. Variable banking supports and crash barriers help keep the cars on the track and speed is controlled by the pistol grip hand controllers.” G.T. Racing set was catalogue item 78001.

The Novo set was NOVO, of course, but all tooling still had the Scalextric logo and patent information engraved in to the steel so the resulting plastic products had the well known Scalextric logo and information moulded in to the plastic. The Sets were made with the very tooling that DCM owned and used at the Margate factory so the Sets were genuine Scalextric products made in the USSR under license. Paperwork in the Set was in Engish entitled “Auto racing”, “Test-experimental (proof) Office of Moscow”, ”220 volts”, “The toy”. “Electronic toy assembly. “The training path”, “Guarantee education” and also a note showing a production run of 15,000. The set had two cars; C15 Ford Mirage and C17 Lamborghini plus various track sections. This was made in St. Petersberg and had ‘Made in USSR’ stamped underneath. The Ford Mirage was made in a drab green colour and the Lamborghini in a pale yellow.

In addition it is possible that a Ferrari P4 was made but in a dull red colour. The C13 Tiger Special was also produced, with ‘Made in USSR’ on the underside, and sold in bright green and yellow versions – two very rare colour variations to collect. All cars appear to have been fitted with yellow wheel hubs.

The second version of the Set was manufactured in Moscow, and possibly at several other Russian locations, for the Russian market. The Set card box is made of a heavier card with the set artwork very similar but the text and titles were all in Russian. The cars and track also varied considerably from the St. Petersberg made items. The engine and axle carrier/chassis used a different moulding without the ‘U’ shaped aluminium bracket, the guide blade is larger. The driver pan is different because of the new rear axle/motor assembly but the motor is the same as the Novo motor. The track and barriers were also a new tooling. The track had a sleeved slot, metal rail pins to connect one track piece to the next and a yellow plastic links which hooked on to the track edge corners to physically hold the track pieces together. The barriers had a ballastraded design and the controllers no longer featured the name Novo. The car bodies of the Lamborghini Miura and a Ford Mirage were moulded in red and blue colours respectively. From the descriptions it can be seen that the Set wasn’t a copy of the Novo Set but a re-engineered product to suit production methods or requirements of the Socialist countries.

So, at first glance, the Soviets did make Scalextric sets in Moscow for Russian and the Eastern Bloc countries which, whilst NOVO exported Sets made in St. Petersberg, Russia to the UK. The statement from DCM infers that there was an agreement with the Russian State to make slot racing Sets using tooling and intellectual property (IP) supplied by DCM. It would appear that NOVO, having the tooling for the car bodies and wheel hubs and a supply of motors, produced a quantity for the Russian producer(s). However, as all components (with the exception of the car bodies, motor and wheel hubs) have been re-engineered the resulting slot-racing product can’t be called Scalextric at all, although it is a distant comrade.

C0017 Lamborghini - Blue (12b)

Other products involved in this international arrangement with NOVO included FROG plastic kits and BIG BIG TRAIN – also produced in the Scalextric factory at Margate.

In 1977, Novo Toys applied to Peterborough council for approval for factory and office extensions and for retention of temporary office buildings but both were not approved by the council. Novo ceased trading in 1980 and liquidation was completed in 1985.

GT racing set box 21b

So, ‘No!’, Russia didn’t make Scalextric products… technically! …probably!

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.
C0360
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!
C0127
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.
C2069
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.
CC001C

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.
C2193

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.

C2022

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.

C2286

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.

C3003

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!

C2023DANRNo3rej

“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?!’

C0064red

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!).

C0064GreenFr2Box

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.

C3514

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!

20181014 poster500
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!
C0382 (2)
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.
C0436

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.

2.

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.

3.

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.

6

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.

C0139 Brabham BT49 pre-production.

Always interesting to see a Scalextric car before the livery is applied. Collecting plain coloured cars is a popular theme for collectors. Here’s C0139 before the dark blue Parmalat decoration was applied. It was not released as a plain white car. The trend for plain white cars has been quite common in the 21st century but very unusual before then, making this Brabham an interesting item.

C0139ES2

BUY ‘SCALEXTRIC ULTIMATE GUIDE 8th Edition’ HERE FROM PENDLE SLOT RACING OR SCALE MODELS.

BACK IN PRINT! The “Scalextric – The Ultimate Guide, 8th edition” NOW AVAILABLE.
Available from

https://www.pendleslotracing.co.uk/scalextric-the-ultimate-… AND http://www.scalemodels.co.uk/

Over 700 pages. Now with a ‘Collectors check box’ feature in the also new Gallery section. This book is a complete history of Scalextric. The business history, the products, the events, the competition history, the evolution and development, complete inventory listings of Sets, Cars, Accessories, Track, etc., etc. If you need to know ANYTHING about the history of Scalextric from the 1950s up until 2015 then this is THE book for you.

https://www.pendleslotracing.co.uk/scalextric-the-ultimate-…

Margate Scalextric Swap Meet 16/7/17

20170716poster-800-150-copy
‘MARGATE SCALEXTRIC OPEN-DAY AND SWAPMEET’
Venue: Bay Point Sports Club, Ramsgate Road, Sandwich, Kent CT13 9L.
Date: Sunday 16th July 2017
Time 10am to 4pm for the public. (2:30pm for traders)

Tables: 3m @ £25, 1.8m @ £20

Contact: Adrian 07464 992000

* The event celebrates the 60th Anniversary of SCALEXTRIC, 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 and a large sports field with table/bench areas. Access for the disabled.

* Full amenities with all-day breakfast, cooked lunch, coffee, tea, a bar, a restaurant, rest rooms and ‘break-out’ rest areas.

* Film show of the history of Scalextric in cinema room.

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

* The venue is 15 miles from Dover, 5 miles from the Hornby/Scalextric Visitor Centre and old factory.

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

Any questions, please ask.

IFSCC – International Federation of Slot Car Clubs

Logo_big.jpgfblogo50
https://www.facebook.com/groups/625331374313276/

INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF SLOT CAR CLUBS            

The International Federation of Slot Car Clubs (IFSCC) has been created by the NSCC (UK) and the SLN (Dutch) clubs out of a desire to bring together slot car clubs and enthusiasts from across the world.

The International Federation of Slot Car Clubs is an international body that brings slot car clubs together in order to co operate and collectively represent the interests of the member clubs, be they clubs focused primarily on collecting slot cars or on racing slot cars.

The International Federation of Slot Car Clubs exists as an independent organisation in order to represent the member clubs in the spirit of fraternity and as a conduit for information and influence.

The Federation is a partnership that brings a collective voice to the manufacturers on behalf of member clubs. It will promote the hobby across the world acting as a conduit for information between member clubs, manufacturers, dealers and other stakeholders.

What are the goals of the IFSCC?

  • To create an international partnership of slot car clubs that represents the interests of the members clubs when dealing with other stakeholders in the slot car world.
  • To provide a collect voice when dealing with manufacturers, retailers, traders and the local, national and international media on behalf of the member clubs.
  • To work together in order to share information and knowledge on slot cars both amongst member clubs, manufacturers and other stake holders.
  • To act as a conduit for information to member clubs and also as resource for related information both to and from other stake holders.
  • To raise awareness amongst manufacturers and retailers of the needs of members clubs both individually and collectively.
  • To provide a collective voice when advising manufactures on all their products.
  • To provide a collective voice for requesting and negotiating the production of specific products and limited editions from the various slot car manufactures on behalf of member clubs.
  • To promote the hobby as widely as possible particularly with a view to encouraging young people to become involved in slot cars either as collectors or racers.

What will the IFSCC not do?

It will not exist to provide rules or governance for slot car racing nor will it in any way effect the independence of member clubs.

How can Clubs join the IFSCC?

Established slot car clubs will be able to join for the sum of £15 UK pounds or the equivalent sum in euros or other international currency. This will cover administration, web site and other costs.

Membership will be administered on behalf of the IFSCC by the NSCC and the SLN.

Who has the federation been created for?

Membership is available to properly constituted clubs. No individual membership is allowed. Any slot car club would be eligible for membership whether it is primarily focused on collecting slot cars or on racing slot cars.

For further information contact: Martin Baines on 01274 510245/07798 518035

email: chairman@nscc.co.uk  or Thera Brok (SLN)  email: twbrok@kpnplanet.nl.

Update on National Holidays Rover 3500 & Coach!

scalextric-plaxton-paramount-p3500-coach
In October this year, the National Holidays Coach was auctioned. The story of the coach and the previously reported Rover 3500 becomes clearer with the following auction description for the coach;
Description: Scalextric Plaxton Paramount P3500 Coach – produced by Scalextric for National Holidays Travel Company, this coach was produced by Scalextric along with a Rover 3500 both in white with “National Holidays” branding, the crude finish on this coach is down to the production being out sourced by Scalextric and not up to the usual high production standards by Scalextric, this set would have been contained in what would have been a plain brown lift off lid box with track, transformer and other related items, this set was produced to be distributed throughout the National Holidays offices and high street travel agents within the UK for advertising purposes to appear in shop windows etc and various conventions, with various provenance from minutes of a National Holidays management meeting dated October 1982 stating there would be 50 Scalextric layouts for points of sale distributed around the UK and also noted that we have concluded discussions with Scalextric who are providing us with an exhibition stand for the ABTA Convention at Canne, we have also accepted their offer to produce at an extremely reasonable cost – a moving point of sale display for travel agency windows, also our point of sale material developed in conjunction with Scalextric is now nearly ready for supplying to travel agents – there will be a total of 50 sets and they will moved around agencies on a regular basis, this example uses the Leyland Roadtrain modified truck chassis with track guide and motor with rear axle assembly, finished in white with metallic grey windows and black painted window outlines, front and rear painted lights with “National Holidays” branding to sides and rear, construction is resin moulded body with plasticard style chassis and underside construction – rare and unusual item, requires some cleaning and displays really well. Also within this lot comes the Minutes relating to the Scalextric Coach from the National Holidays management meeting dated Thursday 14th October 1982. Overall condition is Good Plus to Excellent.

Ford Sierra XR4i version not released

Catalogue 25 showed C333 and C334 as new releases for 1984, but these two cars in blue and yellow liveries were never released. The 2-door Sierra had the early separating pillar on the rear side-windows of the full-size car but, in the real world, the all-conquering Ford XR4i used in Touring car races around the world had the later full length rear side wondow. Perhaps this is the reason Ford didn’t give permission for this model to be launched in favour of the alternative SCALEXTRIC Ford Sierra we are now familiar with.

Below: A factory hand-made early Ford Sierra XR4i with the extra side-window pillar.

C0334

C2161 Williams FW20, Type 3

Sometimes a tampo operation is missed out simply because the ink ran out during the tampo print production run. Several dozen may have passed through the run before, if at all, it was noticed that the ink plate well was dry. Even if noticed the production official may have turned a blind eye rather than re-run dozens or hundreds through the tampo print machine again.

However, many productions runs of cars for Sets did have reduced printing operations on them to reduce cost. Given that Paul Atkin’s and Adrian Leggett‘s cars have both been identified, I think we’ll classify this as a variant. So, in any event it is a factory variation, with the Castrol logo missing from the front edge of the side pods. C2161W Type 3 is now recorded.
c2161t3miesetnocastrolonsidepods1

C239 Honda Motorbike variant

The yellow C239 Honda Motorbike & Sidecar has been identified in two production versions. One has a strong yellow base colour shell whilst the other has a translucent yellow body. The bodies would have been produced in two seperate production batches. Each production run starts with a quantity of clear plastic granules and a small fraction of colour dye granules to create the final yellow colour. Two production runs with different amounts of coloured dye would have been required to create body shells of different hues.
C239 variants are now recorded as Type 1 dark yellow, Type 2 light yellow.
“Thank you” to the eagle-eyes of Scalextric specialist Mark Scale of Scale Models for spotting this one.
c0239t1darkandt2lightc

Rare livery Rover 3500 SDi discovered

A rare National Holidays liveried Rover 3500 SDi was discovered in an online auction in June 2016. The livery was probably created for a business-to-business sale between Scalextric and the then national coach company ‘National Holidays’ operating in the UK. The car is plain white with red and blue National Holidays logos and stripes. Red bumpers and red door mirrors are also fitted. Just how many units of this model were produced in the mid-1980s is unknown but it is known that a ‘handful’ surfaced in the North of England around the turn of the century but none have been seen since until this example turned up.
The car is now classified as C0283NH

C0283NH a

C0283NH National Holidays Rover 3500 SDi