Hey hey! So last night, EL_ULY was apparently feeling pretty generous and granted me authorship here on LaLD, so I figured I'd put a little something together and introduce myself.
I've been a long time collector of all things miniature and automotive. 1/18s, 1/24s, the occasional Hot Wheel. If it's smallish and it looks like a car, it has my interest.
But for going on 20 years now, in one way or another, my main area of expertise has been slot cars.
(Pictured: Cartrix Porsche 804, as driven by Dan Gurney.)
When I was 12 or so, a friend of mine introduced me to his slot car racing club, affectionately known as the Cellar Dwellers, since we raced in one of the guys cellar. They raced 1/64 slot cars, and had a 2-lane Tyco track that was probably 150 feet long. I got really into it, and got my dad into it as well...we had a great group of guys, maybe 10 or so, and raced every Friday night, sometimes until midnight or later.
Then one Christmas, our host received a 1/32 Carrera track, and it was done. Our switch from 1/64s to 1/32s happened even faster than the switch from VHS to DVD. For one, most of the guys were older, and the larger cars were easy to work on. But also, the larger cars were far better detailed, and actually cost about the same as a good 1/64. It was a no-brainer.
We dismantled the 1/64 track and sold it, and within a month of getting the 1/32 track, had built a new track in it's place. The track was probably 1/2 as long, but the cars only go half as fast, so lap times were similar. The racing better, the cars looked better, and we had a better time.
Now, probably 13 years after all that, we're still racing every Friday night. I still buy and build cars, do the occasional custom paint job (I'm a lot better at it than I was when I was 15, that's for sure), and have a lot of fun at it.
So, if you guys are interested, I took apart one of my favorite cars so I can tell you a little bit about it. I apologize for the length of this, by the way...future pieces will be shorter since I'll be talking about particular cars and not slot cars in general.
This is a Scalextric '69 Mustang Boss 302, and is probably the winningest car in our club's history. It's never not won it's class, and I can count the number of actual races I've lost with it on one hand...I've had this one since 2003, if I'm not mistaken. Its pretty well hated by the rest of my club, haha.
Generally, cars from different manufacturers aren't competitive with each other. In fact, cars from a single manufacturer might not even be competitive with each other...for example, Scalextric's historic Trans Am lineup featured a Boss 302 and a '69 Camaro initially, and they've since added a '70 Camaro, Mercury Cougar, and a Dodge Challenger. They've done a pretty good job making all the cars competitive, and the Trans Am lineup is one of Scalextric's fastest groups. They also do F1, modern GT, rally, LMP, etc.
This car is a sidewinder motor setup, the motor sits sideways there in front of the rear axle and drives a spur gear on the rear axle. That's a pretty common way of doing it, though you'll also see inline motors and angle winders, which I'll get to in later blogs. The Mustang also features a bar magnet infront of the motor and a button magnet up front, along with silicone tires on the rears. That's our standard Trans Am setup.
You can see from the missing bumpers, this car is absolutely a runner. Part of me feels bad about it, since this particular model, new in the box, sells for around $100-120 these days ($40 new)...but it's a race car, it's meant to be raced, right?
A little interior detail. What's interesting about this car is that nothing is original besides the body. The car was taken apart because the chassis snapped, so I replaced it with a new one, new motor, new axles, everything. And somehow it was just as fast as it was before.
That's basically the walk around of the car and my first post. Next time I'll show you guys one of the really highly detailed ones by a company called Slot.it...to look at them, you wouldn't think they were anything but a static model, but they're among the fastest, best driving cars we have.
Thanks for reading, and thanks for having me!