When someone talks about slot cars or slot car racing, there are a few people that just do not know what you are talking about. So this is to explain to those that are curious. The first slot cars were manufactured by Lionel (USA) in 1912 and were featured in their catalogue that year. It wasn’t until the 1950’s that the slot car tracks were guided by raised rails. 1957 brought about a Scalectrix slot car, which had metal bodies. The Ferrari 375 Grand Prix and the Maserati F250 were among the first cars manufactured, in 1:24 scale.
Slot cars are small model cars, fashioned after their full sized counterparts, even down to the color and decals. A slot car has a blade that extends from the bottom front of the car to the groove on the slot car track. With this swivel blade the car will begin to slide sideways if a curve is taken at too much speed. If the slot car track has a few hills that it has to travel across, the slot car will come off the track if the car is not slowed down in time to go over the hill.
Slot car track comes in two styles; one is the country/city scenic style and the more popular, competitive racing course. The scenic slot car track will consist of the track and travels from miniature cities through the country side viewing fores
ts, mountains, stream, and small communities with post office, and train stations. The more popular course is that of the slot car racing track, which involves many types of twists, and turns, and is more for speed and durability.
The drivers hold their controller in their hands to manoeuvre through the slot car track, enduring all the obstacles and speeds that have to be used. The driver has to know when to speed their slot car up and when to slow it down in order to stay on the track. If the speed is not slowed in time the car will lose its grip from the slot and spin sideways resulting in a crash or it can even come off the track all together. In any event if this happens the driver is out of that particular race.
The slot cars come in a commercially available body with real working engines, which run on static electricity. However, some slot car owners prefer to build their own models created with their own hands using scalectrix slot car materials and parts. The electric motor is hidden beneath the body, and operators can install larger electric engines for the slot car track. The slots are not just restricted to the cars themselves. There are other scalectrix autos such as motor cycles, and trucks that use the same blade system as in scalectrix slot cars.
HO sized slot cars were originally made at 1:87 scales in the 1960’s but later in years they advanced to 1:64 scale so that larger electric motors could be installed to increase the speed of the slot car. Other common scales are 1:24, 1:32, 1:87, and 1:64.
Today the slot car track has even advanced enough that slot cars were made using traction magnets directly fixed to the chassis and a guide pin is used instead of the swivelling flag. This was to help hold the slot car down to the slot car track at faster speeds. However, there are many slot car racing drivers that state that magnet free racing adds more realism to the sport.