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Speed Kills

“Speed kills” is true in many contexts, even in the fun zone that is slot car racing.  to understand this, and keep things fun, lets go to history and physics.  I said fun, right?

Electrically powered model cars were used in the 1890.  Early versions were free running like R/C cars today, but real fun began when the cars did not carry their own power or wander about, but instead could race on tracks for as long as the fun lasted. So, by 1908 we had model cars racing on tracks.  The “Brickyard” model racing track by American Ives Manufacturing Company, never was more thatn a prototype , but the Germans after claiming to invent the first bicycles and first motor car electricfied the track, advertised and sold in 1909 then so they can probably claim this first too. back in America, Lionel-Cowan already bored with their trainsets in 1912, built 1/24 scale Stutz Bearcat cars that ran independently side by side. Being train men it seems that giving the cars independent controls so that so that the public could do more than admire their handiwork actually moving in circles did not occur to them.  Not much progress was made during  WW1 or the 1918 Covid. After allthat dying, things roared through the 20’s with little interests in toy cars as the rich played with their big toys. By the 1930’s the masses had no money to buy small toys, but necessity being a mother, invenotrs were hard at her producing a variety of promising forms.  In England, where social clubs thrive especially in proximity to pubs, model car racing was a hit, but somehow rails were still favored over slots.  Another distraction intervened with WW2 followed by explosions of innovation.  perhaps as     ignn the     Soon after You can see them in actual books and physical museums, so they are forgotten.  After distractions like WW1 and WW2   In 1968 As the boom in the slot racing craze matured, cars got faster, but speed came by compromising the realistic appearance of the cars. Lightweight vacuum formed bodies were flattened for low center of gravity and improved aerodynamics. Tiny wheels improved handling. Front wheels atrophied or even disappeared.  High speed collisions discouraged efforts at detail and finish quality, in fact, cars became difficult to even see in action. When slot “cars” bare no resemblance to any real car, the connection of real motorsports is lost.  Finally, the answer to “how fast can it go” becomes how much do you want to spend?

Wing car
Wing cars are ground effects wedges that create low pressure under the body and high pressure above.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

clear plastic side dams, rear spoiler and front diaplane are all needed to keep car on track at blinding speed.
Clear plastic side dams, rear spoiler and front diaplane are all needed to keep car on track at blinding speed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recently reality has returned to slot racing as both manufacturers and individuals built wonderfully  accurate, beautiful models. a dozen manufacturers now produce hundreds of different models from all categories and in 4 scale sizes. Many slot cars now rival fine diecast cars in finish and detail.

High speed "Flexi" car at left, realistic "Scaleauto" car at right.
High speed “Flexi” car at left, realistic “Scaleauto” car at right.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

High speed "Flexi" car at left, realistic "Scaleauto" car at right.
Both types are fun but there is no contest between them for speed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For most events we use accurate replicas of real cars, but for those who prefer levels of speed and performance only attained by contemporary slot cars, rest assured they can be used on our tracks. In fact, I compete several times each month with the fast stuff as well as vintage and accurate model cars. So, how fast do you want to go? We have something for every speed! ~ Jim Cunningham[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

1965 Lola GT slot car looks much like the real car.
1965 Lola GT slot car looks much like the real car.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Most 1960's slot cars were fairly accurate models of the real cars. These survivors still run well today. Not fast , but very fun!
Most 1960’s slot cars were fairly accurate models of the real cars. These survivors still run well today. Not fast , but very fun!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Handmade Scale car - Doppleganger
Handmade Scale car – Doppleganger. Built for contest where judging of appearance as a model is part of the overall score. This car is fast and realistic because it used magnets for downforce, not aerodynamics. Real car aerodynamics have little effect in slot car because they are out scale relative to air density.