Link - article by M. Christian and Avi Abrams

      "If everything seems under control, you’re just not going fast enough."
        --Mario Andretti

      While the present generation has thoroughly moved into the digital age,
      for millions of people before them slot cars were a cherished feature of
      childhood; and, for a few wonderfully eccentric hobbyists, they are still
      the next best thing to climbing into turbo-charged reality, smashing the
      gas pedal down, and roaring into the thrill of the race.

      (Chris Burden's Metropolis II: a huge kinetic sculpture made
        from slot cars; watch

      1912 was a rather eventful year: New Mexico and Arizona became states, The
      RMS Titanic hit a iceberg and sank, The Girl Scouts were founded, the
      Boston Red Sox defeated the New York Giants, and Lionel toys produced and
      sold the very first slot car set (right image below):

      (images via 1,

      "I am an artist the track is my canvas and my car is my brush."
      --Graham Hill Here's a classic slot car track :

      (images via 1,

      For those unfortunate few who never had the bliss of assembling the track,
      picking just the right car, squeezing the little plastic control - and
      sending that same perfect car flying out of control across the rec room
      carpeting, slot cars are mechanically very simple: The track is
      modular, allowing an almost infinite number of configurations: from the
      Monaco Grand Prix to Germany's Nürburgring. It has two power strips and
      the cars have fickle brushes to pick up the power as well as a neat little
      electric motor to make the wheels go 'round. However, what those
      already-mentioned eccentric hobbyists have done with that simple concept
      is truly staggering: from cars that are exquisitely detailed and
      painstakingly reproduced from high-performance reality - to tracks that
      run from exact scale copies of legendary circuits to totally insane
      fantasy. It seems that slot cars have become the medium for a dazzling
      amount of creativity.

      "Anything happens in Grand Prix racing, and it usually does."
      --Murray Walker

      (images via 1,

      Speaking of creativity, take a look at these totally whimsical slot car
      designs by Ken Butler - an anchovy can, a mousetrap, a violin, a cell
      phone and a fishing lure (I guess, for those really hooked):

      (images credit:
        Slot Car News)

      "Be it jewel or toy, not the prize gives the joy, but the striving to
        win the prize."
      --Robert Bulwer-Lytton The most famous car chase in movie history?
      "Bullitt", of course! And now - this chase is recreated in slot cars, as
      could be expected: in 1/32 scale, lovingly made by the slot car UK


      And here's where art and beauty meets slot car fun.

      (images credit:
        Pete Shepherd,

      Why does a track have to be just loops and hammerheads and all that?
      Here's a really fun and unique approach to racing: a hill climb!

      (images via 1,

      When you talk about brilliant track designs, though, you have to talk
      about the beautiful, and commonly considered most impressive, slot car
      track in the world: James-Michael Gregory Harlan's
      White Lake Formula 1 track. Taking over 3 years to complete, the
      track is the ultimate racing circuit in a very convenient smaller scale -

      (images credit:
        White Lake Formula 1 Blog)

      "It is amazing how many drivers, even at the Formula One Level, think
        that the brakes are for slowing the car down."
      --Mario Andretti Even though they may be small in stature, that doesn't
      mean the slot cars can’t be ... well, 'immense' doesn't quite fit but you
      have to admit the track that was created by journalist, and Top Gear
      presenter, James May for his wonderful BBC series Toy Stories, has a huge
      amount of WOW power: ladies and gentlemen, auto enthusiasts of all scales,
      the world's longest slot car track! If you don’t know James May and
      his Toy Stories Show, you really should: determined to reintroduce
      21st century kids to his own beloved childhood hobbies, he – with the help
      of the great British public – created and assembled a full-size model
      Spitfire, a Meccano bridge strong enough to support a man, a Lego house
      big enough to actually live in, an entire garden made out of Plasticine
      (and enter it into the Chelsea garden show), then a ten mile long model
      train track. But the episode we're interested in is the one done as a
      celebration of Scalextric (the British slot car manufacturer) as well as
      the legendary Brooklands racetrack. Using planning that rivaled putting on
      a Grand Prix, James created a 2.75 mile long track - watch
      - that followed the original race course. When it was finished, the flag
      was dropped and two teams – one made of slot car enthusiasts and one of
      just local folks – blasted at scale speeds towards the finish line. But
      since it wasn't possible to power the entire length of the track a relay
      system had to be used, so as the car passed from one section of track to
      the other someone new had to take control. James May (life size) posing
      with Scalextric race cars (smaller scale):

      (images credit:
        Toy Collector)

      Another video to watch is
      here... Well, if you think that James May's celebration of both Scalextric
      and Brooklands was wild, check out the plans that Mazda has for the famous
      Goodwood Festival of Speed: no less than a
      life-size slot car track.

      (image via)

      And if you think that all this is a bit too whimsical -- that slot cars
      are fine and dandy for crazy stunts or seriously dedicated hobbyists --
      then take a look at the following designs for public transportation
      systems, all of them using the same basic idea of our beloved childhood
      toy. The slot car is not just racing in miniature, a venue for art and
      eccentricity, but it's actually become a plan for the future of
      transpiration (more

      (images via
        1, 2)


      BONUS This is unrelated to slot cars, but perhaps - just as
      sophisticated and exciting? Here's the incredibly cool vintage toy:
      Operation X-500 The Rocket Launcher from the 1950s:




Visual Caffeine #8
Visual Caffeine, Issue 8

A thrilling blend of art, myths and technology

Visual Caffeine #7
Visual Caffeine, Issue 7

A thrilling blend of art, myths and technology

Art Deco
Imperial Dreams: Art Deco Update

Wings, Gears, & Glamorous Ladies

1970s SciFi
DRB Pics-of-the-Day

Grand Space Adventure 1970s Art

"Dark Roasted Blend" - All Kinds of Weird and Wonderful Things, Discovered Daily!"

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

That kid in the last pic is going to haunt my dreams.

Anonymous banii said...

That's so cool! In my childhood I always wanted to have such toy cars!

Anonymous about asteroids said...

Wow!This looks like a lot of fun!

Anonymous Mike Loshe said...

Thanks for the share. Those a definitely some of the most sophisticated slot car sets I have ever seen. I wonder how much the first one cost.

Blogger SLotblog said...

Though much smaller than in its heyday, slot racing is very much still alive and kicking. The newest genre is called Retro racing.

Check out: Slotblog


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