The Closest Thing To Real Racing
January 1, 2009
By Scott Lewis
This month we are going to take a break from "real" cars. I have dusted off my old (very old) HO slot cars and track. I have been enjoying them with my sons. Yes, this is the typical 40 something playing with his old toys now that he can do it with his kids.
I am going to create a small section of this web site dedicated to
slot cars. I have a series of articles in the works. Here is just some
of what you can expect:
HO vs. Large Scale Slot Cars
1/43 vs. 1/32 vs. 1/24 Scale Slot Cars
Analog vs. Digital
Scalextric vs. SCX vs. Carrera vs. Ninco
I am not going to have a regular monthly column for slot cars. But I will mention the articles in my newsletter. So feel free to subscribe and you will be notified when something new comes out in the slot car section of this site.
As for this month I am going to cover the basics of what I have (track and cars) and some of what I did to get the cars running.
The picture above is of all my working cars after a thorough cleaning and oiling. Each car above has brand new tires as well. If you click on the image you can see the full resolution image.
The last couple of times I took my track out (December
2000, January 2002 &
February 2002) I was discouraged
by how many cars would not run well, mostly due to bad shoes.
This time I decided to spend money to get things working right. I ordered a bunch of new tires and shoes for the cars. I stripped and cleaned most of the cars and then oiled them when they had shoes good enough for racing. In the end I have 46 fully running cars. Some still don't perform that well, but at least 30 are in great shape.
I was really surprised how much new tires made a difference. I have a few cars that made a lot of noise, mainly due to needing oil. But I initially passed them up because they couldn't move fast enough to do anything. It turned out the tires they had were so hard they had no traction. These cars ran remarkably well with the new tires and some oil.
The biggest surprise was the Tank. This is clearly a novelty vehicle, and it ran lousy. In fact, if was in my "parts bin" container. Well, when the new shoes arrived I decided to give it a try. I stripped it, cleaned it and put it back together. However instead of the huge "drag" tires that it is supposed to run I put on a set of new tires I bought for the pickup truck and van in the picture above. Those tires and the cleaning and oiling had the Tank running fast enough it could slide the tail in turns. Wow.
I had a Police Van, that used the same chassis and the tank. After cleaning it the mount the chassis screws to broke. So I pulled the Funny Car body you see in the picture from the parts bin. The Funny Car has wheel wells to take the drag tires that are used for the Tank. I am using the pickup's "specialty" tires on this car as well for the time being. I would like to buy new Drag tires but I am in no hurry for these two vehicles. Every car in the picture above has new tires. I don't have anymore tires to go around and some of the G-Plus cars are running the wrong width tire.
I added up the track I have (I also did this back in 2002). I won't go into it here, but I have over 100 feet of track. I bought new Tomy AFX track. I purchased the 9" radius and 12" radius high banked curves. My old Aurora AFX high backed turns did not work well and the full set was inexpensive when I was buying shoes for the cars.
My youngest son is most into this with me, but the older one likes it when we head to the mall and race 1/24 scale cars on their huge tracks. I am going to be planning a 1/32 scale track for my game room in the near future. This will be some of what will go into with the slot car section of this web site.
That's it for now. I will post pages pretty soon in the new section showing all the cars and track in detail. Stay tuned.
Next month we will get back to real cars with what I am calling the New Millennium Collection.