Slot cars are a classic, exciting hobby for anyone to get into. With an endless array of designs, tracks and builds, slot cars are the perfect pastime. Ever since the creation of slot cars in the early 1900s, enthusiasts have enjoyed modifying, crafting and displaying their collections for others to see. Let's explore slot car racing and learn more about the basics of slot cars.
Slot car racing is a competitive racing hobby. Miniature powered vehicles race each other on tracks with slots or grooves that guide the cars along their paths. Users control the cars with handheld remotes to race on their own or against others in competitions. Typically, slot cars will look like replicas of actual vehicles, although modifying them to improve performance is popular. Racing slot cars is an exciting hobby that offers many opportunities for socialization and community support.
The first commercial slot car was created in 1912 by Lionel Corporation, an American toy manufacturer. While they were initially model train set accessories, slot cars soon became an attraction of their own. The toy train rail provided slot cars with power and movement, and buyers could get independent speed control as an additional feature.
Unfortunately, World War I soon began, and slot car production halted. Though companies made slot cars sporadically over the following decades, they did not become popular until the 1950s when racers in Britain helped increase the popularity of electric cars. Prior to the emergence of electric vehicles, slot cars ran on diesel, wind-up clockwork mechanisms and rubber bands.
With the arrival of the 1960s, slot car racing exploded in popularity. The golden age for slot cars is considered to be 1961-1966, which people can experience by visiting the Los Angeles Slot Car Museum. There were 3,000 racetracks across America and $500 million in equipment and cars sold to slot car fans. Kids would gather together to race their cars and try to win local fame and have fun.
As the 60s became the 70s, technological advances made slot cars seem obsolete, but a recent resurgence in the hobby is bringing it back in a way it hasn't in decades.
Slot cars have several components that work together to make these vehicles effective racing pieces and incredible display collectibles. Let's break down a slot car's main parts:
The different slot car scale sizes and your racing experience will influence the racing track you use. It's essential to have the right size car for the track since the groove will fit a particular car size. Without the right size, your car could struggle to stay on the track.
Most slot car tracks are loops — a continuous shape that allows cars to race multiple laps. The more turns and twists a track has, the harder it is to race.
There are two primary materials modern slot car tracks are made from:
Slot car types are divided into categories based on size. The slot car scale is around one slot car unit for every designated number of units on a real-life car. For example, a 1:32 slot car means that there is one inch of slot car for every 32 inches of real car. There are several different slot car sizes, but the most popular are:
Slot car racing might seem like a lot at first — but it's a rewarding hobby once you dive in. Here are some quick tips to help get you started with slot car racing:
Slot car racing has a rich history and an active, thriving race community today. Whether you're interested in collecting or racing slot cars, Auto World Store carries all the high-quality stock you need to jump-start your stock car hobby. Explore our wide selection of slot car tracks, parts and cars online.
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