Scalextric Slot Cars

There’s a new range of Scalextric slot cars using digital technologies that are starting to rejuvenate indoor slot car racing action.

These new sets allow racers to change lanes, overtake or block your opponents as well as brake into corners. This allows for a more realistic experience. Up to four cars can now move into the inner or outer lanes at the touch of a button on the hand throttles to take them past their track rivals.

Another new variation on the Scalextric, based around the latest racing craze of Drifting.
Like Drifting, the new GBP75 Scalextric Powerslide racing set demands the ultimate in car control and requires drivers to maintain and maneuver controlled slides at high speeds. The cars are fitted with 'guide-blade' systems which allow them to spin 360 degrees and travel in both directions around the 'figure-eight' track.


Scalextric Commercials (UK)


How it all began...

In the early 1950s, Scalex began what would later become a worldwide craze and for the next quarter century, a slot car set was part of every adolescent’s dreams. Scalextric is a slot car racing brand that first appeared in the late 1950s and is currently a major international brand owned by Hornby.


Mini Models, LTD.

Scalextric came from the Scalex brand of Minimodels Ltd. which was a clockwork powered race car system that first appeared in 1952. Their inventor Mr B Francis showed Scalextric ("Scalex" plus "electric") cars at the annual Harrogate Toy Fair in 1957. In 1958 unable to meet demand for their popular range the parent company was sold to Lines Bros Ltd who operated as "Tri-ang". Their subsidiary Rovex which specialised in plastic then developed Scalextrix converting the metal cars to the easier and cheaper to mould plastic. The track which was originally a rubber compound became moulded plastic at a later date. Production continued at Mini-models in Havant until 1967 when it moved to Rovex's own site.

When Lines Bros collapsed, their subsidiary Rovex-Triang which handled Scalextric and the Hornby railway brand was sold off eventually becoming Hornby Railways.

In 1952 a small company called Minimodels Limited introduced a range of metal bodied model racing cars which contained a unique type of clockwork motor. The inventor of these cars was Mr B Francis and the trade mark known as SCALEX. By 1956 the novelty of such cars was flagging and so Francis began to seek new ways to update the product. Whilst witnessing a demonstration of electrically operated cars running on a track Francis instantly recognised the potential for his own products and modified his cars to take an electric motor. He also devisied a rubber based track system with two parallel grooves in which metal rails carried electric current thus guiding the cars by means of a "gimbal" wheel suspended beneath them.

Rovex was familiar with the type of production necessary for Scalextric and after studying the product carefully introduced three new models: the Ferrari, and JPS Lotus and the March. The cars were met with popular approval and Scalextric was swiftly back on the road to recovery.

The new product was called Scalextric, and was unveiled at the annual Harrogate Toy Fair in January 1957. An immediate sensation, the orders flowed in, exhausting the company's production capacity to such an extent that in 1958 Francis chose to sell Minimodels to a company with greater resources.


Momentum, then Disaster...

Such developments led to the 1964 advertising slogan "the most complete model motor racing system in the world" Champion driver Jim Clark was retained to maintain the Scalextric momentum. The Scalextric World Championship which was staged in London soon after, increased the appeal of the game even further and very soon Scalextric was being manufactured in France, Australia, New Zealand, Spain and the USA.

The introduction of new gimmicks and themed sets, including the 1967 007 James Bond Aston Martin set, enjoyed substantial success until 1968 inflation impacted on demand. In 1970 a new product designed to increase steering flexibility was launched known as "You Steer". "You Steer" did not revive flagging sales as was hoped and a decision was taken to close the Minimodels Limited factory and transfer production to an associated company, Rovex, now known as Hornby Hobbies.


Scalextric Rebound

Progress continued steadily and deliberately throughout the 1970's until the instant appeal of the home computer in the early 1980s began to undermine sales. This phase soon passed however and by the time Scalextric reached its 30th birthday in 1987 the variety and quality of the models was surpassed.

Forty years later, Scalextric continues to model an unrivalled selection of the worlds greatest racing and sports cars. The success and continued appeal of Scalextric is undoubtedly a tribute to the foresight of its originator.

back  |  top

Front Range HO Slot Car Racing, Scaleracers, Scaleracers Forums, SlotCarLibrary, SlotCarWiki, SlotCalendar, SlotLinks © 2001-2011