Graeme's Scalextric Site
I started collecting Scalextric cars and track in my early teens, not long after acquiring a paper round and started earning my own money. A distant cousin had a set, and after visting him a couple of times, and then seeing a set in the newsagent where I worked, made me determined to save up and buy one. This would have been around 1970, it cost about $18.00 (a lot back then!) and was just a basic oval with two R.E. Offenhouser cars. (Unfortunately, I don't have the bodies anymore, more's the shame, as they could have been worth a bit by now.)
I was slowly able to build it up, through Birthday and Christmas presents initially, and eventually with my own money that I saved. I also started to teach myself how to take the cars apart and put them back together again, which meant that I was able to repair them myself as they got older, worn out and eventually broke down.
I also started playing around with the bodies. Initially I used old airfix models, ripping out the chassis, and clipping it to the Offenhauser bodies (which needed a little paring down to make them fit). Eventually I found a store that would actaully order the Scalextric bodies for me, and the first one I got was a Lamborghini Muira (C17), complete with guide pin. It was then quite an easy task for me to take the running gear from one Offenhauser and install it on the Lamborghini. Unfortunately, that store closed down or changed hands shortly after, and that was the last time I was able to buy a brand new Scalextric body.
My next purchase was a complete car, the Ferrari P4 (C16). Unfortunately, I did not run it in very well (I was still quite young at this stage, and didn't really understand how to do it properly. Also, the car initally would only run when full power was applied. (I eventually learned the technique of lifting the rear wheels off the ground while running it in.) However, this was no big deal to me, as I simply swapped over the motor from the remaining Offenhauser. (I never liked those bodies anyway!)
I then had the fortune to meet a fellow Scalextric enthusiast, through friends at my Tennis club. We began to combine our sets on a regular basis to set up really big tracks. He had quite a few cars, mainly Rally and F1 style, while I had the GT style, and the more interesting track pieces, such as a pit stop and chicanes. We then started to combine our buying power, and as well as buying new stuff, also found a good source of second hand stuff in the Melbourne Trading Post. We managed to pick up quite a few bargains in there, including some very rare cars (such as my C22 Porsche 917 and a Ford 3L), that were in various stages of disrepair. However, between the two of us, we were soon able to repair, rebuild or combine cars and get them fully operational and looking good as well.
Around that time we also started playing around with the colours, as many cars only came in the one colour. We resprayed quite a few cars, some sensibly, some not so sensibly, but it was all in fun. One big lesson I learned here was to use enamel spray paint, not plastic, as enamel is easily removed, using oven cleaner. Plastic paint has to be sanded off, as most paint strippers for plastic paint may also damage the plastic bodies as well.
Eventually we parted ways, but not before I was able to buy his half of the track out. Unfortunately over the next few years, I let some of my more intersting bits of track and cars go, either to younger nephews (after pressure from my dad), or selling a few bits when it seemed to become too large and I wasn't using it much. It was at that stage I lost the pitstop and other track, and some F1 cars, including 2 March Fords and a Ferrari 312 (fortunately I kept one of them).
My interest has peaked again over the last 5 or 7 years, with my own children coming along, and also through some workmates who originally thought it was bit lame, until they tried it out one night, and had a ball. We had several sessions like that over the years, until, as usually happens, people move around and we lost touch to a degree. I am hopeful of reviving these again one day, as most of them have just started families of their own.
I have two young daughters, and strangely enough, they love playing with the Scalextric when I get it out every now and then. The eldest even got me to set up a huge 6-lane figure 8 track for her 10th birthday party, (both boys and girls invited), and it was quite a success.
Recently, my goal has been to collect 4 of each type of GT car I have, so I can have races with identical cars. So far, I have managed to do that for all but a few types, and in the process decided to pare down the collection to just the style of cars I really like, namely the GT style cars, and some of the older, wide wheel based F1 cars (such as JPS, Tyrell Elf, Ferrari 312, etc). So all my rally cars have now gone, along with the Shadows and BRM's.
The only car I am unlikely to collect 4 of is the C22 Porsche 917. This was only made in France, and is quite rare, fetching over $100 in good condition, and over $75 in even in poor condition, and I just can't see the sense or value in paying that much for a toy car that could get ruined in the next race. I can understand a collector wanting one kept in a showcase, for its rarity value, but I actusally want to use the thing, otherwise, why get it? Still, I will keep my eyes out for a bargain on eBay, as you never know what may come up. (Breaking news - Managed to pick up a couple of 917's in poor, painted condition, along with another car for $100 all up in two separate auctions. Fixed up both to near mint condition, although one had a paint stain on the front that I could not remove. So I stripped back the only one I already had to its original colour and painted the stained one. That got me up to 3 of them, with one to go. But then someone expressed an interest in the mint one, which I sold for $120. Along with the $25 I got for the 3rd car in the auction (a Ford xr3i), I actually ended up with an extra 917 for nothing, even including the cost of restoring all the cars.)
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