View Full Version : slot car

07-17-2008, 03:00 AM
Well, our slot car business is rolling right along. We're getting lots of people coming in, buying cars, racing, joining the club, etc. We had good exposure during a recent car show, and got a good write-up in the local paper. I'm amazed at how many people are laying down the cash for one, two, three cars- one guy has spend nearly a grand so far to add cars to his collection. We can pay the rent, whoooeee!

People are also bringing in their old cars to get repaired. Today one fella brought in a carrera slot car that has a form of steering. I wonder if anyone here could identify this thing- I don't have a photo but here's a bit of a description- there's a rear axle with two crown gears on it, and the motor shaft has a rotating assembly on it which engages one or the other of these crown gears by reversing the direction of the motor. In one direction, the gear assembly on the motor shaft swings over to drive one crown gear, then if the motor is reversed, this assembly rotates over to the other crown gear and engages it. Either way, the axle rotates forwards.

The rear of the motor has a short shaft coming out with what looks like a piece of rubber tubing pressed onto it. There's an arm coming from the front axle which passes over this rubber bushing. As the motor turns, the bushing drives the arm to one side and sort of keeps it there. When the motor is reversed, the arm is driven the other way and is kept there. The end result is a sort of crude steering controlled by switching the polarity to the track rails.

The car still picks up power from the track, but it appears that it can do so with the pickup braids much further apart than is normal for most slot cars. I think what's happening is that two cars can race on the same track if one has the pickup braids set further apart than the other.

It's not HO or AFX, it's 1/32 scale, or something close.

I seem to recall a track that was slotless and the cars could run either on the left side of the track or the right, and this car looks like it would work that way. I'm assuming it would have to ride the fence on either side of the track in order to stay on track, given this crude steering system. This particular car is a lambo, but is made by carrera. My fading memory says a track was made by heathkit that would work like this, and in more modern days- wasn't there another maker that used this system? German, perhaps? Is this ringing a bell with anybody?

07-17-2008, 03:21 AM
Sounds a little like a TCR car. IIRC it stood for Total Control Racing. You had a normal controller and it had a switch on it to flip lanes from on side to the other. I think the idea was you could overtake and such...


07-17-2008, 10:53 AM
What you need to do is hit some of the old book stores on line for the old slot car magazines. I have or had a frame that had the steering front wheels this one was on the same frame section that the pick up and flag /pin was on. the big selling point to the 13/14 year old s back in the day was when going into the corner, you could punch the trigger and make the rear end step out. Of course there was only one kid in the area that could do it with out spinning the car out. And he looked and acted like a 14 year old Fonzie:cool:
Will look and see if I can find the box with the slot cars in it. Now I still have the old scale electrix set, a 60's AFX set and a Petty racing set AFX from the 80's
Stomberg, Eldon, and Gilbert had sets out. Not to mention the Lionel racing set on the HO tracks:rolleyes:

07-17-2008, 11:32 AM
Some 25 years ago I worked for a guy at a slot-car track who published a newsletter called Scale Auto Racing News. I think he may still be publishing or webhosting the newsletter. His name is John Ford, he's now in the Dallas area. I ran across contact info for him a few years back on google. Don't have time at the moment. Try to contact him, he might be able to give you some good info, and maybe a bit of press.


07-17-2008, 03:15 PM
Darryl...Glad to hear that it is taking off and paying the bills. It is a fun thing for the kids and us older kids too. I remember that some of the kids I knew used to rewind the motors and increase the performance quite a lot. Some of the frames had a hinged toung that the follower shoe was attached to, that allowed the car to do a wheelie on takeoff. I never saw one with steering options but that sounds pretty cool too!

Best of luck

07-19-2008, 05:29 PM
Thanks for the responses. I'm having some trouble nailing this one down. Tyco made track and cars that were steerable, that's as close as I can find to this carrera car. The mechanisms are very similar, with the rear shaft from the motor driving a steering arm by friction, and having dual crown gears on the rear axle. There's a hole for a guide pin, but there was no evidence that a pin had ever been used in it. If this car had any miles on it, it had to be used on a slotless track, but I can't find any reference to any track made by carrera that would have worked with this car. Hmm.

Anyway, it's not a big deal. If this customer wants to race this car on our track, he can instal a guide pin or blade and screw the steering arm down in the straight ahead position. He did tell me that if he can build a working brass engine, he should be able to make up a guide pin. I'll have to get him to fill me in on the brass engine.

I had an urge today to work on making a slot car out of a computer mouse or a tv or vcr remote control. Another idea I had was to carve a body out of that dense black foam that kneeling mats are made from. I have a good size piece of that which I was going to make tires from. It could probably serve to make impact-proof bodies from as well. One fella bought some foam tires, but said he didn't like them, not enough traction. I guess there's room for experiment there.

It can be dangerous being an idea man. :) I'm also thinking about making my own neodymium brushless motors, maybe going split axle dual motor drive, etc. Maybe I should hold off until I take my meds- :)

07-19-2008, 07:28 PM
I've been racking my brain trying to remember those steerable cars. Or was it cars that would steer? As to who made them?, I keep drawing a blank. I know I've seen the cars, but all I can seem to remember was that they were mostly junk. Someones dream I'm sure. It did not fly.

Keep it as simple and cheap as you can. The attraction to RC is right behind you, and it has big teeth.

07-20-2008, 11:14 AM
About 20 years ago, I was visiting L.A. and happened to go into a surplus store. There was a counter display with new boxed slot car motors for sale at $0.25 apiece. I was looking for some motors to make my own switch/turnout motors for my then HO model railroad.

I asked the owner how many of the motors he had. He said he had a big wooden crate full that contained about 2,000 of them. After some haggling, I left with the entire box at $0.10 apiece. We were both happy.

When I got back home with the crate, I kept about 100 of the motors and sold the balance to a local hobby shop for a small profit.

Those were great little 12 VDC motors. The ones I had were painted red and had very nice brushes and ran quite well. They were made in Jaoan. I built about 35 switch machines using the motor to turn a 3-48 screw to pull a lever back and forth. I made switch points out of brass envelope latches and controlled the polarity and direction with small diodes so that I could get away with only three wires. I later added a set of points so that I could signal what position the switch machine was in.

I now have a larger "G" Scale Model railroad up in the top floor of my barn, running around the wall. I am still using three of the same switch machines with the same motors and they are still running. They move the larger "G" Scale switches with no troulble at all. What a deal!


07-21-2008, 03:24 AM
I saw a similar deal once on a 'flat' of motors that were meant for those little adding machine/printers. They might even have been five pole, and were very torky and internally governed. Hard to beat those for power to weight and size ratio. Long gone deal, though.

Ever heard of slot-chariots? I just finished gathering up a dozen or so little motors for the chariots we're going to build, or should I say I'm going to build. These will have a pair of rubber horses each, and will pull a chariot that the potential driver must make him or herself. They will be restricted in height and width- other than that it's pretty much anything goes. The last chariot still rolling will be the winner of the event- etc. All will have identical motor-driven chassis which the horses will stand on , and will pull the chariots in the same manner as was done in that era. As you can imagine, there will be a few details to work out, but it should be a real hoot.

I wanted to make the horses actually run on the track, but I got vetoed. I can see how to accomplish that, but it would be a bit of a challenge. There's also the question of whether or not the team could be made to run fast enough to require a level of skill from the operator to keep it on the track.

Later this morning we'll be looking at 1/32 scale horses at one of our suppliers warehouses. I hope they have something I can work with.