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The Cars Of Slot Car Challenge 1

September 7, 2009

Rob Ambrose of Glendale, Arizona, sent in this kandy blue entry. Modifications include bronze bushings, Fly Racing hollow axle and crown gear, Fly Evo 2 wheels and tires and chassis bottom ground for clearance. On his list of modifications he also wrote, “Destroyed body trying to remove paint…Tried to salvage body w/paint.” We appreciate his sense of humor, having been there ourselves. Total cost $82.93 (“Yikes!” he wrote on his form next to the total).

The car was nicely painteddespiteRob’s troubles in thestripping process.The Fly Racing wheels also enhanced its appearance, giving it a more modern touch.

On track, the car had issues, the rear tires having too much mechanical grip for the amount of down force provided by the narrow traction magnet. It was very difficult to keep on track as it simply “tilted”, going onto its side as soon as any amount of power was fed to the controller.It simply needed either harder tires so that it could slide or a stronger, wider magnet. The only way it could be driven without flying off the track as it stood on its side was by tip-toeing at moderate speed through the whole twisty section and applying full power only when completely off a corner and into a straight portion of the track. The novice racer had a real hard time to keep it moving,and both the expert and the novice had no less than 5 off-track incidents in their 5-minute races against time.

Race result:
Expert driver: 30 laps, 5 off-track excursions.
Novice driver: 19 laps. 5 off-track excursions
Race Placing: 8th
Concours: 4th
Bang for the Buck: 7th

KevinFleming of Cornwall, Vermont built this car as a model of the Equipe Endeavor Ferrari 250GTO driven by Mike Parkes to win the Scalextric International Trophy race at Silverstone in 1962. The model’s only performance modification is a Scale Auto SC007 35000 RPM motor. Total cost $56.98.

The car looked very good and came close to winning the Concours. Its authentic detail was excellent down to the correct license numbers and tech and tax stickers. The carrefused to trip the lap counterregardless of how much we tried, so laps were hand counted. The braided contacts also needed the basic adjustment that most other entries also needed. Once that was done, the car ran flawlessly. On this car the motor made a huge difference as horsepower played its part to nearly win the contest. The track designfavored lots ofpower within the limitations of the stock power supplyand the Scale Auto motor provedwell-suited for the parametersasno other car couldmatch it in a straight line. The motor also revealed the quality of thechassis as the basically stock car behaved quite well on the Scalextric track even with the extra power. Even so, the expert driver still managed to lose it 3 times in the 5-minute run,and the novice driver had more trouble and lost quite a bit of time as a result. With better tires and perhaps a magnet upgrade this car could have been the performance winner.

Race result:

Expert driver: 58 laps and enough sections to better car # 1, 3 off-track


Novice driver: 40 laps. 7 off-track excursions

Race Placing: 2nd

Concours: 2nd

Bang for the Buck: 4th

Kevin Fleming took first place in Concours with this model of a 250 GTO from the 1962 Scalextric International Trophy. This one was owned by SMART (Stirling Moss Auto Racing Team) and driven by Masten Gregory to second place behind the #31 car. Kevin’s model is box-stock except for the painting and detailing. Both ofhis cars were painted with a brush! Total cost: $39.95.

His superbmodeling won the Concours by unanimous voteof thethree judges.The finish was so good theywereunaware that it had been painted with a brush. This is a sweet-looking machine.However, when the car was run, the headlight bar came loose, fouling the front tires and quickly burning outthe motor. By the time we found out what the problem was (it was difficult to see) it was too late and we had no choice but to give it the only DNF in the contest.

Race result:

Expert driver: 0 laps.

Novice driver: 0 laps.

Race Placing: 9th

Concours: 1st

Bang for the Buck: 9th

Our Bang-For-The-Buck winnercomes from Rick Gondeck of Abingdon, MD. Rick drilled holes throughout the chassis to remove weight and lowered the body over the chassis by shortening the body posts. He also detailed and weathered the body. Otherwise, the car is box-stock. You’ll note that the body is from an A1801, not the E1801 specified for the contest. At least part of the error was ours (we sent him a set of entry forms with the wrong car) so we accepted the entry for the race and Bang for the Buck which it won, but the car was not eligible for Concours. The car was very nicely “weathered” and would have placed well in Concours. Total cost: $39.99.

At firstthe pickup contacts simply did not pick any juice andthe carfailed to trip the lap counter.This was one ofseveralcars had problems caused by the switch to the Scalextric lap counter. Once the braided contacts were frayed and split andtheir ends curved down some the car operated properly.In the hands of our expert driver it covered 57 laps, finishing in a creditable 4th spot. It never fell off the track. Our novice driver never drove the car asshe had to leave before we corrected the problem and made the car ready for its track test. (Yes, the novice was a “she”…) When we tried to run the car, as Rick requested, after the official competition, setting the body screws 1.5 turns back, it would not run at all, totally stuck to the track.

Race result:

Expert driver: 57 laps.

Novice driver: 0 laps.

No off-track excursions.

Race Placing: 4th

Concours: Disq..

Bang for the Buck: 1st

Priestly J. Mance, of Upper Marlboro, MD, sent us this entry, box-stock except for a wild metal-flake paint job. We like his race team name — PerforMance Racing. Total cost: $39.95.

On track the car was nice and smooth with only a bit of twitchiness, but it simply could not compete with themodifiedcars. Still, it picked up a worthy 2nd place in the BFB competition.

Race result:

Expert driver: 47 laps, 1 off-track excursions.

Novice driver: 43 laps. 1 off-track excursions

Race Placing: 6th

Concours: 5th

Bang for the Buck: 2nd

Here’s a serious race car from Byron L. Watson of Beavercreek. OH. Byron flattened the bottom of the chassis andfittedTSRF front and rear wheels and tires. He also installeda stainless-steel rear axle, inserted pieces of brass tubing inside the original plastic bushings and glued the stock motor and the bushings in place. The tires were glued onto the wheels and sanded. There’s also a Fly Racing 25T crown gear with aluminum hub and two stacked magnets, a Slot It SICN02 and a Professor Motor PMTR1030. Byron lowered the body by modifying the driver’s compartment and shortening the mounting posts by 2-3mm. The headlight bar was removed and small flares added to cover the extra width of the rear tires. Total cost: $67.92

The car was the first one on track andneeded, like most of the other cars,a little splitting ofthe braided contact ends that would not at firstpick up current. Itset a blistering pace that stood as fastest untilbeaten by the overall winner. Eventually, it wasalso barely edged out byKevin Fleming’s second-placecar.A bit more horsepower would not havehurt this car as its handling was excellent and it was very easy to drive. It had one of the best chassis setups of all the cars in the contest.

Race result:

Expert driver: 58 laps.

Novice driver: 55 laps

No off-track excursions.

Race Placing: 3rd

Concours: 6th

Bang for the Buck: 6th

Byron’s second entry is a much more conservative car, box-stock except for a pair of Ortmann 43B tires and lots of basic race preparation, including gluing and truing the tires, gluing in the bushings and motor, and basic lube and break-in. Interestingly enough, he raised the magnet .020″, decreasing the down force– more straight-line speed, perhaps? An interesting approach to optimizing a car for the BFB prize. Total cost: $44.68

The car was easy to drive and the expert driver drew the most out of it, covering an impressive 56 laps with no offs. Our novice driver had a little harder time with the car and had 3 off-course incidents but still covered 49 laps with it.

Race result:

Expert driver: 56 laps. No off-track excursions.
Novice driver: 49 laps. 3 off-track excursions.

Race Placing: 5th

Concours: 8th

Bang for the Buck: 3rd

We can just imagine somebody preparing a GTO like this for SCCA A-Production racing in the 70s to run against big-block Corvettes and 427 Cobras. It’s all there — fat tires, flared fenders, big side pipes, and a look-at-me paint job. The body has also been lowered over the chassis. And the mechanicals are just as radical as the body, with all Slot.It wheels, tires, axles, bushings, gears, guide, braid, and a Flat-6 motor moved to the rear. Brian Winters, of Waltham, MA, entered this one,clearly going for Concours and all-out performance, more than the BFB prize. Total cost $115.48.

Brian’s flashy-looking car represented a lot of work but did not impress the three Concours judges enoughto place higher than3rd. It looked very wild indeed,the size of its V12 engine intakessuggesting a very largepower plantlike the turn-of-the-century (the 20th, not the 21st) 24-liter monsters that raced on the open roads. The work and paint was well done, and the car was nicely finished in every respect.

On track however, the car had a tough time. It lackedmechanical grip from its tires and had almost no downforce from its magnet. Our expert driver did his best but lost it twice.Driving prudentlyto keep it on track only produced 39 laps. Our novice driver lost control 5 times and covered 34 laps. The car has proved to be the favorite of people who have posted commentsabout the entries on various web sites, and we’ll see if we can get Brian to do an article on his bodywork techniques.

Race result:

Expert driver: 39 laps. 2 off-track excursions.

Novice driver: 34 laps. 5 off-track excursions.

Race Placing: 7th

Concours: 3rd

Bang for the Buck: 8th

Alan Wood of Auburn Township, OH kept his car stock except for two major upgrades, a Scale Auto SC006 motor and Indy Grips 3009 rear tires, but it proved to be the race winning combination with62 laps.He also put some silicone or Shoo Goo on the shaft bushing mount to keep the bushing securely in place. He told us on his entry form that he had had problems in the past with Fly car shaft bushings popping out of place during spins so he took no chances. Total cost $59.28.

Alan’s car did not garner many Scalextric International Trophy race¬†points as he left the body stock, but his car was simply the fastest and best-handling of the group. In the hands of our expert driver, it covered 4 more laps in the five minutes than any other car and had no offs, it was that good. Also, our novice driver was able to cover an impressive 58 laps with it, also with no trouble.

Race result:

Expert driver: 62 laps.

Novice driver: 58 laps.

No off-track excursions.

Race Placing: 1st

Concours: 7th

Bang for the Buck: 5th


One Response to “The Cars Of Slot Car Challenge 1”
  1. John Anderson says:

    Belated kudos to Electric Dreams!
    The “playing field” could not be any more level. Every one had the same starting point. It is still interesting to see how the entrants applied their individual intellects and skills to compete in so many categories.
    I hope “Slot Car Challenge 3″ uses the same one car, with a nicely discounted price, format. Up to date ingenuity should be fun to watch!

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