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Making Your Spirit Porsche 936 Fly

Spirit Porsche 936

The Porsche 936 is one of my favorite LeMans cars.  When Spirit introduced their 1/32 scale 936s I was really looking forward to racing them with my race-tuned and modified Fly classic Ferraris, Lolas, and Porsches.  The Spirit 936, however, turned out to be a bit shy in the performance department compared with my Fly cars, especially when compared to the ones with a motor pod modified to take a Scalextric bar magnet.  So, I set about the task of giving it a performance boost to make it competitive.

The first step, of course, was to disassemble the whole car.  Everything went fine until I tried to take the motor out.  It just wouldn’t budge from its mount.  Finally, after the application of increasing amounts of force, the motor snapped loose…taking part of the motor mount with it.  It turned out that one of the factory workers in Shanghai or wherever had been having a bad day and somehow managed to spill some CA glue where it didn’t belong.

Okay, I thought, I’ll just get a new chassis.  Not quite.  It turns out that Spirit is a little behind the curve when it comes to spare parts availability and no replacement 936 chassis were to be had.   Bummer.

Then I remembered that the Porsche 936 was almost the same car, under the skin, as a Porsche 908/3.  It was like a 908/3 on steroids, with a much more powerful engine and different bodywork.  So, I thought, since I’m trying to make my 936 run like a Fly car anyway, why not see if a Fly B84 Porsche 908/3 chassis and B104 motor pod will fit in place of the original Spirit chassis?   When the chassis and pod arrived I began test fitting the various Spirit parts to them.  All the mechanicals were a perfect fit; even the wheels and tires were the same size.  All the chassis needed to fit under the body was some minor trimming around the edges, a wheelbase decrease of 1/16″, and a mounting hole for the body’s front mounting post just aft of the guide.

Photo A shows the mods needed to shorten the wheelbase and create a hole for the front mounting screw.   The rectangular slot that the tab on the front of the Fly pod fits into just needs to be extended forward by 1/16″. (1).  The mounting screw hole (2) really only needs to be just a little bit larger in diameter than the head of the screw, but I made it somewhat oversize so I didn’t have to be quite so precise about its exact location.

Photo B shows the other mods I made to the Fly pod and chassis. The red lines around the edge of the chassis show where it needs to be trimmed slightly to fit under the 936 body.  A file, emery board, or sandpaper on a block will do the job. A rectangular piece of .020″ sheet styrene (1) has at its center a hole just large enough to insert the front body mounting screw into.  (See below for how you get it into its proper location).  I gave the pod the same modification I did to my Fly Lola T70 (see article in Electric Dreams News, Aug. 29, 2008), enabling it to hold a Scalextric bar magnet (2).  In addition, I installed a Scalextric W8201 press-on plastic spur gear (3), which gives a much better mesh than Spirit’s gear, and replaced the stock rear tires with Indy Grips 3003 silicone tires (4).  Later, when test-fitting the body, I discovered that the ends of  the stiffening ribs in the chassis interfered slightly with the body posts I fabricated so I trimmed them back a little (5).   Sharp-eyed readers will also note that the motor is not the original Spirit unit.  I somehow managed to break off one of its lead wire tabs, so I replaced the motor with an extra 18K motor I had lying around, giving the car the same RPM capability as a stock Fly motor.  Only items 1 and 5, plus the edge trimming, are really necessary to do the conversion.  The rest give the 936 the same upgrades my modified Fly cars have.

The Spirit 936 and the Fly 908/3 both have a body post just forward of each rear wheel.  Unfortunately, Spirit and Fly did not put them in exactly the same place.  So, I cut the two posts off, glued a piece of Evergreen styrene tubing around ech of them, and reused them in the their new locations.  In addition, I had to make a third post, located just forward of the body’s gearbox and exhaust detail assembly, to mount the rear of the Fly pod.  The three posts are shown above (Photo C) secured in their positions with epoxy glue. The front body post was used unchanged except for slight trimming.  In addition, the headlight buckets (red arrows) were mismounted.  I had to grind away their hot-melted mountings and reposition them properly, securing them with CA glue, so they wouldn’t interfere with the fit of the front of the chassis.

To mount the body in its correct location on the trimmed chassis, I attached  the three rear body posts to the chassis with their mounting screws.  I also fastened the rectangle of sheet styrene to the front post with another screw.  I test fitted the body, adjusting the length of the posts as needed to allow the body to sit at the correct height on the chassis.  If a post is too long it can be shortened by filing or grinding.  If it’s a little too short the inside of the body can be built up with a small piece of sheet styrene.   When I had all the posts the right length I mixed up some 5-minute epoxy.  I put a generous dab of it at each point where a post was to meet the inside of the body and liberally coated the bottom of the styrene rectangle on the front post.  I then carefully positioned the body on the chassis, using rubber bands to hold body and chassis firmly together while the epoxy set.  I did the mounting with the axle assemblies in the chassis to help gauge the correct fit but with the motor and lead wires not installed.  After the epoxy set up I removed the body screws, installed the motor, and the car was ready for the track.

With its new chassis, magnet, and tires my Spirit 936 is a good match for my modified Fly cars on my Scalextric Sport track.  It also is competitive with a Scalextric Ford GT40 running box-stock except for Indy Grips 1010 silicone tires.  The Fly classics, the 936, and the GT40, as I’ve modified them, make up a fun racing class that evokes one of the most interesting periods in international sports car racing.  In addition, the cars are easy to drive and inexpensive.  All night endurance race, anyone?

If you have any questions or comments on this article please leave them below.

Electric Dreams Slot Car Challenge #1

April 7, 2009 by  
Filed under Slot Car News


Electric Dreams, one of America’s largest Internet slot car dealers, is pleased to announce the first of a new series of mail-in slot car competition events, the Electric Dreams Slot Car Challenge #1.

Fly E1801

The event will be a competition for Fly E1801 Ferrari 250 GTO models built to a very liberal set of rules. With very few restrictions, almost any part of the car can be replaced or modified. There will be three separate competitions within the event:
Concours: The cars will be judged on overall appearance and quality of workmanship.
All-out performance: The cars will be run one at a time for two 5-minute runs on a Scalextric Sport track layout to be constructed for the event. The car with the highest lap total for the 10 minutes wins. It will not be a race, since there will only be one car on the track at a time, but will be like a car magazine comparison test in which the cars of many different tuners are tested individually to see who has built the best-performing car.
Bang For The Buck Prize: The winner will be the car determined to have achieved the best combination of a high lap total, low cost, and fewest and simplest modifications.
In each of these three competitions we will award prizes of $200 for first place, $100 for second, and $50 for third. Any entrant who can sweep all three can win a cool $600.
The contest begins April 3, 2009. All entries must be received at Electric Dreams by the close of business on July 10, 2009. The contest will be concluded and the cars on their way back to their owners by July 31, 2009.
“I’m excited about this contest,” Scott Bader, owner of Electric Dreams, commented, “because it gives slot car hobbyists with lots of different skills, interests, and budgets a good chance to win at least one of the three competitions.”
To make the contest as affordable as possible Electric Dreams is offering the Fly E1801 Ferrari 250 GTO at a special price of $39.95 for the duration of the contest or until supplies run out.
Electric Dreams Slot Car Challenge #1
Official Rules, Contest Instructions, and Information
1. The object of this contest will be to build a Fly E1801 Ferrari 250 GTO to win one or more of these three competitions:
¬¨¬®‚Äö√†√' Performance: The car with the highest lap total for two 5-minute runs wins.
¬¨¬®‚Äö√†√' Concours: The car judged to have the best overall appearance and quality of workmanship will be the winner.
¬¨¬®‚Äö√†√' Bang For The Buck Prize: This one goes to the car that gets the highest on-track performance at the lowest cost with the fewest and simplest modifications.
2. All cars entered must be built from a Fly E1801 car purchased from Electric Dreams during the period of the contest, which will be from April 3, 2009 to July 10, 2009. The official entry form and other paperwork for the contest will be sent with the car. Entry is free; there is no entry fee. However, you must purchase from Electric Dreams one Fly E1801 car for each car you enter in the contest. The number of entries is limited to the number of Fly E1801 cars in stock at Electric Dreams.

Fly E1801

3. The original Fly E1801 chassis, body, windows, driver figure, and interior tub must be used but may be modified. The original wheelbase and guide lead (distance from center of rear axle to center of guide post) must remain unchanged. Only one guide is allowed but any guide may be used. Anything else may be changed. See section 5 for limitations.

4. The body must completely cover the chassis, wheels, and tires when viewed from directly above. No part of the car may be more than 2.375″ (60.325mm) wide. No part of the chassis may be visible through the cockpit (interior) of the car.
5. All parts used to modify the car must be available from Electric Dreams and must be listed on the official entry form along with their retail prices from the Electric Dreams web site. (NOTE: You do not have to buy the parts, other than the car itself, from Electric Dreams; they just have to be for sale on our web site and listed on the entry form at our retail prices.) Basic materials used, such as paint, glue, body putty, and sheet plastic do not have to be listed on the entry form and do not have to be available from Electric Dreams.
EXCEPTION: FOR THIS CONTEST THE USE OF NSR PARTS IS NOT ALLOWED. Please see the Official Contest Instructions and Information below for the reason why.
6. Each car entered must be sent with its completed official entry form and list of modifications to Electric Dreams at the address listed in the Contest Instructions and must be received no later than the close of business on July 10, 2009.
7. Upon arrival at the contest site each car will be carefully inspected and all modifications noted. The total cost of the car will be verified. The cars will be judged on appearance and workmanship and the Concours winner will be determined.
8. An experienced driver will drive each car for two 5-minute test runs on different lanes. The test drivers will be aiming for consistency over the entire run rather than the absolute fastest time for any one lap. The total number of laps completed will be recorded and the winner of the Performance competition will be determined.
9. Each car, along with its lap total, will be evaluated by one or more expert members of the Electric Dream Team to identify the winner of the Bang For The Buck Prize. The winner will be the car determined to have achieved the best combination of a high lap total, low cost, and fewest and simplest modifications.
10. The test drivers, judges, and evaluators will not be aware of the entrants’ identities. They will be given only the car and a corresponding assigned ID number.
11. Electric Dreams reserves the right to use images and descriptions of all entries for promotional purposes.
Contest Instructions and Information:
Thanks for entering the Electric Dreams Slot Car Challenge. We want you to have the best possible chance of winning, so please read these instructions and other information carefully.
The basic idea
The vehicle we have chosen for the three competitions is the Fly E1801 Ferrari 250 GTO. The object is not just to build the fastest car you can. There will actually be three separate competitions. One will be a concours competition in which all cars will be judged on appearance and workmanship. Another is for all-out performance – the car with the highest lap total wins. There will also be a competition, called the Bang For The Buck Prize (BFB), to build the fastest car with the fewest, simplest, and least expensive modifications.
This event will not be a true race, since only one car will be on the track at a time. Think of it as being like a car magazine comparison test in which you are a “tuner” and your car is tested individually against those of your competitors under the most controlled conditions possible.
With very few restrictions you can change as much or as little on the car as you want (see the rules for specifics). You can even enter a box-stock car if you think that will be the winning combination.
Concours: 1st place $200 2nd place $100 3rd place $50
Performance: 1st place $200 2nd place $100 3rd place $50
Bang For The Buck Prize: 1st place $200 2nd place $100 3rd place $50
Entry instructions
1. Send your entry to:
Electric Dreams
3321 Jack Northrop Avenue, Bldg. 3-70
Hawthorne, CA 90250
2. Be sure to pack your car carefully with lots of packing material around it. Electric Dreams cannot be responsible for damage in shipping and besides, you’d really hate to put all that work into your car and then have it crushed by the postal system.
Please do not put your car in a plastic case for shipping. This increases the size and weight of the box needed to ship it in, and the case is much more likely to be damaged than the car is.
3. Be sure to put your filled-out Official Entry Form and List of Modifications In the box with your car. We can’t do anything without them.
4. Remember that your car has to be received by us before the entry deadline, so be sure to mail it out in plenty of time to get here by July 10.
5. The testing will be completed and the cars will be in the mail back to their owners by July 31, 2009.
The test track
The track we will use for this competition is a Scalextric Sport track with a lap length of approximately 56 feet (17m). The longest straightaway has a length of 15.5 feet (4.724m). The track has no radius 1 curves and only a few radius 4s. Each lane is powered separately by one stock Scalextric power supply via a stock power base. The track is equipped with Parma 45-ohm controllers, which will be used for all testing. Motor, magnet, and gearing choices should be made with these constraints in mind.
The track will be thoroughly cleaned before the beginning of testing and will be cleaned as needed as testing goes on to maintain the most consistent possible track conditions. Lap counting will be done with a DS timing and scoring system.
Concours Judging
Each car entered will be judged for overall appearance and quality of workmanship. The cars will be judged while sitting on a piece of track. Any parts of the car not visible when sitting on the track will not be considered in the concours judging. Concours judging will be for appearance and workmanship only, regardless of performance, cost or complexity/simplicity.
Performance competition
Two 5-minute test runs, one on each lane, will determine the performance winner. The car with the highest lap total wins, regardless of any other factors.
Bang For The Buck Prize
Each car will be evaluated by the number, complexity, and cost of the modifications done to it as well as the level of skill required to do them. Cost and complexity will be considered separately. The cost of the parts used does not affect the evaluation of complexity. For instance, snapping in a $30 hopup motor would have the same complexity as snapping in a $15 motor, so both would be evaluated the same for complexity even though they raise the cost by different amounts.
Only modifications affecting on-track performance will be considered. Work done only to improve the car’s appearance for the concours competition will not affect the BFB evaluation.
Every part you change will raise your cost and every modification you make will reduce the simplicity of your car and your chances of winning the BFB. This means you will have to decide whether this set of aluminum wheels or that change in the location of the traction magnet will generate enough additional laps to make up for the extra cost and/or complexity they add to the car.
If you can make one modification serve two purposes you will be ahead of the game. For instance, if you put a set of silicone tires on the car, that will increase grip for faster cornering. If you can find a set of tires that also is a bit smaller in diameter than stock you can get the whole back of the car, including the traction magnet, closer to the track for even more grip, but that set of tires is still just one modification. But be careful you don’t get that magnet down too low, or you’ll end up with enough magnet drag on the straights to kill any gains you made in the corners. You will be making tradeoffs like this throughout the process of creating your entry for this contest.
The testing procedure
1. Each car will be inspected to ensure that it has not been damaged or otherwise adversely affected in shipping. If we detect any shipping damage we will notify the entrant immediately.
2. Each car’s tires will be cleaned thoroughly to ensure that there is no dust or other foreign substances on them. Each car will be given a short shakedown drive to ensure that it is running and to detect any problems that might cause damage to the car or the track during the official testing. The braid will be adjusted for proper contact with the track if needed following the shakedown drive. The car will then go directly to testing and no further work will be performed on it during the test.
3. Each car will be driven for 5 minutes on one lane then moved to the second lane and immediately driven for another 5 minutes. The test driver’s assignment will be to drive each car as fast as it can be driven consistently with deslotting kept to a minimum. There will be turn marshals. Sustained endurance for 10 minutes is part of the challenge. We will keep driving a car as long as it runs at all. If it quits running for any reason during the test it will be taken off the track and its lap total to that point will be its total for the test. Each car will be sent back to its owner in the same condition in which it left the track.
Keep in mind that the test driver will have driven your car only a few laps before the beginning of its official test runs. The easier and more forgiving your car is to drive fast the better it’s likely to do in the competition. (Hint: a car that tends to slide at the limit of adhesion will be a more drivable car than one that tilts.)
Q and A
Q. Why are you running the competition this way instead of as a typical proxy race?
A. There are several reasons.
¬¨¬®‚Äö√†√' There will be less chance of damaging the cars
¬¨¬®‚Äö√†√' We can control the conditions more precisely.
¬¨¬®‚Äö√†√' It takes fewer people to run it this way.
Q. Why the stock power packs and low-end 45-ohm aftermarket controllers?
A. This is the combination used by a very large proportion of our customers and it’s affordable enough that almost anyone can test their entry with it before sending it in. If we used expensive power supplies and controllers the relatively few people who have them on their tracks would have a big advantage. Also, one of the aims of this contest is to discover easy, low-cost speed secrets that even someone on a tight budget can afford to use.
Q. Why a Scalextric track?
A. Scalextric is the brand we sell the most of by a wide margin. Also, we have a really nice Scalextric layout available for the track testing. Future Slot Car Challenges may use different tracks.
Q. Why are you allowing magnets?
A. Most of our customers race on plastic track with magnets. Also, magnet racing allows the use of a much wider variety of parts including many less expensive parts than non-magnet racing and makes keeping the cars close to stock a more viable option, especially with a front-motor car like the Fly GTO.
Q. Why a Fly GTO?
A. We wanted a car that is not, relatively speaking, a great performer to begin with and has lots of potential for improvement. We also like the idea of seeing what people will do to overcome the drawbacks of the front-motor layout and a relatively bland livery. Will anybody take the plunge and move the motor aft? And, as you might have guessed, we have a supply of them on hand that we can afford to sell at a low price to make the contest as affordable as possible. By the way, don’t forget that the number of entries is limited to the number of these cars on hand at Electric Dreams, so order your car early to be sure of getting an entry.
Q. Will my track test scores affect my concours placing?
A. No. They are completely separate. The concours judging will be concerned only with the appearance and workmanship of the cars without regard to performance, cost, or simplicity/complexity. If you want you can enter two cars, one optimized to win on performance and one just to win concours, or even one for each of the three parts of the contest. Bear in mind, however, that all cars entered must be purchased from Electric Dreams during the contest and each one will go through all parts of the competition.
Q. Why limit the parts that can be used to what Electric Dreams stocks?
A. First, it levels the playing field by preventing the use of exotic or even one-off parts from obscure sources that are not readily available to all entrants. (Yes, we know there may be parts you would like to use from product lines we don’t carry, but this is the most practical and workable place to draw the line.) Second, it enables us to use our own web site as the authoritative standard for establishing the prices of items used in the contest. As pointed out already, you don’t have to buy the parts (except the car itself) from us, but you do have to list the parts you used at our prices, regardless of what you paid for them. This provides a uniform standard of comparison for all entries.
Q. Why are you banning NSR parts?
A. Only because the supply of them is so chronically sparse and erratic at present. So many of them are out of stock at any time and likely to remain that way for the duration of the contest that they create a situation in which somebody who just happens to have a certain part already might be the only one able to use it while it is unavailable to other entrants. If the NSR parts supply situation improves we will allow them where appropriate in future contests.
Q. Can I use my own unique performance parts that I make myself?
A. For this contest, at least, no. All performance-related parts used on your car must be available through the Electric Dreams web site. If we allowed one-off custom-made parts, people with high-level industrial skills and equipment would have an overwhelming advantage.
Q. I have other questions. Where can I get them answered?

A. Post them at:

We will post answers as quickly as possible.

The Challenge Track Layout

Thanks for shopping with us!

The Electric Dream Team

Scalextric – Then and Now

February 16, 2009 by  
Filed under Slot Car Racing

Scalextric slot cars were initially created in the 1950s by British firm Minimodels. The company had in 1952 introduced a range of clockwork powered race car systems called Scalex, which were then adapted into electric systems and renamed Scalextric, combining the words Scalex and electric.

Initially focusing on 1:32 scale models of Grand Prix racing cars, Scalextric cars became a landmark hit within the burgeoning slot car racing market, so much so that Minimodels was unable to meet the demand for its popular range and was incorporated as a subsidiary of Triang. At this time production of Scalextric vehicles changed from metal to plastic, which was both cheaper and easier to mould.

The first Scalextric tracks were made of a rubber compound and had two parallel grooves running along the course to allow two cars to race against each other at a time. In the 1960s production of the tracks themselves also switched over to moulded plastic, and this style of plastic track with a new attachment system is still in use today.

As slot car racing became more popular during the 1960s, Triang opened additional factories in Spain, France, Australia and New Zealand. One notable occurrence was that the Australian factory produced some vehicles with obvious colour variations from the parent company’s guidelines. These included a black Mini Cooper and an apple green Lotus, which was supposed to be British racing green. This is believed to have been done by local factory workers to spite its British parent company. These models are extremely rare and popular with collectors.

Towards the end of the 1960s, Scalextric 1:24 scale models were introduced to meet demand in the US and Europe. Sadly, these cars were not financially successful, and due to high production costs were discontinued in 1970. Another financial disappointment was the ‘You Steer’ line of Scalextric cars, which allowed racers to steer the car left or right just under an inch along the slots in the racecourse.

By the 1980s, Scalextric’s parent company had collapsed and one of its subsidiaries became Hornby Railways, which to this day is the producer of Scalextric vehicles. By this point slot car racing had lost some of its widespread appeal and Scalextric saw some of its biggest competitors, such as like Fleischmann and M√§rklin, stopping production.

The 1990s saw computer design and 3D printing methods create more authentic and detailed models than those of the initial slot car boom. New replicas of slot cars from the 1960s and 1970s appeared on the market, giving enthusiasts the option of racing modern and classic cars against each other. The Micro Scalextric range was also introduced, using 1:64 range cars racing on dedicated Micro Scalextric tracks.

Towards the end of the decade slot car racing saw something of a resurgence and Scalextric were joined by new kids on the block like Nico and Fly, whose cars can race on Scalextric tracks without modification.

Today Scalextric is as synonymous with slot cars as Hoover is with vacuum cleaners or Tannoy with loudspeaker systems. Scalextric Digital cars have been introduced, with digital control systems that allow up to 6 cars to race in a single slot with more realistic passing. Today’s cars are usually based on racing vehicles from F1, A1, NASCAR, Le Mans, touring, rallying and ordinary road cars.

One prominent Scalextric enthusiast is Top Gear presenter James May. In 2005 he attempted to set the land speed record using Scalextric slot cars and a scale measured-mile, inviting 42 of the world’s best Scalextric racers to break the then-current record of 458 mph. He himself used an off-the-shelf 1:32 scale Scalextric Ford GT to reach the equivalent speed of 392 mph, which is faster than the real Ford GT’s speed of 212 mph. The winning speed was 696.6 mph, which was in 2008 beaten by actor Dallas Campbell, who set the current record of 983.88 mph using a Scalextric Honda F1 model.

The future for Scalextric is looking good, with franchises such as the Scalextric James Bond Quantum of Solace and Scalextric Lewis Hamilton ranges predicted to be big sellers for Christmas 2008, and other franchises such as Micro Scalextric Disney Cars, Need For Speed Scalextric and Micro Scalextric and new Scalextric MINI ranges released in 2009.

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