A cold winter morning in Montagnola, Switzerland.
Edo Bertoglio wears a warm sweater while receiving the many boxes delivered by the postman. “What is all this”, the postman asks. “-Thingies”, Edo replies with a smile. The postman shrugs his shoulders, gets back in his idling VW diesel minivan and drives off.
Edo gets back inside the warm house and proceeds to open the packages.
There are little cars inside the boxes, and thingies indeed, they are. The cars are slot cars, painted in fantastic colors. They look like if designed by some space alien and would almost glow in the dark…
Montagnola is on the Italian side of Switzerland and Edo’s home racing track the site of the first thingie slot car race by proxy in the hobby history.
Thingies was the name applied by exact-scale slot car racers to original-design slot cars in the 1960’s. The first such “thingie” was the Classic Manta Ray RTR car. In the late 1960’s, General Motors designer Larry Shinoda of Mako Shark fame designed and had built a series of fantastic bodies for use on fast slot cars. The company producing the bodies from Larry’s sketches was aptly named… “Thingies”. Very popular in Michigan and Chicago, they never made it to the South or the West where others were producing more functional bodies such as Choti in Fremont, California.
Today, there is a return of popularity for this type of cars, and in 2005, the first international meeting for racing vintage thingies was organised in Torino, Italy.
Electric Dreams has been instrumental, as well as Greg Holland of VSRN, to expose the existence of such models and promote their new popularity. Recently, Electric Dreams was able to purchase the original patterns for 3 of the bodies and had now manufactured new production tooling for them.