Slot car racing is a hobby that is timeless, and when you hear the words, one name stands above the rest: Scalextric. Scalextric originated in 1952 from the Scalex brand of Minimodels Ltd., which was powered by a clockwork system. What this meant is that it used a series of gears to mechanically power each car. They basically took the words Scalex and electric, and combined them to form Scalextric. The Scalextric Slot Cars were first introduced in the UK at the annual Harrogate Toy Fair in 1957 by their inventor, Mr B. “Freddie” Francis.
In 1958, the company was sold to Line Bros Ltd., who at the time, Flyingslot operated as “Tri-ang”. Rovex was a subsidiary of Tri-ang that specialized in plastic and started converting Scalextric’s metal slot cars to plastic because it was easier and cheaper to mold them. The track, which was originally a rubber compound, also became molded plastic at a later date.
Most Scalextric products were 1:32 scale, with the exception being Super124 cars and tracks, that between 1968 and 1970 were manufactured at 1:24 scale. Then, in the late 1990s, the Micro Scalextric line, which is at 1:64 scale, was introduced. Scalextric was looking for a way to make their tracks easier to assemble, and early 2000, they did just that. They gave it the name Scalextric Sport, and it can connected to the classic track using special adaptor pieces. You can also run cars from different manufacturers on Scalextric tracks without and kind of modification. These manufacturers would include such names as Ninco, Fly, Slot.it, SCX, and MRRC.
In 2004, Scalextric really stepped up and introduced Scalextric Sport Digital. This is a track in which up to 6 digital cars can be raced in a single slot. There are slot-lane changing tracks that allow the cars to change from one slot to another. Sport Digital cars will run on the standard non-digital tracks, but the original analog cars require you to install a digital chip to them to run on a digital track.
You can find a Scalextric slot car in just about any model of car you want. However it doesn’t just stop at cars. You can get go-karts, motorcycles, skateboards, even horses! Since it originated in the UK, Scalextric has a huge following there, but has also become unbelievably popular in the US. This would have a lot to do with the Indy and Nascar lines, which Scalextric has replicated perfectly.
Since there has been an increase in popularity of Scalextric over the years, you can find lots of sites that give you information on how you can modify any of your vehicles to perform better.