5 August 2009

My early days in slot cars

For what will be the first "real" post in this blog, after the lengthy introduction, I'll present what's left of the first couple of slot cars I purchased.

Back in February 2007, feeling rather at ease with the controls, and kind of bored of having to lend cars to drive, I decided to purchase a slot car for myself. The track is actually part of a slot shop, where many slot cars and parts are available, from different brands. Being a Ferrari fan, that helped me narrowing the choice for 1st car. So, my heart decided to go for the Ninco Ferrari 360 GTC, in red (hey, I only know one color that has the "Ferrari" name attached, and it is "Ferrari Red").

This is a picture of the model, which is available from Ninco' s website:

This nice looking car hid some flaws. Common to many other models from the brand, the bodywork fitted too tightly to the chassis, making it behave like a electric powered brick! Even loosening the body screws was helpless. Other issues with the car is the excessive height on the front wheels, the blade guide is left somewhat off the track, when the car is resting still... imagine when it powers around the track!

So, having some knowledge on polymer science, from my times at college, I decided to give the bodywork some extra width to allow the chassis to move. Fitting a spacer between body and chassis during resting times proved too slow of a process, so I decided to quicken it with a hairdryer... well, this is what happened:

Bummer... one pretty little Ferrari bodywork that ended up looking as if the driver rolled the car over... So far, that was the end of my first slot car... but it DID turn an hefty lot of laps before this ill-fated operation, allowing me to evolve my non-magnet driving skills.

My second car was by far more successful. Another Ferrari, but from Scalextric, the nice looking 330 P4 from the 1967 edition of Le Mans:

If the Ninco allowed me to evolve my skills, what to say about this one? This car enabled me to learn a different way of driving: short-can motor with almost no braking at all vs the high magnetic downforce, torquish NC5 Ferrari 360. The P4 is great looking, Hornby/Scalextric did an amazing job here. Shame that the front wheels are too wide, they must be waaayyy out of scale.

Track-wise, there were no miracles to be expected from this car. I did a lot of running with the car on stock guise (magnetless, however). Braking distances were far bigger and grip was something missing here, so I decided to upgrade the car. This was my first real contact with tunning slot cars. In the end, I fitted the orange endbell Slot.It 21.500 rpm motor, much more powerful and driveable. Fitting a screw guide blade from Slot.It, Spirit wheels back and front, GOM front tires and Slot.It axles, crown and 20.5 x 10.5 mm P2 tires, I now had a serious contender: it lapped faster than the 360 GTC !

I still own this car to this day. It's a very sturdy model, I must say... thousands of laps, some crashes, with just some scars left:

The icing on the cake: this P4 actually raced once, on a non-official event, the openning of a new slot track in my hometown. Facing competition from ill-prepared Slot.It Ferraris 312 PB and Alfas 33/3, it won the Classics race! The red sticker on the windshield represents the lane where it ended the race, so I let it untouched to remember that feat.

Hope you enjoyed this first post on the Slot Car Driver's Log... until next time!


  1. Excellent enterprise Hugo.
    I hope your initiative makes success and comments in english may show up in the future.

    All the best,

    Rui Costa

  2. Thanks, Rui...

    I hope there are many other "slot-crazy" people around :)

    Cheers ;)

  3. You are the BEST.

    Many thanks

  4. Emídio Peixoto6 August 2009 at 19:53

    I made the 69 th visit of the blog... ;)
    Well done Hugo!!!