7 steps to improve the track performance of your classic Scalextric car


Lap times improved from 18.72 seconds to 6.44 seconds. Read on to find out how we did it.....

Abstract

Frequently the older Scalextric cars can seem slow and difficult to race by the standards set by modern Scalextric cars. This article shows that in seven simple steps a typical Scalextric car from the 1970s can be updated to give track times nearly 3 times faster compared to the car when found. This was all accomplished with some basic servicing and with some readily available replacement parts.

Introduction

The older Scalextric cars from the 1970s and 1980s are great models but can seem slow and difficult to race by the standards set by modern Scalextric cars. Luckily these classic Scalextric cars can be upgraded to greatly enhance their track performance making them competitive on the track while not removing any of the enjoyment and skill required for the older Scalextric cars.

This article lists seven simple changes to greatly improve your classic Scalextric car. We have based this article on a 1970s Scalextric C.052 Ford Escort RS1600 which was selected as being typical of the Scalextric cars of the period. It was not prepared before the test apart from ensuring the motor operated as expected and the car was complete, electrically and mechanically with no obvious faults. The tyres were not cracked or split to any great degree and still had grip when run on classic Scalextric track. Our overall impression is that this car had been stood unused for a long period of time.

The seven steps

The results are based on a Scalextric Sport track with a test circuit specifically designed for this test. Built from the modern Sport Scalextric track the surface offers little mechanical grip with a smoother surface compared to the original classic Scalextric track. It incorporated tight inner corner hairpin sections, long straights, chicanes, corners that tightened, corners that opened out. Essentially all types of challenges.

Step 1: After conducting a visual inspection we measured the best lap times the car could achieve. The best lap time achieved was 18.72 seconds. Then the car was given an electrical service with new; copper pick up braids, pick up pins and wires from the pick up assembly to the motor. A retest gave a new lap time of 15.22 seconds which is an improvement of around 18%.

Step 2: Then, the car given a full lubrication service with all the motor and axle bearings given a small drop of oil each. Also, the gears were lightly coated with Teflon impregnated grease. A retest of the car gave a new best lap time of 13.77 seconds which is a further improvement of around 9.5%.

Step 3: After the lubrication service slightly wider axles were fitted and a little weight added to the rear of the chassis. Again the car was tested of the track and this time gave a best lap time of 12.50 seconds which is an improvement of 9.2%.

Step 4: Next a set of high grip replacement SuperSlix tyres were fitted to the rear wheel hubs. A retest gave a new best lap time of 9.99 seconds which is a further 20.1%.

Step 5: With the improvement made so far the next step was to replace the original Johnson motor with a new Mabuchi motor. This more powerful and lighter motor slightly increased the car’s lap time probably due to problems in getting the power down to the track. The best lap time recorded was 10.49 seconds which is a degradation of 0.5%.

Step 6: In order to give the car a chance to use the power available from the Mabuchi motor a Neodymium magnet was added to the chassis of the Escort. The best lap time achieved was 9.12 seconds which was an improvement of 25.5%

Step 7: Our final change was to add MAX Grip tyres as some tyre slip was clearly evident even with the Neodymium magnet present. These replacement SuperSlix tyres are manufactured from a latex material and give outstanding track grip. The best lap achieved a time of 6.44 seconds which was a further improvement of 25.5%

Conclusion

The overall improvement in lap times make this car competitive on the track while not removing any of the enjoyment and skill required. With these simple changes this car was almost a staggering 3 times faster than when purchased.

A more detailed account of the parts used and the results of each step can be can be found at Scalextric Car Restorations.


About the author:

Gary Harding has been working with Scalextric cars for over 30 years and now operates Scalextric Car Restorations in the UK. Scalextric Car Restorations is a Worldwide internet based business that offers for sale high quality Scalextric cars and Scalextric parts from the 1960s to the present day. All the restoration work is carried out to the highest standards with the highest quality parts available. Only the best cars are selected and the final result is a car that is genuinely like new.

Further help and advice relating to this article or Scalextric cars in general can be found at:

http://www.scalextric-car.co.uk