Take the cover off any
traditional Scalextric car and you'll find an electric motor and
one driven axle, usually at the rear, connected together with a
of gears. The gear on the motor is generally small and
is known as a pinion gear while the gear fitted to the driven axle
is usually larger and is known as a contrate gear. The difference
in gear size allows the speed of the motor to be reduced to give
the Scalextric car the correct speed on the track. The gears also
increase the torque produced by the motor as measured at the drive
This article explains
how to go from two wheel drive to four wheel drive.
To make a Scalextric
car have genuine four wheel drive there are 2 methods available.
The first is to add a second driven axle with contrate gear, take
the drive from the other end of the motor and fit a second pinion
gear to the motor shaft. This method essentially copies the primary
The picture above shows
an SCX Subaru Impreza chassis with a second axle powered directly
from the motor. This a strong and durable solution. The only real
down side to this solution is cost, as two additional components
(the gears) and a unique motor are needed.
On the other hand Scalextric
have used a different method to achieve genuine four wheel drive.
Take the cover off a Scalextric 4x4 model and you'll see something
quite different. Scalextric retain the primary drive gear system
for the driven axle and connect together both axles with a rubber
drive belt or drive band, see the picture below where the drive
band can be seen just behind the set of wheels in the foreground:
This method uses unique
wheels moulded with integrated pulleys, the wheels are usually usually
model related and unique to the car anyway, so no extra parts. Also,
this solution uses the standard motor. Overall this method of delivering
a 4x4 drive uses only one additional component, the drive band.
So, I guess the real
question is does a Scalextric 4x4 drive car work any better than
the traditional two wheel drive model? The short answer is a definite
yes. As long as there's some weight on all four wheels through either
mass or magnatraction there will be a benefit. Acceleration out
of the corners is the main benefit but cornering is improved as
the rear wheels are doing less work, just like a real car.
The only real downside
to a 4x4 mechanism is the drag caused by the mechanical losses.
With the geared mechanism there's additional friction and noise
and with the drive belt method there's mostly just additional friction.
This additional mechanical loss really only adds up to a reduced
top speed which will not be noticed on small and medium sized layouts.
The additional friction does give improved braking into corners
Over the years Scalextric
have produced 4x4 models in only 2 periods; in the 1980's with the
Ford RS200 and the Audi Quattro, in the 2000's with the Ford Focus,
Subaru Impreza, Peugeot 307 and Skoda Fabia models. All of these
cars use the drive band solution. In the 1960's Scalextric used
drive band to transfer the drive from the motor to the
rear axle of the B1 Typhoon and B2 Hurricane motorcycle and side
car models. This was to achieve two wheel drive and not four wheel
bands used by Scalextric are not too dissimilar to traditional
small elastic bands. However they are not elastic bands as they
are moulded from a high grade synthetic rubber material similar
to the material used to mould the Scalextric tyres.
This material and shape
gives the drive band a small amount of stretch and flexibility but
more importantly good grip and a long service life. Just like the
tyres on your Scalextric car the drive band will stiffen and crack
with age reducing it's effect. So, just like the tyres the drive
band will need to be replaced from time to time to maintain