Slot cars are more than just small mock-ups of real race cars. Most of them are lovingly built from scratch by slot enthusiasts. Furthermore, most of these cars can be modified to achieve better performance. Driving skills matter quite a bit in slot car racing because nothing keeps the car on track aside from the blade or pin on the bottom and the skill of the driver. So you really need to be skilled enough to ensure the slot cars don’t careen off the track when negotiating twists and turns. Here is a list of slot car sizes for you to consider when selecting which cars to buy.
Slot Car Sizes
Here is a list of the different slot car sizes, or scales, you will find on the market.
1:24 scale size – slot cars with this size need large course or track. Thus, this scale is not appropriate for home use. Most of the time, 1:24 racing is held at commercial or professional club tracks. This scale includes cars that are about seven to eight inches long.
1:32 scale size – this is the most popular of all the slot car sizes. These cars are smaller than 1:24 scale, so slot car enthusiasts can race these cars at home. This is what makes these cars such a popular choice. Most 1:32 slot cars are about five to six inches in length.
HO-sized slot cars – these cars are available in different scales, ranging from 1:97 to 1:64 sizes. Regardless of scale, all HO-sized slot cars race on a track with the same width. You may see HO-sized slot cars from 2.5 to 3.5 inches long.
In addition to these popular scales, 1:43 slot cars are also available as toys. In the 1960s, 1:48 slot cars were also marketed. Whichever size you choose, make sure you measure the area where you will put your slot car track. Many racers even build a custom table to place their track on.
Slot Car Components
Also called known as the shell, this component is made of solid molded plastic that is fitted over the car’s chassis. As is the case with real cars, the weight of the vehicle’s body in addition to the weight distribution are factors in slot car construction. Some manufacturers attach an interior portion to the body that sometimes contains a driver figure. Most slot car interiors make up only half the body’s height. This is to make room for the motor and other slot car components.
The electric motor can be positioned in front, in the middle, or in the back of the slot car. Motors are rated based upon their speed or revolutions per minute. Manufacturers calculate a rating by measuring the quantity of voltage going to the motor.
The guide or guide flag is the plastic piece you can find under the vehicle’s chassis. The purpose of this piece is to help ensure the car stays in the slot. The guide pivots in the slot and holds the braids.
The gears are important factors in determining the slot car’s acceleration and speed. You can upgrade standard gears, including the small gear that’s connected to the motor, using various components that are commercially available to deliver better performance.
Magnets are located in the front and rear portions of the slot. This provides the vehicle with downforce and ensures the slot car does not careen off the track. Some racers prefer slot cars without magnets and instead use lead weights to keep the cars on the track. Some enthusiasts even race without magnets or weights.
Not all slot cars have microchips. However, those that do are able to follow a car in the same race track or to change lanes at specific areas on the track.
You can modify, upgrade, or improve most slot car components for better performance. However, you need a slot car track. Otherwise, your slot car will be a simple model car.
This is an example of a Scalextric 1/32 scale slot car that you can retrofit with a chip. The procedure requires some soldering.