Technical History - Bodies
Note: This document has been updated from its original publication in November 2009.
Before all else I want to thank Rick Thigpen and Doug Azary. Without the knowledge, information and suggestions they have graciously provided, this entire section would be a poorer place. I also want to mention Greg Holland for his beautifully scanned and expertly cross-referenced Car Model and Model Car & Track on CD, and for providing additional information through his web site VSRN; it made my efforts to research and assemble this article significantly easier.
All of the information in this section is as factual as possible; backed up by photographs of actual slot car bodies provided by private individuals and collected from message boards and internet auction sites, published advertisements and information from magazines such as Car Model and Model Car & Track, books such as the Car Model Technical Journal, vendor retail catalogs such as Auto World, and manufacturer's product catalogs, dealer flyers and dealer order sheets. Some small amount of information has not yet been verified and so has not yet been included.
Up to this point I have limited my research efforts to domestic 1/24 scale commercial slot racing during a roughly 5-1/2 year period from early 1962 to late 1967, because the majority of all the bodies that came out of the so-called called "Golden Era" were introduced during this period. In the future, and as I find and document them, bodies from 1968 and later that are not already
listed will be added.
Because the focus of this effort is scratchbuilding, with a special interest in the evolution and development of the pro-racing slot car, these listings will necessarily be limited to bodies that fall into specific categories of purpose and availability. Attempting to list every 1/24 (and 1/25) scale body that has ever been manufactured, aside from being nearly impossible, would be well outside my goals, and my interests.
Here is a chart depicting which categories of bodies I have chosen to list (follow the blue text):
"Ready-to-Run" (R-T-R) cars present a special problem; many manufacturers that produced R-T-R cars also offered the bodies for these cars separately, some did not. Where I have found photos and part numbers, I have included them. In cases where I know a body was part of a R-T-R product, but don't know and have been unable to determine whether it was sold separately, I have included it with an asterisk (*) in the Part Number (PN) column. In some cases scratch builders have even used "not available separately" bodies from R-T-R cars to build their own original cars (how dare they!), so I am still trying to sort out this part of the documentation format.Within the limits shown above, the listings are as comprehensive as possible, with 34 manufacturers and about 850 bodies represented. These listings include everything from major manufacturers offering a hundred different bodies at any one time, to basement or garage operations that never produced more than ten types and didn't even have part numbers. A few of these manufacturers were completely unknown to me before I began my research. Nevertheless, I am absolutely certain I have not documented all of the manufacturers, much less all of the bodies!
While it surely cannot be said that all of the bodies in these listings contributed in some way to the development of the pro-racing slot car, or even to the development of the art and science of scratch building, I have nevertheless included everything I've found in the interest of completeness, and to provide some perspective on the enormity of the subject.
Bodies are listed by manufacturer, by name, by part number if available, and by the approximate date they were first photographed, advertised, reviewed or became available to purchase. Where there is no evidence to support a claim that a specific body was available before the date of published information, that claim has been discounted. Lead time for magazine articles and advertisements can and should be applied to the listed availability dates; generally one to three months subtracted for ads, and as much as four to eight months for articles and reviews.
If you have additional information or know of something that I have missed and are willing to share it, or if you have evidence that some piece of information presented here is wrong and wish to see it corrected, I would be pleased to hear from you! Send me a PM or email me at the address listed in my profile. The only thing I ask is that you have either some evidence (published photos, ads, catalog listings, photos of NOS product, etc. are best), or at very least a compelling argument that your information is accurate.
I hope you find this information and these lists helpful in identifying and choosing period-correct bodies for your scratch building projects. Just remember, generally speaking the older the body, the more scale (shorter, narrower, taller... and heavier) it will be.
Now, go scratchbuild something!
Steve Okeefe, March 2013