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Why did slot car racing fade so quickly in 1967-68?


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#401 sub006

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 10:42 PM

It has been postulated in other threads that toward the end of the slot "boom", winning races or just being competitive required building and driving skills far beyond 99% of the kids and teenagers who might have picked up the sport. 


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#402 Mayberryman

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Posted 12 May 2014 - 03:41 PM

Jim, that concept still is in effect, go to many of the commercial type tracks and you find a couple of constants.  #1 They all struggle in an attempt to pay the bills, buy food for the owner and the never ending search for that ONE trusted person who will help run the business for parts and track time.  When the owner finally finds that trusted person who can even work the counter when the owner needs to be away that person becomes the shop "Slot Mook" who is not paid but always has the best parts, cars and unlimited track time.  This is a good and bad thing, good thing that you do not have to pay him, bad thing is most of the time, unless you restrict the number of races he can race per week, he becomes that almost unbeatable racer who is seen by many as the house driver driving the house car taking the track bucks from the average customer.

 

On another and unrelated note, I wonder if we would have had the sealed motors and stamped steel only chassis classes would the boom have lasted longer.  As a 15 year old I will never forget my trusted and loved Cox Chappy being lapped about twice every four laps by the angle winder, rewound motored cars being controlled by the people who had the controller wired to a nine volt battery for brakes.  Having endured that disgrace was good for one reason, at 15 I had my drivers license and started to chase girls, most of them would also lap me.


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#403 Gator Bob

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Posted 12 May 2014 - 06:04 PM

Well said Spencer...

 

Also ...  I think getting 'lapped' by girls away from the track was more fun than winning with a Chappy at the track.


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#404 DOCinCocoa

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Posted 14 May 2014 - 08:29 AM

There are many reasons why the slot car shops closed down in the late 60s and early 70s. These reasons are listed above in the preceding posts. In the 60s, slot racing was a fad and if there ever was a good business case, it went away very quickly like so many other fads did.


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#405 Tex

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Posted 14 May 2014 - 11:49 AM

I think slot car racing faded so fast in 67/68 'cause someone built a time machine, went forward into the future, saw the miserable arguing over retro motors taking place today, went back in time to 67/68 again and said "#@%& it".


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#406 don.siegel

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Posted 14 May 2014 - 02:48 PM

Hey Tex, we had the same miserable arguments back in the 60s, just about different things - if there's something that hasn't changed, that's it! 

 

And for what it's worth, just about any other activity has its own miserable arguments... 

 

Don 


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#407 Noose

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Posted 14 May 2014 - 02:57 PM

So true, so true Tex and Don.


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#408 Steve Deiters

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Posted 14 May 2014 - 03:32 PM

There are a variety reasons that slot racing faded and have certainly been rehashed here in one form or another.  In a broad brush you can say most of the participants outgrew the hobby and interests went elsewhere...cars, girls, college, etc. etc.  The final nail in the coffin was the inflationary period of the early '70's when the large footprint of tracks priced retailers out of the game and very much to the degree even now.

 

Maybe the view we should take is that 1/32 home sets seem to be thriving and have been for years both here in the States and overseas and what can we do to get these racers to "trade up" so to speak and run on routed, commercial tracks.  At the same time 1/24 scale commercial racing seems to have thrived in Europe in both the eastern and western ends but the operational model seems to be more of a club racing and/or rec center business model. How could or would that work here?


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#409 Vay Jonynas

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Posted 20 November 2015 - 02:02 PM

In a broad brush you can say most of the participants outgrew the hobby and interests went elsewhere ... cars, girls, college, etc. etc.

 

But the real question is why a new generation of ten year olds wasn't stepping in to replace the sixteen year olds moving on to other interests. I think that the hobby might have become too technically sophisticated by 1968 to lure younger kids into it.

 

:huh:


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#410 Richard G With

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Posted 22 November 2015 - 04:26 PM

As a recent returnee, I think Mayberryman has a good point about sealed motors, steel chassis, etc.

 

In Wichita, we had as many as six or seven tracks at one time and could spend a whole weekend track hopping. My crew tended to wind up at Jim Hollabaugh's track in Hutchinson on Sundays but raced other tracks during the week. We also ran the Texas Series for a few years in the '70s.  We hard-core traveling racers probably kept the Wichita-area tracks alive but there was also animosity toward us from the owners because we weren't their exclusive customers. This parochial attitude I'm sure worked to their detriment in the end. My group believed in "co-opetition" and we often recruited promising youngster to mentor (also to carry our stuff around).

 

I am now racing at Raytown International which is about 2.5 hours away from home. Last week I bought a Hawk 7 RTR from the wall and spent about 1/2 hour fixing some minor assembly errors, running it in, and finished the race in what I felt was a respectable manner being that it was my first race in over twenty years. In the other class, I ran a Turbo Flexi out of my box and a 20 year old wing body with a ProSlot FX and managed a similar performance. Sure, I could have done better with preparation and practice but my arthritic trigger finger would have given a similar result if I had been allowed a one-lane head start. The point is, I know that it's a more level field and that I don't have to chase that ultimate frame and hand built motor combo and can concentrate on being a better driver.

 

At least at Raytown, it is fun and respectable to take sealed motor/flexi style cars seriously. We could have done this 20 years ago but the scratch built wall-bangers were the thing. Looking back, I don't see how a new racer could have accessed that level of racing. Flexi cars were a thing but they weren't as respectable.

 

For myself, this is the way I want to race now but would still like to look in on the Retro classes if I could afford to travel to Dallas and pay someone else to build cars for me. Even if there were a track around the corner, I probably would not hang out there. There is family, friends, church and more that I want to devote attention to. So rather than focus on the past, I point to sealed motors/steel chassis as a viable way to make the hobby fun and accessible. From my perspective, the scratch built wall bangers without an emphasis on feeder classes was a large part of why people lost interest in competition.

 

The loss of local tracks is another story. I'm sure it was mostly due to the income per square foot calculation. The short shelf life of the specialty parts that were required to keep the top level racers running probably made it harder for a track owner to promote lower level racing.

 

Of course, without local tracks slot cars are useless. I'd be interested to hear some input from those who are running successful club operations. I wonder if that might be a way to go?


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#411 Dennis David

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Posted 23 November 2015 - 03:47 AM

Steve, if you look at the big races in Spain and Italy the tracks and cars are a long way from home sets. We are slowly seeing similer activity here with hardbody racing which to me is a more accurate term for what we see in Europe as well. While plastic chassis still dominate 1/32, both Scaleauto and now BRM use metal chassis in their 1/24 Scale cars. The use of pods and suspension makes a big difference. In Germany we see more sophisticated chassis by DoSlot and Slotfabrik, etc. The common denominator is a scale hard plastic or composite body.

I would love to see a mixed scene with hardbody added to Retro, Flexi and Wing on a equal footing. The one short coming I see is with suitable flat tracks but here too this may slowly be changing.

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#412 don.siegel

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Posted 29 November 2016 - 06:43 PM

Wasn't really sure where to put this (is there a specific thread on AMCR history?), but thought it was worth mentioning. Just picked up a Model Car Raceways trade magazine (offshoot of one of the hobby/toy trade mags, printed for a little while in 65-67), and it mentions that American Model Car Raceways wasn't going to exhibit at the Chicago Hobby Show in early 1967 - so their problems were already starting in 1966... (and that's when they stopped advertising too!). 

 

It does say that they had had a popular exhibition in recent years. 

 

Don 



#413 Mattb

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Posted 29 November 2016 - 09:39 PM

Always more to discuss when we get into the history of slot racing. There were many reasons and they all came together for the perfect storm. We can probably list about 10-15 solid reasons that when added together made it a certainty that the hobby was doomed become miniscule.

Today what is left of the slot racing hobby is splintered and except for the very basics of how it works, the different aspects don't have much in common. Hard to build on such a splintered hobby. At least we do have the internet which has really helped to let us get together in a way that wasn't possible 25 years ago or so.
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#414 LolaGT

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Posted 25 December 2016 - 01:12 AM

For what it's worth...
 
There are lots of kids out there running HO scale cars today, and you can still get HO tracks at many hobby shops or department stores. I used to drive to Lucky Bob's in Milwaukee to race and while waiting watch kids running T-Jets or other cars on their flat track.
 
1/32 seems to be the most popular scale in Europe, with some small inroads into the US market.
 
My son and I used to race 1/24 GTP and sometimes wing cars locally years ago too, until he discovered girls and a 1/1 hotrod.
 
To me, the question seems to be 'what does these other scales offer that makes them do so well, compared to 1/24?' What makes these other scales so popular, and what can be learned from them to make 1/24 more popular?
 
Merry Christmas,

ken
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#415 Ramcatlarry

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Posted 25 December 2016 - 03:58 PM

Well, the #1 'advantage' of home racing is not paying the 'cover charge' that the commercial landlord and store operator charges every racer. Yes, the track owner has his investment, etc., but most home clubs work on donations and multiple club locations so that the racing fees are shared in a not-for-profit goodwill way.
 
The nature of the US recreation center does not really recognize much in motor or 20th century tech as a recreation. Look at your local park district for stick and ball games, but rarely for slotcars, model boats, or airplanes or similar hobby activities.  Many times local condo associations have empty community rooms looking for an activity...


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#416 LolaGT

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Posted 27 December 2016 - 01:34 PM

I think you might be right.

 

I used to 'run door' at band nights for local bars, and I was amazed that people would walk out of paying $3 or $5 a head to listen to a live band all night, less than the price of one cheep domestic beer.

 

Also, I don't know how popular the Internet is in Europe, but I remember people going insane in the US for Pokemon Go. Possibly people nowadays have interest for hobbies only as long as they don't actually cost anything or have to go anywhere special to do them.

 

You would think HO or 1/32 cars would be a sort of 'gateway drug' of sorts, a little taste of speed then you go to the bigger ones. I'm not sure exactly why this doesn't happen now.

 

Maybe an idea for those areas that have many slot racers but nowhere to race would be a modular type of racetrack layout like Ntrak for N scale model railroads. Subsidize on one maker of track (like Carerra for 1/32) or if you want to run wood track decide on a basic design of routed track section like they did, and every club member brings a piece in he/she made themselves. Then the club can assemble and race whereever they can find a place, like condo community rooms or a garage or basement somewhere. It can be up to each module builder to put whatever they want for track features (esses, chicanes, banked curves, etc) on their own board just as long as in the end each module can mate together. This way not only can people who don't live in slot racing hot spots still race, you can switch up the module order and reconfigure the track each time you assemble... think plastic track on steroids.

 

Ken


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#417 John Streisguth

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Posted 27 December 2016 - 03:27 PM

I like that idea of "NTrak" for slot cars. That could probably work for HO and 1/32, probably less so for 1/24. Certainly nobody would have a home track advantage. And it would eliminate the need for a permanent home. 


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#418 Superbird

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Posted 29 December 2016 - 02:14 AM

Yes, my earlier hopeful predictions for a slot car future with from-the-cockpit-driving and social media enhancements don't seem to be appearing anywhere but "Racing Quads." The price of today's tech toys may come down to our budget level one day but I can see that slot racers may prefer sticking with the simplicity of analog driving. If they didn't, Digital slots would be a bigger draw. I don't despair, I still have lots of great ways to make slot car racing better.

 

Apart from the four slot car clubs I'm in (one mine - Manta Ray Reunion) I'm also in a number of 1:1 car clubs including antique cars. I have watched the trend in real car collecting go from vintage cars modified for safe street use (i.e. hot rodding) to the current popularity of exact-factory-condition cars. The "factory" cars come as survivors that are restored or pristine originals that were stored somewhere. Beyond that are categories where competitors build the cars to better-than-factory condition with perfect paint, exact panel spacing and crisper metal stampings. The money is unthinkable but that is where the guys "are at" as it were. The aging boomers aren't doing as much driving as they used to but they do like to invest in good stuff.  

 

This shift from drivability to originality exists in slot cars as well. More people are collecting vintage slot cars than driving slot cars. Many guys are buying parts on eBay and reassembling "Thingies" for the pleasure of owning them and maybe driving them a little (if they can find a track). I think maybe a few of us are ready to take some vintage designs to the next level by producing duplicates that are better than the originals.

 

Imagine what the '60s slot car designers would have built if they were not limited to low cost mass production and had access to today's materials and motors? Imagine driving a "Thingie" with a .010" Lexan body, titanium frame, brushless motor, and rare earth magnets! Imagine a Cox Chap that weighs half of what the original did and can go around corners like the car it was modeled after! We can see great materials and unprecedented engineering showing up in today's 1/32 scale cars. We can find it in 1/24 scale cars from the same manufacturers. Why not apply it in vintage slot cars as well? 


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#419 Superbird

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Posted 29 December 2016 - 09:33 AM

I love Ken Lyons' ideas about sharing a set of track modules within a club (tribe, gang, whatever) to assemble somewhere on race night. My Manta Club has several portable tracks ranging from a spin-powered 1/43 circle to 4x8 layouts in 1/43 and 1/24 to a portable (sections on rollers) 8x20 1/24 eight-lane banked oval! We have tried foam sheet layouts (great potential), drag strips and roller coaster style layouts that fit inside my van! There is an area HO club that holds monthly races on professional layouts owned by owners at their houses.

 

We enjoy the variety and a lot of time and it is great for 'parties' where we invite as many potential racers as we can find. However our biggest problem is providing tracks the guys will actually race on. So far, 1/32 is the big winner and there are two private clubs with large layouts within driving distance. (One a 9x19 road course and the other a huge endurance layout.) It is hard to promote a lot of interest in 1/24 on smaller tracks because we/they want to go a lot faster than small tracks allow. There is only one commercial 1/24 slot track within 60 miles and it is heavily drags. They have only recently put the big roadcourse back up and it only gets an occasional group race. (The economics were spelled out wonderfully in an earlier post on this topic.) It is too far away for most of us which is why we are preparing the big 1/24 oval to be portable for day or weekend events.

 

Ken's idea of modular layouts on 4x4 or 4x8 sheets is one I have daydreamed of because one could create so many kinds of sections (hill climb, street cruise, beach diorama, road course, etc.) and hook them together like train sets. Those transportable sizes are too small to work with 1/24 but maybe 1/32? Much more feasible in 1/43 although I have found nobody building and racing 1/43 in my area. (Other than me.) Our 1/43 layouts are usually set aside for kids to enjoy. Then there is the issue of any club/tribe/gang where only one or two individuals are willing to do the heavy work of building and maintaining a track. Transporting a track, even a light foam track, adds considerably more work which has to be balanced against whether guys want to run on a small track anyway. They, understandably, want a challenging four+ lane track with a timing system. The HO club guys have the portable racing layout mastered but they only run ThunderJets. Our guys have trouble relating to the simple miniature cars.   

 

The golden age of commercial tracks everywhere are gone for simple economic reasons. Your parents could buy you in with a $5-$10 car at a toy store and take you to the track for a few dollars more. When the realities of commercial real estate costs became horribly clear (like signing a second annual lease) many owners had to pass. It is as true today as ever. We just do what we can.


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#420 Cheater

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Posted 29 December 2016 - 10:11 AM

I love Ken Lyons' ideas about sharing a set of track modules within a club... to assemble somewhere on race night.


Today what is left of the slot racing hobby is splintered and except for the very basics of how it works, the different aspects don't have much in common. Hard to build on such a splintered hobby.


For "standardized" track modules as mentioned in quote #1, the "splintered hobby" problem related in quote #2 has to be resolved first. Isn't it obvious that some group (and not some person) has to set the standards so the modules will interconnect? That's what Ntrack did...
 
"In 1973 a group of enthusiastic model railroaders got together at an N scale meet in Signal Hill, California, and talked about what they could do to help interest people in N scale, and to share information about N scale. The Ntrack project resulted from this meeting and the idea has spread throughout the model railroad hobby. Ntrak is a nonprofit organization run by volunteers, its purpose and objective is to encourage model railroading in N scale. There are now Ntrak clubs in most areas of the United States and Canada, there are also Ntrak clubs in Australia, England, Holland, Switzerland, Sweden, New Zealand, Japan, and many other countries."

Note particularly this phrase: "Ntrak is a nonprofit organization run by volunteers, its purpose and objective is to encourage model railroading in N scale."

For the millionth time, it is virtually impossible to create a visible, stable, respected hobby niche from the bottom up. It has to come from the top down and it has to involve significant cooperation, an aspect that is almost non-existent in the entire model car racing genre regardless of scale.


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#421 LolaGT

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Posted 30 December 2016 - 03:27 AM

Hello...
 
Ntrak started out as a bunch of guys somewhere with their own club who wanted to do things 'their way.' It's true it isn't for everybody, I just included it as an example of a way to try to help some of the issues slots face, like where to race, or being bored with club racing just one track design over and over. I thought of it because I built a couple of N scale modules myself for my old layout.
 
IMO model railroading can teach us a lot. For example, N scale is one of many scales in model railroading, from Z scale locomotives so small June bugs can knock them over (no lie) to HO to Lionels (my favorite!) to G scale and beyond... and we didn't even mention the live steamers yet. All of these groups are model railroaders, and although each scale has its adherents, model railroaders in the whole respect each other and have no problem with that. Just go to a model train show and look around.
 
In fact, model railroaders went through the same basic thing that slot racers are now dealing with right now before WWII. For real.
 
Before the war, tinplate Standard Gauge Lionel and American Flyer trains ruled the roost, and they were beautiful... and huge, too. Ever see one running? Wow. They were twice the size of a Lionel O scale train. Think about it.
 
After the war, Lionel O scale was the biggest deal around, followed closely by smaller S scale Flyers, and later in the 50's, HO (half O scale) trains started showing up. In the 1960s, N scale (9mm to the foot scale) and in the '80s Z scale appeared. Also, even though in the US HO is now the king of model railroads, N scale is #1 for the rest of the world, and there are still an awful lot of Lionel collectors out there, like me. Even brand new Standard Gauge trains can be bought right now.
 
Big deal, you say. So what?
 
I'm saying that slot car racing has right now much the same evolutionary path model railroading had, and we can learn from it. Like I said, each of these scales has their fans, and it doesn't matter because all of these still consider themselves model railroaders first and foremost, and the train's scale thing is secondary. It doesn't matter what scale these people run, what really matters is that they run *something*. N scalers go into Lionel or HO modelers' layout areas all the time... and all you hear is 'Cool! Can we run?' The scale we're running is not an issue. They're all running 'something..
 
For example, I have three slot boxes here, one for the T-Jets and AF/X cars I had for almost 40 years now, one for 1/24 GTP cars (and one wing car), and a brand new one for my favorite... 1/32 vintage slots from the '60s. No matter where I go, if I wish to I can probably find somewhere to race something. This is good.
 
In a nutshell... maybe my modular track idea isn't for everybody in every scale, but it would be a good way to reintroduce slot racing of some kind to the world. It would certainly make the hobby much more visible to people than before.
 

Imagine what the '60s slot car designers would have built if they were not limited to low cost mass production and had access to today's materials and motors? Imagine driving a "Thingie" with a .010" Lexan body, titanium frame, brushless motor, and rare earth magnets! Imagine a Cox Chap that weighs half of what the original did and can go around corners like the car it was modeled after! We can see great materials and unprecedented engineering showing up in today's 1/32 scale cars. We can find it in 1/24 scale cars from the same manufacturers. Why not apply it in vintage slot cars as well?

 
Cool! And when you're done, stick in a web-enabled camera in the nose or in the windshield like the Lionel train guys do for a real track's eye view... so you can see what your car does at high speed from the 'driver's seat' in real time. Why not? :)
 

For the millionth time, it is virtually impossible to create a visible, stable, respected hobby niche from the bottom up. It has to come from the top down and it has to involve significant cooperation, as aspect that is almost non-existent in the entire model car racing genre regardless of scale.

 
Cheater is right. The question is *why* this is true, and what can be done to fix it? If we are all slot car racers, and we are all here in this forum, *why* is the hobby in this condition... and what can we do about it?
 
My 2 cents.
 
Ken


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#422 LindsayB

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Posted 30 December 2016 - 05:53 AM

In losing 30% of Australia's tracks in a two-month period I would be more concerned about what's wrong now. And I expect for a commercial track they need to sell parts - track time/race entry fees won't cover the rent. I don't think our problem is the sale of second hand part via the internet; it is the sale of new parts that are doing the damage.


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Lindsay Byron

#423 Cheater

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Posted 30 December 2016 - 08:50 AM

Well, there is a significant level of new parts being sold via the internet, too.

 

The bottom line, as frequently mentioned here, is that the organized racing activities at any commercial raceway will rarely constitute more than 20-25% of the raceway's revenue stream. And it's often less. And that includes everything related to organized racing: track time, entry fees, parts sales, repairs, etc.

 

For a commercial raceway to survive, the ownership has to realize that the majority of revenue is going to come from activities not directly related to the organized racing segment. It is so common as to be almost a given: raceway owners almost always devote the vast majority of their attention and promotion to the segment of their business that generates the smallest percentage of revenue, i.e. organized racing.


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#424 LolaGT

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Posted 30 December 2016 - 02:32 PM

In losing 30% of Australia's tracks in a two-month period I would be more concerned about what's wrong now. And I expect for a commercial track they need to sell parts - track time/race entry fees won't cover the rent. I don't think our problem is the sale of second hand part via the internet; it is the sale of new parts that are doing the damage.

 
Your country lost 30% of their tracks in only two months? For real? Wow.
 
This is right on. Commercial tracks may not generate enough income *by themselves* to even earn their keep, much less feed their owners, so selling parts becomes a major part of the revenue stream. Unfortunately, everything is cheaper on eBay... and nobody seems to see the connection between saving $2 on a pair of tires and the track closing up. Not to mention the track owners who close up and liquidate their assets by dumping them on eBay for pennies on the dollar, making the nightmare for the other owners still trying even bigger. Trying to penalize the customers who buy parts on the web somehow isn't going to work because if you alienate them they won't come back at all. Renting the track to birthday or company parties is a good idea to try to open up the cashflow, but it can't be the only way. It isn't big enough.
 
Even worse, many slot tracks (in the US anyway) seem to have a 1/24 track and a dragstrip only. Why is this bad? Simple... having only *one* track will severely limit the track's earning potential because you can't run Slot.it or other 1/32 or even HO cars you can buy today at hobby shops on a glued wing car track. Not to mention... you would need to be in a larger city to find enough racers in your own track's specific scale to even break even.
 
I have seen raceways that have three or four tracks (like Lucky Bob's in Milwaukee)... a 1/24 'big track', a smaller track in the basement for NASCAR or 1/32, a dragstrip, and a HO track for kids with those cars. I'm wondering if trying to appeal to all the scales instead of just one might work? It's true that this requires a lot more money to start up, and maybe the track operator may only be interested in one scale, not all four. The idea was to appeal to all possible racers in an area... not just the percentage of racers who own cars that fit the specific track you may own.
 

The bottom line, as frequently mentioned here, is that the organized racing activities at any commercial raceway will rarely constitute more than 20-25% of the raceway's revenue stream. And it's often less. And that includes everything related to organized racing: track time, entry fees, parts sales, repairs, etc.
 
For a commercial raceway to survive, the ownership has to realize that the majority of revenue is going to come from activities not directly related to the organized racing segment. It is so common as to be almost a given: raceway owners almost always devote the vast majority of their attention and promotion to the segment of their business that generates the smallest percentage of revenue, i.e. organized racing.

 
Perhaps a commercial track needs to be just one part of a larger hobby shop to survive nowadays, so whatever the track brings in as revenue is only a *small* part of all revenue instead of most of it.
 
I have seen hobby shops who specialize in R/C alone, and how do they manage to survive? You would think a large R/C truck or dune buggy would need way much more area to race in than even a Purple Mile. Not to mention new radios, controllers, tires, etc. sales. How do they do it?
 
Happy Holidays,

 

Ken


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#425 tonyp

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Posted 30 December 2016 - 04:40 PM

Ken,

 

One thing is the R/C margins on parts for the most part are higher than those in slots. It is also a different breed of racer with more disposable income. Weekly races usually have no pay-outs. Plus everything is more expensive then slot cars.

Most tracks I know of average 30 or more for a weeekly race with a couple of hundred racers actually showing up for the bigger races.


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#426 slotbaker

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Posted 30 December 2016 - 07:31 PM

 I have seen hobby shops who specialize in R/C alone, and how do they manage to survive? You would think a large R/C truck or dune buggy would need way much more area to race in than even a Purple Mile. Not to mention new radios, controllers, tires, etc. sales. How do they do it?

As well as Tony's point, R/C cars don't need a purple mile, or any other fixed track to be raced.

 

In our little dead end street on Christmas day, 4 young (10~12yo) kids were out the front thrashing around having a great time with their new cars.

 

There's a good chance that they will keep playing R/C cars for a few years to come.

At least until they get their driver's license and/or discover girls.  Not necessarily in that order tho!!

 

Happy New Year slot nuts.

:drinks:


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Steve King


#427 NSwanberg

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Posted 31 December 2016 - 04:46 AM

I wonder what percentage of RC is purchased outside of a brick and mortar store? My guess. 70%.


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#428 Superbird

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Posted 31 December 2016 - 06:33 PM

From my perspective (slot car and real car clubs) it always surprises me that guys who love cars and can assemble a large building full of collector cars will NEVER consider making space for a slot car track. I don't care how collectable or expensive slot cars become. They will not attain the social status of real cars or jewelry or real estate. It is the old problem of being considered a kind of toy that we play with because we can't afford the real thing. Well... there sure are a lot of people who can afford real cars. There are so many boomers out there with specialty cars it is like an exploding epidemic! The police have their hands full chasing car clubs out of parking lots because they are overrunning the local traffic. Put up a sign anywhere saying "Car Show Today" and see how many cars instantly pull up!  And yet, none of these successful guys are going to find a commercial building and run a slot car club for fun. It is not a money problem. It is a status problem.

 

Actually I know a fellow who bought two buildings (at auction) and established club tracks in 32nd scale. We are VERY grateful to him and race there whenever we can. I wish I could afford that kind of social expression.

 

As to status, I think 32nd has an edge over 24th simply because the cars are jewelry-level beautiful and almost always depict upscale subjects. I am a dyed in the wool 24th guy and never got into 32nd too deeply but todays 32nd cars are not just fast, you can find advanced parts for them from companies all over the world. The RTR cars are much more attractive to parents and family racing. The last 24th track I visited was a lot of fun but the place was a filthy mess with no working ladies room. I guess I take that condition in stride as I always have since slot tracks have always suffered from impoverishment and neglect right back to the '60s. I don't blame the poor guy running the place on top of his day job with no help and trying to make the rent on precious little track income. The larger 24th scale gives us a lot of wonderful speed but the realities of business work against attaining an elevated status of any kind.


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