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World's largest wooden slot car track?


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#1 Cheater

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Posted 15 July 2015 - 11:28 AM

The Guiness Book of Records was invited to certify it as such, but declined to do so, as they seemingly don't differentiate between wooden tracks and plastic sectional tracks.
 
In any event, this is wild and it has been a bit tough to assemble the info for this post. The track was built by Ron Viggiani of Race Haven Hobbies in Brampton, Ontario. The info I relate here is based on posts Ron made at Slot Car Illustrated and a number of the pictures were snagged (with Alan Smith's permission) from there as well. Many of the images are from a Google Images story by Tony Nudo, an artist who seemingly also works on trade shows. There's also a couple of pics snagged from a Chevrolet Canada Facebook page.
 
The 2015 Pan Am Games are in progress in Toronto, Canada now, from July 10-26 (the same site will also host the Parapan Am Games August 7-15) and Chevrolet has erected a huge pavilion that features a six-lane 1/24 wooden slot car track that is reported to be 1,050 feet long! According to the builder, the track foorprint is 185' x 55' and it has 88 track sections of approximately 4' x 8'. 
 
The cars are powered by generators rotated by the bicycles seen in the pics. According to Ron, "The cars travel around the track at 4 volts and when they hit a straight section they get a speed boost if you are pedaling the bike hard enough to create additional wattage."

If I was in the Toronto area, I'd be making a beeline for the #Power of Play Chevrolet pavilion right now. Word is admission is free...

Ron's pics in this post show the track pieces under construction.

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7,600 feet of power taps for the track!

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Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap





#2 Cheater

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Posted 15 July 2015 - 11:30 AM

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Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap


#3 Cheater

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Posted 15 July 2015 - 11:32 AM

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Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap


#4 Cheater

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Posted 15 July 2015 - 11:33 AM

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Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap


#5 Cheater

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Posted 15 July 2015 - 11:39 AM

One wonders what will happen to the track after the Games are over? No one in their right mind would set it up permnently anywhere, but the sections could be recycled into a whole bunch of smaller tracks, I would think.

I'm contacting GM Media to see if they are willing to provide any additional info on this pavilion.

Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap


#6 Pappy

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Posted 15 July 2015 - 11:43 AM

Looks like a lot of money for nothing.

 

The track sections are so wide it would be hard to turn marshal if you had to reach all the way across all those lanes.


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#7 PCH Parts Express

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Posted 15 July 2015 - 11:48 AM

The lighted sidewalls and 12 lane sections look great. 


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#8 Cheater

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Posted 15 July 2015 - 11:52 AM

Butch, you're such a curmudgeon... PdL been giving you lessons? LOL...

This was built as a PR exercise and will almost certain be trashed when it comes down on July 26.

The track is only six lanes wide and loops back alongside the other "side" of the track. What you see as 12 lanes wide is two six-lane sections side by side.

The middle lanes that seem too close are actually the same lane. The cars never leave the lanes so having the same lane side by side is never an issue.

Here's a few more pics, courtesy of Ron and SCI.

ron1.jpg

ron2.jpg

ron3.jpg


Gregory Wells

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#9 Half Fast

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Posted 15 July 2015 - 11:55 AM

Looks like a lot of money for nothing.

 
Yup, a silly but expensive idea, signifying nothing.
 
Cheers,

Bill Botjer

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#10 Cheater

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Posted 15 July 2015 - 12:00 PM

I believe you guys have no idea what companies the size of GM, Microsoft, and others spend on trade shows and exhibits like this. My guess is that this pavilion was much cheaper than some of the PR exercises GM does...

Having 1/24 slot cars get this kind of exposure, even if it doesn't fit the traditional slot racing "mold", cannot be a bad thing for our "invisible" hobby, as far as I am concerned.
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Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap


#11 SlowBeas

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Posted 15 July 2015 - 12:01 PM

I'd love to try it, but my ability to pedal a bicycle would peter-out before the car ever reached the first turn!

 

Still, it looks like a lot of fun and a very well-made track. At more than 1,000 feet, I'd really rather just use regular power and my own controller.  :D


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#12 Cheater

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Posted 15 July 2015 - 12:08 PM

Yeah, wouldn't it be great to sneak in at night with a couple of power supplies to replace those bike gensets...

Wonder what Ron charged Chevrolet for building the track? The scuttlebutt is one track builder charges $100 a foot for a King, so at 1,050 feet, that would be a lot of money!

Gregory Wells

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#13 Steve Deiters

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Posted 15 July 2015 - 12:51 PM

This is great. Only good things could potentially come from this promotion and this track for commercial slot racing with routed tracks and slot racing in general. A 1960s hobby with a 21st century eco spin to it. I'm sure more than one older person who enters this pavilion will say, "I didn't know people still do this?" Coupled with a younger person saying "Hey, that looks like fun. What is it?" 

 

Hopefully parts of this track find a good home reassembled somewhere to expand the hobby after the games are over.

 

PS: It would be awesome to power the track up and take a spin with your weapon of choice - Retro, flexi, or wing car.


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#14 A. J. Hoyt

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Posted 15 July 2015 - 12:55 PM

More important than who built it and what will happen to it is... was it a PR firm or an individual internal to GM; who was it that successfully pitched this to GM for marketing purposes? That person is a friend to slot racing!

 

I can't say it will generate the interest in GM products that they hope it will but Cheater is right, the money that this cost was NOTHING to a company like GM.

 

With nearly all of the big 1:1 raceways in this country offering to rename their facility for a sum to promote a corporate interest (not to mention, naming the race for a sponsor), I hope this opens some commercial (heck, it is already commercial) slot car track owners' and premier slot racing event promoters to some new ideas for covering their cost of operation and opening up avenues of exposure for slot cars to the general populace!

 

I guess I am an "official authentic Stella Artois Gold-rimmed Glass" half full kind of guy!

 

Keep it in the slot (and keep the slot events going so we have a slot to keep it in),

 

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#15 Cheater

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Posted 15 July 2015 - 01:05 PM

AJ,

 

As I said, I've reached out to GM Media Relations for more info, though I don't have high expectations that I will get a reply. One of the questions I asked was who came up with the idea. I'm betting it was one of GM's outside ad or PR agencies.

 

Based on some of the photos in the Tony Nudo story that I didn't bring over, I believe GM contracted with an exhibition company to produce this pavilion, with the track building contract being awarded to Ron at Race Haven Hobbbies. But that's just a WAG.


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#16 Half Fast

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Posted 15 July 2015 - 01:23 PM

The wooden track structure and surface does not look sturdy enough to endure day to day use over a number of years. Warping will probably occur.

 

Cheers,


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#17 Cheater

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Posted 15 July 2015 - 01:38 PM

So? It only has to last for sixteen days.

 

Why all the negative vibes regarding this track, Bill?


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#18 Matt Sheldon

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Posted 15 July 2015 - 01:44 PM

I like the "Tron" effect of the lighting and the cosmetic look of the leveling legs.


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#19 Cheater

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Posted 15 July 2015 - 01:48 PM

But the full track sides, going down to the floor, hide those track supports from view. Odd...

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#20 Cheater

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Posted 15 July 2015 - 01:54 PM

I've privately been informed that this concept first surfaced in the Chevy Trucks division back in 2000 as an idea to market a particular truck model.

After Ford's recent international coverage with the slot car track their CEO had built, as well as with a little nudging from Jay Leno, Chevy wanted to go next level.

The track is said to be scheduled for five appearances. The word is the track will more than likely end up in the hands of the display company Chevy hired and ultimately destroyed no differently than any of their other displays. It will more than likely not be saved. For them, it is just a prop.

Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap


#21 Big Durl

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Posted 15 July 2015 - 02:17 PM

On the other hand, I see this as a great way for some of us fat-@$$ slot racers to lose a few tons.  
 
Combines a slot car raceway with a gym. I like it. :heat:
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#22 Half Fast

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Posted 15 July 2015 - 02:25 PM

So? It only has to last for sixteen days.
 
Why all the negative vibes regarding this track, Bill?

 
The point about durability was in response to a post that said maybe the sections could be used to make a smaller track.
 
I guess I don't have much patience for "green" two-week publicity stunts when you are selling 600 HP Vettes (not that there's anything wrong with that!)
 
Bah humbug. :)

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#23 hiline2

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Posted 15 July 2015 - 02:29 PM

Hey! Get one of those small gas engine attachments they used to have for bicycles!!  :crazy:  :laugh2:  :wacko2:
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#24 MSwiss

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Posted 15 July 2015 - 02:29 PM

It would be interesting to see the layout/configuration, mostly to see how it double backs.
 
I agree with Scott and Matt.
 
Cool looking legs and lighting.
 
Before Greg's post #20, with the copper tape, I could have guessed it was destined for the dumpster.
 
Anyway, any promotion for slot racing is good promotion.
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#25 John Streisguth

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Posted 15 July 2015 - 02:37 PM

I agree with Steve... if a few people think it's cool and look further into it, or have flash backs to doing in their younger days and renew some interest, it's nothing but good.  At the very least, it's an interesting twist on slot cars.
 
FWIW, I think the Liberty Science Center in NJ, near where you take the ferry to the Statue of LIberty, at one time had something similar on a smaller scale that used solar power. By varying the amount of light to the solar cell, you could see the cars speed up or slow down, to understand how the power is created from sunlight.


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#26 Matt Sheldon

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Posted 15 July 2015 - 02:37 PM

Mike,
 
Didn't a Chicagoland car dealership do a temporary slot car track promotion around 2009-10? I seem to remember Manta sending me a flier.

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#27 MSwiss

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Posted 15 July 2015 - 03:12 PM

Possibly a plastic track deal.

As far as slot racing promotion goes, what's weird is I remember seeing Jerry Kulich set up under the grandstands with an oval at a CART race in Cicero.

He did OK $$$ wise at the event, but he said it did virtually nothing as far as promotion at his raceway.

He said only one person did a follow up visit at his raceway.


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#28 tonyp

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Posted 15 July 2015 - 03:24 PM

Did Jerry have stuff to sell at the Demo? If he did that is the way to hook someone.


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#29 MSwiss

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Posted 15 July 2015 - 03:39 PM

It was more a "pay and line up and have a 10 lap race with the rental cars" deal.

Mike Swiss
 
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#30 Mattb

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Posted 15 July 2015 - 04:12 PM

Any time slots are presented in some different forum it's got to be good for the hobby. Any exposure has to be good. Surely somebody in the pr company, maybe the guy whose idea it was will volunteer to take the track and maybe downsize it to some useable format. That's probably why he pushed the idea!!! I bet anyone with access to to the right people could buy or have the track when they are done with it. Probably the guy that built it could arrange something, if no one internally wanted it or they decided to store it for possible future use. Might have been a better presentation from our point of view if it had been a conventional track or maybe even a nice plastic setup! That would make it more appealing to usual family basement.
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#31 Pappy

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Posted 15 July 2015 - 04:57 PM

Having 1/24 slot cars get this kind of exposure, even if it doesn't fit the traditional slot racing "mold", cannot be a bad thing for our "invisible" hobby, as far as I am concerned.

 

Not so sure you're right, Greg. This could do more damage than good.

 

Let's face it, most people don't have any idea what slot car "racing" is. There will probably be thousands of people see this and ask what kind of cars are those and someone will probably say they are slot cars. Not knowing anything about slot cars they will probably think this is the stupidest thing on earth. Who in the hell would want to pedal a bike just to watch some cars run around a track. It would be more boring than watching a scale train set run around a track.  

 

Dokk  :D


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#32 jimht

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Posted 15 July 2015 - 04:59 PM

Bunch of optimists.

 

What promotes actual slot car racing is actual slot car racing.

 

This a three-dimensional non-interactive video game that is just an attraction to promote a GM product.

 

At least the guy that set up the huge plastic tracks in malls sold slot car sets.


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#33 MSwiss

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Posted 15 July 2015 - 04:59 PM

Between the copper tape, the unique lane spacing, and most importantly, the ultra wide turns, that track surface is destined for the dumpster.

Maybe the cool-looking support legs will get saved.

Anyone good enough to convert that into something usable would also realize it would be less work to start new.


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Mike Swiss
 
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Make checks out to Chicagoland Woodworking, Inc.


#34 Michael Jr.

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Posted 15 July 2015 - 05:38 PM

While I appreciate the technical merits of what everyone has said, I'll admit I would accept that track as a gift without a second thought.


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#35 Matt Sheldon

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Posted 15 July 2015 - 05:53 PM

We as slot car enthusiasts see the track and it becomes our focal point. However the marketing side targets the human propulsion of the bicycles as the actual focal point of the display. The cars on the track, how fast and far they travel are just the minimal end result. The cyclist is in fact the motor, the controller and ultimately the winner or the loser. 


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#36 MSwiss

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Posted 15 July 2015 - 06:02 PM

Hopefully we won't wind up reading "Man has heart attack attempting to win slot car race".


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#37 The Number of

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Posted 15 July 2015 - 06:37 PM

  I would head on up to Toronto but my driver is at some small bicycle race in France for the whole month. :)


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#38 Matt Sheldon

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Posted 15 July 2015 - 07:01 PM

Hopefully we won't wind up reading "Man has heart attack attempting to win slot car race".

 

I think that is a concern at every track in the US almost every day at this point LOL.


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#39 slotcarone

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Posted 15 July 2015 - 07:55 PM

I think the layout of the track was designed around showcasing GM cars on display. :)


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#40 Mattb

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Posted 15 July 2015 - 09:16 PM

I think one guy could probably take these pieces and make a nice six-lane flat oval in about an afternoon!
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#41 Cheater

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Posted 16 July 2015 - 06:21 AM

What promotes actual slot car racing is actual slot car racing.
 
This a three-dimensional non-interactive video game that is just an attraction to promote a GM product.


I never said anything about promotion or sales or increased business in raceways. What I did say is:

"Having 1/24 slot cars get this kind of exposure, even if it doesn't fit the traditional slot racing "mold", cannot be a bad thing for our "invisible" hobby, as far as I am concerned."

The surprising part of this thread to me is the number of people who think it's either worthless or a bad thing.
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#42 Steve Deiters

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Posted 16 July 2015 - 07:56 AM

Something good happens that involves slot racing and the same cast of Cassandras take a dump on it. Since the '60s some things just never change in this hobby. Sometimes I wonder how it has lasted this long...
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#43 PCH Parts Express

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Posted 16 July 2015 - 09:53 AM

What impact would TV spots during F1 and NASCAR races paid for by one or more top 1/24th slot car factories be? 


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#44 SlowBeas

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Posted 16 July 2015 - 11:17 AM

Marketing any idea is all about having a desirable product in the right place at the right time. I still see this display as a great marketing opportunity for slot cars in general. GM is putting the hobby in front of hundreds/thousands of people, and I suspect that many of those people are just like us -- car lovers of sorts.

 

Personally, I disagree with any and all naysayers on this topic. This is a good thing for slot racing.


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#45 jimht

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Posted 16 July 2015 - 11:49 AM

Suppose GM were actually doing this to promote slot cars, would it make a difference? to my business? to the Hobby/toy?

Awareness advertising like this may remind people of slot cars..."Yeah, I used to do that", but it won't do anything to create interest...because it's not the slot cars we all know, or knew, for that matter. 

The millions of people who played with slot cars momentarily during the Sixties also have little interest in Hula Hoops or Pet Rocks nowadays either.

"I didn't know it was still around", LOL.

 

Even after we get them in the door we can't get them involved in what we're doing in enough quantities to make Raceways a viable business proposition..what we offer is not what they want.

 

The 1/24th commercial raceway was successful when the tracks were full of people playing with toys, not racing.

 

This sort of thing would be marvelous if it would somehow fill the joint with people renting cars or buying cheap cars to play with, but, we couldn't handle the former with the facilities we have and we don't offer the latter under the counter...(He said, curmudgeonly, with tongue in cheek, to the optimists).  :laugh2: 


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#46 garyvmachines

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Posted 16 July 2015 - 12:27 PM

  Any exposer to slot cars HAS To be a good thing !!

All it takes is some little kid to go home to Chi., Ny., LA, or Alamo City......

And say Grand Pa , Can we race car's like we did at the Pan Am Games ???? That may spark GP to look at the net & find

YOUR RACEWAY..... That is how this connects to your raceway......  My $0.02......

 

GAV  


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#47 hiline2

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Posted 16 July 2015 - 12:37 PM

Hey ! Maybe we need to figure out how to acquire "historical" status then  we can get a grant to build a museum or something to house it all ! :prankster2:  :yahoo:


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#48 A. J. Hoyt

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Posted 16 July 2015 - 12:46 PM

Such a museum already exists! There are the static displays at the LASCM in CA (don't know how one gets in to see that one) or, if you want to take your stuff and play, Modelville in MA. Both should be a bucket list "Haj" for the dedicated slot racer.

 

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The only thing I know about slot cars is if I had a good time when I leave the building! I can count the times I didn't on one hand!

Entitlement:
The notion that one can have their slot car racing and EAT IT, too!

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#49 Mattb

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Posted 16 July 2015 - 01:25 PM

sorry
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#50 Pappy

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Posted 16 July 2015 - 03:16 PM

All it takes is some little kid to go home to Chi., Ny., LA, or Alamo City......
And say Grand Pa , Can we race car's like we did at the Pan Am Games ????

 

Gary, that's the problem with this. You don't get to race the cars, someone pedals the bike that creates 4 volts and everyone else watches the cars go around.


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