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Slot.it's Maurizio Ferrari visits the LASCM


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#1 TSR

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Posted 17 July 2019 - 03:26 PM

Most slot car racing enthusiasts are familiar with the very nice 1/32 slot cars produced by the Italian company, Slot.it.

Before creating the brand, founder and president Maurizio Ferrari worked for the Life Formula 1 team, then for... Ferrari [no relation]. Beside designing and engineering his slot cars, Maurizio is also consulting for various entities from his main business, Galileo Engineering. Maurizio is also the owner of the Policar trademark and recently engineered what is possibly the finest plastic slot car track today.

We had the pleasure of Maurizio's visit at the Los Angeles Slot Car Museum, now reported in Maurizio's BLOG, here:

LASCM Los Angeles Slot Car Museum

For the ones a bit less versed in the Italian language, here is a translation in something more familiar to most of you:

 
LASCM Los Angeles Slot Car Museum

California dreaming

I arrived in Los Angeles in 1980 as a pimpled-faced teenager. I was a guest of a friend, Lynn, who was a few years older than me and occupied her summer as a dog sitter in a Beverly Hills mansion, opposite Gene Hackman's residence. A good start for a holiday of which you will read sooner or later in the Mauritian Chronicles.
 
The image of Lynn's blue Ford Pinto, leaving after unloading me at the airport, reemerges vividly as I exit the baggage claim in the hot California sun. Forty years have passed. I try to overcome the melancholy over the memory of my teenage summer in the USA, and breathe the air: there is the same smell like thirty years ago, mixed with kerosene, the same reinforced concrete pillars, the same street, the same bright light.

 
Los Angeles Slot Car Museum
 
I'm in Los Angeles to meet a person who is probably the utmost slot car collector in the world, Scott Bader, and visit an extraordinary place, the Los Angeles Slot Car Museum. This, thanks to my friendship with Philippe de Lespinay who is the curator of the museum.
 
This is not a public museum and can only be accessed by appointment, as is normal practice when entering other people's homes: you see, the museum is located inside Mr. Bader's estate. Scott is a building contractor, a car collector in 1:1 scale, and an excellent driver of historic cars.

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The story of Philippe de Lespinay, a versatile artist and racing driver, is that of someone who, coming from France to the USA in 1970 and relying only on his own strength, was involved in the explosion in the second half of the 20th century of a bubble that has had no equal in any other hobby's history. All of America, from Florida to Alaska, had gone mad for slot cars. A massive, imposing phenomenon, a social and commercial tsunami that leaked to Japan, Europe, and South America. The museum retraces this history starting from the origins of the hobby and gradually concentrating on the history of the boom of the 1960s, up to the present day, to modern wing cars, but always maintaining its focus on the evolution of slot racing in the USA.
 
Do not think of this collection as that of an eccentric (and evidently affluent) gentleman: the Los Angeles Slot Car Museum is a rationally-planned collection, a place where the history of the American electric model car raceways in 1/24 and 1/32 scales is preserved and told.

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I believe that only the union of Philippe's historical knowledge with Scott Bader's vision could have created a similar collection.

 
The vault - the treasure room

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The museum is set on two floors of a large building: on the ground floor is the archive, in which thousands and thousands of kits, parts, variants, and rarities of all kinds are collected and catalogued, as in the vaults of a museum worthy of respect. The archive is accessed through a six-ton security door coming from an 1890s bank vault. Perhaps not strictly essential but let me tell you, it is 'cool crazy'!
 
Inside the museum itself, neat in all its features, set in a large room with controlled humidity and temperature, ones first vision is of the multiscreen monitor occupying the wall in front of the entrance. This is running videos of vintage slot car racing, while in the perfectly-lighted showcases, the history of slot cars unfolds. From the first cars tied to a track, to the diesel 'rail cars,' to the birth and explosion, to the collapse and the rebirth, the world of slot cars passes before my eyes going through a century of history. The quantity and the selection of the material is imposing: unique specimens in mint and boxed conditions, technical curiosities, up to the personal carrying cases of famous racers and memorabilia from the official Russkit Team: the world of slot racing evolved with professional racers and enthusiasts is on display, including their racing uniforms.
 
As for Italian slot cars, 'honorable mention' for Unicar, Mini Dream, and, dulcis in fundo, Policar, well-represented with their injected-plastic models as well as the very rare 1/24 scale acetate models.


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Live like it's showtime
 
After my visit, I thank Scott and Philippe, and go out as the sun is setting on the horizon. On the corner of Sunset Boulevard, a girl with overly purple hair and her friend wearing an excessively hairy coat walk along, the picture framed by a Gray Goose vodka advertising placard: "Live victoriously, live like it's showtime."


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Philippe de Lespinay





#2 NJ Racer

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Posted 18 July 2019 - 05:24 AM

One of my favorites by Slot.it that stays in the box and will not see the track.

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Ray Carlisi

#3 Martin

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Posted 18 July 2019 - 08:48 AM

Great display, incredible amount of effort to make this happen. Look forward to seeing the collection in person one day.


Martin Windmill

#4 ravajack

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Posted 18 July 2019 - 03:28 PM

One of my favorites by Slot.it that stays in the box and will not see the track.

attachicon.gif20EC7586-0D04-434F-928B-6988055F6B2E.jpeg

Wasn't there supposed to be a Slot.It version of the 2G as well as the 2E?

And also a 2J?


Bertil Berggren
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#5 NJ Racer

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Posted 18 July 2019 - 06:07 PM

Wasn't there supposed to be a Slot.It version of the 2G as well as the 2E?

And also a 2J?

 

I know of 2 USA Distributors that are currently taking only pre-orders for the Slot.it 2G, model # SICA32A and one of them is in fact Scott Bader's "Electric Dreams". No info on the 2J.


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#6 TSR

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Posted 18 July 2019 - 09:14 PM

Maurizio explained to me that they had a bit of trouble with a company in China that closed without warning. Things are now resolved and you should see new cars coming again soon.
 


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Philippe de Lespinay


#7 sportblazer350

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Posted 23 July 2019 - 06:22 PM

A trip to the museum is on my bucket list. 


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