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Vintage Scalextric Lotus...


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#1 strummer

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Posted 04 September 2019 - 03:45 PM

Hi everyone.

 

I just now "pulled the trigger' on one of these; it's a model of the front-engined car, model #C54, I believe.

 

This will be my first older Scalextric car, so I have no idea what to expect as far as its construction, motor type, etc. The listing says "it runs great", so I'm hopeful.

 

While I await its arrival, I thought I'd ask here if there are any particulars about these older cars I should look for, or know about in advance? The listing also mentions "the release pins for separating chassis and body shell are intact and functional". What's that all about? 

 

As always, any and all responses are welcome and appreciated.  :)

 

Mark in Oregon


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#2 don.siegel

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Posted 04 September 2019 - 04:17 PM

This generation of Scalextric car was a "clamshell" design, with a tab on the top shell fitting into a slot in the lower shell, and plastic "release pins" front and rear to lock the two halves together. The pins are broken off on many of these cars, which date from 1960-61, so that's why he says they're intact. 

 

They are powered by the Tri-Ang open frame motor, which will probably seem very slow to you, depending on what you're used to. It may need to be cleaned, using lighter fluid or a similar solvent (not while it's running!), and you'll usually have to remove old hairs and dustballs from the axles. You'll probably need new tires, and you can get these from Ortmann (distributors include RS Slot Racing in England and I think Electric Dreams in the States), or maybe Paul Gage in Canada. 

 

I assume this is the Lotus 16 model, which was the first Scalextric car with a plastic body, after the first couple years with tinplate bodies. 

 

There's a whole aftermarket scene in England for Scalextric cars, so you might have to go there. 

 

Don 



#3 strummer

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Posted 04 September 2019 - 05:53 PM

This generation of Scalextric car was a "clamshell" design, with a tab on the top shell fitting into a slot in the lower shell, and plastic "release pins" front and rear to lock the two halves together. The pins are broken off on many of these cars, which date from 1960-61, so that's why he says they're intact. 

 

They are powered by the Tri-Ang open frame motor, which will probably seem very slow to you, depending on what you're used to. It may need to be cleaned, using lighter fluid or a similar solvent (not while it's running!), and you'll usually have to remove old hairs and dustballs from the axles. You'll probably need new tires, and you can get these from Ortmann (distributors include RS Slot Racing in England and I think Electric Dreams in the States), or maybe Paul Gage in Canada. 

 

I assume this is the Lotus 16 model, which was the first Scalextric car with a plastic body, after the first couple years with tinplate bodies. 

 

There's a whole aftermarket scene in England for Scalextric cars, so you might have to go there. 

 

Don 

 

Thank you Don.

 

Am looking forward to seeing this old car, and I hope it is "slower": as I've posted elsewhere, the modern cars I got (originally for my son) are too fast for my liking. I would prefer having the option of speeding things up, as opposed to having to slow stuff down.  :)

 

Mark in Oregon


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#4 Ecurie Martini

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Posted 05 September 2019 - 07:38 AM

I recall these early plastic Scalextric cars.  They arrived on the market after I had moved from the original tinplate cars to scratch-built motorized Merits (1/24)  I bought two - the Lotus and a Lister Jag, also a "clamshell" design as Don describes.  If memory serves, the used a pin guide.  The tires were rubbish and the performance, both speed and handling was, being charitable, modest.

 

EM


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#5 strummer

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Posted 05 September 2019 - 08:27 AM

I recall these early plastic Scalextric cars.  They arrived on the market after I had moved from the original tinplate cars to scratch-built motorized Merits (1/24)  I bought two - the Lotus and a Lister Jag, also a "clamshell" design as Don describes.  If memory serves, the used a pin guide.  The tires were rubbish and the performance, both speed and handling was, being charitable, modest.

 

EM

 

Alan

 

Well, that sounds encouraging! :)

 

The car I've purchased has much different, wider tires/wheels (not stock) and so we'll see how it gets on once it arrives. Typically, what sort of motor did these have? Can? Open-frame? Decent?

 

Thanks for the input.

 

Mark in Oregon


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#6 don.siegel

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Posted 05 September 2019 - 08:36 AM

Mark, 

 

These cars generally have open frame motors; it would be a few years before Scalextric switched to cans. Scalextric did make another and later Lotus in this series with the same general layout, so it may be that one. 

 

They can run decently, but need to be cleaned and often remagnetized (unfortunately, not something that's easy to do at home, but a guy on here who retired to Oregon does have a zapper - look up Rick at DC65X). 

 

See how it runs when you get it, and then we might have some more hints. 

 

Don 



#7 strummer

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Posted 05 September 2019 - 09:27 AM

Thanks Don

 

I wonder if there is a (more or less) drop in replacement motor for these; Strombecker or otherwise...(?)

 

Will let you all know what I find once it arrives...

 

Mark in Oregon


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#8 don.siegel

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Posted 05 September 2019 - 09:53 AM

The MRRC open frame motors were more or less derived from these Mark, so they might work, but you'd probably have to delve into ebay UK... 

 

Don 



#9 dc-65x

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Posted 05 September 2019 - 09:56 AM

Hi Mark,

 

The Lotus 16 is one of my favorites. I don't really know why, but I've always liked its "Look". So lets actually look at them. :)

 

Here is the early "big head" version..........

 

C54_Lotus_16_RHS.jpg

 

...........and a later version with a driver torso:

 

3058908043_a182233dd3_b.jpg

 

I found an interesting bit on the internet for you too:

 

SCALEXTRIC COLLECTOR GUIDE

 

Cartrix made a version a few years ago:

 

cx956.jpg

 

I still have that one and 3 others from my "plasti-car period".......a Jim Clark Lotus Cortina and the Clark Lotus 49 - Gurney Eagle GP car set.


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#10 strummer

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Posted 05 September 2019 - 01:25 PM

Thank you Rick.

 

Judging by the eBay listing photos (and here's one), the one that's coming my way is the later, "full bodied" example:

 

Lotus....jpg

 

As I mentioned earlier, it has very different wheels/tires. I think they look pretty good, so I may just leave those as is, depending on performance...and my mood. :)

 

I also notice that the little fake "springs" over the rear axle are missing; any chance of me finding some replacements somewhere?

 

Mark (also) in Oregon


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#11 strummer

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Posted 05 September 2019 - 01:32 PM

Hi Mark,

 

The Lotus 16 is one of my favorites. I don't really know why, but I've always liked its "Look". So lets actually look at them. :)

 

Cartrix made a version a few years ago:

 

attachicon.gifcx956.jpg

 

If that's supposed to be Graham Hill (judging by the stripes on the helmet), that is the worst rendering of one of my favorite drivers that I've ever seen!   :wacko2:   :)

 

Mark in Oregon


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#12 Ramcatlarry

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Posted 05 September 2019 - 01:33 PM

The Tri-ang motor uses a pin at the magnet to 'snap' into the body mount.  The body clipped together holds it all together.  A Pittman DC 195 is similar, but I have seen no need to try to swap one into one of these.  These usually last forever unless someone tried to run it on an AC train power supply.  Add some lead or ballast for better traction and limit the front axle flop.

 

Modern soft Ninco/Slot-it type braid works better than the original stiff braid.  I recently cleaned up an BRM F-1 of the same era and found that the rear wheels would fit a standard  15 X 7 tire - your choice silicone or urethane.  These cars are a bit slower than current Cartrix or Scalextric 'Vintage F-1" cars.  My mid-60s Monogram Lotus/Ferraris are closer match to modern cars.


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#13 Ecurie Martini

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Posted 05 September 2019 - 02:22 PM

 

I also notice that the little fake "springs" over the rear axle are missing; any chance of me finding some replacements somewhere?

 

Mark (also) in Oregon

 

If you can find old style (long) Schrader tire valves, the springs will provide a better-than-original representation.

 

EM


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#14 strummer

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Posted 05 September 2019 - 04:25 PM

1. The Tri-ang motor uses a pin at the magnet to 'snap' into the body mount.  The body clipped together holds it all together.  A Pittman DC 195 is similar, but I have seen no need to try to swap one into one of these.  These usually last forever unless someone tried to run it on an AC train power supply.  Add some lead or ballast for better traction and limit the front axle flop.

 

2. Modern soft Ninco/Slot-it type braid works better than the original stiff braid.  I recently cleaned up an BRM F-1 of the same era and found that the rear wheels would fit a standard  15 X 7 tire - your choice silicone or urethane.  These cars are a bit slower than current Cartrix or Scalextric 'Vintage F-1" cars.  My mid-60s Monogram Lotus/Ferraris are closer match to modern cars.

 

Larry

 

Thanks for the info. As I say, this will be my first vintage Scalextric, so the more I know prior to its arrival the better.

 

1: Good to know. What is "axle flop"? What do you guys normally use for "ballast"?

 

2: Also helpful; are the braids a press fit or soldered? I'm fine either way, just asking.

 

I would guess that just about anything vintage would be slower than the current offerings! They (modern stuff) seem almost too fast...   :o

 

Mark in Oregon


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#15 Ramcatlarry

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Posted 06 September 2019 - 09:54 AM

1)  The braid holder is a two part plug. Pop apart, take out old braid, cut new to length and reassemble.  

2)  The front axle does NOT stabilize the front of the car.  This design (error?) has been continued on most homeset 1/32 cars.  The cars act like a tricycle and like to roll over.  They hande much better when the front wheels stabilize turning loads.  Modern higher end plastic 1/32 cars use a top and bottom set screw positioning system to  balence 'ride height' - putting the braid onto the track without sliding the flag on the track with the wheels above the track.

3) Ballast is any material to add weight to aid drivability and balance in the car.  Most use sheet lead with double faced tape  inside or under the car.  In the 1960s, I used modeling clay and lead shot or BBs.  Tungston beads are made now for pinewood derby for similar needs. 

 

These older Scalextric cars do not have screws holding anything.


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#16 strummer

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Posted 16 September 2019 - 10:40 AM

Thanks for all the help.

 

It arrived the other day, and thanks to you all (and some other forums) I have had it apart, done all I can to make it "whole", and it runs....."ok". 

 

It's really a noisy little thing; it makes the Aurora Mustang I got last week seem almost silent by comparison. I guess the way the motor snaps into the lower half makes for quite a lot of vibration, hence the noise. Dunno if there's much I can do about it; perhaps that's just the way these things are...

 

Mark in Oregon


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#17 Ramcatlarry

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Posted 16 September 2019 - 11:03 AM

"noisy" ?  Check that the motor is held in place or that the gears tooth form is not damaged (or changed).  Most American slot cars use 48 or 64 pitch gear form.  Many European sourced slots use a (?) metric pitch (50?) that is not the most quiet companion.  If in doubt, Slot-It gears should be a usable alternative.  Pinions all look the same over the years - brass or steel.  The crown will look similar to the vintage Eldi (?sp) brand.  Very possible that the original brass pinion was worn and replaced.


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#18 strummer

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Posted 17 September 2019 - 10:59 AM

Thanks Larry

 

It runs pretty well; just makes a lot of noise doing so.

 

I've since learned that this design is notorious for being "noisy"; I guess the way the motor is attached to the lower half, coupled with the "clamshell" style of the car, makes for a rather loud model. I've run it without the upper half, and it is much quieter. 

 

Several suggestions have been made, but as one fellow (a very knowledgable one) put it: at the time these were made, it was just enough to have something that actually ran, so the fact it was noisy was not too much of a consideration.  :)

 

Mark in (wet) Oregon


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#19 dc-65x

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Posted 17 September 2019 - 11:42 AM

Hi Mark,

 

As a vintage slot car lover I applaud your interest in the old 1/32 cars. I would like to suggest you also consider some of the vintage cars that offer a better driving experience than "dawn of time" snap together plastic versions.

 

For example the excellent first generation brass chassis cars from Monogram:

 

SLOT-CAR-MONOGRAM-Complete-Brass-Running-CHASSIS-NICE.jpg

 

gto15.jpg

 

You can even get nice quiet reproduction Cox Nylatron gears and good handling urethane tires for them (link to a tire source below).

 

Paul's Slot Car Shop

 

The old slot car magazine have a wealth of information on these cars from all the manufacturers of the time along with ways to "hop them up" for better performance.

 

One of my favorite books from the period which shows lots of cars and performance enhancements is Bob Braverman's:

 

51TNDgUyuZL._SL500_SX348_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

 

It is obviously long out of print and when you find one it is likely not cheap.

 

Anyway, hope you continue to enjoy the vintage hobby :)

 

 

 

 


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#20 strummer

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Posted 17 September 2019 - 03:12 PM

Thanks Rick, this has been a blast (from the past and otherwise).

 

As (I think) I posted elsewhere, I also picked up a similar vintage Aurora Mustang:

 

Aurora #1.jpg

 

Although only a few years newer, I think it is vastly superior; much quieter and more robust.

 

Am looking at other options, such as Revell, Monogram and others; seems there is still plenty out there, even after all these years...

 

Mark (also) in Oregon

 

 

 

 

 


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#21 Rotorranch

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Posted 17 September 2019 - 04:09 PM

The Monogram and AMT brass chassis cars were the best of the production 1/32 scale cars of the period.

 

IMHO

 

Rotor


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#22 NHBandit

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Posted 13 November 2019 - 07:08 AM

Lots of guys on here have helped me with parts recently so in the interest of "paying it forward" I'd be happy to donate a parts car if you or anyone else can use it. Just cover postage. Runs fine but is missing the front axle assembly, the rear tires are junk and the body is warped a bit like many of these so the 2 halves no longer fit together like they should. One of those "someday" projects I'll never get to. Message me if you want it. 

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#23 NHBandit

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Posted 20 November 2019 - 09:03 AM

Mailed the parts car yesterday. Hope it has some bits you can use. 


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#24 strummer

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Posted 20 November 2019 - 09:37 AM

Thanks Mark, I appreciate it!  :)

 

Mark (this one) in Oregon


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