Sunday 04 Dec 2016

Slot Car Mania
Matt Seinberg

For the first time ever, I went to a local slot car show with my friend Rob. Let me tell you, it was some experience! The dealers got there around 7 am and doors opened for early admission at 8 am. The thought of getting up that early, on a Sunday morning, didn't thrill me, but Rob said it was a good idea.

I met some of the fellows that belong to some of the same slot car groups that I'm in on Facebook. Some were sellers; others were buyers. The one thing we had in common is this was we got into the hobby when we were kids and forgot about it until we were much older.


Many of us kept our original HO slot car sets.

Some, though, were starting over. For me, I wanted to add cars to my small collection. I've chatted with slot car hobbyists that had 400 cars or less; one Canadian has over 1700 cars! There was one seller at the show with over 5000 cars! He's not only a seller, but a collector as well.

Some slot car hobbyists have "holy grail cars." These cars are the “must haves,” for a collector. These cars must be part of a collection, run on a track or not. Then there are hobbyists that collect a range of cars and others that specialize in older cars, such as the original Aurora Thunderjet 500 series.

I have some Thunderjets, Tjets, as well as Aurora AFX and Magnatraction cars. The difference between the two series is simple; Magnatraction has a slightly different chassis that is open on the bottom to allow the magnets to grip the metal rails on the track and allow it to handle better.


I met a neighbour I didn't know. He has a remarkable home track.

The show wasn't that crowded until 10 am, when general admission opened up; it slowed down at 12 pm. At that point, it was easier to stay in one spot and talk to people as they walked by. Rob introduced to a number of his friends; one hobbyist I met lives fairly close to me and is supposed to have an amazing home track. I can't wait to try it out!

I've reconfigured my track at home to make it both easier to run and make it more challenging, at the same time. I've also bought an artificial grass rug to put under it, to give it more of an outdoor look and added some plastic buildings, as scenery pieces. I don't have enough room to build mountains, rivers, boulders and so forth, as some slot car hobbyists do, but at least it's not a plain white board anymore.


Some slot car hobbyists have 5000 cars.

I saw some fellows at the show pull out wads of cash and buy cars and parts, as if a kid buying candy. I can only imagine how much money some of these vendors made. I was conservative and only bought a couple pieces of track as well as and some modular trestle pieces so I could elevate the track some more to accommodate the new track.

If you've never had a hobby, slot cars racing is a great one. It's not that expensive to get into, but watch out. As you get more into it, the more money you end up spending on cars, spare parts and track.

Gentlemen, start your engines!

 

Matt Seinberg lives on Long Island, a few minutes east of New York City. He looks at everything around him and notices much. Somewhat less cynical than dyed in the wool New Yorkers, Seinberg believes those who don't see what he does like reading about what he sees and what it means to him. Seinberg columns revel in the silly little things of life and laughter as well as much well-directed anger at inept, foolish public officials. Mostly, Seinberg writes for those who laugh easily at their own foibles as well as those of others.

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