First, I am making this website to recapture part of my childhood.
During the slot car craze of the late sixties, I was 8 to 12 years old, too young and too poor
to play. When I was a few years older, and had my own paper route,
slot car racing was already gone. But it remained alive in my imagination ever since!
This is from my slot car biography:
In 1971, I was twelve years old, and Dad bought me a Dynamic Can Am Ferrari
Anglewinder for my birthday. A gift from the slot car gods!
(Picture, right. See more images
of this car.)
Dad dropped me off to race at my favorite hobby center. I didn't
understand why, but there was only one track left of the three they once had. It
was the blue fiberglass pro track, an extended figure eight. I drove my Dynamic Ferrari
around and around and around, in slot car heaven!
But the next time Dad took me racing,
the slot car center was closed! The slot car craze was over! I was crushed!
So the first purpose of this website is therapy - I'm 43 years old and still trying
to "Get over it!"
The second purpose of this website is to extend my knowledge about my hobby.
In 1999, I began collecting scratchbuilt slot car chassis, which had
so fascinated me when I was young. It occurred to me that the builders and racers of these
vintage slot car chassis were growing older, and some had passed away. With them could disappear
the knowledge, stories and legends of the slot car craze, unless someone acts to preserve it.
I know that a number of people are engaged in collecting and publishing slot car information, but I
have not seen anyone focused on the scratchbuilt chassis. So I will focus there, and I
invite all of you who have knowledge of this topic to
What's Here and Why: When I began collecting slot car chassis,
I realized I had to limit myself, and specialize, else I could spend myself
into bankruptcy! I decided to focus on scratchbuilt chassis, thinking
of the pianowire and brass pan chassis soldered together by the hobbyist
at his basement workbench, in the mid to late 1960s.
As I began collecting, several things became apparent:
- after 1965, many chassis were scratchbuilt by companies, not lone individuals,
and were sold in large numbers on the hobby market.
- enterprising hobbyists had scratchbuilt their cars not just from the smallest bits
of wire and sheet brass, but often by modifying commercially available chassis.
- not all scratchbuilt chassis were made of brass wire or sheet brass -
many other materials were used.
- many of the vintage chassis available at trade shows, flea markets and ebay today
have had a long and varied life. They have been perfected, modified, reworked,
sawn in half, or worse, in the service of their multiple owners!
- people today are still building chassis in the vintage style. Some of these repros are
gorgeous re-creations of pro chassis from the '60s,
indistinguishable from the best chassis of that time.
It finally dawned on me that none of this is a problem for the scratchbuilt
chassis collector. Whether built in a
basement workshop or within the walls of a slot car manufacturer, out of brass or steel,
from the smallest bits or not, in 1965 or 1995, the chassis was still
hand soldered by some individual, and not a machine.
That became my touchstone.
Being soldered together by hand became the defining factor for my own collection,
and I will make it the defining factor for inclusion on this website, too.
Jim Allen, August 1, 2002