The older Scalextric cars from the 1970s and 1980s are great models but can seem slow and difficult to race by the standards set by modern Scalextric cars. Luckily these classic Scalextric cars can be upgraded to greatly enhance their track performance making them competitive on the track while not removing any of the enjoyment and skill required for the older Scalextric cars.
This article lists seven simple changes to greatly improve your classic Scalextric car. We have based this article on a 1970s Scalextric C.052 Ford Escort RS1600 which was selected as being typical of the Scalextric cars of the period. It was not prepared before the test apart from ensuring the motor operated as expected and the car was complete, electrically and mechanically with no obvious faults. The tyres were not cracked or split to any great degree and still had grip when run on classic Scalextric track. Our overall impression is that this car had been stood unused for a long period of time.
The results are based on a Scalextric Sport track with a test circuit specifically designed for this test. Built from the modern Sport Scalextric track the surface offers little mechanical grip with a smoother surface compared to the original classic Scalextric track. It incorporated tight inner corner hairpin sections, long straights, chicanes, corners that tightened, corners that opened out. Essentially all types of challenges.
Step 1: After conducting a visual inspection we measured the best lap times the car could achieve. The best lap time achieved was 18.72 seconds. Then the car was given an electrical service with new; copper pick up braids, pick up pins and wires from the pick up assembly to the motor. A retest gave a new lap time of 15.22 seconds which is an improvement of around 18%.
Step 2: Then, the car given a full lubrication service with all the motor and axle bearings given a small drop of oil each. Also, the gears were lightly coated with Teflon impregnated grease. A retest of the car gave a new best lap time of 13.77 seconds which is a further improvement of around 9.5%.
Step 3: After the lubrication service, slightly wider axles were fitted and a little weight added to the rear of the chassis. Again the car was tested of the track and this time gave a best lap time of 12.50 seconds which is an improvement of 9.2%.
Step 4: Next a set of high grip replacement SuperSlix tyres were fitted to the rear wheel hubs. A retest gave a new best lap time of 9.99 seconds which is a further 20.1%.
Step 5: With the improvement made so far the next step was to replace the original Johnson motor with a new Mabuchi motor. This more powerful and lighter motor slightly increased the car’s lap time, probably due to problems in getting the power down to the track. The best lap time recorded was 10.49 seconds which is a degradation of 0.5%.
Step 6: In order to give the car a chance to use the power available from the Mabuchi motor a Neodymium magnet was added to the chassis of the Escort. The best lap time achieved was 9.12 seconds which was an improvement of 25.5%
Step 7: Our final change was to add MAX Grip tyres as some tyre slip was clearly evident even with the Neodymium magnet present. These replacement SuperSlix tyres are manufactured from a latex material and give outstanding track grip. The best lap achieved a time of 6.44 seconds which was a further improvement of 25.5%.
The overall improvement in lap times make this car competitive on the track while not removing any of the enjoyment and skill required. With these simple changes this car was almost a staggering 3 times faster than when purchased.