The History of HO Slot Cars
ABOVE: Two Ferrari Testarossa Slot Cars prepared by Werner Wittsack (ACE HOBBIES : Brisbane Qld). At top we have a PlaFit 1/24 scale version, and at bottom a Tomy Turbo HO (1/64 scale) car. The size difference is obvious....
The slot car craze has been around for more than 40 years. Australia, being a vast nation, has relied heavily on the motor vehicle as a means of transport. When you put the two together its easy to see why us "Aussies" would take to slot car racing so enthusiastically!
In the beginning HO slot cars were 1/87 scale (meaning one inch on the slot car equaled 87 inches on a real car) and designed to be a "moving accessory" for model train sets. Over the years the cars grew slightly larger in size until HO in slot car terms was generally accepted as being 1/64 scale.
The early HO cars utilised a "clockwork" motor/gear drive combination and it was only when the 1/64 version of same was released on the market by Aurora AFX (a US company) that HO slot car racing took off in Australia.
Although Aurora AFX was an extremely successful company inexplicably it shut down its operations leaving a vast "HO slot car void" worldwide.
Many years later Tomy (a well known Japanese manufacturer of children’s products) purchased the Aurora AFX name and proceeded to totally revamp the product. Tomy HO cars and track quickly became accepted as a quality product, and backed by an aggressive marketing push by the Australian Distributor, sales reached ever higher levels. It has jokingly been stated that there would not be an Australian household that hasn’t been "touched" by the Tomy HO slot car craze at one time or another……….
As sales soared more and more adults became aware of the fun to be had racing these tiny vehicles. It is only in the last 6-7 years however, that the hobby/sport of HO slot car racing in OZ has really taken off. Specialist tracks have been imported from overseas by dedicated enthusiasts, a national body has been formed (Australian HO Racing Association), and the inaugural Australian Championship run and won.
What does the future hold? Its difficult to say. One thing is certain however, it promises to be a fast ride……..
ABOVE: Chris Quinn's Toyota bodied Tomy Super G+ 1/64 scale racer is not as detailed as the Werner Wittsack cars pictured at the top of this page. Where-as the Wittsack cars are more scale oriented, the Quinn machine is built for speed, and features a lightweight lexan body mounted via body pins, an independent front end, slip-on rear hubs, and slip-on silicone rear tyres.