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A Brief History of Slot Cars

For many kids growing up in the 1960s, slot cars were a regular part of Saturday afternoons. Even those who grew up after the little cars’ heyday have fond memories of the whirring sound echoing off the walls of a friend’s basement. Here’s a look back at these miniature racers that have entertained generations of drivers, both young and old. The Starting Line: The first slot cars were introduced in 1912 by the Lionel Train Company as an accessory for model train sets. The toy worked on a similar concept as Lionel’s trains, running on a pair of raised platforms with an electrified train track in a small trench down the middle. The two, 1:24 scale cars, each about 8” long, had conductors on the bottom that fit into the slot, powering the small motor, and helping guide the cars around the track. While the toys sold well, World War I cut Lionel’s European sales in half, so the company halted production to focus their efforts on better-selling train sets… read more >

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