History Of Scalextric

Like all truly great toys and collectible sets, Scalextric has a colourful history.

The Scalextric story began back in the 1950s. The brand started life as a range of clockwork-powered slot car racing sets called Scalex. By the time the decade came to a close, electric motors had been fitted to the cars. The name was tweaked to the one we know and love today.

Scalextric was brought to Britain in the late 1950s courtesy of their creator; Mr B ‘Freddie’ Francis. They were a huge hit and demand hit the roof when production started in 1957.

The brand has been owned by quite a few companies down the decades. It started life with Minimodels Ltd, before being sold to Tri-ang when demand soared. Scalextric went to Rovex Ltd in the late 1960s and is now owned by Hornby Hobbies Ltd.

The cars were crafted out of metal at first and tracks were made from a rubber compound. However, designers rapidly realised the benefits of plastic moulded models. They’ve been producing plastic cars and track since the 1960s.
Plastic is of course lighter, which sits perfectly with the fast and furious appeal of Scalextric.

The Cars

Classic autos and racing cars are at the core of Scalextric’s appeal. Whether you’re a lover of vintage cars or feel the need for speed, there’s a Scalextric car out there to suit.

The name of the game has always been to make the cars as realistic as possible. Designers go to great lengths to ensure the cars look and feel authentic. From taking photos to making painstaking measurements, nothing is overlooked. Attention to detail is amazing. You’ll find the exterior and interior of each car mirrors its life-sized counterpart.

A Record Breaking Business

The Scalextric brand and products have captured imaginations around the world. Guinness records for the longest track have been made - and broken. Most notably by Top Gear’s James May in 2009. The scruffy car fanatic successfully recreated the famous Brooklands racing circuit using Scalextric sets, cars and track. It stretched an impressive 2.95 miles.

The Scales

Scalextric racing sets come in two main scales:

1:64 - the micro scale suited to younger children

1:32 - the traditional and most popular scale for older children and adults

*Cars and track between the two scales aren’t compatible.

The Day Scalextric Went Digital

Any smart toy has to move with the times to survive. Scalextric is no exception. To ensure their racing sets didn’t fall by the wayside, the designers embraced digital technology in 2004.

Recent years have seen the makers get creative and produce all sorts of smart sets. During the last few years, Scalextric have released more TV and film-related products than ever before.

Never ones to miss a trick, they’ve created sets based on video games too. Heard about Toy Story and Cars? How about My Sims Racing - based on the Wii and DS video game. Top Gear Powerlaps is a great set. Bringing up the rear, you’ve got the Need for Speed and James Bond sets.

The 2012 Olympics are just around the corner. Scalextric are getting in on the act with a micro set. This small but perfectly formed product features 2 x Team GB Olympic cyclists.