Topic: Christmas is Coming - Where did you Start - What is your Dream?

My dad was a pharmacist and owned his own Drug Store.  He expanded and offered a "toy, model and game" section among others.  On the top shelf was this box with a track and two cars.  It caught my eye and to my joy ended up under the tree.  I opened it on Christmas morning and found not only track sections, but a box filled with rails that needed to be snapped into the track sections.  Power was supplied via a large dry cell battery.  Performance was non-existent.  A veritable box of junk.  But the next year...  Strombecker!  From there it was an easy hook - our town got a slot car track!

Some time after that, dad started taking me along on the buying trips to the distributor for toys, games and models.  They handled all the stuff that the local slot shop did.  The next few years were pretty cool until the hobby fizzled.

My dream was to be in the hobby business - not the slot TRACK business.  With that dream has been realized.

Now, it might be nice to get back to some racing.  I'll hope to see you all in the future somewhere.

So, what's your story.  We'd love to hear it.

"Big Smooth"

Re: Christmas is Coming - Where did you Start - What is your Dream?

13 years old, riding with parents to Winrock Center (big shopping mall in Albuquerque, 75 miles away!), saw "Toys by Roy," the only toy store carrying slot car stuff. Was thrilled to see a Strombecker set. Parents noticed, bought a set for my birthday, and from then on it was rug racing with friends (no commercial tracks in my 7k population town, and 75 miles away was too far). Raced until college, came home one summer to find all the slot car stuff had been given away ("you weren't using it"), along with a whole bunch of comic books, including an original Captain America 3D comic with the original glasses (that I saw selling for $15K at a comic show in 1980). Pretty hard to forgive Mom for that. Slotless until around 1986 or so, when I found a Scalextric Formula 1 set for sale cheap in Santa Barbara. After that, it was buying a lot of Fleischmann stuff from Allied Model Trains in Santa Monica, until Fleischmann stopped making them, and Allied stopped selling slot stuff. Ultimately bought a bunch of Artin track from Slot Car World in Texas, built a huge 4-lane plastic track on my veranda in Palos Verdes, and then replaced the plastic with routed wood, which is what I have now.

After my play is over this weekend, I'll be back to racing as well. Looking forward to seeing you again, Monte!

Re: Christmas is Coming - Where did you Start - What is your Dream?

My first slot car set was a Gilbert set I got for Christmas. The year was probably around 1962. The set came with two cars, both resembled '40 Ford coupes.....sort of. For my birthday I got a third car, a '62 Corvette convertible. That car was much cooler! Unfortunately the set and cars were less than spectacular!

Sometime later in the same year my dad took me along on a visit to one of his CB radio club buddies where I was subjected to a severe slot car overdose. My dad's friend had two sons of high school age. Upon arrival I was overcome with excitement, seeing under construction hot rods in the yard, engines hanging from trees, and semi complete hardtops on jack stands undergoing rear end swaps and other really cool hot rod stuff!

Then we entered the basement of the house. On my right along the entire length of the wall was a two lane, wood routed 1/24 scale slot car track! There were 1/24 slot cars positioned all along the track perimeter. I was given the chance to "drive" one of the cars around the track, and although I was fun and exciting, it was also somewhat daunting for a seven year old! The track was so big and the cars were large and complicated. Then my attention was drawn to my left, where in the middle of the room sat a huge HO slot car track! It was only two lane, but the track went everywhere! There were things called "Junction Turn-Offs" that allowed you to manually change where your car would go! The cars themselves were small and oh so cool! I was hooked!

Christmas 1963 I found an Aurora Thunderjet 500 slot car set under our tree. It was the same type set I had seen in the basement! In the following years that set saw routine use and expansion with the purchase of more track and cars. To this day, almost 62 years later, I still have some of my original track as well as at least a couple of my original cars.

Because I was so young the larger scale cars and commercial tracks were not a real option for me. In approximately 1980 I met a local slot car club (PASER) that introduced me to competitive slot car racing at the club level. In the upstairs portion of a barn in Wilsonville I learned about Womp Womp and scratchbuilt cars. Oh man was that ever cool! Fast forward 23 years and I'm still at it, now with my own 1/24 routed wood track which served for years as the PASER club track!

I can honestly say I have reached all of my slot car goals and dreams! I have built and sold an Aurora Thunderjet 8 lane HO track on a 7 foot by 15 foot platform (a childhood dream I had drawn out on paper hundreds of times). I have collected, traded, and sold hundreds of HO slot car, and still have a decent collection I like. I have built, restored, and sold numerous routed slot car tracks in HO, 1/32, and 1/24 scale. I have a decent collection of 1/32 and 1/24 slot cars and parts. There is a famous saying that "he who dies with the most toys wins". As of this writing my good friend Gary "Goose" Gossett holds the title! I am however working on dethroning him!

4 (edited by ckouba December 22, 2023 7:40 am)

Re: Christmas is Coming - Where did you Start - What is your Dream?

A crashed rally car led me back to this hobby a long time ago...

I had a small HO set as a kid, and fairly well wore that out.  I still have some of the cars but that track is long gone.  I enjoyed it thoroughly and remember racing with my brother and cousins up in the attic, and rebuilding the cars to see how much faster I could make them (or not).  Eventually, I moved up to real cars and left the little track to collect dust- or more likely to get pitched when my parents cleaned house.

I kept those cars around without a track because hey, they're small.  They don't take up much space and I like them.  But then... 

At one point in my life, I stage rallied.  My promising career as a factory Subaru/Mitsu/Citroen driver alongside McRae, Sainz, and Makkinen came to an abrupt end on the 1999 Oregon Trail Rally, somewhere in Vernonia.  I went sideways into a tree at about 40 mph.  I hit just behind the driver door and it was hard enough to taco-fy the left rear wheel (including making it a multi-piece unit), bend the rollcage, and make me unconscious.  Clearly I am fine (right?), but I earned a flight on a helicopter and a weekend stay at the resort known as OHSU from it.

Upon recovery, I started salvaging what I could of the car (1979 RX-7), part of which was a quick ratio steering box.  I sold this to someone in New Zealand, and they paid me via something called "Pay Pal".  Yes, this was around the infancy of the "internet", so I had this sum of "internet money", but didn't know what to do with it.

One day, on that very same internet, I stumbled across a gorgeous little GT40 model.  This one was different- it had a motor and a guide!!  It was a slot car!  The specific one I found was a Fly Mk I GT40, which as we all know, is a beautiful, but horrible slot car without being worked over.  I didn't know this at the time though, so order one up I did!  It didn't even cost me "real" money.

So then I had a slot car, but no track.  Time to fix that...  I found a listing for someone who bought track sets and sold off the cars and track separately.  Boom!  Got me a track now.  Still for free, even!

Now running one car by yourself can be a little boring, and I still had internet money left, so I bought my first Slot.It 962 (my other favorite Le Mans car). 

My fate was sealed.

This car blew me away.  I was hooked.  I was living in Phoenix at the time and scoured the internet to found some local nerds who raced on Weds nights.  This worked perfectly with my schedule, and I fell in with the AZ Garage Racing crowd- a fine bunch of mini-gearheads.  After racing with them for about 2 years, I moved back up here to Portland and found another guy on the internet who lived in Troutdale and had a sweet track in his garage.  I think you know the story from there...

5 (edited by reek455 December 23, 2023 12:56 pm)

Re: Christmas is Coming - Where did you Start - What is your Dream?

I received my first slot car set for Christmas when I was nine years old. An Aurora T-Jet figure 8 with two Mustangs, one hardtop and one convertible which I still have.  I remember racing against my uncle Ray on the floor of my grandparent's basement. I would go fast and crash out while he went slow and steady beating me every time calling himself Raymundo Petty. I sure do miss him!

A Christmas or so later we visited my cousin's house and he had a Sears/AFX four lane set with lots of cars. My brother and I were blown away by the AFX cars.  Some time later that set ended up at our house and that resulted in lap after lap of carpet racing in our bedroom with the neighborhood gang.  Eventually many of the plastic tabs got broken from being stepped on. We procured some of the metal spring clips for repair but there were never enough of them to fill the need.  Our solution was to use a Bic lighter and melt the pieces together. Oh the smell of burning plastic :-) Sometime during this period we got an XLerator set that provided a different challenge. 

As we grew older our interests turned to real cars and girls. Slot car interest faded over time but was never completely forgotten. After I was married I purchased a Tyco Magnum 440X2 set which got used infrequently.  When our oldest was in third grade we had the obligatory birthday class party to provide and ended up at Raceway USA. That led to the purchase of several Parma flexi cars and renting track time as time and money would allow until it shut down. 

Some time around 2006 a co-worker showed me what I thought was a model kit he purchased or built but it was a Ferrari 312PB.  I immediately felt the need to get some of my own.  He told me about some guys house in Beaverton where they had races.  Soon my son and I were regulars at the Beaverton Slot Car Club where we were introduced to the fine folks of NASTE and have been racing, building and collecting ever since.  I now have more cars and parts than I could ever use and there is no end in sight.

Merry Christmas To All,


Race cars are neither beautiful nor ugly. They become beautiful when they win.

6 (edited by howie January 1, 2024 9:54 am)

Re: Christmas is Coming - Where did you Start - What is your Dream?

Ok, here goes: It all started about 1955/6. My friend ( Tony ) and I were into models, mostly building custom cars out of AMT kits. Then I got a few straight 1/24th. plastic track and we started building drag slot cars. I went to the '62 World's Fair in Seattle. Saw the AMT slot car display there and saw the "Cat" from AMT ( Bud Anderson ). The fever grew. Tony and I built a real Go Kart together. Then in Sept. '64 I joined the Air Force rather than be drafted. I wound up stationed at Ellsworth AFB in S. Dakota a few miles from Rapid City. A year later my parents got my draft notice!! While stationed there I ran into another guy ( nicknamed OJ ) who wanted to mess with slot cars. So we did home stuff. There were two huge commercial tracks in Rapid City at that time but we never raced there, after all there were girls in Rapid too!!! But we still messed with slot cars at home. Then we got out of the service in Sept. '68 and moved with our new wives to Portland, be continued. While in Portland we got into Harleys, big time, but still messed with slot cars at home. One day ( probably about 1976/7 or so ) we decided to see if there was a local track we could find. We went to a hobby shop in north Portland and the owner said he knew of one in Wilsonville. Somehow we wound up at Wilsonville at a barn! Lee Dundas's track. I don't remember if we raced there or not  that day, but there was a race going on, but we took our home built 1/32nd. scale cars there. I only remember Gearloose that day. We decided that Wilsonville was too far to go, so we never went back, well OJ didn't! Then along about the mid 80's or so I went to a hobby shop to get supplies for my model building stuff and on the door was an advertisement for a commercial slot car track called Slot Car Central. I waited two years before I went to check it out as I knew I would get hooked. Well a friend at work ( Warn Industries ) said: "lets go check out Slot Car Central", so we did and I got hooked and he never went back! I raced there every Wednesday night. Then Slot Car Central announced it was closing up. Before it closed I was racing there and a guy ( Greg Virges ) came up and invited me to race where he did. Low and behold it was at Lee Dundas's track at his barn in Wilsonville!! So I started racing with PACER/OSCAR guys, I think this was in the mid 90's or so. Then I wanted to build my own track in my new shop. My track was named after Rapid City called Rapid Raceway, BTW: the neon sign that says: Welcome race fans is from Slot Car Central! My first race was held on Nov. 15th. 2002 and was still racing with OSCAR/PACER. Then I wanted to go into making slot cars more real looking so I started North West True Scale class of cars and that is where it is today and is going well and I hope it continues. My dream: to live to be a 100 yrs. old and still have all my friends and still racing True Scale slot cars!! Well my dream has more to it than that..........but that is a different story......

7 (edited by howie January 1, 2024 10:04 am)

Re: Christmas is Coming - Where did you Start - What is your Dream?

OK, my slot car story is finally finished ( above )..............................for now!!!!

Re: Christmas is Coming - Where did you Start - What is your Dream?

A great read Howie! Thanks!