Different Sizes And Styles Of Slot Cars
1/64 (H.O.) Scale - Many people are familiar with this size of slot car because hundreds of thousands of "home set" tracks are sold every year during the holidays and Christmastime. While this style of car looks small - (the cars are about the same size as "Matchbox" toys) - dont let their size fool you! These tiny versions are some of the fastest, best-handling slot cars ever made. The reason they handle so well is due to a magnetic attraction of the cars to the track rails. H.O. racing at the commercial level has steadily increased through the years and many commercial raceways have tracks and sell cars and components. Many of these models are extremely affordable, but as speed increases, so does the price of the more exotic models.
1/32 Scale - This was the size of most model race cars in the early days of the 1950s and early manufacturers such as Strombecker sold these by the zillions! Believe it or not, this is still a popular size and many places still race several classes. The most popular of this style car virtually saved slot car racing from total extinction in the early 1970s. The car was manufactured by Parma International, Inc. of North Royalton, Ohio. The length of the car was approximately 4" but the front and rear tires extended outward to what is now allowed in 1/24th scale.
Parma calls their car the "Womp Womp" (because that was the sound it made when it hit the wall). Champion Slot Racing Products calls their model the "Thumper" and in 1996 Champion released a line of 32nd scale "Legends" cars that are truly fun and exciting to race. There are several other styles, or "classes" of 1/32nd scale racing still being done today. These include Eurosport, Indy, and Dirt Oval as well as others. This scale of car is still being produced and put in home set tracks, sold by companies such as Scalectrix out of Canada and Ninco of Spain and imported to the United States.
1/24 Scale - Of all the available sizes of slot cars, 1/24th seems to be the most popular at the commercial level. The cars are approximately 6 ½" to 7 ½" in length with a maximum wheel/tire width of 3 ¼". Within 24th scale, the two "wheelbase" dimensions (length from center of front axle to center of rear axle) are 4" or 4 ½".
Because of the huge popularity of NASCAR and SUPERTRUCK racing, many commercial slot racing centers feature these classes in both sizes. There are even "GTPs" (Grand Touring Prototypes), "WSC" (World Sports Cars), and INDY/CART cars in both sizes as well. Within the realm of 24th scale are two very similar, yet extremely different "styles." These styles are referred to primarily as "scale-appearing" and "winged car."
Scale appearing means just what it says the cars closely approximate actual "big" car racing in appearance, and color schemes. Scale appearing slot cars are considered the more affordable, although at the higher levels of competition the cost can be more than a basic beginner car.
"Winged" car racing is centered around slot cars which do not closely resemble actual race cars, but are the absolute ultimate in speed and handling due to aerodynamic additions to the bodies which "channel" the flow of air. As the durability and speed of motors increased due to technological advances and many years of research and development costing millions of dollars, winged cars became extremely light weight. While perhaps not quite as popular as "scale appearing" slot cars, winged car racing continues to hold the fascination of hundreds of enthusiasts. For them only the thrill of being able to negotiate the nearly impossible feat of going around corners as fast as a dragster goes in a straight line is sufficient. Todays winged cars now negotiate very tight corners faster than 60s slot car versions went on long straight-aways!