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1 24 Slot Cars

Saturday, 15 January 2011, 17:41 | 1/24 Slot Cars | 0 Comment | Read 18891 Times
by Slot Car

Your options for 1 24 slot cars

From the early 1960’s until the late 1990’s, 1 24 scale slot cars were by far the most popular. They were substantial when held in your hand. They could be seen easily on the huge 220′ speedway commercial tracks. Because they were wide they handled better which means they could coner faster. Overall lap times are significantly better than1/32 scale slot cars.

I am not going to discuss the vintage 1 24 slot cars in this article. I will instead discuss what you can buy today. Pictures for this article are currently being taken so check back.

First and foremost is the bread and butter of any commercial racing program, the stamped steel production car or in slang terms, the flexis. The term flexi comes from the Parma produced flexi car which was the first of this style produced and is currently in it’s 5th design. By far the most successful of all 1 24 slot cars in history.

Because of the popularity of these production 1 24 slot cars, a slew of competitors have poped up over the years. The first of which was from Champion. They produced a chassis that was more attractive, stronger and handled better than the flexi1. They called it the Astro.

The flexi 1 had some very serious problems. The front axle was made of 1/16” piano wire that also doubled as the hinge for the pans to plumber on the center section. The center section did not include winged front bumpers although they would later produce an addon piece to correct that. Because the pans and front wheels had no protection from a wall blast, it was never long and the front axle would bend. Now the bent axle would rotate the front wheel down and the car would de- slot. It became instantly un-driveable. Parma has a patent on the way this chassis assembles, so you will not see any other competitors chassis like the flexi. This has resulted in some very creative attempts to make a two piece chassis without infringing on Parma s patent.

The downside of this situation was that misguided track owners would not allow any soldering in this production class. Although their motives were good, to protect the kids who couldn’t get a soldering iron, in fact they made the racing experience frustrating because motors would always vibrate loose, front axles would always rotate, and oilite bushings would tend to bind or get lost when changing tires on these particular 1 24 slot cars.

The issues with the flexi 1 could be easily fixed by soldering in a brace to lock the front axle in place to the center section. When this was done and the motor was braced in place and the oilites were glued or soldered in place, the flexis could defeat the Astro on larger faster tracks. This is was because the flexi chassis was lighter. In fact it is the lightest of all flexi chassis. It was not ideal for the older tracks with bumps. But today if properly modified 20 year old flexi 1 1 24 slot cars  will outrun anything available today. Todays are so smooth that this lightweight chassis is ideal.

The Astro chassis was ideal for the old bumpy tracks with its almost solid center section and bigger pads. It was designed to pivot in a slot under the front axle with no contact or reliance on the front axle at all. This design was rock solid. Instead of the 5/8” front wheels that came on the Parma, Champion used their cool looking deep dish 1/2” fronts that were legal. The design had a distinctive “clacking sound as it cornered and the pans moved. This is why we called it it affectionately the clacker. Very successful chassis in the history of 1 24 slot cars.

In the mid 90’s Champion designed a new chassis called the Turbo flex. It was more attractive than Astro with longer pans and a shiny zinc plating. Parma wasn’t resting on the flexi 1 however. The Flexi 2 was much stronger and much heavier than version 1. It was also zinc plated and had an additional motor bracket that kept the motor from moving. The bushings in the chassis were now square so they couldn’t rotate. The pan upstops were now a tandem duo instead of one in the center. This was thought to be a way to tune for right and left turns independently. Flexi 2 1 24 slot cars seemed to have it all figured out but it did not sell as well as the flexi 1, which continued to be sold along side the flexi 2.

Parma acquired Champion a few years back and still sells both the Astro and Turbo flex.

Other manufacturers that have attempted to compete in the 1 24 slot cars flexi format. These include Ferret, Racer, JK, and Trinity under the slotworks moniker.

The ferret chassis shown below from our tutorial section, used rivets to attach the two pieces. The bottom rivet violated the 1/16” clearance requirement that virtually all rule sets mandated. As a track owner I made an exception for the rivet because it did nothing in the way of being any CG advantage.

1 24 slot cars

Slotworks from the legendary Trinity, was an interesting looking chassis. It was long, had long pans with many cutouts and it had a bar circling in front of the guide. Unfortunately, the steel they used was too thing and too soft. The chassis would bend very easily. The front bar that was meant to protect was stamped into the pans so it got hit and everything would go wonky.

The JK offering floated the pan section below the center section. Very creative since there weren’t many ideas left. Unfortunately, that type of design was not good in terms of high center of gravity. JK today has a much better design.

The winged 1 24 slot cars

Next lets talk about the 1 24 slot cars that aren’t cars at all. Thats right – wing cars. Now it is common to put wing bodies on flexi cars. The flexi 1 with a wing body can really turn some low lap times. But I wasn’t to talk about purpose built wing cars made light for all out speed.

There are basically two types of wing cars. The entry level kind use larger, cheaper ceramic magnet motors. The second kind is the high dollar, state of the art wing car. I won’t engage in the wing car history here. I am talking in terms of now.

The entry level winged 1 24 slot cars started out being called box stock. They used a domestically produced C can motor in with either group 15, group 12 or group 20 armatures. The chassis were brass and wire that were produced in Asia. These chassis were mass produced not with hands and soldering irons, buy parts laid in jigs and run through an oven where low temp solder would melt and solder the parts together. These were mandated to retail for only $16. The trick to winning races was to rebuild these chassis with silver solder after straitening the parts. This was legal because there was no way to prove a rebuild.

The high end group 27 and open classes of winged 1 24 slot cars use very small cobalt motors. They started out using edm computer cut spring steel perimeter chassis, but today the quest for speed has Koford make a chassis out of high grade hardened aircraft aluminum that is then plated so it can be soldered to. Because the ability to make edm chassis is so cheap and easy these days many manufactures including Camen, Koford, DRS, Slick 7 and many others. Because of this, entry level wing cars now use these spring steel perimeter chassis instead of the low quality brass and wire imports.

With very few 1 24 slot car tracks in the US or even worldwide, it is definitely a cottage industry. But it is a very special hobby. It has a long history for a reason. Hobbies are never a wise way to invest money, so just decide this is a spice of life. If you have the opportunity to race 1 24 slot cars, take the opportunity especially if you are a father and son.

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