I have been collecting slot cars since the early 1970’s when I was just a kid. I visit ebay everyday to keep track of the slot car auctions and current valuations of collectables.
I need more slot cars like I need another hole in my head. But being involved in this hobby for over 40 years, much of it professionally, I enjoy seeing all the old stuff emerge from the rafters across the country.
What disturbs me is the way some sellers are deliberately trying to rip off the uneducated slot car investor. Expert evaluators like Phillippe de Lespinay, and myself have been around so long and know what the cars looked like new, so we can tell rare from common and original from reproduction.
I want to give you a few tips on buying from slot car auctions, most notably on ebay.
Now with modern wing cars costing hundreds of dollars and losing 60% of that value the minute they leave the raceway, a collectable slot car at $100 to $800 is not a bad investment. There will never be any more made.
Lancer was the best producer of clear bodies. Today, many of the molds are being used to pull new bodies out of lexan. These are packaged on purple cards/ plastic bags. Original bodies were pulled from butyrate and came in a white and blue box. Today I see a new lancer body being sold as vintage. This body is not old, it is not vintage. The mold is vintage. The era of the car is vintage. The new body pulled off the mold is not vintage.
Scratch built cars have sold for over $300. They are more impressive than todays nothing lightweight things, but they can be faked. I have seen many scratch built cars up for sale as vintage, which were made that month. A few vintage components, but they will have modern wires and guideflags. The chassis design isn’t right. This car may be worth $300 if it were build nicely but to sell it as vintage is fraud.
Dynamic made magnesium chassis pieces for any motor you can think of. Cars made with these pieces are vintage but they will never have any value. They weren’t impressive and they are very common.
Cox cars are the most desirable. The Cucaracha was a very common car because it was a great handling car. I enjoyed running one for fun on the original American hillclimb at Bellflower raceway in 1989. It was a true vintage experience. There is no harder track to drive and that Cuc made great lap times.
The Chaparral cuc is the most valuable. The Supercuc is almost as desirable. Then there is the Cheetahracha.
The mag chassis cars cannot be reproduced even if the casting molds existed. Too expensive. If a body is painted it reduces the value by about 70%. It is difficult to strip the paint off and polish the body out to stock condition. If you buy a mint in the box or nearly mint, you can never build it or you will reduce the value by 60%. most people just want a vintage car they can put on a track and experience what it was like when slot cars were truly model cars. Then a beat up body with a decent chassis is well worth $100.
Too many sellers are listing Cox in the title and description of their listing because they know everyone wants Cox. This annoys me when nothing on the car is Cox.
I will talk more about brands and values in a future post.Cox, slot car auctions