Gadget Hall of Fame: Scalextric

We reminisce about the trailblazing slot car racers from the original 'Scalex-electric'...

Before plastic took over your beloved racing car dreams there was 1957's Scalextric, made with passion and, well, metal.

Forget about those cheap Mini Coopers and Aston Martins of the 80s - this is the real deal. If you were lucky enough to have owned Scalextric's original living room racetack, you'd remember the sound and thrill of metal gliding on rubber past your feet. 

No sneaky shortcuts were taken in creating a solid and sturdy toy that could be enjoyed by children and big kids alike...

What’s the story?

With the exception of Hornby’s network of intricately detailed model railways and Subbuteo’s diminutive plastic football superstars, no toy has been as well loved for so long as Scalextric.

The slot-based racing sets first emerged from their tiny pits in 1957 and have dominated the race to entertain kids ever since.

What should I look for?

The first car ever made by Scalextric was a metal Maserati 250F (pictured, above) but the company stopped making these tinplate cars after just three years and switched to the cheaper plastic versions.

The original track pieces were made from rubber, not plastic, and the boxes featured artwork by motor racing artist Roy Nockolds (best known for his paintings of historic races at tracks such as Brooklands and Le Mans).

Racing at its prime

ALSO IN 1957...

Film: Gunfight at the OK Corral

This classic western based on real events (no droids here, Westworld fans) follows the unlikely partnership of Burt Lancaster’s lawman, Wyatt Earp, and Kirk Douglas’ outlaw, Doc Holliday.

Gadget: Laser

American physicist Gordon Gould is credited with inventing the laser (Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation) in 1957. Next stop, CD players and sharks with light-based weapons on their heads.