The LASCM is pleased to display this recently acquired racing set, in nearly mint condition. This is the very first slot car set ever produced, issued by Minimodels in England in the summer of 1957. The set contains two Maserati ASGCM/250F models. The Ferrari 4.5-liter was only issued in 1958, so could not be included in this set, however the booklet shows that the model was indeed in the planning.
Minimodels was manufacturing 1/30 scale Scalex windup toys made of tinplate, with a spring motor that was wound when the toy was rolled backwards. According to Nat Polk of Polk’s Hobbies in New York, the Polk brothers convinced Minimodels in placing some electric motors in the tin cars to replace the windup mechanism, and having them run on a track made of sections of plastic material, with conductor rails, for use in private homes. The original track was supposed to be of the type with a raised rail, but a Mr. Francis, credited for the toy design, remembered the 1949 Maserati model built by Charles Woodland and pictures in “Model Maker”, so adopted a slot system instead. While folks connected with Scalextric strongly deny the Polks influence, it is likely that there is some truth to it, and in any case, Polk’s Hobbies was the exclusive distributor for Scalextric in the USA until Minimodels sold their company to the Lines Brothers.
Details and evidence of this assertions will be described in the new “Electric Dreams” book by author and LASCM museum curator Philippe de Lespinay, to be published in 2014.