Introduction: Making a Historically Important 1:32 Scale Mazda Rx7 Slot Car
Over the Pandemic Christmas holidays, I upgraded my many decades old analog Scalextric slot car track to full digital. It was something that my son really enjoyed playing with as a small boy and one day there might be grandchildren to continue the tradition.
I myself inherited my father's 1985 Mazda Rx7 and I intend to pass it onto my son. Even in the 1980s, they never made a 1:32 scale slot car despite this model being the most winning racing car in professional motorsport history. So I was determined to make one for the newly upgraded track. I chose to model it after the 1981 IMSA GTU Champion #92 Kent Racing Rx7 and its fascinating history can be read on my blog:
In summary, this specific chassic won a lifetime 7 IMSA races in the GTU class and won the 1981 GTU Championship. It continued to race with no success until the late 1980s and was mothballed only to be restored and awarded The Most Historically Significant IMSA Car Trophy at the 2020 Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance.
Unfortunately, most remaining plastic model kits of this car are of the 1:24 and 1:12 scale so cannot be used as the basis for the car body. I managed to come across a vintage radio controlled toy manufactured by a Taiwan company called Vanity Fair in 1:32 scale.
The slot car chassis used was a Slot It SICH31E HRS2 Sidewinder RTR Chassis whose width and front axle placement can be adjusted to tailor fit the body. A Scalextric C7005 circuit board was also needed to modify the analog components of the Slot It chassis into a digital one compatible with the Scalextric Arc Pro Bluetooth power unit.
Step 1: Assembling the Chassis and Fitting the Body
3 mm LED lights were used for the headlight and rear brake lights. The Scalextric system runs between 10-15 VDC inside the car so a suitable resistor needs to be placed to prevent destroying the leds. The front lights seem to work well with a 400 ohm resistor while the rear need to be significantly less bright to make them more authentic and a 10k ohm resistor was used for those.
Step 2: The Race Sponsor Decals.
The most critical component to finishing a race car is the authentic application of the race sponsor's decals onto the body.
Fortunately, Pattos Place is an Australian site that specializes in printing obscure racing car livery available in conventional water transfer and also more durable peel and stick decals in a variety of scales for the slot car enthusiast. Their inventory is simply quite staggering and the decals are custom printed to order.
It is quite difficult to obtain clear photos of all sides of #92 despite its important race history that occurred only 30 years ago. Most of these photos likely still exist unpublished in the portfolios of photographers and will unfortunately be lost to time. Accuracy is also difficult to attain since sponsor decals could change from one race to another as you can see from close examination of the 6 photos of #92 during the 1981 season.
Step 3: Done.
And to see the successful final product in actual motion, you can view the short You Tube video below: