is a British brand that transcends the passing decades and
generations. At once a toy, but also taken seriously by
grown-up enthusiasts, Scalextric has steered a path through
fashions, fads and technological developments since its
inception in the late 1950s.
Digger talks to Paul Chandler, who is in charge of the
Scalextric brand at brand owners Hornby, about the history of
this slot-car icon, about the passionate following it has and
about its current developments.
Please tell us a bit about your
completed a Business Studies & Marketing degree, I was
recruited onto a Graduate Development Scheme for a blue chip
energy supplier in East Anglia to establish their online
presence. I moved onto work for a full service marketing
agency and worked on accounts from various industries and
covered all disciplines of Marketing. Several years down the
line I was lucky enough to join Hornby Hobbies Ltd and
haven’t looked back since!
Please tell us briefly about the history of Scalextric from
its birth in the late 50s.
Scalextric brand was established in 1957. Borne from the
‘Scalex’ brand of Minimodels Ltd (a clockwork powered race
car system), inventor Fred Francis had the insight to
incorporate an electric motor into the cars (‘Scalex’ plus
the ‘tric’ from electric). Scalextric has had various
owners through the years, but is now very much a major part of
Hornby Hobbies Ltd.
Scalextric is an iconic brand which is reinforced by
its association with James Bond and more recently James May.
How important is heritage to the brand?
Heritage drives the generation cycle that is unique to all of
the brands owned by Hornby (Airfix plastic kits, Hornby model
railways and Corgi die cast). The father and grandfather
encouragement is key to the cycle continuing, which is why
Scalextric must always strive to deliver product that meets
the demands of children and discerning adult collectors alike.
Mission Accomplished - James May
and Scalextric secure a new World Record!
On 16th August 2009, Scalextric set a new world record
by recreating the famous Brooklands banked circuit
entirely out of Scalextric, near Weybridge in Surrey.
The incredible stunt was recreated with Scalextric for
the BBC television show James May's Toy Stories.
Brooklands opened in 1907 and was the world's first
purpose-built motorsport venue. It hosted its
last race in 1939 and now plays host to Brooklands
Museum. James May and 300 volunteers used approx
20,000 separate sections of track to recreate the
2.953 miles circuit. Scalextric shattered the
current record for a slot car track which was set in
Berlin on October 2007 by 2,189.82 metres. Once
the mammoth challenge was completed, two Scalextric
model cars, a maroon Aston Martin DBS and a silver
SLR McLaren roared around the newly created track.
Most boys of a certain age like me had a love affair with
Scalextric as youths. Can you actually see this translated
into dads and granddads encouraging their sons and grandsons
to love Scalextric today?
relationship is vital to Scalextric. One of the many unique
features of Scalextric is its offer of social play. Many of
today’s competing products, such as video games, are
regarded more as a solitary activity. So, Scalextric
encourages social interaction. Scalextric also enables racers
to understand cause-and-effect correlations and its effect on
performance. Track building requires a little problem solving
and mathematics. Ensuring true track connections requires some
knowledge of science and how electricity flows. Those who wish
to decorate their layouts will need some creativity and
artistic skill. The benefits are significant and varied.
How strong is the Scalextric Club and what sorts of events can
people attend to meet like-minded others?
Scalextric Club is an international Club, whereby members
subscribe for 12-months and receive an exclusive Club car,
plus a 20-page quarterly magazine. Club members receive
periodic discounts and benefits and are always the first to
know about all of our events. We will be offering more
Club-specific events in the near future. To join, visit www.scalextric.com/club
much has the technology changed over the years and what have
been key developments and products?
advent of Digital technology has enabled us to maintain the
core brand values of Scalextric racing, while adding a new
dimension to slot car racing. Staying true to the original
concept, launched in 1957, is important Hornby, however we are
always looking to improve every aspect of every product we
offer. Maintaining and building a system-based range ensures
product progression and allows consumers to buy into the brand
at any level.
What are the best things about what you're doing?
Scalextric will have an incredible 2012. More news to follow!
What sort of comments and feedback are you getting from
demand for Scalextric worldwide is stronger than ever.
Scalextric has a depth of range which appeals to the most
discerning enthusiast, but also to a new generation of
consumers who are now engaging with the brand at a very early age;
which is very encouraging. Therefore, today’s children will
grow up with Scalextric (as their parents did) and pass on to
their children and grandchildren.
developments and plans are there for Scalextric for the
can be found
at the Scalextric website: