Remember running slot cars when you were a kid? Those tiny cars that would go 100mph right off the track and into the wall, then breaking not long afterwards? I always just assumed that was way all slot cars were, I didn’t even realize that there was an entire other world of slot car racing.
SCX Digital Slot Cars
SCX used to be one of the premier slot car manufacturers. They’ve went through some tough times and still exist, but not very much in the USA anymore. However, all their stuff is easily available through ebay still and is of really good quality. That’s where I ended up buying mine like 5 years ago when my kids were little.
What’s the difference between analog and digital slot cars? Analog cars run strictly off the power rails on the track. When you squeeze the trigger, it provides more power, and the car goes faster. Digital slot cars on the other hand get digital messages over the track instead just pure electricity. These messages tell the cars to faster or slower, to change lanes, to turn their lights on, etc. It allows for this whole other world of control.
Most people don’t even know you can put multiple cars on a slot car track, they’ve never seen such a thing because tracks from 20 years ago required a lane for each car. I didn’t know either when I started, I initially bought a cheaper analog set like the one in the Amazon affiliate link below:
It was so much fun that we upgraded to a digital set so both my kids could play with me at the same time. We ended up buying two different sets, a GT one and a Nascar one. The GT one was better because the cars had lights on them and were generally cooler overall. The Nascar set probably had a better overall track though, I believe it had higher banking on the turns which made it easier. I think we built the Nascar track and then ran the GT cars on it. I have a couple example videos below which show multiple cars going and just a single car going:
Digital Slot Car Options
SCX digital tracks and cars have a lot of options. Like:
- Lights for cars, both headlights and taillights
- changing lanes
- lap counter
- lap speed
- ability to slow down cars
- support for up to 6 cars on a track
We’ve had all 6 going at one time before, it’s a little crazy honestly with kids. Adults would work a lot better, and frankly to have that many cars you probably need a pretty long track or otherwise you’ll be crashing all the time.
You can adjust the magnet on the bottom so you make your car really ‘stick’ to the track if needed (helpful for newer drivers). It just takes a little screwdriver to make the adjustment. We typically would limit my youngest son’s car’s speed and then make it sticky, so he could go around the track without crashing but be able to take out other drivers on lane changes pretty easily. It was super fun for him to do.
Cost and Durability
Digital slot cars aren’t cheap, they’re like $50 apiece. That’s a lot of money for a toy. However, even 5 years later my cars still work, albeit a little banged up from all the wrecks. Side mirrors, spoilers, etc all eventually get taken out by another driver or a hard wreck, at least in my experience. I think if you were a lot more careful it probably wouldn’t happen, but with our emphasis on fun it just naturally happens.
The track is pretty durable but is susceptible to bending if stepped on. My kids used to step on it accidentally all the time trying retrieve their cars, leading to spots in the track that didn’t make great contract sometimes. These can be fixed by carefully bending it back, but just be aware that you probably can damage the track beyond repair if you bend it too much.
How much space do you need for a slot car track?
You actually need a lot more than you would think. For a 1/32 track, you’d probably better have a 6 x 10 spot on the floor to lay it out plus leave yourself some room to move around it. It doesn’t seem like it would take much but it does. The 1/48 scale stuff from when we were kids doesn’t take much space, but for this better stuff it does. It’s also not something you’re going to want to put away every night after setting up, so having a room you can put it in for periods of time would be best.
If you have any questions, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org