Young boy’s Racing car dream

One of the most used phrases that my Mother had was “we haven’t got the space!”, This was trotted out for whenever I requested any toy of any size bigger than a Monopoly board. For years I asked for a Scalextric set. I wasn’t after a full-scale Silverstone or Monaco I would have ben quite happy with a plain old figure of 8. To be fair we did live in a small house. There was barely enough room for the bed. This would have made for a very tight race track. It actually going under the bed could have meant that it doubled up as the famous Monaco tunnel until there was a crash and we’d have had to get the bed out to recover the car. I had the answer to my parents dilemma, as did many other children in the west country, loft conversions Bristol!

The loft was a magical place that contained Christmas decorations and old magazines, some of a dubious nature if you weren’t careful, but nothing else. All that space that could be used. You might find yourself in a similar situation and if that’s the case try as they might be able to help. To my mind this was the solution. If we could get a Scalextric set up there, then that meant the Train set I was hankering for could also be accommodated.

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What was I looking for in Scalextric? From the late 1950’s onwards Scalextric was about the only way any of us were going to get to be racing car driver. This was pretty central to its advertising campaign. The reality of course was a bit different. Though I never owned one as a kid the first thing I asked when round a friend’s house was if they had one and could we play it. I should have realised by the look of resignation on the face of my friend that I was asking a real chore and as we set the thing up you could see why. It took ages to set it the track up! The original pieces had a weird clip together system that defied the laws of physics to use. You seemed to ask the track to bend in ways that it simply couldn’t. When you did get it set up, and by that point it was just a figure of 8 or a simple left-hand/righthand bends with 2 straights only affair that bore no resemblance to any track that the great Murray Walker commented on, you then had the issue of the hit and miss power pack. A metal slots ran through the track and the cars shot down the groves. If you didn’t complete the circuit, then it didn’t work. It was a common sight to see two pre-teen boys hyped up for the coming fun reduced to surly anger as they desperately worked the trigger controls to get the cars to move.

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Maybe it was the putting it together and taking it apart that meant it didn’t work properly. If we’d had that converted loft then that could have been it’s permanent home!