When you’re a young boy, all types of toy cars/vehicles are cool. You don’t believe me? Actually, on second thought, this is still true when you’re grown man. Anyway, whether it was Hot Wheels, Tonka or Micro Machines I wanted them all. Of course, what childhood would be complete without a race car track or two? Especially when they glow in the dark, which is the set of Cliff Hangers I owned. I don’t really remember them being referred to as “Daredevil Cliff Hangers” or “Zero Gravity Cliff Hangers”. They were always just “Cliff Hangers” to me and my friends.
Sadly, as was quick to happen, pieces of my track went missing until basically I was back down to running them in a regular boring oval shaped track. Not that I’ve ever thought race car tracks ever had a long lifespan anyway. It’s like NASCAR. If you’ve seen one lap you’ve seen them all. Time to turn the channel. The other factor going against sl0t-racers is that they were slot-racers! They just weren’t adept to working on any terrain other than a cheap plastic glow in the dark track set.
Nonetheless, these commercials are pretty fun, especially the 1970s commercial for Nite Glow track where the music could be interchangeable with any porn soundtrack or detective show from that same era.
Super-Glow styling? FREE iron-on decals? FREE t-shirt? Consider Tyco’s Curvehugger HP2 line completely pimped out.
Despite thinking it the term makes for a funny selling point/post title, I wasn’t sure what a “HO car” was. Luckily, Wikipedia can help with that:
H0 scale (HO scale in North America, Japan, and Australia) is the most popular scale of model railway in most of the English-speaking and non English-speaking world (in the United Kingdom, 00 gauge—with trains built to a larger scale but using the same track as H0—predominates). In H0 scale, 3.5 mm (0.14 in) represents 1 real foot; this ratio works out to about 1:87.086. In H0, rails are usually spaced 16.5 mm apart which models the standard railroad gauge of 1,435 mm (56.5 in).
Got that? Good.
Slot cars were always good fun. My personal collection was always the versions that Tyco would make for young boys, but there was a “grown up” hobby shop near our house in Lynchburg, Virginia, that I would go to with my dad when I was really young. It was pretty cool filled with train sets, model kits, slot cars with all the accessories that would go with them. In the back of the store, on the upper level, there was a HUGE race track and there were always a group of guys back there racing their cars. My memory is fuzzy, but I think there may have even been a big water tank somewhere in the store where you could putter around your motorized boats.
Sometimes would feel uncomfortable going into the store though because the clientele was always older guys who looked to be in their 30s, 40s and 50s so it gave me the impression that this wasn’t really a hobby shop that welcomed the loud and inquistive nature of youth. Maybe that’s why I never really had any interest in owning any of the train and car sets they sold, it all seemed like it wasn’t mean for my hands anyway. I was content just looking at the merchandise, watching others race and hearing the cars as they whizzed by and smelling that odd “copper & rubber on track” burning scent.
By the way, a quick look on Google Streetview shows me that the shop, A Collector’s Lair, STILL exists in the very same place I remember it. That’s pretty cool.