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Hi,

Here is a SILA (Societa Industriale-Lavorazioni Acciai) set made in Torino, Italy in 1947. This is a very rare set (the only one I know of).
The set's track is unique, it's made of a very heavy & thick bakelite. I think that this may be the only track made of bakelite; it's totally different from the Safar, Marx or Tippco tracks.

The track makes a figure 8. The two separate controllers are located on the top of the transformer. The two cars are metal bodied Studebaker Commander sedans. They are equipped with two electric light bulbs (though there was a version without). The 1/40th scale cars bodies were from the Italian company Mercury. You can see it on the chassis in one of the photos. The set was called Autostrado SILA.The set weighs a ton, it's one of the heaviest set I have ever seen. The last photo shows some of the cars made in Italy between 1947-1952 (Safar, Conti, Sila, Alcyon,& Rivarossi). I have to say it's amazing the number of electric roadway & race sets that came out of Italy right after the war.
Well i hope you enjoy the photos.

Thanks,
Bernard

 

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Very nice Bernard!

Now, why would an Italian company make Studebaker slot cars in 1947? Not quite like an American company reproducing Ferraris!

Also, is the power power AC or DC? Looks like the transformer has a choice between 110 and 220V. France also changed between the two voltages, going from 110 to 220, but I think it was later than this. That transformer looks very much like a model train unit - do you know what else Sila made?

Love the bakelite track!

Don
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hi,they made the Studebaker because it was the only car they had which could fit the motor. They wanted to do the Aero Coupe,Farina Coupe,or the Lancia Aprilia,but threre wasnt enough room inside for the light bulbs & motor.
The transformer has-110,125,160,& 220 volt adjustments. I think the power is DC. Im not sure about the pump for the tires,but i think they maybe advertising tire pumps they made.
thanks,Bernard
 

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How are the cars guided?
Is looks like a wide slot each side, with 2 wheels running in each slot - have I got that right?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hi,the bakelite track is molded where either side is raised a little. So the cars are held in the track by the raised sides. There is no slot or blade or pin guide. The current is picked up from the metal strips to the metal contacts attached to the underside of the cars chassis. Also i think this set was made for only 1 year. I believe the company may have made auto parts as well. The company was either founded in 1943 or 1947 in Turin. Thanks,Bernard
 

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Bernard

A wonderful set. Aesthetically, one of the nicest sets I have seen. And it really looks like a lovely toy although I wonder how many children got to play with it. They probably had to fight the adults!

all my very best,

charles
 

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I agree, a very nice set indeed, thanks for sharing the pictures. Regarding the choice of American cars for a European toy, the size could have been a reason, but anyway this was not unusual at the time. I remember myself playing with French Dinky Studebaker and Buick models a few years later, and many Spanish Paya and Rico toys reproduced American cars. The fact is that, by the time, the large, chrome loaded, American cars were considered here as the prototypes of luxury cars, no matter if they were Cadillacs or just Chevrolets. There was even the specific Spanish word "haiga", now obsolete, to denote that kind of cars. Being a dream for most people, it is not surprising many toy-makers here choose to reproduce American cars instead of the far less impressive European cars of the time.

Eduardo Casas Alvero
 
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