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Hi,

Here's a 1948 Conti set from Italy. It is one of the rarest & most unusual sets ever made.
The set is made of wood & metal,with a fabric roof. The 1/43 scale cars pick up their electricity from the metal screen roof. The cars race around the oval metal track & when one bumps into the front car its bumper turns the front wheels & the car can then pass & go into the front. It is like the French 1937-39 LR cars.

The signs & fence are metal. To show how it works I've taken pictures of the set in stages of assembly. The cars are sort of based on the Lancia Aprilia. Check out the little wooden booth in the corner, the 2 figures in it are made of wood.

The set measures 32 inches long, 21 inches wide & 13 inches tall. You can see this set was made by hand. When the set came out very few were sold because of the high price. So it was only made 1 year if even that. Again it's interesting how many electric car sets were made (five) in Italy from 1947-1952.

 

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Another beautiful set Bernard.
It must have been an expensive toy so soon after the war!
Cheers
kev
 

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Very cool! Does it still work? Is there a story as to how you came across it? Found in attic of abandoned house? Yard sale purchase for $10?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hi guys,yes it was very expensive after the war in Italy. It is still very expensive, i was only able to buy it because i had just sold a motorcycle of mine & had the money. Ive been looking for this set for around 8 years & never found one. This one came up when i had sold my bike so it was put my money where my mouth was for my museum .
It was my one chance to get it so i took the plunge.
There is another set out there but the price he wants for it is around 11000 dollars .
I do wish i had found it in an attic. I just put the set together last night,i will see if it runs soon. It should ,everything looks in great shape fora set made 64 years ago. I think my Sila & Rivarossi sets may be just as rare.
Thanks,Bernard
 

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That's beautiful Bernard - must be the only or one of the only complete sets like this! And in great shape...

I noticed that the transformer was bilingual French-Italian too; wonder if they were hoping to export it, or maybe there were already some European regulations at the time? Is it 110V or 220V? I know that France switched from 110 to 220, maybe in the 50s or 60s, but not sure about Italy...

Don
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hi Don,the transformer is 110,280,220,160,140, & 125 ! Maybe they thought this set would become a best seller around the world.
It certainly sold me. Thanks,Bernard
 

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'Dodgems' in 1/43 scale? Wow! thought I'd seen everything, thanks for posting Bernard.

The figures in the little booth are 'twins' btw.


Billy
 

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Actually, there's another, much more modern set with real bumper cars - I have one incomplete car, but not really sure what the set looks like! Judging by the plastic, it was probably the 70s.

What's curious here is that, although they look to us like bumper cars, they were obviously designed as a race track (numbers on cars!)... The guide systems on tabletop tracks in the 40s and 50s were far from being settled, and overhead contacts was one of the major paths being investigated. Of course, I think there were already real bumper cars by then, so maybe I'm mistaken, but it does seem to be more of a real race track.

Don
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hi Don,a bumper car set would have a open space so the cars could go in any direction. This set is an oval & the front bumpers are for passing not crashing. Auto pista means car track in english. Of course the cars differ from bumper cars in several ways,one being that these are hard tops ,& second racing numbers which is for competion. You are right about the method of transmitting current. At this time 1948,there were many ways being sought.
This is one of the strangest. Yet there is a bumper carness about the set. It is mentioned in Rampinis book (Slotcars made in Europe 1930-1980) A wonderful book despite its limitations & omissions.
Thanks,Bernard
 

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John, check out bernardsslotcarmuseum.com

Bernard, I just looked back at your photos - look at that illustration on the roof! Bumper Car city!

I seem to remember some of the bumper car rides having an island in the middle, but it's been a long time since I've been on one of those! (in other amusement park news, did you know that there are "Scalextric" rides for kids, with cars running in "slots" and "contacts" on each side of the slot? - they have one of these every year at our local city hall in Paris!)

Don
 

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Hi,

a really interesting set..is it possible to see the box top as well..?

And where's another one for sale at $11,000..? I'd like to talk to the seller..


Thanks for your reply, david
 

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QUOTE (dgersh @ 13 Jul 2012, 10:11) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I seem to remember some of the bumper car rides having an island in the middle, but it's been a long time since I've been on one of those!

Don
You're right Don some bumper car rides did have the island as you say...my memory is fading but I do remember that.

I must be very old.


Billy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Hi guys.I pluged the set in & it worked.
Both cars began to follow each other around the track. But the screen on top isnt even after so many years & so there are spots where the screen roof hangs unevenly. The cars then lose their antenna connection & stop.
The cars make alot of noise & you can see sparks where the antenna & screen roof contact. They hit the sides & keep going. Between the noise & sparks its very exciting to watch.
I was was told about the other set for 11000 (dollars or euros ?) several years ago,i cant remember who mentioned it to me. I believe the set belonged to someone in Italy. Unfortunately i only have the smaller box for the transformer,cars & metal signs. I have no idea what the original main box looks like. I feel lucky to have gotten what i did. At least everything else is there & working. Its a nice addition to the museum.
Please this is an open invitation for anyone on slot forum to come & visit the museum here in Houston Texas. You may enjoy some of the cars,sets,etc. You can stay at our house. Thanks,Bernard
 
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