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In general I buy cars for our club classes - we run 8 each quarter - and usually not the latest releases. Too often with 'box stock' classes you find only one car cuts the mustard and so we've got an awful lot of classes where everyone rocks up with the same equipment. On the occasions where I've bought the 'wrong' car then had to hastily get back in line with the rest of the guys!

My collections are pretty much complete in terms of what's available. There are still some Penelope Pitlane cars I'd like to get, and some other old F1s that I'd love to see made, but there's not too much in the line-ups announced this year that has got me excited. A Raikkonen Lotus will be coming my way, although it will most likely be a shelf queen on Scaley's recent form. There are a few SCXs I'd like. But with so many club classes to cover it's hard to justify my own personal choices from the 'fun fund'.

Of those cars I've either bought or tried in the past year, however, I'd say:

AutoArt
Total guesswork on whether or not you'll get one with decent running gear. Best to buy cheap and factor in another 10 quid to make it usable. Best so far: Porsche 997 Carrera, which needed nothing but weight in the nose to make a nice non-mag drifter. Worst so far Peugeot 206WRC which needed all new components beneath the skin.

Avant Slot
Mighty motors and fine non-mag handling across the board. The wheels seem inclined to throw themselves at the far corners of the room however. None of mine - Peugeot 206 S2000, Mitsubishi Lancer Raid and Audi R10 LMP - has kept hold of its rear hubs for too long, but the rewards of careful fettling are brute force, good brakes and driftable handling. Peugeot gets the nod as pick of the bunch.

Carrera
Is it me or do the weighty Germans lack any kind of 'feel'? I know that any such thing is perceived but I never really know whether I've got it at the right speed for the balsawood tyres to hang on at the entry of a corner. Best so far: Ferrari F10 Alonso - although it can't live with Scalextric F1 pace.

Flyslot
I'm a big fan of the simplified 'Alpha' cars. Abarth Grande Punto one of the most pleasant cars to run in my fleet and looking forward to an affordable Code Lunga. The older cars still infuriate me with gorgeous looks and warp speed performance (mags in) but ridiculous running gear.

MRRC
Insane motors and questionable running gear beneath the nicest bodies in the business. My 427 Cobra has swallowed an awful lot of lead and is still massively uncouth, but at least stays in the slot now and manages to keep up with the Chapparals and Ford Mk.IVs fairly well. Epic power and no brakes whatsoever mean a totally different driving style to anything else out there.

MSC
The NSR of rallying - never mind the looks, check out the performance. Very well matched Metro 6R4 and Ford RS200 are leagues ahead of other classic rally cars. The Impreza runs Ninco and Avant cars very close in more modern classes.

Ninco
I've become a convert to the Ninco 1 cars now that I've found one that works properly. All the Corvettes seem to have trouble keeping their guides in the slot but the Megane, even with its weedy little motor, is one of the fastest cars I've got with the mag left in. Classics still very welcome too, although there's yet to be a 100% successful replacement for the NC-1 motor. Rally cars still the pick of the bunch for performance.

NSR
The hype is true. Both the Ford Mk.IV in our 1960s class and the Audi R18 in modern LMP show exactly why Salvatore's got all those titles to his name. It's become a bit of an ethical question at the club, however, whether to run them in regular classes or treat them as separate entities.

Revell
I've got the big Mercedes 220 but haven''t run it yet. Will do next week.

Scalextric
Modern F1s aren't a patch on the older stuff. Fiddly front wheels lever you out of the slot and useless stepped magnets don't grip, meaning that the old Mabuchi-motored cars generally see off their peakier FF-motored siblings. I will never understand why the FF motor has been put in such finely crafted classics as the Mini, Cortina, Beetle and Escort. They either go at F1 pace with the magnet in or not at all with the magnet out. Most Scaleys are pretty stonking for mag classes - especially the Aston DBR9 in GTs.

SCX
I hope that the brand emerges again soon and that nothing gets changed in how they go about their business. For me absolutely the best in terms of value and how they run with minimal trueing and glueing. Range of cars that seems tailor made for me and admirable non-mag handling.

Slot.It
Putting aside outright pace, for which NSR has got Maurizio's measure, these are still the most desirable and raceable cars on the market.

Teamslot
I got tempted to a couple of old rally cars going for a song - Renault 5 and Quattro. Really wish I hadn't. Not very pretty and the massive potential of the motor limited by square wheels and lumpy running gear.
 
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