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I recently instigated some chat about the available RTR Jaguar E-Types, from which Revell's example came out as the people's choice, the Ninco was adjudged as probably the better box-standard performer and the Scalextric… well, despite its prettiness our fingers have collectively been burnt too often to have much faith. Which made me want to try one of Scalextric's versions out, because when Margate sneezes the hobby catches a cold.

One well-timed eBay snipe later and Graham Hill's car, built near my house at the Coombs garage, duly appeared. Lovely looking thing, too... and first I put it on the track with magnet in place and screws as tight as a drum: manufacturer's recommended spec.

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Graham Hill's feeling a bit off-colour

It seemed quite slow to accelerate but once rolling proved to be rather adept, all things considered. For a narrow car it felt stable and the combination of a long wheelbase and front motor helped keep the guide in the slot nicely.

As a Scalextric product in the fettle of their choosing I can report that it works fine and even after picking up the tempo it didn't roll over too easily at all. You have to get quite brutal to induce an accident, and mine came when the outside tyre snagged on a slight lip between inner and outer track sections, which saw the Jag flip onto its pretty, pretty bonnet and roof to skate along in a wince-inducing fashion… but without damage resulting.

Best lap was 9.51 seconds - roughly a second off a modern Scalextric GT like the McLaren MP4/12C.

With that initial run complete, it was time to take the old girl to pieces. Not an easy task as the pretty, pretty exhaust pipes actually cover the screw at the back. Fortunately, there's a bit of give in the plastic and the process was completed - albeit very gingerly.

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Exhausts slightly wonky after tinkering with the screw

I was equally circumspect when removing the rear axle, as lately Scalextric's clips in the chassis have been prone to failing. Not so today - but tomorrow? Who knows, as it did feel quite flimsy.

The magnet came out gratifyingly quickly, without the muscular clips we've become used to. I reassembled the bodyshell with the screws loose, giving a total weight of 63g without magnet or ballast. In this fettle I put it back on track without expecting to enjoy myself much.

Whoa! Rattle-rattle-hop-hop said the little Jag as the throttle was applied. The tyres are grippy on Ninco plexi track and this, combined with the axle slop and absence of weight aft of the motor resulted in the whole back end oscillating madly. It made the Ninco Hop look rather tame, the drama being increased as the upper body vibrated and hung on by the screw heads underneath but… it went.

And it went pretty well all things considered. Yes, it was noisy, hip-hoppety and a bit awkward under power but the grip from the tyres was ideal and - miracle of miracles - the guide remained rooted in the slot.

There is very little play in the front axle but the front tyres were not interfering with the guide even over our track's notorious bumps - unlike other recent Scalextric offerings like the Ford GT GTE. It's near enough a tricycle stance, but still looks good as a model on the track and not once did the guide get overcome.

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Some actual clearance 'twixt tyre and guide!

Deslots, when they did happen, were mainly caused by the car rolling onto the edge of its tyres in a corner and carving a graceful arc into the scenery. More often, however, the back end could be provoked into a proper drift before the noisy process of accelerating out of the corner began.

Best lap was 13.58 seconds - roughly 1.4 seconds off a modern Scalextric GT.

The biggest problem is rear axle sloppiness. There is roughly 2mm vertical movement and 1mm lateral movement caused by the axle sitting too loose in the bushings and the bushings sitting too loose in the chassis. It's not good enough by a long chalk. The magnet masks these very basic deficiencies in stock form but it is rectifiable. A little quiet reflection has resulted in a three-step plan to improve upon the box-standard setup.

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To finish first, first you must correct the clamshell body

Step 1: Nearly stock.

Put some weight down low in the magnet pockets, glue the rear axles and the motor shaft into their clips. Then true and glue the tyres. That should reduce the hopping and make cornering quite a lot smoother. Cost: £0.00

Step 2: Chopped stock

Cut the sills and lower body panels off the chassis and fix them to the upper half of the body. That should make the car look better when you back the body screws off and reduce the infernal din when it hops. Cost: £0.00

Step 3: Spend a bit of money

If you really want to try and make a racer of it, or eliminate more hop, then by all means put new wheels, gears, axles, bearings and tyres on. That could well make it into one of the most rapid front-motored classics around - although if you're spending all that money you might as well get a 3D Printed chassis and chuck everything else away. Cost: Up to you.

Being completely honest, I think that the attempted monocoque construction, with the bottom half of the body being attached to the chassis, is annoying. It's like putting one bathtub on top of another and if you loosen the screws there's a big gap that looks a bit rubbish. A razor saw would sort the problem, but there's no need for it to be like that in the first place.

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Looks a bit daft with that big gap in the body

Yet despite this, and against the odds (and my predictions), the handling of a Scalextric car with narrow track and a front-mounted motor is something of a revelation. With minimal work, the E-Type will be jjust about as good as the Sierra and BMW M3 for non-magnet use, which is the highest praise I can give it. What's more there's no detail like mirrors or aerials that can be knocked off in most accidents.

I will try Step 1 and Step 2 then report back…

How would fare in a competition against the Revell or Ninco E-Types? No idea. It might not see which way an MRRC Cobra or RevMon Ferrari 250 GTO went, with their Sebring chassis. But in and of itself the slinky Jag is a very encouraging car that could well become a firm favourite to drive with minimal work and outlay. As such it deserves to be a hit.
 

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David H
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3,756 Posts
Nice review. So we now have three E-Types - Revell, Ninco and Scalextric - all sort of ok'ish, but all of which could be better.

Seems to me that Scalextric is, for some inexplicable reason, wedded to its two-bath-tub method of construction. I wish they'd bite the bullet, implement a standardised style of separate chassis, fit decent bearings and unknurled axles and, if necessary, raise the price slightly to pay for the improvements.

£40 is a lot of money to a lot of people and it seems to me than in markets everywhere, buyers are becoming more discerning and are prepared to pay a small premium for quality. Sometimes even a large premium. £40 for a car that functions, but not very well and requires major surgery to improve, or £45+ for one that will satisfy many and has the basic underpinnings required by the serious racer?

Trouble is, is Scalextric's brand now so synonymous with poor quality cars (whether or not that's a fair reputation) that it's all too late? Perhaps now is the time for Scalextric to bring back the old Race-Tuned moniker, but genuinely race tune the cars rather than plonk a standard car in a fancy cardboard box, wrap a silver sticker around the motor and call the whole lot Sport, as they used to.
 

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Premium Member
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yes, I'd struggle to pay £40 for most Scaleys - most slot cars, in fact. If you're going on RRP then Scalextric is much too close to a Slot.It to take seriously as a purchase - even more so if the Slot.It is from one of those retailers who manage to keep them at the £42-£44 mark (god bless 'em!)

But if you want to be certain of getting a particular Scalextric car, then the limited production numbers mean that you should act fast and either go direct and swallow what Scalex thinks they are worth or go to one of the retailers knocking them out with 10% off. Again, it's very good of retailers to do that as I understand that they're not making any money on the cars at that price, but presumably the Scaextric sales might inspire people to come back and buy stuff with a bigger margin.

Those cars which don't shift then start to move back down to a reasonable price either in the reduced section or by being put on the auctions... bidding on my Jag started at 99p and ended at just over half the RRP including post. I can I've with that.

If the hop can be sorted it will be an ideal stress-busting runabout in non-mag form. Not the fastest '60s GT going, but if you want that then I'd go to George Turner and fill the results with Slot.It bits.
 

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Premium Member
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5,468 Posts
Clamshell? Front-mounted motor? Axle slop? Annoying screw hidden between the exhausts? I can't. I just can't. Lord knows I want to.

But I can't.

Shakes head in disbelief.
 

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novice jazz player &
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6,269 Posts
Diversity of opinion... great...!

I have five of the Scalextric e-types and looking forward to the latest soft-top box set to arrive... the underpan screw between the two exhaust pipes is really not a problem for me... I simply use a screw driver which has a diameter smaller than the gap between the two exhausts... easy stuff!

Meanwhile, I find the e-types especially good when converted to digital... in my case using the C7005... and the clamshell works perfectly in securing these digital decoders nicely in the right place... so I for one am more than happy with the base design...

C
 

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Bob Chapman
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6,918 Posts
One mans poison is another mans cure.
Thats what this is all about.
These types of posts help others make a choice based on someones knowledge, testing and associated opinions.
I had an old E type perhaps a Ninco , and i couldnt get it to turn anything but over. It went from me to my friend Chris Walker. He turned it into a thoroughbred.
Funny old world.
Bob
 
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I seem to remember the old Scalex/SCX version offsetting (wrongly) the exhaust to one side to accomodate screw access. In all of this can anyone conceive of two offset screws at the rear?
 

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Electric model car driver
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Now this might be heading off on a bit of a tangent but I'm wondering if a Scaley E-type could use a bit of bonkers race car attitude.

So I've been perusing the web (as you do) for ideas and these two have given me a bit of food for thought.

- http://www.canamcarsltd.com/car/1972-Jaguar-XKE-V12-Race-Car and http://topclassiccarsforsale.com/jaguar/186763-1966-jaguar-e-type-historic-race-car.html

Initially the widened arches were not too appealing but on second thoughts I think they blend quite well with the almost vertical sides of the red car.
 
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