STOP PRESS – the 60th Anniversary Collection reaches its climax!
So here we are – the announcement of the final car from the Scalextric 60th Anniversary Collection. It’s been an absolute thrill to reveal each car in these special editions of Test Track, but all good things must come to an end. This edition is timed to coincide with today's Sunday Express which features an exclusive Scalextric 60th Anniversary Collection story, proudly announcing the 1950s car and featuring interviews with the Scalextric team.
Regular readers of Test Track will have noticed that the 60th Anniversary Collection has been very popular, with certain cars in the Collection going out of stock on the website before they have even been announced. Wherever possible we’ve done our best to secure more stock, but do check the website for the latest stock situation. Please keep in mind that if any of the cars you’re after are out of stock here, you can contact your local Scalextric retailer who may be able to help.
So, it's time to reveal the seventh and final car from the 60th Anniversary Collection. After travelling through decades of Scalextric cars and motor sport history, we’ve finally reached the point where it all began for Scalextric - the late 1950s and a man with a fantastic idea to change the face of scale model racing using the cars he saw at Goodwood…
The Scalextric 60th Anniversary Collection – 1950s
The final car in the Collection, representing Scalextric for the 1950s, is the Maserati 250F.
The Maserati 250F was the obvious choice to represent the 1950s for us here at Scalextric, as it was the first car ever produced under the Scalextric name.
Invented by Bertram ‘Fred’ Francis, founder and owner of Minimodels Ltd, Scalextric was created as a model electric racing car system; an idea generated as an advancement of the tinplate toy cars of the 1950s. The tinplate racing and sports cars, which were marketed as Scalex and Startex cars by Minimodels, were adapted in 1957 when Fred had the idea to add an electric-powered motor in place of the clockwork system.
Based on the Ferrari 375s and Maserati 250Fs Fred saw racing at Goodwood in the 50s, it was the Maserati 250F that first featured the new ingenious motor. Adding ‘tric’ to the end of the name (as the models now used electricity) resulted in Scalextric being born.
These brand new Scalextric cars were officially announced at the 1957 Harrogate International Toy Fair. With the first track sections made of rubber (which was the case until 1963), it wasn’t long before other racing cars, sports cars, motorcycles and even trucks made it into the range. There were even accessories such as buildings, grandstands and race pits, all modelled for the time.
Despite Fred’s success he sold Minimodels to Tri-ang in 1958, with them continuing right where he left off. The Scalextric Maserati 250F appeared again in 1958 and 1959 – making way in 1960 for newer plastic cars. The Maserati 250F wasn’t to appear again until 2004 when new tooling was launched with the C2551, representing the car driven by possibly the greatest F1 competitor, Juan Manuel Fangio.
The 250F, a name shortened from the original designation of 250/F1, made its debut in the 1954 Argentine Grand Prix, where Juan Manuel Fangio won the first of his two victories in the car, before departing for the new Mercedes-Benz team. Stirling Moss also saw success in his privately owned 250F, which he raced for the entire 1954 season. 1955 and 1956 saw Jean Behra and Stirling Moss in works cars respectively, with 1957 welcoming the return of the great Fangio from Ferrari.
Using the Maserati 250F ‘El Maestro, el mejor’ won the Championship, including his now legendary final win at the German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring. Overcoming a 48-second deficit in 22 laps, Fangio overtook Mike Hawthorn on the final lap, winning a quite unbelievable victory – breaking the lap record at Nürburgring ten times.
Fangio himself said after the race, “I have never driven that quickly before in my life and I don’t think I will ever be able to do it again.”
By 1958 the 250F was now starting to feel its age, as new rear-engined F1 cars joined the competition. However, the car remained a favourite with privateers and was used by back markers through to the 1960 F1 season.
The Maserati 250F competed in 46 Formula One Championship races, with 277 entries, leading to eight wins. The 250F also saw success with drivers winning many non-championship races around the globe.
So, the 60th Anniversary Collection ends where it all began for Scalextric, the Maserati 250F. A good idea from ‘Fred’ Francis and 60 years later Scalextric is still here and synonymous with slot racing for so many people. The evolution of the brand and all the twists and turns from the last six decades has been quite something, but that key concept, an electric motor in a car, racing on a slot track, is unchanged.
We sincerely hope you’ve enjoyed seeing each member of the 60th Anniversary Collection revealed, and that you’re enjoying the Collection itself - judging by the number of you grabbing the cars from the Scalextric website, it seems like that’s a very definite ‘yes’.
Don’t forget that we’d love to hear from you, on the choice of the Maserati 250F for the 1950s, or if you’d like to share your thoughts on the Collection as a whole. Please get in touch using Facebook, Twitter or the Forum.
Until next time,
The Test Track Team
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