This is the first in what I will try to make a regular series of posts highlighting cars that slot car manufacturers should produce but don’t. I have no idea whether anybody who works for any of the manufacturers reads this blog. I suspect that certain ones don’t really take any kind of meaningful input from anybody outside their own house, at least not anybody in America, but that’s a subject for another whole post, or several, all by itself. But perhaps these posts will, if nothing else, encourage my readers to make their own “why don’t you make” requests to their favorite manufacturers.
I can’t think of a better car to start with than the Mazda Miata. It’s arguably the most popular sports car in the world and certainly one of the most affordable. And, as Mazda itself never tires of reminding us, on any given weekend more Mazdas are being road raced than any other make of car. Most of those Mazdas are Miatas. Spec Miata is usually has the biggest field of any class at SCCA or NASA races, and there are similar and similarly popular classes for the Miata at races around the world. It’s hard to believe, but the Miata has been around since 1990. That makes the first two years’ production already eligible for vintage racing. Several vintage racing organizations have established classes for them and participation is high and growing.
The Miata’s popularity as a race car gives it a vital attribute as a slot car product candidate – the availability of countless colorful liveries for a slot car maker to model. This ensures maximum opportunity for a fat payoff on the cost of research, design, and tooling. And it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that more slot car racers own a 1:1 scale Miata (or want to) than any other 2-seat sports car. That level of consumer awareness, popularity, and aspiration should guarantee that the many possible slot car variants will be well received by hobbyists.
If the tooling is well thought out a Miata slot car would have lots to offer to slot car racers. Can you imagine better entry-level race set cars than a pair of super-resistant (high-impact/crashworthy) Miatas with hardtops in bright spec Miata liveries like the ones pictured above? And four of them in different colors would make a perfect IROC set for any club or ideal cars for use in public-participation events.
Remember these two cars, Scalextric’s Audi TT and Porsche Boxster? They were the very first Scalextric “high impact” (now called super-resistant) cars and for all-comers public slot car racing promotions they are still the best. We have a fleet of these cars we still use, 15 or so years after they were last made, because nothing else does the job as well. We have used them with great success to introduce thousands of people to slot car racing. What makes them so good? They are small, light, great handling with stock tires and magnets, and nearly (alas, only nearly) indestructible. Scalextric has never made anything else quite like them and neither has anybody else. Somebody needs to; they won’t last forever. The Miata is a small car. In 1/32 scale it would the same size as these cars. It would be the perfect replacement for them.
Now imagine a Miata slot car with the entire greenhouse made as a separate part from the rest of the body. With several interchangeable greenhouse options we could have multiple versions of the car in addition to a hardtop with blacked-out windows, including:
- Hardtop with clear windows and full interior (road or race)
- Convertible with top up and blacked-out windows
- Convertible with top up, clear windows, and full interior
- Convertible with top down, stock windshield and full interior
- Race car with no top, low windscreen, full interior, and an endless variety of roll bar/cage variations.
With wheel, tire, magnet, and motor options a car like this would offer something for hobbyists of every skill level and price range. You could make your 1/32 scale Miata look and perform any way you could possibly imagine – just like people do with 1:1 scale Miatas.
Maybe even something like this:
To see a sampling of the possibilities, check out our Miata photo album at https://victorylaphobbies.smugmug.com/Mazda-Miata-Race-Cars/
Your questions and comments are welcome. Post them here on the blog pages or e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org.