You’ve become a slot car collector! (part 1)

Can you recall your first slot car? Or that one that caught your eye from a shop’s window while walking down the street, and became your object of desire? For those of us who have remained loyal to this hobby (either since you were a kid, or reconnecting a few decades later with some white hairs -and extra weght-) after some time you realize you’ve started something that can be defined as a collection. Doesn’t matter if you own dozens, trillions, or just 10 cars, the most important is the fact that those cars put a smile on your face; the unquestionable happiness coming from your collector spirit.

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Each one of us discover slot cars following different paths, but the common factor is our undeniable passion for cars. As a collector, you’ll meet others like you with very different profiles: those with an eye for technology and refinement, those who follow automotive history, or those more inclined to simply racing, being fast, competitive, and beating their rivals on track. This hobby can bring together many different types of enthusiasts.

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In this occasion, I will share some guidelines that I consider useful for any type of slot car collector. They might seem trivial or obvious at first, but from my point of view, they provide the ground for both collector and collection in their evolutionary progress. 

  • Range availability: Nowadays, the range of styles and categories the major brands offer in their catalogues is vast, and cover practicly all major disciplines that one can imagine, covering Rallyes, Fórmula 1, Nascar, Touring Car Championships, Endurance (a.k.a. Groupe C or nowadays LMP), Rallycross, Raid…  And, with a more artisan approach, resin cars which are manufactured by specialised brands.
  • Control your budget: Unless you are lucky enough to have an unlimited budget to cover your car slot needs, it’s hard to accept that we can’t have all slot cars that come across our path. You can only do things step by step (like most aspects in life). Therefore, you must be quite clear on your own tastes and preferences. This will help you prioritize properly to enjoy a greater degree of satisfaction. Some price tags may seem expensive, but you pay for the design, assembly precission and components’ high quality. Still, you will come across with slot cars which provide a a great compromise between cost and performance (these ones deserve a future entry in the blog).  
  • Where to buy? Nowadays, internet gives you access to a whole myriad of websites offering slot car material, both for new and second hand. I only recommend the second option if it is done through friends or a trustworthy group. In my case, I try to go to the shop as much as I can; the shop owner or assistant will always help with your learning curve, and I consider it essential as part of the process. Although buying online is the easy option, leaves beginners in the cold and making them more prone to decission making mistakes. 
  • Inventory: Keep control of your collection. With the help of either a collection manager software, or a simple spreadsheet. Do it as part of the collection growing process, don’t leave it for last.  This will help you refine your criteria to expand your collection. Apart from being a mere inventory list, its a tool that will help you realise the dimension of your collection.
  • Maintain your selection criteria: This is something very down to the collector’s taste. There are those who worship cars as a whole, without any kind of categorization; those who only follow a sport discipline, or those who are attracted to all cars under a common livery/sponsorship. There’s a place for everyone in this hobby, and a collector’s choice/preference can also evolve in time. 

A slot car collection contains value in many ways, not only as a static decorative item in a wall. It leads to many ways of having fun. How and why? I’ll talk about that in the next blog’s entry.

Only in a slot car race you’d race a Renault Mégane against a Ferrari F50, a Lamborghini Murcielago and a Porsche 917.

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