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Autoart 1:32 1991 BMW M3 slot car

By Neil Besougloff
Published: May 12, 2011
Autoart 1991 BMW M3

Product: Autoart has released another in its line of eye-appealing 1:32 slot cars — a BMW 3-series coupe outfitted for the German touring car circuit.


The fully assembled Autoart BMW M3 is attractively painted as the highly tuned four-cylinder car campaigned by motorcycle champion Johnny Cecotto in 1991. The model features illuminated front and rear headlights, a sidewinder position motor, and a traction magnet.


Performance: Autoart, which has produced a long line of collector die-cast display models, also markets slot cars in 1:32 and 1:24 scale. The 1:32 cars can be operated on analog race sets produced by Scalextric, SCX, Ninco, Carrera and other manufacturers. There are no provisions for digital operation, but advanced hobbyists may be able to adapt digital aftermarket components to the Autoart chassis.

Autoart, which has produced a long line of collector die-cast display models, also markets slot cars in 1:32 and 1:24 scale. The 1:32 cars can be operated on analog race sets produced by Scalextric, SCX, Ninco, Carrera and other manufacturers. There are no provisions for digital operation, but advanced hobbyists may be able to adapt digital aftermarket components to the Autoart chassis.


The appearance of the BMW is absolutely first-rate. A look at photos of the actual race car confirm that Autoart’s model is just right, including the Warsteiner Beer sponsor graphics and even the bold red front grille. Other details include tow rings that project from beneath the bumpers, plus simulated brake rotors (fronts are larger than rear!) and a multi-color interior with a well-proportioned racing driver figure.


Mechanically, the model uses a Mabuchi FC130-style motor, a 16-tooth pinion gear, and a 33-tooth spur gear. The gear ratio, combined with a high-rpm motor, makes for a free-wheeling car with a faster than usual top speed. There are metal bearings for both front and back axles and a traction magnet on the underside of the chassis attached with a center screw. Two spare guides with braids are packaged with the car.


Two screws up front and tabs at the rear of the model hold the chassis to the body. The printed circuit board for LED head and taillight illumination is mounted inside the body cavity and connects to the chassis with a small socket and plug; a nice feature for hobbyists since they can fully remove the body shell when tinkering with their cars.


Straight from the box I ran the car on a Scalextric Sport home layout and it was slippery and tippy and struggled to keep up with typical cars from Scalextric and SCX. Using some simple tune-up techniques — adding stick-on weight to the lower outside edges of the chassis, sanding the rear tire treads, and experimenting with additional traction magnets — improved the car’s performance considerably. But even with tuning, the BMW won’t be the fastest kid on the block.


Marketing: BMW models are a staple of the slot-car hobby, and it’s hard to beat the appearance and collectible nature of Autoart products. This red, white, and multi-hued blue BMW slot car model is no exception. It is well-molded in bright colors. The BMW's features and additional details, plus its sedan-shaped body stands out in a sometimes look-alike field of slot cars.


BMW models are a staple of the slot-car hobby, and it’s hard to beat the appearance and collectible nature of Autoart products. This red, white, and multi-hued blue BMW slot car model is no exception. It is well-molded in bright colors. The BMW's features and additional details, plus its sedan-shaped body stands out in a sometimes look-alike field of slot cars.


If you remove the car from its box to show a customer, be sure to point out its smooth, free-wheeling mechanism.


Add-on products include light oil in a needlepoint dispenser and a tube of plastic-friendly grease. Our sample model appeared to lack lubrication from the factory. Advise customers that grease is used for gears and oil is used where smooth surfaces make contact, such as where axles pass through bearings and on the ends of the motor armature shaft. Also advise them to go very light on lubrication; too much can foul the motor.


Packages of stick-on weights and traction magnets for slot cars, fine-grain sandpaper for tire-truing, and even a small set of hobby screwdrivers are appropriate add-on sales, especially for an intermediate to advanced hobbyist looking to tune this attractive model’s performance.

VITAL STATS
Product: 1991 BMW M3 slot car
Maker: Autoart
Scale: 1:32
Stock No.: 13626
MSRP: $59.99
Availability: Gateway Global; call 866-288-6278
BOTTOM LINE
Highly attractive model
Some cars with stronger magnets are faster
Appeals to collectors and racers