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Morris Mini Cooper S 1966 Bathurst Winner from Scalextric

By David Popp, Model Railroader Video Plus producer
Published: December 14, 2012
MOD-PL0113_Mini

Product: One of the latest Mini Cooper offerings from Scalextric is a 1:32 replica of the Bathurst Mini. Bathurst, Australia, is roughly 150 miles west of Sydney and plays host to the Bathurst 1000, an annual race held at Mount Panorama. The touring car race is run on a 6-km track, normally used as a public road, and is held every year on the first Sunday in October. The 1966 Bathurst winner (then called the Gallagher 500), was a plucky green-and-white Morris Mini Cooper S driven by Bob Holden of Australia and Rauno Aaltonen of Finland. In fact, that year there were no less than 17 Minis in the race, and Cooper S drivers filled the top nine places in their class at the event. Scalextric has decided to add Holden and Aaltonen’s lucky No. 13 car to its Mini Cooper slot car collection.

Performance: Scalextric’s model of the Bathurst Mini nicely captured the look of the 1966 winner. The paint and lettering were crisp, and even the tiny "Morris Cooper" on the trunk (or "boot") was legible under magnification, which was a great touch. A favorite feature of the Bathurst Mini among racing fans was its distinctive red ladybug dots, and Scalex-tric rendered this detail well in all the correct locations.

The shell and chassis were built primarily from plastic parts. The one-piece shell included several separately applied details such as bumpers, headlight rings, windshield wipers and clear window glazing.

In addition, the model’s hood (or "bonnet") featured a finely molded front grille. Scalextric included modest interior details on the car such as seat backs, a roll cage, a steering wheel, a dash and a painted driver figure. Although I could see the square-can motor through the windows, it was placed low on the chassis and wasn't noticeable.

The car had operating headlights and taillights. These were illuminated with light-emitting diodes that were surface-mounted to printed circuit boards. The lighting boards were cleverly installed in-side the shell and powered from the track.

I tested the Mini on several track surfaces, including the Scalextric Sport and SCX Classic track, and the car handled well on all. The Bathurst Mini had great straight-line speed, provided by its Mabuchi FF 18,000 rpm can motor, and its 9:21 gear ratio produced more zip than I expected from this little car.

Unfortunately, the Mini’s high center of gravity and narrow wheelbase will require drivers to use a good deal of braking to negotiate corners. As such, the model could use a bit of extra weight to improve handling. There was room enough along the sides of the motor inside the chassis to add some self-adhesive weights.

I’d caution against using any extra magnets, however, because the small can motor cannot handle much more drag than the as-delivered car’s down-force magnet already provided. I did test the car by adding an extra magnet, and while the magnet improved cornering, it dampened the Mini’s sporty driving experience. It also placed undue strain on the motor, resulting in excessive heating, so I quickly removed it. In my mind, a Mini shouldn't keep up with a Formula 1 car anyway, so driving the car — corners and all — was part of the fun.

Marketing: Let's face it, Minis are cool, and racing Minis are even better. This car will be a given for those who enjoy Mini Coopers or anyone looking for an unusual racer to add to their slot-car collections. The slot car's green, white and red Bathurst racing paint scheme will also be quite an eye-catcher, which is one reason the real car is a fan favorite. Other than extra weight, there shouldn't be much to add to the car, and as far as I could tell, no one has made silicon tires for Scalextric’s line of Morris Minis.

Still, the Bathurst Mini will be a fun drive for most any experienced slot car racer.

VITAL STATS
Product: Morris Mini Cooper S 1966 Bathurst winner
Maker: Scalextric
Scale: 1:32
Stock number: C3302
MSRP: $52.99
Availability: Hornby America

BOTTOM LINE
• Fully assembled analog slot car
• Plastic and metal construction
• Accurate painting and detailing