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Product Lab - Scalextric MGB Sebring Racer

Scalextric turns to a classic racer

By Neil Besougloff
Published: May 14, 2013
Photo of Scalextric's MGB Sebring Racer
Scalextric's MGB Sebring Racer
Product: Scalextric has released a new version of its MGB roadster, this one modeling a car that competed at the 12-hour Sebring endurance race in 1964.

MG was a small but respected British manufacturer of sports cars, and the then-new MGB was a huge step forward from its predecessors. The Sebring racer finished fourth in its class and 22nd overall in the endurance race.

This ready-to-run 1:32 slot car features a peppy in-line motor, a traction magnet and a detailed interior, all cleverly designed to fit into a small package.

Performance: Scalextric is one of the leading 1:32 slot-car manufacturers. Produced by Hornby of Great Britain, Scalextric cars can be operated on analog race sets produced by Scalextric, SCX, Ninco, Carrera and others. For digital use, a removable panel in the chassis can be swapped for digital control model No. 8515, which is sold separately. Scalextric digital slot cars only work on Scalextric digital race sets.

This newest version of Scalextric’s MGB roadster is modeled after the MG team car sent to Florida for the Sebring race in 1964. The detailed car includes wire wheels with knock-off spinners, working headlights and taillights, the correct left-hand driving position and a traction magnet. While the MGB is by definition a convertible, this racing version features an added hardtop.

Inside, the car is a near-full-depth interior featuring a period-accurate racing driver and details on the dashboard. Four small screws hold the body to the chassis, and two additional screws in the center of the chassis hold the interior in place. Light-emitting diodes illuminate the headlights and taillights.

Mechanically, the model uses a Mabuchi-style FF-size slim-can motor. The in-line motor drives a nine-tooth pinion gear and a 27-tooth crown gear on the rear axle. This gear ratio is common for 1:32 slot cars.

There are plastic bearings for the rear axle but none for the front. A bar-shaped traction magnet is fitted into a recess be-neath the low-slung motor. Two spare pickup braids affixed to a circular quick-change plate are beneath the car packaging.

I ran the car straight from the box on a Scalextric Sport home layout. Acceleration is brisk and the traction magnet does its job, but not overwhelmingly so.

The car is narrow, as are its tires, so don’t expect handling at quite the level of Scalextric’s Le Mans prototype cars or NASCAR models. Smooth action on the trigger rather than an all-out blitz will produce better results.

Marketing: Baby boomers will fondly recall MGBs as a leader in the British wave of sports roadsters marketed in the U.S. in the 1960s and ’70s. In those days, everyone knew someone who drove an MGB. Younger slot-car hobbyists may only have a connection to the car through the Internet.

Scalextric now packages its models in flip-top hinged boxes, making it easier for you to show the car to a customer without damaging any packaging. The boxes still stack atop each other just like older Scalextric plastic boxes.

If you show the car to a customer, be sure to note that Scalextric cars are known for durable construction and an attractive, high-gloss finish. This MGB is no exception.

Add-on products include light oil in a needlepoint dispenser, a tube of plastic-friendly grease, and precision No. 1 and No. 2 Phillips screwdrivers.

I had a difficult time removing the overtightened screws that held the chassis to the body on our sample model. Without a proper Phillips screwdriver, I would have never been able to remove the screws.

Remind customers that grease is used for gears and oil is used where smooth surfaces make contact, such as where axles pass through bearings. Also advise them to go light on lubrication; too much will only attract dust and pet hair to the moving parts of the model.

Packages of stick-on weights and extra traction magnets for slot cars and fine sand paper or sanding sticks for tire-truing are other appropriate add-on sales, especially for a teenage or adult hobbyist looking to tune this model’s performance. After evaluating the Scalextric MGB, I added a small amount of stick-on weight to outer edges of the chassis and lubricated the front and rear axles. The effort improved the car’s handling measurably and reduced tipping on tight curves.

VITAL STATS
Product: MGB Sebring Racer
Maker: Scalextric
Scale: 1:32
Stock number: C3312
MSRP: $52.99
Availability: Hornby America

BOTTOM LINE
• Attractive Baby Boomer favorite
• Smooth mechanism
• Durable design