MRAdvent 3 Dec: You can’t beat Scalextric

You can't beat Scalextric

“Turn on my lights, I can race all night.” To readers of a certain age, this will bring back memories of a time when Scalextric ruled the living room. Back in the day, the only present a young petrolhead wanted to find under the tree was a Scalextric set. Or maybe a Matchbox Powertrack.

But whatever, the 1970s and 1980s were the golden decades for Scalextric. In the days before games consoles, and when the television offered a paltry three channels, this was the best way to get your petrolhead kicks. As the advert proclaimed: “you can’t be-e-e-e-e-eat Scalextric.” How could a young and impressionable child resist this?

The advert has got it all. A catchy soundtrack (that will be in your head for the rest of the day), crashes, smashes and the occasional flip. Highlights include the Ford Capri (3.0S?), Triumph TR7 and a Porsche 911, complete with working headlights. The darkness gives it a real feeling of Le Mans. Also look out for the TT racers, which were notoriously hard to control.

In reality, the living room experience was never quite the same as the advert made out. Unless your parents were prepared to splash the cash with Geoffrey down at Toys ‘R’ Us, a simple track layout couldn’t really cut it. Well, not beyond Boxing Day. For the full effect you really needed the pit lane, the scenery, the chicanes, the grandstands and the adoring race fans. Oh, and a slow-motion camera would be useful, too.

[bctt tweet=”A catchy soundtrack (that will be in your head for the rest of the day), crashes and smashes”]

But then that was the beauty of Scalextric. Once you had a set, you just had to build on it. And as the ad states, accessories were available from 57p to £28.75. No internet price-match nonsense in those days. Although we’re not quite sure what you could have bought for your 57p pocket money. Answers on a postcard to the usual address.

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