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Scalextric Power-sledge cars
#1

Hello all, I cannot find a list, so:

Which cars have the power-sledge chassis?

I know about the C9 Ferrari and C14 Matra.

Leo

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#2

There is the Indy Lotus, Panther and Europa. Panther and Europa had 2 issues - with and without rear wings.....
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#3

Thank you Anthony,

My list so far is:
C5 Europa Vee
C6 Panther
C8 Lotus
C9 Ferrari
C14 Matra

Have looked at the intervening/missing numbers but cannot find chassis shots (as usual) but they don't look like Power-sledge cars. C7 Mini is defo not!

Leo
(Note to self, always include underbody shots)

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#4

C19 Scalextric Team Car has the look of a power-sledge but I don't think it is - anyone got one?

Leo

PS - http://www.tenamp.com/scalextric.html    for reference shots courtesy of Dopamine

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#5

Yes! And no it isn't!

You've got all 5 sledges listed already.
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#6

Thanks Mr.M
I just found that the power-sledge was introduced in catalogue 9 dated 1968. Courtesy of SlotRacer Library  Thumbup

Leo

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#7

The story of the power sledge cars as recalled by Norman Griffiths, who oversaw Scalextric production from 1964-1971.
 
"To fight increasing competition from other slot-car manufacturers during the late 60s, the Scalextric management team were not adverse to innovative ideas from the factory staff. In fact, they actively encouraged it. Lines Brothers were very keen on suggestion boxes – ideas from the shop floor and it was surprising some of the reasonably realistic ideas that came from these people who weren’t supposed to know anything about anything.
It’s more than likely that the Power Sledge – the all-in-one drive unit which first emerged in 1968 on the C5 Europa Vee and C6 Panther – originally stemmed from an idea placed in a staff suggestion box. Designed to handle supremely well, the sledge cars were primarily aimed at inexperienced drivers, enabling them to race the cars straight out of the box with the minimum of spins and crashes. The cars were deliberately included in the big four-lane sets, because the whole family – particularly women – would find them easy to drive. Today the thinking behind this may seem somewhat naff and supremely sexist, but Scalextric were keen to increase family sales at a time of falling demand. And, in an effort to disguise this philosophy and to attract more experienced racers to the product, in the catalogues they touted the sledge as a state-of-the-art, high-performance design.
The sledge would have been mentioned at one of the suggestion meetings that we used to have between the sales, the development and the production people, chaired by a senior director. This, by the way, seemed to be a Lines Brothers’ thing because Rovex – the train people – had these meetings as well. The sales people would know what they could sell, the development wouldn’t care a monkey’s – they’d just develop it – and ideas would be tossed on to the table. Occasionally these things would go to development, we’d have another look at it then and, in the case of many items, they would come to fruition and would be produced. Development would do the bulk of the work on it up to a point where production would take over. It’s one thing for someone to make a one-off on development. Then we’ve got to discuss it for tooling for large-scale manufacturing.
A clever and innovative design, the sledge used a number of specially modified components. It had a modified RX motor [the E8]. The pole pieces were obviously new, the armature shaft was longer and the carbon brushes were smaller. There was a moulded nylon gearbox on the drive end. The power to the sledge was provided by a metal pinion on the motor shaft driving a nylon moulded crown gear. The bulk of the sledge was made in-house, apart from the bought-outs, which would have been the metal pinion, the armature shaft and the magnet – similar to most of the bought-out items with the RX motor.
It’s known that spare Bugatti bodies were used in the original testing but train bodies may also have played their part.
           
The sledge would virtually go round on its own without a car body! You could put anything on top of that – even a locomotive body if you could achieve a method of holding it on! The sledge was a good design because it held the track. It hinged from the back, you clipped it in and you could almost change bodies at a pit stop.
With its sliding, adjustable pick up, the sledge was capable of being fitted into a variety of F1 bodies. The initial Panther and Europa Vee bodies were in-house designs and later variants were updated by fitting aerofoils. These were soon overshadowed by the more-detailed and desirable Lotus Indianapolis (C8), Ferrari V8 (C9) and Matra MS11 (C14). Unfortunately all of the Power Sledge cars had vulnerable, very thin windscreens, and today it’s quite hard to find good examples with screens fully intact.
But the sledge car’s main fault was its lack of top-end grunt. It was suggested that this was because the prototype vanished during the first week it was on display at the the Tri-ang showrooms and the production version never quite had the same performance but the main problem was the drive. The sledge was a heavier thing to start off – in other words, when you operate the hand throttle, there’s a lot more resistance than on an ordinary Scalextric car. The pinion was metal and on the initial start of the car, the torque or surge required to start the vehicle, instead of turning the crown wheel, stripped the teeth in that position, similar to the problems we encountered with the early Formula Juniors. It’s quite possible that we may have modified the armature windings to slow down the power of the motor in order to overcome the problem of the gear stripping. You’ve got to remember that the RX motor would drive a model railway engine, pulling anything up to 30 or 40 trucks from a standing start. Fair enough, you’ve got a different drive on the Scalextric RX motor, but at the same time, it shows the power that could go into it.
I think it was quite possible that the original prototype was faster because the gear stripping problem didn’t occur on it. With a stroke of luck you might not shear that one. When you make just one, you have no variation. When you mould a thousand, it’s possible that you get variation in the teeth depth and all sorts of things, so therefore you’ve got to modify the power in order to accommodate the problems that arise in multiple production.
What we did find with the Power Sledge, of course, was there was much better roadholding. The sledge cars were aimed at younger drivers and families, and this was why we persevered with it, despite all the initial faults. The cars were easy to drive and the roadholding was so much better – the ladies of the family could also have a go!”
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#8

Cheers Brian, that is superb.   
Have never handled one of these, its about time I did... even though they look a bit bloated.

Leo

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