STS Car Types

STS cars, Pinzgauer, Nissan, Mercedes and Jeeps

The STS Range of Cars

The STS range included six types of car, Jeeps, Mercedes, Nissans, Pinzgauers, Land Rovers and Peugeots, which were produced in a variety of colours and liveries. All the cars use the same chassis assembly, which the car body clips onto. All the cars except Peugeots were also fitted with hooks at the rear for towing trailers.

The drivers were usually full figures missing only their feet. The left hand is on the steering wheel and the right points down towards the gear stick. The Peugeot was a much smaller car than the others so the driver was more like normal Scalextric drivers comprising only head and shoulders and both arms on the steering wheel. The drivers are generally white unless the cars are white in which case red drivers were fitted. There are exceptions; white Nissans and Land Rovers have been seen with white drivers but these cars were probably produced unofficially.

All the cars came with mirrors except the Peugeot where the “mirrors” are little more than bumps on the body moulding. The mirrors are extremely fragile and break easily. Even cars that have never been removed from their box sometimes have a broken mirror, often on the right-hand side. The car could come away from its retaining clips allowing it to bounce around inside the box. Because the cars were always orientated with the left side showing through the acetate, the right side would hit the card at the back of the box breaking the mirror. Jeep mirrors form part of the windscreen surround and dashboard moulding which is heat-sealed to the main body. The other 4 cars used separate black mirrors with tabs, which were inserted into slots in the body. These mirrors were rectangular: horizontal on Nissans and Pinzgauers, vertical on Mercedes and Land Rovers. It is wise to remove the mirrors if possible before running the cars. Mirrors were never catalogued as spares but could possibly have been informally available. They are very hard to come by now.

Various STS cars on track

Some of the cars were available in sets but all the official cars were available individually in boxes. These boxes are all similar in blue with yellow “sts4x4” logos, white writing and an acetate window over part of the front and top. White labels with black text were attached to one of the end-flaps. Plastic clips retained the cars through the yellow card liner clipping onto the axles. Each boxed car came with a maintenance sheet specific to the car. Some boxes also had “by Scalextric” printed on them. As the Scalextric logo has not been seen on Land Rover or Peugeot boxes, it seems likely that it only appeared on earlier boxes. It is possible that Exin had ideas about exporting sts so removed “Scalextric” from the boxes to avoid infringing the UK Company’s brand name outside Spain. This would be consistent with the production of the multi-lingual (English, French and Italian) set instruction booklet.

Officially, the factory produced most cars in three or four colours, each colour usually having a specific livery. The liveries were stickers, which I understand were applied by hand so it is possible that a livery may be found in conjunction with a colour for which it was not originally intended.

Various STS cars on track

It is known that some cars were produced in non-standard colours. The most obvious reason is that test shots were produced in colours that never went into production but such cars, if they exist at all, will be very rare. Apart from test shots, it is known that Nissans, Land Rovers and trailers were produced in limited quantities in non-standard colours and there is also some speculation about Pinzgauers. The origins of these cars are not clear and there are many stories about them. Some say factory staff produced them on an informal basis but there is anecdotal evidence that they were produced unofficially outside the factory using moulds acquired from the factory around the time it closed. I have been told that at the end of its operation, Exin was having difficulty paying its staff’s wages so, in compensation, handed the factory and its contents to them, retaining only the tooling. Staff then sold the contents and eventually the building, over the course of a year.

It is understood that some 1:32 cars in rare or odd colours were produced in the factory, unofficially by staff shortly after Exin ceased trading. Shortly after that, the electricity supply to the factory was cut so that option was no longer available. It is believed that the moulds for the Nissan, Land Rover and trailer bodies were lent to people outside the factory. We can only speculate why this was done. It is known that there was some sts stock at the time, probably including chassis. This stock would have had little value without bodies so this would give a motive for their manufacture at this time. Moulds for the other four vehicle types were not available; no one can explain why that was so. Perhaps the choice was influenced again by what remained in the factory. Nissans and Land Rovers may have been used because, for example, model-specific parts such as livery stickers were available for those two cars but not for the others. Such evidence as there is suggests that the moulds remained at the factory until it was sold. If this is the case, it is almost certain that all the sts moulds were then sold for scrap.

A former Exin employee told me that, apart from the other odd colours, Nissans and Land Rovers were also produced at that time in white. I believe this to be the case because all these unofficial sts Nissans and Land Rovers had white drivers. It is most likely that, had the white cars been made officially, they would have had red drivers.