When someone asks me what hobbies I enjoy, I eagerly reply with, “I race slot cars.” And most of the time the look I get back is the same as what is going through the inquirer’s mind, “What are slot cars?” As much as I’d like to think that everyone knows what a slot car is in America, they don’t. But that is a conversation for another day. After the brief explanation as to what a slot car is, I then get asked, “Why do you still play with toy cars?” This is often followed up with, “You’re an adult.” I really love people sometimes.
So with the question posed, my mind swirls with the best possible answer for the person in front of me that most likely won’t ‘get it’ no matter what I say. Although, sometimes I get the person who wants to know where to buy slot cars. While slot cars are not for everyone, here is why they bring me enjoyment.
As a kid, I grew up listening to stories of my dad and his real world experiences with theAmerican automobile. No, not slot cars, but real, life size, gasoline burning, tire smoking, cars. You see, my dad grew up in the muscle car era. Stories of big block Corvettes, Chevelles, and Impalas, along with the swift and nimble underrated 1968 Dodge Dart GTS, abounded as I grew up. Watching and helping my dad fix our family transportation also instilled in me a fondness of the automobile.
As I continued to grow, a talent in me started to develop. One that many folks call ‘artistic ability.’ I like to draw, paint, make, and design all sorts of art and art related things. As I began to understand art and all of its many facets and intricacies, I also began to look at automobiles much differently. Enter the Ford Mustang. The car that set the stage for what was to come in my appreciation of the automobile. I know, cliché right? Bear with me if you will.
As my passion for the Mustang developed, my dad would make sure that I attended a car show here and there. What did I look for? You got it, the classic Mustangs. The various body lines, the curves, the angles, the strategically placed ornaments, these weren’t just cars, they were rolling art. As I got a little older, I began looking at all cars differently. What were just cars to some, was actually a designer’s dreams and ideas as to what a particular car should look like. And that passion for design goes all the way back to the very first introduction of the automobile.
With my love of all things automotive, I still appreciated the classic Mustang, but I also began to appreciate other cars as well. When you are standing next to a 1948 Tucker, a 1963 Galaxie or Cutlass, or a 1957 Thunderbird, and look at the car, I mean really look at it, you’ll see what I mean. Look past ‘the car’ and look at each individual piece, and not only the body, but the interior and the engine compartment too. The vintage American automobile is amazing!
Just when I thought I had seen it all when it came to rolling art, enter the foreign automobile. Yes, my artistic eye and passion for cars was about to get a major rush of adrenaline. Sleek, sexy, and refined, all words I use to describe the Ferrari GTO, Jaguar XKE, and Porsche 911. Those are just a few of my favorite cars from the other side of the pond, but all are absolutely beautiful pieces of machinery. Sure, they have boots and bonnets instead of trunks and hoods, but they are still gorgeous!
So now that you know my history with cars, here is why I still play with toy cars. With time comes change, and one change is the value of cars. I remember seeing the classified ads in the back of muscle car, hot rod, and other auto related magazines as a teenager, and thought many a time how cool it would be to have enough cash to buy one of those cars. For example, a DeLorean. When I was a teen, you could buy them for a few thousand dollars. They were ‘lousy’ cars that nobody wanted. Well, except the pimply faced boys looking at them in classified ads. These days, you’d have to add a zero to that couple thousand dollars to buy one. And a classic muscle car or Porsche in just about any flavor…well, you better have some major cash tucked away.
Slot cars are small scale cousins to the real thing and can be had for a much lower price. Sometimes for fun during casual conversation, I tell folks I have several classic cars, including Mustangs, Porsches, Ferraris, and vintage race cars such as Richard Petty’s Plymouth and Dan Gurney’s Eagle Weslake. Of course, they call my bluff. I only have the Mustang, but that’s when I take the opportunity to tell them about all the wonderful makes and models of cars that are available in a smaller scale. I go on to tell them that not only can you afford these model cars but you can race them too! That, of course, leads to much more conversation than they probably were looking for, but anytime I get the opportunity to share my hobby with others, I do it.
So, now you know why I enjoy slot cars so much. Well, at least one of the reasons anyway. And in the slot car community, you’ll hear this same or similar story as well. I’ll share with you other things about the hobby that I enjoy some other time. Things that add to the pleasure of these little scale models that we affectionately call…slot cars. You can look at all the classic and modern slot cars for sale at LEBHobbies.com, the place that takes my hobby to the next level.
Jeremy ‘bibbster’ Bibbee