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Cox Lotus 40 - best slot car ever?


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#1 David Lawson

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 12:53

I spent every spare minute of my time in the summer of 1966 at the newly opened "Model Racing and Drag Centre" in Westcliff on Sea, this was the first commercial slot racing track in the country and fortunately it was only a couple of miles from my home.

Having struggled with a couple of mediocre 1/32nd scale cars I looked for a suitable car to suit the two large 8 lane tracks. Towards the end of that year the 1/24th scale Cox Lotus 40 was imported into Britain and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on one although there was the small matter of the price, it took me a couple of months to save the £3.00 (I think) but eventually I bought one from the shop counter at the Drag Centre and after a rush building job gave it its first run in January 1967.

This slot car holds such memories for me - the busy club nights at the centre were a great time for slot car racing, it was a car driven by my hero Jim Clark and Cox did such a brilliant job with the beautiful lines of the car and the great magnesium chassis and Lotus wheels.

I have no idea where my original car went but a few years ago I bought a replacement which was complete but a bit tatty. Recently I finally got around to refurbishing it as later this year we are going to hold a 1/24th scale vintage slot car race meeting at my local club and I’m really looking forward to racing it again 45 years after my first experience with one. Pure nostalgia.

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The replacement and slightly tatty Lotus 40 as bought on a well known auction website.

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The car stripped down and being prepared for a repaint, I couldn't dislodge Jim Clark from his seat due to lots of 45 year old glue setting like concrete so I had to paint everything with him in situ.

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The car with all the oxidised magnesium cleaned up, the shell repainted and with new decals which are fortunately still available.

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Has there ever been a nicer looking slot car?

David

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#2 alfortega80

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 14:14

So nice and impresive!!!! Thanks for sharing :)

cheers!

#3 T54

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 15:15

Hi David,
Lovely restoration, your work is always superb, thanks for sharing!
The Cox Lotus 40 came in two versions, either in kit form, in which you could assemble it either as a Type 30 or a Type 40, or as a ready-to-race Tyoe 40 model assembled in Hong Kong and featuring an "Ackerman" steering.
Indeed it is a very nice model, even if not that faithful to the original as far as its body shape, it misses a bit on the bulbous appearance of the real thing.
Problem is, it does not run that well on modern plastic track, because it is so top-heavy that as soon as pushed a bit, it "tilts". The only way to get that thing to corner decently at any other than crawling speed, is to affix a 1/16" brass pan underneath, that can be attached with clips so as not to damage the original in any way. There is plenty of clearance under the car to allow this. Modern Ortmann reproduction tires made of urethane compound also help immensely to regain lost grip from dried-up tires.
I am sure that you know all that, but others here able to acquire this model, made in 1966 through 1967 in the millions, should consider the above if they plan to run one. They come up all the time on eBay USA and are relatively cheap except if in pristine condition.

A very rare kit version, the "Team Modified" issue of 1967, WILL set you back about 1000 Sterling if found in pristine condition in its pristine original box. It is one of the truly rare Cox slot car kits, part of a series of four that year. They have different mechanical bits.

Some of the rarer Cox kits and RTR can be seen on the website of the Los Angeles Slot car Museum HERE.

:)

#4 David Lawson

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 16:24

Phillipe

Thanks for the information about the Lotus 40.

The slot car I bought in 1966 was the kit version and what I should have said in my post was that obviously I was being very subjective and looking through a pair of rose tinted glasses about it being the best slot car ever, Cox weren't the quickest slot cars even in their prime but I loved mine regardless. Fortunately my club runs on a wooden track so our vintage slot cars perform well with the Ortmann replacement tyres.

David

#5 JacnGille

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Posted 19 May 2012 - 00:34

:up:

#6 Alan Cox

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Posted 19 May 2012 - 08:27

Fabulous restoration, David, as ever. This was a model I always admired and yearned for, even though I had nowhere to run a 1/24th scale racer. It still stands up really well in this world of super-detailed commercial slot racers.