PowertrackNEWS         Jan 2017

2017 Date for diary!

 13/14 May 2017. National Slot car Exhibition/slot car festival where we will have a powertrack stand/display.  Message me if you are going. Thanks. Andy
Link:
http://thorl.weebly.com/schedule-201617-season.html
It shows map etc. I think some will be travelling from great distance!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/matchboxpowertrack/

FOUND : Ex Lesney Factory, Rochford....Lanechanger and spares.  Also later type race and chase controllers with black switch. Found in a PP2000 set

 

Tyres:
Currently working on tyres, need to have a good soft grade silcon tube in black. Looking at getting Front tyres (2 sizes) and rear tyres made.

 

The 18v collection
The 18v collection

Powertrack - The Story

Introduced in late 1977,  

 

Powertrack (UK and Europe), Speedtrack (US), Speedracing (Japan),  and Lanechanger are brand names for Matchbox's toy slot cars sets. Introduced in the late 1970s, Powertrack and Speedtrack differed from other slot car sets because the cars be seen in the dark as the cars had headlights. Matchbox's H0/00 (approx. 1/64) cars were smaller than Scalextric 1/32-scale cars.

 

First range of sets 1000, 2000, 3000 and 4000. Later the Race and Chase and 8000

In the UK, Powertrack was a more affordable product than Scalextric and traded heavily on the Matchbox brand. With the smaller size, the layouts could be quite complex yet still fit in the typical 8×4 ft board size. Additionally, it did not sit out of place with H0/00 railway sets and Matchbox's own 75 die-cast range. Coupled with very dynamic exciting packaging, the Powertrack product was a brilliant gift for a child of the late 1970s and early 1980s. Peter Kay commented in his autobiography “The Sound of Laughter” that the Race 'N' Chase set he received for Christmas in the late 1970s was the best Christmas present ever.

At the same time as the Uk introduction of Powertrack, over in USA similar US sets with the Matchbox Speedtrack brand were released. 150, 200, 300, 1000. etc Details of these sets are found in 'the sets' section.

The later 12/18v cars and sets with bigger features were introduction in 1982, as more modernised cars and track with crossovers, a jump and even a loop the loop set.  Matchbox still had sets which were very competitive in price as well as include many features that buys craved.

 

Later with PowerTrack Plus.... 

The rarity of several 12/18v cars is alledged to be due to a factory fire at the DAPOL warehouse.....'In 1994, while the company was moving to its previous location at Llangollen in North Wales, a huge fire destroyed the old site at Winsford in Cheshire, and large quantities of products and historical Wrenn material were destroyed.'  Those 'products' may have included a vast storage of the above cars pre-distribution. It is beleived that only some stocks were released with these cars, in Powertrack Plus, PROOPS and Counterlane sets.

No longer in production, cars and sets can be purchased via eBAY with some rarer cars and sets commanding keen prices, like the red Saab 900 Turbo, yellow VW Scirocco, white Fiat, red Corvette and the gold livery Ford Escort. The rarer cars tended to be those separately only and not part of a set. Many of the cars for sale today come with poor quality tyres, leaving the cars with no grip. The lack of grip results in the cars just wheel spinning without any forward movement. However, there are replacements available and it is still possible to buy brand new cars in sealed cartons, if you can find them.

The sets to look out for are the 'Copter Chase', rare PP2000, Race and Chase 2. Plus Counterlane.

With the collapse of Lesney/Matchbox in the early eighties, the last official year of production around 1982. Various attempts to buy the Lesney stock and continue selling the products were tried but subsequently died out. Most notably, Proops Brothers, of Tottenham Court Road, London packaged together sets in plain boxes and sold existing sets with all sorts of car combinations. Latterly, several vehicles appear from time to time rebranded as Counterlane but these too were short lived. Counterlane sets and boxed cars can be found but they are rare. They used PT and PP based sets in an attempt to move ageing stocks.

 

Details of sets can be found in 'the sets' section


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© Andy Hooper