Carrera produced several track systems, 132 Universal was a special one.
Carrera The German company Carrera celebrated its 50s anniversary. Carrera has produced several track systems over the years. An interesting system has been the 132 Universal system. It is still popular although the production of Universal was ceased in 1984.
The beginning and the end
The first 1/32-scale system of Carrera was introduced in 1963. In 1964 the company started with the production of a 1/24-scale system. From that moment on the old 1/32-scale system was called 132 Universal. At the end of the seventies the two existing systems got competition of the Carrera Servo system. The company achieved considerable sales at the end of the seventies, but the Servo system did not full fill the expectation of the designers. Just a few years after the introduction of Servo, Carrera stopped the production. Carrera got a difficult financial period. The company survived, but the production of 132 Universal had to be stopped in 1984.
The guide system of Universal is unique. Nowadays guides of the models are made of plastic. The guide of a Universal car is made of metal. At the track you find three metal rails. One car uses the left and the middle rail and the other car uses the right and the middle rail. It is possible to turn the guide completely. For that reason it is possible to drive the car in both directions. It is also possible to use only one crossover section, because two cars can drive in the same slot.
The system was not user-friendly for carpet-drivers (people who occasionally have a racetrack in the living room on the carpet). The connection points were very fragile. It is better to put a Universal track on a table. The width of a section is 18 cm. The straight track sections are half the size of the track pieces we are using today.
The design and quality of the Carrera cars were at a higher level than the cars of other companies. The models were not real replicas of the original models, but the design of the cars was excellent. The names of the sponsors and the colors used were not accurate. It is noticeable that Carrera had a special relation with some companies. For example, you could find the logo of Aral, the oil-company, on several cars.
From the beginning the Universal system was very successful in Europe. The system is still adored by a fanatic group of enthusiasts. Most of the devotees are based in Germany, but you find them also in other countries of Europe. In 1985 the slot car shops were supplied with models and tracks of Carrera Universal for the last time. The fans of Universal have to turn to fairs and the Internet.
The models and track pieces of Carrera Universal are interesting items for collecting, but the prices of some of the models are sky-high.