The most popular slot car motor in the sixties was “made in Japan” by Mabuchi. Nowadays, racers of slot car (1/32-scale) clubs around the world favour the motors of Ninco, NSR, Sloit.it and MB.
History in brief
Slot car racing started in 1957 by Scalextric. The British company offered Japanese motors in their sets. Other companies converted model train motors into slot car motors at the pioneer days of the slot car hobby. Many companies like Mabuchi, Dynamic, Russkit and Champion and Mura created very fast motors during the golden years of slot racing. The industry collapsed at the end of the sixties. Many companies went bankrupt. Scalextric and only a few other companies survived the “roaring sixties”. In the nineties new companies entered the market. Ninco made a great introduction with the NC-1 motor in the first model, the Renault Clio. Other companies followed with great motors.
In 1947 the Japanese businessman Mabuchi invented the DC permanent magnet motor. In 1964 the company Mabuchi introduced a line of slot racing motors. The Mabuchi Corporation, which was based in Tokyo, produced two hundred fifty thousand motors per day in the mid-sixties. More than eighty per cent of the production was exported to the United States where dozens of companies used the motors for kits. The company designed more than hundred thirty types.
Ken Mabuchi was the president of the firm and his brother Takaichi was the executive vice-president at that time. The Mabuchi factory was a model of efficiency throughout and was exceptionally clean. The level of quality control was extremely high because all motors were checked. Each motor passed sixty separate checkpoints along the line.
The reporter Phil Glickman of Model Car & Track, the leading magazine about slot car racing in the sixties, visited the factory of Mabuchi in 1966. An interesting quote was published in the 1966 April issue (volume 3, number 4). “One model will retain the same physical dimensions of a motor now being manufactured, but will increase performance to a point that the driver will have no doubt which motor is best.”, according to Ken Mabuchi in MC&T.
Ninco and other brands
Many slot car manufacturers produce excellent slot car motors. Members of slot car clubs and many home racers favour the motors of Ninco, Slot.it, MB and NSR (and some others).