The Strombecker Corporation had been the biggest competitor of Scalextric in the sixties. The production of Strombecker slot cars started in 1962 and ceased in the seventies.
The American Company Strombecker from Chicago, Illinois, started as a toy maker. The production of slot cars started in 1962 and ceased in the seventies. The first model of Strombecker was a modified version of the battery-powered Maserati 250F. Strombecker sold its cars in kit form and ready-to-race models. RTR models were also offered in sets. Originally the Company offered two scales, 1/24 and 1/32. The production of the 1/24-scale models was ceased in 1964 and the Company concentrated on the 1/32 home market. The models of Strombecker were the least expensive in the business in the sixties.
Strombecker knew how to inform the fans
Strombecker Table Top Topics was the first publication of the Company Strombecker to inform customers about their products. Strombecker Table Top Topics, published from 1962 to 1964, was followed by Inside Track in 1965.
Although Strombecker always advertised the system as a 1/32-scale the track was width enough for both 1/32 and 1/24-scale cars, but Strombecker offered some separate numbers for 1/24-scale straights and curves. Strombecker described the rather smooth track surface as a sandblasted surface. Made in the United States (Chicago, Illinois) from 1959, but some track sections were produced in Hong Kong and Japan.
The sections were improved five times. The first sections got brass contact strips. The inside radius of the curves had a lip molded into them in order to keep the cars from fishtailing off the track.
Strombecker From 1961 the track go aluminum contact strips, glued in place. The track got a textured track surface in 1963. The contact strips were made of tin-plated steel from 1964 and in 1966 it was changed in steel.
Testing slot cars
Consumers’ Research Inc., whose laboratories were located in Washington, New Jersey, tested in the sixties all slot racing systems.
The results were printed in the Model Racing Buyers Guide.
In 1966 the Strombecker track was judged as B Intermediate, because of the bad rails and controllers. The cars and power pack were described as fairly good.
The track system was announced in Inside Track, the official magazine of Strombecker. The figure-8 set was named “3-lane Formula Racing Set”. The straight section of the three-lane system was 2″ (5 cm) longer than the standard two-lane section. The lane spacing was 3.5″ (8.89 cm).
The three cars (equipped with 12-volt motors) that were included to the set were a front engine Indy roadster, a BRM formula car and “Rocky Russo’s” Cooper. The track was made and sold for only one year.
The Company got a Canadian owner in 1968. After the stock of Strombecker pieces were sold, the Canadian Company continued to sell Honk Kong made track sections. Three track colors followed: gray, black and the white plastic “Ski-Bob” set.
The end of Strombecker
The production ceased in the seventies. The molds were sold to Bachmann. That was the end of The Strombecker Corporation. It had been the biggest competitor of Scalextric in the sixties.