Maintenance and gear

Why everyone wants a Slot Mods 1:32-scale race track

by James Mills
5 November 2020 2 min read
Why everyone wants a Slot Mods 1:32-scale race track
Photos: Slot Mods

When it comes to bragging rights, CEOs and entrepreneurs are always on the search for the next neat thing that will impress their peers. Home cinemas with virtual reality capability, an exact copy of The American Bar at The Savoy, a dressing room with the entire colour spectrum of Manolo Blahnik heels or a mirrored turntable to display their classic cars on; all this and more contributes to oneupmanship. But for petrolheads, nothing can rival the incredible slot car racing scenes created by Slot Mods.

It’s perhaps partly why Zak Brown of McLaren, Jay Leno and racing legend Bobby Rahal all own a slot car track created by the American company – a company that would never have existed if David Beattie, its founder, hadn’t lost his job and wondered what to do with himself.

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Rahal ordered a 22-foot exact replica of his favourite track, Road America Raceway in Winsconsin. Other clients have opted for iconic circuits including Le Mans and the undulating landscape of Laguna Seca. Some prefer to have a fantasy track of their dreams. Either way, the 1:32-scale slot car tracks stand out for their intricate detail.

These may seem like toys but the cost is a far cry from the sort of set you might find on the highstreet. Prices start at £38,000 and can reach as much as £250,000, while the largest setups span 30 feet.

Slot Mods’ base-model Standard Scenic Raceway, which measures 6 x 12 feet, costs £38,000. Each is made to order and takes upto four months to complete. Custom Scenic Megatracks – limited only by space and budget –start at £60,000 and take longer still to bring to life.

Vintage slot car track by Slot Mods

Slot Mods dates to 2008, when Beattie turned to one of his childhood hobbies after being laid off from his job as a printing company manager. “Out of fear can come a lot of creativity,” Beattie told CNBC in 2017, “and you’ve got to be open to those vibes that are coming through.”

Beattie tried selling do-it-yourself slot car kits at a model shop over weekends, and although he had just one buyer, Beattie’s hard work wasn’t for naught. A Ford executive looking for something fun to do with his son saw Beattie’s cars and, later after seeing the raceway that Beattie built in his basement using 170 feet of track, commissioned one of his own tracks for £3000.

Slot Mods track Ferrari Daytona

Encouraged, Beattie began contacting car magazines to drum up publicity. Several stories about his detailed creations led to more orders – Pebble Beach officials were among the first to call – and the more tracks that Beattie built, the larger and more expensive they became. Slot Mods’ staff and work space grew too, and these days Beattie and a team of four craftspeople build about six tracks per year.

With exclusivity assured, it’s little wonder that Slot Mods finds itself in demand with those looking for something that will outshine Scalextric sets and impress their peers. The bad news? Don’t expect it to be ready in time for Christmas.

Meet the car detailer who cleaned and prepared 7000 die-cast models in one go

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  • Lanford Kelly says:

    Brings back great memories!!

  • Andy Bogus says:

    I must win the lotto

  • RLS says:

    Received my first set in 1971 as a second grader. It was a Tyco Sebring Lighted Pro racing HO set, with the Chapparel livery. I’ve been hooked ever since. Built a fully landscaped, elevated deck for our 1:32 scale, permanent 77 foot Carrera track for my sons (dad too), 15 years ago. Wired for full power with race management software and flat screen system. Speaker system for lapping sounds and crowd noise add to the enjoyment. Great hobby. Still going strong on the banks of Lake Erie here in Ohio.

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