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Slot Car Bodies

Updated on May 18, 2012

For professional slot cars

In the world of commercial slot car racing, there are numerous types of classes that are raced.

But when it comes to slot car bodies, you can be sure that they are made of either hard plastic or GE Lexan.

Because commercial slot car racing is about speed

The majority of bodies available will be very lightweight Lexan. The only hard plastic bodies you will see are those out of model kits that have been adapted to fit onto custom built slot cars. You will not find these manufactured as complete cars.

The genesis of todays slot car bodies

In the mid 1960's, the first lightweight “pulled” bodies appeared. They were vacuum formed out of .020” Cellulose Acetate Butyrate and could be painted with lacquer based paints. By the 1970's, all bodies regardless of shape were being vacuum formed with the stronger Lexan.

You can find slot car body styles pulled in 5 thicknesses depending on the manufacturer. The most common is .010” followed by .007” which is used almost exclusively on the very flat and very sleek wing car bodies.

slot car bodies
slot car bodies

The entry level, semi scale slot cars you find for sale in a slot car raceway come equipped with the .010 “ thick Trans-am style or American Le mans style. Truth be told, they aren't very detailed or look much like the real car. Because they are so light however they add very little top weight to the car itself which equated to much better handling than a heavy body.

Thick bodies for certain slot cars only

Rental cars are typically used by beginners why spend their first 15 minutes hitting every wall on the track. For this reason, bodies are made especially for them out of .040” Lexan. They are truly durable. Very few bodies are pulled in .015” and .020” because it does hurt the handling of the slot car. These are usually in the style of American Le mans of sometimes NASCAR, for special races requiring everyone to use them. The slot car owner can spend time painting these very elaborately because they will last for years being thicker.

Thin bodies in race conditions, do not last more than 3 races on average. It is hard to justify putting too much effort into painting a body that won't last long. This is why you will see most bodies with unremarkable 1 or 2 color paint schemes.

The extra things for bodies

Decals for the bodies

There are many decal sheets available to match your favorite race car. The biggest selection is of NASCAR race cars as expected. These are not what come in model kits or were available in the 60's. Those decals are the water transfer type than do not last very long at all on a flexible body. Today's decals ore really stickers. They are made of mylar with very powerful adhesive. Stick them on right the first time because you probably will not get then off again.

Wing car bodies

The final slot car bodies I want to talk about are the wink bodies. They are sold as being .007” thick but they usually end up being closer to .005”. Some are even pulled in .005” but the results are very flimsy. There comes a point where you compromise aerodynamics with weight reduction. These bodies don't go right on the chassis after painting. They get “wings” taped to the sides and a plastic spoiler front and back. This is called air control. It forces and traps air over the body resulting in tremendous down force. It is this down force that allows these type slot cars to exceed 70 MPH.

To get some great insights into the history and technology of slot car racing, visit the website written by the pro who has been in slot car racing since almost the beginning.

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