The Old Weird Herald

Strombecker Track

by Greg Holland

Vintage Slot Racing Newsletter

Scale Racing

Photo courtesy of Hans H. Christensen - Germany

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The first issue of Strombecker's Inside Track magazine (January 1965), which replaced the original Table Top Topics, had a full page ad which listed the evolution of Strombecker track up to that time.

The first sets in 1959 used brass contact strips, which were glued in place. Apparently, there were some problems, both with conductivity, and corrosion, which led to the 1961 modification which replaced the brass with aluminum.

The 1961 track which I looked at today has a rather smooth surface, which Strombecker referred to as a "sandblasted surface". On the underside the following information was molded in: "Strombecker Road Racing, Dowst Mfg. Co, Chicago, Ill, Pat's Applied For". One of the unique features of this track is that the inside radius of the curves had a lip molded into them - possibly to try to keep the cars from fishtailing off the track. I'm not sure if the Brass strip style of track had this lip. Another advertised "improvement" for the aluminum strip track was the raised dimple in the contact portion, for improved electrical conductivity.

In 1963, there was another "improvement": the track surface was given a textured finish. No other claims were made. This was still aluminum rail, but I'm not sure if the curves still had the inner lip.

The fourth style of Strombecker track came out the following year, sometime in 1964. This was the big one: the aluminum was replaced by tin plated steel, and these strips were now staked in place from the underside of the track, rather than being glued. The inner lip of the curves was removed, and there was now a terminal section of track included in sets that had a place on the edge where you could plug in the spade connectors of the controllers - with the glued type of track, you slid these spades under the conductor, where it wrapped around the end of the track. This version of steel conductor track also has a dimple at the connection point. The underside of the sections simple say: Strombecker Corporation, Made in USA.

In 1966, the fifth style track was released. This appears to be a minor cost reduction of the 1964 version: The dimple on the connection point was eliminated. On the underside of the straights and curves was: (copyright) Strombecker Corporation, Made in USA. However, a Lane Change section (which required some hand soldering of wiring) was marked Made in Japan, and the single lane sections of the Over/ Under or Monza Split was made in Hong Kong.

Judging by a piece of Bachmann track I have which is identical to the 1966 Strombecker, (Bachmann bought the Strombecker molds when Strombecker finally folded), that was the final configuration of track.

Two more potential versions of track may exist. Right from the beginning, Strombecker always touted that it's track was wide enough for both 1/32 and 1/24 cars, but always advertised it as 1/32 track. A 1967 set booklet lists separate numbers for 1/24 scale straights, curves and a Monza wall.

The real interesting story is of the 3 lane track. A while back, there was some discussion of this on the 1/32 slots DL. I remember trying to find some printed reference to this stuff, but wasn't successful. While researching this article, I can across issue #4 of Inside Track (July/August 1965) , and there was a picture of a 3 lane Figure-8 set!!!! Supposedly, 250 of these sets were to be given away as prizes in a "Phantom Formula Racer" contest, with details to follow in the next issue. Since I don't have that issue, or even know for sure that it was ever published, I have no idea if it ever came to pass. As I recall, the previous discussions yielded the fact that one of our DL participants remembered seeing one of these tracks on display for a brief time, in the window of a San Francisco Hobby shop he used to frequent as a young lad.

However, no where in my extensive collection (i.e. pile of stuff) is there any indication these were ever sold, either as complete sets or as separate pieces. My suspicion is that these were announced as prizes, and a small run made, but that the decision was made to cancel the commercial release.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention that there was also Strombecker track molded in white plastic for the "Ski-Bob" set, released when Strombecker was owned by a Canadian firm (sometime after 1968). However, I haven't found any literature that would indicate that these section were sold separately.

If anyone has additional information or corrections, please let me know. There was a 2 part series in VSRN back in 1990 that covered motors, cars & chassis. Back issues are still available.

 

Greg Holland

Vintage Slot Racing Newsletter

Mailboxsend email to: vsrn@juno.com


Strombecker Track List


1959-60: Brass Contact strips. Part Numbers Unknown.

1961: Aluminum contact strips, glued in place, w/ dimple at contact point. Smooth track surface. Curve had raised lip on inner radius.

Part #

Description

9200

4 Lane Curve (2 per standard curve section)

9250

Obstacle Strip (Chicane)

9300

30 Deg Curved Track

9350

12" Straight Track.


1962: Aluminum contact strips.

Part #

Description

9175

Curved Road Shoulder (Inner & Outer)

9180

Straight Road Shoulder

9185

30 Deg Add On Curved Track (4 Lane Outer, 2 per standard curve)

9190

Curved Track

9195

12" Straight Track

9730

Overhead Lap Counter (No Track Section)


1963: Aluminum contact strips. New textured track surface.

Same Part Numbers as 1962 plus:

Part #

Description

9298

Hump with Bridge

9388

Lane Changing Track

9695

Lap Counter with Track


1964: New Tin-Plated Steel Contact Strips which are an upside-down "U" shape, which go down through the track, and are staked from underneath. Dimple at contact point. Textured track surface. No inner lip on standard curves.

Same Part Numbers as 1963 plus:

Part #

Description

9115

Half Straight

9116

Half Curve

9230

Lemans Start (90 Deg to Straight)

9292

Jump Track


1965: 3 Lane Track Set Shown in Inside Track Magazine, as contest prizes.

No part numbers known.

Same part Numbers as 1964 plus:

Part #

Description

9275

Mechanical Lap Counter (Straight with dial counter on each side)


1966: Steel Strips- no dimple on contact area.

Part #

Description

9115

Half Straight

9116

Half Curve

9175

Curved Road Shoulder (Inner & Outer)

9180

Straight Road Shoulder

9185

30 Deg Add On Curved Track (4 Lane Outer, 2 per standard curve)

9200

Single File Straight Track (Parallel Chicane)

9205

Single File Curved Track

9210

Converging Track (Standard to Single File)

9220

Over/Under Track w/ Lane Changer (Single Lane Track)

9230

Lemans Start (Slanted 60 Deg to Straight)

9250

Chicane Obstacle Track (Converging Chicane)

9265

Starting Track w/ Plug-In Terminals

9275

Mechanical Lap Counter (Straight with dial counter on each side)

9292

Jump Track w/ Pond

9298

Hump Track w/ Bridge

9320

Curved Track w/ Fence

9350

Straight Track

9388

Lane Changing Track

9735

Electrical Lap Counter (No Track Section)


1967: Same as 1966

EXCEPT: The following were renumbered

9201

Half Straight

9202

Half Curve

9203

30 Deg Add-On Curve (2 per standard inner curve, so it's not 30 Deg !!)

NEW:

9135

Single Lane Straight Track

9255

Hill Climb (Pair of 6" High Humps, that need a Std Straight in between)

9715

Monza Split Track (Single Lane)

9720

Monza Curved Wall

1/24 SCALE:

6301

Straight

6302

Curved

6304

Monza Wall

NOTES: 1/32 Monza Wall also has "Diverging" transition straights which lead out to wider lane spacing in the banked turn, which is probably the same as the 1/24 scale version.


1968: Reduced Selection of Track

9220

Over/Under Track w/ Lane Changer (Single Lane Track)

9230

Lemans Start (Slanted 60 Deg to Straight)

9265

Starting Track w/ Plug-In Terminals

9320

Curved Track w/ Fence

9350

Straight Track

9388

Lane Changing Track

9715

Monza Split Track (Single Lane)

9720

Monza Curved Wall

New or Renumbered:

9221

Half Curve and Half Straight ( 2 of each)

9725

Mechanical Lap Counter (Straight w/ dial on each side)

1/24 Scale:

6301

Straight

6302

Curved


1969 or 70 ????? Strombecker now Canadian Owned

Same as 1968 EXCEPT:

9250

Chicane Obstacle Track (Old number added to list)

9723

Monza Wall (No Diverging Transitions)

9291

Starting Track w/ 2 Plug-in Controllers (Different Track from 9265)

9292

Jump Track w/ Pond (Old # added to list)

NOTES: Ski-Bob snowmobile set #9903 had track molded in white plastic.

I haven't found any indication that this track was sold separately.


1973(?)+ Canadian Owned

Except for 109800 and 109801, which appeared to be new at this time, all other pieces were numbered the same as before, except for the 10 added to the front!

109135

Single Lane Straight Track

109203

30 Deg Add-On Curve

109220

Over/Under Track w/ Lane Changer (Single Lane Track)

109250

Chicane Obstacle Track (Old number added to list)

109265

Starting Track w/ Plug-In Terminals

109320

Curved Track w/ Fence

109350

Straight Track

109388

Lane Changing Track

109723

Monza Wall (No Diverging Transitions)

109800

Electric Starting Tower

109801

Lap Counter (new style, dials in track section)

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The Above article apears courtesy of AmBrit Glyn Newsletter, where it appears in the Feb. 98 issue.

AmBrit Glyn Newsletter is a monthly newsletter dedicated to the preservation of SCALE MODEL CAR SLOT CAR RACING, with it's primary focus on 1/32nd and 1/24th scales. It has been in publication for four years, starting off as a quarterly nsl and later going to nine issues a year when Vintage Slot car Racing News announced it was ceasing publication at issue #100. AmBrit Glyn Newsletter now publishes 10 issues a year from August through May. In 1999 it will expand to 11 issues and hopefully more pages.

Editor/Publisher, Tom Moye says of the publication, "We feel that we fill the void left where both of the other American slot car publications primarily focus on commercial slot car racing. We also support mail order for the racer/builder/collector who does not have a local hobby shop or commercial shop to buy parts and cars. We are also on the look out for new cottage industries to support the hobby/sport of slot racing. While many slot racers are computer wise today there are just as many who do not own a computer and some who will never own one. We hope to serve both the web head and the non-web head.

While we cover much of the same materials there are differences too. Besides it's nice to have your information already pre-packaged for you as a hardcopy. The more we spread the word about scale building and racing the stronger the hobby/sport becomes. Which in turn means that the American companies may just sit up and take notice of us."

Subscriptions to AmBrit Glyn Newsletter are: $18.00 US; $24.00 CANADA; and $30.00 for Europe and the Pacific rim. All funds must be in U.S. currency.

Checks payable to:

Tom R. Moye @ 244 Memorial Drive, Barnesville, GA 30204-1924

GOOD RACIN'

Tom Moye, Editor

AmBrit Glyn Newsletter

ambrit1@juno.com

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