The History of the Slot Car
In 1939 Bentram "Fred" Francis
1939 started a tool-making company, which ran twenty-four hours a day throughout the war years. Two years after the armistice he turned to a gentler cliental following a childhood ambition to become a toy-maker, and founded Minimodels Ltd which, among other toys, produced Scalex and Startex clockwork cars. What separated his Scalex cars from the competition was that a hidden fifth wheel discarded with the need for a key. By 1952 demand for Minimodels toys was so great that in order to expand the company relocated to a new, purpose-built factory at Havant in Hampshire but as often happens with toys the public soon was demanding something new. At a London toy fair Francis saw a display featuring battery-powered cars running around a track, but without user control. As a true toy man he new straight away what was missing, real 'play value'. After 6 months of investigation and seeing the giddy reactions of his marketing people as they tried to control the now electric-powered Scalex cars - renamed Scalextric convinced Francis that he was onto a winner.