‘Scalextric’ cars with a difference

Lovespeed's exotic slot cars

Lovespeed’s exotic slot cars

Yes, it’s a trio of 1/32 scale model cars. Yes, they’ve each got an electric motor that picks up power from a slot in a track through metal braids and a guide flag to steer it round. But this is, as you will already have noted, far from being a standard ‘Scalextric’ car – or Carrerabahn, for our German readers!

This is a long-since deleted series of models by a German company called Lovespeed. It’s a faithful reproduction of that rarest of beasts, the Porsche Typ60K10. This was intended to take part in – and win – the proposed road race between Berlin and Rome in 1940.

These sleek two-seater sports cars were built by Dr. Ferdinand Porsche and his team at Zuffenhausen from standard Volkswagen parts and some exotic extras such as larger valves and higher compression in the motor and plastic windows to save weight. The aluminium coachwork was by Reutter and proved to be more efficient than any future Porsche for several decades.

The Porsche family's wartime runabout

The Porsche family’s wartime runabout

Although the celebratory Berlin-Rome race never happened, three of the cars were built. Chassis 1 became the Porsche family runabout and was written off during the war. Chassis 2 was used as a development vehicle, but destroyed by US soldiers in the immediate post-war period. The final car survived the war and was used to develop the Porsche 356 before being sold to a private racer who won his class on the 1959 Alpine Rally with it.

If not quite as rare or valuable as the real thing, the Lovespeed models are without doubt some of the most sought-after slot cars in the world. If the baby Porsche doesn’t quite do it for you then how about the 1940 BMW 328 coupe? If you can find one, you generally need to have more than £200 to hand even for a rough example of Lovespeed’s brilliance.

Money well spent, I’m sure you agree…

Lovespeed also made the glorious BMW 328 coupe

Lovespeed also made the glorious BMW 328 coupe

Porsche’s Greatest Strength (through joy!)

It is the summer of 1937 and, in the run-up to the annual Eifelrennen on the twisting, rolling Nürburgring circuit, the Auto Union grand prix team receives a welcome visit from the man to whom they owe their very existence: Dr. Ferdinand Porsche.

Of late Porsche has been only a sporadic visitor to the team, because he is understandably preoccupied by his latest venture as managing director of the “Gesellschaft zur Vorbereitung des Deutschen Volkswagens mbH” or “Gezuvor” for short (translated as the “Company for Preparation of the German People’s Car Ltd”)

The Volkswagen – rebranded by the Nazi government investors as the KdF-Wagen as part of its ‘Strength through Joy’ economic reforms – shares much in common with the mighty Auto Union grand prix cars – not least its suspension design and rear-engined layout.

So who better to hand the latest prototype to than the racing team’s lead driver, Bernd Rosemeyer? Bernd, who has flown himself to the Nürburgring in a Bücker Jungmann trainer aircraft that he landed on the pit straight, sets out for a jaunt in Porsche’s latest marvel while Dr. Porsche looks on – what impressions the future ‘Beetle’ made upon the racing ace we can only guess!

Dr. Porsche sees his latest masterpiece head out into the unknown...

Dr. Porsche sends Rosemeyer out into the unknown…