In the US there are several brands of HO slot cars. These brands span a wide range of price and quality. Auto World offers a wide range chassis and body types. Most of there products are based off of the older Aurora‘pancake’ motor chassis. Tomy AFX has concentrated their products on ‘in-line’ motor cars. Most all of the bodies they offer will fit Auto World and older Aurora A/FX cars. Mattel currently offers a wide-pan ‘in-line’ chassis based on the Tyco 440×2 design. It is unclear how dedicated Mattel will be long-term to electric racing.
There are three independent manufactures of HO cars in the US. They provide the high-performance end of the hobby. Scale Auto’s product line is based off of the Tomy Super G Plus platform. Slottech’s cars are a bulk-head design chassis similar to the Tyco 440×2. Wizzard’s line of cars are ‘brush-barrel’ timed like a Tyco 440 but with a one-piece chassis. Each line of cars has it’s own following. Advanced racers find that each of the three chassis designs offer certain benefits on certain types of race tracks.
I personally favor the Tomy AFX brand for anyone new to the hobby/sport. You can find these products in major retail toy and hobby shops. E-retailers and eBay sellers also offer new and new-old-stock cars. There are currently good stocks of spare parts.
The Tomy AFX Super G Plus is also a great reliable car. With a few ‘hop-up’ parts, it is very ‘forgiving’ to drive for the newcomer. The Super G Plus chassis has been re-released in a new Nylatron (grey) material (2007 on) that is excellent in quality.
A major reason Tomy AFX gets the nod for new users is because of the wide range of track sections and the excellent rail-to-rail connections. A temptation is to go out and buy the largest track set possible. But it may be better to start with something smaller. You can always add track etc later. If you find that the hobby/sport is not really to your liking then you haven’t lost that many $$$$$.
If you’re starting out from scratch, it’s a solid idea to stick to the Tomy AFX Super G Plus car. The Tomy Turbo (a ‘can motor’ car) is a fast car in a straight line, but lacks the cornering adhesion of a Super G Plus because of a weak traction magnet design. But, the Tomy SRT (Super Racing Turbo) fixes that problem with a neodymium traction magnet system.
In recent years the traction magnets used in the Super G Plus have been downgraded a bit. This results in somewhat less ‘downforce’ experienced in early versions of the car. All Super G Plus today come equipped with ‘ black ‘ traction magnets. Early versions had ‘ gray-dot ‘ traction magnets (identified by two ‘dots’ impregnated into the traction magnet) that offered higher grip levels.
For more information on Tomy AFX cars / track visit www.afxracing.com