Micro Scalextric History - Part Two
1995: Scalextric Micro MR1 becomes Micro Scalextric
by Andy Player
Even as Scalextric Micro MR1 was being launched at the 1994 London Toy Fair, a redesign of the chassis and track system was already under way.

Hornby had picked up the MR1 system off the shelf after doing a deal with the American company Marchon. The 1994 range had been a mix of re-badged Marchon products, together with a fleet of Scalextric-designed Formula One cars, all on the MR1 chassis.

What was on offer at the 1995 Toy Fair was a new chassis, new bodies, a new track system and re-jigged brand name - Micro Scalextric.

The Micro Scalextric chassis is a true HO chassis in the sense that different body shells are made to fit to a standard chassis design. The biggest innovation in 1995 was swapping the ubiquitous solid HO pick-up shoes for braid - a change that cuts production costs and makes the car more Scalextric-like.

[pic1 - chassis]

Also gone are the chunky traction magnets of the MR1, replaced by two smaller neodymium dot magnets. Other parts, such as the Mabuchi can motor, pinion and rear axle assembly remain unchanged from the old design.

Finally, there are two slightly different configurations of chassis, as with the MR1 design. The standard 'wide' chassis has tabs sticking out that fit into a recess in most closed wheel bodies. The 'narrow' chassis - mostly for Formula One bodies - has no tabs, but small indentations into which the body sits. The only difference in width is the tabs.

[pic 2 - tabs]

Strangely, the tabs on the wide chassis are different on the Micro and MR1 chassis, so that the bodies are not interchangeable. This meant there were some exciting new bodies in the range for 1995.

[pic3 set box]

[pic4 set box]

[pic5 set box]

The five sets announced during 1995 were Super Endurance (G090) with a red Ferrari F40 and Unipart Jaguar XJ220;  Hi Loop Mega Power (G091) with two brand new Porsche 911s - different from the 1994 cars; Euro Saloons (G092) that included a yellow Mercedes and red Alfa Romeo 155; Frontera Mountain Rally (G093) with two Vauxhall Frontera 4x4s; and World Championship (G094), with updated liveries for the F1 Ferrari and Benetton.

[pic6 Fronteras]

The G094 World Championship remained the entry-level figure-of-eight set for three years. It was given different box art each year, but had the same contents. Having said that, this set is the source of one of the rarest Micro Scalextric cars - the mysterious 'green/green' Benetton variation.

[pic7 Benetton variations]

All the 1995 sets contained the new Micro Scalextric track. The main difference in the MR1 and Micro systems is the connectors, with the new style connectors being tougher and more robust.

In order that the two systems could be used together, an all-important converter piece (G113 / L7658) was produced and has only recently been dropped from the Scalextric catalogue.

Initially, Scalextric kept many of the MR1 track piece styles - with the notable exception of lane-changers - and have added others, such as the hairpin curve and lap counter, over the years.

Another 'Scalextric-isation' of the Micro range was classic Scalextric shape controllers replacing the Marchon MR1 throttles.

The first eighteen months of the Scalextric 1/64 scale range was all change. However, the chassis and track system that was introduced in 1995 has remained almost exactly the same ever since.

Over the past twenty years, a wide variety of body shells and themes have made Micro Scalextric a fascinating range for those making their first steps into slot car racing as well as for hardened HO racers and collectors. Once again, I'd like to thank Andrew Rose and Doug Passell for their help and assistance with writing this history.

A version of this article was published in the May 2014 edition of the National Scalextric Collectors Club (NSCC) Journal and is available as a free pdf download from the NSCC website.