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Note: this article concerns slot car racing competition. For information on the general slot car hobby, including more detailed coverage of history, scales, track-types and mechanical functioning, see slot car.
Modern commercially made slot cars and track. Slot cars are usually models of actual automobiles, though some have bodies purpose-designed for miniature racing.
Slot car racing ranges from casual get-togethers at home tracks, using whatever cars the host makes available, to very serious competitions in which contestants painstakingly build or modify their own cars for maximum performance and compete in a series of races culminating in a national championship. Some hobbyists, much as in model railroading, build elaborate tracks, sculpted to have the appearance of a real-life racecourse, including miniature buildings, trees and people, while the more purely competitive racers often prefer a track unobstructed by scenery. 500 million annually, including 3,000 public courses in the United States alone.
The fad sputtered out by the start of the 1970s as amateurs felt squeezed out at races and stayed home in additions to competitions against the radio-controlled car market. A vintage Aurora HO slot car, the AMC Matador stocker, approx. 24, cars are the largest slot cars commonly raced. 1:24 cars require a course so relatively large as to be impractical for many home enthusiasts, so most serious 1:24 racing is done at commercial or club tracks.
32, cars are smaller and more suited to home-sized race courses but they are also widely raced on commercial tracks, in hobby shops or in clubs. HO scale, a generalized size, originally 1:76-1:87, now usually closer to 1:64 scale.