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The American model company, Aurora Plastics Corporation first saw the Playcraft Model Motoring system on display at an English toy fair and promptly acquired the marketing rights to the Model Motoring product line for sale in the U.S.
Hobby dealers often referred to these early sets as HO scale slot cars, although they were actually still the original English 1:76 'OO' scale. In 1963 Aurora introduced the Thunderjet 500 chassis in response to customers' complaints about the difficulties they had keeping the original Vibrator cars running well. A Corvette String Ray and Jaguar XKE sportscar were added to the line, along with a front-engined Indianapolis racer and a rear-engined Grand Prix style F1 car. Replacement and Hop-Up Parts for this chassis are available in the ThunderJet section of this web site.Aurora did not fail to realize that most of their customers were buying Model Motoring sets not just for use with HO model train layouts, but as stand-alone slot car racing sets. Aurora's early success with HO slot car racing made it possible for them to expend the financial resources required to develop new and exciting products. Boy's Life Magazine was one of the most popular magazines in the 1960's and it regularly featured HO slot car racing projects using Aurora Model Motoring track and accessories.To view a reprint of the full article as it appeared in Boy's Life in November of 1966 click your mouse on the Adobe PDF link here >>> Grand Prix Raceway. Aurora's remarkable success didn't go unnoticed, and several other hobby companies attempted to get into the market. Tyco's larger 1:64 scale chassis made it possible for them to offer cars with more realistic proportions and better details, not to mention being much easier to repair. Replacement and Hop-Up Parts for this chassis are available in the G+Plus section of this web site.Aurora's G+Plus chassis development closely paralleled developments in real race car designs of the day.
Marchon, Marx, Mattel, Microscalextric, Model Motoring, Rokar, Tyco, TycoPro track sections.
The 'OO' scale was slightly larger than the popular American 'HO' gauge which was 1:87 scale. The first track system was marketed in England by Playcraft under the brand name Electric Highways Model Motoring.


Straight tracks had a dashed white 'passing' line painted along the center of each section, and curved track sections had a solid 'no passing' stripe painted down their centers to better duplicate real highways.
Aurora made no attempt to correct this discrepancy in scales, and felt that the American hobbyist would be more accepting of the American 'HO' model railroading scale designation, than the 'foreign' OO scale.
The Thunderjet 500 chassis, or just T-Jet, was designed so that the original Vibrator bodies could continue to be used with this new, faster and more maintainable chassis. The motor was attached to a small plate with idler gears ultimately driving a pinion and crown gear mounted on the rear axle. A Ferrari 250 GTO, Maserati, Ford Mustang and Cobra roadsters were made available in several colors each.Aurora's marketing shift from sedans and trucks that appealed primarily to model railroading enthusiasts, to true race cars which appealed to a much wider audience expanded the HO slot car racing market substantially.
A full line of track sections was added, making it possible to build large HO raceways with up to 8 lanes.
The most successful of these was Tyco, who in 1963 introduced its own line of 'HO' slot cars.Tyco's original cars were larger than Aurora's Thunderjets. The Tyco chassis also provided wide rear hubs and soft racing slicks that dramatically improved handling over the skinny ThunderJet rear tires. The larger chassis made it possible for Aurora to produce bodies that were just as detailed as their competitor, Tyco's offerings. It still employed the original vertically mounted motor and idler gears to transfer power to the rear wheels. The bottom of the chassis was opened up beneath the magnets and pockets were molded so that the motor magnets were now exposed and much closer to the metal power rails. Colin Chapman's Lotus F1 car designs from this same era employed revolutionary aerodynamic techniques to increase downforce, or what was often called ground-force. Many of the original slot car racers that had made Aurora so successful throughout the 1960's were now getting older.


Many of the magazines of the day featured father & son projects involving carpentry and electrical wiring of elaborate HO model raceways. As they graduated from High School and went off to college their HO slot car sets were moved to the attic, or sold at garage sales.Aurora's annual sales in 1970 were at an all-time high of $20 million dollars.
Aurora continued to produce primarily race car body styles for this new chassis.A new track system was also introduced. A Ford GT-40, Cobra GT Coupe, Porsche 904, Chaparral, Lola GT, Ferrari Dino and Ford MK-IV were all added to their catalog. Each year saw an ever larger decline in revenue.By the end of the 1970's it was evident that the slot car boom that had been so successful in the 1960's was all but over. Adapters were made available to join the original Lock & Joiner style of track with the new Snap-Lock system. Many things contributed to this decline, but it was primarily from the loss of a customer base. The white painted dividing lines were eliminated so as to make the track look more like a real race track surface.
As the baby boomers moved on to college and then started families of their own slot cars took a back seat to more pressing issues.



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