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Disney Pixar CARS: Make Your Own Slot CARS

“Stig McQueen” sends along great pics and great instructions on making your own slot CARS …

“They’re not Mattel diecast bodies on slot car chassis (which would be too heavy to stay on the track and too wide to pass each other).  Rather, they’re plastic-bodied “HO”-scale (1:64 is “HO” in the slot-car world) cars that I built myself using various Aurora AFX, Tomy SG+, and AutoWorld chassis.  Best of all, they required no custom painting, no custom decals, and no custom casting at all!”

The source for the King and Chick bodies, believe it or not, was the Disney Store plastic CARS “figurine” sets, like this one:

Assembled …


The Dinoco Hauler started life as a CARS Mini.


While there is absolutely no scale fidelity at all to these, I realized that some of them looked to be about the same size as the LMQ and Doc Hudson slotcars from the Mattel battery-powered HO set.  (That set has gotten a bad rap, BTW, as the cars themselves are ordinary Tyco 440X2 chassis and will run on any HO scale slot car track, including my vintage Aurora AFX sets from the 1970s.  The only difference is that the set comes with a battery-pack power source instead of a wall-wart transformer.  In fact, never one to leave well enough alone, I replaced LMQ’s chassis with a custom racing Tyco chassis with neodymium traction magnets and added wider AFX specialty rims in the back — still need to be painted red —  and replaced Doc’s original traction magnets with aftermarket neos.  These things absolutely tear around the track!)


Anyway, there are two figurine sets; one has The King and the other has Chick Hicks; I bought one of each.  When I got them home, I confirmed that it wouldn’t be that hard to adapt at least those two bodies to existing slot car chassis.  Disassembly involved the removal of two screws that held the chassis plate onto the body.  An old AFX 4-gear specialty chassis was just the right size to fit under The King, and a Tomy SG+ chassis aligned nicely with Chick Hicks’ wheelwells.  I did have to clearance the bodies on the inside to make enough room for the slotcar chassis; unfortunately, the screw posts didn’t line up with the slotcar chassis, so I had to remove them with a hobby knife (very carefully, since I had to avoid cutting through the body or wrecking the finish).

I added a screw post to The King to attach the 4-gear chassis by gluing a short length of Plastruct tubing to the underside of the body, and shimmed the back with plastic strips to keep everything aligned (I’ve since replaced the original Aurora chassis with an AutoWorld repop featuring a faster motor and dual neodymium traction magnets).  That’s all it took!  Here’s a body-off pic:

For Chick, I took the body clip adapter that came with the SG+ chassis, cut it down to fit inside the body shell, and affixed it with a puddle of hot-melt glue.  The body snaps on and off the chassis just like a factory slot car for cleaning, service and hot-rodding.  The yellow wheels came from an old Aurora AFX chassis.


My favorite so far, though, is the Dinoco Hauler.  I noticed that the CARS Mini Adventure haulers looked to be about the same size as the old AFX Express semis from the 1970s, so I took a chance and picked one up.  I put the cab next to an old busted-up AFX Express truck, and the cabs were almost identical in size.  Once I got it apart, I found that the Dinoco Hauler cab would actually slide right over the chrome lower body of the AFX Express.  With a little careful clearancing of the body with a hobby knife and an emory board, and a little trimming of the lower body of the AFX cab, everything just slid together!  The lower body still clamps onto an AFX chassis (in this case, an Auto World repop with a neo traction magnet), and friction is sufficient to hold the Dinoco Hauler body onto the lower chassis.  The Mini trailer no longer fits, and fashioning a new one is going to involve some computer graphics and actual modeling skills, but I think I can print it out on ink-jet photo paper, fold it around the old AFX Express trailer, and have a convincing replica.  But that’s a future project.  I’m also thinking of stripping the chrome from the lower body, painting it black, and carefully transferring the “Dinoco” logo stickers from the mudflaps on the Mini to the new truck.  Here’s the disassembled hauler cab and the trashed AFX Express cab that I started with:


I’m going to try to do Mack next; I have the Mack Mini and another donor slot-truck (this time a new AutoWorld “Racing Rigs” unit; I’m fresh out of trashed vintage trucks).  Mack has a different body, so it won’t be quite so easy to slip it onto the new chassis, but I don’t think it will be too difficult.  Here’s the Mack mini and AW donor rig:

As time permits, I’m going to see if I can adapt some of the rest of the plastic DS figurines; Ramone looks to be about the right size, and Sally has possibilities…

Oh, and just so there’s no question that these are not based on Mattel diecasts, here are some comparison pix; the diecast is on the left, and the slotcar is on the right:


I just realized that I have one more slotcar that might interest the T5AD members; it’s not really CARS, but it *is* a vehicle that’s been in every Pixar film:


Yes, it’s the Pizza Planet truck!  However, I didn’t build it, and it’s not even a custom.  This was a mass-produced slotcar that was part of a “Toy Story 2” set from the late 1990s; found mine loose on eBay.  I may or may not add some eyes at some point.  (I do realize that it’s a 1990s Nissan and not a 1970s Toyota, but it’s still cool!)

Thanks “Stig McQueen!” – Great looking work and fun stuff – thanks for all the instructions and pics – anyone else brave enough to tackle this project? 🙂 Thanks!

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31 January 2010 Mattel Disney Pixar CARS 16 Comments

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