Is there a track set without batteries or winding?
December 13, 2009 11:58 AM   Subscribe

Is there a track set for Hot Wheels that doesn't require batteries or winding or special cars?

My kids have gotten really into Hot Wheels. Seems I remember having had a track set on which my brother and I used to race our normal, unmotorized cars by using some sort of lever-controlled action (meant to resemble a gear shifter?), and none of it required batteries or winding or special cars if I recall correctly. Kinda like slinging a plane from an aircraft carrier only it's a car, and is meant to stay on the track rather than fly.

I checked and found it entirely unhelpful. They have one of the trick sets but those don't loop, they just set off a series of actions. Trick tracks I am not interested in. I'm looking for something continuous, possibly with a loop. Their "starter set" is motorized, which I find disappointing.

Did I invent this memory and if not, is there nothing like that available now? It can be made by anyone if a standard diecast car will fit the track.
posted by rahnefan to Shopping (18 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You didn't invent the memory, we had miles of orangey plastic track with joiners when we were kids. A hard plastic base allowed one length of track to become a loop. Ours had a starting gate thing which you clamped to a table, pushed a button and release both cars at once. Flea market? Ebay? Goodwill store?
posted by fixedgear at 12:08 PM on December 13, 2009

Response by poster: I checked eBay but I don't know how to word the most important thing -- it needs to have some physical way to send normal diecast cars around without batteries or winding. I'm unfamiliar with the starting gate thing. But I'd like to think that there is something like this still in production, rather than paying for a collector's item.
posted by rahnefan at 12:12 PM on December 13, 2009

Yeah, that wasn't clear. It used gravity. A plastic c-clamp held the starting gate, you mounted it a few feet above the floor.
posted by fixedgear at 12:20 PM on December 13, 2009

Startng gate.
posted by fixedgear at 12:22 PM on December 13, 2009

Well, this track is gravity based

I can't quite tell, but this thing seems to be an elastic starter. I believe the item you are looking for is called a "launcher"
posted by Think_Long at 12:27 PM on December 13, 2009

Response by poster: Yeah, no...kindof like a launcher but you kept the car going on a continuous track by shifting every time your car came around. Not gravity based at all. Like this, if this isn't it.
posted by rahnefan at 12:36 PM on December 13, 2009

I guess I missed the shifter one, ours were 100% gravity powered. The next one that I recall seeing had rubber rollers that grabbed the car and flung it around again each time it came through the flinger. But that was battery powered, the rollers were always spinning.
posted by fixedgear at 12:40 PM on December 13, 2009

What was the power source of the shifter launcher thing? It would have to be elastic, right?
posted by Think_Long at 12:42 PM on December 13, 2009

Best answer: This page might help identify which of the non-electric boosters you're thinking of.
posted by hades at 1:06 PM on December 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

(Scroll down to the section which begins with the "Rod Runner", about halfway down.)
posted by hades at 1:07 PM on December 13, 2009

I know exactly what you mean and had the same (or similar) set as a kid. I remember getting whacked by it a few times and it actually hurt. I'm trying to remember what the track set was called in the hopes that I can find that somewhere online to learn the name.
posted by synecdoche at 1:09 PM on December 13, 2009

Oh, it was exactly like the "turbo trax launcher" in the link hades posted.
posted by synecdoche at 1:10 PM on December 13, 2009

Best answer: If that auction you linked to is the type you're looking for, there is a set currently (or recently, anyway) in production which works like that: Hot Wheels Race Aces Speed Shift Raceway. It's $130, though. The collector's item price is likely to be a better deal. Here's one with no bids, and a $15 starting bid. If you had the Rod Runner style, here is a dual-lane Rod Runner for under $12.
posted by hades at 1:18 PM on December 13, 2009

I think the one we had as kids was called Thundershift racers, or something like that. It was an oval with the shifter launcher thing at one turn and a highly banked curve on the other end that kept the cars from flying off the track.
posted by COD at 1:31 PM on December 13, 2009

Response by poster: Yep, it might have been the Thundershift 500. Thanks hades!

The power source is your arm, Think_Long. ;)
posted by rahnefan at 1:32 PM on December 13, 2009

Response by poster: So anybody know whether the Thunder 500 or the Race Aces tracks are compatible with newer track pieces (or can be engineered to work with them)?
posted by rahnefan at 7:25 PM on December 13, 2009

I'm pretty sure they all use the same connectors and track segments. The various single-purpose kits they're selling now might only work with other kits in the same line, but the basic track should be the same. I haven't actually played with any of the newer stuff, so I can't say for sure. The tracks my nephew was playing with a while back sure looked like the same tracks I played with in the late 70s/early 80s, though.
posted by hades at 4:28 PM on December 14, 2009

Response by poster: If anyone comes back to this thread: I found and acquired an old Thundershift 500 in not such a great state; no tracks and the shifters were sticking pretty badly. But new tracks fit it just fine, and after removing the back to inspect the springs and stuff, found they seemed fine too. I put a little vaseline on the moving parts and now it seems to work OK. Not great but OK for 35 years old. Just in case you get one and have the same problem.
posted by rahnefan at 5:40 PM on December 24, 2009

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