That "Other" Caddy
The Scalextric Cadillac Northstar LMP
December 17, 2002
I have picked a strange name for a car that is one of the finest models in 1/32nd scale offered today. In fact, it is of my opinion that this car, when first released, upped the "standard" for all other manufacturer's to follow.
However, after the initial release of the first 2 models, this third livery appeared later, and with all the furor of other new releases, simply did not catch many peoples attention. (Reminds me of the Scalextric Opel, a fantastic car, yet "forgotten").
I am one of those that got caught up in all that madness, and it took what seemed to be forever to get my hands on one of these.
This car is just another model in a long series of releases that, at least for myself, caused me to be a "Backward Racing Fan". This is the situation where you know absolutely NOTHING of the 1:1 series prototypes, yet fell in love with MODEL and because of it, you begin to research and start following the actual series.
What is it about this car that makes it so special? Trust me, there is plenty to like. If the photos do not capture all of it, drop into your local dealer and ask to look at one for yourself. I dare you to put this car in your hands and try and walk away without it. The paint and Tampo markings are excellent, and I found no runs or "orange peel" effect from bad clear-coating. Scalextric simply showed everyone how it was supposed to be done, and they did very well.
I have heard the phrase "It looks like a Die-Cast" to compliment a slot car when the detail and quality are outstanding. I will say this: I have seen many Die-Cast models from companies that wish they could build a car that looks this good, and as scale to the 1:1 car as Scalextric accomplished here. And let's add the built-in cleaning feature to the mix as well, this one you can DRIVE!
The wheels and tires are just one of the things newcomers to our track point out first. Wonderfully detailed, complete with photo-etched brake rotors that look incredible. It is detail like this that makes a great slot car. Detail that you can see, that adds to the physical appearance and scale realism of the model, yet does not interfere with performance.
4 screws mount the front part of the body, while the rear screw holds the rear in place. The rear of the body can be removed to expose the motor and gearing without taking the front of the body off. This makes it easier for routine oiling and maintenance of the running gear, and I liked the design. The fit of this piece is done so well, looking at the model, I could not tell it was 2 separate pieces.
Scalextric employed the inline drive system with their standard motor coupled with a button magnet for down-force. Also there is another pocket for an additional, or alternately placing the included button magnet in front of the motor. On our Carrera, Artin and most recently Scalextric Sport tracks, we like to include an additional magnet in this front pocket. This really helps pin this car down, and still provides a smooth, quiet drive without too much magnet. I wished that a bar magnet was included, instead of the button configuration, but this can be accomplished if your willing to do the work. (And upcoming article is in the works).
However, for our driving tastes, this added magnet up front is all we need. Adding silicones to this car also helps it's handling, and we have tested all 3 models with both the added magnet and silicones. These 2 modifications greatly enhance the speed factor, and if the quest for more speed is your driving taste, I highly recommend these 2 additions. There is one other modification you can choose, to give you even greater cornering speed if this is not enough. Radio Shack has 2 small "Rare Earth" dot magnets (# 64-1895, 1 package contains 2 magnets) that will directly fit next to the rear button magnet pocket on the chassis. I used a small needle-nose pliers to attach these with Super Glue to the chassis bottom. This creates a wider field of down-force, and gives you a little more cushion in slide recovery. However, it doesn't provide a great deal of it, so don't think your going to see a vast increase in your lap times.
The wiring is neatly placed on the chassis, which runs up front to the guide system. A spring-loaded self-centering guide is on this car, and we have found over time that we like it. I have not found in any of my tests where the slight tension that this springs supplies has any effect on performance characteristics.
Some will argue that fact, so I'll let you draw your own conclusions. Durable brass posts mount the front wheels firmly, and although have some free-play, are a better fit than I have seen on other plastic-post designs.
Did I mention this car is lighted? Scalextric included a LED lighting system for the front, using yellow/orange LED's. This adds a great deal to the realism of this model, and if you have never tried night racing, your missing some fun, challenging racing! I like the added lights, but some racers feel they are waste. It is again all a matter of personal preference, but a lighted car just adds to the fun for our racing.
Performance is a term I hasten sometimes to use in my reviews. Everyone has their own opinion of what actually defines performance, so what defines it for US, may not be for you. However, if smooth control, crisp braking, and a quiet drive-train define performance, the Cadillac has loads of it. The first time we pulled the trigger on this model, we simply had the time of our lives racing them. Even with the button magnet, you still have a fair amount of recovery time in a spin. Driving these cars define for us what a great slot car should be: FUN. This car forces you to hone your skills a little in the cornering department, which added a satisfying challenge in our racing.
I like it when I can open the case on a slot car, place it on the track and it runs quietly and smoothly without any tuning. This is one of those cars. Too many times we have done this same thing with other brands of cars, only to hear loud squealing or the sounds of rocks in the chassis as if the gears are fighting each other. Not here...not on this model. I have a total of 4 of these models. Each of them purchased at different locations, and each and every one of them performed smoothly out of the box. Coincidence or luck? I doubt that very much.
My recommendation? If you are a 1/32nd Slot Car Enthusiast, this model is mandatory in your collection. This car set new levels of quality and detail that proves ALL cars can be made this way, and should be. Don't forget that these models are priced right at $39.95, which compared to some models that are not near this quality yet are $10 to $15 more, makes this slot car even more of a smart buy. Scalextric has the new MG Lola arriving now, and in all the excitement of this release, don't forget about these cars.
Scalextric has included the Cadillac's in their USA Exclusive T2 C1087T Le Mans Set this year as well, and many newcomers will get their first 1/32 slot car experience with these models. I can't think of very many slot cars to show them what this hobby is all about than the Cadillac.
Stop Waiting...Start Racing!
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