Whilst on a visit to Spain I was shown a scratch-built adaptation of sts, which struck me because of its remarkable similarity to the TT cars produced some years later by Exin. In 1988 a club near Barcelona, Slot San Cugat, held a "Paris Slot Dakar" event. The circuit was built with ordinary 1/32 Scalextric track but included some inclines, bumps, etc. Eduardo Casas-Alvero, a slot car enthusiast and accomplished modeller built three cars for him to race with his two sons. The cars were based on Tamiya buggy kits but used the RX4 motor to drive all 4 wheels. Eduardo's trick was to fit an sts contact arm with a standard Scalextric guide to the chassis of the buggies. The close similarities in both appearance and operation between Eduardo’s buggies and those produced in 1991 for the TT range are clear.
The use of the sts contact arm and standard Scalextric guide was ideally suited to this event. The contact arm meant the buggy could take off over a bump, which ordinary slot cars would have to slow down for. The standard Scalextric guide controlled the car around corners better than the sts guide would have done because it only pivots about its vertical axis.
Eduardo's sons came first and second scoring 24.001 and 23,987 points respectively. The third placed driver was some distance behind with 22,536 points. In 1989 the sons' positions were reversed until the front gearbox of the leading car was jammed by debris. This meant they could only finish first and fourth. That event was never run again but the buggies had one last outing in the "Open Baja 500" in 1990, a shorter race on a similar type of circuit. This time Eduardo won beating his younger son into second place. Three victories out of three races and high place positions was an impressive record and showed what could be achieved by combining this type of guide assembly with faster 1/32 scale cars.
After sts was discontinued Exin introduced the TT range in 1991. TT cars go much faster than sts cars and the Spanish quickly spotted the range's potential for an interesting form of slot racing. A number of clubs organised TT events and such races remain popular in Spain today, nearly 10 years after the line was discontinued.
But TT is another story ….
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