STS (Super Traction System or Super Track System) was produced by the Spanish Scalextric company (Exin) from 1985 to 1989 and was based on the Paris-Dakar rally. A variety of rough sand-coloured track sections, inclines and obstacles were produced reflecting the hazards faced in the actual event. The cars had 4-wheel drive and guides on spring-loaded arms to enable them to negotiate the inclines and obstacles. This combination of track and cars was unlike any other slot car system before. Rather than simple, flat-out racing, the system posed different challenges making it great fun to play with. sts was never sold in the UK apart from a very few personal imports.
14 sets were sold varying from small, simple ovals with 8 pieces of track to a large, complex layout boasting 51 track sections. Because the scale was smaller than normal Scalextric, equivalent layouts used much less space. The largest set 2030 only occupied an area of 183 x 95 cm (6’0” x 3’2”). Various obstacles were made for the cars to negotiate ranging from simple logs, barrels and sacks pegged to the track through a ford, centre obstacle, ramp jump, elevated track and see-saw. Perhaps the most spectacular obstacle was a suspension bridge with a flexible middle section hanging in the air between both ends. This ran 138 cm (4’6”) from end to end. A variant of the chicane had plastic mountains on both sides and some larger vinyl “mountains” were also produced to support tracks above ground level. Exin really went to town to produce an interesting and enjoyable experience for their customers.
The system was launched with two cars, Jeep CJ5 and Mercedes 280 GE. Thereafter, each year until 1989 saw a new car released, Nissan Patrol, Puch Pinzgauer, Land Rover and Peugeot 205. Each car was available in a variety of colours and liveries. All the cars (except Peugeots) had hooks at the back to enable them to tow trailers – another nice touch. The cars are very low geared so that they can climb long steep inclines. Because of this they are not fast but it is still necessary to control their speed around the obstacles and tighter bends. Despite their small size the cars were well detailed and make attractive models. The range was discontinued during 1989.
I hope my words and the pictures above have stimulated your interest in sts. As its name implies, the rest of this guide has been designed as something of a reference work. It goes into great detail about all the products I have encountered as well as some that have been reported to me. As such, there’s a lot to read but it is extensively illustrated and you should find answers to most of your questions about the system. I do try to buy sts products when I can for sale so if you have any questions about sts generally or buying particular pieces please e-mail me and I will do what I can to help.
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