Tuesday, 12 January 2010

IMMORTAL: Lotus Type 49

Scalextric Lotus Type 49

From time to time, ManicSlots is going to take a look at some of the 'immortal' slot cars that have been produced since the 'Fly' revolution of 1996.

In 1996 Fly released the Viper, a slot car that would change the direction of the 1/32 slot car industry forever. Fly let us know that slot cars could actually resemble a racing car and introduced the slot car industry to the 'D' word, detail!

It may seems a little premature perhaps to categorise the Scalextric Lotus 49 as an immortal slot so soon but the 49 is a slot that has made a huge impact from the instant it was released.

The Scalextric Lotus 49 was initially released in the 'Year of Legend 1967' box set C2923A with the Eagle Gurney-Weslake V12. While the Eagle received positive reviews, it was the beautiful lines of the Lotus 49 that captured the imagination of slotters around the world.

It wasn't long after the release of the 'Year of Legends' box set that Scalextric released a very limited (by Scalextric standards, 1500) release of the 'Gold Leaf Team' Graham Hill Lotus 49 (C2964). For some reason this limited release set the slot world on fire and the slot was all but sold out before it had even been put on the shelves.

Since its release we have seen the Gold Leaf 49 resell for up to 4 times its initial purchase price. The Gold Leaf Lotus 49 was arguably the collectors ‘must have’ slot car for 2009.

The Gold Leaf Team Lotus 49 No.5 was driven by Graham Hill in the Tasman Series, Australia in 1968. Some history on the 49 from Wikipedia:

“From its introduction in 1967 the Lotus 49 was painted in Lotus's traditional British racing green with yellow centre-stripe. Over the following 16 months the design gained increasing numbers of sponsor patches and large driver name strips, while retaining the traditional base scheme. However, from the 1968 Monaco race, the 49 was painted red, cream and gold, the colours of Gold Leaf cigarettes after Chapman signed a lucrative sponsorship deal. It was the first sign of big money entering the sport."

"In testing, Graham Hill found the Lotus 49 easy to drive and responsive, but the power of the Ford engine difficult to handle at first. The V8 would give sudden bursts of power that Hill had reservations about. However, Jim Clark won its debut race at Zandvoort with ease and took another 3 wins during the season, but early unreliability with the DFV ended his championship hopes."

"It had teething problems in its first race for Graham Hill, and it had spark plug trouble at the Belgian Grand Prix, held on the 8.76 mile (14.73 kilometre) Spa-Francorchamps. Jim Clark and Graham Hill fell victim to the reliability issues at the French Grand Prix, held at the Le Mans Bugatti Circuit (a smaller circuit using only part of the track used for the Le Mans 24 Hours), and lost to Jack Brabham. Jim Clark then ran out of fuel at Monza during the Italian Grand Prix. Mechanical failures cost Lotus the championship that year, but it was felt that 1968 would be a better year after Cosworth and Lotus perfected their designs, which were clearly the way forward."

Closely follow the release of the Gold Leaf 49 was the number 7 Type 49 (C3031) driven by Graham Hill at Le Mans-Bugatti circuit in 1967. Graham Hill took Pole Position but his Lotus retired after only 14 laps due to Crown wheel and Pinion failure.

Although released less than a month ago, the Graham Hill Lotus Type 49 has proven almost as popular as the Gold Leaf Lotus and is all but sold out world wide despite being released in much greater numbers.


  • Gear ratio: 9/27
  • Magnatraction: 2.5mm button magnet
  • Downforce: 235 grams
  • Motor orientation: Inline rear wheel drive.
  • Motor: Mabuchi FF 18,000 rpm
  • Overall length: 130 mm
  • Wheelbase: 75 mm
  • Guide: Self centering blade
  • Weight: 51 grams

ManicSlot's Collectability Score: #5 Gold Leaf Mustang - Extremely High.

ManicSlot's Collectability Score: #7 Graham Hill - Very High.


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