Tri-ang Minic Motorways, was a slot car system that appeared in the 1960’s. Notably, It was deigned specifically to go with the existing Tri-ang model railway range. Consequently the vehicles were to the same 1/76 scale.
Early advertising was bizarre and unintentionally funny! See the header image. The ad. reads “Fun for all the family” while showing a car crash. This would bring today’s woke snowflakes out in a rash. Interestingly one of the later features was a kind of “logic” control that stopped the crashes.
Making the tiny motors and gears required, proved to be a challenge, but the system was durable and reasonably reliable. For example, most of the gearing was made of brass and a lot of the cars are still running sixty years later.
At the time, there were many different, incompatible and competing systems, and not all would survive.
The vehicles had a three pole motor that ran on 12V DC. This meant that they could be driven using a standard model railway controller. However they were designed to be used with pistol style speed controllers.
The pickups were mounted on a rotating head, this allowed the cars to corner properly. Additionally, Two rotating brass wheels ran in the track slot. The wheels were insulated from each other, picking up power from either side of the slot.
The first sets
The fist set was numbered M1504, the private vehicle / London set. This had an oval of track and two cars. The set also came with two pistol controllers but no transformer or battery box. However Tri-ang model railway controllers of the time, had a fixed 12v DC output as well as the variable 12v for the railway.
The range expands
Initially, the Minic Motorways range was aimed at the model railway market. There were only a few sports cars, along with buses, lorries and , oddly, a conqueror tank. As tank racing was not common the range was not appealing to the slot racing crowd.
This had wheels instead of tracks.
Combination sets were issued that included a model railway and roadway set.
Slot racing was popular and Tri-ang tried to rebrand as Minic motor racing and Minic rally racing. Sets were issued of famous race tracks.
The end of the road
By the early 1970’s The Lines Brothers LTD, owners of Tri-ang, had bought out Scalextric from Minimodels LTD, Formula 152 from Wren and several other slot car systems. With so many incompatible systems under one roof something had to give and Minic Motorways was abandoned.
Tri-ang Minic Motorways collectors guide.
The availability of Minic collectables on the second hand market is good.
Good condition boxed vehicles can be had for around £35.
Brighton toy and model museum – on Minic Motorways