Re: Slot Car Craze of the 1960s

10/01/18 - posted by Jerry

The name of the slot car track near Playland was "Playland Model Raceway" or "PMR". I visited it often in the mid 1960's. I recall there were five tracks in all, plus the drag strip. The tracks included the purple (which I recall as being blue in color), the orange (my favorite), the yellow, red, and black. The purple/blue was the largest and most expensive to use at 75 cents per half hour. The cheapest was the black at 50 cents per hour. The orange was 60 cents per hour.

At times, PMR would hold unannounced races on a selected track, which were called "Wildcat Races". Those on the track at the time participated in the race. The top three winners were given ribbons and, as I recall, if you had 5 first place ribbons, you qualified for a trophy. I won such a trophy and still have it to this day, some 50+ years later. To learn more about Playland Model Raceway, check out this July 2013 article from the San Francisco Examiner: https://archives.sfexaminer.com/sanfrancisco/long-lost-playland-at-the-beach-relic-resurfaces-in-massachusetts/Content?oid=2515393

The photo shown in the article was (as I recall) from a postcard that you could pick up for free at the track. The photo shows the largest track--the purple--which, again, I recall as being blue as others recall in the article.

I also remember racing at "Edna and Jerry's" in the Castro district. The track was part of their larger toy store on 16th Street. Although I frequented the Playtand track most often, another track that I frequented was "Bill's", located several miles south of Playland near the beach and close to the San Francisco Zoo. It was a small shop with only one track. We would take the streetcar (the L Taravel line) to get there from our home in the Miraloma Park district of San Francisco.

In 1967, when I turned 17, my slot car days were over as I became more interested in the music of the day and playing guitar.

However, somewhere in my house I still have my slot car cars and equipment. All but one of the cars I built from scratch (the exception being my first--a K&B Challenger Ford GT kit), which were superior to the kits you could buy and assemble from manufacturers such as Cox, Revell, Eldon, K&B, etc.

I hope this is of interest to the participants in this discussion.

Jerry

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