Powertrack (UK) and Speedtrack (US) are brandnames for Matchbox's foray into toy slot cars. Introduced in the late 1970s Powertrack/Speedtrack featured cars that could be seen in the dark as the cars had headlights. Matchbox's H0/00 (approx. 1/64th) cars were smaller than Scalextric 1/32 scale cars.
In the UK, Powertrack was a more affordable product than Scalextric and traded heavily on the Matchbox brand. With the smaller size the layouts could be quite complex yet still fit in the typical 8' x 4' board size. Additionally, it did not sit out of place with H0/00 railway sets and Matchbox's own 75 die cast range. Coupled with very dynamic packaging, the Powertrack Product was a big turn on for a child of the late 1970s and early 1980s. Peter Kay commented in his autobiography The Sound of Laughter that the Race 'N' Chase set he received for Christmas in the late 1970s was the best Christmas present... ever.
With the collapse of Lesney/Matchbox in the early eighties, the last official year of production appears to be 1982. Various attempts to buy the Lesney stock and continue selling the products were tried but subsequently died out. Most notably, Proops Brothers, of Tottenham Court Road, London packaged together sets in plain boxes and sold existing sets with all sorts of car combinations. Latterly, several vehicles appear from time to time rebranded as 'Counterlane' but these too were short lived.
The sets either came with a 6V or 12V Power Unit. The 12V cars are extremely quick due to the size and weight and handle very well with the aid of a magnet on the underside.
No longer in production, cars and sets can be purchased via eBAY with some rarer cars commanding keen prices, like the Saab 900 Turbo and the yellow livery Ford Escort.[disambiguation needed ] Sadly many of the cars for sale come with poor quality tyres, leaving the cars with no grip. The lack of grip results in the cars just wheel spinning without any forward movement. However, there are replacements available and it is still possible to buy brand new cars in sealed cartons.
Powertrack sets came in different sets featuring different cars and track type.
In the UK this consisted of:
- Powertrack PT-1000 - Grand Prix (Launched 1978)
Set comprised: 1 x McLaren F1, 1 x Ferrari F1, 8 x 90 degree 9" Curve, 1 x 9" 6V Track Terminal, 1 x 9" Straight, 2 x 6" Straight. 6V 'Grandstand' Battery Box and 2 x Hand Controllers. 8 Crash Barriers, Sticker Sheet & Bridge supports.
Factoid: This is Powertrack's only UK Battery powered set. The cars do not have headlights. RRP in 1979: £14.99.
- Powertrack PT-2000 - Monza (Launched 1978)
Set comprised: 1 x Porsche 911, 1 x Chevrolet Corvette, 8 x 90 degree 9" Curve, 1 x 9" 6V Track Terminal, 1 x 9" Straight, 2 x 6" Straight. 6V Mains Transformer and 2 x Hand Controllers. 8 Crash Barriers, Sticker Sheet & Bridge supports.
Factoid: One of the most popular sets Powertrack produced with 2 of the most ubiquitous cars. RRP in 1979: £19.99.
- Powertrack PT-3000 - Super Sport (Launched 1978)
Set comprised: 1 x Jaguar XJ Series, 1 x BMW 320i, 9 x 90 degree 9" Curve, 2 x 45 degree 9" Curve, 1 x 9" 6V Track Terminal, 5 x 9" Straight, 2 x 6" Straight. 6V Mains Transformer and 2 x Hand Controllers. 12 Crash Barriers, Sticker Sheets & Bridge supports.
Factoid: Quite an expensive set when released that put it in direct competition with Scalextric. RRP in 1979: £29-99.
- Powertrack PT-4000 - Le Mans Set (Launched 1978)
Set comprised: 1 x Porsche 936, 1 x Renault Alpine, 11 x 90 degree 9" Curve, 1 x 9" 6V Track Terminal, 2 x 45 degree 9" Curve, 11 x 9" Straight, 2 x 6" Straight. 6V Mains Transformer and 2 x Hand Controllers. 12 Crash Barriers, Sticker Sheet & Bridge supports.
Factoid: A premium product but at the time the track layouts supplied eclipsed most rivals. RRP in 1979: £39-99.
- Powertrack PT-5000 - Indianapolis (28 ft) (Launched 1981)
Set comprised: 1 x Triumph TR7, 1 x BMW 320i, 8 x 90 degree 9" Curve, 1 x 9" 6V Track Terminal, 2 x 45 degree 9" Curve, 3 x 9" Straight, 2 x 6" Straight, 1 x Banked Curve (with supports). 6V Mains Transformer and 2 x Hand Controllers. 12 Crash Barriers, Sticker Sheet & Bridge supports.
Factoid: This is one of only 3 sets launched in the UK after the original Powertrack launch of 1978. (The others were Race & Chase & PT-8000). RRP was £34.99.
- Powertrack PT-6000 - Race and Chase (American Cop Car) (Launched 1979)
Set comprised: 1 x Police Car, 1 x Corvette Stingray, 6 x 90 degree 9" Curve, 1 x 9" 6V R&C Track Terminal, 1 x Tip Bridge 9", 2 x 9" Straight, 4 x 15" Straight, 6 x Aprons, 4 x LH End Pieces, 2 x RH End Pieces. 6V Mains Transformer and 2 x Hand Controllers. 4 Crash Barriers, Sticker Sheet & Bridge supports.
Factoid: Far and away the biggest selling Set in the UK. Stole a march on any other slot racing system and even Scalextric were slow to catch up. UK RRP in 1979: £29-99.
- Powertrack PT-6100 - Race and Chase (German Porsche Police Car) (Launched 1979)
Set comprised: 1 x Porsche Police Car, 1 x BMW 320i, 6 x 90 degree 9" Curve, 1 x 9" 6V R&C Track Terminal, 2 x Straight 9", 1 x Tip Bridge 9", 2 x Crossovers 15", 2 x 15" Straight, 6 x Aprons, 4 x LH End Pieces, 2 x RH End Pieces. 6V Mains Transformer and 2 x Hand Controllers. 4 Crash Barriers, Sticker Sheet & Bridge supports.
Factoid: This is the only Powertrack/Speedtrack/Powertrack Plus set released that included 15" Crossover Tracks. This set was not launched in the UK. The Box artwork is in German but this product may have also been distributed widely across Western Europe.
- Powertrack PT-8000 - This set featured 4 lane racing (Launched 1981)
Set comprised: 1 x Porsche 911, 1 x Triumph TR7, 1 x Fiat Abarth, 1 x VW Scirocco, 16 x 90 degree 9" Curve, 16 x 45 degree Curve 12", 4 x 45 degree 9" Curve, 2 x 9" 6V 4 Lane Track Terminals, 6 x 9" Straight, 4 x 15" Straight, 4 x 6" Straight, . 6V Mains Transformer and 4 x Hand Controllers. 16 Crash Barriers, Sticker Sheet & Bridge supports.
Factoid: The ultimate Powertrack set still fetches good money on E-bay. Although prohibitively expensive for a slot racing set, it undercut Scalextric's 4 lane set by nearly £40. This is the only Powertrack set worldwide that employed 12" outer curves to enable 4 lane corners.
The cars listed are those that appear on the box artwork and are generally proven to be sold with the set. However, Matchbox often replaced at least one car depending on immediate stock levels. The blue Porsche 911, dark blue Fiat Abarth, yellow Escort, red Escort and red & White Scirocco are all known to be substitute cars. The car most often replaced appears to be the Gold Scirocco.
UK RRP in 1981: £79.99.
This set was also branded as Silverstone 8000
Powertrack Plus Sets
In 1982, Matchbox unveiled Powertrack Plus in the UK. The cars were operated from 12V and were much faster. A magnet on the underside of the 'gearbox' increased grip to the track and the higher voltage was more tolerant of larger track layouts.
Powertrack Plus sets had upgraded transformers, hand controllers and track terminals which featured different connectors that were not compatible with the 6V systems. Curiously, the 12V terminal had no facility for powering the lap counter though. All other track remained the same stock parts but were repacked with Powertrack Plus branding.
A number of new parts were created for Powertrack Plus. A Chicane 'loop the loop' and 'self supporting' banked curve featured in the PP-9000 set, while crossover tracks and a crossover 'flying jump' were included in the PP-3000.
Aside from magnets the cars also had wider pickups on the underside. They also had torquier motors and a different pinion gear and crown wheel. Essentially, every Powertrack Plus car was a revamped Powertrack car body shell with the new Chassis.
It is worth noting however that the 'Super Boss' and 'Bandag Bandit' were only ever launched in the UK in 12V form.
- Powertrack PP-2000
Set comprised: 1 x Jaguar XJ Series, 1 x BMW 320i, 6 x 90 degree 9" Curve, 1 x 9" 12V Track Terminal, 1 x 9" Straight, 2 x 15" Straight. 12V Mains Transformer and 2 x Hand Controllers. 6 Crash Barriers, Sticker Sheet & Bridge supports.
Factoid: Introduction to 12V racing. RRP in 1982: £24.99.
- Powertrack PP-3000
Set comprised: 1 x Renault Elf, 1 x Porsche 936, 10 x 90 degree 9" Curve, 1 x 9" 12V Track Terminal, 1 x 6" Straight, 1 x 24" Flying Jump, 1 x 9" Crossover. 12V Mains Transformer and 2 x Hand Controllers. 8 Crash Barriers, Sticker Sheet & Bridge supports.
Factoid: The only UK set to include the 9" Crossover track. The black & white markings on the Flying Jump and Crossover track were spray painted on and not stickers. RRP in 1982: £34.99.
- Powertrack PP-4000
No official details uncovered so far. However, it is referenced in the Powertrack Plus Instruction Manual of 1982. This is likely to have been a Race & Chase set with the Police car and most likely the Silver Chevrolet Corvette (in lieu of the Corvette Stingray). The basis for this comes from the Catalogue number assigned to these cars relative to the other Powertrack Plus cars. Tantalisingly, the track layout may well have been based on the US Copter Chase set, introducing both the Cross Road and Turn Off tracks to the UK. Those items were first referenced in the UK at the same time.
Factoid: There are 2 versions of the 12V Hand controller. One has a Race & Chase style button to reverse the current direction, the other has no such button. Evidence indeed that Matchbox were well under way with launching this set.
It is possible this set was due for release just when Matchbox 'hit the wall' - any further information welcome.
- Powertrack PP-6000
This is better known as Race and Chase 2.
- Powertrack PP-9000
Set comprised: 1 x Triumph TR7, 1 x Porsche 911, 8 x 90 degree 9" Curve, 1 x 9" 12V Track Terminal, 4 x Straight 9", 1 x Straight 6", 1 x 15" Loop the Loop, 4 x 45 Degree Bank Curve 9", 4 x Straight 15", 12V Mains Transformer and 2 x Hand Controllers. 8 Crash Barriers, Sticker Sheet & Bridge supports.
Factoid: The only UK set to include the Loop. The Loop was painted red on the exterior. The loop was also a chicane and was a very cool addition to the range. The Banked Curve supplied with this set was a 'Self Supporting' type made of 4 x 45 degree sections. It did not need the sculptured entry & exit tracks or additional support of PT-208. RRP in 1982: £59.99.
(This contributor had this set in 1982 and it rocked!)
Released in the USA at virtually the same time as Powertrack in UK. All these items were 6 Volt and curiously did not feature the stunning box art work of the European products. They also did not include the vac-formed plastic liner to house all the parts. Instead, parts were bagged and packaged loose in similar size cartons. However, in terms of content they were excellent value for money - possibly because of the competition from rival H0/00 sets from AFX & Tyco.
In the US, the following Speedtrack sets were available from 1978:
- Grand Prix 150
- Trenton 150 This set was advertised in the Matchbox 1978 catalogue. The set featured two cars, a battery box and White hand controllers.
- Monza 200 (Set No 14-3621)
- Le Mans 300
- International 1000 This set was advertised in the Matchbox 1978 catalogue. The set featured two Pinto cars, a battery box and White hand controllers.
- Hulks Race
- Spider-Man Race & Chase
- Copter Chase
- Race & Chase
By 1981, the name 'Speedtrack' has been dropped in favour of 'Powertrack'. The following sets had been added for the US that were similar to UK 'Powertrack Plus' sets but lacked the 12V system. Curiously, though cars were provided with slim (6v) pick ups they incorporated the magnets and gearboxes of UK 12V Cars. This 'hybrid' was denoted as a 'Positraction' car and advertised as compatible with other H0/00 slot racing systems, most notably 'AFX' & 'Tyco'.
There are inconsistencies with this information, not least because to date no US magnet car has appeared on E-bay and the ubiquitous Porsche 911 & VW Scirocco supplied in 3 of the sets have not surfaced either. It is possible that Matchbox cut back its operations in the US and just supplied the Slipstream, Tyrone Daredevil and Race 'N' Chase sets, the cars supplied all being non Positraction cars.
The cars supplied with these sets were catalogued at the same time as 'Positraction' cars but have all surfaced on E-bay. The firm conclusion is Matchbox never got round to introducing 'Positraction' to the US.
- Slipstream Racing 14-36-80
This set consisted of Three Cars racing the cars in the set were Martini Porsche Pacer car, Yellow Jaguar and the Red BMW 3.0CSL Orange Jägermeister Livery.
- Tyrone Malone's Daredevil Race N Chase (13.5 Ft of Track)
- Jump Cross Championship
- Pro 8 Challenge
- World Class Racing
No Pre productions photos have been unearthed on eBay. Interestingly, the PP-9000 was launched 1 year later in the UK and featured an extended version of this layout. Is this evidence that Matchbox had begun reducing their US involvement during 1981/82?
Race 'N' Chase Sets
- Race and Chase - This set featured a Bandit car and an American police car. The unique feature of this set was that the cars could u-turn, and jump using a tilting bridge.
- Race and Chase 2 - This set featured a Bandit car (Silver Corvette) and an American police car. The unique feature of this set was that the cars could u-turn, and jump using a tilting bridge. This set differed from the previous race and chase set as this was a PowerTrack Plus PP6600 was 4.2m or 14 ft in length, the track also featured some sort of dead end section.
- Race and Chase - This set featured American Racing trucks and featured Tyrone Malone on the box. The unique feature of this set was that the cars could u-turn, and jump using a tilting bridge. This did not appear until 1981
- Copter Chase - This set incorporated both the 'Flat Intersection' and the LH & RH Switch track sections. The only set to do so worldwide. It featured the regular US cop car chasing a Black Chevy van and a Helicopter, which ran along on a conventional chassis disguised as a black plinth. The contents of this set are so unique and quite rare that it may command a premium over every other Powertrack/Powertrack Plus & Speedtrack set.
- Spider-Man Race and Chase - This set featured 12.5 feet (3.8 m) of track a Spider-Man car and a Black Villain van. Released in 1979 it was one of only 2 sets to ever feature the Cross road section.
- Hulk's Race - This was a basic set featuring a cardboard city scape and a 6V battery box. It featured the Incredible Hulk's van and Escort vehicles.
Car Paintjob Part No Voltage lights Magnet Number on Car Featured in Sets Image F1 Ferrari Red Goodyear Modelled on a car driven by Clay Regazzoni in 1976 PT-101 6V No No 2 PT-1000 (UK) F1 McLaren Red Marlboro Modelled on a car driven by James Hunt in 1977 PT-102 6V No No 1 PT-1000 (UK) Porsche 911 Green with Valiant and Kremer livery: Gold and orange flashes. PT-103 6V Yes No 5 PT-2000 Monza (UK) PT-8000 (UK) Chevrolet Corvette White with red and blue stripes flashes PT-114 6V Yes No 4 PT-2000 Monza (UK) BMW 3.0CSL Orange Jägermeister Livery PT-105 6V Yes No 54 PT-3000 (UK) & PT5000 (UK) BMW 3.0CSL Orange Top bonnet and Spoiler with yellow side panels and doors. PT-105 Yes No 4 Jaguar XJ Series II White with blue and red stripes (Part of British Leyland cars) PT-106 6V Yes No 1 PT-3000 (UK) Porsche 936 White with Martini written on wings and spoiler plus a red helmeted driver PT-108 6V Yes No 20 PT-4000 Le Mans (UK) Renault Alpine Number 5 Yellow with black stripe, number 5 WITHOUT AIRBOX PT-107 6V Yes No 5 PT-4000 Le Mans (UK) Renault Alpine Number 11 Yellow with black stripe, number 11 N/A 6V Yes No 11 PT-4000 (UK & Europe) Chevrolet Corvette Stingray White with Yellow stripes PT-114 6V Yes No No Race & Chase PT-6000 (UK) Police Car Chevrolet Blue & White - Police on sides and boot/trunk PT-113 6V Roof Light No N/A Race & Chase PT-6000 (UK) Fiat Abarth 131 Light Blue with yellow roof and yellow wheel arches PT-112 6V Yes No 23 PT-8000 (UK) Fiat Abarth 131 Dark Blue PT-112 6V Yes No 23 Some PT-8000 Triumph TR7 Silver with red quarter light and bumpers Triumph logo on bonnet PT-111 6V Yes No 50 PT-8000 (UK) Triumph TR7 Silver with Black quarter light and bumpers PT-111 6V Yes No 50 PT-5000 (UK) VW Scirocco Gold PT-110 6V Yes No 43 PT-8000 (UK) VW Scirocco Red & White PT-110 6V Yes No 22 Some PT-8000 (UK) Ford Escort MK II Red and black striping around side PT-109 6V Yes No 8 Some PT-5000, PT-6000 & PT-8000 Ford Escort Yellow PT-109 6V Yes No 12 Some PT-8000 Porsche 911 Gulf blue with red stripe down middle of car PT-103 6V Yes No 5 Some PT-8000 (UK) Saab 900 Green with Blue and Red Lighting marks on bonnet and wings PT-116 6V Yes No 3 No Set Recorded
Powertrack Plus Cars
Car Paintjob Part No Voltage lights Magnet Number on Car Featured in Sets Image Porsche 911 Red with adverts for ESSO on roof and bonnet (hood) and Michelin on wheel arches, Kremer on Spoiler PP-131 12V Yes Yes 45 PP-9000 (UK) Triumph TR7 Green with black stripes through middle of car PP-132 12V Yes Yes 7 PP-9000 (UK) Police Car Chevrolet Dark Blue and White - Police stickers on sides and front hood PP-133 12V Roof Light Yes N/A Probably PP-4000 but no evidence as yet.PP6000 (Race and Chase 2) Corvette Silver with red and blue stripes along sides and through middle of car PP-134 12V Yes Yes 6 Probably PP-4000 but no evidence as yet. PP6000 (Race and Chase 2) BMW 320i Cream with red and black stripes PP-135 12V Yes Yes 8 PP-2000 (UK) Jaguar XJ Series II Blue with Yellow, orange and black stripes, on wings and boot. PP-136 12V Yes Yes 95 PP-2000 (UK) Renault Alpine Yellow with ELF livery, red stripe PP-137 12V Yes Yes 4 PP-3000 (UK) Porsche 936 White with BP livery red helmeted driver PP-138 12V Yes Yes 71 PP-3000 (UK) Saab 900 Red with Black and White Stripes - zig zags on front hood, roof, and trunk; Blue and Black Checker on sides; Number 138 on sides and front hood PP-139 12V Yes Yes 138 No Set Recorded VW Scirocco Yellow with pink and brown stripes, number 3 PP-140 12V Yes Yes 3 No Set Recorded Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Red with Yellow Stripes PP-141 12V Yes Yes 2 No Set catalogued Fiat Abarth 131 White with Red & Blue Top & Side Striping PP-142 12V Yes No 05 No Set Recorded Ford Escort MK II Gold PP-143 12V Yes Yes 12 No Set Recorded SuperBoss Truck White with red and blue stripes along side PP-158 (UK) 12V No Yes None No Set Recorded Bandag Bandit Truck Black with yellow and blue stripes along side PP-159 12V No Yes None No Set Recorded
Car Paintjob Part No Voltage lights Magnet Number on Car Featured in Sets Image BMW 320i Orange Jägermeister Livery (With dorsal fin on roof) 14-37-41 6V Yes No 54 Slipstream Racing 14-36-80 Funny Car AKA 'Catch Me' White and Yellow with 'Catch-me' on side & rear of car 14-34-42 (US Dealer Catalogue) 6V Yes No Not Numbered Race & Chase 6000 (US) Chevrolet Corvette (Supervette) White with red and blue stripes flashes; 4 is in US style Spangles 14-37-27 6V Yes No 4 Le Mans 300 (US)
International 1000 (US)
F1 Ferrari Red Goodyear Modelled on a car driven by Clay Regazzoni in 1976 14-37-43 6V No No 2 Grand Prix 150 (US)
International 1000 (US)
F1 Ferrari Green wings and white body with STP sponsor logos on it No No 5 Possibly originated in German sets F1 Ferrari Yellow with black flashes bears the sponsors name elf and Bosch No No 5 Possibly originated in German sets F1 Ferrari Blue and white with red stripe with Shell sponsor logos on it No No 4 Possibly originated in German sets F1 Ferrari Red body and white wings with Mobil sponsor logos on it No No 8 Possibly originated in German sets F1 Texaco Number 9 Red and White, Texaco on rear wing, Number 9 14-37-30 6V No No 9 and 8 (Australia) No Set Recorded F1 Texaco Number 8 Red and White, McLaren on rear wing, Number 8 No No 8 (Australian sets) No Set Recorded F1 Goodyear (McLaren) Light Blue and Yellow; Goodyear on rear wing, Number 33 14-37-44 6V No No 33 Grand Prix 150 (US)
International 1000 (US)
Elf Number 2 Dark blue and white, Elf on rear wing, Number 2 14-37-29 6V No No 2 No Set Recorded Williams Number 2 Cyan and white, Williams on wings and Spoiler, Number 2 No No 2 Believed to be available in Australia only Ford Escort MK II Red 14-37-49 6V Yes No 4 Hulk's Race (US) Ford Escort MK II Yellow 16-66-01 6V Yes No 12 No Set Recorded Porsche 936 White with Martini livery red helmeted driver PACER sticker on side PP-138 12V Yes Yes 29 PP-3000 (UK) Police Helicopter White & Red With 'Police' written on side N/A - See text 6V No No N/A Copter Chase Hulk Van Lime Green with the Hulk writing and figure on side 14-37-50 (US Dealer Catalogue) 6V No No No Hulks Race (US) Jaguar XJ Series II Yellow with black and white stripes (With dorsal fin on roof) 16-62-01 6V Yes No 1 Slipstream Pinto "Sportsman" Dark Blue with STP/Ford logos on bonnet 14-37-25 (US Dealer Catalogue) 6V No No 2 Appears on Box artwork of Grand Prix 150 (US) Gremlin "Sportsman" Yellow (Similar build to Pinto above) 14-37-26 (US Dealer Catalogue) 6V No No 4 Appears on Box artwork of Grand Prix 150 (US) Police Car Chevrolet Blue & White - Police on sides and boot/trunk 14-37-48 6V Roof Light No N/A Race & Chase 6000 (US)
Copter Chase (US)
Porsche 911 Gulf blue with red stripe down middle of car 14-37-28 6V Yes No 5 Le Mans 300 (US)
International 1000 (US)
Monza 200 (US)
Renault Alpine Number 5 Yellow with black stripe, number 5 WITH AIRBOX 14-37-45 6V Yes No 5 T.B.A Spider-Man car Red with a little seated Spider-Man figure 14-37-51 6V No No No Race & Chase Spider-Man set (US) Spider-Man car Blue with a little seated Spider-Man figure 14-37-51 6V No No No Race & Chase Spider-Man set (US) SuperBoss Truck White with red and blue stripes along side 14-37-01 US 6V No No None SpeedTrack Tyrone Malone Dare Devil Diesel Race & Chase set (US) Bandag Bandit Truck Black with yellow and blue stripes along side 16-64-01 6V No No None SpeedTrack Tyrone Malone Dare Devil Diesel Race & Chase set (US) Triumph TR7 Silver with silver quarter light and bumpers No.20 on bonnet 14-37-53 6V Yes No 20 No Set Recorded Villain Van Black with Villain in white capital letters on side. N/A 6V No No N/A Spider-Man Race & Chase (US) Copter Chase (US) VW Scirocco Red & White PT-110 6V Yes No 22 No Set Recorded
Car Paintjob Part No Voltage lights Magnet Number on Car Featured in Sets Image BMW 3.0CSL Silver with blue & red striping and 'Powertrack' on rear wing 16-37-01 6V Yes Yes 21 No Set Recorded Jaguar XJ Series II White & Dark Green; Mid Green British Leyland & Logo 16-38-01 6V Yes Yes 3 No Set Recorded Porsche 911 Metallic Silver with Metallic red stripe down middle of car 16-39-01 6V Yes Yes 5 Jump Cross Championship (US) World Class Racing (US) Saab 900 Red with White Arrow On Bonnet and White Rear; Number 8 on sides and roof. 16-36-01 6V Yes No 8 No Set Recorded VW Scirocco White with Red & Blue Diagonal Striping 16-40-01 6V Yes Yes 66 World Class Racing (US), Pro-8 Challenge (US), Jump Cross Championship (US)
Part number Description Sets used on Length Country of origin PT-203 or 14-52-22 Straight Terminal point (for 2 cars) Powertrack, Circuit Electrique, TurboRennen 9" or 22.9 cm PT-255 Straight Terminal point R & C (for 2 cars) Powertrack, Circuit Electrique, TurboRennen 9" or 22.9 cm 14-3722 Straight Terminal point (for 2 cars) Power Track, Circuit Electrique, TurboRennen 6" USA 14-3720 Straight Terminal point (for 2 cars) Power Track, Circuit Electrique, TurboRennen 9" or 22.9 cm USA PT-206 & 14-52-45 Straight Power Track, Circuit Electrique, TurboRennen 15" PT 202-02 Curve 90 Degree Powertrack, Circuit Electrique, TurboRennen 9" or 22.9 cm Hong Kong PT-208 Curve Banked Power Track, Circuit Electrique, TurboRennen 9" PT-205 Corner 45 Degree Power Track, Circuit Electrique, TurboRennen 9" Hong Kong PT 204 Straight 6" Powertrack, Circuit Electrique, TurboRennen 6" Hong Kong PT 256 Bridge Supports Powertrack, Circuit Electrique, TurboRennen N/A Hong Kong PT 211 Apron & End pieces Powertrack, Circuit Electrique, TurboRennen 9" Hong Kong PT 302-309 Mains Transformer 6V Powertrack, Circuit Electrique, TurboRennen Hong Kong PT 251/2 Throttle (R&C: Red/Blue) Powertrack, Circuit Electrique, TurboRennen 6" Hong Kong PT 210
Tip Bridge 9" (Shell Advertising on side) Powertrack, Circuit Electrique, TurboRennen 9" Hong Kong 14-37-78 Crossroad Power Track, Circuit Electrique, TurboRennen 15"
Track (Powertrack Plus)
Part number Description Sets used on Length Country of origin PP-201 Straight x 2 All 9" Hong Kong PP-204 Straight x 2 All 6" Hong Kong PP-206 Straight x 2 All 15" Hong Kong PP-205 45 Degree Curve No Powertrack Plus Set Recorded 6" Hong Kong PP-208 Curve Banked PP-9000 9" Hong Kong PP-202 Corner 90 Degree with Barrier x 2 All 9" Hong Kong PP-212 Crossroad No Powertrack Plus Set Recorded 15" Hong Kong PP-214 45 Degree Curve x 2 No Powertrack Plus Set Recorded 9" Hong Kong PP-213 Cross Over Track x 2 PP-3000 15" Hong Kong PP-216 RH & LH Turn-offs No Powertrack Plus Set Recorded 15" Hong Kong PP-217 Cross Over 'Flying Jump' PP-3000 24" Hong Kong PP-210 Tip Bridge PP-4000(?) 9" Hong Kong PP-218 Loop the Loop PP-9000 15" Hong Kong PP-211 Apron & Ends PP-4000(?) For PP-202 Hong Kong PP-207 Bridge Supports All N/A Hong Kong PP-228 Sticker Set N/A N/A Hong Kong PP-229 Service Pack N/A N/A Hong Kong
Powertrack Crash Barrier Advertising
Along the side of the track crash barriers were fitted which featured the following company's logos.
Accessory Part Number Image Lapcounter PT-221 Service Kit Grandstand Battery Box
Powersupply Specification Powertrack
- Part Number 22894 D.C Output 6V 0.7amps 4.2VA (United Kingdom) - Black
- Unidentified - Red/Orange (for use on four laned Tracks)
Track supports Powertrack
Track supports where included with the sets to allow elvated sections of track thus also enabling cars to pass underneath. These connectors could be place together to make the track as high or low as you so desired, typically these pieces where utilised to make a figure of eight circuit.
- Colours Available - Grey - Yellow
- Lane Changer LC 1000 - This set featured cars which could switch lanes at a press of a button on the Controller. (13 ft)
- Lane Changer LC 2000 - 25 ft (7.6 m) of track and 3 Chicanes
- Lane Changer LC 4000 - RPS or Speedtrack RPS Turbo 4000 - Us version of Lanechanger featuring black hand controllers with Turbo written on them. The RPS in Lanechanger RPS stands for Rack and Pinion Steering.
Car Paintjob Part No Number on Car Image Country Sold Lights BMW M1 Red bonnet White doors and roof Blue tail LC-106 90 France Ford Capri Red With white stripes on roor and Goodyear logo on spoiler LC-105 66 France, UK, USA Yes Martini Porsche White with red and blue stripes along middle of car LC-104 2 USA No Porsche 935 Blue Bonnet yellow rear with porsche on spoiler LC-104 15 Kremer Porsche 935 Green with Orange roof LC-101 3 or 2 UK Yes Monza Blue with yellow wings (yellow stripe down center of bonnet) LC-102 11 USA No Monza GT White with red roof, red stripes down wings LC-103 8 USA Yes Monza GT White with red roof, red stripes down wings, painted green headlights LC-103 1 UK No Super Monza Yellow with black chevrons down wings LC-102 12 Porsche Red with black chequered flag on spoiler Not
Molding to accommodate lights
Lane Changer Track and Track accessories
Part number Description Sets used on Length LC-202 90 Degree curve Lanechanger LC-206 Straight Lanechanger LC-209 Chicane Lanechanger
Lanechanger Trackside Advertising
Like Powertrack before the Lane changer sets also featured Crash Barrier Advertising and also unlike PowerTrack Advertising on the chicanes, the advertising reflected the time.
Powertrack is branded under different names depending on country
- Italy - Turbo Sprint
- Hong Kong - Laneshifter
- USA - Speedtrack
- France - Circuit Electrique
- Germany - TurboRennen
The instructions supplied with the sets featured cartoon like cars examples.
- To represent a car overheating - A cartoon car sweating with its tongue hanging out.
The Porsche Turbo
Matchbox produced a Porsche 911 Turbo for their Powertrack and Speedtrack range at launch. The 911 was (and still is) considered de rigueur for slot racing as it is ubiquitous on racing circuits all over the world.
The first Turbo (Mark 1, below) was loosely modelled on the Group 4 930 type. It had wide front wheel arches and 'whale tail' rear wing. In the UK, this was the Green Kremer Powertrack car which was identical to the US light blue/orange car.
However, despite its popularity it was an inferior moulding and short on 'wow' factor. Curiously, it is the only Powertrack/Speedtrack car to have a front axle with spacer bushes on it. This suggests it was a very early Matchbox prototype that could just about pass for production.
When Lanechanger was launched in 1979 Matchbox produced the 935 'Flat nosed' Porsche and this bodyshell was superior in every way to the Powertrack/Speedtrack offering. Matchbox increased its desirability by incorporating the Martini striping of the Works cars from the mid-Seventies.
Intriguingly, when Powertrack Plus was launched in the UK in 1982, the instruction manual included a range of cars 'facelifted' for the new 12V system. Among these was a 'Mark 1' Porsche bodyshell repainted in red to include the new Kremer/Esso Decals.
However, what Matchbox actually produced was a brand new Porsche bodyshell (Mark 2). This was a different mould to the Mark 1 and altogether a superior product.
Collectors will no doubt be seeking the Mark 1 with Esso/Kremer Decals as photographed in the 1981/2 manual. A rare car indeed...
Matchbox spent 1976 and 1977 developing cars for the sets. Matchbox needed a fair amount of money to invest in tooling for these cars but its fair to say the early cars are lacking in some detail. Unearthed in the 1978 Speedtrack Catalogue is this fascinating page detailing the state of production in late '77.
Powertrack Pre-Production cars
The Renault Alpine and Porsche 936 (shown in opposite places to the text) are fairly advanced and if anything represent a more detailed facsimile of the 'production' cars.
The Porsche Turbo and the Corvette (dubbed 'Supervette') look like pre-production cars but apart from wheels and liveries remained unchanged throughout their life (See Porsche Turbo, above). Of interest to this Author is the arrival of the funky VW Scirocco at this stage, given that it did not surface in the UK until 1979/80.
The stand out exhibit here is the Police car. This is clearly a prototype more typical of the 'Street' cars of Tyco/Aurora. It looks far from being resolved and in scale and detail it is clearly a long way from being signed off.
Matchbox must have concentrated a lot of effort on development to get the Police Car to its production intent (Below). The production version was entirely different and had a certain appeal that must have been instrumental to the success of Race & Chase.
Given the launch of Race 'n' Chase in 1978 and the great numbers it sold in both the UK & US this would have been quite a feat.
By 1979 Matchbox were developing additional cars and this brochure packed with the UK Race 'N' Chase included the intriguing examples of familiar cars.
The Red Escort is numbered 1, not 8. The moulding is clearly new and lacking windows. The TR7 is in 'army' green metallic which was not a production colour. Again, it lacked windows. The Fiat too, numbered 22 and a metallic blue with black detailing. The Police car is in evidence and very much redeveloped from its early prototype. The Stingray is actually a Corvette with Stingray colours, not the new Stingray moulding. Only the little VW is unchanged.
Lanechanger Preproduction artwork
In 1978, Matchbox launched the RPS Lanechanger system. The Cars initially available were either the Chevrolet Monza or the Porsche Turbo. The Chevys had Chassis type 'A' and the Porsches had Chassis type B. The difference was in the pick up shoes on the underside of the cars. A cars had 2 parallel pick ups, B cars had an 'Offset' pick up shoe. This was to anable the cars to be powered independently while using the same lane. It was not possible to use 2 Type A cars or 2 type B cars at the same time.
Matchbox eventually decided to include both pick up shoe types with each car. This was probably to extend its limited range of bodies for Lanechanger.
The artwork above shows renderings for the 1978 Speedtrack catalogue. The actual cars were not ready for photography so these renderings sufficed.
In the track photography (see Lanechanger section above), the Porsche was a white Powertrack body with a red LC Porsche wing. Look closely and the body is not even fitted with a chassis! The Monza was replaced with a silver Powertrack Corvette but curiously does have a Lanechanger Chassis fitted to it...
Crossroads - Intersection
The 'Crossroad' section of Powertrack is an exciting addition to any layout. However, it only featured in the Copter chase set for the US market. The track did appear in sufficient quantity in the UK around 1980/1 and appears to be a regular on Ebay. The track piece was quite large, consisting effectively of 2 15" track pieces adjacent to each other. Any layout requiring this piece needed a fair amount of room to provide sufficient turn in/run out.
The Powertrack Plus manual of 1981/2 details a Cross road track PP-212 (Above). This piece is clearly a standard 9" section of straight with two female joints half way along the straight. This piece would have enabled the expansion of small sets with limited space and expanded track layout options. However, it did not arrive on the market. Yet again, as with the Porsche Turbo story above, Matchbox seemed keen to redesign existing items rather than design new ones.
In addition to the crossroad, the crossover tracks provide further controversy. The PP-3000 set of 1981 features a 9" section of cross over track, while all other sets and accessories in the UK & US feature 15" cross overs. Perhaps if Powertrack Plus has really taken off then the 9" crossover would have become a widely available accessory - but as it stands the PP-3000 is a must for anyone requiring a 9" Crossover.
Matchbox sold some of its excess stock to a company called Dapol who rebranded it as Counterlane Dapol reboxed cars and sold them on. When Dapol decided to stop selling Counterlane the remaining stock was sold to Proops who were electrical retailers in London, items were reboxed again in plain white boxes. Below is pictured such a rebranded car, in this instance an unknown Lanechanger car. Sets were also reboxed and sold by counterlane which today are extremely rare.
It is possible to place the Matchbox Powertrack Chassis into other shells and in some instances making the cars physically bigger. The table below pictures such examples, however the origin of such cars is yet to be established.
Body Body Origin Colour Compatible with Head Lights Image Ferrari F40 Possible Scalextric Light Blue PowerTrack Yes
Slot Car Sets
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