The cheapest way to tune up a Porsche 956C KH at home

If $48 million Ferraris at Pebble Beach have left you questioning your place in the collector car hobby, it might be time to embrace the decidedly more accessible (and probably fun) world of slot car racing. Scaled-down tracks, historic race cars, and accessories can cost more or less depending on involvement and available competition level tools that can help win the race.

Case in point: this Slot Car Roller test bench from Slot Car Corner, shown here with a Porsche 956C KH undergoing testing by the crew at Home Racing World. The roller is not a dynamometer but can be used for motor break-in, drivetrain testing, and even aerodynamic downforce simulation.

Adjust the magnetic front slider, drop your 1:24 or 1:32 slot racer onto the roller, fire up the power supply and test away. Breaking in fresh motors and gearing setups can get the mesh into the sweet spot of gear-gnashing power. As a chassis dyno, the roller can test for bent axles, out-of-round wheels and tires, rear-end slop, and driveline problems. Fingertip pressure can even simulate body downforce and roll to prevent possible velocity-robbing body to wheel interference at racing speeds. RPM can be measured with an inexpensive non-contact tachometer.

Observing and fixing problems on the test roller can help win the race or tune up a smoother running slot car for home entertainment. Check out the Home Racing World video of the roller in action above, and watch for the appearance of a vintage analog roller in this 1966 short film entitled Miniature Grand Prix.

Look at it this way: Building and racing scale-model slot cars is good preparation for future motoring in full-size versions down the Nikola Tesla System of Interstate Electrified Roadways.

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