Tyco Racing with Curve Huggers 1976

1970s Tyco Slot Car Racing

Do you remember the Tyco slot car race sets in the 1960s and 1970s? Curve Huggers? HO Scale race sets? This is one my favorite sets from 1976 JCPenny Christmas Catalog:

Tyco Road Race Empire - Curve Huggers

I never had the Road Race Empire, but I used to dream about it when I was 7 years old while looking through the JCPenny Christmas catalog. $49.88 must have been a lot in 1976. Using the US Inflation calculator, the same track would cost $191.00 today.  I had slot car set in 1976, but it was AFX/Aurora, but I had some of the Tyco cars. The Tyco cars were faster and stuck to the track better than the old Aurora cars. At least until the AFX G-Plus cars came out.

Bicentennial Tyco Cars – 1976

Bicentennial Tyco Cars
Bicentennial Tyco Cars

I had every car in this set. The headlights worked, but they drained juice and slowed the cars. By disabling the lights I could make them 30% faster.

Assorted 1976 Tyco Slot Cars

Assorted Tyco Slot Cars 1976
Assorted Tyco Slot Cars 1976

Of these I had the blue and red #43 stock car and the orange sunburst muscle car. Notice the white rear tires. The white slot car tires gripped the track better and gave the cars better speed and better handling. There were also red rear tires. My uncle had a slot car track that was six lanes wide and he won every race with slot cars that had red slot car tires.

Tyco Criss Cross Lane Changer

Slot Car Lane Changer - Criss Cross
Slot Car Lane Changer

I put at least one of these lane changers on every track I made. It was best to have an odd number of criss cross lane changers. That way no one racer would end up on the outside lane for the entire race. The best part of racing was smashing into each other on a criss – cross piece.

Tyco High Bank Curve Set

Tyco High Bank Curve Set
Tyco High Bank Curve Set

Never had these pieces. But I can imagine how they would offer an advantage to the car on the inside lane. Due to the bank, the car take the corner at a higher speed than a normal track, and since the inside lane is the shortest around the track it would give that slot racer the advantage.

In the days before video games we spent hours on the basement floor racing Tyco slot cars… the olden days… leave your memories of slot car racing in the comments.

14 thoughts on “Tyco Racing with Curve Huggers 1976”

  1. I have this set in its original box as well as the Sears equivalent set, also in its original box. They were basically mirror images of each other with some minor changes in the banked curve, the Sears set had a small straight in between the banking and shortened the 12″ radius turn in the middle of the track to a 9″ radius turn.Both are very cool sets, and with a few Aurora 12′ banking pieces, I have made a four lane version of these sets.

    1. My son had this set or one very similar in 1989. I had just gone through an ugly divorce. We moved and unfortunately, we forgot the set in his closet. When I went back to get it. It wasn’t there. I asked the landlord. Of course, he didn’t see it.
      I would love to surprise him for Christmas but not floating in money. Just a mom that would finally, make this up to my son.
      Any thoughts, or have any idea the cost?
      Thank you, Jo Ann

  2. I had a set of these and to this day I could never figure out how the controllers worked properly with the crossover track. Each car would have access to both lanes and yet each controller maintained control of its car. It’s like a mobius strip. I’m getting a headache just thinking about it.

  3. I just bought this set today for 19 bucks complete with all the cars in this is the big set and it is really heavy

    1. Can you tell me where. My brother had one when we were little and it got broke. He never got a chance to play with it. I’m trying to find him one. He’s 52 now.

  4. Thank you for posting this! I was trying to find a picture to show my wife.. we were discussing whether my son was ready for a track or not. I received the Sears version back in the 70’s and loved it!!

  5. The criss cross track had to be used in pairs if you wanted to maintain 2 separate drivers. what would happen is if you used one criss cross track it would short both lanes to one controller. if you tried to use the second controller it might blow the power supply because you basically dead shorted the inside and outside lanes. the second criss cross track on the circuit prevented the inside and outside lanes from being shorted to one controller. so for 2 player you needed 2 criss cross tracks spaced apart from each other usually both a 1/2 track spaced apart so both cars would spend equal time in the outside and inside lanes.

    the use of 1 criss cross track did have a nice effect for a single player, they would be able to drive the full length of the track as the inside lane and a full length of track as the outside lane this gave you an autocross type of race where each player could run the track separately and the player with the lowest time won. you just made sure you unplugged the second controller to avoid a dead short between lanes. usually you put the criss cross single lane just before the start finish line. then you drove either the inside or outside lane as a full course, when you got to the finish you switched lanes and repeated the track in the opposite lane. it was quite fun to see the difference driving in the inside and outside lanes as a whole

    1. It is amazing, there are still parts for the original tyco cars. Tires (even different colors), the electrode rails, 38 wind armatures, rear gear ratios, etc. Heck I used to wind 34 armatures as a kid (dad was a electronic engineer). there’s a lot of new manufactures now-wonder if the H.O. scale stuff is compatible parts wise and the voltage. Not much info online regarding those specifications. the one thing haven’t found is the malable “snake/flex track”

  6. Well, after much consideration, I am going to get the AFX Giant raceway set soon. It is also similar to the pictured J.C.Penny set and the Sears set, Magnum 440 Grand Prix. My youngest son has a blast with the tracks we have and it is time for his own massive set. Time to build memories for him.

  7. I got this track new in 1976 when I was 7. Mine had the bicentennial Porsche 908 and Chapparal. Loved it. It sounds silly but I’ll remember it until I die. Thanks for posting the picture.

    Paul

  8. I had this exact track and used it religiously through the 80s. If anyone knows where I can find this set, please reply with a comment, I’d love have one for my kids.

  9. I would love to find this set. I had bought it for my son several years ago and left behind when we moved. Went back to get it; it was gone.
    Any idea where I could find this and not mortgage the house?Thank you, Charlie’s mom

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