In the 1950s, Aurora bought the rights to the “Model Motoring” slot car racing system from Playcraft, an English toy manufacturer. Aurora then released its first HO-gauge racing sets in autumn, 1960. Aurora steadily improved the models’ chassis and incorporated popular race car body styles. Consequently, Aurora’s “Model Motoring” race sets sold well. By 1965, the company had sold over 25,000,000 cars.
By the late 1960s, Aurora released their imitation of Mattel’s extremely successful and popular Hot Wheels. The gravity-driven Speedline Stunt and Drag Race Set featured dual tracks with loop-the-loops and two sleek, shiny cars.
The Aurora Speedline cars for this set were adapted from its HO-scale slot cars, the Thunderjet 500s. The bodies of the Speedline were identical to those of the HO slot cars. Enthusiasts often removed the bodies from the Speedline cars and used the flashier bodies as replacements for the HO slot cars and their more tame paint jobs.
If you watch the TV commercial (below), one of the boys was so excited about these cars and this Stunt and Drag set, he exclaims, “Look at the box!” Can you imagine a toy so stimulating you just LOVE the box? Well, this was the toy.
In 1968, Aurora touted this set as a 2-lane Super Looper with the fastest collector HO scale cars ever made. And no power or batteries were ever required. After the initial sales peiod, the Stunt and Drag set included a special 2-lane finish line. This cool feature prompted the checkered flag to show the true winner – no photo finishes here!
The Stunt and Drag set boasted a 2 in 1 configuration:
- 2 Speedline Cars
- 2 Lane Speed Start
- 2 Lane Roller Bump
- 2 Lane Mounting Clamp
- 2 Lane Stunt or Drag Track
That’s awesome. The set came with a booklet of assembly instructions. The booklet guided the racers through the process of assembling and attaching the Speed Start, Mounting Clamp, Speedline Track, the Loop assembly and the Roller Bump sections. Also included on the booklet was a nifty order form where you could get a new Aurora 44 page Collector’s Catalogue of Hobby Kits. All you had to do was mail in the coupon and 25 cents (in stamps or coin).
There was an addendum to the Speedline Instruction Assembly Sheet when the plastic clips under step #3 had been made part of the Super Looper Base. This addendum also admonished the racer unroll the track and place it on a flat floor for 10 minutes. This was to give the track a chance to straighten out after being coiled tightly in the box.
Extra accessories could be bought separately:
- The Barrel Jump
- The Hop-Up Kit
- The Finish
- The Slingshot Starter
- The Criss-Cross
- The Roller Bump
- The Stunt Jump Gap
The instruction sheets for these accessories included an order form where you could buy additional Autolite Racing Decals. You could use these cool stickers on your bicycle, wagon, notebooks, etc. The sheet states the official Autolite decals were pressure sensitive and could be applied anywhere. How could a boy resist? A set of 4 only cost a buck apiece. The sheet also said if you want any full size Goodyear decals, contact your nearest Goodyear dealer.
Yeah, 1968 was a good year for being a kid. Especially if you were a boy that liked racing HO scale cars like Hot Wheels and Aurora Speedline cars. The Aurora cars were shiny, uniquely colored, looked badass, were different from Hot Wheels and FAST! And, hot damn – LOOK AT THE BOX!