By the fifties, America was moving firmly past the Second World War and into an era of unprecedented prosperity. More and more Americans felt they could afford some pleasant distractions. About this time Joseph and Gennaro Giammarino got together with John Cuomo and Abe Shikes to create a company that would become an icon of the American toy industry – Aurora Plastics Company. While you could fill a book with the history of this innovative business, we will focus on their contribution to slot cars and only briefly touch on some of their many accomplishments.
By the end of 1976, AFX sales hit their all-time high of about $45 million on the back of the stunning popularity of the new technology. Quite an increase from the roughly $15 million in sales for the line in 1970.
Look at this assortment of 1970s AFX Aurora Slot Cars
The Aurora Plastics Corporation introduced the A/FX (Aurora Factory Experimentals, later simply “AFX”) line of slot cars, slot car track sets, and related accessories in 1971. The AFX brand continued production until the company was forced into receivership in 1983.Aurora designed the AFX cars with interchangeable car body shells usually compatible with each chassis they released during these years. The original 1971 A/FX chassis utilized an updated version of the existing pancake motor design of Aurora’s “Thunderjet 500” line, popular in the 1960s. Aurora then released a longer version of the A/FX chassis in 1973, known as the “Specialty” chassis, which incorporated a longer wheelbase and gearplate (and often a more powerful armature) with bodies unique to that chassis. The car bodies designed to fit the shorter original chassis featured a clever snap-on design while the bodies for the Specialty chassis were affixed with a small screw. In late 1974, Aurora redesigned both the original and Specialty chassis and exposed the bottom of the motor magnets. The exposed magnets were attracted to the metal rails in the track during racing, creating downforce to help hold the car on the track while cornering. AFX “Magna-Traction” cars remained popular from their release in 1974 throughout 1983, even after faster chassis designs were introduced in house and by Tyco. from Wikipedia
Then in 1960, the British company Playcraft Model Motoring had a slot car display at a London toy show. Representatives from Aurora, an American company that specialized in scale model kits, snatched up the American marketing rights for Playcraft’s slots. Within five years, Aurora had sold 25 million slot cars to eager kids, becoming the most successful line of slot cars in history.
Stop by the store and take a peek at these very collectible slot cars. Yep, we’re here (decorating for the holidays) and we’ll be watchin’ for ya!