Monday, February 24, 2014

More Blast Off: Atlas Turbo Express Racers

Turns out that Tri-ang Hornby wasn't the only company to make a model racer (in this case, the Battle Space Turbo Car, as noted in this post). Atlas made one, too.

In the case of Atlas,the Turbo Express looks more like a response to the slot car craze of the 1960s, which threatened to kill the model railroad hobby.

The unpainted Turbo Express racer.

The propellers on the Atlas model were also intended to propel the car, but at least one person on a model railroad forum suggested it didn't work very well.

Interestingly, both models were based on a real prototype: The Schienenzeppelin, or rail zeppelin, built in Germany in 1929.

The experimental railcar was designed and developed by the German aircraft engineer Franz Kruckenberg. It used a propeller for propulsion.

In 1931 it set a speed record for gasoline-powered rail vehicle, reaching 230 kms (143 miles) an hour.

Only one was ever built; it was taken out of service in 1939.

Lionel also entered the fray, producing a race car set that used HO scale tracks. I wonder how that worked?


  1. Kids in old ads are ALWAYS wearing small check plaid shirts. Is that what all kids wore in the old days?

  2. I have one of those Turbo-Racer models.

    With a decently tiny amount of lubrication, it's the faster thing on the model rails you have ever seen.