Sunday, February 23, 2014

Blast Off! The Battle Space Turbo Car from Tri-ang Hornby

During the 1960s, people around the world were captivated by the space race. Futuristic space-related toys were at the top of many boy’s wish lists.

Tri-ang Hornby, not wanting to be left out, offered space-type trains to attract more customers. 

Between 1966 and 1971, the company offered a number of models in its Battle Space line. Among the models were a helicopter car, rocket launcher, bomb transporter, exploding boxcar and an ambulance car.

The most unique was the Battle Space Turbo Car, which was driven by a propeller. That’s right—a propeller. The free-wheeling wheels were not connected to the motor.

According to someone who owned a Battle Space Turbo Car as a child,  “in the hands of a nine year old (me) [it] was a fearsome machine. Speed was phenomenal and it became a real test of driving skills on curves. The only way to brake was to reverse thrust, which did not have the quick effect that such an action would have on any other item of Tri-ang motive power."

The Battle Space Turbo Car is rare today, he goes on to say, "a fact potentially not unconnected with the number that flew into orbit off the baseboard.

Click here to see a video of Battle Space Turbo Car in action on the Southland Society of Model Engineers club layout in Invercargill, New Zealand. (Yes, it works, and it's fast.)

Click here to learn more about the Battle Space line. 

Click here to learn more about Tri-ang Hornby's Canadian line of model trains.

Click here to learn more about the never-produced Tri-ang Hornby Turbo Train.

Atlas also made a turbo racer, called the Turbo Express. Click here to read about it.


  1. I remember the turbo car - but could never convince anybody else it existed and couldn't remember the name. So, thanks! Brings back memories...

  2. I'm certain you'd be surprised to hear that german engineers actually built something like this as a real train back in 1929:

    I believe it had real brakes though.


  3. I had one of these when i was a kid i bought it at a hobby store around 1972-73 it was wicked fast and lots of fun. I having been looking for info on these for a long time most stores i go in now and i tell them about this they look at me like i am on crack and don't believe it so thanx