Tyco Slot Cars
Tyco slot cars appeared on the scene in the early 1960s.
Offering competition to existing manufacturers of slot cars, Tyco gave enthusiasts another option for their slot car racing and hobby goals.Edit
Tyco Speedways - The "S" Chassis
Tyco's entry into the slot car market was adorned with branding, which was probably indicative of their years in the model railroad business. The new cars and sets were dubbed "Tyco Speedways", the track itself was Speed-Lok and the can motor based chassis was known as the "S" chassis.
The popular "S" chassis brought with it a variety of body styles not previously available by their competitiors.
Tycopro and Tycopro II
Tyco went on to produce the successful Tycopro line (with a few variations) and later, the even more successful Tyco 440 line. While the Tycopro cars took a cue from the Brass War slot cars of the early 1970s (low slung with weighted belly pans), the Tyco 440 slot cars were Magnet Cars that were similar to the Aurora G-Plus line.
Curve Huggers and HP2
Coinciding with its 50th anniversary, and probably on the heels of Aurora's
incredible success with its AFX magna-traction line, the dawn of Tyco's Magnet Car was upon us. Not to be left behind by rival Aurora
, Tyco quickly adapted what was essentially the same Tycopro form-factor with what was now an injection molded "frame" with a pair of ceramic magnets placed directly over the rails. Dubbed the "Curve Huggers", a few body styles were also introduced to help draw interest.
Notably, Tyco capitalized on the popularity of the mid-1970s Top Fueler Drag Racing "craze" by releasing a few HO Scale Drag Bodies
, including a pair of Funny Cars, complete with lift-up body access to the model motor.
Tyco 440 and HP7
Early Restricted Open
(RO) class racers chose the Tyco 440 chassis over the competing G-Plus and Super G-Plus chassis' when it came to racing, as it was easier to make signifigant performance modifications to the 440. Even today, the Wizzard P2/P3 chassis cars bear a striking similarity to the original 440 design.
Like the Tycopro, the 440 was an inline chassis configuration
, with the chassis motor as an assembled unit. Later, the superceding HP7 Curvehugger line reintroduced a seperate "can-motor" as the power for a non integrated chassis that was similar to the early Tycopro designs.
As it turned out, the lesser selling Tyco slot cars actually outlived the (original) Aurora slot cars they competed with (for sales) as Aurora closed its doors in the mid 1970s.
Total Control Racing TCR
TCR is a type of slotless racing where cars can actually pass each other on the track. Similar to earlier pioneering Aurora
XLerators, Tyco also offered the TCR Total Control Racing Set once offered by Aurora
(under the Ultra5 and SpeedSteer names), Ideal
and more recently offered by Majorette.
Tyco Slot Car Literature
Mantua Metal Products was a Woodbury Heights, New Jersey, metalworks business
Early Woodbury NJ Facility
founded in 1926 by John Tyler and family. In the 1930s Mantua began to manufacture HO scale model trains of die-cast metal, and became a leading hobbyist brand. In the 1950s Mantua pioneered "ready-to-run" HO-scale model railroad kits under the TYCO (for Tyler Company) brand. Many TYCO and Mantua die-cast products, such as steam engines, are collector's items today.
The Move to Ready-to-RunIn the 1960s
, TYCO changed its focus from train kits to ready-to-run (RTR) trains sold in hobby shops and also added HO-scale electric racing, or "slot car" sets. By the 1970s, TYCO shifted sales and marketing to a consumer-oriented, mass marketing focus. Eventually the name changed to TYCO Industries, under which name the company was sold in 1970 to Consolidated Foods during an era of corporate conglomerates. As a division of what became the Sara Lee Corporation, Tyco continued to grow.
Electric Slot Car Racing
By the 1980s, Tyco dominated the electric slot car racing market
TYCO's John Tyler
(a position previously held by Aurora Plastics Corp.
) as well as the radio control category. Diversification continued with the 1989 purchase of the View-Master/Ideal Group, which brought to the company the View-Master®, Magna Doodle® and the Ideal Nursery line of dolls. In the 1990s, the company branched out with other toys such as airplanes, clones of Lego brand building elements (after the basic patent ran out in 1983), and Sesame Street items. It purchased Matchbox
, a maker of model cars, in 1993. In 1995, Tyco Preschool was named the primary toy licensee for the Children's Television Workshop. A year later Tyco Preschool launched an extensive new line based on the popular children's program, Sesame Street. When Tyco was purchased by Mattel on March 27, 1997, it was the third largest toy company in the United States. The brand survives as the Mattel Tyco R/C division.
The End of an EraThe Tyco model railroad business was purchased back by the Tyler family in 1977
, who revived them under the Mantua Industries brand. Tyco exited the model railroad business after the 1993 catalog. Many of the Tyco model train products were then produced by Mantua and by International Hobby Corporation (IHC). In 2001, Mantua ceased production of its model railroad lines, and sold the model railroad business to the Model Power company, which continues to sell a few items such as steam engines as its Mantua Classics brand.
Tyco 440 Parts and Accessories