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  • Strombecker

    The Strombeck - Becker Manufacturing Company
    In 1962 the Strombeck Manufacturing Company located at 51st Street and 4th Avenue in Moline, Illinois employed 175 people who made wood doll furniture, wooden model kits and slot car racing sets.
    Johan Fredrik Strombeck, or J.F. Strombeck, more commonly known to his family as as "Fred", started his company in 1911 producing tool handles from scrap wood thrown out by the John Deere plant in Moline. From there the company expanded into toys and then pre-carved wooden assembly kits starting with a series of locomotives seen at the "Wings of a Century" pageant at the 1933 Chicago world's Fair where many historic locomotives had been placed on exhibit. Wooden airplane kits followed in 1936 and soon expanded to ships and military vehicles.
    World War Two saw model kit production greatly reduced and replaced with war items. A Spotter series of wooden airplane models to train airplane spotters during the war gave high school students an education in building kits and contributing to the war effort.
    Post war product offerings included plastic parts to add detail to the wooden kits and water soluble decals. In 1955 Strombecker introduced its first all plastic model kit to compete in that growing market. Starting in 1957, StromBecKer issued the first kits from the popular Disney productions "Man In Space" and "Mars And Beyond".
    Strombecker hit the plastic model car kit market in 1959 with a line of 1/24 scale, injection-molded plastic cars which had the option of being equipped with an electric motor; the motorized car came with an onboard battery box so it could be run free style using a ratchet-held steering arrangement. The motorized version was also recommended to be used on a tether (with slip ring) which allowed the car to rotate around a pylon containing larger "D" cells (Pylon Kit No. D48) which powered the car in lieu of the onboard batteries.
    The first Strombecker slot car sets were probably marketed around the end of 1959 or early 1960 and they were the first U.S. manufactured slot car sets. The set incorporated a 7-inch wide, 2-track arrangement using dual brass strips arranged adjacent to the "slot."
    Due to financial losses Cosmo/Dowst (producing TootsieToys) bought the Strombecker toy line in 1961 and TOOTSIETOY became a division of the Strombecker Corporation. On November 1, 2004 the Strombecker Corporation and Processed Plastic Company merged their two companies into a new entity, Tootsietoy Corporation. Following on the heels of this merger, the latest in the checkered recent history of the Strombecker Corp. developed on July 15, 2005, putting to an end the name "Strombecker" on corporate rolls.
    Nine months after merging with the then-oldest surviving toy company in America, Strombecker Corp.-Tootsietoy, Processed Plastic Company sold its intellectual property assets to J. Lloyd International of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, under the terms of a state liquidation auction.
    Scott.....War Eagle River......Tampa, Florida, USA

  • #2
    Thanks for the info. Strombecker will always evoke good memories for me. I'd love it if someone leased the name and produced a limited line of cars recreating what they made in the 60's. Not the same ones which didn't match the detail seen in today's cars, but similar makes and models. I'd pay NSR and Thunderslot prices for a Strombecker Ford J car with decent running gear.

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    • War Eagle River
      War Eagle River commented
      Editing a comment
      Would love to see Thunderslot do the Lotus 30, Chaparral, and others!

  • #3
    Would love to see Thunderslot do the Lotus 30, Chaparral, and others!
    Scott.....War Eagle River......Tampa, Florida, USA

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    • #4
      Excellent, thanks for the backstory on one of America's finer slot car manufacturers.
      Definitely a mainstream quality product in the glory days of the 1960s.
      Good read. Thanks again, and enjoy the holidays! -- Ernie

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      • #5
        It would be nice if 3-D printed chassis were available for the Strombecker bodies.

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        • #6
          Great write up on one of America's first slot car company.The old stromy track is cheap and can be made to run decent.Little copper tape,and your off to the Saturday night races.
          Excuse my taping job.this track lot has been taken apart and patched several times.Still fun to run my Ol' Eldons on.
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          Rusty

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          • #7
            Anybody know what year Strom set and car production was moved to Hong Kong? That was the second style track and cars with snap in motors.
            Matt B
            So. In
            Crashers

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            • #8
              Mine is a later set and I believe my cars are all made in Hong Kong, but my track is all made in Canada. The contact rails are tin plated steel.
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              • #9
                Originally posted by Nikolai Teslot View Post
                It would be nice if 3-D printed chassis were available for the Strombecker bodies.
                There are a few on Thingiverse. I put one up that uses an inline pod. The Strombecker bodies are pretty narrow so podded sidewinders don't work well. But with a few minutes on Tinkercad, you can make a non podded SW chassis if you really want.
                Come Race at The Trace!
                Timberline Trace International Raceway - SW of Mpls, MN

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                • #10
                  Thanks for this information. My first slot car set, a Christmas gift for three brothers, was a Strombecker with a Ferrari Testa Rosa and D Jag for running mates.
                  Bob G. ..... Boston, North Shore

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                  • #11
                    The Strombecker Hong Kong was actually a different style track and it was gray.
                    Matt B
                    So. In
                    Crashers

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                    • #12
                      I've always liked Strombecker and still have several cars.
                      I had a 30' Strombecker track set up before I routed one.
                      I got my first Strombecker set the day after Christmas in 1969. We got it at a Toy/Hobby store in Lloyd Center in Portland Oregon, it was the only mall in the area at the time. It came with the white Porsche RSK and the green Lotus. Both cars had working head lights.
                      As an 11 year old I drove it to death.
                      Last edited by Mitch58; December 22, 2019, 12:08 AM.

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                      • #13
                        As Matt mentioned, the Hong Kong cars and track were a little different. The cars had a slightly different mount with a screw hole in the nose. The colors were odd....the Chapparal 2A is often yellow, the McLaren is purple, etc. But the nose hole can be plugged and you can have a nice running scale cars out of them if you want to do the work.
                        Come Race at The Trace!
                        Timberline Trace International Raceway - SW of Mpls, MN

                        Comment


                        • #14
                          I have wonderful memories of Strombecker tracks and cars. But I just went on Ebay to see what vintage stuff is still available and browsed through a bunch of images and have been reminded that cars from the 60's were not nearly as detailed and refined as what's available today. Those Strombecker Jags, Ferraris, and Ford J cars made my palms sweaty back then but side-by-side with new Scalextric or Fly cars they don't compare in my adult eye except for nostalgia.

                          I may add a Strombecker billboard to my track, but couldn't put a Strombecker Ferrari Testa Rosta on the track next to a Policar Ferrari or GB Track Chevron. It would be like comparing a 27" tube TV to a 55" HD flat screen TV. But I did love watching the original Batman TV series on the former back in the day.

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                          • #15
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                            Originally posted by slothead View Post
                            I have wonderful memories of Strombecker tracks and cars. But I just went on Ebay to see what vintage stuff is still available and browsed through a bunch of images and have been reminded that cars from the 60's were not nearly as detailed and refined as what's available today. Those Strombecker Jags, Ferraris, and Ford J cars made my palms sweaty back then but side-by-side with new Scalextric or Fly cars they don't compare in my adult eye except for nostalgia.

                            I may add a Strombecker billboard to my track, but couldn't put a Strombecker Ferrari Testa Rosta on the track next to a Policar Ferrari or GB Track Chevron. It would be like comparing a 27" tube TV to a 55" HD flat screen TV. But I did love watching the original Batman TV series on the former back in the day.
                            Slothead.
                            These Strombeckers may give the Policar a run for it's money, but then they don't have a lot of Strombecker parts left in them.
                            Last edited by Mitch58; December 22, 2019, 11:31 AM.

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