Buying brand new Scalextric cars and especially brand new track can be expensive.
But don’t fear because, and hopefully, this won’t come as a surprise… if you want to extend your circuit layout or pick up a few extra cars – and you’re looking for a better deal – then eBay is the place for you!
Both new and used Scalextric does roaring trade on eBay. Whether it’s a car that’s no longer sold, a specific bit of track or just some second-hand straights and curves, you’ll find it on eBay.
The popularity of Scalextric on eBay, especially the trade in collectable cars, does mean you’re unlikely to get a real bargain, but shopping on eBay is certainly a more affordable way to grow your collection.
Of course, as with everything on eBay, when it comes to Scalextric there are deals to be had and there are duds to avoid. But, in my experience, most sellers are friendly and helpful, and just as passionate about slot cars as I am.
So to help you get the most from eBay, here are my seven top tips for buying slot cars, track and accessories:
- Set Your Price Expectations
- Set Your Bidding Budget
- Create Saved Searches & Set Alerts
- The Three Ps: Photos, Photos, Photos
- Avoid Auctions that End in the Evening
- Bidding Mind Games
- Missed Out? Be Patient
This is possibly the most important part of buying anything on eBay – setting an expectation of how much you’re likely to pay for something.
This is especially true of Scalextric.
As mentioned above, new and used Scalextric is exceptionally popular on eBay – with the price of some harder to find track pieces and collectable cars going for eye watering sums.
In short, if you expecting to bag a Scalextric bargain on eBay, you might be disappointed.
But if you do your homework, you should be pleased with the item you buy and the price you pay.
Find the Going Rate
eBay’s Advanced search – the link’s right up there, on the of the search box – is the essential first stop on any eBay trip. Advance search gives you access to loads of great tools and helpfully it allows you to search for Sold Listings.
Ticking this check box, before you search, lets you to see the prices similar items have sold for, plus the date on which they were sold.
This means you can see:
- The current going rate.
- Whether prices are generally going up or down.
- How often the item is sold on eBay.
What Affects the Price of Cars?
There are a couple of things to look out for when buying Scalextric cars on eBay.
- Boxed on Unboxed?
This my fall into the “BO” (“Bleeding Obvious”) category, but if the car still has its box, it’s probable going to cost more. Unboxed cars make up the majority on sale and not having a box doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with the car. But it’s worth being more cautious when bidding on unboxed cars: make sure they have a good number of pictures, a detailed description and if you’re unsure about anything message the seller.
- Quick Change Pick-Ups
Not always true, but as a rule of thumb, newer cars with quick change pick-ups go for higher prices.
- How Collectable Is It?
Another “BO” entry but the more collectable a car is, the more people want it, the higher the price. What makes something more collectable? There’s no hard and fast rule but look out for Limited Editions, models of classic cars and items with lots of bidders/watchers.
Two really collectable models, that always attract lots of bids and high prices, are the Ford GT40 and Ford Escort. Check out the latest listings & prices using the buttons below:
[button style=”btn-primary btn-lg” type=”link” target=”false” title=”Ford GT40s on eBay” link=”http://retroracer.cc/ebay-slot-car-buyers-guide/ford-gt40-slot-cars-ebay/” linkrel=””] [button style=”btn-primary btn-lg” type=”link” target=”false” title=”Ford Escorts on eBay” link=”http://retroracer.cc/ebay-slot-car-buyers-guide/ford-escort-slot-cars-on-ebay/” linkrel=””]
What Affects the Price of Track?
The price of track is affected by:
- Sport or Classic?
Scalextric’s latest track system is called Scalextric Sport and, although it’s compatible with the older track system – now known as Scalextric Classic – you need an adaptor piece to fit sections together. Which means Sport track typically costs more on eBay.
- Price of Brand New Pieces
The more expensive a track piece is to buy new, the more expensive it’s likely to be on eBay. This is especially true of sand coloured borders and barriers.
There are some hard to find track pieces – Scalextric Sport 45° radius 1 curves or the Classic Goodwood Chicane, for example – that draw higher prices.
Current Average Track Piece Prices
The easiest way to extend your track layout is with additional standard straights and radius 2 curves. These are pretty common on eBay. So, while prices are obviously subject to change, currently* you should look to pay:
- Standard Straights: £2 (plus P&P) per used Standard Straight in good condition.
So look to pay no more than £8 (+P&P) for 4 standard straights.
- R2 Curve: £0.75 (plus P&P) per used radius 2 curve in good condition.
Look to pay no more than £4.50(+P&P) for 6 or £7.50(+P&P) for 10 R2 curves.
* As of 1st June 2018.
Seasonality – AKA The Christmas Effect
One final thing to keep in mind about price is the huge impact Christmas has on the price of Scalextric on eBay.
Just think of all those lucky children/Dads who have had a shiny new Scalextric set bought for them and want to extend their layout. Not to mention all those collectors who treat themselves to that special model they’ve had their eye on.
All bidding on the same items.
So for the couple of months before and after Christmas Day, prices – even for the most common of track pieces – tend to go up.
Once you’ve done your research and have an idea of how much your item is likely to cost, it’s time to set your budget.
I try to keep these two figures in mind:
- How much I’m prepared to spend.
Based on my research, it’s the price I accept I’ll probably have to pay.
- How much I can afford to spend.
For rarer or really desirably items, this is the price I can actually afford to go up to.
I find that literally writing the amount I’m prepared to pay, down on a piece of paper, really helps me stick to my budget.
And, even though I know – from personal experience – it’s easier said than done, never spend more than you can afford on eBay.
Don’t Forget the Postage
I find it useful, when searching through listings, to sort results by the Lowest Price + P&P option. This lets you more easily understand the total cost of an item.
The price of P&P can have a significant impact on the final cost of an item. This is especially true for track pieces.
So, while the P&P for cars tends to be relatively similar (typically up to £4.50), if you’re buying track the cost of postage can vary wildly. Sometimes it can even be more than the cost of the item.
I don’t think this is done to simply make a quick buck; it’s more likely because sellers have no real idea how much something is going to cost to post and don’t want to be left out of pocket.
Either way, make sure, before you bid for an item, you include the cost of P&P in your total spend budget.
This is one of eBay’s handiest features if you’re trying to bag a bargain or pick up a rare item – saving your searches.
What makes it so handy is once you’ve clicked the Save this Search button it adds the search, and all the items it returns, to your Saved dashboard. Making it so much easier to spot interesting, bid-worthy, newly listed items.
What’s more, you can set email notifications for the saved search. So, on a daily basis, you’ll be sent the latest and best items straight to your inbox.
It should go without saying really but… never, ever bid for an item that doesn’t have lots (sellers can add up to 12 for free) of good, detailed photos.
And if you find something you’re interesting in that doesn’t have good pics, ask the seller if they can take some more. They might tell you where to go, but most people want to actually sell the items they’ve listed so are happy to do it.
What to Look For
Slot cars are notoriously easy to damage – with wing mirrors and spoilers the number one victims. But if you’re collecting, you want to see close ups of the front, back and underside of the car to see if/how badly scuffed they are.
While much harder to take a good picture of, if a car is going on display, you’ll want to see the condition of the case too. Look out for scratches to the top of the box, sticker marks and chips on the corners of the box.
For the track, it’s most important to see what condition the rails are in. Keep your eye on the shine, tarnished rails can easily be brought back to life with a track rubber, but look out for rails with rust spots on them.
Pay attention to how flat the track looks too. Warped track and smooth racing don’t mix. So look for raised edges when the track piece is lying on a flat surface.
“Is this the one I’m bidding on?”
eBay lets sellers quickly list items using the same title, description and, importantly, pictures as one that they’ve already listed. This makes life a lot easier for sellers but for the buyer it means what’s shown in the pictures might not be the actually item you’re bidding on.
If you have any concerns, the best thing to do is to send the seller a message asking “Is the item pictured is the one for sale?”. If the answer’s “no”, ask the seller to send some pictures of the actual item.
This is, of course, much more common amongst the “professional” eBay sellers so here are some of the things to keep in mind:
- Take a look at their feedback. If it’s in the 1000’s they’re probably a pro-seller.
- Check the sellers other items – how much Scalextric do they sell?
- To see if they’ve sold a similar item in the past 15 days, click the Advanced link next to the Search button, when viewing a seller’s items for sale. Select the “Show completed listings only” check box and “Last 15 day” from the drop-down, then search. This shows all the recently ended items, so check to see if the same item has been listed with the same pictures.
Again, if you’re in any doubt, just get in touch with the seller.
Auctions that end in the evening – when we’re all sat on the sofa, in front of the telly, with our mobiles in our hands – tend to get more bidders and sell for higher prices.
You’ll often find the best deals are to be had from auctions that finish in the middle of the night.
Now that you’ve done your research, set your budget and found something that you want to bid on, it’s time to make your bid. This is where the mind games begin.
My advice is, if the item is:
- Something common – Bid Early. Bid High.
- Rarer or a must win item – Snipe in the Dying Seconds.
Bid Early. Bid High
It’s tempting, if the item hasn’t got any bids on it yet and still 6 days to run, to wait before bidding. But I recommend bidding early and bidding high – right up to your maximum budget (remembering to take P&P into account!).
This not only gets you in the game, it can be a good way to put off casual bidders and bargain hunters, and helps you avoid the dreaded auction fever!
Though there’s some serious armchair psychology in this, I’m sure we’ve all been put off bidding on items that already have bids on (who wants to get into a bidding war over something they don’t really want?) and on items that are close to what we think they’re worth.
If someone else really does want the item, it’s true that they’ll likely to keep bidding on it, pushing up the price, until either they reach their limit or outbid you. But remember, you’ll never pay more that the current highest bid so bidding high doesn’t mean paying high.
Snipe in the Dying Seconds
In the world of eBay, swooping in to make the winning bid in an auction’s final seconds is call “sniping”.
And, contrary to the advice above, if you’re bidding on a special item that you just absolutely have to win then sniping in the final seconds is the way to go.
Sniping websites automatically bid on items for you, as an auction enters it’s final seconds. Sign up, enter an items number, and the maximum price you’re prepared to pay.
I’ve used Gixen – a free auction sniping tool – on a number of occasions (to varying success).
Just be aware that you have to give online sniping tools your eBay username and password. I’ve had no problem with Gixen but it something to be very mindful of.
OK, so after all that, someone outbid you and you missed out on the item.
Don’t panic. Be patient.
Unless it’s something that’s super rare, another item will come along soon enough.
Make sure you’ve saved your searches and set up your email alerts.