Fly Ferrari 250 GTO, part 2

Here is part 2 of this article

By the way, watch out for the photo-etched hood clips when handling this slot car. They're sharp. I cut a finger on one of them.

Another problem area is the right windshield wiper, which rides well off the windshield on both review slot cars. This not only does not look good but also makes the wiper more vulnerable to damage. A fix for the problem is simply to rotate the wipers upward on the windshield, partway through their arc, until they reach a position where both are flat against the glass.

More significant is the misalignment in the fit of the front valence. On both my review cars the part was offset slightly to one side and there was a slight gap between the parts on the left side. The severity of the misfit seems to vary between cars, so this one thing may be worth going through your dealer's stock of the cars (if he'll let you) and picking out the best one.

The interior is nicely done with correct seats and instruments, switches, and shift lever. The driver figure, however, is a disappointment. He's a parts bin component, made for use in much newer cars and therefore dressed in the kind of bulky firesuit and thick gloves which are common today but still in the future in 1962.

The helmet is also of a design not seen until many years later. In addition, the driver is wearing a full 5-point quick-release safety harness. I may be mistaken about this but I believe that in 1962 the GTO was equipped only with a lap belt. The effect is to make the car look like one being campaigned in present-day vintage racing with the upgrades required to comply with current safety rules.

It's possible that Fly, in researching the car, had access to one or more GTOs updated in exactly this way and didn't realize that some of the safety features may not have been part of the original fit. That said, the belt assembly, which is a separate part from the driver figure itself, is beautifully done and most likely will be seen on other cars where it may be more period-authentic. Those wishing to complete the vintage-racer look need only equip the driver with a full-face helmet and a HANS device to bring him up to the cutting edge of safety. One welcome positive is the excellent fit between the driver's hands and the steering wheel.

The GTO's wheels and tires have also come in for some criticism, at least some of it justified. To begin with, the tires are slicks, definitely out of place on a car from the early 60s. The wheels, though nice looking, do not match the real thing, as seen in the photos below.

There have also been complaints that the car rides too high, especially in front. I think there is room for honest disagreement here, as an examination of photos of 1:1 scale GTOs reveals some that do appear to sit lower to the ground than others. Two factors may be at work. First, it's quite possible that the cars may have been set up higher for some circuits than others, especially for races on public roads that may not have been as billiard-table smooth as modern race tracks tend to be. Also, the 250 GTO appeared right at the beginning of an era in which tire construction, widths, and profiles changed rapidly, and changes in tires may have affected the cars' stance.

In any case, I lowered the front end of one of the review models by simply shaving about 1/16" off the front body posts, and there's room to lower it even more if needed. While you're working on the body posts, another mod you can do is to reinforce the posts with styrene tubing. I used Evergreen 15/64" o.d. tubing, available at most hobby shops. This will pretty well ensure that you will never have a broken or cracked post to fix. You could get the car still lower by installing lower-profile tires, but if you do you'll have to start trimming off protrusions from the bottom of the chassis to maintain ground clearance.

It's Fly's standard practice to put each model's motor in the same general location as the engine on the 1:1 scale car, a policy going all the way back to the first Dodge Viper of 10 years ago. This, of course, allows the models to be made with a full-depth interior. On the GTO, however, the motor seems to be even farther forward than it needs to be. A look through the aforementioned side vents reveals empty space that looks like it could have been used to move the motor farther aft. Whether that would have made it possible to use a solid front axle instead of the none-too popular plastic stub axles remains to be researched for another article.

The front motor does make the car's handling heavily magnet-dependent, and Fly has made sure the rear end stays firmly stuck down by using a very strong neodymium magnet placed just forward of the drive shaft bushing. The result is consistent lap times on the Electric Dreams Scalextric Sport test track in the 4.2-second range with a best time of 4.036. That makes the car about half a second too fast for my scheme of things. My Corvettes lap in the 4.5-second range, and the GTO should be a tenth or two slower.

Yes, you read that right. A 250 GTO is actually slower, at least on shorter circuits, than a well-prepared SCCA Corvette. There's a saying among vintage racers: What's a 5 million dollar Ferrari good for? It's the best seat you can have for watching $30,000 Corvettes go by.
So, Fly's GTO is fast. But, it's not all that much fun to drive. It's simply too stuck down for the amount of power it has. Thus, on the test track the fast way around involves holding the trigger all the way down except for three quick blips of the throttle per lap. That gets boring pretty quickly. In addition, the motor reaches dangerous temperatures in just a few minutes even though everything is properly lubed and turning freely.

Fortunately, it's easy to up the fun factor and increase motor life while getting the speeds down to a more reasonable level. As it happens, there is room just forward of the original magnet position to glue in a wider, longer Scalextric or Slot-it magnet, as shown in the photo below. This gives you less total downforce but spreads it over more of the car's width. You will still have magnetic grip, though not quite as much, but more important, you will have it over more of the car's width and, therefore, at greater cornering angles. The car will be somewhat slower but much more entertaining to drive. In short, you will be setting up your Fly car essentially as Scalextric cars come from the factory.

With this modification the car turned a best time of 4.972 seconds. That's a couple of tenths slower than I was aiming for, but the car is now much more drivable and fun. It should be no problem to gain those tenths with either a Slot It magnet, which is a little stronger than the Scalextric, or with silicone tires. By trying different combinations of three factors, magnet strength, magnet location, and tires, you can tune almost any group of cars to a common performance standard.

As always, I decline to state whether the car's dimensions are precisely to 1:32 scale. However, Fly has done a truly wonderful job of capturing the look and character of the 1:1 scale car and presenting it to a quality standard that should please almost everyone. Fly has even done a good job of making the car sturdy and crashworthy. After all the testing for this article, including the usual quota of crashes, not a single part is missing or even showing any damage. The car's driving characteristics will not be to everyone's liking, but it has the very useful virtue of being easily tuneable. After years of Fly products that have often fallen well short of justifying their prices, here's one that, even with its shortcomings, offers excellent value for the money.

About the Author
Arie Viewer is a slot car collector, enthusiast and expert. To get more information about slot cars, visit You can get advice and answers to your questions by calling or e-mailing for a free personal consultation with a model car racing expert.