One of the coolest toys I had growing up was my Tyco Nite-Glow slot car racing set. My dad gave me this slot car set for Christmas 1978.I still have the race set and as you can see from the box it was played with a lot. The cool thing about this set was that the headlights on the slot cars would light up during operation and the guard rails and center line on the track would glow in the dark so you could race with the lights out, hence the name Nite-Glow.
Nite-Glow slot car guts
Here are the guts of a Nite-Glow car. Basically they are the same as the regular Tyco slot cars of the time with the addition of a tiny incandescent bulb at the front to make the headlights light up. This picture shows both a first and second generation of Nite-Glow slot cars. The first generation Nite-Glow slot car employed a zener diode to regulate the intensity of the headlights to the same brightness no matter the track voltage. They cheapened the cars later on removing the zener diode which caused the incandescent bulb to change intensity with the track voltage and made the slot car less realistic.
The bottom of a Nite-Glow slot car
Here is a picture of the bottom of a first generation Tyco Nite-Glow slot car. The magnets are the black areas at the center of the car. They help the car stay on the track by being attracted to the steel rails embedded in the track. The steel rails provide electrical current to the slot car. The magnets also are part of the PM (Permanent Magnet) motor causing the armature to turn when electric current is applied to the armature via brushes contacting the commutator. Click here to learn about DC motor operation. I played with this set so much that I wore grooves right through the pick up contacts. When I was a kid I filled in the grooves with solder to try to extend the life of the contacts as you can see from the picture. This worked pretty well except that the soft tin/lead solder wore out more quickly then the original copper contacts.
Comparison of HO slot car technology
Here is a comparison between a first generation Tyco Nite-Glow slot car (top) and a brand new slot car made by Life-Like (bottom). Not much has changed in ho scale slot cars in the last 20 years. The Life-Like HO scale slot cars work quite well on my old Nite-Glow track set.
Life-Like HO Scale Slot Cars on Amazon
It is amazing how similar the new Life-Like slot car sets are to the old Tyco ones of my childhood.
Nite-Glow track setup
Here is a picture of my Nite-Glow track set up on a table. As you can see this table doubles as train table for my Lionel train set.
The original plunger style slot car controllers that came with the set wore our a long time ago. In the early 1980s I replaced one with a Tyco pistols grip controller and the other with a pistol grip controller from Aurora.
Nite-Glow power pack
The original Tyco power pack still works great and does not overheat.
The Original Nite-Glow slot cars
Here is a picture of the two original Tyco Nite-Glow slot cars that came with the set. I believe the yellow car is a Ferrari and the purple car, which I nicknamed the "purple people eater" when I was a kid, is a Carrera.
Vintage Tyco Nite-Glow parts on eBay
I use eBay for all of my vintage slot car needs.
Comparison, second generation Nite-Glow and new Life-Like slot car
Here is picture of a second generation Tyco Nite-Glow (bottom) and a brand new Life-Like slot car (top) on the track.
Nite-Glow Ferrari with headlights on
This is what the Tyco Nite-Glow Ferrari looks like with it's headlights on in the dark.
Nite-Glow Carrera with headlights on
This is what the Tyco Nite-Glow Carrera looks like with it's headlights on in the dark.
Here is a really cheesy flyer that came with my Tyco Nite-Glow slot car race set.
Tyco Nite-Glow HO slot car selection in 1978
The top of this page shows Tyco Nite-Glow HO slot cars offered in 1978.
Here is a picture of the inventory list of the parts that came with Tyco Nite-Glow slot car set. Unfortunately the "Winner's indicator" and other accessories broke and were thrown away years ago.
Here is a picture of accessories you could purchase for your Tyco Nite-Glow slot car set in 1978.
Tyco Nite-Glow commercial from 1977!
The Tyco Nite-Glow slot car set provided me a lot of entertainment when I was growing up. I recommend purchasing a slot car set for your son or daughter to share the slot car racing experience with them.
Charito Maranan-Montecillo from Manila, Philippines on April 04, 2014:
When he was a little boy, my son liked playing with toy cars. He had a few Hot Wheels sets.
jimconrad2 on November 25, 2013:
RaidaMoon on January 09, 2013:
Nicely done! You've gotta' love those old tracks from the '70's. Oh wait! I mean *not* so old tracks from the 70's ;) I wish I still had mine kicking around. That is, if I were old enough to have had one in the....forget it - I'm not fooling anyone am I? =) Seriously though, great job. I don't remember just what track it was that I had but I do remember it was a lot of fun and I suddenly became the girl all the boys wanted to visit. lol. They just had a special something about them that you really don't see anymore, (the track not the boys). My son has a couple of really awesome tracks, but they just don't have the same "it" factor as those old school treasures. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.
lulastar1 on December 16, 2010:
Are you selling this?