The California 500 (named after the open wheel USAC race at Ontario Motor Speedway) is an oval Fat Track layout for Mattel’s Hot Wheels Sizzlers.
This poster promoted the connection between the California 500 and Hot Wheels.
This 1971 set has two nice features to make racing easier; the Scramble Start and the Lap Computer.
Setting 2, 3 or 4 cars off at the same time is a bit of a circus so Mattel came up with the Scramble Start. It employs the principle used by Europe’s Formula 1 series where cars begin each race from a standing start. Just push the red button and all 4 cars are turned on. Release the button and away the cars go!
Action is so intense on Fat Track and the speed so high that it is hard to keep track of what is going on in a race. To put a bit of order into the situation Mattel developed the Lap Computer which can count 100 laps for 4 separate cars. Each car receives an antenna on its back bumper that triggers a specific lap counter for that antenna position.
This Sizzlers set includes: 10 feet of black Fat Track, 2 – 180 degree Fat Track curves, 1 Scramble Start, 1 Lap Computer, 3 joiners, 2 V-clips and 1 Juice Machine.
To add a little extra passing action, I am adding a Fat Track Strip Pak to the layout. This puts 8 more feet of black Fat Track into the oval.
The result is this track.
So there you have it. An introduction to the 1971 Hot Wheels Sizzlers California 500 Race Set.
It’s still fast. Still fun.
And here are some pictures of the California 500 Layout set (Cars & Juice Machine not included).