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1968 - The Ferrari Dino, MkIV Club Specials and The Viper
1968 was to be the big year. For the first time ever, a proper catalogue was produced and Victory took a stand at the International Toy Fair in Nuremberg. The price list reflected the move from niche to mass market. Gone were the mass listings of spare parts and components, replaced by much greater focus on the sets and range of cars.
The 1968 Catalogue
But Christmas 1967 was precisely when the slot car bubble had burst. Manufacturers had been pouring sets and models onto the market as fast as they could produce them for the past 3-4 years and worldwide things had reached saturation point. People had bought sets for Christmas, but in the main they had been looking around for something else. The last thing shops and distributors wanted now was any more sets and Victory, like the rest of the trade found few orders at any of the trade fairs. Victory had put forward three new sets, none of which stimulated enough interest to go into production.
The Ferrari Dino, like the Porsche before it was also lined up to be produced in three version - The standard R69, Club Special R68S and kit version K.II, but orders for the kit version were also insufficient to make production worthwhile. A fourth reworking of the Club Specials offered a new laminated three-pole armature and Victory's fastest motor yet, but even here Victory found few takers. Club enthusiasts were now busy reworking their own motors to such an extent that no manufacturer could hope to keep pace with developments and Victory's motor was out of date even before it reached the shops.
If this paints a grim picture, its perhaps worth noting that Victory's sales don't appear to have plunged into terminal decline. Indeed, turnover seems to have continued at a steady pace throughout the year but with the market shrinking day by day, it was clear and aspirations of a massive boom in sales were pie in the sky and Victory's 'young high flyers' must have wondered what their next move should be!
In September, Victory released The Viper, their first and only model not to replicate any real vehicle. This and several other of the F1 cars around the same time were offered with shiny plated bodywork. Some appear silver and some appear gold but without any sort of reference material its unclear if both colours were offered or if this is simple the result of the less than perfect plating technique used. How and why the Viper came about isn't known, but I can only assume the gold version was something they thought "guaranteed to startle the opposition into a host of mistakes" to quote the only review I've seen of the car which appeared in Model Cars.
What was certainly unknown at the time the model was produced was that this was to be Victory's swan-song.