Detroit-based Slot Mods Raceways makes the ultimate petrolhead toys for those that have the space. And money. Whether you want to have a track of your own design built or a downsized facsimile of an existing circuit, the company will create something very special and highly detailed, even going as far as using real metal for the Armco barriers instead of plastic.
This particular project is quite different from Slot Mods’ previous projects, however - it’s a car factory, but no ordinary one. What you see here is an amazingly intricate recreation of Fiat‘s famed Lingotto plant, known for having a one-kilometre test track on its roof.
Said test track is present and correct with four slot lines and the banking at either end. It’s populated, of course, by Fiat 500s. Using a combination of 1/32 and 1/24 scale models, there’s also a production line, the iconic spiral ramps and a showroom complete with ‘customers’.
It’s just under five metres long and took two years to build for a “private collection”. The cost? Around $225,000 (£185,000), Jalopnik reports. If you don’t have quite that much money, the FAQ on the Slot Mods website does note that a more conventional 1.8 x 3.6-metre “scenic raceway” can be built for $50,000 (£37,000) and up. A bargain, in comparison.
As for the real thing, these days, it’s a shopping centre. When it was still running as a factory, cars would make their way up the building’s five floors via spiral staircases at either end, finally emerging completed on the roof ready for a go around the heavily banked test track. The latter should look especially familiar, as it had a memorable role in The Italian Job’s famous car chase.
While innovative in its day, the Turin-based facility was becoming increasingly dated and unviable throughout the 1970s, and by 1982, it was closed entirely. Thankfully, the building was given a long-term future after Architect Renzo Piano, architect of London’s Shard skyscraper, reimagined it as a multi-use leisure facility. In recent years, the test track has been transformed into the ‘Sky Drive’ roof garden.