The Tyco Viper Electric Racing is a slot car set manufactured by Tyco Industries, and released into the US, UK, and other markets worldwide in 1997.
Concept and Features
Based upon one of the most popular and iconic sports cars of the 1990s, the Dodge Viper, this Magnum 440-X2 racing set allowed fans of American Muscle Cars to race their favorite street race car on the tiny track!
At the time of this sets release, the Dodge Viper had became a household name and was known for its powerful V10 engine, distinctive body shape, and exceptional performance. In its heyday, the Viper was a symbol of American automotive engineering prowess, capturing the imagination of car enthusiasts worldwide.
Produced in the same year as the Mattel takeover of Tyco Industries, this set (as with many others) received a makeover shortly after its release, with a Mattel Wheels branded set in a compact, easy to carry and store box.
Track and Layout
The track of the Tyco Viper Electric Racing set features a simple figure 8 layout, with a total length of 8 feet. It’s relatively short, and uncomplicated design makes the track easy to assemble and suitable for beginners, with no more features than a bunch of guard rails to keep you on the track, the focus was entirely on the vehicles themselves.
This minimalist approach will have kept the price low, and ensured mass market appeal to a wider audience than other more hefty sets like the 1997 Tyco Lamborghini Championship.
Shipped with two Dodge Viper 440-X2 slot cars – one in red and one in yellow – and they look just great! It’s difficult to determine whether the cars are modeled after the first or second generation of the Viper, but considering that the second generation was released just six months prior to the slot car set, it is likely that the models are based on the more recent version.
Collectability and Availability
The Tyco Viper Electric Racing set is widely available on online platforms such as eBay, making it relatively easy for collectors and enthusiasts to acquire. The set is generally inexpensive, which adds to its appeal for both slot car racing fans and Dodge Viper aficionados. However, it is worth noting that most of the sets found online tend to be missing at least one of the cars. If you happen to come across a set with both Vipers included, consider yourself fortunate, as these complete sets are somewhat rarer and more desirable to collectors.
Photo of the Viper by Supermac1961 from CHAFFORD HUNDRED, England – Pair of Vipers, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18204924