Took ages to photograph them all!
The Jouef firm was founded in France quite literally the same time as they were liberated from Germany in 1944 by a bloke called Huard.
First toys were tin plate cars & planes ect. Next they became massive producers of HO railways in continental Europe.
Really we can only guess at the decision to go 1/40 scale.
Jouefs slot system was always advertised as table top racing.Unless you had a huge table you couldn`t do that with Scaley.
They also tied in very strongly with Playcraft (Mettoy) Toys Ltd. from Britain. Playcraft were world famous for their Corgi diecast vehicles. Corgi cars were 1/43 scale, so the 1/40 of Jouef weren`t too far out. Corgi also produced race buildings & figures(they are all featured on my layout) . These were all sold in conjunction with the Jouef slot car system(Champion Motor Racing) throughout the English speaking world. You will find them in Australia.
Incidentally, between 1964 and 1968 Jouef also produced model railways for Playcraft.
The only other UK producer (of any note) of 1/40 scale slots during the 60s was SRM. I`ll post some pics tomorrow of them.
I`ve got two Wrenn Grandstands on that layout. Wrenn was a tiny 1/52 scale. However, their grandstands are a perfect size for any 1/40 or 1/43 scale layout-if you can find one!
The engineering that goes into a Jouef slot car is incredible. Until 1975 parts were all hand assembled on a cottage industry basis, then they went to the main factory for final assembly.
Between 1963 and 1970 each car had full steering, fully adjustable spring loaded pick-up shoes & unlike their competitors there was no soldered wires anywhere(except for a tiny few early 1963 models with oscillating motors).
No oiling was or is necessary!
The only weak spot is pre 1968 models can lose motor magnet strength- easy fix with a re-zap.
How do they compare with Scalex of that period? Quality & performance of the cars are on par. However, the system was let down massively by the tracks brittle nature. I have to be so careful when handling the track.
During the 1960s the cost of a car in the UK was 19 shillings for any standard colour car, & 21 shillings for a gold or chrome car. That`s give or take £1 each in new money, still a lot, my Dad was on £6 a week down the coal mines then!
Price as a collectors item now? A good start would be to buy a green BRM or red Ferrari F1 car. They will not go on Scalextric Classic track, but should have no probs on the new Sport Tracks deeper slot.
You can get a lovely one of these for £15GBP.
Maximum I`ve paid for a rare example? £800 GBP. The French & Dutch know their Jouef & because of the rarity of many of the cars you do have to compete.
If you want to try Jouef ensure that any model you buy has all parts attached. Spares are very hard to source.