The Other Jim Russell

The Other Jim Russell

(Reader John Kit, an avid racer of both slot cars and F2000 cars, discusses an important figure it slot car racing – also named Jim Russell)

Most of you are familiar with the Jim Russell of racing school fame, but there was also another man of the same name. The Jim Russell of this tale was a business consultant in Los Angeles in the very early 1960′s. Needing to pass some time one weekend, a friend introduced him to a new hobby of racing scale cars, powered by electric motors, around a track. It was the then new activity to be known as model car racing.

Jim took to the idea of model car racing and built his own track in his den. The result of an accidental varnish spill over one of his scale car bodies resulted in the idea of producing a coating to protect these scale racers from scratches that resulted when intense racing was done. He called the product “Russ-Coat” and started marketing it in 1963.

The success of this product and his interest in the hobby lead to the creation and marketing of other products related to the now booming model car racing hobby. His timing was impeccable. By 1963 the Wall Street Journal reported that the model car racing market was worth $100 million dollars. By 1965 there were more commercial venues to go and race model cars than there were bowling alleys in the United States.

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