Company History

Scale Auto's roots date back to Slot Car Racing's "Golden Era" - the 1960's. Ron Granlee owned a very popular 1/24th raceway in the Long Beach area of Southern California called Speed & Sport. Along the way, Ron started a small mail order company, running it out of the back of his 24th raceway. The mail order business carried the same name and quickly became known as "the place" to order H.O. scale slot racing equipment. During the early '70's, the area where Speed & Sport was located decided to build a new freeway which would run right through Ron's shop. As a result, Ron was forced to close his raceway but he was paid a tidy sum to do so. As it turned out, the freeway was never built but Speed & Sport, the raceway, was now history. During Ron's years as a raceway owner, Champion's Bob Rule talked him into becoming a West Coast distributor for Champion products. Ron soon added other slot car lines to the distributing business so, by the time his raceway was forced to close, he was ready to become a full-time distributor and H.O. scale mail order business.

One of Ron's regular H.O. customers was Gary Beedle, who would often visit Speed & Sport to pick up high-performance parts for his own racing effort. Ron must have seen something special in Gary because, in December of 1974, he asked him if he would be interested in going to work at Speed & Sport. At the time, Gary was completing his college education at California State University Long Beach while making his living as a baseball and tennis coach at a local school. Unable to resist the temptation of actually working within the hobby he enjoyed, Gary agreed to work with Ron. In January 1975, Gary joined Ron in a venture that would, within a few years, become the largest slot car racing and R/C distributing business in the world.

When Gary started working at Speed & Sport in 1975, he and Ron were hard pressed to work even three days a week. This was fine with Gary as he was completing his college education and Ron finally had the exceptional help needed to make the business a success. Upon Gary receiving his initial college degree in 1976 (he continued his educational pursuits - while meeting his future wife - at CSULB through 1983), the decks were finally cleared to grow the business. Speed & Sport moved out of Ron's garage and into a 1,500 s.f. industrial building in the city of Buena Park. They quickly outgrew the place and soon bought, and moved into, an 8,000 s.f. building in the city of Cypress, California. As Speed & Sport Distributing continued to grow, there was less and less time for handling the H.O. mail order side of the business. In January of 1978 Gary took it over, moved it to the city of Westminster and re-named it Scale Auto. While Gary started building up the H.O. mail order business on the side, he continued to help Ron expand Speed & Sport's customer base until they became the dominant distributor of both Slot & R/C cars in the mid-80's. At the height of Speed & Sport's success, Gary, and his wife Nicky, decided it was time to start a family so they made the decision to leave Southern California and fixed their sights on the Pacific-Northwest.

How did Scale Auto end up in Redmond? At the same time Gary and Nicky were planning their move, Gary Kyes of MRP (one of the original R/C manufacturers located in Kirkland, Washington) was planning a move down to Southern California to start work at Gil Losi's Ranch Pit Stop. Gary K. just happened to own a house in Redmond so he suggested that Gary B. take a look around the area. It only took one quick trip to Redmond for Gary to decide this would be Scale Auto's new home. Scale Auto's physical move to Redmond took place in March of 1985.

Quickly running out of operating room at their original location, Scale Auto made the move to a 3-acre property on, what was called, the Sammamish Plateau in October of 1989. Since then, Scale Auto added a 2,750 s.f. warehouse, a complete separate manufacturing and test facility, and ocean containers full of H.O. merchandise.

Along the way, Scale Auto has been instrumental in promoting the hobby/sport of H.O. scale slot car racing. Through Scale Auto, BSRT introduced high-quality "pro" H.O. parts that made it possible for everyone to compete on a level playing field. Scale Auto offered Bucktrax commercial tracks and LaneMaster computer software, both allowing H.O. slot racing to become a viable commercial possibility. Scale Auto was responsible for saving the Aurora AFX brand in the late 1990's as Gary put up the money and secured the North American selling rights so AFX could see the light of another day. This new venture, started by Gary along with Jim Russell (of Russkit fame), became today's Racemasters company.

Scale Auto has totally supported organized racing, especially through their sponsorship and support for two of the most successful H.O. racing programs ever, the original Southern California-based HOUROC racing organization and the current Pacific-Northwest HOPAC group. As long as founder Gary Beedle continues to enjoy his hobby, Scale Auto will likely be around in one form or another promoting the hobby/sport of H.O. scale slot racing. We hope you'll get a chance to enjoy a part of Gary's five-decades long work.


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