the schuco varianto wheel explainedThe Schuco Varianto system was introduced in 1951. In the advertisements it was called "the Automatic traffic game featuring a new kind of wire track never seen before". It was sold for more then 15 years. In those years Schuco introduced a variety of cars, gift boxes and accessories. Some of them are nowadays highly sought after. With the flexible spiral guide wires you can build a large variety of lay-outs. Not bounded to any rigid shapes, as it is the case with railroad track. The car with its guide wheel, located at the bottom of the vehicle, steers itself onto the guide-wire and visits the different accessories on the track. The cars features a gear-and-stop lever which serves as speed selector and starts and stops the car. Because you can fasten a steering wire to the steering rod you can drive the car also freely on the surface. In this way it acts the same as the Schuco 3000 Telesteering car.
 
example of the schuco varianto radiator mascot

The first limo and lasto had a radiator mascot. In forward position the car has a free-movable guide wheel turning for Varianto-drives on the guide wire as well as telesteering drives. In the backward position it clamps the guide wheel axel and makes it possible to play aiming games and circular drives without guide wire or steering wheel. The guide wheel is set by hand into the direction desired. The cars with the mascot are rarer then those without. The cars with the mascot and the early ones without have the most beautiful colours of the varianto series. For example: midnight blue, mid-grey, dark green, (light) olive green, sky blue and light blue. Those colours do not come often on the market. Beginning and more experienced collectors may have never seen much of these colours in real. See for an overview the button colours.

 

In 1954 Schuco introduced the elektro series. These electric cars could drive almost 12 hour on 2 1,5 volt batteries. The cars have no speed selector and run only at one speed. Also electrical accessories were introduced. A transformer and a gas station for charging the batteries powering the electric cars, electro-magnetic junctions, custom check points, etc. The elektro cars can be used together with the clockwork cars. The more special colours for the electro are: maroon, mid-blue and dark blue.

 

All the varianto cars are made from tin except the 3040 VW Beetle and the 3040 P VW Beetle Police. These are made of die-cast and are heavy. This is the reason that they do not drive well up the bridge. The spring is just not powerful enough.

 
example of the diecast 3040P schuco varianto police car