What Is Dwarf Car Racing? Is Legends Car Racing The Same?

Dwarf car racing is one of the most unique forms of track racing on the planet. Starting as a hobby project by two budding racing enthusiasts, it has evolved into a global phenomenon with races being held throughout the year in several different countries. But what exactly is dwarf car racing?

Dwarf car racing is a form of car racing that uses 5/8-scale replicas of vintage race cars, taking place on oval tracks. Legends car racing uses the same scale of car, although it is a spec series, with the cars capable of reaching a higher top speed, so they’re not quite the same thing.

Knowing this, it may seem obvious why they are called dwarf cars. But it is not quite as simple as it sounds, and there is a lot of effort required to create and then race a dwarf car. So, let’s go into it in a little more detail and explore why dwarf car racing is so popular.

What Is A Dwarf Car?

Dwarf cars owe their existence to two friends back in 1979, when Ernie Adams and Daren Schmaltz decided that they wanted to challenge each other to create a scaled down version of some 1940s and ’50s race cars. The scaled replicas of vintage race cars that are now known as dwarf cars have stuck to the same 5/8 scale since the very first one was created in 1980.

Low Cost Racing

Dwarf cars are designed to be lower cost options for those that want to get into racing but don’t have a massive budget. By scaling down the sizes of the cars and limiting the engine sizes to 1250cc, the costs are scaled down as well. All-in, the cars can range from around $1,700 up to close to $10,000, but there are options for every budget in between.

Their modified style includes a lack of fenders over the wheels, which is never seen on a modern-day road car but adds to the unique nature of dwarf car racing. The engines being limited to 1250cc means that the racing isn’t the fastest of all the motorsports, but the cars can reach around 100 mph on the straights (160 kph), with the cars going round the tracks at steady speeds of 60+ mph (100 kph).

Race Car Construction

Aside from the lack of fenders, they are true race cars, equipped with steel roll cages. Their body is made of sheet metal, and the engines used are usually 4-cylinder motorcycle engines. They also have full racing suspension and are designed to suit the oval tracks that tend to be 1/4 mile to 3/8 mile long.

The Midwest Classic Racers company is an organization that regulates a lot of the dwarf car races in the United States. It costs $100 to register your car for a year, and then $50 per year to register it for competition. The final cost is a $20 fee per race upon completion, and so it really does not cost that much to get involved with dwarf car racing.

The Dwarf Car Company in Arizona is one of the main producers of dwarf cars, and the Western States Dwarf Car Association was the first governing body to be created around the sport. Since 1993 it has been an organization that has helped to grow dwarf car racing into a popular spectacle not just in the USA but also across the world.

Where & When Are They Raced?

Global Racing

Dwarf car racing is definitely not a motorsport exclusive to the United States, as there are dwarf car associations and race organizers across the globe. From Europe and Asia all the way to Australia, dwarf car racing has proved to be a very popular way for those on a tight budget to get into racing. Aside from the low cost, it is also a very exciting sport.

In America, there are several regional events every year. These usually begin around March or April, and they run throughout the summer into September. They are organized by various different groups, and the large community of dwarf car racers is spread across all 50 states.

A Popular Way To Race

There are between 80 and 100 dwarf cars on average at the National level, and this number has remained steady over the past decade or so. There are specific types of dwarf car racing as well, with the dirt cars being a popular option for racers too. These cars race in what is known as the Vintage Lite series of dwarf car racing.


• Dwarf car racing began in 1980

• Drivers use scaled down replicas of vintage cars

• It’s a relatively cheap way for enthusiasts to get into car racing

What Is Legends Car Racing?

Legends car racing is very similar to dwarf car racing. The same 5/8 scale is used to create replicas of ’40s and ’50s race cars, and within them is a Yamaha motorcycle engine. These cars have been raced since April 1992, just over a decade after the first dwarf car was created. They represent another exciting and low-cost way for people to get into the world of car racing.

The Same But Different

Legends cars are all part of what is known as a spec series. This means that they are all mechanically identical, although they may look different. This is because there are three varieties, namely the Standard Coupe, the 34 Coupe, and the Sedan model. It is down to personal preference which one the driver chooses, but they must choose one of these types.

Plenty Of Choice

The cars also come in a variety of 10 different body styles. This means that racers can get quite creative, and there is plenty of room for visual customization. This is one of the most important aspects of legends car racing, as it is really focused on making racing enjoyable, especially for those that are new to motorsport in general.

Unlike the dwarf cars, the legends cars do have fenders. However, they also differ in their top speeds, with legends cars capable of reaching 120 mph (190 kph). This means that legends car racing can be a very exciting motorsport to watch, with the drivers dealing with the challenge of grip in some very top-heavy cars.

A Large Following

The governing body of legends car racing series is known as INEX, which is the third largest short track sanctioning body with 3,500 members. This illustrates the large cult fanbase that is behind the sport of legends car racing. The company called US Legends Cars International is one of the largest producers of race cars in the world, capable of producing 40 cars per month.


• Legends cars look a lot like dwarf cars and they are the same size

• However, they run to a tighter set of specifications

• Legends car racing is an incredibly popular form of motorsport

Final Thoughts

Dwarf car racing is a type of car racing in which all of the racers drive 5/8 scale versions of old race cars, usually from the 1940s and ’50s. It’s a very cost-effective way for beginners to get into racing, and it can be very exciting to watch as well. A similar type of racing is known as Legends Car racing, with both being very unique motorsports in their own right.