Baja Champ
Model Number: 58221




4WD shaft drive, 2 geardiffs


4 wheel double wishbone, coilover friction shocks

Chassis Description


Body Type

Clear Lexan body & wing



The Baja Champ uses a modified TL-01 chassis with longer suspension arms. A quick buggy that has the added bonus of the availability of all the TL-01 hop-ups. Can be a dark horse when modified. {acprc} TRIVIA: sticker sheet has logos of RIKO (UK Tamiya agent) and Toy Traders (Australian). {added by PandaBear!}(Previous update by WillyChang)



4/2/2004 1:01:19 PM

I like this car - but first comment - this isn't as rugged as you would expect from a buggy.

Based on the popular TL01 chassis (meaning loads and loads of spares and hop ups), this has been given longer suspension arms to give a wider track.

Out of the box, it's ok I suppose, with standard silver can 540 motor, plastic bearings and awful friction shocks. I would suggest that ALL of these need replaceing, better motor, real bearings, and some oil shocks (CVA Mini shocks fit well)

With these hop ups, the car flies quite well, but will never be a confident condtender for any real racing. Saying that though, huge amount of fun for flying around the park and bashing.

Regarding bashing, this is perhaps my biggest gripe. The TL01 is not designed for bashing. In addition, Tamiya decided to mount the lower arms directly onto the chassis - In a big smash, these crack on the chassis itself, meaning , you guessed it, whole new chassis. Whilst this isnt too pricey, because of the layout of the car, you have to pretty much dissassemble the WHOLE thing to replace it.

In addition, the gearbox is not sealed, and as such lets grit, sand and muck in. This isnt going to be great for wear on the gears, hence loads of stripping and cleaning I suppose to keep in good shape. Again, because of layout, this is a pain, as it means taking most of car apart to get at it.

Car is 4wd and shaft driven. Standard planetary type diffs front and rear (can be upgraded to Manta Ray type ball diffs). As it stands though, with oil shocks, I think it handles pretty well.

Styling for me is superb - preferable to the identical chassis'd Baja King. This looks like a buggy to me and I love it.

A huge amount of fun, but can get frustrating when something breaks. Oh well! go get one, they aint too pricey


2/19/2003 5:43:52 PM

I think this is a very underrated car and in my opinion gives plenty of bang for your money. But first I will cover the negative aspects of the car. The car is designed as an offroader, and therefore it is a little disappointing that the coil suspension units result in a high degree of bumpsteer on rough terrain. Get yourself some oil shocks ASAP. Also, the plastic bushings should be replaced by ball bearings. This will set you back about £16 - but once you do.......

The car is GREAT fun! It is very quick (gets about the same speed as a Dirt Thrasher on rough terrain) for what is essentially a beginner's model, and with it being based on the TL-01 chassis there are loads of hop-ups to make it even quicker. Apart from the aforementioned bump steer it handles rough terrain extremely well and will absolutely scream across a dirt track. It is basically a car you buy just to have fun with. Let it get dirty, skid it all over the place, take it over ramps, whatever, it will handle itself with great proficiency. I really like it - unfortunately it is now being restored due to a high-speed collision with a tree


1/22/2003 1:44:42 AM

I bought my Baja Champ becuase I kept finding that most of the time when I just wanted to "play" with my R/Cs that i spent an aweful lot of time trying to find a big patch of flat ground to run them.

The idea of a sedan style chassis coupled with more ground clearance and big wheels was very attractive.

Sure the baja Champ isn't a pure buggy, and it doesn't have a lot of the construction features a good buggy would have. But the Baja Champ is a great dirt/rough surface runner. Consider it as a car that you'd build for yoursefl (or your kids) to let them run on hard surfaces, and then bound off down a dirt track with ease.

When the terrain gets rougher the car does suffer, but for the most part the shorter front suspension travel, and tall gearing don't stop you from having a great time!

The chassis like all TL-01s is simple and tough, The body is quite hard to paint but don't let that stop you, most of the time it will be covered by dust anyway!

Overall I'd say it's great fun, buy one, get a full set of bearings, an ESC and just go have some fun!


12/8/2002 6:44:14 PM

Just the name gives you that sweet flashback to the times when buggies dominated the Tamiya RC-range! The low price, the simple design and the looks made me quite enthusiastic the first time I saw the Baja Champ. Is the model any good? Yes and no. A buggy based on the robust TL01-chassis is a good idea and it's quick and easy to assemble, but (to keep costs down) Tamiya kept modifications to a minimum, and the performance suffers. Even with the original longer TL01-B suspension arms, the suspension travel is rather limited, and as there is no overlap between the gearbox halves on the TL01, debris and sand tend to find their way in to the gears. This of course happens to the TL01 "street" and rally cars, but the problem is bigger in off-road use. A strip of duct or glass tape is a solution, but it doesn't look so great. Also, with the same gear ratio as the touring and rally cars, but with larger diameter buggy wheels and tires, the Baja Champ has to little torque out of the box. It's not possible to mount a smaller pinion gear without "major surgery", so very hot motors are not suited for the Baja Champ. Otherwise, the model is mechanically good.

The friction dampers are really good enough for most beginners, and the simple suspension geometry is also acceptable for an entry level buggy.

There are a few details that I don't like. The antenna pipe mount and the wing mounts are made of relatively soft plastic which is good for durability, but as they are mounted with only one screw each, the soft plastic makes it impossible to keep them in fixed position because they "rotate" on the screws and increasing the tightening torque just deforms the plastic.

The lexan body isn't among Tamiya's most beautiful or easy to paint, and because the model is based on the TL01 chassis, the battery protrudes unfamiliary towards the front of the model for a buggy. The Baja Champ is not such a good replacement for the Manta Ray / Dirt Thrasher as one could hope, but it's cheap and simple and with the technically identical new version, the # 58301 Baja King, it has a nice body too!

For the records, I have built 5 Baja Champs and serviced many more for customers, and though I'm not fully convinced, I think it's a great beginner's car for a very competitive price.

I have added ALL available Tamiya Hop-Ups on my own Baja Champ, but a Manta Ray with ball bearings is still a better performer.