I don't run mine often, but I love the way this car handles. I've added most of the 3-Racing options since run number one, but it was probably more fun before, if not as fast. With a standard motor, ball bearings, stabilizer set and low friction ally dampers, this car is an absolute hoot; I don't remember much about it's behaviour per-se, but I do remember grinning insanely the whole (long!) time. Since the upgrades, it's a very touchy drive, and you need to concentrate really hard to keep it on the straight and narrow. I think that's Trinity's fault though... I haven't run it with a standard motor with the upgrades. In standard form, and even modified if you're brave, this is a cracking drive. The car builds up to look better in real life than it does in these photos. Just bear in mind that it's VERY rear wheel drive, and that also means, only rear wheel brakes... J-Turns and Doughnuts galore.
I just built my M-04M GTA and I love this car. The build was very straightforward, and very fast- a little over an hour (not including bodywork) with a cordless screwdriver. I built the car stock, except for ballraces and a Sport-Tuned motor. My purpose for this (despite my habit for hopping things up from the start) was to see how the car performs while stock. I have swaybars, option dampers, etc set aside but I wanted to see what this car was about first.
The body is a pure pleasure. How beautiful it is, I hope we can get spares sometime soon as it would be a shame to wreck the body and not get a replacement. The separate grille and mirror detail is beautiful.
I used the stock ESC, Sport Tuned motor, and standard Futaba radio gear, nothing special. My first run was a surprise- this car is very quick with a Sport Tuned and stock gearing. It felt very light and handled well, even with the stock friction shocks. Also with a 3000 mah battery it seemed to run forever, thanks to the small size, light weight and 2WD drivetrain. I ran it with a few modified 4WD TL01's and TA03's and it was keeping up! The car will oversteer slightly but it's easy and fun to control. Braking hard sent the car in a 180 spin but with a little adjustment, it was cruising very quickly and controllably on course. Compared to my M03 it's on par with stability and has a bit of oversteer, which isn't a bad thing in my book.
This car is a real pleasure, I can only imagine what hop-ups will do for performance but out of the box, this car is a winner in both looks, build and performance! I would definitely recommend it!
This is one of my favourite Tamiya chassis, with one of the best looking lexan Tamiya shells on it. The level of detail is amazing, and unlike some of the other Tamiya re-releases they have kept the body and plastic detailing bits identical to the original kit.
This means you get a very detailed chromed headlight and grill set, plus chromed wing mirrors as well as a very scale looking detailed lexan shell. The wheels are also unique to this kit and the same as the original kit wheels. To add a real touch of realism I would recommend painting the wheels silver.
The M-04 chassis is a RWD one, and is well laid out with a fairly good weight front to rear weight distribution. Driving a RWD chassis takes a bit more practice that a FWD or a 4WD one in my opinion, but the effort is worth it. The chassis in stock form is well balanced and the car exhibits authentic RWD behaviour - its very easy to slide the back end out and keep it under control.
Even with just the stock motor this is still quite a quick car, probably due to the reduced weight and mechanical drag compared to the 4WD chassis. One upgrade that is essential though (aside from the compulsory ball bearings) is a set of the oil CVA mini shocks as this transforms the handling. The kit supplied friction shocks just aren't a patch on a proper set of oil filled ones!
When I bought my re-release kit in 2003 it only came with an MSC in the box. With the latest versions of this re-release I think you now get an ESC in the box as standard.
The only potential problem I have with using this as a runner is that last time I checked Tamiya have still not re-released the bodyshell as a spare. I ended up getting an original bodyset spare for the original kit. If you sue this as a runner you should expect some bodyshell damage as it has little protection from impacts.
The competition winning Giulia GTA Sprint this kit is based on is one of the most beautiful cars ever made in my opinion, (due in part no doubt to the styling by Bertone), and the Tamiya re-release kit reflects this perfectly - very scale looking. It looks fantastic just standing still!
If you only ever buy one RWD Tamiya kit, then get this one! It wouldn't surprise me if even the re-releases become sought after in future years as it really is a masterpeice of scale detail, as well as being a real hoot to drive.