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Why I have a thing for older, vintage RCs (Tamiya and other brands)

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I haven't had a modern buggy kit purchase but have come close to getting one (dedicated LiPO kits). Four of a few reasons I haven't:

- I don't have much time so I can't dedicate much to it, like racing
- The buggy shell designs aren't memorable
- Don't have time to deal with LiPO and I live in a studio/building
- I have no attachment to it because I never followed anything post mid '90s so there's no nostalgia

But, one other thing related to my last item on the list is the kind of excitement and character I feel when I see older RC cars and the races. It seems more grand and wild. Here are two IFMAR 4WD race videos from 1993 vs 2019 to compare. It's interesting to see how things have changed in a span of 26 years. Although my favorite year might be 1987, 1993 was probably more exciting. With older tech everything is more unpredictable and fun to watch. I can't seem to have an attachment for anything very new. But, I'm getting something at some point, a kit perhaps from 2007-2010 (as far as I would go before the cockpit designs moved up front).

 

1993

 

 

vs 2019

 

 

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I'm coming at it from a similar point of view. I think it wasn't just older tech but older track design as well.

1993: you have cars jumping, what maybe 18" in the air, at the most?

2019: you can clearly watch the driver adjust the attitude of the car in the air, because there is so much airtime off each jump

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3 hours ago, El Gecko said:

I'm coming at it from a similar point of view. I think it wasn't just older tech but older track design as well.

I agree - those tracks couldn't be more different! The modern track looks like a smooth ribbon with loads of perfectly formed jumps - the 1993 track just looks like a really, really bumpy road by comparison. The drivers look like they are constantly fighting the multitude of little bumps everywhere. I'd say this is a huge factor in why it looks so much more unpredictable. 

Also what's with the cockpit moving to the front? This is the first time I've seen modern buggies - they look weird.

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Modern buggies are just ugly. They might be faster, stronger, drive better, and jump more, but where's the fun in that if they're just not worth looking at? Give me a fox, hotshot, boomerang or similar any day, I'm just not interested in anything newer (except maybe a scale crawler, but that's a different story)

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I have to say I like the older tracks because it suits the idea of an "off-road" buggy, and it adds some other interesting challenge for the drivers other than just relying on precision driving and super tuned vehicles.

 

34 minutes ago, rich_f said:

Also what's with the cockpit moving to the front?

I believe it's for aerodynamics. The cab/cockpit forward design is to help with traction and downforce. Now it's always about that pursuit for driving perfection and lap times. However, I wish things weren't too serious where they still maintained a scale look— because even with real racing cars, you wouldn't want to stick the driver that close to the front.

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11 hours ago, rich_f said:

Also what's with the cockpit moving to the front? This is the first time I've seen modern buggies - they look weird.

Strictly speaking many Tamiya buggies have forward cockpits too!

Our Thundershots, Vanquish and Terra Scorcher all have forward cockpits and even the Avante2001 is forward of centre. However they look a damned sight more attractive than the Cougar!!

I really don't like the look of either of my two different designs of cougar shell. I have both the Aerox and Penguin shells, I just find them pug ugly. I am trying to find a Tamiya buggy shell and undertray that may fit with a few mods, maybe a Dyna Storm.

Just look at how far forward the cockpits are in my daughters thundershot and vanquish, right against the back of the front shock tower, actually further forward than my Cougars.

img1721_912202031115_5.jpg

The Terra Scorcher is well forward but to be honest it is my least favourite buggy shell of all the ones we have. The thundershots, Egress and even Sand Viper I find more attractive.

img1721_927202054810_3.jpg

Even my Avante2001 cockpit is actually forward of centre, roughly same position on the shell as the Cougar but the much more sculpted and sleek Avante2001 carries the cockpit better.

avante2001_basher(3).thumb.jpg.2da5345b2ea6f52a297262b5944c6d44.jpg

And the UGLY Cougar

615897850_cougar_race(1).thumb.jpg.5f5b29f2741afdb1877dce25c0b9e4e9.jpg

It does show that a cockpit forward is not in itself a reason to have an ugly buggy.  I would argue that my youngest daughters thundershot and vanquish AND MY avante2001 are for more attractive than my Cougar. I think part of the problem is the wheelbase.

The Cougar has a 287mm wheelbase, the Avante2001 has a 257mm wheelbase and the Thundershot just 245mm? So as the wheelbase extends it means the cab forward design look odd, not in balance for the length of the car.

EDIT: Also the modern buggies are quite 'podgy' around the bonnet area just forward of the cockpit because, certainly on the cougar, this is where the electronics tray sits where the ESC etc is further back on all the other buggies, even the Avante2001 and Vanquish which are also mid motor same as Cougar. This 'Podginess' is what makes them even uglier. If the bonnet was steeply raked toward the front or sat low it would look more attractive but you'd have no room for ESC, receiver and fans etc. So I don't think it was for aerodynamics. You could move all the stuff back as there is even room in the cougar for that BUT you'd lose balance in the car and raise CoG as some electronics would have to site above the battery.

You can see in this picture that the motor and battery tray location dictate where the electronics go. Now in the case of the Thundershot and Cougar they both have the ESC, receiver and servo forward, the Avante2001 and DT02 have them at the rear. Oddly enough my Thundershot is the 2nd quickest by only fractions of a second behind the cougar on the postal racing, the Avante2001 and DT02 trailing by a wide margin. So the evidence suggests the more even weight distribution and lower CoG helps performance?

763146196_round7(8).thumb.jpg.6b36124b76c91892d8d1455351911839.jpg

 

Edit2: I too prefer the old style dirt tracks to drive on and to spectate. However I must concede that after a few hours running on each of our buggies on a dirt track or even our lawn it requires ALOT of washing, cleaning and lubing. When running on the local tarmac car park the buggies are often as clean as they started, no wash down required. Also the dirt and grit from the garden track and even lawn running gets into suspension joints, drive cups, UJ joints etc and leads to more rapid wear. Then, the dirt tracks or lawn surface conditions change rapidly depending on weather and get cut up easily. So I can well understand why for sustained use the racing was switched to astro/carpet or even hardwood floors. I actually like the jumps though, I used to jump my buggies all the time years ago off jumps not too dissimilar to modern track jumps BUT I used to get broken parts alot..... LOL

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I've been thinking about this and actually the modern buggies are actually more realistic in the sense they have a cab with large pillars (which would represent roll cage structure) and a solid roof. The  vintage Tamiya buggies use aircraft style fighter cockpit curved 'plexiglass' which simply would not exist on a real world off road racer.

I used to race, trial and marshall (even CoC on a few events) 1:1 Land Rovers in the 80's and 90's and rules meant roll cages and a solid roof were mandatory. Just like RC racing the 1:1 tracks got smoother, faster and less muddy/waterlogged as the sport evolved into the mid 90's. I got fed up with it as the Safari races became dominated with £100K custom built race machines trailered to a race whereas in the 80's many vehicles were actually just road vehicles, driven to the event, tyres swapped then raced. 

The only buggies that Tamiya produced that actually looked scale were SRB, Wild One, FAV and such like. The bulk of their better performing buggies such as Avante2001, Egress, Vanquish, Top Force Evo, Dyna Storm, Manta Ray and even my lowly Thundershot are all totally unrealistic.

So actually I would say that the reason that we prefer the looks of vintage buggies over modern race buggies is that the vintage buggies bare no resemblance to reality and instead are simply superb fantasy styling executed very well????

This old video show the sort of off road racers we used (in the UK) during the late 80's early 90's, all butt ugly but effective at the task. This video was filmed at Sidbury hill, on Salisbury plain, just 30mins from my house at the time. I drove there ALOT during the 80's and 90's. It was MOD property.

 

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One type of Modern buggy I do like are the Short Course truck based 1:8 scale conversions.  The J Concepts Bajr and other similar bodies have a nice aesthetic look to my eye. Granted those are bashers not racing buggies and more of a custom niche movement. 

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