Model: (Click to see more) 99993: Parts
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The entire line of universals for the TA01/TA02/TA03 touring cars.
As my collecting continues to focus on the mid 90s touring cars, I've amassed many of the fantastic hop-ups that were released along with them. Next to the dampers, the universals were my penultimate challenge to find and complete.
The first set were simply designated as 'Skyline' universals since the touring car idea was still in its infancy and apparently TA01 was not considered a specific model with Tamiya yet. The design is the same as with the Top Force/ Manta Ray universals, (riding on 1150 bearings) but are only 39mm from pin to pin. Later this design would be used again, sold as a TA04 and TL01 hop-up, with the only real difference being that they were chrome plated instead of the natural hardened steel grey color. Tamiya must have liked this design because they've kept with it all the way up to the TRF415, and are now being produced in the rebuild-able 'assembly' style.
Note the requirement of brass joint collars behind the cups for the ball diff; Apparently there was some issue with the dimensions of these?
Next is the TA02 hop-up universal. These were Tamiya's newest iteration in design that attempted to put the universal as far in the hub as possible. Shaft length grew to 42mm and now required up-sized bearings. The outer hub bearing was a fat 1260 to support the new 6mm width, and a huge 1510 was used on the inside to allow the pivot point to be located within the knuckle. From what I can tell the original release was also a hardened steel finish like the Skyline set; The set on my TA02-RS is like this. I believe the set that's pictured here may be a later release due to the chrome plating.
Below are the TA02W front universals for the 200mm wide chasis configuration. To make the 190mm TA chassis wider, the front end was changed by adding the old TA01 hubs to the end of the TA02 arms, which now brought the shaft length to 46mm. The width adjustment in the rear was handled by only adding deep dish, wide offset wheels. Both of these ideas created some odd suspension angles, but I supposed it worked. Typical Tamiya, once again putting scale appearance over performance!
Note the absence of the joint collars for the ball diff - why are they not required here?
Finally the TA03 universal! These were now the same front to back; I was never a 'racer' so I'm not sure why Tamiya abandoned this design, but apparently it worked well enough to continue it throughout the TA03 series. Only differences from the TA02 set were in the finish. They now had chrome plating and blue anodised collars. The later 'limited edition' release #49098 was done in pink.
Added on lower left: The gold anodised TRF set from #58227. (Just remembered I had these!) I'm pretty sure this was the only other color done besides the blue and pink versions.
If you liked those pictures, you should see these...
49XXX Limited Suspension Arms Moulded in White