Sunday, February 1, 2009

Rover Mini Cooper Racing

The Rover Mini Cooper Racing, which I just refer to as “the mini” from now on was the second Tamiya car I bought. I never had a road car when I was a kid and this kit is pretty cheap (this was before I ever thought I’d be hopping them all up).

The chassis is the front wheel drive M03, my thinking was: I have an off road rear wheel drive, so time to get an on-road FWD. I’m not saying my decisions are very logical, but there you go! :)

Like the Lunch Box it comes with non-ball bearings, standard silver can 540 motor and TEU-101BK electronic speed controller.

The body is clear lexan, which is painted from the inside, when you’re done painting you remove the plastic film from the outside and take a picture (because your car will never look as good as this ever again!) :)

I used Tamiya polycarbonate spray, white for the top and orange for the body. These pictures were all taken before I cut the posts.

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This was the first car I started to hop up. The first thing I did was ball bearings. Then I got some different tires, the stock tires that come with it wear out really quickly where I drive. I got some M-Grips, Super Grips and slicks to play around with. Soft and hard foam inserts (for those that don’t know, they simulate tire pressure and can change the handling characteristics of the car). Since I’m not a racer I don’t have anything conclusive, but I prefer the supergrips with hard inserts. Next in line was a new motor, I got a Reedy Stockstar 27T which really put some oomph on it. I also added a ball differential and universal drive shafts. With a more powerful drivetrain I needed better handling, I got the Tamiya M-Chassis Aluminum Damper Set and the anti-roll bars. Now the car started handling much better. As I smacked into things the front uprights took a beating, so I looked into getting aluminum front uprights, but they were quite expensive on their own. So I bought the MO3-R kit instead, it came with (among many other things) Aluminum front and rear uprights (the rears have a 1.5 degree toe-in further improving the handling). It’s crazy to think that my mini has tripled in price so easily. It’s fast and fun to drive, so I won’t complain too much :)

Since I now have two M03s I can do a lot of experimenting to see what makes the most difference. The guys over at have a lot of good info about this.

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