All my Cars Ever, Ranked Worst to Best

I don’t hate any of these cars,, I had at least some fun with all of them. But some were definitely better than others.

20. Tamiya Striker.

You might feel I’m being a bit harsh on my first RC car. But if I put nostalgia to one side for a moment, this was in so many ways a pigs ear of a car. Chassis, brittle and heavy. Looks, debateable at best. Handling, a brutally simple single trailing arm and friction shocks at the back and the less said about the front the better, all added up to a truely terrible drive. Mechanical Speed Control, made controlling the car even harder. Plastic bush bearings. Driveshafts that popped out or broke at the slightest hint of a bump. It’s a bona fide miracle I wanted to get into RC after this Carbuncle.

19. Brimod Bullet

Brimod Bullet

The second worst car I ever had, was a long forgotten oddity of 1980’s RC. Electric 1/10th on road was just getting started as “Pro 10”, and Wolverhampton engineering firm tried to get in early with a cheap, simple car. Sadly, it was a bit too cheap. The picture above was the only one I could find, and it’s been modded quite a bit from out of the box spec. And it would have to be, because the rear suspension was a block of nylon with a slot in the middle. The Flintstones engineering made it quite unpredictable to drive even in good conditions, virtually impossible in anything but. Shame really, but still bad. Beats the Striker because it didn’t fall to bits.

18. Team Associated RC10L

Less hopelessly awful to setup and drive than the Brimod. But still pretty finickety and crude to be really good fun. Pro 10 was an idea who’s time had not yet come. Expensive to boot. All the parts, particularly the rear drive hubs were beatifully made, even by today’s standards.

17. Tamiya Clod Buster

A great giggle of an RC. Fun to build. Excellent wow factor. Eccentric handling and the cringe factor of the cost of parts when you inevitably stacked into something concrete at speed made it a tainted own. The lack of racing or events to use it at, relagates it to a basher with limited bashing credentials.

16. Schumacher Cougar LD2

In other people’s hands, it’s a weapon. To me? Ugh. Setup was like trying to grab hold of a freshly buttered bar of soap. Then 4 turnbuckles broke in identical ways over the course of 11 Laps. No Thanks.

15. SG Space

Heavy, terrible dampers, return spring essentially an inaccessible, un-adjustable paperclip. Great in Mediterranian hot summer weather, pathetically hopeless in on a soggy Sunday afternoon in Halifax. Should be lower on the list, but it had an engine in it 🙂

14. Mardave Mini Assassin

This one’s difficult to place. But the manual is not up to snuff. The bodies are a bitch to fit. The quality of parts is a bit iffy, and requires quite a bit of fiddling and tweak voodoo to get it to go quick. That said, it’s lots of fun to race, and very satisfying when set-up correctly.

13. Schumacher CAT SWB

Utterly revolvolutionary, years ahead its time. One of the most important, iconic and influential RC cars ever made. And a total pain in the arse to build, drive, setup and maintain. Everything about this car was awkward, fragile or counterintuitive. Rear gearbox particularly over complex, and let me down badly a bunch of times. No torque split, no front over-runs and short wheel base made tracks with any traction a front grabby handful.

12. Tamiya Thundershot

My first 4wd, this is something Tamiya was really good at back in the day. Easy to build and maintain. Very few settings were adjustable, which meant you just had to learn how to drive around conditions or handling issues. Front mono shock looked cool, but caused the obvious problems. But it was reliable and robust to stand up to a beginner. Really rather fond of this.

11. Shumacher CAT XLS

Some of the problems with the SWB were sorted. Still stripped all the skin off your fingers to build it. Still in need of lots of tinkering to get it right, but lightening quick if you got it dialled in.

10. Kyosho Optima Mid 2020

We’re getting into the really good stuff now. Never owned one back in the day, which is a shame, because it’s way more forgiving to build and drive than the earlier CATs. The front drive hubs made from aluminium coloured Dairylea are a bit of a let down considering Kyosho’s quality reputation, but other than that, I really love this car. Anything above this, is very special indeed.

9. Schumacher Top Cat

Another game changer from Schumacher. The single deck pressed chassis in particular worked spectacularly well. Whether the laydown front shocks on F1 style pushrods and rockers was worth the issues, is debateable. Nonetheless, a quick car out of the box, and you’ve got to love them for trying.

8. Tamiya TT-01e Truck

The ancient, crude, simple and durable chassis was a doddle to assemble, and suprisingly good to drive. The body was horribly tricky, but worth the effort. A bunch of these on a small track is utterly hilarious. Cheap giggles with surprisingly close racing is always an RC winner.

7. Schumacher Pro Cat

Not content with sitting back on the laurels of previous success, Schumacher kept on simplifying and improving the CAT. The last of the line that I owned was the ProCat.

6. Schumacher Cougar KD

When I got back into 1/10th after a 30 year break, I got one of these. It was superb in the wet, but tricky getting the weight forward enough to get any steering out of it. But for my money, this and it’s sister car the Cougar KC were 2 of the best kits Schumacher ever did. In the right hands and conditions, these are still flying around quite well.

5. Schumacher Cougar

A Top Cat without the silly laydown front suspension. Special place in my heart because I got some really good results out of it. Put the right tyres on, and it just flew with out of the box settings. Only loses points because of horrible to build and maintain shocks.

4. Kyosho Salute

I picked this lesser known classic of the sport a few years ago on Ebay. This was “the one that got away” when I was a kid. And on reflection, I wish I’d gone for one of these back in the day. All I had to do was take it apart, replace some of of the worn out bits, put it back together, and bosh, a lovely vintage racer. I love this so much, I bought the Optima Mid Re-Re so I wouldn’t shag it up. A thing of joy, even with all the weight.

3. Team Associated B6.4d

Much Stronger and more stable out of the box than most of its peers. Even if you put hopeless settings on, it’ll still go fairly well. Endlessly adjustable, dripping with quality, only lost out on hair splitting on charisma points against two very special cars.

2. Serpent Spirit 6000

Strong to the point of being almost indestructible. Beautiful quality of engineering with most of the design concepts taken from full scale motorsport. with the right tyres and body it went like a stabbed rat and begged to be thrown at an Apex and blasted out the other side.

1. Mugen Seiki MTX4

RC Car perfection. Parts Quality, utterly top drawer. Manual made assembly and initial set up easy. Everything on the car was just in the right place. No other car I’ve had turned in like this, was as much fun to work on like this and most importantly, felt as special as this did. When it got nicked out of the boot of my car while I was unpacking my kit after a day’s racing, I was gutted to the point of tears.

Post Script

Since I strated writing this, my 21st car was purchased. The Team Associated B74.2d. AE’s latest and greatest 4wd 1/10th Off Road Buggy. I’ve got a few meetings under my belt with it now. And where does it fit? Well, firstly, it’s just as good a design as the B6.4d, strong and good quality engineering. So yeah, I think it gets to at least 3rd position. Does it drive as well as the Serpent? Yeah, it does. In fact I think to drive, it might be the best of the lot. Even in monsoon rain conditions, if the back gets a bit squirilly, just add a bit more rear ride height, and it will just plod round without any dramas, while the comptition get busy throwing in the boondocks. In the dry or on carpet, it’s a fucking animal. It just goes where you tell it, as fast as you can tell it and seems to have massive of potential to be tweaked to go even quicker. I love this car, a lot. But do I love it as much as the MTX4? Er..oof…um? I’ll get back to you on that one. If it goes as well at Tiverton as it seems to go everywhere else…

And before I sign off, Number 22 is quite probably on the way. Associated have announced they are replacing the B6.4 with the B7. I suspect I’ll keep my B6.4d as a wet car, it’s still the current world champion car, and I have a sneaking suspicion that it’s going to be tough to get the weight balance far enough to deal with UK tracks in the wet. I suppose we’ll see about that. Even given it’s bleeding edge features, it’s got it’s work cut out to match the joy of being an all rounder like the B74.2d or the MTX4. But it does have the whiff of something very special.

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