Analysis of individual cars
The Nissan Skyline GT-R Nismo (58099)
The Nissan Skyline GT-R Nismo was kit number 99 from Tamiya. A 1/10 4WD on-road car, it was one of the first of the touring series cars from Tamiya.
- 1/10 scale on-road vehicle
- 4 wheel drive (shaft driven)
- Plastic tub-chassis design
- Independent front and rear suspension
- fully independent coil spring in front & rear with oil filled dampers
- RS-540 Mabuchi motor
- Treaded realistic on-road tires
- Detailed lexan plastic body
This was one of the first on-road car to be derived from the Manta Ray chassis. The Celica GT4 Rally (kit 96) being the one to hold that honour. Based on the TA-01 chassis, it was the car that would go on to ignite the touring car craze in North America.
Prior to the TA-01, all on-road cars were based on pan-chassis vehicles. Pan-chassis vehicles are very simple cars with a flat pan main chassis (usually FRP or aluminum), live axle in the rear and a rudimentary front suspension system. Although inexpensive for the consumer, these cars were far from ideal for most driving conditions. The very limited suspension system and use of foam tires made the cars very tough to drive on anything but billiard table smooth surfaces. Given that most hobbyist were making use of their cars in their local parking lots, all the negatives of pan-cars came to light.
The ’01 would change all that. By utilizing an off-road chassis as a starting point, this car would be blessed with a compliant and strong suspension system from the get go. First off, the car would have four wheel drive for high speed stability. It would have a full travel, independent suspension system all around. Finally, everything would be damped by over sized oil filled shocks. All this gave the car the ability to handle parking lot bumps and irregularities with aplomb. As well, Tamiya installed true rubber tires which gave it exceptional grip on the dusty or uneven surfaces.
To create the TA-01, Tamiya took the chassis first developed for the Manta Ray and altered specific components to make it suitable for road racing. The suspension arms were shortened, shorter travel oil filled shocks were strapped in and both shock towers were lowered and reinforced. The fact that the gearboxes were designed originally for an off-road vehicle basically guaranteed that they would hold up to on-road use without breaking a sweat.
Kit 99 featured the TA-01 chassis with the Nissan Skyline GT-R body. Perhaps the most exciting car to come from Japan. A twin turbo, all wheel drive wonder, it was a very popular car in Japan and a great choice for the TA-01. As with all Tamiya lexan bodies, they’re created with a realism and precision that’s unmatched by anyone in the industry. Subtle details like a realistic spoiler and side mirrors are commmonly missed by their competitors.
For one of the first times, Tamiya used decals to trim off the headlights and taillights. This allowed the customer to paint the car with a one color pass. There was no longer a need to paint the tail lights separately anymore. Even a first time builder could get excellent results.
Kit 99 marked one of the first two cars that utilized TA-01 chassis. From its simple beginnings as a "modified" Manta Ray, the TA-01 went on to launch the touring car craze in Japan and North America. Today, touring cars dominate the current lineup of cars from Tamiya. In fact, touring cars are now available from Tamiya’s biggest competitors as well.
Many of the designs introduced in the ’01 would later find themselves in the TA-02 and other vehicles launched by Tamiya. Studying the ’02 you can see where its bloodlines are and where Tamiya modified the original design to better suit its job as an on-road car.
The TA-01 chassis has been around for a number of years, as such spare parts and indeed performance parts are still easily found. Note though that the body kit, wheels and shocks are not readily available anymore.
Generally robust vehicles, prospective buyers of used versions should exercise due diligence to ensure that the car is complete and working properly.
- Collectibility – 7 out of 10
- Fun to drive – 8 out of 10
- Parts availability – 8 out of 10