Subaru Impreza WRX STi Team Arai
Right when it was released back in 2012, I added a line for the XV-01 chassis on my "wish" list. I confess this list is pretty long and tends to keep growing despite adding new models to my collection on a regular basis .
Anyway, I kept on checking my favorite sites for discount offers, but XV-01 based kits remained quite expensive. More recently, I added ebay for second hand models. As per normal, a deal showed up and I clicked.
The XV-01 chassis family
After they abandoned the RC Rally scene after the TB-01 chassis in 2000, Tamiya decided to re-enter the category with a chassis specifically designed for this purpose. As a matter of fact, despite being well-suited for that purpose, I do not consider the DF-03Ra as a chassis designed for rally because it is a derivate from the DF-03 buggy. Which I confess is not fair: the TA-01 is a pure on-road chassis even if it is a derivate from the DF-01 buggy. Yes, but still .
The XV-01 is a 4 wheel drive belt-driven chassis with rally genes released in 2012. A limited series evolution called "long damper" was also released in 2014, but the complete models shown below all use the standard chassis version:
58526 XV-01 Pro (2012)
84375 XV-01 Long Damper (2014)
58528 Subaru Impreza STi Team Arai (2013)
58562 Subaru XV (2013)
58569 Lancia Delta Integrale (2013)
58573 GAZOO Racing TRD 86 (2013)
Photos © Tamiya
Ever-lasting Lancia Delta!
One of RC's most beautiful bodyshell ever: obviously, Tamiya loves it (probably because we, customers, have been loving it too for over 20 years ). Unfortunately, there is no replica of a single modern car from the WRC championship: truth to be said, recent years real cars are smaller and may be difficult to adapt to the 257mm standard wheelbase. Not counting official team royalties claims...
Anyway, Tamiya didn't restrict the use of this chassis to rally, so new variants were quickly released:
58552 Asterion (2012)
58558 XV-01TC Pro (2012)
Photos © Tamiya
The first model is a "truck" variant such as the 1995 or 2011 Ford F-150 on TA-01/TA-02 or TA-02T chassis, or even the Cayenne S Transiberia (58406) and Team Repsol Mitsubishi Lancer (58421) on the DF-01 chassis.
The second model is a pure on-road variant resembling the TA-03F in many aspects: the XV-01 then loses the mud guards, belt cover and electronic tray covers. In fact, this TC version (for Touring Car) is an XV-01 Pro chassis fitted with TA-06 arms. This variant makes the XV-01 suited for pure on-road and drift usage.
In the end, for a chassis designed with rally in mind, the XV-01 has truck, pure on-road and drift variants. Or may be the XV-01 was not designed only for rally? Probably, because the name XV could mean Crossover Vehicle, which is a designation in the car industry for multi-purpose platforms. If the XV-01 chassis revealed to outperform any competitor in these three categories, then it would have been a tremendous achievement for Tamiya: this did not happen. However, the fact is that the XV-01 revealed to be truely well-suited to these three categories if we believe the goods comments left by owners. As far as I am concerned, the rally version is the one I am interested in: refill the washer fluid because the windshield won't stay clean for long .
My Subaru Impreza STi Team Arai when it arrived
After clicking once again (damned mouse!), my new model arrived at home. First, two photos published by the seller which made me follow the auction closely:
The first one shows a model on which the body is not correctly fitted, but it looks in good overall condition. This is confirmed by the second photo showing the chassis underneath and the tires. In addition to other photos and the seller's description, my opinion was that the model had barely been used, probably if not only indoor. Moreover, the model didn't look like having suffered from hard impacts.
So now here's what I received a few days later:
Overall, what I received is an exact match to the seller's description and my opinion based on the photos. And no, there is no optical illusion: the bodyshell is not centered on the chassis. The problem is a nearly 1cm mistake when the previous owner trimmed the body posts holes: difficult to explain that mistake since the bodyshell has molded marks pointing where to trim. No big deal, that is exactly what I suspected from the auction photos: I think I can trim it properly, even if the result won't be nice. Anyway, I didn't plan to use this bodyshell for any beauty contest.
As far as the chassis is concerned, it is hard to find any wear on the rally-block tires and I had to look closely to spot 4 light scratches on the chassis bottom. Definitely, this chassis was driven at least once indoor, barely more often.
As usual, I will entirely strip the chassis down, both to check the build and to enjoy the discover of a new chassis. I will also install a few hop-ups for reliability.
XV-01 chassis hop-ups
As usual with Tamiya, many hop-ups were released for this chassis. Since all of them are not absolutely required, I only selected these for my model:
54428 TA-06 Steel Bevel Gears
54378 XV-01 Slipper Clutch
54515 XV-01 Assembly Univ Shaft - Front
54516 XV-01 Assembly Univ Shaft - Rear
Photos © Tamiya
The XV-01 transmission is known to be weak, in particular when using powerful motors: the plastic bevel gears in the front and rear differentials get worn very quickly. This problem was already known with the TA-06 and FF-03 chassis that use these same bevel gears, so the solution is the same: the hop-up steel bevel gears set from the TA-06. The slipper clutch is also an option that will greatly contribute to preserve the transmission from the motor power rage, in addition to bringing a smoother traction, which is always nice in rally due to the (very) short gear ratios.
As for the universal shafts, I now tend to install them whenever I can on my frequent runners because they help reducing the play when transmitting power to the wheels. One more thing to notice about the universal shafts on the XV-01 chassis: the front units are longer (42mm) that the rear (39mm).