Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Carrera's 1/24 Hot Rods-a review

Carrera 1/24 hot rods surprised me with their great handling and
driving fun. Dave's wood track is 22 feet around, with a seven foot
straight connected by a hairpin, a four foot straight, an ess, and a
sweeper. Drive a Slot.It through there, and a lap is over in two
seconds; it reminds me of racing with magnets, even though the track is
nonmagnetic. We had dropped the voltage to 11 with a string of diodes
in one of the main power leads. You would think a 1/24 car would
overpower this track, but no! The new rods are perfectly suited to it.
If the 18v motor turns some 20k on 18v, it turns 12k on 11, and 15k on 13.6v. We ran on both voltages, and everything was fine. Lights were good, power was good, drifting, braking, sliding, and CONTROL. The cars balanced power with traction and weight in a way I would call PERFECT. It reminded me of the very first slot cars I ran, long ago:
Strombeckers on a 13' figure eight. Those cars were underpowered, with an 8.5k, 16 g-cm motor (no misprint!), but they felt great to drive. Same with the Carrera. You really don't need all that much power for a great driving experience. Ask the guys who run NC1's! The mass of the Carrera cars makes them feel more like real cars in their response to driving input.

I stayed later than I had planned, the cars were so cool to drive. On the way home, I was thinking of low powered, heavy 1/24 cars I could build with vintage bodies, big tires, smooth motors, great gears . . .

Robert Livingston, Technical Editor Slot Car News

A night of racing the new Carrera 1/24 Hot Rods has made me realize that I've been missing out on this larger scale. And missing out on some great releases from Carrera. The new hot rods match up well together and have a great level of detail and presence on the track. The paint schemes on the cars is striking:

Both cars have very, very well done flames down the sides. And both cars have the same large modern design of wheels.

The motor detail is worth the price of admission alone:

An agreesively sloped grille on the '34 hot rod and a roofline that's strikingly like the Prowler:

And a wide fat chrome grille on the '41 hot rod:

As for performance Rob hit the nail on the head. These cars are absolutely fantastic to run together. They're smooth, and responsive and have excellent "feel" when you drive them.

They both have large swing arm guide holders and the usual reversing switch which looks amazingly tiny on these large cars.

We pulled the swing arm away to reveal the brass bearings underneath.

There are some nice details like the speakers across the back shelf of the '41.

The custom interior...

...the dash instruments on the '34...

...and the front suspension on the '34...

Both cars have plenty of room to pass on the Carrera track.

The '41 Hot Rod

On track test

The '41 felt heavy and slower than the '34 did. In fact the '41 fastest lap was a hard to turn 2.3 seconds with the average being 2.5 seconds. By contrast the blue '34 roadster turned a nimble 2.2 seconds fastest lap with a very easily paced 2.3 average lap. The roadster felt much lighter and cornered much more predictably than did it's portly counterpart. It was much easier to hang the tail out on the '34 as well. No such tail-out foolishness for the other 'rod. I guess that all the weight that made the '41 hot rod more driveable on the wood track was now working against it with magnets in play.

Even using the stock 13.8 volt power supply that came with the test track I have (the Fast & Furious set 17' lap length) the cars could easily get into deslotting trouble. I'm thinking that if you're going with magnet racing you may want to add a magnet (or at least one that's stronger than stock) to the '41 hot rod or at least adjust the magnet height.

And I shot one (of the many) deslots that happened during the 99 lap testing session.

To wrap this up...they're a great pair of cars to buy/race together. They are solidly made, well detailed and painted. What else can I say...take them out for a cruise around town.

Thanks to Carrera USA for the cars to review!
Publisher, Slot Car News

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