It seems the only constant with AutoArt is change these days, but more on that later. I unpacked a box of slot cars from AutoArt and found quite a pair inside. I'd reviewed the 1/24 AutoArt Bugatti Chiron recently, now the 1/32 was here as well as the "give it the beans down the straight" Veyron. During an examination by myself and Rob Livingston in the Slot Car News testing garages, we found the paint application of these cars stunning. The paint is so deep and smooth they have the appearance of being wet sanded prior to the final application of paint. While I doubt this is the case, these cars have just perfectly smooth finishes.
Massive chrome wheels grab your attention more so than the slightly "flatter" finish on the Chiron.
The model of the engine on both cars offers lots of detail with no blemishes to speak of on the edges of the plastic. Which is a good indication of the level of quality that AutoArt gets from the Chinese production of these cars.
I must add before removing the cars from the bases I noticed new mounting brackets that the cars sit on, while they're screwed down to the bases. There are 4 small pegs, that fit into small holes on each corner of the chassis of the cars. So when the cars are screwed down they can slide around on the chassis because the pegs hold them in place. But then there's the twist tie that holds down the back axle too...wow AutoArt sure has gone to great lengths to make sure the cars stay put on the plinth.
When I flipped the base over to remove the 2 extra guides that are provided with the cars I noticed something else. They guides are different from the most recent cars I'd seen from AutoArt. Not only are the brushes not wrapped around small tabs on the guides, but there are eyelets there to help hold the lead wires! But the best surprise was yet to come.
So I was fully not expecting any surprises when I opened up the cars. But was I wrong! There were the gears driving the front and rear wheels. The nice brass bearings at all for corners on the axles and drive shafts. The 5 noise suppressors...the BLACK STRIPE MOTOR....wait...WHAT????? Hold the phone...ok, ok, everyone take their seat please. Recently the 1/32 AutoArt cars have come with a Mabuchi S-can with a red stripe. Was this the first sighting of the new motor that AutoArt told me about 3 months ago might be appearing in their cars? But looking over other reviews, one posted on Slot Forum and the other on Home Racing World a while back, I see this was the standard motor for some time now. So either no one noticed the change in motors, or I'm way off base....I'll be willing to accept either, or both.
With the motor surprise fresh in my mind I eagerly opened up the Chiron just to make sure I wasn't seeing things. Not only was there a black stripe motor (with 2 square holes on top, just like the Fly and Scalex cars) but 3 of the noise suppressors were "missing"...the plot thickens.
While I have no motor tester here, rest assured these motors will be examined by our crack Tech Inspector (aka Mr. Livingston) at our earliest opportunity.
A short trip to the plastitrack and I found the Veyron quite a bit less coasty than the 911 GT3RS that I had sitting on the track already. Yes there is no doubt about it, more brakes!
It would appear that not only has AutoArt listened to slotters and put drivers (and yes the same pink-clad passenger is in this car too...something that maybe should be left out of upcoming releases in my opinion), they've changed the guides and made them deeper. They've now apparently changed the motors as well. The biggest gripe about these cars, aside from the "only street car" complaint heard often, was the lack of brakes on their cars. This appears to have gone the way of the dinosaur now as well.... well who at AutoArt would like to stand up and take the cheers of a grateful slot car nation?
On track testing of the Veyron yielded times of around 3.1 seconds lap time on the Carrera "Bay Bridge" test track. For comparison an AutoArt 911(997) Porsche lapped the track with a fastest time of 2.8 seconds. The Veyron definately feels like it brakes quicker but accelerates more slowly than the "older" 997 Porsche (which has the "red stripe" motor).
I give high marks to AutoArt for continuing to improve the guide design and to appear to have listened to the chorus of slotters who wanted a motor that had better brakes.