Friday, August 24, 2007

AUTOArt Porsche Carrera GT-review

It's bright red, it's low, and guess what...it's a great model! But there is more to say about the new AUTOArt Carrera GT. Each new model Aa has released has seen changes, this release is no exception.
First some of the body details worth noting. Deep, rich red paint that's flawless. Nicely done tail lights and rear body valence (the valence is a separate piece I found out when I took the car apart).
The question came up on a message board if this car has ever been raced, I asked Porsche Motorsport USA, and the answer was a definate "NO". Porsche has used various parts on this car in competition but this car itself hasn't seen track time in a race...according to Porsche.
The signature feature of the real Carrera GT is the vents over the engine. Aa has given slotters an excellent model here, a very crisply printed vent over the model of the motor.
The motor on this car is an unmarked Mabuchi S-can motor (like they usually use but without any of the identifying stripes that most motors carry). There are only 3 noise suppressors on this car. I note this because every recent release has had at least 5 (yes 5!) suppressors in place. Inside we also see (though maybe not shown in the photo) that 3 of the clips that hold the axles/bearings down are missing. It's not a problem since the clips are what I would consider not essential to the operation of the car, but it's noteworthy because they're missing on only 3 of the wheels.
So the wheels...wow! I love the detail that Aa has done with these models. Every car they've done has had what I consider to be industry leading detail on the wheels. The brakes are also "cross drilled" with holes and the discs themselves are painted and really add depth to the slot car that's not seen in other companies.
Under the car we see that Aa has used the wireless system to get the power to the track. I'm frankly not a huge fan of this design. The tabs put pressure on the guide (which has a rather stiff self-centering spring on this car BTW) and that pressure is a bit strong and can be uneven if they get bent a bit. Also on this car are the older style guides that don't have the eyelets that all recent Aa releases have had. I'm not sure why this car has the older type of guide design, but let's hope that Aa will continue with the newer guide with the eyelets in the future. The newer design means good, constant contact between the guide and motor... a good thing IMO.

On the track:
Well there was a bit more gear noise than I would have liked on this car. But after a number of laps I put a different Aa car on the track to test for noise and they sounded pretty much the same. It seems the Porsche Cup Car that I recently reviewed was an exceptionally quiet car. I tried a number of laps with the Cup Car to compare and sure enough, it's very quiet. So by comparison the Carrera GT is still much quieter than most cars...especially (cough)Ninco(cough)Fly(cough).

I did 100 laps with the blazing red Carrera GT and got a hard-fought fastest lap of 2.7 seconds. A few ticks slower than the Cup Car, but faster than most cars on my track. The brakes were slightly different on this car, I'm not sure what the deal is with Aa's motors anymore because of the lack of any stripe or other identifying marks on this motor. That's not to say it's a bad motor by any means it's just confusing what with each release you see a different motor inside and no specs given for it's RPM rating on the packaging.

The performance of the car was about what you'd expect for these recent releases. It's still a fairly light-braking car, but that's ok with me for magnet racing. It's pretty easy to get the tail out on the car around the corners but it's pretty predictable and you feel like you can push the car pretty far.
I must say exotics as the subject of slot cars is growing on me a bit...but just a bit. As a collector piece Aa cars car stand with the best diecasts. As slot cars they're solid performers, this car is no exception to that. The Porsche Carrera GT from AUTOArt is a good slot car that a Porsche collector should look into getting.

DaveK
Publisher, Slot Car News

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