Saturday, January 17, 2009

SCX 63160 Renault 8 Gordini Monte Carlo ‘69

The Renault 8 was first introduced in 1962 as a small family car. It was built in various models up until 1971. The R8 was one of the first small sedans to include 4 wheel disc brakes as standard equipment. These cars were assembled by Alfa Romeo in Italy, and marketed by Renault. In 1964 a Gordini tuned R8 was introduced. This raised the horsepower from 44 bhp in stock trim to over 90 bhp. These cars were originally only available in blue and included two white stick-on racing stripes. The Gordini R8 was further revised in 1967 to provide 100 bhp. This latter version of the Gordini is the car SCX has chosen to model and is based on one which competed in the 1969 Monte Carlo Rally. I couldn’t find photo reference for that particular competitor, but there is a wealth of photographs on the internet of the R8 in road racing and rally guise. SCX has done a good job of rendering this particular model. The paint is up to their usual standard with some nice painted and chrome accents like rain gutters, window trim, and bumpers. The half tray interior has some detail and leaves lots of room on the chassis for lead placement.

As a magnet car, the R8 is totally stuck down. My test track, Maxport II located at Mini Grid in Toronto, is a 22m Sport track operated at 11V. I only needed to blip in the tightest hairpin corners and could lap my test track in 8.5s. It could be run flat out otherwise. This car is in the zone with the SCX SEAT 131 Abarth (8.2s) and Alpine A110 (8.7s). On Mini Grid’s Magnet Marshal the R8 pulled 273g of magnetic downforce and tipped the scales at only 74g with the magnet installed. As has become the norm with SCX rally cars the R8 has bright multiple headlights and illuminated tail lights. The excellent magnet performance and bright lights (as well as durable construction) will make this a popular car for kids.

The chassis for this car is a 1 piece design with the motor mounted solidly to it. Since I prefer racing slot cars without traction magnets so I removed the bar magnet from the R8. My lap time increased dramatically to 11.6s. The car was easy to slide through the corners which is surprising for such a tall, narrow car. I cleaned up the minimal flash on the plastic wheels and sanded the tires which reduced my lap time to 10.5s. The Gordini’s body is held on with 4 screws: 1 each in the nose and tail, as 1 on each side. I removed the side screws, and loosened the nose and tail screws half a turn. This bought me another tenth of a second. I’m sure that tuning with weight and fitting better tires would even further improve the car’s lap times. In stock form with minimal tuning this car could run head to head with the likes of a NINCO Cobra (10.4s), 550 Spyder (10.4s), Fly Porsche 911 (10.5s), and TeamSlot Lancia Stratos (10.6s).

Overall, I really like this car. It’s an interesting subject and nicely rendered model that runs very well both with and without traction magnets. SCX got it right by not overpowering this car and by putting straight axles and round wheels on it. I think it would be great to see SCX bring out some Pro wheels for their vintage sports and rally cars. These parts would be ideal hobbyists who want to take their tuning a step further and complement what is already a very good car.


Anonymous said...

Great review, Van! Here is a pic of the 1:1 I found:

dv said...

Thanks for the pic. SCX is doing a great job on these little cars: not too much power and great handling.