Thursday, July 06, 2006

Review: Sloter Lola T290

Fast, smooth, well made...some of the words that came to mind when I did THE FIRST lap with the new Sloter Lola T290 around my short wood track. It's rare that a car works well right out of the box on a wood track. This car did everything you'd hope a tuned car would do, but it did it before I even got my grubby little hands on it.

A note about the packaging, the car comes in a cardboard box, not a plastic case, this is something that every company should do. And an extra that I'm not sure every car comes with or maybe just the one that Sloter sent to me, there's a Sloter sticker inside as well, this is great since I'm a huge fan of stickers...again, this is something every company should do.

I'll start with the most surprising thing that struck me first, the tires!

The tires are a high point for me. Many stock tires won't work at all on my track, so I go through the same tired old set of modifications that I do with every car to have it come up to what I feel is acceptable. But what ever Sloter using on this car sticks as well as the piles of Ortmann tires that I have stacked around my workbench. Except one thing, they are more concentric! The car was riding on the edges of this tires when I first put it on the track, but a bit of sanding to each of the tires and they were now much better. They stuck very, very well around the corners and allowed for very fast acceleration out of the corners, by the end of the short straits on my track the car was still accelerating and wanted more track to do it on. For that we now travel to the East New York Raceway where this car can stretch out on the 62' of wood track heaven.

On the 62' center lane of ENYR the stock Sloter put up a fast lap time of 5.451 second, just a bit faster than my GB Track Chevron's fast lap time of 5.455. The Chevron is Ortmann's on the rear and has had lots of trimming on the chassis to get the motor pod to rock easily. Also the Chevron has been lowered to proper height for a real Chevron. The Sloter Lola is close enough to the right ride height that I won't be changing anything with respect to the ride height. On ENYR the bit of wobble that the tires/wheels have is evident, but NOT bad for a stock car. A bit of truing on the front tires should clear up most of the minor problem.

If you take off the car you see something that has me wondering. This is what I believe to be the motor that Fly uses for most of its cars. It's a standard Mabuchi S-can with 2 small square holes and a flat black stripe across the top. This car bears such a striking resemblance to the GB Track Chevron that it's totally a natural competitor. But one thing that did surprise me, out of the box the car has much better feel that the Chevron. I put no weight in the car, I did nothing to it but sand the stock tires a bit and oil where appropriate.

The finish on the car was very good, there is a bit of orange peel on the back deck of the car, but NOTHING that would take away from the average collector or average racer from totally enjoying the car. The tampo printing was very nice and the design is pleasing. The paint is opaque and is nice and deep as well.

The model is simple, and thankfully so. The rear engine details are affixed to the underside of the body, there is no balancing of a suspension cage or delicate placement of a "motor" piece that you have to do if you decide to take the car apart. Everything fits together well....let me repeat that since it's worth repeating....everything fits together well! There is no piece of the interior that hits the chassis underneath it, nothing that is squeezed into place and wants to push the body panels away from the chassis when you reassemble the car. Sloter is doing exactly what you'd expect them to do, and hope they'd do, with the design of this car's details.

As we look at the chassis further you see no motor pod, that's fine with me, again, fewer parts are a good thing. And I really don't think this car needs a pod since it's very smooth as it is. I loosened up the body a touch and away it went, quiet, fast, smooth...enough said on that topic.

As with other Sloter cars, this car does not come with a magnet, that's fine with me. Since it does not, I will not test it with one, if you're a magnet racer, everything that's good about this car (and everything is IMHO) will get even better. So if you're into mag's please, by all means, slap in your favorite button magnet and away you go!

So what's the verdict? It's solid mechanically and aesthetically. Well, there's no reason NOT to buy this car if you're into the era. So what are you waiting for?

Dave Kennedy
Publisher, Slot Car News

And thanks to Sloter for providing the car for review!

On a side note this car is Global Proxy Race legal from Prototype class!!!!


Anonymous said...

Looks even better on a real background instead of floating in space. How does it compare size-wise to the Chevron? Any news on a release date?

tom said...

Another nice review Dave. Try replacing the stock braid with something softer that won't act as a spring under that guide. really made a differance in the Ferrari's.

DaveKennedy said...

The Lola is almost exactly the same size as the Chevron. The Lola is just a bit longer, a few milimeters maybe, but it's really not much to speak of.

The guide on the Sloter is something I should have metioned (but forgot to). The guide is much larger than the Fly car, deeper and longer, I think this has something to do with the overall speed of the car.

Thanks guys, I'm glad you enjoyed reading the review, it was fun to write.


SJSlots said...

I noticed the review says there is no motor pod however looking at the bottom of the chassis the motor seems to be sitting in a very distinguishable box/bracket. I'm assuming this 'holder' is an affixed part of the chassis... just doesn't look like it is.

Robert Livingston said...

The underside appears to show a motor pod, but really, the whole thing is solid plastic. There is noticeable slop between the axle and the brass rear bearings, but the bearings are held tightly by the frame. The car corners smoothly, accelerates and brakes smoothly, with no hop.

Its competition on test day at East New York was the Fly GB Track Chevron, which had Ortmann tires. The Sloter car felt a little looser in the corners. Ortmanns definitely stick to my track (flat latex paint on MDF) better than the Sloter tires. But still, the Sloter car was timed a hair faster. This car obviously has untapped potential, and is very fast as-is.