The much anticipated and long awaited JQ concepts 1/8 gas buggy has arrived. Joseph Quagrine named his creation the car and promised us lots of innovations and that it will be the world’s best. With the hype around the launch I fully expected a military band to strike up a tune and with a WIFF of freshly burned tyres, a troop of cheerleaders to march out of the box once opened.
The gloomy Cape Town weather coupled with the non appearance of the cheerleaders was emphasized by the black box with I KID YOU NOT white writing on black pages in the instruction manual.
I suppressed my urge to shake the box, throw everything in the air and bolt it together where it lands. We are going to build this one strictly to the manual. Then get my half tame driver to thrash it around and get an honest opinion.
Thankfully the normal “don’t push the hobby knife into your ear and don’t feed your children the small parts” was substituted by a very amusing mockery in pigeon English of the do’s and the don’ts when assembling and ends of with a warning humour might appear in this manual.
I tasked my half tame driver to build the shock absorbers (the first step in the manual) and I jumped to the next, assembling the differentials.
Like twins born on different days and parents we both realized the same thing about 2 different things. This is a top notch serious car; the diffs are of extremely light conventional materials and by light I mean Ferrari light. The shock absorbers are not oversized but light, with a clever plan to prevent the spring holders from rotating and a clear mark on the ride height adjustment ring. A brilliant plan for easy field settings. The front and rear diff housing came together quite easily with a very tight fitting causing shock towers to slip snugly over it.
The towers are of an aluminium well trimmed black anodized construct.
The role centre adjustments incorporated in the shock towers are neatly in a row. At half a hole increments and not the normal “I do my own ear piercings” configuration. At this point I also realized that Joseph must be a big brute of a man. He designed the cap screws to fit extremely snugly into the plastic holes. The turn buckles on the top link and the steering links were virtually impossible to thread. Not a bad thing. You will thank him later when your car does not falls apart due to stripped plastic holes.
Two nicely engineered aluminium brackets sandwich the front and rear diffs that also accept a selection of inserts with various off set holes for the lower control hinge pins (tow in adjustments). Similar to team associated RC8B and the latest Losi. The rear anti roll bar (the thickest diameter I have ever seen on a RC car) pivot in a conventional manner on the diff housings.
The wishbones are somehow shorter than most cars, apparently it was done to improve bumpy track conditions (I always thought truggy’s handled the bump better because of the long wish bone configuration).
The mandatory cheap sherry that acts as an antifreeze did not help. The manual confused us! It is impossible! We can’t assemble the centre diff housing. Not the sort of guy that would use the manual to set the winter fire, I set the sherry aside and called in google and his mates to help me solve the mechanical puzzle. At this point my half tamed driver is talking in a foreign language cursing the manual for not warning him that the bolts in the lower shock are left hand tread.
The front suspension and steering geometry look very Losi like but still with the shorter lower wishbones. The bulky front wishbones are cleverly designed with latticework to absorb sudden impacts. To change the ackerman’s angle you need to swop the ackerman’s plate. The front dog bones sport a universal joint on the outside. The chassis plate is a fairly narrow affair, milled to death and looked very professional with a bend at the front to prevent the nose from digging in.
The three sub assembly’s bolt neatly onto the chassis plate linked with two unequal length aluminium prop shafts. A somewhat unique feature is that the centre assembly can be moved forwards and aft to shift the weight as required. Unfortunately you will need to buy different length prop shafts to achieve this feat.
The drive train features a straight prop shaft to the rear diff and a fairly angled prop shaft to the front diff. The front diff believe it or not is mounted slightly off centre to the right (probably to decrease the cuteness of the prop angle). This configuration reduces the torque to the front wheels somewhat.
The fuel tank is as ugly a prostitute’s conscience. It is army grey and not fully transparent. It is mounted on plastic gooseneck support’s and it wobbles around on soft rubber mounts.
The car is taking shape and I am impressed with lots of little clever plans to keep the weight down. The server brace for instant fit together by utilizing the servo bolts.
Visually despite the fuel tank it is a very pretty car. Conventionally looking black with specs of gold anodized aluminium washers.
The spray painting of the body work I farm out to be a more artistic fellow. The black and green similar to the photo on the packaging, has got a certain snake like appearance. The air cleaner fits snugly in the narrow cock pit compartment of the body shell and is well protected.
The rear wing is fully adjustable not only in angle but also in height.
The front body clip fit into a spoon like indentation on the body work. Just like the air cleaner it doesn’t utilize the “Jack lets race” over the counter products. I loose my mind and my body clips at the most awkward times and if you like me I suggest you order clips and air cleaners with the car.
The famed lotus designer Colin Chaplin once said that if you add lightness to a racing car it will go faster. It is clear that this was part of the design philosophy when Joseph designed the car. Attention to weight distribution is also evident and also somewhat adjustable. Castor camber, ackerman’s angle, roll centre etc is also fully adjustable as we expect from the top of range equipment.
For reason of comparison we transplanted our trusted nationally winning nosram mill into the willing recipient. The burgundies colour cylinder head looked somewhat out of place. We will shoe the bronco once we see the track conditions.
It’s 2 o’ clock in the morning, cold, wet and miserable outside and I think I am slightly in love with the car. Despite the crappy manual, I thoughly enjoyed the build and I think it might be a brilliant car.