› Tamiya Volkswagen Rally Beetle MF-01X
Super-scale, easy to build, and fun to drive, Tamiya’s Beetle is a vintage blast
Lots of brands are diving into scale RC these days, but no brand has done it better, or as long, as Tamiya. The Japanese giant built its rep on premium plastic static models, and Tamiya’s first-ever RC car in 1976 was a hard-body Porsche 934 that shares its body with a static model. From there, the scale hits kept coming, with topics ranging from 4X4s, like the Blazing Blazer and legendary Bruiser, to a fleet of F1 models and too many touring cars in road-going and race varieties to list. One of the latest super-real Tamiya rides is the Rally Beetle, which as you can see is a perfect embodiment of ’60s-era rally racing. Not that you need to be familiar with that scene to appreciate this car—who doesn’t love a Beetle? Under the unmistakable body is Tamiya’s MF-01X chassis, which delivers a rear-motor layout (perfect for a Beetle) and 4WD (totally “wrong” for realism, but it makes the car a lot easier and more fun to drive). And it’s a kit, a nice bonus for us wrench spinners in an RTR world.
Tamiya keeps it simple in the suspension department with all-plastic “shocks” that are really just spring holders. There’s no damping other than the friction between the sliding plastic parts, but since the Beetle only needs a few millimeters of suspension, it’s not a big miss. The suspension can be assembled in “high” and “low” configurations depending on the body style you’re using (the Beetle gets the “high” setup), and you can adjust steering toe and rear camber via threaded linkages.
The Beetle is a clear-body kit; paint pro Leroy Cluff created this beautiful patina look.
Above: Those look like oil-filled shocks, but they’re really just spring holders. Left: Tall standoffs raise the rear camber links over the chassis.