THE FLY 917/10

Imagine that itís 1971 and you are behind the wheel of a car that was built with few rules and at any time could unleash over a thousand horsepower!

But the problem is you just donít quite exactly know when it will do itÖ.

Why? Well itís called turbocharger lag time. You see technology wasnít what it is today and it took time once you hit the gas for the turbo to spin up and create boost. So when driving this Porsche you always had to ask yourselfÖ How long before the boost hits this time? Is it going to hit in the middle of the turn? Can I at least get the car pointed straight or do I get to see the back end of this thing pass me again? Aurrrrgh!!!!!

Porsche built the 917/10ís to end Mclarenís domination of the Can-Am series and to win the Interserie Championship overseas (European Can-Am).

So how did Porsche do this you ask? They just had to build a 12 cylinder twin turbo charged 5.0 liter engine that developed over 1000 hp. Then get that same engine to turn 0-60 times in 2.7 seconds or less (good luck getting the tires to hook up). While they were at it they gave it a cruising speed of 220 MPH that it could do for hours at a time without going off like a grenade. And hereís the simple part. They did it with no onboard computers, steering wheel paddle shifter, telemetry system, engine management or traction control. Simple right? Oh yeah, and while your at it toss in a passenger seat so you can bring along a friend to terrorize. Yee Ha Porsche!

Fly released the 917/10 cars some time back and there are seven liveries now. But look at the picture above because there are two different versions. There is an open engine and a closed engine car. Depending on which one you have will depend on how you remove the body and reassemble the car. Here were going to review the Neste Oy car that is the open engine version.

The first look you get of the car youíll see lots details everywhere. Starting with the driver compartment youíll find a fully detailed cockpit, dash instruments, gear shifter, full driver, roll bar, passenger seat and even the fire bottle. 

Paint is fantastic and the pictures I took donít show how good it really is. The paint looks a baby blue but it is in much darker than my camera shows.  I couldnít find any dirt in the clear coat but the clear could have been a little better over some of the tampos.  All the tampoís were really crisp with only a small break in the side numbers.

There is lots of engine detail. Itís easy to see the Twin distributors, Fuel rails and the injectors. And around the back you get twin turboís, gearbox, oil cooler, and exhaust system, along with the rear suspension. Itís here with the engine and suspension system that some believe the car actually has too much detail. But for me a cars looks and detail are the first things that sell me.  And this Neste car sure has those come buy me looks.

At the front of the car you may see the first noticeable problem. There may or may not be a slight gap in the body just behind the front tires. This is caused by to small a notch where the motor leads pass under the cockpit tub. It is easily corrected.

 Above is the tub shown upside down with the notch marked. Just make it deeper with a hobby knife so the leads are not squeezed and the tub will sit flush to the chassis.  

Also check the front tires for fender rub caused by melted plastic from the mirrors. Mine didnít have this problem, but if yours does just remove some of the plastic from the bottom of the mirrors.

Four screws will remove the body but make note of the difference in the two styles of car before you attempt this. Again there is an open and a closed engine compartment car.


1.     The closed engine car: (right photo above) Can be taken apart with no trouble. 

2.     The open engine car: (left photo above) Requires a little planning before you try to remove the body. Look closely at the area marked by the arrows. Here you will see that the roll bar bracing comes back to support the rear fin. These braces have tiny slots in the ends where they fit over the uprights for the rear fin. If you are not careful you can easily damage these braces.

Here is something to know so you donít break them.

1.     Grab the roll bar by the driver and lift up on both sides slowly. This will remove the roll bar from the car without breaking the braces.

1.     Once the roll bar is removed you can remove the screws underneath and open the body (It seems Mr. Fly knew there was a problem so he never melted the plastic to keep the roll bar in place).

2.     Once you are done inside screw the body back together.

3.     Now put the roll bar back on making sure the slot on the braces are back into the rear fin. 

With the body off you will find that the detail did not stop on the outside. Here you see the chassis is a tub type arraignment with the Fly Mabuchi motor.  The motor is covered by the cars plastic engine and is held to the chassis at the very front by a pin. You may or may not break this pin when you remove the plastic motor. If you do donít worry! It will go back into place with no rattles.

The arrow above shows the pin that holds the plastic motor to the chassis.

With the plastic engine removed you will find a bar magnet just forward of the motor. This magnet sits off the track a little high because of the chassis. This will give the car a very light feel on the track because of the lack of magnetic attraction. 

In the rear is a Fly sidewinder with good gear mesh and minimal noise. The rear axle is straight and turns in plastic axle bushings. Some of the 917/10ís also came with brass bushings the Neste car doesnít. And it was here in the back I found a nice surprise. For once there was no side-to-side play in the axle! In fact you may have to adjust the tires on the axle to get the required clearance. Make sure you lube everything while itís apart because there is no sign of any lube from the factory.

If you decide to remove the tub from the chassis there is another trick you need to be aware of. You have to remove the dash first before you try and lift out the tub. The dash is not glued in place and will lift out easily. If you donít remove it you may break the steering wheel. Once the dash is out youíll find the tub is held in place on all four corners by pins from the chassis. Just work the corners up one at a time and the tub will lift out.

At the front end there is a solid axle instead of the normal stub axles that Fly provides. If you wish to go back to the stub axles I advise against it. The front axle housings are snapped into the chassis like the Panoz and the Corvette.  Changing to stub axles may cause the front tires to sag into the inner fenders. I find the solid axle works fine and have no intention of changing it.

After a lube, braid adjustment and a little tire sanding (sorry itís a habit) I ran the car for a few laps just to see how it would hold up. Here is what I found: 

1.     The rear tires were binding against the bushings and needed to be moved out on the axle. Once this was done the car ran fine for testing.

2.     Cornering the car fills light because of the high bar magnet location, but has nice controllable slides (Unlike the real car I might add).

3.     Power was good off the turns with normal Fly speed and torque. It wasnít long before I was turning some decent laps.

4.     Adding a set of Indy Gripes really brought lap times down and kept the rear end from going slide happy. This made the car very predictable.

5.     Going one step further I adding a Slot-it deep bladed guide. This really brought the car to life and it now cuts faster laps times than my highly modified HSRR Mclaren.

Conclusions: A good car and made even better with a little tuning. Itís not going to be the fastest Fly car on the block because of the high bar magnet placement (if you want more magnet just add a tweaker). But for me I found that a good tuning is all it needed to run with those Lola T70ís, Porsche 917ís, Ferrari 512ís and yes the Mclarens!  

My thanks go out to Gene at for sending me the 917/10 to play with.

Tom Dandes (Tripower55)

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