FLY VIPER GTS-R

24HRS OF LE MANS 1998

 NEW AND IMPROVED?
By Tom Dandes

 

Fly has just released their much-anticipated new Viper GTS-R. This new release is the non-lighted #53 car and is one car of a three-car team set currently being sold by Fly. This new Viper is sold separately from the team set and was the winner of its class in the 24hrs of Le Mans in 1998.

What is interesting is all three of these team cars were identical with the only exceptions being their numbers and the colors of the outside rear view mirrors. One had blue mirrors, one white and one red. Knowing this bit of trivia should have made it interesting to any pit crew that wasnít paying attention to their cars.

I have been told that this release by Fly is not a repaint of the older viper body but an entirely new release with a new chassis.

Which is good news if true. If some of you remember the old Fly Vipers did have some problems. Many people believed the old car looked too much like a toy and felt there had been way to many important details left off. Then there were the scale issues and the wheels that looked like something that came off a discounted toy car. So I have to ask is this car really the ďNew and improvedĒ as touted?

So in this review weíll compare the two cars old and new so we can see how the new one measures up.

  

BODY EXTERIOR

SCALE

Well if there are any scale issues in the new viper I canít find it. Now I will admit I donít take and measure every piece, tire and wheel of a car. But what I do is look for a picture of the real car and compare them. Most mistakes in scale are so obvious that it stands there thumbing its nose to you. Not here though. The new car does look to scale in comparison to its 1 to 1 counterpart.

But there is a lot of difference between old and the new cars and you have to put them side-by-side to really see this difference.

 

DETAILS

Itís all in the details and here you see it. Every place you look at the new car you see small things that have been changed. Where the old version looked like a toy the new version looks good enough to get into and drive off with. 

This is what has been upgraded in the detail department of the new viper.

1.  Front body vents are now open.                        2.  Front air damn is new.

3.  Front tow hook has been added.                       4.  Grill and headlight openings to scale.

5.  Running lights added.                                        6.  Roof antenna added.

7.  Side vents are now open.                                  8.  Side exhaust added.

9.  Rear body vent opened.                                    10.Spoiler uprights changed.

11.Gas caps added.                                               12.Wheels changed.

13.Brake rotors added.                                          14.Mirrors are reflective.

15.Back window has retaining strip.                        15.Rear tow hook added.

16.Rear air diffuser added.                                     17. Full cockpit

(Mr. Fly has been busy.)

PAINT

I found no flaws in the paint department on the car I received. It is as close to perfect with beautiful detail and no dust imbedded in the clear coat. Seems Fly has finally got a handle on the dust situation.

 

TAMPOíS

All tampos were clear and crisp and easy to read. No bleed out in any of the colors that I could find and they have a nice clear coat covering them.

BODY INTERIOR

 

DRIVER

The driver of the new car is highly detailed and can actually be seen from outside the car. The yellow and black helmet stands out and draws your attention right to him. Since there are no side windows to block your vision like the older car it makes the interior detail easy to see. His seat belts look like seat belts and the driverís logo is even visible on his chest.

DASH

The dash is detailed right down to the gages and there is a Viper logo there for all to see. The steering wheel even has all the critical buttons detailed and visible.

ROLLBAR

The new viper now has a full roll cage were the old car didnít have one at all.

INTERIOR DETAILS

There is more interior detail on this car than most people need. I had to get a small pin light just to see inside the car. There is a full cockpit inside the car with drivers cooling system, onboard fire extinguisher, rear view mirror, full drivers seat and lots of plumbing to see. The old Viper didnít even come close.

CHASSIS

This is a new chassis. Not just a modified or revamped older version. This new chassis includes the rear air diffuser. For some that run banked curves the rear diffuser my be a problem and hit the track in the turns. Make sure you check if you have banked turns.

 

GEAR SET

This is the standard nine-tooth brass pinion and 27-tooth crown. Plenty good enough for most home tracks.

Running the car did produce some minor gear noise. Itís not real loud but it is noticeable. Hopefully running the car some more will quite it down.

REAR AXLE

Rear axle is polished steel and works well. There is some small side-to-side play in the rear axle and after pushing the wheel on further this was removed. Also by pushing the rim on it helped to quite the gear noise. By allowing the crown gear to further engage the pinion.

IMPORTANT UPDATE:

1.What I found is that the wheels have to be pushed further on the rear axles and as close to the bushings as possible to prevent any side-to-side movement of the axle.

2. Because the drive shaft bushing and bushing mount on this car is a long way from the pinion it allows the drive shaft to flex from side to side against the crown gear.

3. If there is too much side-to-side play in the rear axle the crown gear will not fully engage the pinion and you could strip out the crown gear even though the crown gear is self-centering.

4. Once the wheels are on the axle as described above then the side-to-side play between the pinion and the crown is no longer an issue an the gear noise calms down.

 Here you can see how far away the drive shaft mount and the pinion are from each other.

BUSHINGS

Brass bushings on the rear axle are nice and tight. Spinning the car at high RPMís didnít show any bushings turning in their mounts. Same story goes with the drive shaft bushing. Nice and tight

MAGNET

Lots of magnet here. This car runs the short but thick Fly bar magnet and it is really glued down on my Scaley track. Prying back the two prongs and lifting it out can remove the magnet if you desire. There are also lots of flat areas to CA glue down different magnets or for the addition of sheet lead.

MOTOR

Here the car may split the slot car world into two different camps.

The first camp is the; I want it fast! If you are in this camp you got it. Fly has installed their racing motor which depending on who you talk to turns a respectful 26,500 to 26,750 with gobs of torque.

Camp two the motor will be too much and you will want to swap it out for the standard Mabuchi. This can be easily done as fly uses an adaptor for the racing motor to allow it to fit in the Mabuchi mounts. Just remove the racing motor and pop in your favorite motivator.

WIRING

Motor leads are short, sweet and simple. But changing guides or braids should be interesting with the front light bar mounted just above the guide. Some may want to remove this light bar and CA glue the fake lights directly to the body.

Photo showing notches in rim.

RIMS

Ok, Fly is doing something different with their rims now. If you remove the tire you will see that there is now two groves running across the rim. They are 190 degrees apart from each other. Why? Here I have no good answer and have yet to be able to find one.

Truing the rims though with light sand paper will help the cars performance. Also turning one rim to where the slots are top and bottom and the other rim side to side helps prevent any wheel hop you may fine. Sounds dumb but experiment with this and give it a try.

 

Photo showing droopy stub axle play.

STUB AXLES

Well if you thought that you were going to be disappointed with tight front stub axles donít worry Fly has still got the same floppy stub axles. They donít allow the front tires to hit anywhere on this car but check yours it may touch. They can be fixed by snipping a tiny portion of the axle off and reinstalling the rim or by installing  brass tubing in the axle housing. Not fixing it will not stop you from enjoying your car but it will look a little strange. Just make sure that it doesnít allow the tires to rub the inner fenders anywhere.

Mr. Fly will you please tighten up the stub axle tolerances.

TIRES

Tires for this car are great. Slicks all around and I am glad Fly has started using them on their cars they seem to hook up really well. They needed only minor truing (mostly out of habit) and the edges are already shaved down for you. One thing I did notice is that Fly has changed their tire lettering. It doesnít wipe off like it used to.

 

Notice the turning radius of the guide.

GUIDE

Guide for this car is normal Fly and has very little side-to-side post movement and not the normal slop seen in guides. So some one at Fly has tightened up the tolerances here. The guide is recessed into the chassis and the stock braids are really long for a Fly car. So there is plenty of braid there to trim and adjust.

Here is the nice thing about the new chassis. The guide turning radius will allow it to go almost turn completely parallel to the front axle. So there should be no problems with guide bind as you slide the car through the turns.

Here is the bad thing about the guide. It is still not a deep slot guide.

 

ON THE TRACK

 

Roof antenna didnít last long. Broke off first time I got a little heavy handed. But that is all the car has lost so far.

 

OLD VIPER

Best time: 4.4 seconds

FLY CORVETTE

Best time: 4.2 seconds

LISTER STORM

Best time: 4.1 seconds

NEW VIPER

Best time: 3.7seconds

There is a lot of difference between the old Viper and the new Viper lap times. Most of this is in the racing motor. But the new car does handle much better than the older version.

 

MY OPINIONS

 

THE BAD:

Short guide, rear axle clearances needed adjusted, and front stub axle sloop.

THE GOOD:

Will run with little tuning, Tight guide, Long braids, great tires, lots of motor, brass bushings, good chassis, lots of detail, perfect paint, clear tampoís, smooth clear coat, good scale.

PERFORMANCE:

Out of the box that car was noisy and needed the rear rims adjusted. Once this was done the car became real quite and now is a strong smooth runner. With the racing motor you can spin the tires from a standing start and slide the car out of the turns even with good tires. The magnet is real strong and it requires some work to get this thing to let go. Much better handling chassis than the older version. Fast, Fast, and Faster.

Stunning car. A real sweet car especially when you compare it to the older Viper. This is the Viper Fly should have made the first time. If you were happy with the old Vipers then you got to try the new and improved one. It really is a new car.

Have fun,

TOm

 

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