By Tom Dandes
Auto Arts latest release is the Porsche GT3 RS.
So today it finally lands in my mail box. Now some of you will be turned off by this release because itís not in a race livery but a street version instead.
Well to me it makes no difference race or street. Itís a slot car and I like slot cars regardless of the version. If a slot car appeals to me I buy it. My son and myself own street versions of Camaroís, Chargers, Mustangs, Cobras and even a Lamboís. Bottom line is they are slot cars and they are fun to run.
So now itís here. Is the Porsche GT3 perfect?
Of coarse I have never seen a slot car that is? Lets look at the good and the bad about Auto Artís new toy.
Body and paint:
Paint, clear coat and 1:1 detail on the Auto Art cars is always excellent and this Porsche is no exception. We have come to expect this from Auto Art and they donít let us down.
Now there are two releases of this Porsche, one that comes in white with blue side emblems and wheels and the other in red side emblems and wheels. Both versions of this car look correct when you compare them to the real GT3 car.
On the inside of the car you will find a full driver compartment with a roll cage and some dash detail. What was nice to see is we have someone driving the car now and heís brought a friend. If you remember the earlier releases had no driver and this bothered a lot of people. Well Auto Art has listened to you and it should be acknowledged.
Grade: A (Auto Art has always rated high in this area and other companies could take lessons from them).
There is not much in the way of tampoís on he car since it is a street version of the Porsche. All you get is the GT3 RS stripe down the side, the Porsche logo up front and the small GT3 RS emblem on the back. But a quick search of the Internet shows this car is legit to the 1:1 version at least that my bad eyes can see.
These also are made to look just like the originals and come with disc break rotors on the inside of the wheels. Here Auto Art even went to the trouble of painting the recessed lug nuts chrome and putting the RS emblem in the wheel centers (I canít see the emblems but my son assures me they are there). Not many slot car makers would have gone the extra mile to do this.
Tires on this car look like the original street tire the Porsche came with. The tire size appears correct and they donít look under or over sized for the car. They do fill in the fender wells nicely when the car is sitting on the track. There is no white lettering on the tires to rub off but the street tire didnít have white lettering either.
Now the first car Auto Art release was the Lamborghini Contach. The car had lights when I did the review and they were the worst I had ever seen. It was so bad that I finally gutted them and tossed them out because they were hopeless and not even worth the salvage rights.
Not so this new lights on the Porsche. These lights are set up on all four corners of the car with the front lights being a bright blue color when you apply the power, Nice. The rears are small and hard to see because the small tail light lenses just like the 1:1 car. The only thing that could make these lights better is a capacitor to keep them on when you get off the gas. Again nice to see Auto Art is listening and made the change.
Grade: B (Needs capacitor).
Four screws hold the chassis to the body and once removed you will find that there is a wiring socket that has to be disconnected to removed the body further. Oil and grease this car before you run it. I never found any trace of lubricant on the car.
For those of you that like to tune with lead youíll see lots of room inside the chassis to get her dialed in.
The car comes as a sidewinder and here Auto Art dropped the ball again. The car is so high geared with the 14/34 gearing that it has absolutely no brakes! I disconnected the brakes on my controller, ran the car, let off the gas, and watched the car coast through a turn with no problem.
These gear sets have been brought up to Auto Art before and they have yet to make the change. To bad too since this is the one item that really hurts the car. If you want to see the car run right replace the gear set with an 11/36 combo (I used a scalextric plastic pinion and spur gear from the Porsche GT3R). The only good thing I have to say is that the gear set is quite, reliable and it does move the car.
Iím not saying the car is worthless. In fact after running enough laps with it you can get used to the coasting and adjust your accordingly. But most of us will see that out of the box the gear selection really hurts what was a really good car.
Grade: D (Change the gear combination).
The Porsche comes with brass bushing on all four corners and a straight axle up front. No stub axles. The brass bushings allow the front axle to float up and down in the slotted chassis ala Ninco or Slot-it. Some will like this set up some wonít. We will see if it hurts the car when we get the car on the track.
Other than the front axle movement there was no side-to-side play worth mentioning so put those shims away.
Magnet? Ok, Pick one. The Porsche has two. One behind the front axle glued to the chassis and one behind the motor glued to the chassis. Iím not pro or con when it comes to magnets but if you are going to give me magnets than please put them in magnet pockets not glued to the chassis. I can glue in my own magnets.
Honestly this car has a lot of magnetic attraction. Even on a piece of Carrera track I was able to turn it over and it stayed glued to the track. Weíll run it and find out if two magnets are really needed.Motor:
The motor is a can drive instead of the normal end bell we are used to seeing. Nothing wrong with this unless you want that hot motor you have been drooling over. So before you change over double check your order to make sure that it will fit in the motor mount.
Lots of wiring everywhere! This is mostly all due to the circuit board and the light set up. The one thing Auto Art does for the wiring is to give you a socket to disconnect the body from the chassis wiring (See red arrow). Nice job and I hope they keep it for future releases.
Wheels are nice and round except they forgot to remove those small plastic casting nubs. I was surprised to see this from Auto Art. They can be removed from the wheels with a small piece of sand paper.
Grade: C (Casting nubs).
The Lambo I got from Auto Art had tires that were so hard they can be best described as ink erasure material!
Thankfully they changed their tire compound. This new tire compound is real soft! They have to be some of the softest tires that I have ever felt. I have heard that they are so soft that some have expressed concerns that they will expand and come off the wheels on accelerationÖÖ
(Track testing: Well they donít come off but they will slide sideways on the rim. The new compound is good but so soft that there is not enough resistance to hold them in place).
Grade: C (sticks to the track well but the rear tires will have to be glued to the wheels).
The guide on the Porsche is supplied power from two metal strips under the chassis that is wired to the motor. The metal strips under the guide on the Auto Art Lambo I received acted as springs forcing some unwanted de-slots. It was an easy fix to lay them back down and remove some of the tension. My Porsche didnít have this problem but check yours.
The guide is spring loaded for self-centering and again some of you may like this and some may not. I didnít find where this hurt the car.
The guide is also deep enough to satisfy everyoneís needs but those running Scaley classic track (you Scaley classic guys will have to trim the guide since it is to deep for the classic track groove).
Auto Art also supplied two extra guides located under the display case and the cars guide can be easily removed for a quick change out without taking the car apart.
Out of the box and running the first thing you have to ask is, ďCan they possibly put more magnets in the car?Ē Man this thing is stuck down and has no brakes what so ever. If it wasnít for the magnets I didnít think the car would ever stop because of the gear set.
The good side is the tires didnít come off the car but they do move inward slightly on the rims. I used a small amount of silicone to the rears and no more problems. The tires are soft and do stick well to the track and after a while it started getting easier to get some decent laps in. But with tuning this car can be made much better and more predictable.
Recommended tuning for the Auto Art Porsche.
1. Adjust the braids.
2. Lube the car.
3. Remove the casting nubs from the outside of the wheels and lightly true the tires.
4. Remove the front and rear magnets. I like a car that will get a little tail happy so I installed a flat Scalextric style bar magnet dead center of the chassis. This is a heck of a lot less magnet than the car comes with and the wider bar magnet it covers the track rails better in a slide.
5. Change the gear set to 11/36, you will be so happy you did. Again I used Scalextricís plastic sidewinder gears. Theyíre cheap!
6. Lightly glue the tires to the rims or use the slicks from the Scalextric Porsche GT3R. They fit the Auto Art rims perfectly.
Overall what I really liked about the Porsche are the looks, attention to detail, and price! A quick look on 5 random Webb sites shows prices from $33.95 to $39.99 plus shipping. Thatís cheap since most slot cars now start at $50.00 and work their way up from there.
Even though the gearing isnít right it can be fixed for a couple of bucks. You combine a new gear set, some simple tuning, and you walk away with a great little street car that works for a lot less money than more expensive cars that still donít work out of the box.
The car now comes out of the corners sliding and lap times are so much quicker. It is not glued down, and you have to work hard to get a de-slot out of the car. I believe once you make these changes you will be happy with the GT3.