Ferrari 312 PB
In 1967 the Federation International d'Automobile changed the rules for sports car racing and left Ferrari's entire stable of prototypes obsolete.
After a year of only F1 racing, Ferrari announced they were coming back to sports car racing. Unfortunately, it left Ferrari at least a year behind in development work on any new car. When they finally were able to field a new prototype with the 312 P, dismal results from the 3 Liter engine forced them to drop out after only half a season.
Ferrari needed to get back into the game but lacked a reliable motor. Enter Mauro Forghieri's.
Mauro Forghieri's was the prominent race engine and car designer for Ferrari. His answer to Ferrariís problem was to developed what is now know as the Forghieri's V12. This new engine was not a boxer design, but cars powered by this new twelve cylinder engine were often given the ďBĒ for boxer by those not knowing any better. This ďBĒ designation stuck and hence you had the Ferrari 312 ďPBĒ.
In 1972 this new Ferrari 312 PB with the V12
motor was unbeatable. This match up of motor and car dominated and won Ferrari
the world championship without even having to compete in all the races.
Out of nowhere a Spanish company comes out with three new releases of the Ferrari 312 that instantly have people talking. After hearing stories about these cars I had to grab one to see if what was said is true.
You can see above the car arrives with one no frills box, one Ferrari 312 PB, and a nice little Sloter sticker for your slot box. Normally I donít mention packaging but you need to know that you get no plastic display case. Like I said no frills.
Something else thatís worth mentioning is that nowhere on the box or car will you see the Ferrari name or logos
Body and Paint
Sloter seems to have done a good job getting the body details and dimensions correct. Looking at pictures of the real thing Iím hard pressed to find any glaring problems. Iím actually amazed that the 312 PB looks this good since itís a first release from a company thatís just getting started.
Paint and Tampoís:The paint on the 312 really jumps out at you with that bright red color. I found no runs, orange peeling, or fading. Itís really done well with no dust or dirt stuck in the paint. The car I am using for the review shows a clean and even coverage of paint everywhere but on the stem for the mirror. It looks like it was painted separately by hand so the coverage is not as well as the rest of the car. I had to blow up the picture to actually see the difference.
The yellow striping is clean with no breaks that I could see where it crosses over body panels. All tampoís look clear and easy to read with no bleeding out at the edges like you sometimes find from bad clear coats.
Grade: B+ (mirror could have been better painted).
There is a beautiful clear coat applied over the entire car with no runs or dust with everything looking covered and well protected.
The driver has nice details and is painted correctly compared to the pictures Iíve seen of the real thing. Jacky Ickxís name is even on the back of the helmet. But it would have been nice to have the arms and the body not molded together. Yes this is nit picking at itís finest but I like a separation between the two with the drivers hands reaching the steering wheel and not stuck to his lap (Like I said nit picking).
Grade: C+ (Could use a little more detail).
Sloter has itís own mix of rubber for Ferrari 312 PB and they seem to be the sweetest thing to silicone tires that come stock on any factory car. There is no lettering on these tires and they are a lot shinier than some folks would like. So back to the pictures of the real car for lettering and it shows some tires with and some without lettering so no negative marks from me.
Wheels are a gold color and seem to be correct size as compared to the real thing. It would have been nice to see the silver center lug painted but again Iím being very picky.
There are lots of small items to be seen on the Sloter Ferrari and after you look at it youíll see how well some things were done: gas caps, quad exhaust system, air duct intakes and radiators, windscreen, head lights and roll bar. They even did a nice job getting the light lenses flush with the body.Now this is a minor thing but I was surprised to see that there were no dash details or tampoís. You would think with an open cockpit car you would see a little something.
So about that rear view mirror, Itís sticking way up there just like the original and Iíll bet yours is gone after the first high speed de-slot. JGrade: B (could have put some dash detail in).
Mabuchi is the standard motor rated at 18,000 rpm. You combine this with the gear set and it still provides a good balance of brakes and speed for most home track users. Itís nice to see that Sloter has the motor leads nicely tucked out of the way in their own channels built into the chassis.Grade: A
Here we have a sidewinder with 12 tooth brass pinion and 35 tooth plastic spur. This is different than what we normally see at 11 and 36 yet it still works well for home racing. The gear set doesnít have any lube and this seems to be normal for most manufacturers, so donít forget about it before you try and run the 312.
Grade: B- (needs lubricant)
Guide and Braid:
This car has an excellent guide with no side-to-side sloop and a very deep blade. This deep blade should make everyone happy except those with Scaley Classic track. The guide also includes a hole under one braid that gives you access to the front body screw. This is a nice design by Sloter since it keeps you from having to remove the guide just to access the screw.
The car comes with copper braid that is more than long enough for the guide. Unfortunately it is extremely stiff and did cause some problems on the track. I recommend replacing it with a softer braid material that will lay down flat on the guide.
Grade: B- (needs a different material for the braid).
Hereís a one-piece sidewinder chassis with two magnet pockets. The chassis sits flat and has no signs of being warped. It is supported by two heavy stiffeners down each side and feels really rigid. And here itís easy to see the motor leads tucked out of the way in their own channels.
Wheels and tires:
If you remove the tires for the car youíll find that the wheels do have some casting material left on them. I recommend using some light sandpaper to remove them. While I had the tires off I noticed that one of the front wheels had a slight wobble to it that I wasnít happy about. I removed the wheel from the axle and then placed it back on. No more wobble! Evidently it was not pressed on all the way.
The tires for this car are round and have excellent bite, but as you can see they are cupped and need some attention. The cupping on the fronts wonít bother me since the tire is round and the cupping leaves less tire to touch the track. Almost like running O-ring tires up front for less drag. But the rears will need some truing to get a good flat contact patch. Before you attempt to true up any of the tires look and see if there are any rubber nubs left inside. This can cause the tire to not sit flat on the wheel make truing impossible.
Grade: C+ (Casting, truing and removal of rubber nubs).
Oh, did I forget to mention that the Sloter has no magnet? There are two pockets cast into the front and rear of the chassis and youíll find a Fly button magnet fits nicely. But give the car a try first since it was designed to run without one. After all it does says no magnet right on the side of the box. Besides it may surprise you to see how well it runs.
Axles and Bushings:
Up front is a straight axle with no sloop and only a little up and down movement in the axle pillows. The back axle is supported by two brass bushings with absolutely no side-to-side axle sloop! Checking the brass bushings under load showed no spinning in the chassis but always remember to check yours. I removed both axles and rolling them on a flat surface showed they were straight.
Hereís something that you need to know if you plan on replacing the wheels or changing a gear set. These axles are not the standard 3/32 (.093) you are used to. They are heavier and mic out at .098 instead. If you want to change the wheels you might have to swap out axles, spur gear and bushings also.
I donít have any bad feelings about these heavy axles since I plan to leave my 312 as is. Or if I raced it I would swap out everything anyway and go with metal wheels. But you need to be aware of it.
Out Of The Box Performance.
As before I cleaned the dust off track and yanked the car out of the display box (Funny, but of the box performance for this car really means out of the box since there was no display case). Anyway, without touching anything, and that includes braids, the car goes on the track. I start to squeeze the controller and it is easy to see that the braids are going to be a problem. The car is light and traction from the rear tires is very good, so it becomes evident that the braids are acting like springs and lift the car during acceleration. Grooming the braids did help some but the material is just to stiff. I finally replaced the braids with some SCX material and had no more problems.
Now, finally I get to see what people have been talking about. This 312 is really quite with the gear set just has a slight whine to it like a well broken in car. Itís not long before I am pushing the Ferrari harder and harder and finally I remember that there is no magnet in this thing. Iíd forgotten about the magnet and it leaves me impressed at how balanced the car is without any lead or magnet added. Although the 312 still feels light up front, it does run very well and I have to admit this is the first time Iíve had a car that came with no magnet run so nicely.
Tires are sticky and after truing traction get even better. Once trued the Sloter tires actually work better than some siliconeís that Iíve used. But hereís the catch! With a little practice those same tires will still allow the back of the 312 to drift out of the turns because the car is so light. Now if you still want a magnet a fly button type added to the forward pocket seems to work the best. And if you want silicone tires for the Sloter 312, Fly classics are pretty close and will work.
OVERALL GRADE: B
Notes: Sloter, for their first try has released three cars that have real of potential and are fun to drive. Released first in Europe they quickly sold out. When they finally came to the states they were Ēout of stockĒ almost overnight. It seems the stories Iíd heard were true.
My Recommendations: Change out the braid material, Spend a little time with the tires and wheels and youíll quickly find you have one great little car. With or without a magnet these new Sloter Ferrari 312ís are becoming one of my favorites. In the future I hope this new company has even more new releases.