The Spirit cars are produced by a company located in Spain and is still considered by some to be the new guys in town. But in reality they have been around long enough to release five Lola B2K/10ís, four Reynard 2KQís and the four Ferrari 512Mís. Not bad for a company that is just getting started.
Today I want to take a look into the Ferrari 512M Camel Filter car that was driven at Le Mans in 1971. Now Iíll be honest with you I love Ferrariís and I have more than a few so this one needs to impress me to match up to the others. What I want is a car to run with the my Lola T-70ís, Porsche 917Kís and of course the other Ferrariís in the stable. Just thought I would mention it since this is how this car is going to be measured.
And here is where some have a problem with the Spirit Ferrari. There are two things you will notice when you compare it to Ferrariís from other slot car companies.
Now I looked at photos of a real 512M. And I have to admit that if the Spirit 512M car is off on scale it canít be off by much. In fact after staring at those photos my other Ferrariís now look like their roofs are smashed. To me there is just not enough difference between the two cars to toss this car out the window. It still looks that good.
One thing I did find is a small area of casting flash left over in the bottom left corners of the front fenders. It is hard to see but should have been removed before painting. Other than that the body is solid.
Detail outside is nice. Take a look at the headlights in this car. They look like headlights and not just painted plastic. Nice!
Something that has changed on these cars is the rear fins. Before there were complaints about the fins being snapped in place and moveable. They fell off every chance they got. Most people that had these cars would remove the fins before they ran them. This got to be real pain.
So now theyíre cemented to the body. They seem firm and it took a while but they can be broken off. Yet they are still on the body better than most mirrors Iíve seen
Looking at the rear of the car it is easy to see that there is more than enough detail for anyone. The exhaust and brake lights look good and those blue rims with disc brakes really make the car stand out.
Paint and tampoís:
|Paint and clear coat look great with no runs or dust imbedded that I could find. Tampoís look nice and crisp and are easy to read but there is no clear coat over them. It can be easily fixed but it still should be done at the factory and not at my house. Itís to bad because this is the only paint issue I have with this car. Other than the lack of clear coat over the Tampoís the Ferrariís paint really does look|
Now here I have a small problem. If you look at the driverís helmet it is easy to see that it doesnít even come close to looking right. This again can be fixed and to most people it is a minor issue. But to me it is one thing that Spirit needs to take a look at and change.
Other than the helmet all of the interior and dash detail of the car looks real good.
Chassis and running gear.
Taking the car apart is easy and requires removing three screws. One located under the guide and two at the back of the car. It breaks down to three easy to manage pieces:
1. The body
One thing you need to notice is that there are two different size screws for this car. There are two long screws and a short one. The short one goes in the front of the car under the guide. Get this wrong and you could run a screw out through the top of the cars body or break a mounting post.
Ok so now I have a secret to tell. I ran this car as it is out of the box. I couldnít wait. Hey Iím sorry but I did tell you I love Ferrariís right.
Well the reason Iím telling you this is because the first Ferrariís released by Spirit had a problem with gear noise. IíM TALKING LOUD GEAR NOISE!
It was a topic on many peopleís minds for some time about how to fix it. Some used lapping compound, others just ran them till the gears broke in. Many just gave up and replaced the gear sets.
Well here is the secret. Spirit replaced the plastic pinion with a brass one. And guess what? Itís quite. Yep it is no louder now than any other slot car out there.
Now the motor is not standard issue. It seems there is some internal change done to the motor on the later model cars. I was told about it so I had to see for myself. Take and put the Spirit Sunoco car up against this one and the Sunoco car will lose. The actual RPM of the new motor is unknown but it definitely is turning faster. They only external difference seen on these motors is the new one has round vent holes and not square.
The tires on the car do need to have a minor truing done but seem to be made well and provide good traction. The hubs need the tires removed and the plastic nubs removed. So far this is nothing that we donít do to any other sidewinder.
Something to look at is how close the motor shaft is to both of the rear tires. Now I have not seen them hit yet but I do recommend trimming down the shaft.
Magnet is a small bar type and can be easily removed to upgrade to a larger one or to add lead. Just be careful you donít break the latch for the magnet or youíll have to get out the CA glue.
One thing I did notice is there is no lube anywhere on the car. None! Minor issue, but for dummies like me that canít wait to run the car it would have been nice to see it.
I ran the car on my small home track as is out of the box. The only exception is adding lube, oiling and adjusting the braids. It handles well and the tail will slide out nicely. The car has the stock magnet. For those that run them it will seem a little loose and you may need a tweaker added or replace the small bar magnet with a larger one.
It also felt a little light in the front end like it did not want to be pushed hard into the turns.
Best time was 4.9
1/8 once lead:
Lead was added to the front of the car just behind the guide. Testing showed car could be pushed a lot deeper into the turns but still was losing allot due to the tail slides. But it did look cool.
Best time was 4.7
I added a pair of the new Indy grip silicone tires to the car. The Spirit Ferrari uses the same tires as the Fly Classics and they fit perfectly. Track test showed no more tail out slides. The Ferrari could be pushed deep into the turns and the back end just follows. Yeah, Now we are getting somewhere.
Best time was 4.3
What was interesting in this test was the lead and the tires were minor modifications only. This car still has a lot more to give when tuned. Oh yeah did it meet my requirements as a running mate for the Lola T-70ís, Porsche 917K and my other Ferrariís?
My best running tuned Ferrariís time on this track is 4.8. This Spirit Ferrari could run with it box stock.
There are only three dislikes so far about the car.
1. Drivers Helmet.
2. Motor shaft clearance.
3. Clear coat on Tampoís.
Most would consider these minor issues but I like to be more critical than most.
So what do I think Overall?†
I think this is a car I will keep and buy more of in the future. They are quality cars that are priced well. It ran out of the box with no modifications or hours worth of work. It looks good and the detail will hold up to the other cars that I own with no problem.
And for those of you that like to tune your cars. There is a lot more speed and handling yet to be found in here. Add some sillies, your favorite magnet or lead, maybe a straight front axle, a little tweaking here and there and the results could be devastating.
As for me Iím back to tuning. Have fun!
(I would like to point out that what I found here is what I see as it came out of the box. What you find maybe different. Not even the major 1:1 car manufactures can make two identical cars the same. But I will say this, I will tell you good or bad and leave it for you to decide what to do.)