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Project: Cool Cat

Preface

As I mentioned when I first announced this project, "The Cat" was Traxxas' model #1, its very first RC. Introduced in 1987, it was based on the Nikko Rhino, which won't come as a surprise if you've ever taken a good look at the car. By this time Tamiya had out the Grashopper, Hornet, Hot Shot & Blackfoot, so this "Traxxas" newcomer was entering very hostile territory. However, the newcomer had an ace in their hand, a concept they called "RTR." Granted, anybody could go down to Radio Shack and get a toy-class RC car, throw in some batteries & drive, but Traxxas would for the first time bring "buy, charge, & drive" ease to the hobby-class world.

The Cat was the car that did it, and here, almost two decades later, I found myself fooling around with one of these historic little vehicles. My general idea for this project was to maintain the car's authentic, original layout, while improving both its looks and performance in a way that would have been fitting for the front page of UltimateTraxxas.com if it had existed back in '87!
 

The End Result!

For the buildup of this project I tried something different, logging progress in an official project thread on the URC Forums. With the combination of my updates and plenty of member comments, the thread went to a cool 10 pages and I had great fun bringing folks a little closer to my workshop than ever. The finished product really captures the spirit of what I was aiming for from the beginning, and I'm very happy with it.



The chassis remains 100% true to its original design (no crazy 4WD conversion or total suspension rework), but handling, speed, looks, and versatility have all been given a boost. Here are some of the specific things that have changed:

  • Vintage Duratrax gold-anodized aluminum shocks, modified
  • Team Associated vintage RC10 black front springs
  • Vintage HPI Super Star buggy wheels (onroad form)
  • Discontinued Pro-Line Road Rage buggy tires (onroad form)
  • Vintage Tamiya Dyna Storm wheels (offroad form)
  • Traxxas Bandit rear tires (offroad form)
  • Pro-Line 4-Rib buggy front tires (offroad form)
  • Tamiya Frog (re-release) wheel hex adapters
  • Vintage Traxxas TCP nylon front wheel nuts
  • RC-One 4mm gold anodized aluminum flanged wheel nuts (rear)
  • Traxxas Bandit lexan wing
  • Vintage Trinity wing mount nuts
  • Duratrax Streak ESC
  • Vintage Kyosho Endoplasma 16x2 motor
  • Traxxas TQ radio system
  • Traxxas 2018 steering servo
  • Custom Lexan battery slot chassis insert
  • Vintage Traxxas Cat body (purchased new in bag), custom-trimmed
  • Various gold-anodized hardware

Video

More About the Project

You see how it turned out, but it didn't get there overnight! See how it all began...