In the spirit of Crawl, Walk, Run, after racing twice in the USGT class and doing nothing much but crashing and annoying lapping traffic, I decided it was time to slow down. I repurposed my HPI RS4 for US Vintage Trans-Am, commonly known as VTA.
Go Green with Envy
I wanted to drive a great looking muscle car, something I could see myself driving in real life. One image that was stuck in my mind was this Challenger:
HPI has a great Challenger body that I could start with, but I wanted mine green. I’d been using Duratrax paints lately and new for 2015 is a pearl lime color. It’s not exactly Dodge Go Green, but I like the pearl effect so I tried it out. The Duratrax pearl colors especially require a “backing color” because the pearl paints are very translucent. I did a small test by backing a test piece with silver and also with white to compare. In the cut-out section below you can see the silver backed green on the left, and backed by white on the right. The rest of the body is unbacked and still translucent:
While the silver backing gave a drab green truer to the 1970s, I really liked the way the white backing made the Duratrax Pearl Lime pop. You might say that it’s more akin with this Green Envy modern-day Challenger:
Go Wide HPI RS4
You could maybe make out from the paint samples above that the Challenger body is 200mm in the front and an ultra-wide 210mm in the back. Frankly, I think these wide bodies look silly on commonplace 190mm wide touring cars with their wheels tucked way in. I like a scale look. Even if the wider track may not help me go faster, I’m ok with it because I look good!
My old HPI RS4 has two width settings: one for narrow (190mm) touring car bodies, and one for wide (200mm) touring car bodies. I set it up for 200mm to nicely fit the Challenger body. Standard HPI vintage rear wheels have a 6mm offset, so it fills the extra wide rear nicely.
I added some hard to find HPI Vintage CC Type wheels to match the wheels found on that Go Green Challenger picture I was so fixated on. I also painted the hood black on the outside (after removing the protective wrap!) to give a matte black appearance. I was very happy with the end result:
Go Wide – 190mm to 200mm Touring Car Conversion
For the 2015-16 season I got a second-hand Team Associated TC5, which is a standard 190mm touring car. I chose this model because they’re cheap to get second-hand, but also I can use shims to space out the wheel track. It has a once common (but now passe) layout where the lower suspension arms bolt to bulkheads that then bolt to the chassis:
The Team Associated TC6 and TC6.1 have the same layout – but not the TC6.2. I believe the XRAY T2, and T3 and probably their clones do as well – but not the T4. These touring car chassis can be easily converted from 190mm to 200mm. To widen the wheel track, I bought some longer 14mm screws to go through the bulkheads and added 3mm spacer shims between the bulkhead and the suspension arm mounts:
3mm shims seems to be the max, and you’ll definitely want to make sure you’re using blades on the dogbone end of the CV axle as it will be very near the end of the differential outdrive. To get the additional width I wanted, I got wider, 7mm wheel hexes and some thin locknuts. The +3mm from the shims and +2mm from the wheels spacers nets 5mm on each side and 10mm of width overall. The wheels sit flush again with the wide body and look great, and I can still go back to a narrow setup when I move back up to USGT. Happy racing!