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Project: Team Associated RC12V

Welcome back to my blog! This is the first article, what is not about electric buggies. Today I talk about a 1:12 pan car project - the Team Associated RC12V. Another car from another reality. The idea was the question, what design is possible today, if you only have parts, what are at least 30+ years old?

This is the original Team Associated LW car. A classic t-bar design and a 6 cell saddle pack layout.

From the Team Associated website. A little history lesson. And now we know, where the "L" comes from RC12L - Mr. Gil Losi jr. It is always impressive to realize, that the modern RC industry was founded by a small bunch of very creative and talented people back in the 80´s.

They literally set the rules from nothing. Their designs and ideas formed the modern industry and the way we race today.

I raced the Team Associated RC12LW by myself back in the days. I remember watching the first time 1:12 racing at a club race in the north of Germany. I was so impressed by the cornerspeed of these cars! Crazy! I bought one and raced it. It was so much fun! The speed, the cool bodies and the fact, that a race heat was 8 minutes (instead of 5 minutes in the buggy class), was amazing! I can´t remember how many t-bars I broke, but it was really fun to drive those cars in the winter time.

Many years later I had the chance to design the Serpent S120. One of the last sub-c battery chassis, before the Lipo batteries entered the hobby. The S120 had a one piece power pod and a innovative mono shock system. Originally I designed it a link car, but Serpent wanted to have a t-bar solution. So as a designer you have to follow, what the company wants. That´s business.

Now back to my RC12V project. Remember, the idea was to use most of the original RC12L, or LW parts to create someting new and hopefully something fast!

First I took dimensions of the original parts and build them as 3D models. Because all my vintage rc cars are designed and build to race, I adjusted the overall dimensions to modern 1:12 cars. The wheelbase is 202mm now, what is close to the latest 1:12 pan cars today. I also wanted to use modern rear axles to run modern wheels. So I chose the Xray X12 rear axle. So I have the option to run ball diffs, gear diffs, or as solid axle.

To run 4 cell sub-c batteries, I designed a u-bar solution for the rear pod. The u-bar has 3 pivot points. 2 point at the sides and 1 point in the middle position behind the battery pack.

The overall chassis layout is super narrow.

Because there is not much space for electronics, I modeled the steering servo, reciever and the smalles Novak speedo (Novak Atom) to see, if I can squeeze them into the front area. And it works, when I place the steering servo between the front suspension arms.

And this is the result. The RC12V - the "V" stands for Vollmer.

To understand to operating of the u-bar system, the lateral movement is totally free and its only supported by the small Xray X12 springs left and right. The screws in front of the springs are travel limiter for lateral movement.

The longitudinally movement of the rear pod is only hold by the u-bar itself. At my first testing I used a traditional spring installation above the motor (same, like the RC12LW), but it was too stiff. So I removed the spring. The natural flex characteristics of the u-bar is stiff enough to go without an extra spring.

To keep the oldschool look I use the original friction plates with some silicone grease. And it works pretty well and feels very good!

The way the rear pod is moving is impressive. Super free and well ballanced.

The Xray X12 springs for lateral movement with to travel limiter screw.

The pivots from the original RC12LW t-bar do their job for free movement of the u-bar.

LRP 4000mAh sub-c cells with a fake heat shrink to look, like Sanyo cells. Enough capacitly and power for the Reedy 12x1 motor? We will see it after testing.

The power pod. I had to adjust the pod position a little to fit modern rear axles. I chose the Xray rear axle. The Reedy Titanium 12x1 motor looks awesome!

The sticker on the pod plate indicates the number of shims left and right in millimeters - just for the case of speedy repairs on the track.

The original RC12LW front suspension. Nothing changed here. The on/off switch of the Novak Atom at the front.

Front view. The sticker on the servo indicates the front springs thickness.

From the look the chassis comes close to a modern Awesomatix car.

It looks fast. But if it´s really fast, we will see it on the track.

Ready to race. The body is a Hot Bodies C12 Mark-1 body. AttackRC made this amazing Mike Swauger paint job.

Mike Swauger´s famous World Champion RC10L Pro-10 body. One of my all time favorite paints. And now I have it on a 1:12 pan car.

The coolest open seater body ever with the most beautiful pan car paint ever. For the oldschool look I added a rear wing, made out of a Team Associated 5 1/2 inch buggy wing.

So nice!

Those colours makes me crazy!

I made this video. I know, you guys loves videos!

At the end of this article, there is always the question: is this still vintage? And I can not answer this question. It is one more experiment, how cars maybe could look if the designers had a quick look through a window to the future.

But good designers always do look into the future! Gil Losi jr. and most guys of the bunch of designers in the 80´s simply created the future every day from nothing, but their own imagination.

They created our hobby, our youth experience, our awesome memories and our passion, what influenced our life forever.

Thanks for reading and forgiving my bumpy english!

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Randy Budano - That Upper Left Life
Randy Budano - That Upper Left Life
27 thg 12, 2023

Wow! Awesome work. The design incorporates both vintage and modern in a beautiful way. I have seen newer 3d printed designs similar to the u-pod that you have designed. Your design really keeps things simple and utilizes a lot of the original hardware. I hope to one day try and replicate your work to race my 12L3 again. I am excited to see how it will do competing with modern cars. Thank you for opening my eyes to see that the old cars can be modernized and inspiring my imagination to new possibilities.

31 thg 12, 2023
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Thank you very much for your kind words! Inspiration is everything!


19 thg 11, 2023

Hi, I really like your builds, and specially this one ! I recently got a rc12, and I want to be able to use with it modern shorty lipos, and so I need to build the same u bar as you, to be able to fit it in the middle. But I don’t know much about pan car suspension, and I had a few question on yours. What kind of linkage/jonction is there on the middle ? What is the length of the « arms » of the u bar ? And what thickness for the frp plate are you using ? And btw, where do get such nicely colored plates ? All the ones I see online are either…

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