I got involved in the great hobby of RC cars right after my late friend Jay got his Mirage V-spec. As soon as I saw the detail, the metal gears, the anodized aluminum parts, and that .21 cu.in. 2-stroke , I knew I had to get one!
Right after that I bought a used Nitro RS4 2 from "Propwash" because my passion lies in road racing. I wanted to start racing 1/10th scale touring cars because a track was close by. The nearest track for 1/8th scale off-road buggies was more than one hour away!
Around this time frame I happened upon a gold-tub RC10 (1980's) at a garage sale for $10. It came with an old AM Futaba, a broken mechanical speed control, and a melted Tamiya battery. I've since upgraded it with a bearing steering kit from MIP, "fuzzie" tires from Pro-line, a Duratrax Streak ESC, FMA servo, and Hitec Lynx FM radio. I like to have this electric to drive around the house and the neighborhood, but one of these days I plan on taking it to the track. Pictures will come as soon as I finish painting it.
The good ol' NRS4 could only give so much (even after upgrading the heck out of it) so that's when I picked up a used Serpent Impulse. Whether Tamiya or HPI introduced the .12 touring car is not important, because it was Serpent who changed everything in the world of .12 sedan racing when they introduced the Impulse. They basically took many parts from their 1/10th 2WD car (the Impact) and made it into a small 4WD car. This car changed the whole competitive scene in this class of racing.
Eventually I bought a used Impact from a guy in Australia. I raced that for a bit but found that it takes too much time to race many classes so I sold it to my good friend Jerry. I will now help him out as best I can to figure out the Impact. It's a great car and it's a very different style of racing because it's only 2WD and because of the design of RC cars with a central brake it only has rear braking (which means almost no braking). I've now moved up to racing 1/8th on-road cars which is awesome (0-60 in about 2 seconds!). I race only in the Southwest Chamionship Series which is currently 7 races a year spilt amongst Dallas/Ft. Worth, Austin, and San Antonio. See the Dallas' club website for more info RCRCNT.
A lot of what this hobby gives to me is that it satisfies my need to tinker. I've always liked mechanical and electrical things, especially cars. When I go racing RC car, I get to learn a lot about handling by changing suspension geometries, spring rates, damping rates, ride height, gearing, etc. Even 1 mm ride height or 1/2° of camber change makes a dramatic difference. One of the best parts about RC is that you can work on your car inside your house rather than in a dark, cold or hot garage! ....However....
Though RC is as close to real racing as it gets without strapping yourself into the car...it's not...well...like strapping yourself in the car. So the bug bit me and I saved up to start doing some door-to-door racing in a Spec Miata (see Spec Miata for more info). I'm still in the process of building the car but check back and I'll start posting progress pictures soon.
Below are some of the electronic projects I've worked on for RC. In the back-burner I have a video transmitter to put in either a car or plane, and a model engine dynamometer. (visit http://www.nitrodyno.com in the near future!)
My R/C speedo
My R/C Rx Tester
Check out my Spreadsheet Speed Calculator (based on gearing, RPM, and tire diameter)
Check out some of the RC bodies I have painted
The page from the guy in Australia from which I got the original designs is no longer available so I'll just give credit and I'll say that he goes by "Samstain". If anyone knows of his new website please let me know.