Constructing the legend...

First we take a deep, good look in the construction manual...

Then, we start by reading and building accordingly. This Tamiya kit does not fall out of that old saying for the Tamiya kits, which goes somewhat like this:

"If you want to build a Tamiya kit in a hurry, just drop the kit's contents to the air, and they will come down assembled !!!".
I think this says it all.

In fact I let a totally inexperienced friend of mine build this, with only three tools: A knife, an X-akto and a philips screwdriver! He did it in about two hours and a half, including trimming the body and readying it for painting!
We did not install the electronics while building the car, because I had to uninstall my radio gear from another car... However, once all were in hand, it took him about half an hour to install the electronics and make the car road ready...

The hardest part was waiting for the red paint to dry, so that we could apply the 50-odd stickers on the car. Do not think that it comes with fancy stickerwork, this one! All those stickers are for the door handles, the nickel trimmings around the windows and the lights all round the car. Of course there's a pair of white "Quadrifoglio's" and a big Alfa Romeo "snake" for the front hood... The best part is not... given with this kit: Bumpers! That's right! There are no bumpers, front or rear, giving this model that "special" racy look!

Some detailing is given in chrome plated polystyrene plastic, such as the front grille, complete with headlights and turn signals and a beautiful nice pair of chromed door mirrors.

Technically speaking

This is the M-02M chassis.
(Click on it to view it at 800X457)
The chassis this Alfa Romeo is the same one as that used under the bodyshells of the Monte Carlo Mini Cooper, the Fiat Abarth 595, the VW Beetle, the Honda SS800, the Mazda Miata and the Alpine Renault A110... It's actually the M-02-M, with rear wheel drive this time around. It's a highly adaptable chassis, motivating in fact either FWD or RWD vehicles. Of course, you can easily understand which of the above fits where...
It all consists of rather flexible plastic components, which on the other hand resist breakage to the max! There may be some sloppiness here and there, but I strongly resist the idea of putting a hot wind on this chassis, anyway!
In my personal opinion, the hottest motor this chassis can accomodate with any success would be a stock motor, something like the Trinity S-Spec Stock Motor. I used the one from my S-Spec car and it made the GTA seriously fast! Too fast, indeed that it could not run straight on full throttle... But more on this later...
The chassis consists of a central two-piece "bathtub" to which a pair of almost identical boxes are attached. The front one is empty while the rear one contains the motor the gear differential and the gearbox. Of course you could change the positions of these two and have a FWD chassis in a few minutes!
The suspension consists of double plastic arms on each wheel, with the lower arm having inboard a small spring. This is very helpful, in providing a "self levelling" action to the suspension of each end, where the damping is provided by a single plastic shock. The two shocks are identical and have rather hard coil springs. The damping is provided with a rubber boot inside the shock, in the place where one normally would expect to find shock oil!
The electronics I used came from my Trinity S-Spec on-road car. The motor is a S-Spec Stock, the ESC is a Tekin 411 and the radio system, a pistol grip Acoms Techniplus with a Futaba S148 servo for the steering. I also kept the stock 20T pinion gear.

On the Road!

Well! This is a totally fun car, and it cannot be seriously raced. At least on normal asphalt, which is not perfect! Anyway, this is the street in front of my house, with small undulations, and lots os small debris and dust, which don't concern you when you drive your real car, or even when you walk! Remember this is a small chassis, with pretty small wheels! So, how'd it run? I hear you scream! It's undrivable with this motor. This is the first reaction! A quick change back to the kit's RS540 "tin-can" seems perfectly suited here! But first let me explain what she'll do with the faster stock motor.
You just cannot open the throttle wide open! The reason? Tremendous wheelspin! That is! You apply more than half throttle and the back end goes round to meet the original destination! You finally manage to crawl off the starting line... Then, you gradually open the throttle... You hit top speed, and it's a very good top speed, indeed, and then the next turn comes fast at you... You just let go of the throttle and it just snaps to the left or to the right!!! Nevermind touching the brakes! It starts pirouetting all over the place... Now do you call this roadholding?!
OK, now back to the trusty Mabuchi RS540 motor, supplied with the kit. This one is certainly easier on the throttle applications! You can give it relatively more throttle, earlier and not get the back end out of shape. When it's time to turn, though, this Alfa Romeo shows its suspension's design quite well. It certainly hates to be turned with full throttle. Blame it on its short wheelbase, or even to the hard shocks... The truth is this model is better kept on your office, where it will be admired, while at the same time, you will no longer fear of breaking this beautiful lexan body. And, boy, is it expensive!
Now, you'd like to hear something like an epilogue...
Well, here it is:

I did not buy this model with racing in mind. I bought it just because I like italian cars (haven't you seen my Fiat pages, yet?! Go NOW!).
There's a race category for the M-02 chassis Tamiya cars, in Tamiya's races, worldwide, and it should be fun, with all those small classic cars. However, I don't dare to scratch this beauty! I may even take the receiver and ESC out of the car, so that I'm not tempted to run it!
Let's go back...