49255 Tamiya TRF414M World championship replica Build and Review Part 2

Previously in part one (Click to read)of this review I covered the build of the main chassis. In this article I will be making the car into a race ready machine and realising my dream of running one at a race track. 


For this build, I wanted to source period correct electrics where possible. Some parts simply aren’t available or will cost a lot of money, a bit too far for this build!

Motor & ESC

The race winning car used a Futaba MC800C esc. I searched high & low, but simply couldn’t find one.

However, I found an unused MC850C which is the later spec. It came with no accessories or instructions, but reaching out to some contacts, I found the correct capacitor & diodes required. The instructions were obtained online, so seeing how it worked wasn’t an issue. I also managed to find the correct USB interface, so I can connect it to a PC & adjust it if I want to

The motor used was a Reedy Ti 8x2 modified unit. The black writing denotes a double wind, so I needed a double at least regardless of turn specification. A few come up now & again on the auctions, but they kept going for too much money. I managed to source a used 9x2 which was used in a worlds event. It even had a recent skim & supplied with new brushes. The recommended capacitors were already fitted, but I also fitted a sckotty diode to give me some brakes
The battery just fits under the belt.
I never planned to use NiMh cells as they may not be up to the task as they will be many years old. Ideal for a shelf queen, but I want to run this car at least once! Judging by heights & sizes in the chassis, I needed either a shorty or saddle pack 2S lipo. I managed to find a Gensace 4000mah low profile shorty that is super small & gave me lots of room to work with

Remembering how to wire these old electrics proved a challenge. Thankfully, I now had plenty of room to work with. I chose all black wires just to tidy it up a bit.


To make this car usable, I chose to use my modern equipment at this point. I fitted a Sanwa RX471 receiver, so the aerial is not an issue.

I also mounted a SRT low profile servo. This allowed me more room to position the electrics that would of otherwise been a squeeze with the electrics used at the time


The control tyres used at the worlds in 2002 were made by Team Orion. Reading race reports, I heard these weren’t the greatest tyres, so I opted to use tyres I have in my collection.

I attached some Ride REX34 on the car for pictures, I may use these on the track as well.


The car came supplied with the correct Protoform Dodge Stratus bodyshell & Ride rear wing as Surikarn used. I reached out to Craggy designs to see if we can make a fitting tribute. There were many different lighting pictures, so I think the colours are pretty accurate. The car was painted by an unknown painter, so the colours will be mixed differently. However, I feel this is a great reproduction of the actual shell.

I wanted to replicate the decals as closely as possible. Working with RC Decals, we were able to obtain most images online & got the proportions very close. I modified some decals to reflect that this is my tribute car, not the out & out replica. See if you can spot them?!

Track test

I currently compete in the Iconic cup, a championship where old Tamiya chassis up to 2004 are eligible. A perfect place to run the car!

This chassis would be eligible to run in the GT class only, but not with the bodyshell or motor fitted. The rules state that motors up to 13.5t brushless are permitted. The period correct 9x2 brushed motor is too fast for the class. Plus I only wanted to run it, not compete with it. I have a TRF415MSXX for that task!

Round 4 was hosted by the West London racing centre. A very challenging track where the kerbs are very unforgiving but rewarding if you get everything right. When you look at it, its not too dissimilar to the Key West track in South Africa

I decided to run the car in the Saturday practice day. I chose to run it in the first practice round as not everyone was there for the first few runs. I threw on some used Ride tyres & took to the track

EEK! Let’s just say that I have forgotten how to drive a car with 2 one-ways fitted! Every time you touch the brakes, you would spin out. The fastest way to drive a touring car back in 2002 was to roll into the corners & maintain as much momentum as possible by being smooth. This also improved battery range when the technology wasn’t as good as we have it now.

These days with modern lipos & spools fitted, you can nail the brakes hard into a corner & blast the throttle sooner. It seems a bit ‘point & squirt’ compared to the old cars

None the less, I stayed out for 4 minutes to enjoy the car. I planned 4 minutes as I worried that I may use too much battery & would run flat, bad news for a lipo! I also had no lipo cut-off, so would have been game over

After a couple of laps of learning the car, I really enjoyed the way the car drove. You had to aim for a smooth driving style. The high front roll bar & links from the front hubs to the top deck really made the steering smooth. Really sharp & snappy steering would make this car undriveable. The setup was quite stiff yet very composed. It didn’t really do anything unpredictable. I would of loved to stay out longer, but I was really unsure how the lipo would fair. After the run, I found the voltage to be 7.66v. It may of survived for the 5 minutes, but wasn’t worth the risk

I rode a couple of kerbs, so the chassis now has a couple of light scratches. I always wanted to run the car outdoors, so I now have the evidence! It was never a shelf queen & I never dreamt of doing that to this car. It is a race car, it needed to see the track


This car has been a very pleasant trip down memory lane. It built like a typical Tamiya TRF model, so nothing came up that wasn’t expected. You can see that this was a very serious race effort & a lot of development/research went into making this a serious contender. It set the tone for the TRF program as the team managed to win another 4 world championship titles.

I felt glad I was finally able to experience the car I always wanted when I first started racing. It’s a shame I had to wait nearly 20yrs to do it!
TRF414 7000483030599683638

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