Ninco Jaguar XK 120

Ninco Jaguar XK 120

Postby wixwacing » Wed 23 Jul, 2008 12:31 am

Retro Review
Ninco Jaguar XK120


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By Phil Wicks



The Ninco range of NC 1 models originally sold in the nineties were and are one of the finer moments in the history of slotcars. Nearly all the models drove impeccably and with the NC1 motor, were quick but not breakneck quick. They carried a little ferrous magnet behind the front axle and magnatraction was in its infancy then. The tyres were expected to do all the hard work at the rear and the magnet was going to hold the front down in some of those quick entry corners. Even to this day on a good driver’s circuit, raced ‘sans magnet’ they are almost invincible in their class, even against some higher revving motors.

Ninco in those days, were generous with their dimensions. If they were modelling a car which had poor slotcar dimensions they thought nothing of pumping out the track or the wheelbase until the model worked. A classic example was the Toyota Corolla. This model was wider by far than any other Corolla and consequently it performed well in slotcar competition.



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Other Ninco models are classics in their own right and command healthy prices on the international on-line auction sites. Models like the Ferrari 166 MM and the Ferrari 250 Testa Rosa. The Toyota Celica Rally car and the Alfa 155 and Audi A4 touring cars. All are good drivers in their own right which must contribute to their residual value. Other Classic Nincos are the NC2 Powered F1’s like the Ferrari and the Stewart or the GT cars like the F50’s or the Porsche GT1s.

But the Jaguar still retains a higher level of desirability. Its classic lines appeal to most and the standard of its modelling is better than most of that era, but most of all is its performance. It is one of those models which have achieved the optimum ‘footprint’ the ratio of wheelbase to axle width and with the slim Classic Ninco spoked wheels and tyres, the road holding is faultless. No matter how you drive it the model is always graceful, even whilst deslotting and more importantly, on twisty home circuits, it is quick.

Some clubs and slotcar groups still retain the old NC1 class but although the motor is still available, the genuine models are becoming increasingly harder to source and prices prevent many from racing them. The Jaguar in ivory or red is especially desirable. The classic lines as mentioned before are portrayed beautifully and the model just draws you to it!

So where do we start? Let’s look round the outside first. I have two models here to choose from. The Red raised soft top Liege-Rome-Liege entrant No. 3 or the Alpen Rally entrant in dark green. Mmmmmmmmm! The red Jaguar comes well appointed for its age. There is the Ninco version of the hallmark Jaguar grill nestling between a pair of Lucas roadmaster headlamps complete with tri-legged bulb covers and a Fresnel lenses. Even the driving lampshave been picked out in fine detail. These are mounted on the inner ends of a pair of 50’s type quarter bumpers.Apart from the rally plate and the front number plate, the front of the model is finished off with a pair of chromed side marker lamps.



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Along the side the model has a pair of posed air vents. In the real machine, these were controllable from inside and they would direct air into the front foot wells. Sports cars of this era had poor insulation on the bulkheads and it wasn’t unusual for this part of a car to get overly hot from pure engine and front pipe heat. To the rear are a pair of over riders, and again a facsimile of the standard Lucas Jaguar tail lamps of the time. No indicators on this model, not even trafficators, all hand signals! The rear is finished of with a classy spare wheel mounted on the boot lid.



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On top is a well modelled split windscreen with an anodised rim to emulate the original, complete with wipers and the soft top covers two very comfy looking competitors, one behind the four spoked steering wheel and the other holding a very convincing route map in colour! No stage notes for these guys, seat of the pants and signposts were the order of their day. The interior trim is very lifelike and there is even a vestige of instruments on the dash centre as was Jaguars practice, but these are very hard to discern.



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The Alpen Rally model is in a Dark (British?) racing green and the main distinguishing features here are the lack of spare wheel on the boot and the addition of simulated leather straps on the bonnet. A very nice touch which, along with the beige soft top and interior trim, sets the model off nicely. The third Jaguar was finished in ‘Ivory’ and the main difference was that this model depicted a circuit racer with soft top down and only a driver in the cockpit. It’s interesting to note that all these models are left hand drive, more an indication of the maker than the marque no doubt.



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Underneath, the models are basic Ninco, no frills. Even the earlier models came with a removable motor cradle for those who wanted to upgrade the motor to an NC2!! Sacrilege!! Wheels and tyres are Classic Ninco 7mm wide with three pointed knock off caps and to this day, I haven’t found a model where these wheels didn’t have a bit of run out (wobble). Inside, the model is very basic. The familiar, if not somewhat small looking NC1 in its foil jacket and Ninco inductance in the wiring. A non sprung guide and solid front axle at the front and a 27z contrate and axle mounted in brass bushes. Once again this model has one of the primary requirements to aid body tuning. Just two mounting screws. One to the front and one at the rear. Oh! Happy days!



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The under body too is basic and robust. The driver’s tray is heat welded in place fairly firmly and all the external trimmings too are fixed to stay. The only observations I would make about the models is that firstly, the front axle is a ‘floppy axle, something I might have secured. Secondly, the rear axle bushes are sloppy. These would need fixing down although I’m not sure the NC1 would generate as much judder as its bigger brothers, and thirdly, the Red model is finished in its moulded colour. Not a big deal, but it does have that ‘plasticky’ appearance. The Alpen Rally model does come with a sprung guide but neither model has a traction magnet.



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As hinted before, on the track, both models are a peach to drive, a good turn of speed and totally predictable handling. The classic tyres have always been a favourite of mine for classic scratchbuilds; they have so much grip in a model with little weight. These models corner hard with a controlled drift and have a reasonable amount of engine braking and despite their size; they are a match for the two Ninco Ferraris from the same series. Just running them side by side on the track is a pleasure to behold.



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These two models in particular are very hard to obtain anywhere now and it is hoped that Ninco might do another new livery as it has with the Porsche 356. The pale metallic Jaguar blue would be nice Mr Ninco! So, if you like a bit of retro and you don’t have one of these then you are seriously out of order. Forget the glitzy exterior of the Porsches, the Ferraris, the Healey 3000’s and the like. Do yourself a favour and start scouring the hobby stores and eBay for your next ‘first love’ !!


Trust me !


Statistics

Wheelbase 81.0 m.m.
Front Axle width 54.0 m.m.
Rear Axle width 54.0 m.m.
Overall weight 70.0 grams
Front Axle load 28.0 grams
Rear Axle load 42.0 grams
Front/Rear load 40% / 60%
Pinion 9z
Contrate 27z
Final Drive 3 : 1
Rear Wheel diameter 22.0 mm


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RED JAGUAR COURTESY OF MARK AT THE SEQSCC
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When I'm not racing slotcars,
I'm out in the back yard, burning food!!

When I win, it's because of my talent, not my car or my controller!
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