Spirit Ferrari 512M 'Kyalami 1970'

Spirit Ferrari 512M 'Kyalami 1970'

Postby wixwacing » Mon 19 Jan, 2009 12:12 am

Spirit Ferrari 512 M
ICKX / GIUNTI


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By Phil Wicks

A recent class call for a local event got me scrambling for a model. The class, Classic Le Mans >1973 Mmmmmmm? What could be raced? I wanted something that was not potentially a race winner out of the box but something with that potential that I could fettle and get running spot on. What were the pre fettling requirements. Firstly, bearing in mind the technical nature of the track it needed a torquey motor which wasn’t overpowered. Say, an NC5 or similar style boxer motor. Next it had to have a good ‘footprint’! A wheel at each corner almost and no ungainly long tails that would exaggerate the pendulum moment and take some taming on the track. And most importantly something flat enough not to be upset by a high C of G on the more tortuous inner bends on the non magnet craftwood circuit.

I scoured the Le Mans register and looked for something close. GT40? Uh Uh! too small a footprint. P4 Ferrari Mmmmmm? Possibly. 917? same old same old, Maybe the recently purchased Alfa 33? No, a potential winner but a bit fragile for the price. Renaults, Matras, Corvettes, Porsches, Chevrons, Ligiers, Hurons?, Lolas, De Tomaso, Datsun!, Ford Capri!!!, BMW 3.0..... the list goes on. Until I caught a glimpse on eBay of a long forgotten model which, as an option, had been in the back of my mind. The model was the Ferrari 512M and after looking up its qualifications I decided to see if I could locate one locally.



Ferrari 512M link



Unfortunately, there were only a couple in on line sites and also a couple in eBay shops. After a few days one came on an eBay shop from the US and at $59.00 was probably the top I would pay. There was also a postal charge of $12.50 for the ‘buy it now’ model, unfortunately, I ‘bought it now’ expecting to Paypal it. I went into the check out and it showed I was AU$5.00 short in the account. Also unfortunate was the fact that I top up my Paypal account from a bank account as I don’t use credit cards!! A transaction which take upwards of five to seven working days to complete. And to top it all this was over the Xmas break when there weren’t too many working days. It eventually took more than a fortnight before I could settle and by then the arrival of the model was well outside the timescale I would need to set it up before the race.



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So the race went ahead with a team mate’s hastily prepared Sloter 312b, which after some minor disasters (loosing wheels mid race), we managed to achieve a fast lap amongst the leaders. Then the model turned up the following Monday as if to mock me. Anyway, it wasn’t to be and maybe for good reason. I took the model into the study and started my photo session for the retro review. Spirit have made some nice models and they have made some duds. This model, out of the box, falls on middle ground. Potentially a good model but a bit wanting out of the box. No matter, this is the person who used to specialise in getting his SCX cars to beat Scaley and Fly cars on the tortuous circuits of the South East Queensland home racing circuits. This wasn’t going to be hard.



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So what do we have to start with, well, surprisingly, not a bad package actually! The model I think was Spirit’s first (I am prepared to be corrected there) and the moulding is a bit bulky but an accurate rendition of the 1/1. A very bright red as you would expect and as a copy of the 512M it came minus a tail which meets one of the first requirements. The paint job and the clear coat are very good too; another surprise! The silver tampo to the lower sides does run out early before the bottom of the sill though. The transport screw has been over tightened and while in storage the base has contorted a little but it hasn’t influenced the position of the axles or guide which is good.



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Exterior bits are a bit ‘clunky’. By that I mean they look a bit bulky and the painting and assembly sees sprue flash where it needn’t be but this car is for the track and at some time in the distant future it may well adorn the back row of the display cabinet. Things like the rear aerofoils look a bit ambitious and the poor windshield wiper makes absolutely no attempt to follow the contour of the screen! No worries, it is still an eye pleaser in its minimal decal finish and gold Ferrari five spoked wheels. To follow up there is a transmission and rear end detail which is moulded in several parts and in spite of the minimalism of the rest of the model this part, complete with lenses and dampers, must represent fifty percent of assembly time for the model!



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Next up is a look inside and the three screws were removed. I am not joking when I say these screws must be thirteen or fourteen millimetres long. Indeed, I wondered what else they must be holding on but just the chassis is the fact. So, screws out the top comes off. First to fall out is the rear end detail. This sits in a recess in the rear chassis and the top has to be guided into some mounts when the body goes on. Next to fall out were the headlight lenses and recesses. The heat welds had been overdone and the chassis had been the only thing keeping the lights in the model!!. No matter, these have since been glued in. Not the end of the world, yet!



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Internal inspection reveals a couple of pleasing attributes. Firstly, it is very much like a Fly Classic in style. Stub axles to the front, Mabuchi ‘S’ can to the rear in sidewinder formation. Magnet to the front of the motor and long lead wires which wend their way around the cockpit detail when in place. Stub axle play is minimal and rear axle side play too is respectable. The first test was to see if the rear wheels were on tight and not tight enough was the conclusion. Also, if the rear wheels are pressed hard on, the axle is actually too narrow to mount in the chassis, telling me that maybe the axle could be too short? I reglued the wheels and set the wheels just clearing the bearings.



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The rear axle bearings are a snug fit in the chassis and the axle is a snug fit in the bearings, which have a large outer flange. The front and rear wheels are fairly concentric but one problem noted was that one of the front plastic stub axles had a bit of a set in it causing the wheel to wobble on rotation! I removed this and straightened it as best possible but it is going to need further attention down the road. Another feature of merit is the fact that the front and rear wheels are the same dimensions as the Fly Classic wheels. This means there is a ready supply of silicone and urethane after market tyres ready and waiting! The tyres which come with the model seem grippy to the touch but there is a slight coarse texture about them which I suspected may be problematic. Front and rears are ribbed which is fine for plastic tracks but not the best for painted timber surfaces.



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From a chassis point the traction magnet is fairly strong but the model stands high on its wheels and must be 0.5 to 0.7 mm higher than say a Fly model. This will let it down on some of the lower down force tracks like Carrera and I suspect It will struggle to match other makes even on Scaley and SCX tracks. The wheels are finished in a very nice gold colour but again it would have been nice if they had had a coat of clear just to make them shine a bit. Lastly Spirit have attempted to replicate the Firestone tyres complete with gold printing but the tyres are a poor moulding and the gold is a bit messy trying to highlight the uneven writing.



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So, potentially all there. A bit heavy in the body but not fatal. Just a case of knowing what to do to get it to run well. I took some precautions before taking it to the track. The front tyres were sanded into a convex radius to minimise sideslip drag. All the accessible moving parts had a drop of oil and the spur and pinion had a cocktail of Tamiya fine polish and Vaseline. I do this to run the gears in and have found by using the paste with vaseline, the paste is kept in circulation longer, negating the need to keep applying the polish as it dries out. The model was also weighed and found to be severely rear heavy so a small amount of weight was added to the front to counterbalance this and keep the front end down. Next, it was off to the track.



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The track was local racer Paul S’s newly completed mega track. Fast sections balanced with technical sections and a track which keeps the pace on at all stages. After putting the model on it was immediately evident that the rear tyres were lacking. Several treatments of CRC (WD40) and/or shellite saw grip improve for a period of four or five laps, only to diminish and leave the model tail happy when pushing it hard through corners tight and sweeping. On and off through the evening I ran the model. The gears settled in very well and the models stability and corner entry speed were great. But still, even on a by now well used track, the tail still decided to wag the dog after a few laps. Mmmmmmm? Not only that, I had lost the roof mirror, one of the rear wings and the transmission detail detached itself into several pieces! All, I might add, repairable.



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Back home and a closer inspection revealed that the front stub axles had developed a considerable amount of sloppiness, even after lubing the bearings? The wear marks on the front tyres looked like they had been ‘snow ploughing’. This would account in part for the taily behaviour. Still not happy , I looked about the model. The guide had been a source of worry too. At 5.5 mm depth it is one of the most shallow I have seen! I decided to remove a bit of ballast from the front and install a Ninco guide. This proved a challenge as there isn’t enough space between the guide and body to fit a standard guide. I had to cut down the guide spindle, and after drilling a hole down the centre, remount it with a screw and very thin washer.



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Other changes made are a set of urethane rear tyres; and still not happy with the front end, I have made a ‘Wixle’ front end. This gives me a fixed front end but the added luxury of independently rotating front wheels, eliminating corner differential drag, and a couple of older SCX ribbed front tyres will minimise sideslip drag! The only other element of doubt with the model is the motor!! It is a Mabuchi ‘S’ can ‘a la’ Fly Scaley etc. I have a few Spirit models now and all have the Boxer type motor and naively I didn’t even consider this may NOT have one!! But it doesn’t. It would have been nice but the ‘S’ can is going to require a near perfect setup to have any advantage. Should it prove hard work then a new donk may be the solution, but then this would restrict the model to open motor classes!

Statistics

Wheelbase 74.0 m m
Front axle width 57.5 m.m.
Rear axle width 60.6 m.m.
Guide to rear axle 91.5m.m.
Overall weight 78.0grams
Rear axle load 53.0 grams
Front axle/guide load 25.0 grams
Front / rear weight dist 32.1% / 67.9%
Body weight 26.0 grams
Pinion 11z nylon
Spur 36z nylon
Final drive ratio 3.27 : 1
Rear wheel diameter 21.21 m.m.
Progress 20.37 m.m. per motor rev.
Rear tyre tread width 12.2 m.m.
Guide length 16.6 m.m.
Guide depth 5.50 m.m.
Guide thickness (median) 1.55 m.m.
Motor Mabuchi (black line)

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So that is the model as I have seen it. It’s not quite pretty enough to be a shelf queen but certainly potentially a contender. A lot of work if you aren’t handy but I’m quite confident it will feature in the results at its next outing!! How good is that!!



26/01/09

I have since raced this model on a plastic track which has a combination of Scalextric classic and Scalextric Sports sections. On the classic track with its original magnet and Urathane tyres it is quite respectable, possibly only a little more slippy than a standard Classic Fly car. On Scalextric Sport track it still handles well but will demonstrate the demon oversteer deslot if pushed to the limit.
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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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Re: Spirit Ferrari 512M 'Kyalami 1970'

Postby Buzzard » Mon 19 Jan, 2009 7:09 pm

Hi Phil,

Just looking at some of the photos and a question about the shaft of the motor hitting the rear wheels......

With the MJK FLY Classics on, wouldn't you have to sand a lot off or would you have to possibly cut the Motor shaft?????

Alltogether a nice looking car and pretty fast for those 5 or 6 laps with WD40.

Cheers
Kev.
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Re: Spirit Ferrari 512M 'Kyalami 1970'

Postby wixwacing » Mon 19 Jan, 2009 9:52 pm

Hi Kev

The original tyres are deceptively large. The new tyres went straight on with half a mil to spare. No sanding or anything!! I suspect maybe Spirit use a slightly bigger pitch spur and pinion than Fly giving it a bit more space?
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