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Unbelievable RC

Volkswagen Beetle (Classic)


  • Model #: 58173
  • Gallery: View
  • Released: 1996
  • Prebuilt: No
  • Category: Cars
  • Chassis: M-02L
  • Scale: 1/10
  • Use: Onroad
  • Style: Touring car
  • Config: MR
  • Driveline: Transmission
  • Body: Polycarbonate
  • Finished body: No
  • Susp. front: Wishbone
  • Susp. rear: Wishbone

JANG's Impressions

Used in this build:

  • TEU-101BK ESC
  • Traxxas TQ 2015 BEC Receiver
  • Traxxas 2018 servo

Face it, people have morechildhood "my first was..." or "I always wanted a..." stories that relates to vehicles from Tamiya than any other manufacturer. This M-02L model brings me some of those flashbacks, but not because of anything in RC. Instead, the first full-scale car I can remember was my parents' classic Bug, which happened to be same "Bahama Blue" color as this Tamiya model!

The VW Beetle was the first of a short run of long-chassis M-02Ls and probably the most loveable of all nine M-02-based vehicles. The shape & scale of the full-scale body (approx. 1966-1969) is reproduced very, very faithfully, including a very welcome set of chrome ABS accent parts. It's a car you want to go to great lengths to put together perfectly, and then just stare at it forever, from every angle. Of course, you could always settle for a the newer XB version prebuilt on an M-04L chassis, but there's no substitute for the original.

Assembling the chassis is very simple and straightforward thanks to the 2WD drivetrain modular design, and single shock at each end. Unlike modern kits, the friction shocks on the M-02 really are just that, shocks that create friction, unlike today's type that really only act as spring holders. These are actual mechanical shocks that create a damping effect by running a piston (really a screw head) inside of a lubricated rubber tube inside each shock that fits snugly, creating friction. A very welcome touch.

On the road, the M-02L Beetle is delightfully quick with the stock motor, probably as fast as you'd ever want to go with such a classic. Handling is also excellent. There's a very realistic-looking amount of body roll which seems excessive for RC racing, but gives a controllable amount of weight transfer that actually works well on asphalt. Brake hard into any turn and you can whip the rear around, then hit the throttle to convert to a powerslide, or roll on it to square off quickly. The balance of traction between the two rubber compounds used for the front & rear tires is excellent, as well. It's truly a joy to drive or watch be driven around!


Building tips

  • Step 18 in the manual asks that you cut the rubber tubing for the friction shock to 14mm lengths. I found this to leave slop in the shocks, and I'd recommend cutting 16mm lengths instead.
  • The front & rear tires are not the same, so be sure to mount the soft set opposite eachother, and on the rear.
  • The closest Tamiya paint to use for the box art color is Corsa Gray.

Photo gallery samples

See them all in the full Tamiya VW Beetle M-02L gallery >