I've always had a soft spot for the Holiday Buggy
as it was a my first Tamiya and probably my first
proper r/c car that you could take outdoors, get
parts for etc. With this in mind I was quite excited
about the re-release as parts for the Holiday
Buggy have become expensive and this wasn't one
you would want to run often as they are very breakable.
I have run a vintage Holiday Buggy before but
to be quite honest it was pretty dissapointing,
not really a chassis that has stood the test of
time! Cosmetically the old tub chassis is very
nice and suits the body very well, it has various
weak points though, the suspension is terrible
and the open gearbox is asking for problems so
I for one was also welcoming to the idea of the
Holiday Buggy on a more modern chassis. The DT-02
seems pretty rugged with cheap parts and many
good hop-ups available. All good
... Until I saw it!
I prayed from the early photos that Tamiya didn't
intend the final product to look like this but
it did. I can't understand why they would simply
cut holes in the bonnet to make room for the shocks?
Apart from the body mounts this chassis is off
the shelf. I know the HB is intended as a beginner
budget model and that's great but it was still
intended originally as a scale model with some
realism, why not respect this now? It will of
course handle like a modern buggy and this cross
compatibilty ensures plenty of hop-ups and cheap
replacement parts but for a vintage Holiday Buggy
fan this wasn't good enough...
So an idea was formed in my head
have tried it but I wanted to go a step further
and modify the re-release kit using where possible
off the shelf parts to narrow the wheel base to
the same as the original, lower the body to sit
right and allow the original wheels/tyres to be
fitted and end up with a modern machine that would
handle well but look as good as the original.
Now THAT'S a modern twist on a classic!
Starting at the back
I thought this would be the hard part but actually
turned out to be very easy. The first job was
to change the large output bevel gears to splined.
I used gears from the Twin Detonator but almost
all the modern gearboxes with a sealed gear diff
use these same metal gears. My thinking here was
that a splined output would allow a standard pin
drive output cup and therefore loads of different
length dog bone options depending on the length
of wishbones. The re-release kit comes with plastic
dog bones and cups. Nothing wrong with these but
it does cut down options when it comes to compatibility.
While I was there it seemed silly not to replace
the nylon bearings with 1150 ballraces.
I figured it would be best to build the whole
car and get the original wheels on so we could
see just how much work would be needed to change
the track width. The first issue was the problem
of installing the standard rear wheels. The Holiday
Buggy wheels like the SRB wheels require a long
axle due to their mounting thickness so it rules
out most modern axles
Ah ha! The re-release
Frog kit uses the original wheels but a pin drive
dog bone so the axles will be just the job.
Here you can see them installed in the standard
hub carriers. There's a bit too much axle here
which will need spacing but it's enough to work
with for now so we can see how the wheels will
sit. The main problem here is that the trailing
arms on Frog and Wild One have a big distance
between the bearings, the uprights I have used
here are TL-01 and narrower. It's easily fixed
with a spacer though, standard 1150 bush to the
rescue, more on that later though.
Right, so we now have the car built up with the
original wheels. The front wheels/tyres fit straight
on although they are a little tight, you could
rectify this with Super Astute front uprights
as the steering arms angle in more to clear the
tyre but it's actually only just rubbing slightly
on the rims, easily fixed with a little grinding
down of the arm where it touches. These pics show
you just how wide this thing is and gives a comparison
with a vintage model. There's obviously more offset
on the old wheels but this is crazy looking! A
lot of work to do!
So, let's start the mods with the wishbones,
there are several options that I'm sure would
work here depending on how wide or narrow you
want the back end but I found that TL-01 (Stadium
Raider) wishbones and uprights were perfect and
consequently so were the dog bones.
Remember whatever wishbones you choose the
corresponding dog bones should be the right length.
Top links were made up using threaded rod, Tamiya
ball nuts and plastic 5mm adjusters. I'm actually
surprised how much movement this allows, seems
to work really well and gives the same width as
the original buggy.
Moving next to the front
I thought this would be easy but actually proved
to be quite an experiment. After a strip down
I tried the following wishbones (Pictured in order
from top to bottom):
- Twin Detonator
- DF-02 (Rising Storm / Gravel Hound)
- Standard kit wishbones cut down
You can see from the photo they give a different
result depending on how wide you want the front
end. I actually found that the DF-02 wishbones
(2nd ones down) work very well if you are using
Rough Rider wheels as they are narrower than vintage
Holiday Buggy ones. For me though the objective
was original wheels so the 3rd option was the
one to go for.
If you look at the photo you can see where you
need to cut.
The wishbones are soft and by cutting here you
will not lose strength, the outer damper mounting
points conveniently are perfect too for the screw
pin. Cut with a saw or knife. Take care here kids
and always ask a parent/guardian to supervise.
Again referring to the photo you'll need to use
a knife to remove from of the excess plastic inside
the wishbone to allow the upright to hinge and
also space to mount a ball joint for the damper.
Ok looking good, the standard uprights fit straight
on and again I made up some top links from threaded
rod, ball nuts and adjusters.
The lower ball joint is long threaded from the
Astute but you could use a ball nut and insert
a 3mm bolt from the back. Inserting the hinge
pin from the rear of the wishbone gives you clearance
here. Alternatively you could use shafts and e-clips.
Next up - The suspension mounts at the front.
I simply wasn't happy with how high the shell
sits at the front, infact Tamiya's official photos
show the shell sitting down onto the front bumper
yet the kit when assembled reveals a yawning gap.
The kit plastic shock towers can be cut and lower
mounting point used if you want to take the easy
way out here but as I said it wanted the shell
to sit right and also not lean uphill when viewed
from the side in relation to the chassis tub.
If you do use the lower mounting point on the
standard shock tower there's a limit to how low
the shell will go as the sloping bonnet touches
the top of the dampers.
It turns out that an Astute front shock tower
when turned upside down and cut is about right,
a little adjustment here and there and it fits
just right. The standard body mount just needs
to be cut and mounted and you can then cut the
original shock tower right down. It's all looking
The dampers I have used are standard modern CVA
mini units at the front and medium at the rear
left over from a Dark Impact kit. To be honest
most modern shocks will do the job here, you might
need to experiment with springs to get it just
right though but I hope you agree that it now
looks a whole lot better than the standard re-release
kit and drives great too.
At last, a modern version of our beloved Holiday
Buggy using modern running gear but still looking
great! I'd love to fill in the holes on the bonnet
where the dampers used to stick through but by
leaving the stripe decals intact and re-inforcing
underneath it's really not that bad. I actually
prefer this front bumper to the original too.
So there it is, a modern classic!
sitting exactly the same now as the original and
shell is sitting down nice and low too. Really
hard to tell the difference now from the stance.