58072 - Avante
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By Toykid 15/09/2006 17:53:30

After Tamiya had success with the Hot Shot series of kits they went all out to design the ultimate race buggy to compete with the faster & lighter kits such as the Optima series from Kyosho.

The car was extremely expensive and in some markets did not come with the RX-540-VZ Technigold.

In many ways this kit was ahead of it's time sticking to an innovative shaft drive-train when everyone else was opting for belts. There was also a center ball differential another first in it's class. It had a near center placement of battery and shared much with the common on-road 4wd touring cars of today in terms of layout. The wheels had another innovative feature of quick release fold out tabs allowing the user to remove the wheels without a wrench, although many racers removed this to save on weight.

The car however did not fair well on the track and is considered to be some what over engineered. Even with an innovative front suspension design, that used a rubber cylinder to allow the front arms to fold back slightly in the event of a front end collision, the car had fragile front suspension. Typically always breaking at the front upright. Tamiya did release a update upright with a slight change in the casting later on to rectify this. But due to the complexity of the front suspension the car did suffer from a lot of steering slop. The short wheel base and wide front wheels also gave the car a tendency to over-steer. Again a common racing tip was to fit narrow tires up front to reduce this attribute. Weight was also an enemy of the Avante.

Another criticism was the amount of suspension travel, with it being very limited and as such found it hard to work well in the rough and rutted tracks of the day.

But with all that being said this car is a true work of art with so many cool features for its time. It is its complexity that makes this a queen among queens on the shelf.

Tamiya did however produce a series of cars after the Avante addressing many of its criticism. The Vanquish attempted to offer the chassis layout at a cheaper price replacing the FRP chassis with a common plastic tub design. The suspension was simplified into one piece plastic arms, both saving weight, reducing some slop and improving the strength. The cool gold alloy shocks were also replaced with the cheaper yellow plastic items.

Then came the Egress, what can be referred to as a all out competition spec with a longer wheel base in carbon fiber, plastic suspension arms from the Vanquish, lightweight wheels, longer shocks, one way, ball-raced steering and a new first for Tamiya - titanium screws.

The last in the series was the Avante 2001. Borrowing the same longer chassis from the Egress but instead of being made from Carbon Fiber it was now made from cheaper FRP. It also had the plastic suspension arms and the famed yellow plastic shocks. This was the Avante to own if you wanted to race an Avante at club level.

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