I’m a huge fan of the Carrera classic stock cars…
They are big, heavy and offer plenty of tail-out action – just like original cars did on American ovals and road courses back in the 60s and early 70s. I was excited to see four new models from this range in the 2020 Carrera catalogue – and the Plymouth Road Runner was top of my shopping list.
The red, blue, white and gold livery on this car looks stunning. It also represents a real car with an interesting history – Ramo Stott drove it to win the 1970 ARCA stock car series. Stott won six Midwestern short-track races with this car and another three at Daytona and Talladega with the sleek and aerodynamic ‘Superbird’ version. It was at these two super-speedways that ARCA ran support races on the same bill as the top-flight NASCAR Cup series.
I do like it when slot car manufacturers produce models of relatively obscure cars and drivers. Carrera has done a great job with this one. The cute ‘Tennessee Bird Walk’ motif probably refers to the 1970 hit record by Jack Blanchard and Misty Morgan – plus a nod to the road runner bird. It adds real character to the model.
Like all Carrera cars, the Road Runner is beautifully-finished with lots of detail and is a solid, robust performer on track. Underneath the body, the set-up is standard – Carrera’s short-can motor positioned ‘inline’, a 9:27 gear ratio that is perfect for home tracks, nice brass axle bushings and easily-removable traction magnets in front and behind the motor. There’s also a small circuit board with a direction switch, plus the standard Carrera self-centring guide system.
The car comes as an ‘analogue’ Evolution model, but is easily converted to Carrera Digital132 using the CA26732 digital chip. Converting the car to run on Scalextric digital systems is more tricky, involving soldering in the Scalextric C7005 chip and fitting the lane changer LED. Included in the Carrera box is a smaller red ‘shallow’ guide, which is recommended for running on Scalextric track. However, this red guide won’t register laps with the ARC powerbases, so needs to be painted black or replaced with the BRM S-126 guide for Carrera cars.
That brings us to how the car performs. Straight from the box, the Road Runner is quick and fun to drive on both Carrera and Scalextric track. On the SL6 Test Track, the magnets give the car plenty of grip – although when I really throw the car round the corners there’s a bit of tail-out slide without the car tipping over. Out-of-the-box – but with the standard guide replaced with a shallow BRM S-126 version – I managed 24 laps in 2 minutes and a best lap of 4.59 seconds. A light scuffing of the rear tyres and loosening of the body screws didn’t improve the lap score (a couple of offs…), but my best lap time came down to a very rapid 4.38 seconds…
However, I didn’t much like the handling of the car – it was too stuck down. Removing the rear magnet added some sensational tail-out action, which is absolutely what these cars should do! The weight of the car now came into play and it felt like there’s no brakes – pretty authentic really. Of course, I only managed 18 laps in two minutes – and a best lap time of 6.19 seconds – but the time flew by and I wanted to drive the car some more…
The Road Runner with the rear magnet removed proved to be a good match for my Carrera Wendell Scott Ford Torino. I have tuned the Torino to race it at a Scalextric digital club – removed the spring from the guide, removed both magnets, loosened off the body screws, added a little ballast to the chassis and fitted Paul Gage urethane rear tyres. Despite the differences in set-up, the Road Runner with rear magnet removed was just a fraction off the pace of the Torino. In time, I will tune up my new car – because even though they are fabulous to look at in their big Carrera display cases, the best thing about these classic stock cars is the tail-out, door-banging, paint-swapping action they deliver on the race track.
Carrera Road Runner “#7” Data Sheet
Catalogue code: CA27641
Range: Carrera Evolution – 1/32 scale / analogue / high detail
Released: June 2020
Spares included: Carrera guide, ‘shallow’ guide, braids x 2, cockpit detailing parts.
Lights: not fitted
Motor: Carrera E200 short can
Gear ratio: 9:27
Rear axle width: 60mm
Andy’s downforce gauge: 39g magnetic downforce (rear magnet)