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PROJECT

ASSOCIATED RC18R

ASSOCIATED'S RALLY-SPEC RC18R is brand new, but since it's a member of the RC18 family, tricking it out is easy. In most cases, any parts for the RC18B, T and MT can also be used with the RC18R. With the help of 3 Racing, Acer Racing, Driven Productions, Hot Racing, MIP, Spektrum and Tekin, I now have a mini rally machine that is like no other. It's fast, durable, a superb handler and a downright cool ride--everything a project vehicle should be.

The threaded 3 Racing shocks and the MIP Tweak Station allow me to dial in my 18R.

This is no stock 18R. The Hot Racing aluminum chassis gives this mini a whole new look. The aluminum battery strap is included.

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BEHIND THE WHEEL

It's a good thing that rally cars look cool getting sideways because my project 18R spends a lot more time spinning on all four tires and whipping the rear end around than it does going straight. When I did make some straight line runs, I was blown away. This thing is fast. The stock tires are definitely out of their league, but the car is still very drivable if you use some throttle control. In fact, with the 3 Racing shocks, my 18R actually felt quite dialed, and I really liked the MIP spool up front (I wasn't so sure how it would work in a mini). Set up with these parts, the car soaked up bumps better than stock and carried a ton of corner speed. And then I was back to mashing the throttle like a fool and performing dizzying donuts and huge, super-fun wide-open drifts. The Tekin brushless system is topnotch equipment, and it performed accordingly. It never overheated, and I fully dumped many batteries before I gave this machine a break. The Hot Racing chassis proved to be as bombproof as I expected an aluminum mini chassis to be, but it did have a lot of scratches on the bottom. But, hey, like scars, they just add character. --Matt Higgins

THE GEAR

BASE KIT

Team Associated teamassociated.com RC18R--20117; $185

CHASSIS

3 Racing 3racing.com.hk Aluminum chassis gear cover-- A18-08/LB; $9 Aluminum servo mount--A18-07/LB; $9 Graphite shock tower (F/R)-- A18- R01/WO/ A18-R02/WO; $13/$15 Titanium screw kit--TS-A18/V1; $13 Hot Racing hobbyetc.com 6061 Aluminum chassis set--AET50; $39

DRIVETRAIN

Acer Racing acerracing.com Ceramic nitride Pro Series bearings-- CERMASSOC; $90 MIP miponline.com Aluminum pro spool--1572; $25 Shiny drives--1570; $25

SUSPENSION & STEERING

3 Racing 3racing.com.hk Aluminum C mount--A18-04/LB; $14 Aluminum oil damper set--A18-R09/LB; $27 Titanium hingepin--A18-16; $14 Driven Production drivenpro.net Shock spring hats--104; $6 Steering drag link special edition--102; $10

BUILD NOTES

Measure the preload on each of the 3

Racing shocks to make sure they're equal. Calipers are great for this.

Do not over-tighten the front bumper's

MOTORS & ACCESSORIES

Tekin teamtekin.com Mini Rage 6.8Kv brushless motor-- T1101; $75

three screws or you will distort the bumper, which also holds the inner hingepins. This will tweak the front suspension.

Using body scissors, open up the wheel

ELECTRONICS

wells for better tire clearance.

If you want to keep the polished alu

Spektrum spektrumrc.com SR3500 DSM Micro receiver-- SPM1210; $100 Tekin teamtekin.com Mini Rage brushless speed control-- TT1100; $90 W.S. Deans wsdeans.com Micro 2R plug--1222; $2

minum chassis looking new, Associated offers self-adhesive chassis protective film.

BODY

The aluminum battery strap is included with the Hot Racing chassis. The thumb screw is trick. You see that the Tekin Mini Rage 6.8kv motor gets plenty of cooling from underneath.

Team Associated teamassociated.com Clear Mitsubishi Lancer Evo Body-- 21294; $14 Zegers R/C Graffixx zegersrcgraffixx.com; parmapse.com Parma Faskolor paint job--$100

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