With so many RC vehicles sitting around the RC Car Action offices at any given time,
folks not directly involved in producing the magazine tend not to notice them all that
much. But HPI’s latest Nitro RS4 and its muscle-bound ’ 70 Cuda body shell caused more
than a few passersby to slow for an appreciative look. One even blurted out, “That thing
is badass!” in the middle of the hallway. And these are people who wouldn’t look twice
at the latest factory team Worlds winner. But that sort of reaction speaks volumes about
who HPI is trying to target with this car and how well it has succeeded. RC vets may
appreciate the powerful new T3.0 engine, 2-speed tranny and the well-sorted chassis.
But this car—decked out in all its vintage muscle Mopar glory—is aimed at car guys,
regardless of whether they’ve driven RC before. What seals the deal for them is the
authentic look of the ’Cuda, the Vintage 5-spoke wheels that are dead-ringers for
muscle-era Torq-Thrusts and the easy nature of the RotoStart system. It looks the part
of a fuel-snorting, engine-wailing, tire-shredding macho musclecar. And the RS4 delivers
a driving experience to match—or at least as close as you come in 1⁄ 10 scale.
trucks. Here it’s slightly detuned to “just”
1.5hp, but that’s still a ton of power for an
RTR touring car weighing a little over 4
pounds. Consider that HPI’s ’Cuda boasts a
four times better power-to-weight ratio than
the original! No wonder that power comes on
strong and pulls hard right up to max speed. I
actually found the ’Cuda to be a little too fast
for my favorite local parking lot—a nice problem to have. The best part about the engine is
the torque; it isn’t the least bit peaky. Again,
this is ideal for parking lot driving when you
want instant on-power delivery for short bursts
YEAH, BUT WILL IT DO BURNOUTS?
Absolutely. The T3.0 has enough grunt, and
the shaft drive puts the power down quickly,
so it’s no trouble to light up all four tires on
launch. There’s no tire smoke a la Mopars of
yore, and with all four tires digging away, the
’Cuda hooks up quickly and takes off
straight—great for novice wheelmen.
REIGNING IT IN
’70s Mopars had notoriously dodgy brakes.
The HPI ’Cuda is much better outfitted;its
single fiberglass disc whoahs the chassis
down with authority. In fact, the real limiting
factor in stopping power is the tires—the
calipers clamp that disc down so hard that
they tend to lock up the tires. The parking lot-friendly suspension loads the front a little more
than you might expect; t’s no cause for concern, but jam on the binders, and the ’Cuda
can swap ends, especially if the asphalt is
bumpy or dirty.
N. CO M]