Tamiya releases the Astute in 1989. The first tamiya buggy where you can beginning to race with. This 2wd was designed to obtain great performance.
Ball differential, suspension adjustment, low profile tires, FRP chassis, roll bar, bell crank steering, everything is present to compete.
Tamiya has develop a new technology for the rear drivetrain. The Z point suspension as named, permit to increase toe -in when the damper is compressed.
The ball differential can be adjusted by adding spacers, there is no spring in outdrive like usual.
A clever idea from engineers was to create a door below the transmission gear case to facilitate access to the differential through a hole in chassis.
All electronics are planted in right place (for a competition buggy) and well protected thanks to the body and his under cowl
Even if others manufacturers use ball cup, Tamiya ajust the upper links with bushing.
I didn’t have the time to drive this freshly refurbished buggy by me. Someone bought it before I put the wheels on track!
Moreover, I remembered when I was a kid and beginning RC with my Tamiya Falcon, my neighbor was offered for his birthday an Astute with Futaba Attack radio.
He was the “king of the hill” with that car, it look so much modern compare to my Falcon. Fast and silent, the low ground clearance and lack of roll was impressive in the park.
After few years, I bought his used Astute and make some run with it on a backyard track. The car wasn’t so impressive on my bumpy track, turning without understeer was really hard.
All the weight is concentrate at the rear. and the front drivetrain were totally overwhelmed.
Although I keep good memories, the Z-Point suspension and bushing in links were not really a good innovation. As you can imagine it was not a success and racers easily swapped them with Tamiya Madcap parts to obtain a rear drivetrain without play in assembly.
David from RC4ON
Here some interesting documents from my collection:
Tamiya service book
Extract from Tamiya catalog