The Mardave Apache was launched in 1984. It was a low cost buggy designed to be a competitive racer which could be run on a budget, and it originally retailed for under £50. This put it in the price range of Tamiya’s Holiday Buggy and Sand Rover, but it was vastly superior.
Available with blue or yellow shells, the Apache was built on a metal chassis with a plastic upper platform.
First, the front suspension used double wishbones and was very effective in its day. The rear used single wishbones with CV joints, which tended to perish over the years. Basic friction dampers were used all round, as well as plastic bearings for the gear box and wheels.
In the same way, the front suspension unit was sometimes used to modify Holiday buggies and Sand Rovers, whose own set up was notoriously fragile.
The manual speed controller used a board and separate resistors. Futhermore the buggy came equipped with a standard 540 size motor. The fully enclosed gear box had no differential, and the cover was a potential weak spot where the rear suspension was mounted to it.
Because of the space inside the chassis, a specially designed 7.2V battery pack was available to fit the Apache.
On the track the Mardave handles well and proved to be a tough buggy. The double wishbones on the front keep the steering wheels level and eliminate bump-steer. They also offer more travel than the rear suspension does, which is limited by the motor on one side.
The lack of a differential, combined with the less effective rear suspension, can make the Apache rather tail happy as the rear tires lose grip. Because the front end grip is so good this is very controllable, and it makes the buggy great fun to drive as well as giving it plenty of character.
The three examples here were all recently required by me, as I let my original go many years ago.
My first Apache with the green driver and the rope on the front bumper is in fantastic original condition now, after sourcing a few missing part. It spends most of its days as a shelf queen, but does have the occasional light run.
The second one, in the BP colour scheme, is a modified runner. It uses an ESC, an HPI Saturn motor and oil filled rear shocks. The rear CV joints have been replaced with Rough Rider universal joints, and the axles modified appropriately.
The last Apache, with the brown driver, is totally standard (except for the replacement motor) and is just as it came to me.
Jason Cole, UNITED KINGDOM.