Monday, May 16, 2011

1988 - Enter the Bullet (TRX-10)

In 1988 Traxxas released the Bullet, a very interesting design which targeted the growing racing market that Associated Electronics had bolstered in the United States with the release of the revolutionary RC-10.  It was available in kit or RTR form (including a pistol-grip transmitter) and met with limited success.

The Bullet was a contender for the RC-10, but was inferior in several areas to the purpose-built competitor.  A victim of "over-engineering" as many products of the time were, the Bullet was far more complicated than it should have been for a purpose-built racer.  The Aluminum chassis was strong but the "double-decker" design with multiple standoffs added unnecessary weight. Traxxas must have learned many lessons from this vehicle as the designs were vastly improved in the generations to come.  The white plastic parts were somewhat brittle, but the main issue I've always had with this vehicle was the use of that plastic in the out drives of the transmission.  Plastic wheel shafts (2 part) were common then and are still used today (albeit much better material) but for the purposes of racing, those materials were too weak.  Still, those could be easily replaced when broken.  The main issue was the out-drives which when damaged, required a lot more effort to replace and were a very common snapping point. The steering setup worked quite well, but it was (like everything) difficult to tune and work on because of the full-length top plate.  Overall the chassis was very rigid and it could be made to steer quite well, but the excessive weight, somewhat clunky transmission and difficult maintenance made it a poor alternative to the intuitive, efficient RC-10. While some drivers had some success with this platform, it required a lot more effort on the part of the driver to set up and they would ultimately spend much longer in the pits than the buggies it competed against. 

Design flaws aside, the Bullet is one of my favorite vintage Traxxas vehicles.  Body off, it is a rolling work of art with the beautifully crafted aluminum chassis and shocks. The body itself has a great amount of detail (for a racer) and the shape and design has a certain "wow" factor that sets it apart from nearly every other buggy on the market. The integrated wing and detailed driver/rollcage gave it a great look despite the added weight. 

My particular Bullet is in very good condition but not mint. The box is a little rough but complete. Very nice piece for nostalgic RC advertising and design. Enjoy the pictures and as always- I welcome your input. 


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