A big part of the fun in the RC hobby is seeing small-scale versions of real vehicles moving under their own power. It’s one of the reasons I especially enjoy mini scale vehicles just a little more than the usual 1/10 and larger variants. Years back, however, small-scale kits were more of a novelty than a useful piece of equipment. There were of course a handful of exceptions, but even they often left something to be desired, usually sacrificing performance and capability due to their smaller size and a simple lack of components to fill the small-scale RC segment.
Fast forward to the present—we find ourselves in the midst of a technological heyday in RC, with lithium batteries and brushless motors at the forefront of design, making it possible for even the smallest of vehicles to lay down some rubber and kick up dust with the rest of them. With that in mind, particularly the “laying down some rubber” part, we are going to take a closer look at Losi’s latest release, the 1/16-scale Chevelle No-Prep Mini Drag Car. This small-scale, ready-to-run drag car comes complete with all you need to hit the drag course, whether that be at the track with the weekend racing crew, at your favorite local parking lot, or even on the street outside your house.
DESIGN & QUALITY
Small or not, drag racing requires some serious components for ideal performance. Going fast, staying on course, and sticking to the road while doing so are all part of the drag racing equation. You might think a 1/16-scale RTR comes with some compromises, but luckily for us Losi packed some great components into the mini Chevelle.
Starting with the foundation, Losi based the Chevelle on the solidly performing Mini 22 platform. The car features a thick aluminum chassis plate along with heavy-duty plastic side bumpers to fill in the body gaps. These side bumpers help protect both body and chassis during inevitable crashes and provide some extra rigidity to complement the chassis plate. The chassis plate features a long layout to accommodate the Chevelle’s wheelbase and also includes extra holes to move the rear end components forward to adjust for shorter body styles.
The front end of the chassis is similar to the Mini 22 buggy and includes a redesigned bumper and kickup plate to meet proper drag-racing trim. The center of the chassis features an adjustable battery tray so you can fine-tune weight-distribution. The Chevelle’s Mini 22 chassis comes complete with large 1/10-scale sized body posts mounted to a bespoke front and Mini-B rear shock tower.
The Chevelle features independent front and rear suspension with adjustable links at both ends. Flat lower control arms at the front bolt up to C-hub steering blocks, with steel camber and toe links, steel pivot balls, and heavy-duty plastic rod arms completing the front end components. The rear features steel dogbones and outer axles that mate up to the heavy-duty plastic rear hubs. Like the front, the rear features reinforced flat lower control arms along with steel camber links up top. Both the front and rear of the car feature adjustable coilover shocks for the best possible performance.
The Mini Chevelle includes Losi’s tried-and-true 3-gear mini rear transmission, complete with adjustable slipper unit and bevel gear differential. Despite the info on Losi’s website, the car actually features a full suite of steel ball bearings throughout the drivetrain and transmission, so you can trust that this car is meant to last. The transmission is mounted in a mid-motor layout to provide optimal performance characteristics for a no-prep drag car.
The finishing touches on the Chevelle’s chassis include a fully adjustable wheelie bar complete with steel ball bearings, as well as a set of Mickey Thompson licensed front and rear drag tires mounted to aggressive 5-spoke star-pattern racing wheels. To top it all off, the Chevelle includes a beautifully pre-painted 1970 Chevelle body, giving the car a truly race-inspired appearance.
As for the car’s electronics, Losi decked the Chevelle out with some choice components. The Chevelle comes equipped with a Spektrum 2-in-1 brushless ESC and motor combination. This little motor and ESC combo outputs some serious power that helps the miniature Chevelle reach some impressive speeds. The 2-in-1 design reduces weight, further improving the car’s on-paper specs, which translates to better real-world performance.
The ESC is hooked up to a Spektrum SLR300 receiver that features a precise 2.4GHz frequency. The car’s compact and efficient electronics also make great use of the included Dynamite Reaction2 800mAh 2S LiPo battery. The Chevelle body comes hooked up with a set of front and rear LED lights, adding that little extra bit of realism while rounding out the car’s electronics package.
Not only does the 1/16-scale Chevelle look good, it lays down some impressive performance to match. This little kit is surprisingly quick, which makes for some great racing and a lot of fun while doing so. The brushless motor and ESC provide loads of power that help the car rocket off the line, giving the speed and driving sensation of a larger scale vehicle. The included 2.4GHz transmitter is basic yet remains comfortable in the hands and provides plenty of control and adjustability.
The Chevelle’s racing tires hook up great and wear nicely, providing excellent performance on multiple road surface types. The large Mickey Thompson drag slicks only required a minimal amount of break-in and warm-up to hook up to the road. Depending on the racing surface, you may need to provide some steering input, but worry not, as the servo feels nice and precise when doing so and does a good job of keeping the car tracking straight.
As for durability while driving, the mini Chevelle is made from some strong components. Tumbles and crashes are inevitable when it comes to high-speed drag racing, but rest assured that the Chevelle can handle some rough crashes and continue motoring on afterwards. Overall, this car performs well and is really enjoyable to drive.
Losi 1/16 1970 Chevelle 2WD Mini No Prep Drag Car RTR VEHICLE SPECS
Height: 4 in. (102mm)
Length: 17.75 in. (451mm)
Width: 6.5 in. (165mm)
Wheelbase: 9.4 in. (239mm)
Scale: Aluminum plate
Shocks: Plastic, fluid filled coilover
Suspension: C-hub front & rear
Transmission: 3-gear, rear mounted
Rear Differential: Bevel type
Rear Driveshafts: Steel dogbones
Bearings: Steel ball
Body: Polycarbonate, pre-painted
Wheels: 5-spoke racing type
Tires: Mickey Thompson drag slicks
Rx: Spektrum SLR300 2.4GHz
ESC / Motor: Spektrum Firma 6000kV 2-in-1 ESC/brushless motor
Steering Servo: Spektrum SX107
Battery: Dynamite Reaction2 800mAh 2S 7.4V LiPo
Radio: Spektrum SLT2 2.4GHz
PAINTED TO PERFECTION
What really makes this kit shine is the officially licensed Chevelle body. The body comes pre-painted from the factory with a color-matched spoiler, super-detailed decals, and beautiful chrome accents that give it an authentic 1970s look with a competition drag racing twist. The Chevelle is available in both a striking metallic blue as well as a super-cool gloss black, trimmed and finished with bold racing stripes for that extra-aggressive look.
Unlike small-scale kits of the past, the Losi Mini Chevelle makes no compromises. It is by far one of the most impressive small-scale RTR cars I’ve seen in a long time. The overall performance combined with its excellent design and build quality put it on the level of larger, more serious RTR contenders, and it’s all packed into a smaller scale with a smaller price tag. To top it all off, it includes a beautifully detailed Chevelle body that evokes the look and feel of a classic drag racer from the muscle car era. If you’re a fan of RC drag racing, this is one kit you won’t want to miss.
Text by Lauren Short
Images by Jerry Tsai