Road Wizard F1
I decided to swap my Ford F-150 with this model thanks to a member of the Vintage-RC forum. I rarely drove this model and the few times I ran it, I had to setup it into the Toyota Prerunner livery to preserve the fragile bodyshell. When this Road Wizard F1 showed up, I said good-bye to this model without regrets to welcome the grand father of every Tamiya modern Formula ones.
The Road Wizard F1 family
Released in 1986, the Road Wizard F1 is some kind of UFO in Tamiya line-up of that time. This time was indeed the RC golden age, but mostly the off-road buggy craze: apart from the Racing Master chassis that close Tamiya offering in the 1/12 Pan-Car category, you need to travel back to 1982 to find evidences of a pure on-road model, a Formula 1 to say it all. As reviewed in the article about Tamiya On-Road models, the Road Wizard F1 looks like a tentative to test the customers on this category that used to provide most of the brand's offering back in the first half of the 80's.
58053 Road Wizard F1 (1986)
Even if Tamiya didn't build this model from scratch, its design obviously sets a new standard compared to the previous Formula 1 architecture. Bye bye aluminum, welcome to the last Racing Master fiber-glass. To them, the Road Wizard F1 borrows the T for the rear pod while enhancing the rear suspension system and changing the kit scale. It also borrows the front suspension system integrated into the hubs but the double-deck chassis was left apart.
First F1s chassis
Racing Master chassis
Road Wizard F1 chassis
Most of this architecture is the backbone of every F1 released afterwards by Tamiya, including the most recent. It is also a technical basis you can find on the GroupC chassis design. However, the Road Wizard F1 is often considered as related to two other models released one year after it: the Lotus Honda 99T and Williams FW11B. This is a mistake. Even if these models design was greatly inspired by the Road Wizard F1, the differ on many crucial aspects:
- the rear pod T (much thinner on the Williams FW11B)
- the junction between the rear pod and the rest of the chassis (fixed on the Road Wizard F1, mobile with a setup screw on followers)
- the rear damper position (much inner position on the Road Wizard F1 followers)
- the chassis is much stronger and more consistent on the Williams FW11B)
58053 Road Wizard F1 (1986)
58068 Lotus Honda 99T / 58069 Williams FW11B (1987)
Even if no one can deny a direct blood heritage between the Road Wizard F1 and models released afterward, there are too many radical evolutions introduced from 1987 on: this makes the Road Wizard F1 unique in Tamiya's line-up.
As a conclusion in presenting this model, this is Tamiya's first model to be released with two bodyshells and three sticker sheets for three different liveries: such a generosity is still unique from Tamiya. Last, the Road Wizard F1 is pretty rare but also not very much looked after by collectors. Difficult to give a unique reason to this, but lets consider this: it was released in the middle of the buggy craze, being so fragile didn't help it to travel through time and reach us today and you should also consider that spare parts for this model were never made widely available, even when the model was still on sale.
My Road Wizard F1 when it arrived
The Road Wizard F1 that reached me is in very good shape given its age. Only one bodyshell is there: it is still pretty nice, despite the stickers showing their age (and not being all there). The chassis shows some scarfs at the rear side but it doesn't seem to affect its mechanics. The rear undercowl, often missing on this model, is there and in perfect shape too.
I now have to dismantle it, check every part and especially if all ball bearings are there (2x1150, 5x850, 1x730). A little bit of cleaning, some electronics, a motor and a pinion should be enough for this model to hit the track again. I still wonder why the extra complete set of wheels shows markings on tire walls: I must admit I don't get it. Anyway, no problem since the other complete set of wheels is still good for running.