Monty - Special Ed's M03 Rally Cooper this used to be Luigi, and may be again someday. However, due to climate change and a desire to have a second rally car, Special Ed decided to convert Luigi into a short-wheelbase Rally Mini Cooper. Converting it from a M03M to a M03 was easy...remove the side extensions.

Then came the bastardizations. First order of business was to increase the ground clearance. After a bit of research, the decision was made to change the shocks to the Tamiya #53571 TRF Fluorine Coated Dampers. These are optional shocks used on chassis like the TA04 and TB01 so are longer than the stockers on the M-chassis kits. Building and installing them was simple enough. The only thing to look out for is that if you build them with the longer ball links, you'll get a ride height that is too excessive. Use the shorter ones and you'll be ok.

Finally there were the tires to contend with. Not wanting to go too overboard, we opted to use the stock M-chassis wheels for the conversion. At the time of this writing, there were only two options for tires in this case: Mini-T offroad tires (a direct fit on the M-chassis wheels) or cut down Tamiya or HPI rally tires. So since the Mini-T tires were the easiest route to take, the morons from this website chose to cut down Tamiya rally block tires :-) And that...was a big mistake. After a couple of hours wasted, and four once beautiful tires destroyed, Special Ed took a trip to the LHS and picked up four Mini-T tires (two Losi Tape Pins and two Pro-Line Bow Ties). It took all of ten minutes to mount the tires on a spare set of M-chassis wheels he had for the M03M kit. We would highly recommend going for the Mini-T tires unless a) you are good at cutting down tires and b) you absolutely have to have that scale rally car look. On a side note, we see that Tamiya USA has a pre-announcement out for a M05Ra rally kit. This includes M-chassis size Rally Block tires so cutting will be a thing of the past soon enough. We haven't seen a release date yet but we're watching very closely.

Here are Monty's specs and some pics....

Tamiya M03M (converted to M03)
Tamiya 540-J motor
Tamiya TEU101BK ESC
Dean's Ultra Connectors Throughout
Tamiya M-Chassis Suzuki Swift wheels
Team Losi Mini-T Taper Pin tires
Pro-Line 1:18 Bow Tie tires
Tamiya TRF Fluorine shocks (for TA04, etc)