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Tamiya Baja Champ

The Tamiya Baja Champ was my first car when I got back into this hobby. I bought it at the same time as getting the Mad Bulls for the lads, as I fancied having a car to play with too. The Baja Champ is a 4 wheel drive buggy based on the longstanding Tamiya TL-01 chassis, which is an onroad chassis. For the Baja Champ buggy, the suspension arms are extended to give it a wider stance and further ground clearance, but that's about the only difference between it and the standard onroad offering. Consequently many people dismiss the car as not being any good for offroading.

Baja Champ at the Kent Bash


I have found that it is a precise and fun car to drive, particulary suitable as a first car. With hopups, it can be quite fast too, and is perfectly capable of handling muddy and offroad surfaces. Longer grass gives it a problem though, and also some parts of the suspension, particularly where the chassis meets the suspension arms, are prone to breakage.

All in all this is an easy to build, easy to repair and easy to drive car. Pros are that spares and hopups are readily available. Cons are that you need to almost completely dismantle the car if you need to work on the gearbox, and also the suspension mount points on the chassis are prone to breakage. If (when) they break, you have to replace the whole side of the chassis, again meaning that quite a strip down is required. I've been lucky and only ever broken one, which was the one on the smaller part of the chassis at the rear. And that part just comes off without the need to take apart all of the gears and strip out the whole chassis.


  • Ball bearings
  • Oil filled shocks. My Baja Champ has some 70mm Carson jobbies, you can also use the Tamiya ones which are cheap and easier to rebuild, but I think the Carson ones look the nuts .
  • Stainless steel suspension pins. These are stronger than the stock pins, but more liable to break the chassis. Being stainless, they won't rust though, and the difference in handling once they are fitted is noticable. They only cost a few pounds, so for "bangs per buck" they are a good hopup.
  • Aluminium top suspension arms. These are actually sold for the Wild Dagger or Twin Detonator, but the parts for the suspension arms are identical. So you can get the aluminium arms and C Hubs and they will fit the Baja Champ nicely. I'm going to think about putting the aluminium hubs and lower suspension arms on soon, depending on how well they work on the Twin Detonator.

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