Race to win? Race for fun?

MadMike Monday, 8/2/2021

I know there are alot of tournaments with various themes from imports to muscle to British cars. Although these tournaments aren't out of the question for this particular topic there not where I'm focusing on. 

I'm referring the tournaments where it's required for something to be added eg. IDR's death race where your car must have a weapon. 

In these do you like to build to win? Or build a wacky ride to have fun with.



I generally just build the car I like, so that makes it fun. Whether it's a shiny race car, or a deathrace type vehicle. Winning is nice, but as long as I have fun with the build and like the look of what i produce, then that's all good for me. any wins on top of that are a bonus.

  • I generally try and build a decently good car in hopes that it will last longer, but in the end its all for fun so that's my main goal — MadMike
  • Yes! Build what makes you happy :) — Xanthippe
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redlinederby 8/3/21
Site manager

Good question. I've never participated in a "crazy" theme build race but I'd have to think that if I did, winning would not be my primary goal. If you're trying to match a theme like, I don't think you can even come close to focusing on how to build a fast car. 

BUT...if the race is an open track race then it doesn't matter much because there's more random/luck in those races anyway. I don't believe you can engineer a super advantage in the first place, so might as well dress up your car as you want.

BTW, that General Lee car is pretty badass!

  • When I'm building wacky I just try to make the car as stable as possible and lube the axles good and make sure it's weighted good and it's good to go. Beyond that it's a shot in the dark. And thanks, citizen Duke has the general set to kill — MadMike
  • I love seeing the work folks put into how they look, which is why I try to make a big deal about that, in addition to the racing! — IndianaDiecastRacing

That is a great question! I would say that emphasis would be on the theme. The pizza delivery tournament was, in my mind, a car a teenager or college kid would drive. I think theres a scrapyard tournament coming up. In those i always pay the same attention to axles and dusting; but i also understand that these are more about "the look" the host wants. Not the performance. 

  • I was right there with you on the Pizza Delivery race. Was it realistic that someone would deliver pizza in it as a high schooler/college kid? Then that's what I was going to build. How it did after that was immaterial. That being said, I still treated its wheels and weighting as if I was trying to win. — GenX_VintageRacing
  • Yes, the Scrapper's Showdown is coming up soon. The look is resurrected junker cars, That doesn't mean we aren't going to be juicing up those wheels, though ..... — SpyDude
  • Wish I got into scrappers showdown — MadMike
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Xavante 8/3/21

I have an El Camino that would wicked as a " Tally Wagon" like the Arabs use. 
A huge Anti Aircraft Gun and added Windscreen Armouring 

" Hmmmm Thinks." 

  • That's known as a BFG in the Gaslands world. I'm sure I don't need to tell you what the letters stand for ... — SpyDude
  • Yep. We knew them as Tally Wagons in the Service. We even saw one with added Rocket launchers ! Gotta love their ingenuity Buddy. — Xavante

I build for fun and to see what I can do... It's not of a challenge for me.   I never will submit the same car to the same track (unless it's holding a position). For me I like taking what's in the package and making it competitive with what came with the car....  it's easy to slap in FTE's and add graphite and then off to the races....  I like to build cars that look original but aren't if that makes any sense....  like a sleeper.  

  • Nothing wrong with a sleeper buddy — MadMike
  • Sleepers are awesome! — SpyDude
  • i love building cars that look like crap..... and that i have gotten in junk piles.. im currently working on a black corvette... the paint on the car is complete crap..... sprayed some flat clear over the top to keep it looking like that.... slap some new wheels and call it a day.. — RAGTAG_JIM
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SpyDude 8/5/21

What I do is build for function first. How well does the car roll? Straight? Sounds quiet? Good wheel spin? Okay, all good. Once I get it rolling right, then I look at the form. Does it look decent? What do I want to do with the paint: strip it, leave it alone, or in the case of a patina'd car, what little touches can I add to make it look like a beater or a hard-driven car?

For example, my Scrapper's Showdown car is a '71 Firebird that came in a junk box. The roof was slightly squashed, the front windshield posts were bent, and the wheels were absolutely trashed. I decided to strip the old paint (although I kinda liked it), and do a full repaint of the car - there's literally like eight or nine different colors on the car, shot from various angles and with random masking. The windows were a horrible shade of red (why HW decided to make red windows, I'll never know), so those got a coat of gloss black, along with some well-placed cracks. Also, since the look I was going for was a junker that was pulled out of the yard and not quite being ready to race (but still in driveable condition), I decided it needed to lose a front fender, too. The result is--well, not entirely pretty, but about what I was aiming for. 

Now remember, I tuned this up BEFORE all the bodywork, so it should still perform decently. I guess we'll see......

  • I do much the same. If I build multiple usually one one is focused on for the stability end the other just get mainline wheels that look good and lube. The one I want to Perform well will usually have nickle plated axles and more attention to lube and set up etc. Just need a test track now — MadMike
  • Dude, my test track is the top of my desk. — SpyDude
  • I don't even have enough room for that haha — MadMike

I have to admit...I've gone for FORM over Function. Many of the cars that have rolled out of the shop have had the paint and finish be the main priority. I only started building this year, so I figured it the cars looked good I could at least establish myself as a builder of good looking cars first and the speed will get sorted out as I gained more experience with each race...ive learned a tone ove the last few months with not only my own experimentation, but also watching what others do and how they build. Seeing what castings work well on what tracks and how to balance cars is quite the art. I'm still trying to figure out Drag Racing but as mentioned above "luck" also plays a huge role in the open track. I'm having a blast making cool looking cars and I hope sooner or later one of them will be the right combination to take home a win. 

  • Same here, make them look good and speed will come — MadMike
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Xanthippe 9/12/21

Mine are definitely a mix of Form and Function. When specifically talking about specialty races, I've gone both ways. I think you can build a great Gaslands/Death race-style car while still weighting and treating the car like any other racer (see Pantero on the left)... and sometimes, I just want to build a bus that looks like a pirate ship - for funsies (knowing full well she'll not be a top racing competitor).

Similarly, at a recent Flat Rabbit truck race I put a lot of work into follow specs provided (going so far as to use rubber paint to help loads stay in the bed of the truck), but my first mission was to make them look the way I wanted. Sometimes they win, sometimes they lose, but they always make me happy :)

  • Great builds, I know u can get the best of both worlds I just choose not to put that much time into them. I like to donate mine aswell — MadMike
  • Thanks, MadMike. Yeah, after spending as much time as I do one some of these cars I get pretty attached. lol — Xanthippe
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RallycrossGT 9/30/21

I'm new to modding but I cannot get myself to make an ugly car for the sake of being fast. even if I lose a race, at least I wanna have the nicest car on the track

of course, we all want to win... but I will always try to keep the inside of the car as intact as possible... or at least the driver seat :)

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