ORV

ORV stands for ‘Off Road Vehicle’ and is the first chassis designed by Tamiya in which plastic has taken over. The main part of the chassis consists of two halves bolted together, which even visually seems to replicate the tubular chassis of real cars and especially motorbikes.
Three models use the first version of the OVR chassis:

– Subaru Brat, model number 58038 released to sale in 1983 and available on the market until 1986,
Lancia Rally, model number 58040 released to sale in 1983 and available on the market until 1985, and
– The Frog, model number 58041 released to sale in 1983 and available on the market until 1988

There are several advertisements that Tamiya or the various importers around the world have published in trade magazines, in the image below are some examples of advertisements covering all models equipped with ORV chassis.

The advertisements focus mainly on The Frog model.

Tamiya included an alternative body colour for the Frog in the 1985 Guide Book.

There have been several reissues of the Brat model and The Frog model over the years, until now (2023) the Lancia Rally has not been reissued except with a different TA2S chassis with four-wheel drive and a different, albeit very similar, body; model number 58654.
The ORV chassis had a very long life undergoing evolutions that led it to be used on several models that are completely different from the original ones on which it was first installed.
These are the specifications of this family:

– two-wheel drive only (rear-wheel drive),
– two-wheel steering,
– independent front suspension for purely off-road use, consisting of torsion bars. Due to the poor shock-absorbing efficiency and short suspension travel of the original version, later versions of the chassis included oil-filled shock absorbers,
independent rear suspension for purely off-road use, Tamiya provides customised shock absorbers for each model; the rear suspension attachment to the chassis being a plastic system is a weak point prone to frequent breakage,

– rear gearbox consisting of a plastic housing with two near-formed metal alloy side plates is a weak point because the plastic and metal alloy parts flex too much and in different ways to keep the gearbox properly assembled,
– early versions were not equipped with a rear differential,
– the position of the servos is at the front, with small variations from model to model. The position is forward of the centre of gravity, shifting weight to the front axle; nevertheless, it protects the two servos from impact and consequent breakage.

This is a list of the main differences between the models with the first OVR chassis: Subaru Brat, Lancia Rally and The Frog.

– The three models have different body, the rarest being the Lancia Rally.
– The three models have different wheels and tyres, the rarest being definitely the Lancia Rally.
– The body material of Lancia Rally and Subaru Brat is styrene and the body material of The Frog is polycarbonate – lexan.
– Lancia Rally and Subaru Brat have one antenna and The Frog has two antennas.
– Lancia Rally and Subaru Brat have no differential and The Frog has a differential.

In the pictures from left to right are the parts of Subaru Brat, Lancia Rally and the Frog. Starting from the front and moving towards the rear of the chassis, these are the differences for

Front torsion bar attachments
The Lancia Rally and Subaru Brat front torsion bars have rubber reinforcement on the screws that attach the arms to the front bumper. The Frog has a brass tube to better support the screws that attach the arms to the front bumper.

Motor guard plate
Only the Frog has a near-formed metal alloy skid plate under the front of the chassis. Early versions of the Lancia Rally and Subaru Brat chassis lacked holes to install this plate, these are the older versions that we could call MK1. Tamiya after the release of The Frog also modified the Lancia Rally and Subaru Brat chassis, which we could call MK2.

Installation of the servo
Lancia Rally and Subaru Brat have a large front plate on which the servos are installed. The Frog model has a smaller front plate on which the servos are installed.

Front Body Mount and 2 x Rear-Lateral Body Mounts
Lancia Rally and Subaru Brat have a long front support. The Frog has a short front support due to the shape of the body. Lancia Rally has the rear-lateral supports installed in the lower part of the chassis. Subaru Brat and The Frog share the same installation position of the body supports, but they are differently shaped.

Servo orientation
Lancia Rally and Subaru Brat have front servos rotated 180 degrees in relation to The Frog. This configuration was retained on the evolution of the ORV chassis: the Blackfoot family.

On/off switch
Lancia Rally and Subaru Brat have the on/off switch mounted on the right side of the chassis. The Frog has the on/off switch mounted on the rear of the polycarbonate-Lexan body.

Gears
Lancia Rally and Subaru Brat have a main gear made of plastic. The Frog has a main gear made of plastic and zamak complete with differential.

Speed control system resistors
Lancia Rally and Subaru Brat have two ceramic resistors mounted on the right side of the chassis. The Frog has two ceramic resistors mounted on the back of the gearbox with a metal bracket.

Front bumper
Lancia Rally has a plastic + metal front bumper that is very rare to find intact. It was the first thing to break after an impact. It was only reused as an accessory by City Turbo model 58039. Subaru Brat and The Frog had plastic front bumpers, it was more flexible and therefore more robust. It was also used on later models such as the Audi Quattro model 58036, Opel Ascona model 58037, the Hornet model 58045, Fast Attch Vehicle model 58046 and Wild One model 58050.

Rear shock absorbers
Lancia Rally and Subaru Brat have black rear shock absorbers. The Frog has metallic grey adjustable shock absorbers.

Motor and pinion
Lancia and Brat have a 10-tooth sprocket installed directly on the RS380 motor; it cannot be removed or changed. The Frog is equipped with an RS540 motor and you can choose between 16, 18 or 19-tooth sprockets.

As an accessory, set number 50205 is available, which consists of the gears with differential for Lancia Rally and Brat, and it is possible to install the RS540 engine without any modifications by choosing between 16, 18 or 19-tooth sprockets.

Re- releases
To date (2023), The frog model has undergone several re-releases. Pictured from left to right are the parts from the original version and then the re-release. Starting from the front and moving towards the rear of the chassis, these are the differences in The Frog model:

Speed controller holder plate
The original has the holder for the mechanical speed control system made of metal material. The re-release has a simple reinforcement to stiffen the frame because it has the electronic speed controller installed.

Front suspension arms
The original has a brass tube on the screws that attach the suspension arms to the front bumper, in the re-release this system is replaced by a screw that integrates the tube.

Speed controller
The original has mechanical speed control + 2 x ceramic heating elements. The re-release has electronic speed control without ceramic resistors

Servos
The original has 2 x servos at the front of the chassis, in the re-release the second servo is replaced by an electronic speed controller, which therefore eliminates the need for the second servo.

On/off switch
The original has an on/off switch mounted on the rear of the polycarbonate-lexan body. The re-release has the on/off switch mounted on the left side of the chassis.

Evolutions of the ORV frame

Blackfoot chassis
Tamiya evolved the ORV chassis into the Blackfoot chassis released for sale in 1986, which is used on four models:

– Blackfoot, article number 58058 released for sale in 1986 and available on the market until 1992,
– Monster Beetle, article number 58060 released for sale in 1986 and available on the market until 1993,
– Mud Blaster, item number 58077 put up for sale in 1989 and available on the market until 1992, and
– Bush Devil, item number 58101 put on sale in 1992 and available on the market until 1995

Since then there have been several reissues of these models, the differences being:

– Redesigned front suspension by switching from torsion bars to shock absorbers that provide longer suspension travel.
– Differential.
– A new plastic cover for the radio-servicing system.
– Light grey chassis colour changed to red.
– The whole family has a differential.
– Larger rims and tyres

Lancia rally model number 58654
So far (2023) the Lancia Rally has not been reissued other than the TA2S chassis with all-wheel drive and a different body, although very similar to model 58040: model number 58654.
The body of model number 58654 differs from that of model number 58040 mainly by:

A – wheel arches with a smaller radius than on the original model, which had larger diameter wheels
B – 4 body attachments to the chassis as opposed to 3 on the original model
C – Absence of front bumper (if you look closely from the inside of the body of model 58654 you can see the reworked holes for the two bumper attachments)
D – Model 58654 has rear view mirrors and windscreen wiper
E – Right passenger window present, in the original model the passenger-navigator window is absent because it passes aerial
F – Driver and navigator in the modern version and only driver in the original version
G – Different colour of plexiglass window, transparent grey for the original version and clear transparent for the re-release.

It is possible to convert the modern version to the original version with various body work.
– widen the wheel arches,
– open the two front bumper holes and the three holes for attaching the body to the ORV chassis
– close the two holes for the right – left wing mirrors, the two holes for driver – passenger windscreen wiper and the four holes for attaching the body to the TA02S chassis
The mould used for the modern body is the same as that used for the ORV chassis, some parts were machined to fit the new TA02S chassis.
It is easy to identify the outline of the old parts by passing over the inner surface with the pencil drawing a cloud, the pencil lead becomes darker on the modified parts marking the original lines.

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