The first three models that Tamiya released in the 1970s were Porsche 934 set number 58001, Porsche 935 set number 935 and Tyrrell P34 six-wheelers. These three models are closely related to each other and share most of their components. After these first three models Tamiya decided to continue on this strategy that had been commercially very successful by releasing within a few months two 2-wheel drive off-road models that are mechanically closely related to each other, this family takes its name from the first model that was released for sale:
– FMC XR311 model number 58004 released to sale in 1977 and available until 1982 and
– LAMBORGHINI CHEETAH model number 58007 released to sale in 1978 and available until 1983
The first off-road – off-road vehicles produced by Tamiya are very interesting for the vehicle characteristics of the time, but they have the defect of being rear-wheel drive, which limits their use on steep terrain. The main features are:
– independent four-wheel suspension,
– very soft tyres help absorb unevenness on the ground,
– suspension action is provided by 4 torsion bars,
– the front bumper is metal,
– the entire centre frame is metal,
– rear cantilever motor with the gear ‘case’ easily accessible for quick gear changes
Both models from Tamiya are characterised by a high degree of attention to detail in the construction of the styrene body. The two bodies are based on models designed for the US Army: two prototypes built only in small numbers to be submitted for approval by the US Army high command. The projects were not promoted and did not go into series production. The Lamborghini Cheetah is the ‘grandfather’ of the old LM002 of the 1980s and the current Urus. In the catlogue different body colours are suggested for these models to complement the official colour scheme.
The most delicate part of this model are the 4 torsion bars and the 8 suspension arms, these parts are made of plastic and break due to frontal impacts or bad landings.
Click on the image with the red frame to learn more about how to build torsion bars to replace the broken ones.
The picture shows the main differences, on the left XR311 and on the right Cheetah. The two models differ in
– body shape,
– wheel treads and the shape of the rims,
– The chassis of the XR311 is 10mm longer even though it shares all parts with the Cheetah. The front axle is bolted to the central metal part using holes 1 and 2 in the XR311, while holes 2 and 3 are used for the Cheetah,
– the two front bumpers change in shape and colour, the metal front bumper on the Cheetah was black (highlightrd in blue), the one on the XR311 was left metal coloured (highlighted in red).
In 2000 and 2012, Tamiya reissued a re-release of the XR311 that differs from the initial model in terms of
– the torsion bars that are metal and no longer plastic,
– the two front attachments and two rear attachments of the low torsion bars changed from a square to a rectangular cross-section
- – cross and no longer shear bolts,
– bolt type,
– battery holder and receiver that change in shape (in blue the original version and red the re-release),
– rear hubs with right + left axle,
– other small details.