2011 is well underway and whilst 2010 was dominated by new brands entering the ultra competitive 1/8 buggy market, their relative market entry success will be judged in 2011. Can they unseat the established marques ? Who will carve a slice of the market pie and who will fail, starve ? For some brands the latest fashion: to compliment your new buggy with an ‘own’ brand engine. For 2011 we count six possible ‘new brands’ in the .21 buggy market, ranging from being available to still being on the drawing board.
Brand #1: nVision – Manufactured in Italy by Lavorazioni Meccaniche SRL, Project with LM & CRF. Market: Worldwide
Big money backing and experience are behind this project with some serious ambitions, the founding partners include the CRF side of Neidhart & Bertin – both heavyweights in the RC industry acting as the ‘face’ of the brand utilising the patented CRF technology, the other half is ‘LM’, the factory behind Sirio and several other brands. The wealth of experience and recent distribution deal with Horizon gives nVision a huge headstart over fellow newcomers and should concern their fellow engine brands.
Brand #2: Fusion X – Manufactured in Italy by Novarossi for Fusion Motorsports. Market: N.America
Former Novarossi distributor for the USA Jim Hottinger of Fusion Motorsports/HotMods launched his own line of Fusion X Engines at the end of February. A project several years in the making, Jim has 27 years of experience in the manufacturing and business side of RC, 20 of which have been with Novarossi. An ‘OEM’ engine to Jim’s specs with it’s market as N.America, two .21 engines have been announced, Fusion X3 & X7 with one more .21 buggy engine planned. Solid pricing and a proven product make this newcomer one to watch.
Brand #3: Bullit – Manufactured in Japan by OS Engines for Nemo Racing. Market: UK, France / Europe
The first of a few ‘OEM’ OS engines which may appear this year, the project belongs to the Anglo-French Nemo Racing, its only a day since the full reveal went online but the thinking is simple and a formula a few others have taken advantage of – take a popular proven engine, link it to a brand and sell it for a great price. At time of press, one engine, the B-218 has been announced, its a bit early to judge so lets wait and see. Hazlewood has done well with Nemo Racing thus far, building up the Agama brand in two important European markets.
Brand #4: S-POWER – Manufactured in Japan by OS Engines for S-WORKz. Market: Selected markets / TBA
The folks at OS must have snapped up one good business to business salesman, the 2nd OS OEM engine will be branded for Taiwan based car company S-WORKz, the engine line will be called ‘S-POWER’, originally announced at Nuremberg, showing off a simple 3 port and a DLC coated 7 port mill. We haven’t heard much from S-WORKz about their engines since Nuremberg, so lets see.
Brand #5: ‘THE Engine’ ? – Manufactured in Japan by OS Engines for JQ Products ? Market: THE Car Owners club
A very recent story and one that hasn’t been officially endorsed by Mr Q himself nor JQ Products.
The appearance of ‘JQ Products’ on an EFRA approved muffler list is strong evidence that email traffic between Finland and Japan has been on the rise in the last few months. JQ’s entry into the engine market would mark the 2nd car manufacturer to go that route this year – a mirror of RB’s decision to diversify from the engine market into cars. Will it work ? Maybe, rumours are that JQ has something special up his sleeves…
Brand #6: Answer RC ? – Manufactured in ? by ? for Answer RC ? Market: UK & further afield?
Answer-RC – UK distributor to a few brands, notably GO engines and Alpha engines. Back in late January UK Team Durango driver Kevin Brunsden won a club race at Slough, using a development engine, the project would be branded for Answer RC, but whether it goes ahead or not is unclear. Watch this space.
Last but not least, there are two further points to note, we haven’t included the Hot Bodies branded OS Hara engine as the release appears to be more of a ‘one-off’ and as its branded OS, it aint a new brand. The last point to mention in the possible ‘engine war’ is the OS 19XZ-B Engine – nicknamed ‘Baby OS’, by… us! Dismissed by some, hailed by the likes of Pavidis – who was integral in it’s development, its an engine that intrigues us. Running smaller block engines in 1/8 buggy is something we haven’t seen for quite a few years, a memorable case at 2002 Worlds in Uruguay, Marco Grandesso of Italy used a 2.5cc Novarossi – he managed to avoid pitting for fuel, but didn’t get all that far… So its been done by drivers but never on this scale by a company… We find it quite intriguing and look forward to see the results.
The puppet master in all this is undoubtedly OS, they are at the heart of this ‘engine brand boom’ – the need to sell more engines acting as the spark. But all this comes at a time when Japan – OS’s natural home market is facing massive economic struggles both now and the future. Its unlikely to think that the terrible events we’ve seen over the last weeks won’t have an impact on how 2011 pans out.