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Tamiya TT-01E Subaru Impreza : Review and First Look

Posted by Chris on 21st March 2012 Articles , Reviews 48 Comments
Tamiya TT-01E Featured Image

If you’ve been following our youTube updates, you will be well aware that our Tamiya TT-01 project has been making steady progress over the last few weeks. Now it’s time write our initial thoughts down and review our Tamiya TT-01E Subaru Impreza kit.

The majority of RC addicts will be familiar with the TT-01 chassis, it’s usually the first real ‘brand’ touring car RC that anyone has..  Now if your not familiar with Tamiya kits, let’s first of all say that the manual/instructions are some of the best around. There’s also a slight nostalgic reaction when I open up a Tamiya box and flick through the manual seeing that same little guy, telling  me to do figure of eight’s.


TT-01’s are one of the best beginner kit touring cars available,  easy to follow instructions, with simple build steps mean anyone can learn how to build this chassis from the get-go. Our TT-01 is the ‘E” variant which includes a few choice upgrades of the standard TT-01 chassis. We’ll detail these a bit later on. Our kit came with a fantastically detailed Subaru Impreza lexan body shell which also included light buckets and a LED lighting kit. Apart from that, you’ll find the usual Tamiya ESC and the infamous 540 stock silver can motor in the box.

Tamiya TT-01E Chassis

The Tamiya TT-01E Chassis Finished

The TT-01E has a few choice upgrades as we previously alluded to, these are made from a much higher quality plastic, and do help in reducing this chassis’s known steering sloppy-ness, however this area still needs improving, as there’s  play in every direction and this in turn can make the car drift  of course slightly when your trying to go straight.

The kit as expected, went together really easily, and the build-up is good fun and doesn’t take long. If you like building static models and are thinking of getting into RC, this kit would be ideal.

Tamiya TT-01E Stock with Box

Our Finished Tamiya TT-01E Subaru Impreza with LEDs

The Bad Bits

Now if you’ve built a few Tamiya kits in the past before, you know what we’re going to moan about first. The lack of metal bearings is criminal!  We hate the fact that Tamiya still includes these darn plastic bushings. Come on Tamiya, we want bearings as stock!

Tamiya TT-01E Friction Dampers

Those Infamous Tamiya Friction Dampers

The kit also includes another massive irritation, Tamiya’s finest friction dampers. These were old school 10 years ago. We would love to see Tamiya include their fantastic Mini CVA Dampers as standard for all TT-01 kits, not just the Drift variants, this upgrade makes the chassis far more predictable in the corners.

The Upgrades 

We’ve got lots planned for our TT-01 Impreza, the upgrading started during the build, where we swapped out the plastic bushings for full ball bearings.  The plan is to build up our TT-01E with upgrades the chassis needs to carve corners as good as it can, no heavy aluminium here!

Tamiya TT-01E Subaru Impreza

Stock Tamiya TT-01E Subaru Impreza at Full Blast

In the search for the best handling TT-01 possible, we’ve got a long list of upgrades planned. These includes, tyre foams, aluminium oil filled dampers, adjustable suspension arms and steering turnbuckles and a couple of choice driveline upgrades, to handle brushless power!

Watch this space.

Rating StarRating StarRating StarWe rated this product 3 out of 5.


  1. Sascha says:

    Hello Chris,

    i like your page, its realy cool and i want the same subaru now! but…

    what is the diffrent from your 58426-Subaru Impreza WRC08 to 58430-Subaru Impreza WRC08?

    You have the cheaper version with leds
    which version is the better choice?

    Sascha from Germany

    • Chris says:

      Hi Sascha,

      Glad you like our site!

      The 58430 Subaru is a different chassis, it’s a off-road chassis that (DF-03R) has shorter suspension arms to make it fit inside a touring car body.

      If you’re planning on off-loading more than tarmac rallying, the 58430 may be the better option has the chassis looks to have a higher ground clearance.

      The 58426, is the kit we’ve reviewed here, it’s based on the TT-01E chassis which is far more tarmac orientated and comes with slick tyres.

      The TT-01E also has far more upgrades available for it than the other car.

      Hope that helps!

      • Callum says:

        Hi Chris I’m look ing for a rc car good for bashing on tarmack dert and dusty gravely tarian and am interested in the tamiya tt-01e and the df-03r witch do you think would be best for me

        • Chris says:

          Hi Callum,

          I would say the DF-03 is the better option if you’re wanting to go off road on dusty gravel areas. Even though the TT-01s look like rally cars, the chassis is suited to tarmac roads only really.

  2. Pep says:

    Hi Chris,

    I’m thinking about buying either a tt-01e or an m-05 car. I’m not planning to do any real racing at least in the near future I just want something to bash around on the street. I guess my question is which one has more ground clearance and more suitable on brick road or footpath? I can get them for about the same price. Thanks

    • Nick says:

      The TT-01 and M05 are very different, if this is going to be your first go at RC cars I’d recommend the TT-01 as it gives more opportunity to modify it too make the kind of car you want as you decide what kind of driving you like, on road, drift or even light rally.
      The actual ground clearance is near enough the same on both, if your worried about getting stuck 4wd vs 2wd should be a bigger concern.

  3. Pep says:

    Hi Nick,

    So I went an got myself a tt-01E as you suggested and I’ve finished the built and now waiting for the battery to arrive. However,there are some things that concerns me. The first is that both gear boxes doesn’t feel very tight. If I press down on the foam bumper or the rear of the car the gear box housing actually comes apart a little (0.3cm) I’m worried that I may have over screw them.

    Second is the body; the rear wheel is kind of touching the body. This could be because the upright part that holds the body is tilting forward slightly and again this might be linked to the first problem. But I’m not sure if this will sort itself out once I get the car running.

    Other than that it was a really fun built and doing the body really takes longer than putting the chassis together!! Thinking about getting the oil filled shock as you recommended in the video.

    Btw thanks for the first reply.

    • Nick says:


      Point 1: I guess you mean the diff covers are coming away from the chassis, if so it’s most likely the screws aren’t torqued all the way up. If when you flex the part you can see the screw heads moving in and out of the hole do them up until snug.

      Point 2: the body mounts are attached to the diff covers so it could well be related, if they are indeed a bit loose the body might well end up off centre.

      Overall it sounds like you just need to spend some time checking it over, all the parts, except the suspension arms, should not wobble or have any slop. It’s just one of those things that gets easier with experience.

  4. Pep says:

    Wow thanks for the quick reply. I’ve tighten the diff cover into place now, before I was afraid that something might break if I tighten it too much. Everything fits perfectly now thanks man!

    Still some question about the batteries. I’ve done some research and found that the teu-104bk can handle 2S lipo as long as the receiver has bec and I stuck a lipo alarm on there. Would you be able to confirm this? I’m about to order the battery, charger and lipo alarm. They cost quite a bit of money so I’d like to make sure that everything will work. I’ll get a sub C shape lipo so hopefully it will fit.

    Thanks again for the answer

  5. Alistair Hutchinson says:


    I just happen to have (purely by luck) bought and assembled a TT01E based car, a Porsche GT3.

    Can you recommend where is the best place in the UK to buy the hop up parts from?

    I assume your guide will follow on with further modifications of the TT01E, I’ll be watching with interest!


  6. Alistair Hutchinson says:


    Having just watched your videos, all I need now is a reliable place to order from and a parts list please! 😉

    Many thanks


    • Chris says:

      Hi Alistair,

      If you’re after genuine Tamiya hop-ups in the UK :
      modelsport.co.uk and fusionhobbies.com are probably your best bet.

      Nick and myself both usually order from RC Mart in China though. Never had a issue before. Orders usually arrive within 1-2 weeks, and even with shipping the parts work out cheaper. They carry genuine hop-ups and hop-ups from all the major third party suppliers.


  7. Alistair Hutchinson says:

    Thanks for the reply Chris. I’ve today bought a better servo and servo saver and some oil filled dampers and the car feels totally different! (not that I’m an expert, it being my first rc car)

    The guy in the store today put me off buying a bearing set, does it make much difference?

    I’ll be following your guides avidly, though could you link to them somewhere on the (lovely designed btw) website?

    • Chris says:

      A bearing set is probably the most important upgrade really, it helps to free up the entire driveline, resulting in less wear on parts. Also increases runtime and performance due to far less friction.

      We’ve thought about posting each YouTube video on to the site, and we both keep humming and harring over it. It needs a bit of extra development work, as multiple youtube players loading on the site makes it quite slow.

      Watch this space though! 🙂

  8. Alistair Hutchinson says:

    That’s exactly what I thought you’d say so a set will be ordered first thing pay day 😉

    My other main concerns are battery and chargers, the battery I got in the kit is a 1800mah battery NiMh but it takes the charger a ful 13 hours to charge! Not only that, the charger doesn’t stop supplying a charge once the battery is full so I need to manually switch it off when I think the battery is charged.

    Any recommendations on batteries/chargers?

    I was thinking more a list of links to each YouTube video rather than embedding them on the site, as I know how much they can slow a site down.

    Cheers again for the prompt replies 🙂


    • Chris says:

      If you’re planning on sticking to NiMh, then the NX80P, reviewed by us here http://www.rcmojo.com/146/reviews/fusion-enigma-nx80p-battery-charger-review/ will do the job fine, it’s only £35 as well.

      If you’re planning on going LiPo in the future, I would probably go for one of the £40 – £60 Fusion/Ansmann chargers, just double check they balance, as it simplifies the whole process.

      Battieries wise, go for whatever you can afford, the majority these days are pretty decent. You can get relatively well priced LiPo’s from hobbyking.com , just try and find reviews, as some are known to be a bit crap.

  9. Alistair Hutchinson says:

    Wow Chris thanks again for replying so quickly!

    I’ll probably order two or three more nimh batteries along with a better charger when I order the ball race kit and alu propshaft.

    This is a very addictive hobby! Though I have to say so far cheaper than my other hobbies (Apple gear, home cinema)

    Keep up the great work with the site, if I can help in any way just let me know!


  10. justin says:

    Do you recommend the yeah racing conversion kit? I hope it will help me go from bashing to the track, and should I get the adjustable camber set from yeah racing. Would the TT01E hold up with the ezrun 9t combo.

    • Nick says:

      We had a quick look at the adjustable kit, and weren’t overly impressed, mainly with the front end. The balls end up extremely tight in the hubs binding up the steering. I’m sure with some fettling they could be made to work. As to the 9t brushless, I don’t see why not, make sure you have an aluminium prop shaft and a steel pinion, worst case you may want to add some stronger drive shafts.


  11. Steven says:

    Hi Nick,
    Awesome videos, I’m impressed with the speed that you are able to work at:)
    I’ve recently bought a tt-01E RTR Cusco Dunlop Subaru Impreza GT3 car, Item #58439 . (Its my favourite car in Gran Turismo 5 on the PS3 and why I got it.)
    I do think I missed out with not having to build the car though
    I have done the foam inserts and it hasnt made much difference but will look into the oil filled shocks next I think, then the Aluminium prop.
    Will be racing my first race this Sunday at the local track so have bought a Mazda RX8 body so not to damage my Subaru shell.

  12. HelioS says:

    Hello guys! Can you help me with question, whats the difference between tamiya kit #58528 (Subaru Impreza WRX STi Team Arai) and 58426 (as yours)? I noticed that first has higher price, but dont have light unit, which of them is better for future upgrade for a drift?

    • Nick says:

      #58426 Is based on the TT01 chassis, which is designed for on road fun, where as #58528 is based on the new VX01 chassis which is designed from the ground up for rally with covers for the electronics, sealed transmission etc.

      So it depends what you want from your car, if it’s drift I would go for the TT01 and add oil dampers, drift tyres and follow our guide for locking the diffs.

  13. HelioS says:

    BTW, you have awesome videos on youtube 🙂

  14. ericmaxman says:

    Ahh, glad that you’re honest about the sloppiness in the TT01E. May i suggest getting a FF03 kit? I am planning on getting one, and I would love to see your build videos! 😀


  15. Tomek from Poland says:

    Hi Nick!
    Firstly I must say I love your YouTube channel and all footage wchich include TT-01 build and bashing around.
    I like it so much that i decided to built one for my own. Few days ago I succesfully end my work and now is time for upgrades so my question is:

    Could You write which parts did You changed for better ones?
    I’m really intrested in type of dampers You used. You said that they are from different model (not TT-01) . Am I right? From which model they are?

    Greetings, Tomek

  16. Louis Bounds says:

    Hi, were did you buy your Tamayi TT-01E from because i’m having trouble to find a site that has a wide variety of models and can you post a list of the upgrades you bought. Also when is the next installment of the upgrading the TT-01E going to come out on youtube.

  17. Adam says:

    Can you mail me a full list of things you bought for this including upgrades


  18. Chris says:

    I love your website. I am looking to get into the rc drift world. I have been looking around at the different rc cars and was wondering what is the best entry level car out there. I am looking for the most bang for my buck. Also what upgrades would you suggest?

    Chris (OHIO)

  19. Jonathan says:


    I like your video very informative. Am also planning to get the same model. Can you also email me the list of upgrades you have added?


  20. Karis says:

    I just bought a TT01E, great fun so far, but i was advised to get metal bearings, throughout as it makes a big difference.

    Just to confirm as this post is a little old, rcmart.com and modelsport.co.uk and fusionhobbies.com are the best places to get parts from?

    Noticed you mentioned you was humming and haring about multiple YouTube videos, well I am web developer and there is simple solution for that, use a JWPlayer and create a playlist with all your YouTube videos, infact you can use the playlist API and RSS feed the channel into it and create a dedicated video page that pulls from YouTube.

    That way you can keep people on your site longer and not having viewers distracted by other YouTube videos.

    Oh your video guide helped a lot to assist me building my TT01E (a little fast though had to download it and slow it down)

    • Nick says:

      Always go with ball bearings over bushes for RC cars, as well as slightly improving performance they also reduce the wear on the drivetrain, with a little care it should last decades!
      Those 3 shops are all pretty good places to go, I’ve ordered from many of the larger, and some of the smaller shops and have only had a couple of minor issues, all of which were cleared up within a day or 2.

      Thanks for the youtube tip, it makes a lot of sense, and yes, our older videos were a wee bit quick…

  21. iain says:

    everything you have said about this kit is pretty much bang on , i race my tt01 in a stock class at my local club , yes we run brushless but we wanted to keep the low end speed so we settled on 21.5 combo from speed passion , and the stock tyres are not really what we call a desired item so we use sorex 32r tyres … i have a few race videos on the ol youtube tv , keep it up chris

  22. Thighan (Malaysia) says:

    Hi guys,

    May I ask a few questions?

    1.I have this chassis,it’s awesome.However the track at my local playground is a bit bumpy,and I find the dampers (springs) a bit too stiff. What dampers do you recommend me buying that offer not too stiff but also can allow the car to steer flat(not too soft)?
    2. Relating to the first question,can I drift using the dampers that you recommend?
    3.I plan to take this chssis off roading,but I worried the electronics will become dirty and damaged.My off road trail conntains leaves,grass and mud.Will the electronics be dirty and damaged? If yes,is there any I way I can prevent this from happening?

    tHank you in advance for answering my questions.

    • Chris says:

      Hi Thighan,

      1. You’re probably best off with the Yeah Racing dampers we’ve recently reviewed, however you may need to source a softer set of springs than the soft springs which come with the shocks as they’re very much a smooth track “soft”.

      2. You can definitely drift with the stock or yeah racing dampers, you’ll probably find that the car is easier to start a drift on your stock springs as they’ll be stiffer.

      3. If you lived in a colder climate I would possibly suggest covering the ESC/Rx, but as you’re in Malaysia it could be too hot to cover them up. If it’s only dry dirt it will be fine!

  23. Mike says:

    First off.. love the site and the videos but you do need a forum 😉

    I love the TT01 chassis for what it is. Simple, durable and very fun car.

    Installed bearings as I did the build and the only other upgrades have been
    Aluminum driveshaft
    rear toe-in upright #53673
    Aluminum steering rack from 3racing TT01-E31/LB

    Keep up the great work guy(s) and look forward to your next video

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  25. akn says:


    I’m interested in getting the Tamiya. Still i’m a bit confused what to choose from.

    I have in mind the Tamiya TT-01E, TT-01ED, or the TT-02. So, really need advise on these three types.


  26. Marijn says:

    Hi great pictures!
    And what a great project.

    Now a strange question, can I use the first picture for my Facbook banner?

    Looking forward to your answer.