Radio-controlled cars and other vehicular toys can provide endless entertainment – and kids enjoy them, too. While they allow many of us to enjoy cars at a smaller scale, translating a real car’s performance and handling to a scale model is challenging, but not impossible. One RC aficionado gave an RC car a suspension that makes it behave like a real, full-scale automobile.
The video above highlights the car’s handling dynamics, showing the 1966 Oldsmobile Dynamic 88 wagon listing and pitching as you’d expect a heavy, 1960s land yacht would do when it has to move with any sort of eagerness. When the Olds comes to a stop, it gently rocks before settling. The trick suspension can also raise and lower the overall height of the vehicle.
The car took a year to create – and a lot of trial and error. The system works with an accelerometer connected to an Arduino microcontroller board, which controls the four servos at each corner of the RC car. The servos can adjust the suspension’s ride height. The board monitors X and Y-axis acceleration data and then calculates the positions for each of the four servos all in realtime.
The creator used a 3D printer for the hardbody, wheels, and tyres, though a few cracks are already visible due to a few crashes. The details of the car weren’t painted. Instead, it’s a wrap, though the creator admits in the blog explaining the build process, it’s not perfect. It’s not an easy shape to wrap. Many of the suspension bits were 3D printed, too, but there’ve been no issues.
What really completes the build is the engine sound system that triggers a custom horn thanks to the Arduino microcontroller board, giving the Oldsmobile exhaust pops as it moves. At the back, tiny LEDs in the exhaust flash to signify flames, too.
It took a year to build the Oldsmobile with a functioning active suspension, and it’s an impressive RC car. Do they need lifelike suspensions? No, but just like real cars, even toy ones need a few modifications.