2016 Portland Auto Show
By Ryan Gerrish
Started in 1910, the Portland International Auto Show has been giving Oregonians a chance to see all the latest automotive makes and models, as well as exotics, custom vehicles, motorcycles and more. This was the 6th consecutive year that Axial Racing had been invited to run a booth allowing visitors to test drive the SCX10 line of scale crawlers, and we gladly accepted! With attendance expected to be over 100,000, it’s a great opportunity to expose the joys of crawling to new potential enthusiasts.
Every year I build a course in my shop ahead of time and transport it to the show. This year I decided to make the pieces half the size to be more easily moved, as well as make the course a bit bigger to give drivers various lines to try. My standard construction consists of a wood subframe with carved foam on top, and the a layer of Quickcrete on top of that for traction. I spray paint it and add details like lighting effects, rocks, logs, bushes and sometimes fog. After the show the courses find new homes, usually with local hobby shops or businesses.
I lay out the plywood bases, which I cut to 3′ x 3′, and begin building the wood support structures and elevation changes. Blocks of foam are cut and secured to the wood using gap-filling spray foam insulation.
I try to have some idea of where the trucks are going to go, keeping in mind their capabilities and dimensions, and ensuring that it’s not too easy or too difficult.
I cover the foam with Quickcrete, which can take serious abuse, as well as V/O Patch concrete, which sticks to vertical surfaces well. This make the pieces pretty heavy, but also gives them excellent traction to really show the trucks capabilities.
The pieces are loaded on my trailer bright and early the day of move in and delivered to the show. This year they were light enough that I didn’t need forklift assistance!
The pieces are put on tables for easier viewing, and the display trucks and handouts are spread around. It ends up looking pretty cool!
Once the show opens, the trucks are literally driven non-stop for 12 hours a day for 4 days. They are equipped with lower gearing and 85 turn motors, so we get around 4-5 hours of run time per 4200 mah 7.4 volt Lipo. I also build them up with metal rear links, and some machined screws in strategic places instead of the self tappers.
Kids and adults alike have a wonderful time trying to navigate the rigs through the mountains!
Of course, no auto show would be complete without a few highlights of some of the full-size rides out on the floor!
Best of show in my opinion: The Jeep Africa concept.
After the show, I went camping out on the Oregon coast with a large group of friends and had a chance to exercise the demo trucks in the sand. (With the 27 turn stock motors reinstalled of course!) Everyone had a blast.
The course was sold to a local crawler. His kids and their friends will be enjoying it year round in one of the bays of his garage!
We raffled off a new SCX10 Deadbolt, a lucky young lady from Gladstone won it! She and her brother (and certainly their friends!) will definitely put it through its paces!
I’d like to thank Axial for their continued support, and Jeff at the Auto show for having us back every year to entertain. According to him, this booth is “heavily requested” every year, so it’s nice to know we are appreciated! Hope to see you next year!
Visit www.portlandautoshow.com for more information!