The Axial EXO Terra Buggy stands out due is its unique looks and construction. The integrated cage and multi-piece body seperates it from the norm, eliminating the standard body posts and bouncy lexan body found on most RC’s. So what do you do when you feel the need to change the look of your EXO Terra Buggy?
First thing I did was find some inspiration. While surfing the classified’s section on race-dezert I came across this heavily built VW Bug with an LS1 out back. Perfect! The EXO Terra Buggy is also V8 powered thanks to Turnkey.
Browsing Pro-Line’s website I found quite a few Baja Bug bodies. After talking with them it looked like the Volkswagen Baja Bug Body 3283-62 was the best fit.
A few days later the fun began! A quick trim and mock-up showed that this project had some potential. I started the build on my EXO Kit, so excuse its rough looks.
Some more trimming, fitting, and head scratching resulted in the following:
I immediately knew this body needed something to top it off… How about Axial’s Universal Light Bar? Part number: AX30709
Decision on the paint scheme was easy. I know this is a VW and not a Toyota, but I couldn’t resist.
To finish off the lighting I installed a pair of the small round buckets included on the Axial Light Bucket Set. Part Number: AX80045
Now for the fun part. My AX90024 Axial EXO Terra Buggy RTR is still fresh and right out of the box. Let the modifications begin. With the body already trimmed to fit and the basic modifications required already laid out this was an easy build!
First things first, I removed those awesome green body panels. The rear wing was also removed for now. Still undecided on the look with/without the wing.
Because the hood of the VW body is longer I had to look at finding a way to move the front bumper out of the way. So for now I simply removed the bumper brace. Add that to the pile of removed parts…
I also wanted to give this build more of a long travel stance. Out of the box the EXO sets at about mid travel for ideal handling. I decided to use some longer rear springs in the front to achieve the look I am after. Some 14x70mm Firms did the trick. Part Number: AX30221.
New longer springs vs. the stock front springs. Both are Firm (Yellow) Springs.
End result, the new front stance.
To mount the VW baja body I decided to avoid using the existing hardware that was used to mount the EXO Terra Buggy body. Instead I fabricated some body mounts. Lots of ways to do this but here are the parts and placement I decided to go with.
I picked up some some threaded posts. They were included with Traxxas TRA3727A. The simply threaded into the existing hole that held down the old hood.
I also trimmed the hood mounts on the front to allow the body to sit as low as possible. The two mounts circled in red were cut flush.
For the rear body mounts I dug through the parts box. These started life as AX10 body mounts. Part number: AX80005
I simply cut them to the required length and drilled a new hole in them.
Once my cut was cleaned up and I confirmed the length I used the existing holes on the EXO cage (where the original body mounts). I used some M3x15mm Tapping Buttonheads that used to hold on the bumper compression brace. Perfect length for this, and a great way to re-use parts from the “removed” pile.
The end result looks factory. I even have some adjustment left to fine tune the fitment of the VW Baja Bug Body.
Next I decided to remove the rear light bezel. The roof of the VW Baja Bug body will cover this, and removing this allowed me to get the body to set at the desired height. Plus this gives me easy access to install the radiator. Note: It is possible to remove the light bezel without removing the cage, I used an Axial 2.0mm ball driver. Axial Part Number: AX20021
Guess what is included in the spare parts bag of the Axial EXO Terra Buggy RTR? How about an officially licensed Griffin Radiator. Score!
This parts tree is available separately as well. Its a great accessory for your SCX10 or Wraith. Part Number: AX80103
I decided to cut the radiator off and lay down some silver paint for scale realism.
Radiator assembly and installation.
Did you catch that additional parts tree with rod ends I showed in the picture of the radiator? They provided a perfect solution for adjusting the position of the front bumper to fit the VW body. I picked up some M3x25mm threaded turnbuckles, Part Number: AXA1633 to complete the assembly of the links. The following screws and nuts were used to mount the assembled links to the bumper and bulkhead:
M3x45mm Cap head. Part Number: AXA0094
M3x18mm Button head. Part Number: AXA118
M3 Thin Nylon Lock Nuts. Part Number: AXA1052
One thing I really liked about the 1:1 inspiration was the overall width and stance. I decided to mimic this look by simply installing some front wheels and tires on the back of the EXO. The EXO Terra Buggy comes with narrow front wheels/tires and standard rear wheels/tires. To match the narrow wheels/tires on all 4 corners I needed the following parts:
2.2 3.0 Raceline Renegade Wheels – 34mm (Chrome/Black) Part Number: AX08106
2.2 3.0 Hankook Dynapro Mud Terrain Tires 34mm Part Number: AX120107
Here is my final pile of removed parts. Looks like my EXO Kit gets some fresh body panels and a new wing now!
Here is a shot of the cutouts on the hood to clear the shocks. Also note the cutouts for the front bumper, this wasn’t necessary but I didn’t want to take away too much clearance from the front by pushing the bumper any further forward.
Hmm, something is missing back here.
Ahhh, my Turnkey V8! Axial Part Number: AX04031
This also includes the seats and dash, I’m saving that for a potential part 2 of this build.
Trimmed, painted, and stickers applied. Too easy! My EXO RTR should be much faster now…
Install time, simply remove the 2 button head tapping screws holding on the center brace from each side and it comes right out. (4 Screws total)
I grabbed 4 of the M2.6 button heads that held all the original green body panels to the cage. These will be used again to mount the motor.
Once mounted it simply slides into place. The detail of the motor and radiator should definitely make this VW Baja Build stand out.
Ready for it?!?
The completed build is definitely very unique. It was surprisingly simple to do as well! The EXO Terra Buggy platform has a ton of potential for scale builds and replica’s. Already brainstorming the next EXO based project, hope you enjoyed this one.