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Nitro Slash 3.3 Rob MacCachren Edition from Traxxas

By Tim Kidwell
Published: February 14, 2013

Product: No stranger to speed, Traxxas designed the 2WD Nitro Slash 3.3 to go fast. Built around a beefy TRX 3.3 racing engine with a blue-anodized aluminum head, the power train features a single-speed, three-gear transmission; a steel-composite planetary gear differential; and an adjustable slipper clutch. Thick telescoping driveshafts transfer all that power to the licensed BFGoodrich tires for gravel-spitting, tarmac-chewing, sand-spewing action.

Completely ready to run, the package also includes a TQ 2.4-GHz radio, an EZ-Start electrical starting system with a battery pack and a wall charger, a fuel bottle, and a bag of tools and accessories to help get a newbie racer going.

The Slash 3.3 does not fail to impress. Breaking in the engine was a snap. The engine needed a little throttle the first couple of attempts to get it going. After that, I had to work to get it to quit. The glow plug didn’t foul and the factory carb settings were dead on. I wrapped the head in a towel secured with rubber bands and had no trouble getting it up to temp.

The narrow, blue-anodized chassis has a clean layout, allowing for unimpeded access to the 150cc fuel tank, the high-torque throttle and steering servos, and the sealed battery and receiver boxes.

Once it was broken in, I put the Slash through its paces on gravel, moderately long grass, pavement and hard-packed sand — and was thoroughly impressed with its speed. It's a little slow off the line, but its top end is incredible. Out of the box, the shocks are a bit soft for my liking, but they are fully adjustable.

Of course, the Slash also lives up to Traxxas’ durability standard. Flipped, rolled, jumped — the Slash accepted without a whimper. However, I found the Slash more bucking bronco than thoroughbred stallion. Racers will likely never get to see the Slash's full-speed potential in anything but the longest of long straights. It can be pushy in turns and won't hesitate to turn over if you aren't attentive.

The Slash 3.3 is a great truck from Traxxas. It's a joy to drive, and I grinned each time I started the engine for another session.

Make sure you ask interested customers where they intend to drive the Slash 3.3. I cannot stress this enough: It's fast! It goes far very quickly, especially at full throttle, and is hard to control at that speed, more so for the inexperienced driver. If they're planning to drive it around their suburban backyards, steer them toward something else. It may seem counterintuitive, but, in the long run, your customer will thank you. And it will save you a lot of headaches after unhappy phone calls or visits.

I don't recommend the Slash 3.3 for anyone under 14 or anyone without some R/C driving experience on their résumé. Of course, parents are the final arbiter, but it's best to let them know that when properly tuned, the Slash will hit speeds of about 50 mph. That will do some serious harm to the dog, the back of the garage or someone's shin.

Customers will need a total of eight AA batteries for the receiver and transmitter, and that wouldn't make a bad up-sell. Ask if they have a temperature gauge. If not, this would be a good time for customers to pick one up.

For nearly 30 years, Rob MacCachren has driven in nearly every sort of off-road race imaginable, from motorcycles, to buggies, to short-course trucks. If off-road racing is big in your area, use that popularity to your benefit by putting the MacCachren edition Slash front and center while piping televised races into your store.

Product: Nitro Slash 3.3 short-course truck, Rob MacCachren Edition
Maker: Traxxas
Stock number: 44054
MSRP: $695
Availability: Check your favorite distributor

• Super fast
• Durable, powerful and well- designed
• Not for the inexperienced