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Best T Bucket Chassis Kit in 1/25th Scale?

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Getting back into some hot rod modeling I am trying to find the best / most accurate parts to build a '50's to early '60's T bucket model in 1/25th scale. I have been out of the hobby for some time, but I have been digging through my stash and I realized I do have a wide selection of parts and kits to work from.

In my stash:

Revell

Vintage Parts Pack T Bucket Chassis - complete

Vintage Parts Pack '23 T Bucket body - complete

Vintage parts Pack Speed Equipment - complete

New Reissuse Roth's Tweedie Pie

Butterra Chassis T Sedan and Phaeton - well detailed but too new for my current tastes for a chassis

AMT

Vintage Street Rod Series '23 T Full Fendered Roadster - complete

Vintage Street Rod Series '25 Tall T Coupe - complete

Various Double T kit parts and model - built-ups

Parts Pack Drag T Chassis

MPC

Tognotti's T Show Rod - Started but no paint - some sub assemblies

BlackJack T Street Rod

Any suggestions? I want to do something like Tommy Ivo's T or the Kookie Car to early 50's in style and maybe a Rat Rod. I am impatiently waiting for my local shop to get in the double T kit and the '25T fruit wagon kits. Online dealers maybe cheaper but the shipping makes them more expensive IMO.

What do you think of the suspension from the '29 A truck from Revell?

Some pics of my sta-a-a-a-sh!

post-14012-0-41990000-1401640372_thumb.j

post-14012-0-27312000-1401640588_thumb.j

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You can't beat the Revell Chassis for fidelity and accuracy. They are less clunky than the AMT kits. Another option is the AMT Parts Pack Chassis that was re-issued a few years ago.

In the end, use the one that best fits your needs and vision. Have fun!

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Nice collection of goodies you have there. I'm a frequent modeler of "traditional" hot rods, and a fabricator / mechanic /designer at an internationally known 1:1 hot-rod shop. Just this year, one of our cars took a second-place class-win at the Grand National Roadster Show, so I know a little about this stuff.

Any of the kit chassis you have would make an excellent base for a T-bucket. It just depends on what you want, the wheelbase and proportions you're after, whether you want a heavily Zeed frame and the low-low look, or something more upright.

Roth's Tweedy Pie is similar in concept to the Kookie car, but the proportions may need a little adjusting.

As for the Revell '29 A truck front suspension, it's the same as the Revell 1/25 Woody, and a couple of others in the line. It's an absolutely excellent unit (though it has a reputation for being "fiddly" and "difficult"). It has mechanical model-A brakes though, so if you want something built like the vast majority of hot rods after the war (WW II, for those of you who are historically challenged), you'll need to change the backing plates for some that represent 1939 and later hydraulic brakes. You'll find the correct ones in the Revell Roadster Speed Equipment pack, though they will have to be modified to work with the poseable steering feature.

Edited by Ace-Garageguy

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Nice collection of goodies you have there. I'm a frequent modeler of "traditional" hot rods, and a fabricator / mechanic /designer at an internationally known 1:1 hot-rod shop. Just this year, one of our cars took a second-place class-win at the Grand National Roadster Show, so I know a little about this stuff.

Any of the kit chassis you have would make an excellent base for a T-bucket. It just depends on what you want, the wheelbase and proportions you're after, whether you want a heavily Zeed frame and the low-low look, or something more upright.

Roth's Tweedy Pie is similar in concept to the Kookie car, but the proportions may need a little adjusting.

As for the Revell '29 A truck front suspension, it's the same as the Revell 1/25 Woody, and a couple of others in the line. It's an absolutely excellent unit (though it has a reputation for being "fiddly" and "difficult"). It has mechanical model-A brakes though, so if you want something built like the vast majority of hot rods after the war (WW II, for those of you who are historically challenged), you'll need to change the backing plates for some that represent 1939 and later hydraulic brakes. You'll find the correct ones in the Revell Roadster Speed Equipment pack, though they will have to be modified to work with the poseable steering feature.

Ace, congrats on placing with your real vehicle!

I am a bit disappointed in the AMT chassis except for the parts pack drag chassis and the '23T. I am still not sure if I am fond of the curved up kick on the Revell, but that is my leading favorite so far. For a look, would a Hidebrandt rear end work? Most Ford 9" rear ends seem to be a resto rod to current design. Also would mating an A rear crossmember be a good idea as well?

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Hi Rod,

I hav ebuilt most of these chassis so here is my opinion for what it is worth.

The AMT chassis from their various 25 T kits has a good kickup and a realistic wheelbase. It sits higher than a contemporary car but then that is probably what you want for nostalgia. THe biggest issue in my eyes is the width of the dropped tube front axle. AMT must have wanted to be able to get the tyres under the T fender units so it is very narrow and just ruins the proportions of a cool T bucket.

The Revell Parts Pack is stunningly detailed and is based on a modified Model A frame but I agree, I've always disliked the curved kickup. Can't say I've ever seen that on photos of the real thing.

The Tweety Pie builds up into a cool car but the short wheelbase makes everything very tight - that little Revell Chevy barely fits as it is.

Now Ive never had a a Blackjack T in my stash but I'm going to go out on a limb and say that it is related to original MPC Switcher's kits? If so that is a very nice chassis that needs no modification. The only thing I remember having a drama with is that mounting points for the suspension are a bit vague and test your patience but other than that, it would be my choice.

Oh yeah, I know you said 1/25th but don't dismiss the Monogram Little T/Sweetee kit. Although some Monogram cars fromm the era look huge next to a 1/25 example, this isn't one of them. The front axle is a bit wide for my taste but this thing practically builds itself and will always end up with all four tyres on the road.

Hope that helps with your decision making - that's a real nice stash to choose from!

Cheers

Alan

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Thanks for your input Alan!

The Black Jack T is a reissue of the earlier Switchers kit and was more affordable back in the early 90's than the switcher kit. Most didn't know the history and thus charged less for it!

I do have a built of - that is re-kitting itself that I found years ago of the Little T. I also had the '80's Resto Rod looking T kit but I sold that off years ago. I plan on doing a tear down on the little T sometime...

I also found my box of "started projects". some chopped '32 and '34 for kits. I chopped the AMT '32 5 window and put it aside when the new '32 Revell 3-window came out. I chopped that body as well but never finished either. I may do an East Coast styled channeled rod out of the old AMT since it is now found to have been channeled from the AMT factory a scale three inches, lol. I also just found a T bucket I started as well as 27 T Gasser I started and a box full of street Rod and Hot Rod parts with an Aurora T bucket build up.

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... I may do an East Coast styled channeled rod out of the old AMT since it is now found to have been channeled from the AMT factory a scale three inches..

Just for the record, the old AMT '32 kits all had bodies that were "sectioned" in the front, not "channeled".

"Sectioning" is removal of metal from body panels to make them lower.

"Channeling" is lowering the body relative to the frame rails.

This is the difference between the Revell '32 body height at the firewall, and the "sectioned" AMT '32 Victoria.

DSCN0584_zpsf5e5fe72.jpg

...and this is what's necessary to get the correct stock line back...

DSCN0594_zps77b85371.jpg

The Revell parts-pack T-bucket frame has side rails that are deeper than an A-model. It's most probably modeled on a real frame fabricated from plate and sheet, which would also account for the curved kickup.

It's designed to accept the Halibrand-style quick-change in the parts-pack speed-equipment, which is set up with split-wishbones to accomodate the kickup. The Ford 9" can be considered acceptable in any hot-rod built since 1957, when it was introduced and began showing up in junkyards.

T and A crossmembers are used to accommodate the high-arch springs needed to accommodate a Halibrand or other quick-change in the '32 chassis. Swapping an A crossmember into a T chassis could certainly be done in an effort to get exactly the right stance, but just like in building a real hot-rod, you have to fit and measure carefully before you start cutting, and as you go, to get the look you're after.

The AMT chassis is a good starting point for heavy mods because of its simplicity. This one is getting more rear kickup and a tubular front crossmember with a suicide spring perch.

DSCN9309.jpg

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I have both versions of the Revell Parts Pack T Frames, the competition (Drag) frame in my opinion is the better of the two. I wouldn't use it under a Street T though.

I was extremely disappointed when I first saw the Street T frame the kick up is just too weird, it may have been patterned after a frame that was used to build a T Bucket in Car Craft Magazine about '63 - '65 timeframe. The CC T frame was based on a production T frame if it was then Revell took some real liberties with it, the frame used in the CC articles was a parallel tube frame quite similar in shape. The tube frame was in production when Revell did this frame, so it's shape may have been somewhat "Borrowed" from that frame, the name Bird comes to mind, I'll have to dig the magazines out for a definitive answer though. (I got it to go under a Bantam body, and still may use it as it is close to the original frame of the Hot Rod I will build out of it, although it will be modified.)

The two what I would refer to as "Classic T Bucket Frames" would be the ones under the AMT '25 T Roadster/Coupe and the monogram "Little T". Both look like the T Bucket Frames which have been in production by various companies since the early '60's. Having seen the TV Tommy Ivo T when it was displayed at the NHRA Museum; though the AMT / Monogram frames are not exact they have the lines and proportions which could be tweeked to look right. Not sure about the frame under the AMT Fruit Wagon T, haven't seen one in almost thirty years but I remember it being the same as the Roadster/Coupe Hot Rod Frame. Since your stash of vintage parts are 1/25th scale the AMT '25 T Hot Rod frame is a good starting point. If you were going with 1/24th scale the "Little T" is almost there, all that would be needed is the Injected Nailhead Buick.

The '25 T Hot Rod Front end as mentioned looks odd for T Modern or Traditional as it is too narrow and doesn't have enough drop. Take a look at the Hot Rod front axles cast in Resin by "The Parts Box", they also have ribbed brake drums to go along with them, I have a couple of their axles they would look perfect under a T. Although 1/24th scale the Little T had a great front axle complete with period correct backing plates, it would probably be too wide under a 1/25th scale T.

Hope that gives you an idea or two.

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Thanks Skip!

I did some more diggin' thru my boxs and I do have a build up of the Monogram little T in red plastic with all of the period bitz. I am putting that aside as well. i also have some parts from another T that AMT had as a double kit with the Tognotti T. I can't remebr the name of it, but it has buick style finned brakes on it. I also found my orginal '27T touring and XR6 kit.

Ace, when i write late at night I tend to discombobuate my verbiage. I do know the difference between channeled and sectioned, lol but thanks for posting the pics of the vicky.

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Thanks Skip!

I did some more diggin' thru my boxs and I do have a build up of the Monogram little T in red plastic with all of the period bitz. I am putting that aside as well. i also have some parts from another T that AMT had as a double kit with the Tognotti T. I can't remebr the name of it, but it has buick style finned brakes on it. I also found my orginal '27T touring and XR6 kit.

Ace, when i write late at night I tend to discombobuate my verbiage. I do know the difference between channeled and sectioned, lol but thanks for posting the pics of the vicky.

That would have been the "Car Craft Dream Rod".

Art

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Here is a pic of a '25 T Chassis i was monkeying with back some 18 - 20 years ago. I put some Revell front crossmember and I do not know what is in the back. I used a lot of NitroStan body putty on the outside of the rails and I see more sink marks on the inside of the rails, sigh. Maybe that is why I put this project aside way back when. The motor mounts are rubbish and the tranny support ain't much better. I may have to get a little radical if I want to get a really good looking chassis. Now where did I put all of my Evergreen polystyrene...

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One of my pet peeves is people who ignore the basic question being asked. But I'm afraid I'm going to do that to some degree. The comments and observations so far are excellent and give good direction. But I would suggest fabricating much of the chassis and using kit crossmembers. The stance of a good T-Bucket is pretty critical and fabrication will give you far more control. If you adapt the kit frames and mix and match suspension elements you'll land up having to do quite a lot of fabrication anyway, so why not start with the frame rails?

Now to some comments on the various parts you listed. First off, what a stash! I'm envious.

The AMT kit has nice rails, a great front crossmember and a "correct" tubular front axle and front spring. Unfortunately the front axle has those funky side plates which need to go, at which point you have a great deal of fabrication to do and will probably have to re-finish the chrome. This can be an issue if you don't AlClad or are loath to send things off to the plater. The AMT chassis is longer than most and thus gives you flexibility in layout. The rear crossmember and suspension are very nice too, but the hairpins and rear radius rods have always looked too big and long to my eyes.

The Tweedie Pie frame is too unique and close coupled for anything but a Tweedie Pie variant. The suspension is OK but a little funky.

My recollection of the Revell Parts Pac chassis and suspension is that they are essentially competition parts and not well suited to a street hot rod project. The Parts Pac body, which is essentially the Tweedie Pie body is as nice as they come and, IIRC, includes a turtle deck if you are so inclined.

The Monogram "Little-T based cars are quite close to an Ivo-T type of machine but I would disagree that the 1-24th scale aspect of it is not an issue. I have built one and sitting alongside my 1/25th rods it is significantly larger looking. I did use 1/25th scale tires and wheels on it and it looked OK but I could tell the difference... I doubt that the Parts Pac body will scale to the Monogram chassis.

It depends on what period of T-Bucket you are going after. The Ivo-T and the Norm Grabowski Kookie Car are both iconic precisely because they defined two distinct lineages of T-bucket. The Kookie Car is close-coupled and steeply raked. Longer than the Tweedie Pie it could probably be done using a lengthened Tweedie Pie frame with a modified AMT tubular axle or with a Monogram Little-T variant with the rear end brought in and the pickup bed shortened. The Ivo car has an almost pan flat stance and sits fairly low slung. The Monogram Little-T variants are the closest kits to his car. I think a replica would mainly involve shortening the pickup bed somewhat. Both cars used tubular axles, so either go with AMT in 1/25th scale of go Monogram in 1/24th IMHO.

I have thought of starting another T-Bucket project. The last one I did was a lightly modified Monogram 1/24th. I am tempted to do a Grabowski style car, in which case I would most likely either use the Revell "Rat Rod" '29 RPU/'30 Sedan I-beam, just because I like the way it looks and the fact that it's posable, or consider the Monogram T front end (again posable) and keep my fingers crossed that it didn't look too big. I would probably go with the chromed rear axle bells from the Revell '39/'30 Ford kits and the AMT Halibrand quick change, conserving the chrome for a show-car look. I would also use the Revell '29/'30 rear crossmember and buggy spring. I'd most likely fabricate my own rails, front crossmember and suicide mount. For rear radius rods I'd use the ones from the Revell '29/'30 kits and for front hairpins I go with ones from the Revell Tony Nancy Double Dragster kits.

The other style worth exploring is the mid-to-late 60's Fad-T look, in which case I'd consider using the entire front end from the Tony Nancy kit. The whole post-Tognotti IRS thing never exactly appealed to me so I would generally avoid it. Naturally the Buttera chassis is a big non-no in that case.

But generally speaking I'd probably cut my own rails since everything else would require a good deal of modification.

For reference here are pics of two chassis and the Monogram T I built that would apply to this discussion.

Scratch built chassis for a '27-T lo-boy. Probably the closest I've done to what you might consider. The front suspension and most of the rear are from a Revell '29/'30 kit with an AMT Halibrand quickchange and AMT T-bucket front shocks. Tires and wheels are from Modelhaus.

DSCF9883-web.jpg

DSCF9927-web.jpg

Rear end detail of a dry lakes modified chassis I made using a Revell '29/'30 Ford rear cross member, spring and rear axle. This chassis had less kickup but it shows the basic approach I would take for a Kookie Car.

DSCF9087-WEB.jpg

And lastly, the Monogram 1/24th T-Bucket (I think this was from the "Boomer T" issue). The wheels and tires are 1/25th scale pieces from the Revell '29/'30 Ford kits and in retrospect I don't think they scale quite properly. The rest is pretty much out of the box and all 1/24th scale. But the overall kit is very nice and I would happily use it as a basis for a 1/24th scale project. But I'm not a fan of the front radius rods... Now if only they would bring back the real Little-T with those wonderful tires and steelies!

DSCF0486-web.jpg

DSCF0480-web.jpg

Edited by Bernard Kron

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In general, I'm not much of a fan of T-based hot-rods, because in my eye, most of them end up with odd proportions or looking like caricatures of hot-rods.

That said, I think Bernard's little flamed T is one of the best-proportioned cars of its genre I remember seeing. It's a car I'd lust after in 1:1, and it's inspired me to start gathering parts for my own bucket-build. What he's built would work well in the real world, with good weight-distribution and enough rubber on the front to stop and handle acceptably.

Lots of good lessons to take away from carefully looking at this model. And I agree with Bernard...the front radius rods could be improved.

Edited by Ace-Garageguy

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Thanks Bill. That is pretty close to the Monogram T-Bucket out of the box. The original Little (and Big) T was a model of a car Monogram commissioned from, of all people, Darryl Starbird, perhaps best known for his bubble-top shows cars such s the Predicta, the Forcasta and the Ultra Truck. The Little T has been re-issued many times and undergone numerous detail changes to reflect "contemporary tastes" but the original release is still the best. Starbird's car is itself very heavily based on the Ivo-T. Tommy Ivo has always had an incredible for form and function in his cars and his T-Bucket, his first hot rod (!), offered a taste of what was to come. Grabowski's Kookie Car (so named because it was featured in the television series 77 Sunset Strip as driven by hipster parking lot attendant Gerald Lloyd "Kookie" Kookson III, as played by Edd Byrnes) took the exact opposite direction with exaggerated rake and proportions. In my opinion both cars are wildly successful I achieving what they set out to do and throughout the years to follow rodders have struggled to equal them.

The original Ivo-T:

If a T-bucket can be elegant this is it...

ivot.jpg

Of course Tommy raced it, his lightning quick reflexes even then allowing him to take the occasional top eliminator:

tumblr_lz861hCyeC1qdcd2wo1_500.jpg

Norm Grabowski's T-Bucket:

A little cropped but a rare contemporary color picture of the original. The car was very successfully cloned by Von Franco. The original exists but has been considerably changed.

kookie_car-in_color_detail.jpg

Iconic! Norm relaxing at Bob's Big Boy in 1957 (note skull shifter - this car had everything...):

1348556470_7bf5756edf.jpg?v=1203477889

Edd at the wheel:

KookieT.jpg

The Starbird Big T:

big_T_560x317.jpg

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That would have been the "Car Craft Dream Rod".

Art

The double kit included the King T (Tognotti's T) and Wild Dream (Wilhelm's Wonder). Two America's Most Beautiful Roadster winners in one box! AMT issued the double kit, MPC later issued the two kits separately. I haven't got the separate kits, but I believe the display bases for each car were plated in those. They weren't plated in the double kit.

The King T chassis was used under the Carl Casper Paddy Wagon, and the Chuck Miller Fire Truck (currently available from Round 2). That chassis can be fitted under a stock-appearing fendered T; it hasn't got the kick-up at the rear.

The Wild Dream chassis saw service in other MPC kits like the Barris Ice Cream Truck and the one-time only Street Beast '26(issued in the mid-Seventies). MPC tended to recycle a lot of their chassis.

Another chassis to take a look at is the one in the MPC Vending Machine (soon to be reissued). It has a Corvette independent rear suspension and tubular front axle. Even if you don't want the 'Vette rear end, it could be switched out for something else without too much effort. The front end setup is more delicate than the ones in the T kits issued earlier, making it worth a look-see.

The Car Craft Dream Rod was a stand-alone kit, later altered into the Tiger Shark that was reissued during the RC2 era.

I didn't see any mention of this so far...but the frame in the Revell Tweedy Pie is an extremely cut-down '32 Ford unit, accurate to the 1:1 Tweedy but pretty unique in the T-bucket world.

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Ok, I just made a Gallery with some old projects. I was not able to upload the pic of my chassis earlier in the thread, so here it goes:

gallery_14012_1181_713724.jpg

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Rod, that looks like a good start. Nice tubular front crossmember with a suicide perch, enough rear frame kickup to be interesting. A model-A rear crossmember would indeed be good, to give the appearance of more strength if nothing else.

That is the frame I started with in the photo at the bottom of post #7. With a dropped front axle and an A or T rear buggy-spring over a quick-change rear-end, you'll get a nice rake...with a little experimentation and fine tuning. Mock up your work as you go, and look carefully at photos of the cars YOU REALLY LIKE, and study the inter-relationship of the parts to understand how the builder got the look.

Not a T "bucket", but a T nonetheless. This final mockup of the model on the frame in post 7 is the wheelbase you can expect from that frame, though I've kicked the rear of mine more. Squint and imagine a roadster body instead of the coupe.

DSCN4227.jpg

Edited by Ace-Garageguy

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The Car Craft Dream Rod was a stand-alone kit, later altered into the Tiger Shark that was reissued during the RC2 era.

...Yes, and on a chassis that has more similarity to a Cobra than to a T...

CCDreamRod_edited-vi.jpg

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Bill, The reissue of the Double T with the Chopped coupe was one of the factors of me getting back into building. I also want to understand better how the body is mounted to the rails on a T bucket or a fenderless '32. I understand how a '65 Mustang is put together since I helped my Dad fix his '65 back in the day but old rods on the models just rest in place. I know that have to be bolted together somewhere...

Are the rims from an older issue of the AMT 40' coupe? I like the look and feel of the mock up.

One model I never had was the Dream Rod.

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Mr. Kron, Love the chassis you built, do you have any more pictures of it?

Thanks! Which one?

The w.i.p. page for the 27T has tons of chassis pics, especially on page three: http://www.modelcarsmag.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=57098

The V12 powered dry lakes car w.i.p. also has lotsa pics, especially on page 2:http://www.modelcarsmag.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=52567&hl= . The Under Glass page has some additional chassis photos: http://www.modelcarsmag.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=53542&st=0&gopid=615227

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...Yes, and on a chassis that has more similarity to a Cobra than to a T...

CCDreamRod_edited-vi.jpg

I didn't mention the chassis...the main point was that this car was not part of the double kit. The Dream Rod frame started out under a less-known British sports car, the Jowett Jupiter. The Dream Rod front suspension is built around some VW Beetle parts, not sure about the rear.

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This is the chassis that I was referring to, that weird kick up looks pretty similar to the one on the Revell T Bucket chassis. The profile of the frame rail is what I am referring to.

post-5775-0-60786600-1401981530_thumb.jp

Edited by Skip

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This is the chassis that I was referring to, that weird kick up looks pretty similar to the one on the Revell T Bucket chassis. The profile of the frame rail is what I am referring to.

I wouldn't be at all surprised if the Revell chassis is based on these popular ready-made chassis from the period. The whole Parts Pac approach was created to emulate this important trend at the time. Both the rod chassis shown in the ad would be relatively simple to build using styrene rod and provide a great deal of control over issues like wheelbase and stance.

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