Friday, March 27, 2020

Hot Wheels Flat Out 442

Another GHO car that is a must have for your racing collection 

This review we are taking a closer look at the Hot Ones Flat Out 442.  This racing version of an Oldsmobile Cutlass 442 was introduced as the Flat Out 442 in 1979.  This first version came out in orange.  The yellow Hot Ones version with the Gold Hot Ones wheels that we are looking at came out in 1982.  This isn’t the first car we’ve reviewed with the GHO (Gold Hot Ones) wheels.  We’ve also looked at the Frontrunnin’ Fairmont and the Mirada Stocker.  Of the three, the 442 comes in the lightest at 47 grams but can still be a very quick car.  While it’s not a heavyweight compared to a lot of Hot Wheels cars, when put up against newer Hot Wheels that you find on the pegs these days, 47 grams puts it at the top end and it shouldn’t have any trouble beating these newer Hot Wheels.  Even against older heavier Hot Wheels it will still see quite a bit of success and that is due to its GHO wheels.  First of all, these are just great wheels.  While you’re always going to find some that are better and some that are worse, generally the GHO wheels show pretty good balance and spin pretty straight and true.  Then there are the axles.  They are a bit thinner than normal Hot Wheels axles.  There is a common misconception when it comes to friction that thinner or smaller or less surface touching means less friction.  That’s just not the case.  Friction is not impacted by the amount of surface that is in contact.  Surface area is not part of the equation.  It simply depends on the kind of surface and how hard those surfaces are being pushed together (which is usually the weight when it comes to racing). So contrary to popular belief, the thinner axles don’t mean less friction.  However, because of some rotational physics, the thinner axles do mean that the impact of that friction force is going to be less, which is an advantage.

 Another advantage that the 442 has is that it is fairly wide.  Its width helps it run straighter down the track with less pronounced bouncing back and forth between the sidewalls.  This can be a great advantage, especially with the thinner axles when compared to other GHO cars.  The thinner axles provide a slight suspension to the GHO cars, which can be good, but can also be detrimental.  The problem arises when a GHO car starts to wobble at high speeds.  The thinner axle suspension just magnifies the wobble and turns it into a literal death wobble as the cars can quite frequently come off the track and not finish the race.  Usually these GHO cars will get into the death wobble if the track is fast (high drop) but not particularly straight or smooth.  Sometimes it’s just the slightest variation that will cause the problem.  But the 442’s width helps in that regard, especially when compared to cars like the Fairmont and Mirada Stocker.

While the 442 will often get beat out by its GHO brother the Frontrunnin’ Fairmont, it will usually hold its own against most other cars and is a great car to have in your racing collection!


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