I love the WL Toys 144001 1/14 scale RC Buggy and have written a lot of articles on tuning and upgrading it here. It is inexpensive and runs well stock or is easily upgraded to brushless power which offers better speed and acceleration as well as battery life. But how does it compare against the car on which is was based, the LC racing EMB series on which the 144001 was (let's face it) copied from?
So surely you know by now that the 144001 is a budget copy of the LC racing EMB-1 but with a bigger brushless 550 motor and integrated ESC/receiver and no slipper clutch. This means that WL Toys have been able to grab a big slice of the popular RC car market at a price point of $70-80 for the 144001 vs $200ish for the LC racing equivalent. But this is clearly not a fair comparison so what if you take the brushless upgraded 144001 with a raft of replacement parts, tally up the cost and then compare? Would you still buy the 144001 to upgrade or would you just got straight for the LC racing? I'll break this down by price and performance in order to give you the clearest information to make this decision for yourself and my opinion I what I would (and did) do.
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144001 upgraded with brushless power
Although the rolling body is similar on the 144001, you need to swap out the power system (motor and ESC) to start comparing to the LC racing cars. Unfortunately you can't stop there though, you also need radio gear (transmitter and receiver) to replace the integrated set from the factory, a new 3 wire servo and other mounting components. Since my ultimate brushless upgrade was inspired by the LC racing cars and specced similarly, I've used this as a comparison. Costs and parts are broken down below. I've used ranges to give you a feel for price variation of on vs off-promo. Shipping is not included but BG usually has a free or at least cheap option here:
Total comes to $147-$169 depending on when you shop and what coupon codes you have access to. Try "BGAFF10OFF" for 10% off on non-promo items
LC Racing EMB-1
This is tricky to quantify so I'll start with the most tangible differences. These are:
There is a chink in the armour though - the battery is a horrid NiMH unit which halves the power of the car. Bin it quick and spend $10 on one of these new CNHL batteries.
All up cost here? The EMB-1 can be had for $200-$220 plus $10 for a battery.
So why would you choose the 144001?
As you can see the 144001 upgraded with brushless costs less to get similar performance but rather than being a $110 difference when compared to stock 144001 the difference is now down to about $50 with the brushless upgrade added in. Yes it should perform similarly but when you get down to detail it will be inferior and the durability as a result will be impacted. If you like to tinker and learn then this is the best option for you I think, I learnt a lot along the way and it's fair to say if something goes wrong I know precisely what it is. Also it gives you a feel for the standard setup and moving to a lighter weight and more powerful brushless gives you the sense of improvement - something you miss out on with the LC racing cars since they are fast out of the box. When I had both the brushless upgraded 144001 and LC racing EMB-1 I actually used the 144001 more because it felt like more of an achievement, and I was worried about scratching the EMB-1!
Lastly I should note that you may be able to recuperate some money from the sale of the old ESC, servo, motor and transmitter.
And why would you choose one of the LC racing EMB series of cars?
$200 would seem a lot for a 1/14 scale car but once you look at it up close and hold it in your hands it doesn't seem like a rip off. Everything screams quality and you won't see a lot of discussion around bent driveshafts, stripped diffs etc. because there are few if any weaknesses here. It is fast and well enough set up out of the box and I must admit after all the work I did on my 144001 that I haven't even cracked the gear cover off. That was a shame - I don't know it as intimately. If you want a car to rip around with quickly and with minimal setup time then this is the one for you.
What would I do?
I did both! Haha, no, I won't sit on the fence. As you may know I spent a lot of time and effort (that I really enjoyed) on modding the 144001 for brushless and that was my favourite - because it was a labour of love. However after the disappointment of having it stolen I don't have the time or the energy right now to repeat the same which is why the LC racing is nice - I can get straight down to bashing.
Once I get things back on track after the break-in (and have set up my security system properly) I'll have another go at a brushless upgrade but this time I think with the newly announced longer wheelbase 124019.
More on the EMB-MT which I chose this time
The most direct comparison to the 144001 is the LC racing EMB-1 which is the buggy version I did own (which was also stolen). This time I chose to by the EMB-MT which is the monster truck version with bigger wheels and tyres, a monster truck body and sturdier bumpers front and rear. I consciously chose this model because of how much more I enjoyed the larger Remo P6973 wheels on the 144001 as I wrote about in this article.
I'm glad I went with the EMB-MT because I find it easier to bash on a wide variety of surfaces including grass where the EMB-1 and 144001 with stock wheels used to get stuck. However it does tend to flip more with the larger wheels so do spend a bit more time doing the walk of shame to flip it back. With it's longer wheelbase and slightly smaller wheels (although bigger than the buggy) the EMB-T Truggy is probably the most practical choice but I just prefer the look of the MT. There are so many good angles as you can see below.
Here is the full LC racing range of 1/14 scale brushless RC RTR cars, all are available at the links below.
Thanks for reading, if you found this article useful please feel free to like or share, the facebook links below directly link/like this article. I don't believe in asking for money by patreon nor by paypal but if you do wish to help me, the affiliated links in these articles help me buy the bits and services I need to produce this type of content. If you are looking for RC cars, quads or parts check out my coupons and discounts page which I keep updated with only the RC cars, parts and quads I like at a proper discount
Thanks for checking out my article and please let me know on my facebook page or in the 144001 group if it worked out for you. I've created a reference page below for all of the 144001 articles I've published here:
144001 UPGRADES - EVERY ONE OF MY GUIDES HERE.