May I suggest stopping by The Gate this coming Saturday, Sept 6 (doors open at 9AM). www.clevelandcarpetracing.com
There will be quite a few 1/12 cars there for a test & tune day....Associateds, CRCs, Corallys, etc. containing many different speed controls and brushless motors.
It would be a good opportunity to do some hands-on "window shopping", see the cars actually run on the track, and see what you like best. By going with a car that others race at The Gate, you'll be able to get plenty of setup help.
Another suggestion is to speak with your local store that you told me about, and see what brands they could get for you....most likely the Associated and CRC cars if they deal with Horizon Distributors. I also know you deal with Ashford Hobby on occasion, and they carry the CRC car.