you can spend less but not much less. strc is 100 bucks, ebay has a "fiberglass" style lcg for 70'ish and theres also the new traxxas rally chassis conversion (which shares parts with the new slash) but by the time you do a full conversion youre around 70-80 or more. you would have to be a fool to cheap out for 30-40 bucks...besides my lipo setup and the truck itself, this was the best money ive spent on my truck. it makes me smile everytime i use it or even look at it.
i do like the looks of the trce (all carbon fiber) BUT its also the prime reason i dont want it, the carbon base plate can get scraped up pretty easy...and yes, you can use a chassis protector like i did on my strc, but a bad thing about fiberglass is it can crack/split up internally and you wont know it unless you put a load on it, so it can cause some tuning nightmares after a lot of use. with aluminum, if its flat then youre good.
ssc has a good setup but i think its heavier than the strc, and ive read here someone has managed to bend it up...ive taken some hard, HARD hits at the track with this chassis and its solid. ssc would be my 2nd or third choice because id like to try the traxxas rally conversion.