Vintage Cars — What’s Old Is New Again

Feb 29, 2012 3 Comments by

I like to believe I’m not old, but I’m no spring chicken either.  In my 30′s, I’m squarely in middle of the RC demographic of guys with too much time and just enough expendable income on their hands.  I’m proud to be an RC guy and I profess it regularly.  Having been in RC for over two decades (umm, that doesn’t make me ‘old’…I just started young…or something), I’m excited to see many RC vehicles from my childhood re-released by Tamiya.  Several classics, from the Hot Shot to the Clod Buster, to the granddaddy of them all–the Bruiser–have made great memories come rushing back like a tidal wave from my childhood.

What I remember most, interestingly, is that I never owned these vehicles but always wanted to.  The Clod Buster from 1987, with its tires the size of jumbo toilet paper rolls, made me dream of crushing imaginary cars while powering around with twin motors and four-wheel steering.  Never owned one though.  The Bruiser…my oh my, the Bruiser.  Three speeds (shiftable from the transmitter if you owned an ‘airplane’ TX!), incredible scale detail, four-wheel drive and interior detail…this truck was a one of a kind.  It was also way out of my league, priced if I remember correctly around $500…in 1985!  In the last decade, used Bruisers were selling on eBay for well over $1000, while new-in-box unassembled original kits sold for $1500 and up.  The nostalgia alone is worth hundreds.  Again, I never owned one but now I’m building one up for a magazine project.  My take on this truck: if you have to ask how much it costs, it’s not for you.  The “value” of the Bruiser or any nostalgia piece like it goes beyond the transmission gear materials, or the vehicle’s absolute performance.  If that’s all you can think of when you see its $700 price tag, you’re focusing on the wrong things.  The value in a nostalgia car is in remembering the past and having the opportunity to actually own a piece of RC history.  A damn good looking piece of history.

This brings me to my question–how many of you are old enough to remember these kits?  And if you don’t remember them, do you appreciate the history behind these vintage vehicles?  As a wise man once said, “to know where we’re going, we must first know where we came from.”  Anyone new to RC should check out, study and appreciate vintage RC vehicles, not only from Tamiya, but also from companies like Team Associated and Team Losi.  These are our hobby’s moving, mechanical history lessons.

I’m excited to get several of these vehicles assembled and running.  Vintage RC cars may not offer the same level of ultimate performance as current generation vehicles do, but that’s not why they exist.  RC cars from the 80′s serve as a reminder of where our hobby started, and just how far technology has brought us.  I shouldn’t have to say anything more to prove this point than “mechanical speed controllers and blazing hot resistors.”  If you ever burned your hand on a speed controller resistor, then you know exactly how “cool” ESCs are.  And let’s not forget, vehicles like the Bruiser that look like real passenger vehicles rather than an alien spaceship have a cool factor that’s impossible to duplicate.  Like our grandparents always told us, stick around long enough and you’ll see what was once old become the new thing again.  Amen to that.

 

-Stephen Bess

 

 

 

photo: wallcoo.net

aritst: vaclav zapadlik

Featured News, Stephen Bess

About the author

Executive Editor I jumped into R/C back in 1987, when mechanical speed controllers and hard rubber tires were all the rage. Since then, I’ve experienced R/C in almost every state in the USA. I've built and raced every type of RC vehicle created, and traveled throughout the country (and world) to attend and cover more R/C events than I can remember. But what a fun ride it's been! I'm fortunate to live in Southern California, and I take advantage of my location by enjoying R/C outdoors year ‘round. Club racing is the future for R/C growth, and I’m always looking to bring new people into the hobby, whether it’s through backyard bashing or organized racing.

3 Responses to “Vintage Cars — What’s Old Is New Again”

  1. Gary Katzer says:

    Stephen, if you’re old then I am too and I refuse to believe that!

    Kevin, however. OOOOOOOOLLLLLLDDDDDDD!

  2. John Kislinger says:

    When I was a kid I had a RCCA subscription, there was an advertisement in a couple issues that featured what looked like a touring car, with 4wd, carbon fiber chassis and the motor was in front of the front axle, and it had yellow sway bars. I want to find out what the car was, I need that car!

    • Erich Reichert says:

      Hi John, I’m not 100% sure which your talking about but the one that came to mind for me was in the late 90s there was an ad of a guy holding a car up and it said something like “yo grasshopper” in the copy. I found that ad and it actually doesn’t have yellow sway bars but DOES have a yellow belt. The car he’s holding is a Tamiya TT03 and to my knowledge that was the only touring car that had the motor in front of the front wheels. Hope that helps.

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