Throwback Thursday: April 1989

Dec 19, 2013 No Comments by

By 1989, the RC hobby was exploding. What kicked off as a mainstream hobby in the early to mid 80s was finally in full swing and attracting more people by the month. As a kid I remember the coming of spring meant that it was warm enough again that I could once again ride my BMX bike up to the local news stand in town to pick up the newest issue of RC Car Action. It always came out the second week of the month roughly (still does) so when I rode up to The Smoke Shop in Newtown, CT and picked up the April 1989 issue I quickly saw what a surprise I was in for. Inside there was a Project Clod Buster, a conversion to turn my Tamiya Hornet into a monster truck and even a first look at this wild new car on the racing scene… the Team Losi JRX2. To this day, April 1989 is one of my favorite issues of all time. This issue was so good, narrowing it down to a handful of features to show you was impossible! Who knew, as I sat there on my Revcore bike in the parking lot thumbing through that magazine, that some day I would be sharing it with all of you! It’s Throwback Thursday once again. Enjoy!

RCCA_1989_April-1 cover

Talk about a break out success! After two years of development the JR-X2 was released onto the world and dominated it’s first two races. The brainchild of Gil Losi Jr., this buggy took cues from the performance aftermarket designs of the time and improved them both in design and use but also in materials. The JR-X2 featured a graphite chassis plate, oil filled shocks, 5-link trailing arm rear suspension and a ball differential but each feature was given the Losi treatment and finished just a little differently than it had ever been done before. The overall design and innovation of the buggy was so far ahead of its time that it forever rewrote how a 2WD buggy would be made and set the Losi name as one of top name innovators in RC forever.


Even by 1989 standards, Steve Pond’s Project Clod Buster was totally wild. Taking from one of the most popular monster trucks of the era, Steve went to work upgrading the Clod with everything from suspension tweeks, improved shocks and even upgrades to the electronics and power system of the truck using the best of the best ’89 had to offer. The finished truck was topped with a Corvette body and set the baseline for big tire brawlers to come.


By 1989 I’d been bitten by the racing bug and while my parents couldn’t afford a new JR-X2 or even an RC10, I had managed to get my hands on a Tamiya Falcon which put my Hornet into partial retirement… that is until I saw this project preview from the Ayatollah of Radio Controla Chris Chianelli! The Heavy Metal Hornet  showcased a shopping list of goodies from Parma that turned my backyard bashing buggy into a car crushing killer. From its big tires, and lifted truck body to its improved suspension and oil filled shocks, the Heavy Metal Hornet quickly found its way to the top of my project list!


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About the author

Associate Editor I can say that I’ve never done ANYTHING as long as I’ve been into RC. I got my first car when I was 11 and never looked back. Since then I’ve owned hundreds of cars and trucks and raced everything from Off-Road to Boats but I’m an Oval racer at heart. Whether I’m down siding a jump or going fast and turning left, it’s all on and my foot is to the floor! I love seeing new people discover our hobby and helping anyone I can enjoy it more. When I’m not racing or writing, I like to restore vintage RC cars and organize the Vintage Offroad Nationals. I’m also a dad and enjoy teaching my son how to drive and watching him get into this hobby on his own.
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