Monster Beetles and Little Lancias: Looking Back At RC Car Action’s August 1987 Issue

Jan 16, 2014 3 Comments by


As I counted the final days of summer vacation and thrashed to read Johnny Tremain for my 6th grade summer reading which I’d been putting off all summer, the world at large was doing odd things. Most people were off on vacation listening to the Fat Boys rap to their version of Wipe Out or Los Lobos’ La Bamba, some of us caught Masters of the Universe (yes they made a He-Man movie… believe me you didn’t miss much) and Dirty Dancing in the theaters. Luckily the Japanese wave of RC had hit our shores and kept us all entertained with some of the strangest, coolest and most unique RC cars to date. This week’s Throwback Thursday is a tribute to one of the Land of the Rising Sun’s greatest companies, Tamiya. So sit back and strap in for TBT, served up Tamiya-style!

Click the pages to enlarge.

monster beetle

You know what’s cooler than the Tamiya Blackfoot? The Monster Beetle that’s right! The second iteration of the legendary Blackfoot saw some performance improvements, a little nicer styling and a more American “baja” type of body. This VW shelled beauty featured oil filled shocks all around vs. the Foot’s friction dampers. It also received an all new set of spiked Chevron tires that were better suited for loose dirt and varying terrain. To finish of the Monster Beetle, Tamiya included a VW Beetle body decked out with baja lights and some “Culver City Car Care” decals and a one “Albert Attaboy” behind the wheel! The only thing wilder than this truck is that 80′s hair in the opening spread. Ladies, ladies… careful with all the denim!



Another Tamiya oddity of this era were some of RC’s very first mini scaled cars. While it would be more than another decade until smaller scale vehicle would start to really catch traction (see what I did there?), Tamiya’s Tamtech line of 1/24 on-road vehicles are among the first to gain mass popularity. They were available as a kit that you built and featured scale looking hard plastic bodies of the days coolest road and race cars like the Lancia LC2 featured here.



The 80s were all about modifying and no company thrived on this more than Tamiya. As one of the most popular brands of this era, nearly everyone was buying these cars and then hopping them up with wild new chassis and just about anything else they could attach to them. For the August 87 issue, our Project Frog got some hardcore racing help from Hot Trick Racing. The Hot Trick Prince conversion kit took the plastic frame chassis buggy and turned it into a red fiberglass track terror complete with RC10 style oil filled shocks.



The cover’s “Grand National Stockers” led to this article, covering the high-speed oval action at the legendary Lake Whippoorwill Speedway. Back in the 80s, oval racing was huge, and The Whip was a huge oval.


MustangParma entered the off-road buggy fray with the PB Mini Mustang, a 4WD machine with a feature you don’t see in electric vehicles very often: a 2-speed transmission!


RC12LThe RC10 justly earns the limelight as Associated’s most iconic and influential car, but the A-Team was also a huge trendsetter in the on-road world, enjoying much of its pre-RC10 success with the RC12. The little car established the template for 1/12 scale electric competition and has been continually refined ever since. If you were racing the little door-stoppers back in 1987, this was the car you had to have: the Associated RC12L.


Want more? For full access to the Radio Control Car Action archives and over 25 years of back issues, sign up for Premium. Click here or below to learn more.


Featured News, Team Associated

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.

3 Responses to “Monster Beetles and Little Lancias: Looking Back At RC Car Action’s August 1987 Issue”

  1. Kevin McNutt says:

    My first real RC car was a Monster Beetle. I’d love to have another one!!

  2. Steve Comer says:

    Wasn’t the mud blaster the original successor to the frog with the Blackfoot following shortly after?

    • Erich Reichert says:

      The Blackfoot came out first in the Fall of 1986 with the Monster Beetle shortly behind it that winter. The Mud Blaster (my favorite of the three personally) didn’t come out until 1989 actually and was sort of a in between model that was mostly Blackfoot but had the spiked tires from the Beetle and used the body from the original Tamiya Subaru Brat.

Copyright © Air Age Media. All rights reserved.