RC has its icons but when it comes to people in this hobby it’s hard to find anyone more beloved than Masami Hirosaka. We sat down with Master Masami for the very first time in our April 1992 issue and talked about where it all began for the most famous driver of all time. We also took a look at next generation buggy from Team Losi, the JRX Pro SE. This buggy was a revolution in its time that molded (pun intended) the new definition of 2WD buggy and off-road racing in large part forever. Finally we get up close and personal with what is to this day considered the most top secret and famous car of all… the legendary Team Associated Stealth Car. This car won back to back world titles in Australia and Detroit before being retired from action and was so secretive that no pictures of the car had ever been taken, that is until now. With recent news of Team Associated rereleasing their production Worlds Car and yesterday being Masami’s 44th Birthday we couldn’t think of a better Throwback Thursday that this monumental issue. Tanjoubi omedetou gozaimasu Masami San and for the rest of you, enjoy yet another epic look back!
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It’s hard to argue that there’s a more known name in RC than that of Masami Hirosaka. Even if you’ve only been in this hobby a few years you most likely know who he is and that he’s the most winning-est driver this hobby has ever seen. With 14 IFMAR World Championships under his belt, countless Japanese National titles and so much more, he is without a doubt the most dominant RC racer that has ever lived. Through his extensive and successful career in RC he’s done everything from star in a cartoon, made numerous television appearances and has even been featured in countless YouTube videos doing some of the most incredible things we’ve ever seen with RC cars! In our April 1992 we unmasked this then only 21 year old legend and learned more about his amazing beginnings in RC racing as well as his successes that even by the start of 92, were beginning to pile up.
Up and until the beginning of 1992, most off-road vehicles relied on a chassis that was made of aluminum or a sheet of graphite to provide the foundation for the rest of the car. The Team Losi JRX2 had seen wild success since the late 80s and had been stretched and enhanced into the JRX Pro at the beginning of the new decade but it was the Pro SE that that we featured in our April issue that truly turned the tide and set a new course for off-road moving forward. The buggy’s most prominent new innovation was its all new molded graphite/plastic hybrid chassis which was more rigid and durable but also allowed specific placement for components inside the car. Along with some suspension refinements the transmission was updated with a new hydraulic slipper clutch known as Hydra-Drive. This new system used a chamber filled with very thick silicone fluid and an impeller that drove off the friction from the fluid to propel the gears inside the tranny. While it added rotating mass to the overall drivetrain, it also provided a smoother and more controlled distribution of power RC had never seen before. The success of the Pro SE on the track was equally as great but it’s true place in RC history was in the way that it was made and the designs it incorporated which can still be seen today.
Oh baby! If there was a car in the early 90s that everyone was dying to get their hands on, it was the ever elusive Team Associated Stealth Car. This nearly one off vehicles were made for the best drivers Associated had at the time to compete with in the 1989 and ’91 IFMAR Worlds competitions where they absolutely dominated. The cars were held under a cloak of secrecy to the extent that anyone with a camera wasn’t even allowed near them in the pits or on the track, that is until this very issue. With the body removed we finally got to see just how hand made these cars really were and that they’re chassis was nothing like what we had all anticipated it would be. As 1992 rolled around and without us knowing, Team Associated was preparing to take what they had learned from the Stealth Car and apply it to the all new buggy that they would release 3 years later, the RC10B2. While the B2 may be the Stealth’s most direct descendant, it is considered to be most of the inspiration for the RC10B4 which would go on to become the most dominant 2WD buggy in Team Associated’s fabled racing history.
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