5 Awesomely Lame 80s RC Car Commercials

Sep 29, 2014 1 Comment by

They don’t make toy commercials like these anymore. Just hit play and let the 80s wash over you as we look back at tiny 2-stick radios, “Turbo Mode,” and the goofy cars and trucks we old-timers thought were awesome before discovering hobby-quality gear and learning what real high-performance RC could do.

Nobody did RC commercials like Tyco. Shown in action on a scale track, these things actually look pretty cool. Especially when the Indy cars are catching huge air (you know, just like real Indy cars) and crashing through tiny hay bales. And they have TURBO MODE. You can’t beat Turbo Mode.


This commercial is pure fantasy–in what universe do you run RC cars with your sister? Here’s a tip, young lady:  worry less about Buster finding you, and worry more about your Turbo Racer finding something Buster left on the lawn.


Jump ahead to the 0:45 mark if you want to skip the Head & Shoulders commercial. After Two Guys gets done screaming at you about their toy sale (watch closely for R2-D2), get your groove on with the Shinsei Firefox set to the chase music from CHiPs. Then stick around for the glorious Radio Shack TV Scoreboard video game spot. “Hey, you wanna play HOCKEY?”


This commercial is actually from 1993, but the early 90s were still very 80s, so there. Not sure how this thing works…is there another battery inside the plug-in “engine” so you get a voltage boost? Whatever…as usual for Tyco, the scale-sized environment makes the truck look awesome. Once you got it home and in your crappy back yard, not so much.


We saved the best (worst) for last. Featuring one of those bizzaro families that exists only in commercials, the world’s lamest, wimpiest dad crows about the RC gifts he bought for the family, including Mom. Naturally, her gift is a robot that announces lunch, which is funny because Mom herself seems like a robot that makes lunch.

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About the author

I've been involved in RC for over 25 years, and first joined Air Age Media in 1997. I served as Executive Editor until 2008, when I went to work on the manufacturing side of the RC biz. Now back at RC Car Action, I'm thrilled to be doing what I love most--not just enjoying RC, but sharing it with all of you. In addition to RC, I enjoy spending time with my beautiful wife Kathleen and our wonderful daughter Audrey.

One Response to “5 Awesomely Lame 80s RC Car Commercials”

  1. Dale Tyler says:

    Wow! I remember wanting one of those tyco baja trucks way back in the day! My uncle bought, and still has a the tyco sprint car from the same era! Anyone remember the tyco turbo hopper??? Man, I feel old!

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