The VW Beetle is undoubtedly one of the most widely known, and oftentimes most loved, mass-manufactured vehicles in history. I’m sure if you take a moment, you’re bound to recall a fond memory involving a VW Beetle. Whether it be working on one, driving one around, or simply seeing a cool-looking Beetle at a car show, this humble little car has earned its place in history and our hearts, truly making it a car for everyone.
Almost as a way to commemorate this fondness, RocHobby recently re-created the well-known little Bug with their 1/12-scale RC iteration of The People’s Car, a scale rendition of the early-model VW Bug. This true-to-scale RTR brings some impressive details along with being a fully functional RC model. Let’s jump in and take a closer look.
DESIGN & QUALITY
Like the other models in their lineup, RocHobby recreated the body lines and features of The People’s Car with extraordinary detail. Front to back, this small-sized model looks perfectly realistic, evoking all the fond memories I collected throughout my childhood of the iconic VW Beetle. From the chrome details to the working door latches, this pint-sized kit packs tons of realism into a small package. Better yet, the model comes with its own hard foam carrying case, helping to keep it safe during travel and storage.
The People’s Car is built as a true-to-scale replica yet still retains full RC functionality. The fully contained gearbox sits at the rear of the car and is encased in a replica of the original VW air-cooled engine. RocHobby went so far as to include a working fan belt and pulley that rotate as the car accelerates, a fun touch that brings even more scale realism.
The car’s 130-type electric motor is encased in the replica air-cooled engine and is controlled by the proprietary 2-in-1 ESC and receiver. This ESC is located under the hood, which also conceals the convenient battery storage compartment and a spare wheel and tire. Working gear differentials are installed at the front and rear of the car for optimal power transfer and grip. The drivetrain is finished up with steel CVAs and a steel center driveshaft for durability and reliable 4WD. Though the real Beetle never came with 4WD capability, it’s a nice addition to its RC counterpart.
The People’s Car features a true-to-scale variation of original Type 1 VW suspension design, with independent front swing arms. The rear also features similar accuracy, with a torsion beam style setup. It features portal axles in the rear to add some ground clearance, which is really more of a carryover from the military models but still comes in handy on the road-going Beetle.
Externally, the model is built from high-quality ABS plastic that has been finished to perfection with paint and decals. All around the model you’ll find small details that culminate in a spectacle of scale reproduction. So many little details, like the working door handles, the cushioned rubberized seats, and the ragtop roof all stand out to make this model a true small-scale piece of art. Even the little things you can’t easily see are replicated with high detail, like the rear transaxle case hidden just above the underside chassis panels, or the bottom side of the scale air-cooled engine.
The kit comes equipped with fully functioning doors with latching handles, both of which open to reveal the car’s realistic scale interior. Both the front hood and the rear hatch open up, the front revealing the car’s electronics and the rear the replica engine bay. The car features a full set of foam-cushioned tires, including a hidden spare, all with a true-to-scale 5-lug bolt pattern. Chrome hubcaps finish off the wheels, giving the car the true-to-life classic look. Chrome bumpers and fixtures are fitted all around, including latches and headlight bezels. The People’s Car is finished off with a working set of front and rear LED lights. I especially like that the lights can be toggled with the transmitter, including several brightness settings, and include working brake lights. These are the little details that really bring this model to life.
The People’s Car comes with a 2-speed transmission that can be toggled with the transmitter. The low-speed setting adds a bit of torque that can help the car get out of tricky situations, while the high-speed setting provides a more “normal” driving experience. Being that this vehicle is more of a scale model than a performance machine, it’s certainly not fast, even in the high-speed setting. It is, however, still very enjoyable to drive.
The experience of seeing such a highly detailed scale model move under its own power is really entertaining, and appreciating the look of the vehicle while it calmly motors on is all part of its charm. The overall kit is easy to set up and adjust, and only requires a brief charge of the included 380mAh LiPo battery to get going. The included transmitter is simple and effective, and the function buttons are easy and intuitive to use.
The articulating suspension and responsive steering give the car some finesse and capability, despite its overall lack of speed. I especially appreciate that the steering wheel moves as the car turns, which is just another small detail to enjoy. The People’s Car is certainly worth a drive, whether it be on pavement or even around the house. Either way, it’s a good deal of fun.
RocHobby 1/12 The People’s Car RTR Vehicle Specs
Height: 5.5 in. (139mm)
Length: 13.3 in. (339mm)
Width: 5.5 in. (139mm)
Wheelbase: 8 in. (202mm)
Weight: 1 lb., 6.4 oz.
Front Suspension: Swing-arm
Rear Suspension: Torsion beam
Differential: Gear type, front and rear
Driveshafts: Steel CVA
Bearings: Steel ball
Body: ABS, pre-painted
Tires: Rubber with foam inserts
ESC & Rx: 2-in-1 design
Radio: RocHobby 2.4GHz
Battery: FMS 380mAh 7.4V LiPo
Charger: FMS USB-type
This is yet again another kit from RocHobby that is just as fit a collector’s piece sitting on a shelf as it is being driven on the road. The sheer amount of detail packed into such a small car makes it an impressive model, and one that can be appreciated by all kinds of RC and modeling enthusiasts. That being said, it’s well worth considering adding one of these excellent little cars to your own collection.
Text and Images by Lauren Short