Were The Good Old Days Really All That Good?

Were The Good Old Days Really All That Good?

The quick and dirty answer is–drum roll, please–yes and no. For me, there are a few segments that qualify as the good old days of RC. The first segment is the mid eighties when I discovered hobby-grade RC and almost immediately started racing. These were the good old days because everything was new and exciting. I was young and having a great time. It was pure fun and racing was simple. What wasn’t so good was my racing equipment. Specifically, I hated dealing with plastic bushing,mechanical speed controls and horrible batteries. Eventually it became easier to find affordable bearings, but it was a few years before I had an electronic speed control. The batteries eventually got better, but they also got complicated (matching, zapping and losts of money) until LiPo batteries came out much later. If you compare the equipment available, the good old days weren’t all that good…compared to today. My second good old days took place during my college years and beyond when I raced with the Keene RC Racers club. This was a great group of people and simply the best racing you could ask for. The club’s most popular class was Street Spec and, overall, I had decent equipment. Again, racing was fairly simple and pure fun. Those really were the good old days. That said, were those good old days all that good compared to today? When it comes to the equipment available, the answer is absolutely no. The vehicles and support gear keep getting better. No matter how fond my memories are of the past, I can’t help but think that the good old days really weren’t all that good thanks to simply amazing vehicle designs and technology that simply spoils us such as 2.4GHz, LiPo batteries and brushless motors. Sometimes we just realize how good we have it. Enjoy RC.

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Updated: July 20, 2015 — 3:38 PM


  1. You mean the good ol days when the LHS stocked perts for the vehicles they sold?… yeah, the stuff wasn’t as good as what we have now, but just step through the door and the parts were there……… that’s now history in my area, a buddy and I made a search for parts and to check out some hobby shops… 250 miles total 3 different shops and not a one stocked parts for the vehicles they sold… not even a battery…. heck our closest shop is 20 miles away, they are open 4 days a week from 10 am till 2 pm and closed on weekends…. how in the heck can a kid get parts and support the local hobby shop….. short of skipping school or cutting class…. they can’t… nice way to continue our hobby with the next generation…..another shop chooses to stock numerous Kites from $99- $450…(yeah for a kite!) and not stock one part for the 20 or so cars they had for sale……..I asked about short course racing in their immediate area… “well we sold a lot of trucks, but closed down the class due to lack of interest”…Well with no local parts available short of waiting for him to order them(week and a half,I asked) …I wonder why………I love the new technology and everything about it, but hobby shops like this have left a real bad taste in a lot of mouths around here, and that seems to be the biggest problem I see over the old days….. we have fun now, the cars are better, the batteries are better, they are way faster too…..but the shops around here are pitiful………and many local tracks have closed due to non support by their local hobby shops..and that’s a shame, and by the way, I’m no kid, (maybe at heart,lol) I’ve been into RC since the early sixties, and have seen many things come and go, the saddest of them all is the full service hobby shop..Thank god for the internet!

  2. still have my Marui Hunter, Monster Beetle, and just got 2 original RC10 buggies from a friend. I’m nostalgic like that, but the new stuff is alot easier to work on (when I have the time). Hard not to have fond mememories of days gone by…

  3. Yes, the good old days at Ascot RCRC in Gardena , CA. This my 2nd R/C car but 1st car I raced. Sort of a pioneer or the stadium truck and short course craze.

  4. The equipment may be better, but unfortunately the “Best Times in the Hobby” to me are equated to how much fun everyone has in the hobby – not only was it a sense of personal triumph just to complete a kit, but it seems like everyone back in the old days had more fun and the hobby was more carefree. Nowadays, all I see at races is people pissed off and slamming their equipment around – they’re obviously having a ton of “fun” while doing their hobby.

  5. Tell me about it! To have to get a frequency pin again would KILL me! hahaha. Most of the times we make things more complicated than they have to be and thats when the fun is lost. The best part of racing is getting together with the group and having a good time. I try to make every day “The Good Ol Days”. Great post!

    1. Ah, frequency pins. The not so fond memories. One track I raced at had “practice pins” which I would welcome seeing again. These were silver clothes pins that couldn’t leave the drivers’ stand area and you couldn’t practice unless you had one. It basically kept the drivers’ stand from becoming too crowded. Sometimes I see what looks like 20 drivers on the stand and a demo derby on the track–not what I call practice.

  6. Funny that this column has a picture of a Mauri Big Bear at the top. that was my first RC car. And I think Matt nailed it. The batteries were rough – they took hours to charge, and were flat in minutes. The mechanical speed controls only gave three speeds, and drained the batteries at full pace regardless of the cars speed, plus the brushes would get dirty, and you would have to pull them apart and clean them or they didn’t work. The cars suspensions were agricultural at best, and totaly NON adjustable. And try to get spare parts ….! Compared to today ….. well, no contest, THESE are the good ol’ days. Before was almost prehistoric!! 🙂
    BTW, I’ve still got the Big Bear – so it wasn’t all that bad !! 🙂

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