The Top Ten RC Cars You Should Own Before You Die.
2009 is nearly over and done with, and as such, it’s that time of year when all sorts of lists get made. Top ten news makers of 2009, top ten songs of 2009, and well, in the case of your much loved yet often litigated Cub Reporter, The Top Ten RC Cars You Should Own Before You Die. This is a list of the cars that I think everyone in our hobby should own, wrench on, and drive before they die. I didn’t come up with this list all on my own, as I consulted some of the other BigSquid contributors for input, so special thanks to them for helping me whittle down the list. Some of the cars/trucks on the list can be bought brand new at your LHS, others can be bought new as re-issues, and all the others can be found NIB for around a grand on E-pay.
Our original list contained well over 20 cars, eventually we worked it down to 19, and finally to the top 10. Here are some of the honorable mentions that narrowly missed making the top 10 cut.
Schumacher Menace- a 4wd 10th scale truck, insanely overpowered with a .21 nitro engine and 3 speed tranny.
HPI 5B- a 5th scale 2wd buggy, that looks fairly scale, is a blast to drive, and it’s marvelous engine starts every time.
BoLink Legend- 10th scale on-road car that’s easy to build, tough as nails, affordable, and really shows the essence of what our hobby is all about.
Tamiya Grasshopper- 10th scale off road buggy that was uber cool in it’s day, and the buggy that thousands of hobbyists learned to drive with.
Traxxas Revo- 10th scale nitro monster truck that defined what the next level of design and quality was in our hobby.
Tamiya Mini FWD- 10th scale on-road car that’s affordable, dependable, and extremely fun to drive.
Team Losi JRX-2- 10th scale off-road buggy with unique rear suspension that was Gil’s answer to the RC10.
Serpent 960- 8th scale 4wd on-road car that is ridiculously fast and is perhaps the highest form of racing in our hobby.
Finally, with all the honorable mentions out of the way, we can get down to the nitty gritty, the top 10 cars you must own before you die!
10. Associated RC18T (18th scale, electric, 4wd off-road truck)- There are many reasons the RC18T is a true must have truck. First might be it’s low cost, second might be it’s incredible durability, third might be the fact that you can drive it nearly anywhere, fourth might be that you are a Mamba system away from it busting out over 60 mph, fifth might be the 20 minute plus run times you will get from even modest battery packs. Did I mention it’s the only one in the top ten that you and a few of your buddies can easily have room to race inside your garage during the cold winter months?
9. Kyosho Optima Mid SE (10th scale, electric, 4wd off-road buggy)- During it’s day, the Optima Mid SE was the most uber piece of racing equipment you could own, and ate the 2wd RC10′s for breakfast. Agile, easy to jump, insanely fast, and above all, it oozed “trick” from nose to rear wing. Now days, NIB examples go for around a grand on E-pay, and for good reason, it’s one of the trickest racing machines of all time, and very easy on the eyes.
8. Associated RC12 (12th scale, electric, 2wd on-road car)- One of Associated’s first cars, and one that has defined hundreds of designs since. Elegantly simple, bulletproof design, and lightening fast are some of the attributes the original RC12 is known for. It’s also a true history piece for our hobby, an important enough design that if you consider yourself a true hobbyist, you need to wheel it at least once.
7. Tamiya Bruiser (10th scale, electric, 4wd off-road truck)- This truck sets all kinds of standards, both in it’s day (85′), and even today. The Bruiser was one of the most realistic designs ever sold, featuring a shiftable 3 speed tranny, lots of real metal parts, and a highly detailed Toyota Hilux body. Today, it’s easily one of the most sought after old school trucks, with NIB versions going for insane amounts. What puts it on this list is it’s incredible realism, detail, and quality. The Bruiser is truly a must have at least once in your life.
6. HPI RS-4 (10th scale, electric, 4wd on-road car)- The RS-4 has been around for years in many different versions, and all of them have been solid cars. The original RS-4 was a great design, one of the first designed to present a touring car look, and was perhaps one of the best looking cars of it’s day. The RS-4 is also rock solid reliable, drives incredibly well, and is actually fairly easy to work on. If you haven’t blasted an RS-4 up and down your driveway, you are truly missing out on a gem.
5. Kyosho MP 7.5 Kania (8th scale, nitro, 4wd off-road buggy)- If you are still one of the few people that have not driven an 8th scale buggy, it’s simply a MUST do. Quite simply, 8th scale buggies are the king of anything dirt. While many 8th scales look remarkably similar, there have been many stand outs over the years, and after consulting the other staffers at BigSquid, if we were to recommend one 8th to keep forever, it would be the MP 7.5 Kania. The Kania version of the 7.5 is a not only a great buggy, but truly showcases what 8th scale buggies are all about, and is destined to be one of the most sought after designs 20 years down the road.
4. Traxxas Slash (10th scale, electric, 2wd off-road truck)- Who would have thought the once highly maligned Stampede would have morphed into something like this? The Slash is simply a home run in every area. It’s affordable to buy and maintain, rock solid dependable, drives incredibly well, comes with decent enough electronics, and most importantly, re-opened many peoples eyes that our hobby grade rc cars/trucks should look like their full size counterparts. This is one of the trucks you probably own right now that you should Never sell off, you’ll appreciate it 20 years from now.
3. Tamiya Clodbuster (10th scale, electric, 4wd off-road monster truck)- While the Clodbuster was released in 1987, you can still see many of them in use to this very day. This was our hobby’s first real “monster truck”, and was a runaway sales hit for Tamiya. The Clodbuster featured a very simple yet dependable drive line, and incredibly tough looks. Back in 87′, if you showed up to the local bash area with a Clod, all the RC10′s and Grasshoppers would pull off for fear of your truck running them over. It was, and still is, a beast of truck, and a must have.
2. Traxxas T-Maxx (10th scale, nitro, 4wd off-road monster truck)- Volumes upon volumes have already been written on the T-Maxx. Was it a great truck when it was introduced? Well, that’s arguable, as it’s engine was temperamental, and the one way bearings in its starting mechanism seemed to only last one quart of fuel, so keeping one running was a true test of ones temper. But, it looked like nothing else before it, and busted all kinds of sales records. It was the main reason that nitro powered cars started outselling electrics for the first time in our hobby’s history. The T-Maxx’s 8 shocks, uber trick looking wheels and tires, and sweet looking pre-painted body helped the truck destroy all sales records before it. Dozens of aftermarket companies sprang up overnight because of this truck. It was also the truck primarily responsible for turning the tide from building kits, to buying RTR’s. Many a father and son spent hours spinning the needles on their T-Maxx carbs trying to keep it running, and the sense of accomplishment they both got once it fired up are the kind of times many people will cherish forever. The T-Maxx was cool to drive, cool to own, and perhaps more importantly, brought many a family together. The T-Maxx also perhaps introduced more noobs to our hobby than any other design in history.
1. Associated RC10 (10th scale, electric, 2wd off-road buggy)- So just why should you buy an original gold tubbed, 6 tranny geared RC10? Not because it’ll spank everything on the market today, because it won’t. But, what it will do is show you just how far our hobby has come, and how far ahead of it’s time that the RC10 was back in 84′. When the RC10 was originally released, it was not only the best looking car ever released, but also it was easily the fastest car on any track in the country. The RC10 is the buggy that basically set all the standards. From looks, to speed, to sales, to how many people one car can bring into the hobby, the RC10 set the original bar, and set all those standards damn high. If you were to pick up an original RC10 in good condition today, you will still be able to find parts, still be able to put in some decent laps or passes around your favorite bash spot, and I promise that it will put a huge smile on your face. Yes, the RC10 is that good, yes, it is that special, yes, it is the single most important rc car you should own before you die.
Thanks for reading, support your sport, hit your LHS’s, hit your local tracks and bash spots, and try to pick up at least a couple of the cars/trucks on the list above. You will thank me for it later.
Your Cub Reporter