THE Cub Report – Reminiscing The T-Maxx Era
Ya know, there was a time not all that long ago when our industry was growing. Growing like crazy in fact! The time period goes from right around 1999 when the original T-Maxx was released, to around 2007 where a general economic downswing in America put a big damper on the runaway growth of our hobby. The other day the crew and I got to talking about just how crazy it was back then, here are some of things that I remember from that glorious era…
Lets start with hobby shops. During the “T-Maxx Era” they were springing up faster than gun shops after Obama got in office. My local area sprang from 3 hobby shops to nearly a dozen at the height. And more importantly, most of those new shop owners were making solid bank. How were all these new shops making money? Well, that was because they were getting a ton of foot traffic! For example, pre-T-Maxx, I could just walk into my hobby shop, maybe wait a minute or two to get someone behind the counter, grab ALL THE PARTS I NEEDED, and was on my merry way. After the T-Maxx, I had to try and find a parking spot, then went inside only to be greeted by a shop filled with new hobbyists. I had to take a number to talk to someone behind the counter, and that could often take 15, 20, or even 30 minutes. Once up to that counter, I then had a LOT MORE new trick goodies to pick from as most shops were stocking as much product as they could stuff inside their buildings.
Back to the T-Maxx itself, it was something to behold in hobby shops too. Several hobby shops I went to would literally receive a case of new T-Maxxs on a Tuesday morning, then they would drop them somewhere near their check-out counter, and they would usually be sold out before the end of business on Saturday. The busier shops were buying multiple cases of T-Maxxs per a week and selling out of them! And after you bought the T-Maxx itself, well then you had to buy fuel! That was also a crazy scene at the time, as local hobby shops were stocking a half dozen different brands, at multiple nitro levels, and everyone had their favorite. There were the guys that swore by Traxxas fuel, then there were VP guys, and Byrons guys, and on and on and on. OMG, wanna talk about some epic forum threads, I still remember noobies arguing against other noobies on exactly which fuel was the best, but more importantly, how every single other brand that they didn’t like was complete trash, LOL!
Oh, and all those T-Maxx hop-up parts! At first there was a bunch of really cool aluminum parts, then they kept coming, and kept coming, and pretty soon 50 different companies had every possible part for the T-Maxx in aluminum. After everyone had done a T-Maxx in aluminum, then came the esoteric carbon fiber parts, then even tricker titanium and magnesium aftermarket goodies! Every month came more aftermarket companies specializing in T-Maxx upgrades- the new companies and new parts never seemed to end! Then, once everyone had built an aluminum/carbon fiber/titanium beast, then came the .28 conversion kits, LOL. Seriously, Traxxas had an incredible idea with the T-Maxx, then they did an even better job of marketing it, then the aftermarket companies sealed the deal! It was like the ultimate storm of a perfect new truck release.
Once a person had a new T-Maxx in hand, they needed somewhere to drive it. At that time, it really wasn’t uncommon to hear a nitro rc engine running if you lived in a suburban/urban area (and 99.99999% of the time it was a T-Maxx). And while most people drove their new T-Maxx in their back or front yards, a wholeeeee lot of them made it to local tracks. At “hardcore” or “long time” tracks, those new T-Maxx owners were told there was NO CLASS FOR TOYS like that, and were sent home. However, a lot of brand new tracks sprung up that were founded by new T-Maxx owners, and THOSE were some EPIC track days.
Just like hobby shops, new tracks were springing up left and right, some to accommodate the light-hearted (yet rowdy) T-Maxx crowd, and others for people making the step from the T-Maxx to more traditional nitro 1/8 buggy or 1/10 stadium truck racing. I remember a track that had an ENORMOUS T-Maxx class, there were probably 50 guys every Saturday night (out in the middle of nowhere!!!) with just their T-Maxx, and they would show up to race. There typically weren’t many rules at these types of tracks, and it wasn’t uncommon to go flying down the main straight during your qualifier and almost hit a T-Maxx going backwards on the main straight, someone who was warming his engine up for the next race, LOL. It really was insanity with all the new racers who did not know, or even care, about rc racing rules. But ya know, that was a Great type of insanity. Yes, I cursed many of those T-Maxx guys back then, but they were having such a blast with their laid-back ways (how do you think I ended up at BigSquid?) that they were eventually able to transform me from a-hole racer guy, to a-hole basher guy, LOL.
Oh my gosh, there is soooo much more about the T-Maxx era to remember, good grief. The giant tires, the smell, all those worn out one-way bearings, LOL, we might have complained a lot back then about how things were, but damn, that was the most incredible time I can remember in this hobby/sport. Whoever/wherever you may be reading this, I want you to leave your very favorite personal memory from the T-Maxx era, may it long live in our hearts!
There ya have it ya bunch of degenerate animals, you even got a bit of homework for the week. Until next time, get out and support your local hobby shops and bash spots when ya can!
YOUR Cub Reporter