RC stands for radio controlled, meaning that each of the small cars used in an RC race are controlled by handheld radio controllers. The first RC cars were introduced in the mid 1960s according to RC Car Tips. At that time, small 1/8th scale "pan" cars were made using model aeroplane engines. Originally starting in the 1940s, spin dizzies and tether cars hit the market but were only able to run in a circle from a tether. The technology was not available to create what are now known as RC cars, according to Team Dog Fight.
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In 1967 WEN, Dynamic Models and Model Car Enterprises began making car kits for RC cars. These included 1/8th scale pan cars and even the 19 cubic inch 2-stroke model plane engines. This began the hobby of radio controlled car racing for fans everywhere. You no longer had to create your own small car and figure out how to run it with an engine, you simply had to buy the kit and build it according to directions.
This was the introduction of the gas powered RC cars that were made by Control Technology, Delta Systems and other companies such as Wencon. Some of these cars consisted of names like the Delta Dash II, MCE, Wen Car and the Scorpion. The engines were now combustion powered on an aluminium frame and the fuel was made up of nitro, methanol and a lubricant. In 1976, the first 1/12 scale car was released, powered by an electric motor and direct drive transmission. In 1979, the first 1.8th scale On-Road Gas World Championship took place in Geneva where Phil Booth was the World Champ for driving a PB Racing car from England. The Tamiya Rough Rider was made in 1979 and allowed for off-road running areas due to the die-cast suspension and big rubber tires. Races were no longer limited to only take place on smooth paved areas.
The 1/10th scale off-road category began and up to 400 competitors could be found at any one race. World Championships were held every 2 years for the 1/12 scale and in 1982 Associated Electrics was the first 1/12 Electric On-Road World Champs. In 1985 the new IFMAR 1/10th Electric Off-Road World Championship took place with Associated Electrics winning with their RC10. Also, the 4 wheel drive buggy Hotshot was introduced and was faster in dusty or slippery areas unlike the prior 2 wheel drives.
1990s to Present
Speed was introduced in a whole new way. Speeds of 10 miles per hour on a bicycle track were reached by Kent Clausen with an electric RC10L, which paved the way for oval track racing called Superspeedways. In 1992, many electric cars hit 75mph in less than 2 seconds at the International Electric Drag Racing Association World's Drag meet. The gas 1/10th scale cars and trucks like the Serpent Impact using 2-stroke engines was born at this time as well. In 1993, truck racing became bigger, but batteries and motors and even tires got better and more expensive, making this once upon a time hobby a more expensive one. Since prices rose, people started racing in car parks so that more people could participate and still afford the replacement parts.
RC Cars Costs Today
The first time a Tamiya car ever won an IFMAR World Championship came in 2002 when a man from Thailand drove one. RC cars today are faster, stronger and more durable, but still just as expensive as ever to drive. With 2-stroke gas engines and even the introduction of fibreglass bodies and more realistic small scale vehicles, hobbyists that participate are pumping more money into this than they were when compared to the days the hobby first began.
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