Tyco/Taiyo Turbo Hopper (1986)

Tyco/Taiyo  Hopper

The Tyco/Taiyo Turbo Hopper was a game-changing R/C toy buggy in the mid 1980s that sold in truly phenomenal quantities. This article is about the Tyco release which also had Taiyo branding, and which followed the earlier Taiyo Jet Hopper.

Between 1979 and 1985, hobby-grade R/C companies had shown that when it came to electric R/C vehicles there was a huge worldwide market for cars capable of running off-road. As each year went by, these models became more and more popular – particularly those from Japanese company Tamiya, who specialized in agile and fun off-road buggies. And with an explosion in the popularity of organised racing, off-road electric R/C cars were a huge market supported by many brands.

Example On This Page…

  • Tyco/Taiyo Turbo Hopper
  • Year: 1986
  • Made in: Japan
  • Release: Tyco (USA)
  • Variant: Mk1

Other Variants of this Release

  • TycoTurboHopper_External1.jpgMk2 – Difference: Low profile block pattern rear tyres
Know Another Variant? Contact Me

Other Known Releases…

Know Another Release? Contact Me


  • LexJetHopper.jpgLex Jet Hopper – a fake/clone of the Jet Hopper that was not made by Taiyo
Know Another Fake? Contact Me

But at the cheaper, toy end of the market, most vehicles were still either on-road racing cars or vehicles with light off-road ability and minimal (if any) suspension.

Enter Taiyo, a company that had been producing quite small but often nice-quality R/C toys since 1975.

By copying the template of a basic but successful Tamiya buggy and pinching the use of the word “Hopper” (which Tamiya had first invented for use on their massively popular, insect-inspired “Grasshopper” 1/10 scale R/C buggy) but making everything smaller and cheaper (1/16 scale), and without the need for hours of assembly… Taiyo landed on one of the true hit toys of the decade – the Taiyo Jet Hopper.

Here was an R/C buggy that looked the part, would gladly tear across the lawn or over mum’s garden, yet could be enjoyed straight out of the box. It was very popular and soon caught the attention of US toy giant Tyco – who licensed the buggy for release as the Tyco/Taiyo Turbo Hopper the following year.

This article details the Tyco/Taiyo Turbo Hopper “Mk1”, or in other words, the first edition Turbo Hopper sold by the Tyco brand in 1986. As with all Tyco R/C cars, the box carries both Tyco and Taiyo branding – Tyco is more prominent, while Taiyo is mentioned somewhere at the bottom with the words “Precision built by Taiyo”. I’ve chosen to refer to both brands in the title of the car, with the most prominent one first.

Mk1 simply means “Mark 1” and it is not an official name – just something I made up. But it is a good way for us to try to distinguish the first variant from later variants. Because just as the Tyco/Taiyo Turbo Hopper was a little bit different to the Taiyo Jet Hopper, the Tyco/Taiyo Turbo Hopper also evolved slightly during it’s production run – for example, the rear tyres were originally quite fat, but later changed to thinner and more low-profile tyres with different tread.

The variant with the low-profile rear tyres is therefore the Tyco/Taiyo Turbo Hopper Mk2.

(To learn more about the breakdown of Models, Releases and Variants, please read this page)

US toy company Tyco was new to R/C in 1986, but they weren’t new to toys. So they really knew how to market their products. The Tyco box style became a recognizable staple of all their R/C cars: colourful window-style boxes with cool artwork on a large tab at the back, and the car name clearly printed beneath the front window. Just as you can see here on this brand new in box, red Tyco/Taiyo Turbo Hopper Mk1…

Tyco/Taiyo Turbo Hopper

Tyco/Taiyo Turbo Hopper

The Tyco/Taiyo Turbo Hopper Mk1 was in fact the first ever R/C model sold under the Tyco brand. With the backing of a large American toy company like Tyco, the buggy was featured in some great TV commercials too, like this one…

Aside from it’s off-road ability, one of the big draw-cards was clearly the “Turbo” function – found by pushing the forward/reverse lever on the transmitter past a little notch and all the way up for maximum speed.

To just about any kid growing up in the 1980s, it was simply genius. “Turbo” was one of the biggest buzz-words in full scale motorsport and sports cars during the decade, and the notion of having your own little turbo function in a toy car meant this was a sure-winner for so many kids.

However it should be noted that despite the fact that Taiyo did a lot to popularise “Turbo” as an R/C novelty, another big seller, the Nikko Black Fox (1985), also had the “turbo” feature and was released before the Jet Hopper / Turbo Hopper – so let’s give credit to Nikko.

All of this appeal added up to enormous sales. In the smaller market of Australia, the buggy arrived as another release – the “Metro Jet Hopper”, and 130,000 units were sold in 1986 and a further 150,000 were sold in 1987. Just imagine what the sales figures were like in much bigger markets like the USA.

The huge success spawned numerous other models over many years – such as a smaller model called the “Mini Hopper”, an even smaller one called the “Micro Hopper”, and a slot car set called “Racin’ Hoppers“. Later there were even more models in the “Hopper” series.

Tyco/Taiyo Turbo Hopper

Tyco/Taiyo Turbo Hopper

Having been released in 1986 means there was a great attention to detail and realism in this model. The hobby grade R/C market (lead by Tamiya, Kyosho, Marui, Associated etc) was still turning out amazing, realistic-looking R/C buggies at this time, complete with roll-cages and window-netting. And so the toy market naturally copied what was popular.

Some of the great aspects for me are the real spare rubber wheel/tyre on the roof, the window cage/netting, and the real sponsor logos, plus things like the “Hella” and “Daylighter” headlights.

There were originally two colours available in the Turbo Hopper Mk1 – red and black. Later there were also some white editions, but these were not the Mk1 variant, but later variants.
Each colour operated on a different frequency, so that you could buy both and race them.

The flag on the aerial was probably an idea copied from the Tamiya Frog (some of the decals are also Frog-inspired). While those excellent fat rear tyres are like perfect miniature replicas of the rear tyres found on the Tamiya Super Champ, Tamiya Frog and Tamiya Hornet.

Tyco/Taiyo Turbo Hopper

Tyco/Taiyo Turbo Hopper

As mentioned before, the rear tyres are important to note – because only the Mk1 release of the Turbo Hopper (which is pictured here) had these fat ones. Sometime in 1986 or soon after, the Tyco/Taiyo release was changed and looked identical EXCEPT for having low-profile rear tyres on much larger white rims. So if you’re wondering if you have a truly original Turbo Hopper, the first thing to check is those rear tyres.

To sum it up again:
Tyco/Taiyo Turbo Hopper Mk1 = fat rear tyres.
Tyco/Taiyo Turbo Hopper Mk2 = low profile rear tyres.

Another design change that occurred was the switch to “9.6volt” power. The original release model simply required 8 x AA batteries in the car. But Taiyo must have wanted to profit from battery sales so they introduced their own proprietary “battery pack” (just 8 x AA rechargeable batteries joined together and sealed inside plastic) with a special plug on the end that only worked with a Tyco battery charger. And later models of the Turbo Hopper (and other cars) all use this 9.6volt pack system.

Suspension was simple and bouncy – just coil springs all round. But this was still enough to be better than pretty much any other toy R/C car on the market at the time. And together with some OK ground clearance it was enough for the ‘Hopper to scoot over most simple obstacles.

There was also a two-speed gearbox for some extra torque when you needed it. However, it had a fixed drivetrain with no differential – making it great for skids and burnouts on a dirt surface, but probably causing some gearbox wear over time. It also lacked the Digital Proportional control that some other toys had.

As for other weaknesses – the headlights on the body are often missing on used models due to the car being quick enough to roll over, particularly when turning sharply at high speed on hard/grippy surfaces. While the steering arms and little plastic “connectors” were a particularly thin and vulnerable part during collisions – so much so that spares of these were made available. Some releases even included the spare connectors in the box.

Tyco/Taiyo Turbo Hopper

Tyco/Taiyo Turbo Hopper

Yes, believe it or not, spare parts were readily available for this car – even at the supermarkets and toy stores where it was often sold. Tyres, bodies and other breakable parts were all sold separately. Which was another great aspect that helped elevate it above most of the other R/C toys on the market. In fact, I even found some of these spare parts among old hobby shop stock as recently as just a few years ago.

Tyco/Taiyo Turbo Hopper

Tyco/Taiyo Turbo Hopper

Tyco/Taiyo Turbo Hopper

Tyco/Taiyo Turbo Hopper

Tyco/Taiyo Turbo Hopper

The box also came with a spare body clip, along with some great little orange corner pylons – a nice bonus to help expand the play options.

Tyco/Taiyo Turbo Hopper

Obviously due to the huge sales of the Turbo Hopper by Tyco, this version remains very popular today and good condition examples are highly sought-after by collectors.

Other Notes

– Sadly after more than 30 years of producing R/C toys, the Taiyo brand no longer exists and was liquidated sometime around 2011 or so. The official Taiyo website is no longer online.

– However, the old Taiyo website can be seen here thanks to the internet archive. And here is a page detailing Taiyo’s R/C history, where you will even find the Jet Hopper shown on the 1986 page.

– Some of the information on this page comes from an interesting document I found online – an old legal document outlining a case between Taiyo and Playcorp. Search the document here for the word “Hopper” to jump to the interesting bits.

Living in Australia, I remember seeing a lot of Metro Jet Hoppers (the Australian release) around when I was a kid, and even seeing them for sale at K-Mart.

Performance-wise, the car was quick enough to be quite exciting and spray a little dirt as it went, so there’s no doubt it became a quintessential 1980s R/C toy that a lot of kids either had – or wished they had.

These days, due to being such a famous R/C toy and the fact that most surviving examples are broken or show lots of wear, the Turbo Hopper can be quite valuable. Due to increasing levels of interest, prices have increased over the years.

As always, happy hunting!

At a glance…
Scale: 1/16
Length: 27cm
Drive: 2WD
Gearbox: 2-Speed
Differential: No
Suspension: Yes
Digital Proportional: No
Batteries: 8 x AA (Car). 1 x 9volt (Transmitter)
Original price in Australia back in 1986: About AU$90
What this would equate to, in 2012 money: AU$212 (calculated using this)

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90 responses to “Tyco/Taiyo Turbo Hopper (1986)”

  1. Saito says :

    Great write up on a very important “toy” in the world of RC! Kids my age that knew about Tamiyas were in somewhat elite standing but EVERYBODY knew about the Tyco Turbo Hopper. Kids didn’t need to even go into a hobby shop, they just saw that awesome commercial on TV and said “I want that!”. And what what child of the 80’s wouldn’t? Off road action with rooster tails of dirt, jumps and the all important TURBO POWER! Great marketing with a decent product to back it up. We hardcore enthusiast forget how important these “toys” were, often bringing newcomers into the RC modeling fold. Excellent review of an important piece of RC history.

  2. Sayer says :

    I started a bit later with the Aero Hopper, though the original Turbo Hopper was still on sale at the same time. Having only experienced the R/C cars that had difficulty crawling across carpet (or any surface not perfectly obstacle free), I nearly broke mine the first time I ran it indoors. There were no daylighter headlights on the Aero Hoppers, but they did still tend to snap their bumpers off in collisions.

  3. teddyt says :

    I remember buying a brand new one of these for my son(really.back in the day
    now have two of my own

  4. tim says :

    Many thanks for the post. The Turbo Hopper was certainly an icon of its’ day! Any idea what the original MSRP was on this car when it was released in the U.S.? $79/$99/$129?

    • rcmemories says :

      Tim, not sure of the official price back in the day. I probably have old ads that state the price, but it would have varied over the months that it was for sale. I do know the car was even featured in an early issue of R/C Car Action magazine, so they may have mentioned an official price as part of the article.
      If I come across anything, I’ll post another comment.

      • Lee Volpe says :

        Great post RC, I was with TYCO from ’82 -’94 as Product Designer/ Manager/ Director, to VP, and I have a 92 Price-list that has the Turbo Hopper at $ 47.99 and the 4WD Super Turbo Hopper at $ 79.99 … and if anyone is interested, I have one of each of the TURBO HOPPERS MIB, along with 2 MIB TURBO FAST TRAXX.

        We built great product and it was fun to be in on the early development.

      • rcmemories says :

        Hi Lee, thanks for your post! It’s very cool to hear from someone who actually worked at Tyco.
        It sounds like you have some nice collector’s items there!

      • scott coleman says :

        i went through 3 of these back in the day so i remember the price well. $63.00 with tax here in wisconsin. these puppies went too fast for their own good. they should of made them with metal bodies. i had so much super glue on mine just trying hold the bumper and lights on. this was the toy of my child hood… well this and army men and stomper trucks. :P

      • rctoymemories says :

        Yeah they definitely were kinda “too fast” for their size, which I guess is why so many of them these days are missing one or two of their little headlights!

    • chris says :

      Just went to my parents attic and found mine still in the original box. $59.99.

  5. Ed says :

    I have a Taiyo Jet Hopper which my 5 year old son now uses. Does anyone know the exact frequencey; its just marked 27Mhz? My Tamiya Lunch box which is on ‘blue’ interferes with it, so I want to get a new crystal. Will any other cystal work? thanks

  6. Dane says :

    Great article, I just managed to get one in it’s original box and very much look forward to reliving my childhood memories of this great vehicle.

  7. Clint says :

    Hello, I have just purchased a jet hopper, with the bigger back tyres think they were on the original one, but my question is it says 25kms sticker on it is this one of the very early ones and also its coming from Germany Any help would be appreciated

    • rcmemories says :

      Hi Clint. In Europe, the hopper was sold more commonly under the Taiyo brand, and came in a different box etc. It’s quite possible that it also had a different sticker or two.

      Likewise in Australia it was sold under the Metro brand, and had a couple of different stickers as a result. I’m not sure if this makes your model ‘earlier’, or just the result of different marketing in different countries, from about 1986 onwards when the car was first released.

      Having the fat tyres means it is the first version of the car physically-speaking, before they decided to make those tyres lower profile (a common evolution of RC buggies toward the late 1980s).

  8. Robert says :

    Really great to see how many people still remember this awesome little car. I kept mine for quite some years. Now my two sons play with it. I could use some spareparts, like backtires. Any idea where I can get them?

    • rcmemories says :

      Hi Robert. Basically – you will have to keep an eye on eBay. The spare tyres were sold as an individual part, and they might come up for sale, but they are very rare nowadays.

      Another option might be to buy a second or third whole car, just for the tyres. Sometimes they do sell cheap if they are in poor condition, but you might still find some reasonable tyres.

  9. matt says :

    hey looking for jet hopper does any one have any for sale still in box or used? gold coast.

  10. PS says :

    What about the white one? I have two red ones, both with low profile tyres. The one I was given as a child is made in Japan while the other one sais made in Singapore. I also have a 6AA battery Taiyo Jet Bandit since 1992 which I can’t find anywhere on the internet. All references are about 9.6V Baja (turbo) Bandit. Does anyone know something about it?

    • rcmemories says :

      I’ve heard people mention white ones before, but not sure if I’ve ever seen one.

      I’m also not sure Tyco ever sold a white version of an original Turbo Hopper (I don’t think they did, but correct me if I’m wrong). So perhaps it was either sold under the Taiyo brand in other markets, or perhaps you are actually referring to the Super Hopper which was white but was also a different model altogether – being 4WD.

      • Eric Jordan says :

        The white one was when Tyco redesigned the car for 9.6 volt battery packs in 1988-89.

  11. Hal says :

    I have a white one with a pistol controller. How much is this worth? I believe that it is also from around 1986.

  12. Hal says :

    My white turbo hopper is actually 2WD and it has two 9.6 volt battery packs.

    • rcmemories says :

      Sounds like you do have a white Turbo Hopper Hal. Maybe you could upload a photo to imgur.com? 9.6v battery pack suggests it’s a second generation Turbo Hopper, so it probably has the low profile tyres as well.

      • Aqua225 says :

        I had a white one. My brother and our neighbor had a red and a black one. We never could figure out why, but my white unit was twice as fast as the other two units. You could swap battery packs, it didn’t matter. My best guess being an engineer now, is that the bipolar transistors in the receiver for motor control were simply beefier in mine, like a unintentional manufacturing defect. Mine could literally get to speeds in a straight line where it was barely controllable. I had the most collisions of us all three during racing, because I’d keep the power on the last second. I remember running into our porch columns multiple times :)

  13. Chris says :

    Do you know if any of parts availble for these models? 2401-27 (red) or 2401-49 (black)

    • rctoymemories says :

      While new spares are occasionally available on ebay, your best chance to find parts is probably going to be to buy other whole cars and use them for parts. The good news is, cars in poor condition may sell for as little as $20. But just don’t expect the tyres to be in great condition, and they’re always the first thing to wear out.

  14. Travis says :

    Hi,my name is Travis I was wondering where I could purchase a new one in red and black.The original turbo hoppers.Me and my brother use to have one growing up and it would mean the world to me if I could get them

    • rctoymemories says :

      Travis, your best chance is going to be eBay. I actually saw a new in box black one (first edition, as pictured on this page) for sale on there just before Christmas. As expected, it sold for over $200. But it was the first brand new I had seen for a long time.

  15. geoff says :

    i just won a red jet hopper on ebay,for an incredibly high price.it is an early version with the fat rear tyres,It has stickers quite different to most others i’ve seen….especially the ’25 kmh’ sticker just under the front window opening,where most others say turbo.Does anyone know if this is an earlier version or a later one?Or if it is an aussie version?

    • rctoymemories says :

      Congrats Geoff – that was a very high price indeed ($690!). Strange things happen when there are bidding wars (I just hope there was no shill bidding).
      Since it’s branded “Taiyo”, it *may* be slightly earlier than the Tyco or Metro branded ones, since obviously Taiyo made the car and obviously began selling it in Asia before they licensed it to Tyco and Metro etc in other countries. The stickers do differ – which is typical for Taiyo versions vs Tyco ones. Its a pity you didn’t get a box with it for that price!

    • rctoymemories says :

      Also, I don’t think it’s an Aussie one. I think it’s the original Taiyo version. The use of “KM/H” as a sticker, is something Taiyo also did on their Lamborghini Turbo. That car was also licensed by Tyco (who removed the “KM/H” sticker) and is now highly sought after as well.
      Generally, I have found that Tyco editions are the more collectible due to bigger sales in the 80s (thus, more people remember them), however perhaps these cars are so rare in good condition that any slight variation will get lots of interest and a high price.

      • geoff says :

        It’s insane,there’s another one on there thats just been listed and it’s already $400……surely i was a victim of this ‘shill bidding'(what is that by the way?)I’m happy i won either way,it’s a little gem.Although i wish it had the bumper with turbo system written it.thanks for the input,now for a black one…hhhhmmmmmmm.

      • rctoymemories says :

        ‘Shill bidding’ is when friends/family of the seller, bid on the item purely to push the price up against other genuine bidders. I have no evidence this happened of course, and eBay are pretty clever in being able to detect many shill bids and subsequently ban those sellers. I guess I’m just pointing out that the price was unusually high :) A brand new in box black original Turbo Hopper sold over Christmas for less than $300, so you know…prices can certainly vary.
        But it also seems there is renewed demand for ‘hoppers at the moment, so maybe this is the ‘new normal’ for their prices :)

  16. geoff says :

    Thought so,i don’t think i was a victim of that though,cause the poor buggers i outbid on mine are the same ones bidding on this newly listed one……and i thought the old afx cars i collect were pricey!!

    • rctoymemories says :

      Well that’s good to know!
      Incidentally, the highest priced vintage R/C car model I’ve heard of, was around $10,000. That was a rare black edition of Tamiya’s first ever R/C, the Porsche 934, released in 1976. Only a few black ones were ever made, so they now exchange hands for serious money if still in unbuilt form :)

  17. Addicted2blue says :

    Nice write up, i have 2 NIB jet hoppers . 1 red version with the balloon type tires and 1 black version with the low profile tires. I also have 1 NIB mini version of the black one, it’s called mini hopper. They all have a tyce label. The red version with balloon type tires is my personal favourit :)

  18. Addicted2blue says :

    mistake, they are all with taiyo label

  19. John says :

    I’m looking for the Super Turbo Hopper #49 from 1986’ish. This is the red and yellow one. It should have a remote with a wheel controller. If anyone has this or knows where I can get this MIB (to include Lee Volpe), please respond. I currently own the white #27 that I’ll be giving my brother for Christmas. I obviously owned/played with the #49 as a child and would love to own it again. Thanks.

    • Laurence says :

      Here’s your exact car you are looking for! It looks in fab condition no damage or missing anything and with all original accessories like the charger and remote. good luck!
      eBay item number:121218232796

  20. don honeycutt says :

    i have a 27 and a 49 mhz turbo hopper from the 80’s . they both need minor repairs and i would like to repair them can anyone point me in the right direction

  21. Aqua225 says :

    Thought this article might be interesting about Taiyo Kogyo:


    Sega Toys:


    But I can’t find any proof on the official company website that they still run the new company, Taiyo Co., Ltd. Wiki lists them as a subsidiary, but no quotes or references.

    However, if you look on amazon, there are r/c toys by “taiyo co., ltd.”

    Anyone have a website for the r/c division?

  22. Aqua225 says :

    Unfortunately, it appears the Taiyo Co., Ltd. holdings of Sega Toys was dissolved:


    As for domestic sales, we dissolved our consolidated subsidiary, Taiyo Co., Ltd. and closely reviewed operations and products that are expected to underperform in the future or are deemed to lack profitability, and thoroughly narrowed down operations and products in the fourth quarter.

    So the Hopper creator is no more. Seems very odd given the proliferation of radio controlled toys nowadays. Had to be mismanagement of the order that killed Sega Game Consoles…

    • rctoymemories says :

      Thanks so much for looking into this and reporting back. I had been wondering whether Taiyo may still linger on in some form, but alas now we know for sure. A great shame given their history extended back even long before R/C, and into the tin toy era (some old Taiyo tin toys are now quite valuable). I had no idea they had become part of Sega either, and as you say, that’s a company with some turbulent history of its own.

  23. Peter says :

    This post is so cool! I can remember the special smell of the wheels and the fun i have had with it. I had many RC Cars, but this one was really the best. Once a school bus drove over it (it was completely under the wheels), but this rc car was still running, without any problems (only the lights were broken). I hope i can buy one on ebay.

  24. Daniel says :

    Excellent article. The commercial was classic and the turbo feature was what got me hooked on it. I never realised it only went 27km. It felt so much faster back then.

  25. Jim Byrne says :

    Worked for Lee Volpe at TYCO back then, great guy to work for, had lot s of fun. Still have a Lamborghini Turbo and a Hover craft.

  26. Addicted2blue says :

    I’m thinking of selling the NIB black turbo jet hopper version 2.
    I have also a NIB Jet fighter (a tamiya boomerang clone) and a NIB black mini hopper that i’m willing to sell.
    If anyone is intrested in one of these 3 cars just let me know and perhaps we can work something out.
    Pictures can be send on request after giving an email adres.

  27. RD says :

    Looking for a super/twin turbo hopper 4WD and remote. I found a car with no remote but would love to get it running and have a parts car too

  28. victor says :

    H’ espero cresca o se cree un club d’ este modelo d’ carros yo poseo dos los cuales estuvieron guardados 15 años y al quererlos revivir veo q’ estan .averiados espero alguien tenga refacciones m’ interesas mucho gracias :)

  29. Anthony says :

    Hi, can anyone please help me, my brother and I both had jet hoppers (red and black) we can’t find my brothers but I have found mine which doesn’t seem to work, my fist suspicion is that the controllers where switched around accidentally, does anyone know how to bind a car to a controller? I now have a young son who is getting into RC cars and I would love to relive my childhood memories with my son. Thanks Anthony.

    • rctoymemories says :

      Anthony, first thing – unfortunately there’s no way to ‘bind’ a car to controller in this case, as you can’t easily change the radio crystals in toy grade R/C cars. As a first step, make sure the LED ‘on’ lights work on both car and controller. I’ll assume for now they do, and if the car doesn’t respond, then I’m afraid your only option is to find another controller (or a whole car with controller) on eBay.

  30. Nixo says :

    I have an Aero Turbo Hopper (#99) where the main plastic gear wheel is stripped. Is there anywhere I can either buy a new gear wheel and fix myself or get it fixed (in Sydney, Australia)? Seems like a shame to throw a piece of history like this out just because a cheap plastic part failed after many years of solid use.

    • rctoymemories says :

      Yeah, don’t throw it away. The Aero Turbo Hopper is a great little buggy, largely the same underneath as the original, just with the Aero body (correct me if wrong). While some spares were sold for these cars, they’re too rare to rely on these days. As always, your best bet is getting another Aero Turbo on eBay and using it for parts. It may seem like an expensive hassle, but not really – I do this all the time with my cars (buy multiple, to fix one up). Even if it cost you say, $60 or something… just imagine you walked into a store, and someone had just the spare part you need for $60. You’d probably buy it (because where else would you find it?). So considering that, a second used car will give you a whole lot of spares. And Aero Turbos do come up on eBay.

  31. Antonio Barbosa Gesta Neto says :

    Gostaria d saber como consigo a carenagem dianteira e o para-choque dianteiro do tyco turbo hopper.

  32. Jen Brown says :

    Great article! I no longer have the charger for the 8 x AA battery version, but I have an adjustable voltage/polarity wall wart. Do you happen to know the required charger polarity and voltage?

    That would be great if you could list that info.

    • rctoymemories says :

      I’m pretty sure 8 x AA rechargeable batteries would need a charger set to 10volts, because each nickel cadmium AA battery is 1.25volts (8 x 1.25 = 10). Check the writing on the sides of your batteries though, and just add them up to make sure :)

  33. Ray Lindsay says :

    HI I have a #27 White 4WD Super Turbo, in really good shape but need a remote control for it. My 2 grand daughters found it and insist we get it going again. Any help locating a remote?? tks, Ray, Canada

  34. RC says :

    Great article. Does anyone know where to get front and rear tires that would fit the original turbo hopper? I am trying to restore one to its past glory.

    • rctoymemories says :

      They’re tough to find but they do exist RC. If I ever have any for sale, you’ll see them under “items for sale”. I do have spares currently, but they’re not ones I can let go at the moment.

      • RC says :

        Do you know of any compatible tires that fit? I tried quite a few hobby stores with no luck. I was thinking maybe an old Tamiya. The only tires I have found on ebay for the past few months were for the Aero Hopper, which are too big .

      • rctoymemories says :

        I actually don’t know of any others that fit, when it’s the early hopper with the smaller rims. I’d suggest you have two options – 1) Wait until some spare tyres come up for sale (from me or someone else), or 2) Try to buy a used whole car with tyres you can use as parts. I realize this may prove expensive, but at least it’s a source of original parts.

  35. Addicted2blue says :

    I’ve got 2 NIB turbo jet hoppers and 1 NIB jet fighter.
    Those 2 NIB turbo jet hoppers i have are 2 different types, I have a red one that has the ballon type tires and the second one is a black version and this one has some oval block tires (these tires look the same as a tamiya hotshot tire)
    @ the moment i’m bidding on a local website to buy a used turbo jet hopper, it’s a red version with balloon type tires but it’s in a used condition and it’s misseng a front headlight and front bumper.

    • rctoymemories says :

      Cool – sounds like a great collection. The “oval block” style tyres you mention appeared on the Mk 2 version of the Tyco Turbo Hopper, and also latter versions of the Taiyo Jet Hopper (such as this one). And yes, those front headlights are always a problem. The car had a *relatively* high centre of gravity, and could flip over if turned sharp at high speed. There are a lot of Hoppers out there with missing headlights now, as a result.

  36. Addicted2blue says :

    Allthough i really love the jet hopper turbo, i’m thinking about selling my black (Mk2) version. The red version is the one i will keep in my collection of R/C cars.
    But i just don’t know what would be the right price, allthough i know these childhood vintage R/C cars are worth something;

  37. Chris Rogers says :

    Help needed i have a jet hopper but no controller is there any where i can get another one or a solution so i can use it thanx chris

  38. Seeking Dad says :

    Anyone know what the best modern alternative is to one of these? I don’t have my old one and I’m looking for something for my son. I had a *ton* of fun with this car and would like to find something similar for him.

    • rctoymemories says :

      My view is going to be a bit biased, as I prefer cars that look a little bit retro :) But one of the few modern, ready to run R/C toy buggies I’ve seen that I liked the look of is the Carrera Dune Jumper, which is about 1/12 scale or so. It has been discontinued but you should still be able to find leftover stock for sale on Amazon or eBay. It was also sold in other colours as the Strike Buggy and Blue Scorpion. These things come complete with radio and battery, and are pretty fast (but not too fast). And most importantly, they look pretty great and quite retro.

      Alternatively, most of the reissued 1/10 scale Tamiya buggies are available in so called Expert Built (ie. ready to run) versions these days too, so you don’t have to build them if you don’t want to. All of those are faster than a Turbo Hopper, and bigger. The closest would the Grasshopper as it has a smaller motor among that category, and is more manageable for a young driver. The reissued Tamiyas do lack the charm of their original counterparts, due to all the fake logos and other changes. But even so, they are hobby-grade cars in ready-to-run form, and the price will reflect that.

      Or you might try to find one of Tamiya’s smaller, ready-to-run Tamtech Gear versions. These are high quality mini-versions (about 1/16 scale?) of a few of the classic Tamiya buggies, and which I thought were beautiful little creations – for example, the Buggy Champ. I liked them because they were a new spin on the classics, rather than just a boring reissue.

  39. Grendizer says :

    I just found this link on google when researching my recently rediscovered #27 4WD Super Turbo. It’s in decent condition but it can’t reverse. Any direction on getting this fixed?

    • rctoymemories says :

      In my experience, the cause of “won’t steer” or “wont go forward” or “won’t go in reverse” is often caused by dirty contact points in the transmitter. Pull it apart and carefully/gently clean the contacts with a tissue. Try to work out which parts of the circuit board are being touched when the levers move forward vs reverse. And ensure wiring and contact points for those circuits are clean.

      • Grendizer says :

        Thanks, I gave that a try but unfortunately no luck. I’ll see if I can take it apart and fiddle with it some more.

  40. StillAKidAtHeart says :

    What a brilliant write up!! As with many coments above I too was lucky enough to own one….mine was a mk1 Jet Hopper Turbo (and yes it went some!!) Now almost 40 imagine my happy surprise to find it still in my parents loft (attic ;) waiting to take it out of its box and see if it still works!!

  41. addicted2blue says :

    For those who are looking for a NIB jet hopper turbo (it’s a black mk2 model), i’m willing to sel the car for 350$ + shipping. Just let me know and maybe we can work something out.

  42. sergioyy says :

    Hello friends ! Do you know where can I find tires for hopper turbo?

  43. Rolando says :

    I have the Mk2!!!….Bought it in USA..it has a pistol style transmitter
    I use it a lot…broke the transmision, front right wheel…
    Now I’m missing the front plates and 1 front spring…any ideas were I could find them??

  44. Brandi says :

    I have this car. Any recommendations on where I could get parts for it? It was my fathers car (he’s passed away) and I’d like to hand it down to my son. But there’s a turning issue.

    • rctoymemories says :

      Hi Brandi – I do have a few spare parts, but probably not the ones you need. My best advice would be to try to find another used Turbo Hopper which can be used for parts. But if you have a “turning issue”, it could even be that it’s related to the transmitter having dirty contact points inside.

  45. Justin says :

    What a great article. I just relived my youth all over again. I was 6 years old in 1986 when this iconic car came out from Tyco. I remember going to purchase it like it was yesterday. It was my first day of Kindergarden. I did not want to go but my father set me down outside with tears going down my face and said if you will go and stay all day and try to make friends I will take you to the toy store. When he picked me up that day he kept his word and took me to Children’s Palace toy store here in Memphis, TN where my eyes gazed into the RC section and there it was a red turbo hopper. The badass of the bad. I rember getting it home setting the orange cones up and driving till there was no juice in the batteries. I still have it but not driven or played with in 20 plus years but it brings back a wonderful memories. I recently found a new one still in the box on Ebay that I hope to pass down to my son one day.

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