Tyco Turbo Hopper

Tyco/Taiyo Turbo Hopper (1986)

Tyco/Taiyo Turbo HopperThe Tyco/Taiyo Turbo Hopper was a hugely popular R/C toy buggy in the USA in the mid 1980s.

It was the US release of the original Taiyo Jet Hopper of Japan – a popular ready-to-run R/C buggy with a spare tyre on it’s roof, which was making waves in the international toy market.

With the help of Tyco’s glossy marketing and exciting TV commercials, the US model sold in phenomenal quantities over several years from the mid to late 1980s. Let’s look back at the Turbo Hopper, it’s popularity, and even it’s distinctly American TV commercials featuring the buggies jumping along dusty country roads (set to banjo music of course!).

The Taiyo Jet Hopper was an R/C off-road buggy that looked the part, and would gladly tear across the lawn or over mum’s garden, yet could be enjoyed straight out of the box.

In 1986 it was a very popular toy in Japan, and soon caught the attention of US toy giant Tyco – who imported the buggy for release in it’s domestic market as the “Turbo Hopper” with both Tyco and Taiyo branding on the box.

The Tyco company had been founded way back in 1926 by a man named John Tyler (Tyco was formed from “Tyler Company”), as a small manufacturer of die cast model trains. The company expanded and changed hands from the 1960s onward, branching into other product areas as it went.

But by 1986 the brand was still completely new to the R/C industry, which was experiencing a boom in popularity at the time. So the Turbo Hopper became Tyco’s first foray into this market.

But while they may have been new to R/C, Tyco certainly weren’t new to toys. And they really knew how to market their products.

Thick, glossy industry catalogues, exciting box art, and inspiring TV commercials…  all of these were part of the marketing that the Tyco’s new line of R/C cars received, and boy did it work. By all accounts, sales of the Turbo Hopper were huge, and within a couple of years had established Tyco as a leading player in the ready-to-run R/C toy market in the USA.

None of this would have been possible, of course, if Taiyo hadn’t “precision built” (as their logo said) such a great little buggy in the first place.

Here are some images taken from the 1987 Tyco product catalogue. The Turbo Hopper seems to have first hit the US market late in 1986, based on US department store catalogues. But Tyco’s line of R/C cars didn’t appear in their annual product catalogue until 1987, by which time they had enlisted a range of R/C vehicles (about 10 or so), all of which were manufactured by Taiyo.

The pics below show a blue print sketch, a 2-page spread showing both red and black models, and even a turbo graph comparing “normal” vs “turbo charger” – which doesn’t look at that scientific to me, but it was exactly the kind of thing that any kid at the time would have eaten up.

“As advertised on TV”…

Tyco/Taiyo Turbo Hopper

Tyco/Taiyo Turbo Hopper

Tyco/Taiyo Turbo Hopper

Radio Control Car Action Issue 1
The very first issue of Radio Control Car Action magazine had an article about the Tyco Turbo Hopper.

The off-road R/C market of the time was still so young that the Turbo Hopper also featured in an article in an R/C magazine called Radio Control Car Action. You can read the article here.

Unlike in the 1990s and beyond, when R/C magazines tended to cater only to professional R/C racers, they weren’t quite so snobby in the 1980s when the hobby was still growing. So the very first issue of Radio Control Car Action is now a joy to look back upon, simply to recall how fun and accessible the hobby was – whether you had $50 to spend, or $500. There was good quality to be found at every level.

The Tyco box style also became a highly recognizable aspect of their releases: colourful window-style boxes with gorgeous artwork on a large tab at the back, slanted branding across the front, and the car name clearly printed at the bottom left. They were perfectly designed to appear as part of an ongoing “series” of models, and to make kids want to “collect them all”. They also put a lot of present-day toy packaging to shame.

Here is a new in box Tyco/Taiyo Turbo Hopper Mk1…

Tyco/Taiyo Turbo Hopper

Even the back of the box carried some information, and in this case there was a feature breakdown, plus a series of steps showing how to get the car up and running. You’d never see something like this today.

Tyco/Taiyo Turbo Hopper

As mentioned, the Turbo Hopper kicked off a series of exciting R/C car commercials for Tyco that many people remember to this day. Such as this one when the model was first released, showing the Turbo Hopper Mk1 which came in both red or black.

Later, both the model and commercial were updated. This commercial shows the Turbo Hopper Mk3 which came in red or white…

Aside from it’s off-road ability, one of the big draw-cards of this buggy was it’s actual “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 popularize “Turbo” as an R/C novelty, several models from Nikko (such as the Nikko Black Fox (1985)) were in fact the first to be released with the “turbo” feature. So credit for the idea probably belongs to Nikko.

Anyway, here at last is the Turbo Hopper, out of the box…

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 companies manufacturing ready-to-run R/C cars 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 on one side, and the real sponsor logos. Plus things like the “Hella” and “Daylighter” headlights.

Tyco adjusted the original Jet Hopper decal design by changing the name to “Turbo Hopper” on the rear wing of course.

The Turbo Hopper also came in two colours – red and black. Each colour operated on a different frequency, so that you could buy both and race them. Later, there was a white edition as well.

The flag on the aerial was probably an idea Tyco copied from the Tamiya Frog. The original Taiyo Jet Hopper in Japan never came with the flag, but Tyco added it for a bit of extra branding and flair…

Tyco/Taiyo Turbo Hopper

Another thing Tyco added to the toy that was absent from the Japanese release, was the idea of a set of little plastic orange traffic cones.

Tyco/Taiyo Turbo Hopper

These were a great accessory designed to expand the play options of the buggy, allowing you to set up obstable courses to weave around and improve your driving skills. Also included were some spare steering clips, as this was considered a potentially fragile component.

Tyco/Taiyo Turbo Hopper

Tyco/Taiyo Turbo Hopper

Sometime in 1987 the Turbo Hopper was changed so that it had lower-profile rear tyres on much larger rims, which is one of the things that caused me to break the model up into variants. The Mk1 has the fat rear tyres (as shown in the example on this page), while the Mk2 has the lower profile type. There was also a Mk3 type.

Another design change that occurred was the switch to “9.6volt” power. Mk1 simply required 8 x AA batteries in the car. But in order to profit from battery sales, a proprietary “battery pack” was introduced on a later variant. It was just 8 x AA rechargeable batteries joined together and sealed inside plastic with a special plug on the end that only worked with a special Tyco battery charger. But it forced consumers to buy the device’s battery and a charger from the same company, instead of just running it on regular batteries. It’s a sales tactic that continues to this day with a lot of devices, particularly mobile phones.


Tyco/Taiyo Turbo Hopper

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, and of course a Tyco branded owner’s manual explaining how to operate your new model.

Tyco/Taiyo Turbo Hopper

Obviously due to the huge sales of the Turbo Hopper by Tyco, this model remains very popular today and good condition examples are highly sought-after by collectors. Naturally they can only really be found in places like the USA and Canada. And most of the good ones are already in the hands of collectors these days.

For more about the history of this model, don’t forget to check out my article about the original Taiyo Jet Hopper.

As always, happy hunting!

On this page: Tyco/Taiyo Turbo Hopper (1986)

Motor(to be confirmed)
SuspensionYes (Front independent with coil springs, rear rigid axle with coil springs)
Digital ProportionalNo
Batteries8 x AA (Car). 1 x 9volt (Transmitter)

How rare is the Tyco/Taiyo Jet Hopper (1986)?

The ratings below are purely an estimate, based on experience collecting R/C cars since the early 1990s (and on eBay since 1999). NIB means "New in box".
CommonOccasionalRareExtremely Rare

Issues to look for: Taiyo Jet Hopper (1986)

This table explains the issues to look for, when purchasing a vintage Taiyo Jet Hopper in any condition. The Jet Hopper is relatively easy to find, but extremely hard to find in mint condition. Coming ready-to-run out of the box means most examples are well used. A particular weak point are the rear tyres. As the car had no differential, the rear tyres are often heavily worn. Taiyo rubber was also somewhat prone to deterioration if exposed to sunlight.
Is it an original, or a fake?A fake actually exists of this car. It was released in the late 1980s and it's called the Lex Jet Hopper. It's a lot more rare than the Jet Hopper, and to be honest even if you do find one, it's pretty interesting as it's a very accurate clone made with similar materials - and even has Digital Proportional control. I never support buying retail fakes or clones or counterfeits. But once they become old, discontinued relics themselves, they become interesting novelties...
Items sometimes missing on this model
  • Spotlights – these are a common piece that is broken off and missing on used examples.
  • Body Clip - the original metal body clip near the nose is often missing.
Other parts to check on this model
  • Clean/working battery compartments free of battery residue and rust
  • General wear & tear, scratches, dirt etc

Model History: Taiyo Jet Hopper (1986)

The original model was the Taiyo Jet Hopper. Over time, there may have been different releases around the world with different distributor branding and so forth. The table below lists all releases of this model that we know of. If you think you have found another not shown here, feel free to contact me. To learn more, please also visit the Models, Releases and Variants page.
ReleaseNameDescriptionSold in...YearImage
Taiyo"Jet Hopper"Original release of the car by Taiyo from Japan. Box may have Japanese, French or English writing. There are three known variants:
Mk1:  Top speed 23km/h, high profile front tyres, high profile rear tyres, no LED on car, shorter front suspension.
Mk2: Top speed 25km/h, low profile front tyres, high profile rear tyres, LED on car, several decal changes, longer front suspension.
Mk3: Top speed 27km/h, block pattern front tyres, low profile rear tyres, LED on car, several more decal changes, steering operates without the need to be going forward or reverse, new front bumper.

Full details: Taiyo Jet Hopper
Asia, Europe1986Mk 1...
Taiyo Jet Hopper Mk 1
Mk 2...
Taiyo Jet Hopper Mk2
Tyco / Taiyo"Turbo Hopper"American release under Tyco/Taiyo branding. This came in 3 variants of it's own - earlier ones with high profile rear tyres, middle ones with low profile rear tyres, and later ones had 9.6v battery, chrome wheels and “trigger” style transmitter.

Full details: Tyco/Taiyo Turbo Hopper
USA1986Tyco Turbo Hopper
Metro / Taiyo"Jet Hopper"Australian release under Metro/Taiyo branding. This came in 2 variants of it's own - earlier ones with high profile rear tyres, later ones with low profile rear tyres.

Full details: Metro/Taiyo Jet Hopper
Dickie / Taiyo"Jet Hopper"German release under Dickie/Taiyo branding.Germany1986


  1. 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. 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. 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?

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

      2. 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. 😛

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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

    1. 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).

  7. 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?

    1. 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.

  8. 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?

    1. 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.

    1. Value depends, as always, on demand. So even though it may be white, and white may be rare, other factors include things like “if less people had white ones, less people will be nostalgic about them today”. Red and black may be more common, but they are also what most people remember.
      On the other hand, perhaps some collectors would like to have all versions.

      1. Yes, it looks like the white version does exist, but was probably released a little later – as it very much resembles the 2nd edition of the Turbo Hopper with the lower profile tyres and 9.6v battery pack.

    1. 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.

      1. 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 🙂

    1. 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.

  9. 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

    1. 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.

  10. 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?

    1. 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!

    2. 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.

      1. 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.

        1. ‘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 🙂

  11. 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!!

    1. 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 🙂

  12. 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 🙂

  13. 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.

    1. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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?

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

    Click to access data_file.php

    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…

    1. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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 🙂

  21. 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.

    1. 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.

  22. 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.

    1. 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.

  23. 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.

    1. 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 🙂

  24. 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

    1. Hi Ray. Your only chance I’m afraid, is to find that exact remote on eBay or some other auction site (unlikely), or find another whole car for a cheap price with a working remote (fairly likely). Good luck!

  25. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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 .

        1. 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.

  26. 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.

    1. 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.

  27. 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;

  28. 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

  29. 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.

    1. 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.

  30. 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?

    1. 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.

  31. 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!!

  32. 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.

  33. 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??

  34. 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.

    1. 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.

  35. 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.

  36. I can see immediately that the body shape of the Turbo Hopper is a clone of the Tamiya Grasshopper. Man when I was really young I wanted a 1/10 Tamiya so much but at that age they were priced well above toys for a 9 year old. I used to look at the Tamiya catalogue and drool, then one day when I had finally got one and joined an RC club in 89, I found out that the aging Tamiya designs were well outclassed by the latest Schumacher and Kyosho models, so it was goodbye Tamiya!

  37. I have a problem with my Taiyo Turbo r/c. I hope someone can help me. The car receiver responds to the steering control, but not to the forward/backward/turbo control. I checked some of the electronic parts which seemed to be normal, but I am unable to check the working of the IC’s in the transmitter and in the receiver. The servo is o.k. it’s just that it doesn’t get the right power to start.
    I have pictures of the device, but can’t post them here.

  38. I have one in brand new condition. Never used. In the box. The box has some wear and a few rips I taped over. What does something like this go for?

    1. Hi Pip. Sorry for the late reply. All of the parts you are looking for are rare and hard to find. Sometimes it’s possible to find the tyres as actual spare parts, as they were actually sold separately in the 1980s.

      The original shocks and headlights though, can only be found by taking them from other, donor cars. I have none of these items for sale at the moment, though I have sold some in the past. My advice is to look for a donor car that has all of the parts you are looking for.

  39. Hi – I have a Jet Hopper I’m looking to sell and was wondering what it would be worth?

    It’s still in the box although damaged and 1 spot light missing.

  40. Hey folks, just a heads-up on an appearance of this car in 80s contemporary popular culture.
    Married With Children, Season 1, Episode 13 “Johnny Be Gone”

    At the IMDB page, Al Bundy can be seen holding the car in three screen captures.
    In the episode, Al’s son Bud plans to attend a local race, but the car wasn’t working. He gets Al to assist in getting it running…with dodgy results!

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