Tandy/Radio Shack Porsche 935 Turbo (1981)

Tandy/Radio Shack Porsche 935 Turbo

Tandy/Radio Shack Porsche 935 TurboWhen it comes to R/C toys, nothing seems quite as “of it’s time” as a toy sports car, based on whatever sporty machine was the main object of lust at that particular moment.

And the Porsche 935 Turbo from Tandy/Radio Shack was a very nice, large model that many still remember, based on one of the world’s most dominant racing machines in the late 70s and early 80s.


Fact: Of the 370 races that the mighty Porsche 935 series of racing cars entered during their halcyon days, they won 123 of them. Including the 1979 Le Mans 24 hours endurance event.

No wonder there were so many Porsche 935 toys released when I was a kid!

While I knew little of the results of the great European and US sportscar racing events where these powerful, exotic machines built their legends (save for the occasional clip on TV), it didn’t seem to matter. Sports cars as beautiful as this needed no introduction, even to a 5 year old.

When I first became aware of the R/C cars available at Tandy in the early 1980s, I also learned that the biggest, fastest, and most expensive one they sold was one called the Porsche 935 Turbo. It was a toy I was never going to own and which I could only admire from afar – such as a glimpse or two when we visited a Tandy store, or many hours spent looking at the pictures in the Tandy catalogues that arrived in the mail…

But then one day, I grew up (sort of). And then someone invented eBay.

Tandy/Radio Shack Porsche 935 Turbo

Tandy/Radio Shack Porsche 935 Turbo

The model featured on this page is new in box – I actually bought it from a former Tandy shop owner who had kept a small goldmine of old, never-run vehicles in storage for many years.

Tandy/Radio Shack Porsche 935 Turbo

Earlier print ad for the Porsche 935 Turbo sold under the ‘Procision’ brand in some countries.

First released at Tandy/Radio Shack stores in 1981, the Porsche 935 Turbo was actually manufactured by a company called Daishin – and sold under that brand in some countries from about 1979 onwards. It was also sold under the Procision brand in the USA. These earlier Daishin and Procision versions featured a different transmitter style to the one shown on this page.

The vehicle was quite advanced for it’s time. Yes of course the hobby grade kits from Tamiya had been out for a few years already and were still superior (including their own stunning 1/12 Porsche 935 model, after which this model was clearly inspired). But when you’re too small to build a kit comprising hundreds of tiny parts, a nicely finished ready-to-run model such as Tandy’s offering was actually a more tangible object of desire.

And while many early R/C toys were smaller vehicles, here was a reportedly ‘1/12 scale’ (although it’s quite close to 1/10) Digital Proportional machine that actually wasn’t too far below the standard of the early electric hobby-grade kits of the late 1970s. Daishin are a company known to have made a few actual hobby-grade on-road models as well, around that late 70s / early 80s period.

As mentioned earlier, it was Tandy’s most expensive R/C toy – retailing for $89 or $99 in an era when spending that amount was about the equivalent of spending $300 in today’s money. I didn’t know anyone who owned this model.

The car was initially released in white, in a very “Martini” racing colour scheme (except with the Martini branding replaced by ‘Radio Shack’ of course)…

Tandy/Radio Shack Porsche 935 Turbo

In 1983, a black version was released…

Tandy/Radio Shack Porsche 935 Turbo

And then finally, the red version featured on this page, which was available during Christmas 1984.

Ah, Christmas 1984…

Tandy/Radio Shack Porsche 935 Turbo

I tend to be a bit partial toward the red version (although I do own the white one as well) because it’s the one I remember most from the catalogues, and from that particular Christmas when I spent extra time lusting over the toys at Tandy. And now, here it is…

Tandy/Radio Shack Porsche 935 Turbo

While Tandy sold a different colour each year as part of refreshing their R/C line-up, the white version does appear to have had one internal difference as well – it had a slightly larger motor compared to the red version – something I learned when snooping around inside them. Obviously this means the white ones will have a little more pace (and ruins the myth that “red always goes faster”).

Tandy/Radio Shack Porsche 935 Turbo

However, the red model still performs pretty well. Having grown up wishing I had this car, let’s just say I wasn’t disappointed when I finally got a chance to try one out – in a toy-grade sense at least.

Performance is very smooth. The car picks up quite gradually, and with the radio having decent reception quality it glides around on smooth surfaces quite enjoyably (and realistically). The speed isn’t that fast, but as a result comes across as quite ‘scale’-like. Although it does pick up after a few seconds – given the large number of batteries it uses, and on a large, open straight I imagine the top speed would be good fun. Just not explosive.

The ‘Turbo’ in the name doesn’t refer to any turbo feature of the toy’s performance, rather it’s a reference to the use of turbo by the real vehicle.

Tandy/Radio Shack Porsche 935 Turbo

That large (but unobtrusive) metal bumper is handy, as you don’t want to slam this hard-plastic bodied racer into any walls. There are more than a few of these models out there with those front corner headlight covers, cracked or missing altogether.

As mentioned, this car isn’t too far below the standard of early hobby grade on-roaders. It has a working differential, and some very simple, basic spring suspension, and a Digital Proportional radio. And that was quite a lot for 1981 (let alone 1979!), when some of the most popular $100 R/C toys released in later years still didn’t even have all these features.

Tandy/Radio Shack Porsche 935 Turbo

Tandy/Radio Shack Porsche 935 Turbo

Tandy/Radio Shack Porsche 935 Turbo

The Procision Porsche 935 Turbo, as featured in the 1981 book ‘Model Cars’ (also pictured).

Another fun fact is that the Porsche 935 Turbo was once featured in a small book called “Model Cars”, published in 1981, that attempted to give a very basic overview of toy car collecting, from die cast models to slot cars and R/C. In it, they devoted a single page to a basic description of R/C cars, and offered a few ‘Procision’ brand models as examples. (Both the book and Porsche image are shown to the left).

I like the Dunlop tyres and other real sponsors too, like Hays, Champion etc…

Tandy/Radio Shack Porsche 935 Turbo

Tandy/Radio Shack Porsche 935 Turbo

Tandy/Radio Shack Porsche 935 Turbo

All in all, it’s a really nice, well-proportioned and realistic model that a lot of people remember for it’s size, and which I often enjoy just looking at on the shelf as much as driving.

In terms of collect-ability however, it varies.

These cars aren’t actually all that rare, and you’ll usually see one come up on eBay somewhere in the world every other month or so. What is difficult though, is finding one that both works and doesn’t have any broken body parts – such as headlights and side mirrors, not to mention decals that are still in-tact. Generally the value will be under $100, and may be as little as $20 for a really rough example. But if you can find a brand new one, the price could be much higher.

It’s definitely a model worth tracking down, especially if you like Porsches (or old school sports cars in general).

And the smell of the vintage Tandy RC rubber and plastic takes me back to 1984 as soon as I open the box…

At a glance…
Scale: 1/12 (or 1/10?)
Length: 41cm (including the metal bumper)
Drive: 2WD
Gearbox: 1-Speed
Differential: Yes
Suspension: Yes (at rear)
Digital Proportional: Yes
Batteries: 5 x C, 4 x AA (Car). 6 x AA (Transmitter)

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24 responses to “Tandy/Radio Shack Porsche 935 Turbo (1981)”

  1. Andrew says :

    Brilliant page! Yes same deal except I was lucky at 13 to get one for Christmas in 1980.

    I have 3 of these and as of tomorrow the white one will run. I have gone a bit mad and put ball bearings in the front and a Graupner 400 with Lipo battery ( it just ate batteries originally as you know) unfortunately I couldn’t gt the radio to work so I swapped with a Tamtech Porsche. I have also made clear windows and put in a driver figure ( yes I know way too much time on my hands).

    If you want ill post a how to photo and a vid once I have it sorted .

    Cheers once again

    Andrew
    Australia

    • rctoymemories says :

      Thanks Andrew! Nice to hear you have collected this model, and are fixing them up. Feel free to post a photo on imgur.com or a video on youtube, and then just add another comment here with a link to them so others can see 🙂

    • 935guy says :

      Well after nearly a year (no it didnt take that long just other things got in the way) here is the Tandy and a 1978 Carerra brand (German) Porsche 935 78 model .

      TANDY PORSCHE 935

      The Tandy runs very well the Graupner didn’t make it quite as fast as i thought it would but it handles very well I have tamiya front rims on it with ballbearings I found from vxb.com

      How to get a ball bearing front end on your Tandy I hear you ask?

      Well to do it take a punch and punch out the original Tandy axle from the front steering knuckles (I know be brave) and it will then take a 4mm threaded axle you then need 4mm internal diameter bearing with an external diameter of 8mm by 2mm wide.
      You will need for each wheel about four to 5 of these bearings and use two nylock nuts. The first one keeps the axle locked onto the steering knuckle and spaces out the wheel nicely once you pack on the bearings inside the wheel (one bearing goes on the outside of the rim then a nylock nut,but not too tight or the bearing will bind) To see go to:

      http://www.vxb.com/page/bearings/CTGY/4mm

      I kept the back end original on the Tandy but I use lipo batteries these fit right into battery bay need to make some holes in the chassis to feed the lines out naturally! They go for ages 30 minutes plus!

      http://www.rcmart.com/intellect-ipbg2s4600v8-lipo-battery-pack-4600mah-p-36018.html

      The Carerra runs a brushless 540 motor using a tamiya transmission haven’t run it yet but i would say it would be quite insane!!

      Tandy still holds its own looks wise and is / was a classic in 1980 and today!!!!

      Cheers guys have a great NY!

  2. Mike says :

    Awesome write-up! I too enjoy the nostalgia of growing up in the 70’s and 80’s, not that I ever really grew up! I actually pruchased the red model you started your write up with on Ebay in my search for my childhood favorite, a NIKKO Porsche 935-77 (or 78?) 1/12 scale. It was one of my two favorite all time RTR radio controls I had a kid, the other was the Shinsei “Mountain Man” turbo Chevy Blazer, wholly cow it was faster than most racers I played or raced with as a kid. It was heavy as all get out since it used 8 “C” batteries! But it was super fast, as was the Porsche, which used 6 “C” batteries if memory serves. Dod you know of the NIKKO version? I have found very limited material on it and have yet to see one on Ebay or any other sale site. I read it was only released overseas (Japan), however I think some were purchased by the Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES), which is where my father bought it for me (Christmas ’79).
    Again, awesome and thourough write up and and help/info you can send my way is greatly appreciated!
    Keep up the great work!
    Mike

    • Mike says :

      Here is what I was able to find. The link has two pics, the one is of the box another Porsche was being sold in. The other pic is of the same box, but if you look in the center top pic, that is the Porsche I have been looking for (with no success). I am almost positive it is the one, I remember the yellow band around the lower front spoiler and the large plastic crash bumper under the spoiler. Also, the rims were very unique to this R/C.


      Thanx!
      Mike

    • rctoymemories says :

      Thanks for the compliments Mike!

      Yes, I definitely know of the Nikko version. It was pretty similar to the Daishin one, and on a few occasions I’ve had to look closely to determine if a particular one on eBay or elsewhere was the Nikko one.
      Let me look around and see what I can find in terms of pictures.

      The Shinsei Mountain Man was a classic and is quite collectible today. I sold one a couple of years ago for about $200. And did so to help finalise purchase of its sister model, an ultra rare Shinsei Paris Dakar Range Rover, which is based on the same chassis. Expect to see it profiled on the site soon.

  3. Tommy Haupfear says :

    Great article! I had the black 1983 Black Widow version when I was a kid but so far I have been unable to find a used one online 😦

  4. Stefan Horn says :

    Hello togehter, first of all excuse my english, the last time I wrote was at my school time.

    At the moment someone sells a daishin Porsche 935 at ebay. Here´s the link…

    http://cgi.ebay.de/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=181133270564

    Best Regards
    Stefan

  5. B double U says :

    hey guys i was just wondering, does anybody know what the white radio shack porsche 935 turbo is worth?? the one shown in the picture above that has the number 9 on it and had the ad for skill cones on it…. anybody?

  6. Ben says :

    So great to see this car again! This was my first rc car! Mine was red and I would have been about 5 yrs old when I got it for my birthday.
    I collect rc vehicles these days and should have mine stored away somewhere in the garage. Can’t wait to look for it and put it on display!

  7. jesus sierra says :

    I had the white Porsche. I can’t remember which version, but I remember I had a LOT of fun with it. My father bought it for me in the early 80’s while he was stationed in Germany. I wish I still had it. I remember the box and instructions were all in german, and the thing ATE Batteries. back then batteries sucked anyway. I loved that thing and I was so sad when it broke. I can’t remember what happened to it.

  8. aquarius812013 says :

    I have a tandy, blue #31 bilstein TRS-80 935 porsche from radio shack . possibly a promo car . my question what is the plugin looking thing on the bACK for ???? and is it rare seen one sell on ebay that was the same but missing transmitter and battery cover on car for 265.00 mine is more complete I wanna sell but might just keep it looks sorta cool lol

    thnks

    • rctoymemories says :

      I think your car is the slightly smaller Porsche 935-78 from Tandy. That model was around in about 1983, and is a bit smaller than the one shown on this page. It’s not a “promo car”, it was just a regular toy that was available at Tandy for 2 years, the first year it was the blue version (with the “TRS-80” computer stickers – simply because Tandy/Radio Shack often like to cross-promote their other products on their R/C toys), and then a white version. I actually have fond memories of the Porsche 935-78 as well (surprise surprise)

      The plug hole at the back that you are referring to is possibly the recharging jack – you could buy a separate charger and charge your batteries inside the car.

      In terms of rarity and value… It’s not a common toy, but not particularly valuable thus far. I also saw that person on eBay trying to sell one for $265 with a missing transmitter and battery cover 🙂 With those parts missing, the actual value of the car is literally: $5. Toy-grade cars with missing transmitters are almost worthless. Needless to say, it never sold.

      Your complete example would be worth somewhere in the range of $20-$60 I think, it just depends on who wants it. Of course that’s just an estimate, and as always sometimes things sell for more or less. I’d say keep it if you like it – they are pretty nice working scale models (I think I have three).

  9. B double U says :

    Just snapped a few pics… white porche 935 turbo with box. What do you think?
    http://www.use.com/dd66ad018fe995aa7d2b

  10. MikePCG says :

    Hi, just to say great page. However I had this Tandy RC Porsche 935 around 1979 when I was 10 years old when I lived in Hong Kong (left there in early 1980). I know it was this car as I have photos of me with it. It was white and has a number 3 on the side and bonnet and the grey squared off controller with 2 stick controls and not one stick control and wheel like the Nikko. It also has the wire front bumper. Although the photos are old, I can clearly see the details are exactly the same as the one’s in the pics above? I have also read on a forum or two that some where sold from 1979 at certain outlets. But more importantly I have just won one on ebay an hour ago and can’t wait to see it (if the seller sends it?).

    • rctoymemories says :

      Thanks for this info 🙂 The one shown here is the Tandy/Radio Shack version, which was definitely only available from 1981 onwards. But as always, they rebranded toys made by other companies, and in this case Daishin had been making this Porsche for a couple of years beforehand. I’ll update the article to mention this, and I’ll go with 1979 as the first year of Daishin manufacture.

  11. Dave says :

    RC Daishin Porsche 935 Turbo 1977

  12. Tony Daley says :

    I have just got radio shack tandyporsche turbo trs 80 935 just seeing if its worth out

    Tt

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