R/C Toy Memories is a blog about a collection of vintage and retro Radio Controlled cars, and a few other toys as well.
I’ve been a fan of R/C cars since the 1980s, and an avid collector since the early 1990s. So I’ve accumulated a moderately-sized but hopefully interesting and unique collection.
It consists of both so-called hobby-grade and toy-grade models, along with many other related artifacts – parts, magazines, souvenirs and so on. All the photos here will be of items I own (unless otherwise specified). They will mostly be vintage items, but there may occasionally be some newer things that I think still capture the appeal of the types of toys that were around when I was growing up.
There may also be some other toys that aren’t R/C related, but that may be of interest to fans of 1980s toys in general.
Sometime in the mid-2000s, I thought it would be fun to create this website to share what I had gathered and learned, but in a fun, not-too-technical way. Of course, it took a further 6 years of procrastination to actually figure out what to write about, let alone how the website should look.
The goal of R/C Toy Memories is to discuss vintage R/C toys in a way that reflects how I first experienced them as a kid. In other words, rather than performing in-depth technical analyses and posting “build threads”, I’ll more than likely just waffle-on about how much I like things and why I think they were significant. That said, I do have a keen interest in the collecting side. And that means I will get into the weeds on topics such as: how to identify what’s original or vintage, and what isn’t.
I’ve also tended to have an interest in “why” so many people enjoy the R/C car hobby – the nostalgia, the emotional bonds formed during childhood, and so on. Particularly in relation to the boom era of the 1980s when life seemed a little simpler, and the toys had a realistic and sometimes imperfect charm about them.
As any 80s kid knows – no other era of toys will ever match the 1980s 😀 (But the 1960s, 1970s and early 1990s weren’t too bad either).
The best description I’ve ever heard of the 80s is that it was “like a perfect blend of old-time innocence combined with modern technology”. Many of the modern technologies we enjoy today were born in the 1980s. And yet it was still a pre-Internet, and mostly pre-mobile phone era in which kids played outside as much as they did with screen-based activities.
Life in general was a little more ‘traditional’ back in the 1980s. This of course, also had downsides! But the great toys and toy shops that were around still make me wish that I could travel back in time – if only for a day or two of rabid toy shoplifting, before making my escape back to the present in a DeLorean or a Telephone booth packed with 12-back Star Wars figures and mint in box Tamiya kits and Lego sets!
Notes about my approach to R/C:
- This is an Australian-based website. So my thoughts and experiences will sometimes tend to be written from an Australian perspective.
- I collect both hobby-grade and toy-grade items. Some people dislike R/C “toy-grade” cars and only care about high performance, hobby-grade R/C. But I think all vintage R/C cars are worth being nostalgic about. And some of the so-called “toys” can actually be more valuable these days than some of the so-called “hobby-grade” models. So clearly I’m not alone.
- Some people like to modify R/C cars. I prefer to keep vintage R/C cars 100% original, both for hobby-grade and toy-grade models. I feel hobby-grade conversions of toy-grade cars ruin the intended purpose of those toys. In my humble opinion, they should be left to run “as they were” and as we remember them. There’s little sense packing fast, modern motors into little cars that were never designed to handle them. And in many cases, their collectible value stagnates or even declines if they are modified.
- When I build vintage R/C kits, I like to keep everything kit-standard, right down to plastic bearings and mechanical speed control. Original means original, to me. It’s fun to experience these cars as most people would have back in the day – straight from the box with no upgrades. Again, this is just my preference. I view historic R/C cars much the same way people view historic full size vehicles.
- I don’t support any “repro” or counterfeit items. I’ve never bought them, and never will. By definition, these items are made by companies who are profiting illegally off the intellectual property owned by brands like Tamiya. Just because they have not (yet) been legally forced to cease selling these items, doesn’t mean it’s “ok” for them to be selling them.
Notes about this website:
- This website is non-profit, 100% independent, free to use, and paid for by the owner (me). It’s not a business. The most I ever do is occasionally list a few things for sale from my collection.
- This website has no affiliation with any brand or company. I have declined many offers of sponsorship. Thank you for your interest, but I will not be serving advertisements – ever.
- This site has no affiliation with social media. I don’t use Facebook and will never use Facebook. I host my own content. And I support organizations like Mozilla, who support the Open Web.
My goal with this website was simply to create a genuine space on the open web, to share some memories and to archive what I’ve learned over the years. At the time I started it, I was tired of never being able to find any decent, long-form reading material related to vintage R/C. Some will insist that hasn’t changed, even since this website began 🙂
Nevertheless, I hope this site offers you something interesting to read. And perhaps you’ll continue to stop by from time to time and find something new.