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Old, mistreated cars... (and radios)

I've certainly seen a lot of used, vintage R/C cars over the years. But it never fails to amaze me when I find things that have been badly mistreated... of which there are so many 😀

Last week, I came across someone local to me, selling a vintage Acoms Techniplus AP-229 radio set. They actually had 2 of these radios - but both were in pretty bad shape. So I bought them anyway, and after a few hours of cleaning and swapping parts, managed to put 1 working radio together. And here is the end result...

I think it came up pretty good. It even has the (very worn) box it came in, plus receiver and one servo. I have another spare servo (matching this set) so that's ok.

But to give you an idea of the condition, the same seller also gave me what was left of the car he used this radio with - his 1980s Tamiya Hornet. And this is all that's left of it 😮

I'm amazed he had decals left over. The body is thrashed - broken across the nose, and well, broken everywhere...

The chassis not much better, and has been both melted and had some repair done....

I don't know if there's much I can do to save those pieces.

But at least I got the radio working - the Acoms Techniplus AP-229 is my all time favourite from that era, mainly because it was the first I ever had. They last forever.



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That cleaned up real nice, I am not familiar with the 80s stuff as I was born in 87 but I do remember the 1990s rc items much more vividly.

What is the T/cross thing that sits above the transmitter? My fond memories with stick transmitters are from my Nikko/Radio Shack rc cars, they even have a similar silhouette. I wonder why they aren't more popular with surface vehicles (cars mainly, treaded vehicles is a given as they are skid steering).

Its always nice to see when a rc car/item is loved and taken care of, but its also equally satisfying to see it get rescued and restored. There is not much left of that Hornet.


Yes, the Nikko/Radio Shack cars often replicated the larger transmitters, in slightly smaller form... right down to sometimes having fake knobs and bits that were found on the larger radios. Of course some of those smaller transmitters were just as functional too, just with a bit shorter radio range and without the ability to change the crystals.

The "T" bit on the Acoms is actually just a carry handle 🙂 And it is useful.  This radio is really quite chunky in design and probably larger than it needed to be, but that was the style back then.

I may sadly have to dispose of this Hornet chassis and body, as I doubt they can be saved... but at least the radio was saved, and I am even trying to restore the old Acoms box it came in. 😛

By the 1990s, I think two-stick transmitters were falling out of fashion with a lot of top level racers - and this also carried down to the ready-to-run models from Tyco and others, who started to release most R/C cars with trigger style transmitters from around then.

However, for me I have always preferred two-stick, and vintage radios like this are ideal for vintage car builds (I'm quite happy with old radios, and not much interest in the modern 2.4Ghz stuff for me)

Worth noting too - the most successful pro R/C racer in history, Masami Hirosaka, still uses stick transmitter and I think has done so his whole career. This video shows him still using it, on the recent "Masami" special edition remake of the Schumacher CAT XLS. Amazing car control...

Ah I see, considering the size of the radios back then, that T handle must have been very useful when carrying multiple equipment.

Ive used both and I can feel at home with either style of radio but as mentioned, I do think the sticks compliment a vintage rc car.

Masami is something else, I remember seeing a video where he controls the radio with his feet. When I had an Associated RC10b3, that is when I first heard of him.

Truly a talented driver, back in the 90s I would hear/read all about him dominating races. And Brian Kinwald was another household name in the RC racing world. RIP to him.

Also I always see the pistol grip radio (posted below) used with vintage RC10s...musta have been the radio of choice back in the day? That grip just seems so short to me, I dont see how that would be ergonomically comfortable.






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Ah, the old XL2P/CS2P. Love that radio. The "rest" of the pistol grip, as well as the trigger, is behind the big block where the steering wheel mounts. It's sort of a two-level deal. They did it that way so you could change the direction of the grip to make it "left handed," but I don't know of any lefty racers who bothered - they just learned to steer with their right hand. It looks weird, but it was actually very comfortable to use. The batteries are in the grip, and the balance is fantastic. I used one for namy years; might go looking for another one someday.

This image might make things a little clearer as to how it all works:

Ah, I had forgotten about the handle on that radio. Never used one, but had seen others using it...and remember that appearance, where your hand is hidden behind the controller.

That explains it, all this time I was thinking how the heck do you hold that thing haha.

Its a nice looking radio, just like the cars of the time these older radio designs have so much character.