On this website (and others), collectors of vintage R/C cars have over the years tried to categorize “variants” of vintage R/C cars as “Mk1, Mk2, Mk3” etc.
This approach has proven popular, and it works OK for vintage RTR (ready-to-run) models. But it’s actually very misleading for kit-based models. So I’m now scrapping it for those, in favour of a simple naming convention of “Early”, “Mid” and “Late”.
The Turbo Panther was Nikko’s perfect little R/C buggy for 1986 – probably the peak year of the R/C buggy craze, when they were among the hottest toys in the world.
Looking like a smaller version of the more expensive 1/10 scale buggies, yet still quick for it’s 1/16 scale, it was a big seller both in Japan and abroad. It even had it’s own TV commercials and was a direct rival for Taiyo’s Jet Hopper, released the same year.
This model was based on Nikko’s 1983 Mercedes Unimog 4WD, but this edition was released later and only sold in Europe under Technotoy/Nikko branding. And instead of being a Paris-Dakar Rally racing vehicle, it’s a 1984 snow expedition transport – complete with gorgeous livery, a cargo trailer, and (would you believe) optional snow chains?
Proof once again that no other era can touch the 1980s, for toys.
One of the most appealing parts of any model R/C car, are the tyres. And vintage R/C cars have some pretty interesting and unusual ones.
Let’s look at a selection of classic 1980s R/C tyres, back when the hobby was still young and free and the cars were designed to look realistic, fun and exciting.