It often happens that children’s activities are relegated to a certain place and time, with many adults offering nothing more than a cursory glance and a half-hearted “that’s nice” before moving on to more ‘sophisticated’ pastimes. But every now and then, some of these activities manage to move beyond their ‘for children’ designation and become cemented in the general zeitgeist – think Disney movies, comic book conventions, and building Lego sets. One such children’s activity that has managed to shed its ‘for children only’ label is that of remote control (RC) car building and racing.
While generally associated with their peak in the late 80s, early 90s, RC cars have been around since at least the 1940s. At this earlier time, these cars were not so much ‘remote controlled’ as they were powered by nitromethane engines and attached to a rope that let the miniature vehicles ride around in a circle, but that was the beginning of the creation of the toys we know today.
Then, in the 1960s, the first truly remote-controlled versions of these cars came about, thanks to
developments in radio frequencies. By the 1980s, the hobby really took off, as the cars became
increasingly similar in detail and type to the ‘real deal’. Since then, model building kits have grown in popularity, along with different types of vehicles. Where once it used to be that RC cars could only be driven on flat surfaces like a road or driveway, now a wide variety of RC Hobbies cars exist, some of which are specifically designed to climb over rocks and be driven on off-road trails.
With such a long and rich history, there are also now many enthusiastic collectors of vintage models.
It will be interesting to read the further chapters of this hobby’s development in years to come.