The Best 10 RC Car Makers With Some History

The Best 10 RC Car Makers With Some History

By Joe Rich

The Best 10 RC Car Makers With Some History

The world of remote-controlled (RC) cars has seen tremendous growth and innovation, thanks to the contributions of several pioneering companies. In this article, we will introduce you to the top 8 RC car makers and delve into their history, highlighting the unique features and characteristics that have made them stand out among countless competitors.

Traxxas, known for its cutting-edge technology and high-performance vehicles, revolutionized the industry with their ready-to-run models. Tamiya, a Japanese company, has been offering an extensive range of RC cars since the 1970s, catering to both beginners and experienced hobbyists alike. HPI Racing, another industry leader, specializes in producing realistic and highly customizable models, while Team Associated focuses on competitive racing with numerous championship titles under their belt.

Kyosho, a pioneer in the industry, boasts a rich history of creating innovative and high-quality RC cars, including the first-ever off-road buggy. Losi, a brand synonymous with performance and durability, has been pushing the boundaries of RC car design since the 1980s. Redcat Racing, although relatively new to the scene, has quickly gained a reputation for offering affordable yet reliable vehicles. Lastly, ARRMA, with its focus on speed and power, has become a popular choice among RC enthusiasts seeking adrenaline-pumping experiences.

Each of these companies has played a significant role in shaping the RC car hobby, and their continued innovations promise a bright future for this exciting pastime.


A Brief History.

The first commercially viable RC car was produced in Italy by a company called Elettronica Giocattoli they made a 1:12 scale Ferrari 250LM.

It went on sale in Europe in the middle of 1966.

Two years later in 1968 Elettronica Giocattoli produced a 1:10 scale model of a Ferrari P4.

By the early 1970s a UK company called Mardave had developed a nitro powered car and was successfully selling these models in the UK.

Also around this time several US companies decided to move into the RC car market away from the slot car racing that they had been doing before.

In the mid 1970s Japanese company Tamiya started building simple electric RC car kits.

These were very popular and still are today.

By the late 1970s the 1:12 scale cars were growing in popularity.

In the early 1980s the cars were getting more sophisticated with better electrics and proper differentials.

Also at this time 1:10 scale was becoming very popular for electric RC cars.

Nitro cars were more likely to 1:8 scale.

Some of the companies in this list have a long history of model making going back to the 1940s.

The companies in this article are.

  • Tamiya
  • Kyosho
  • Team Associated
  • Schumacher
  • Traxxas
  • HPI
  • Redcat Racing
  • Duratrax

Ok let us start with the oldest.


Tamiya

The Tamiya Shoji and company was founded in 1946 by Mr Yoshio Tamiya.

The company started as a saw mill in the city of Oshika providing wood for mainly construction companies.

By 1947 Tamiya was producing wooden models of ships and aeroplanes.

These models were very successful and in the mid 1950s they made the decision to turn production solely to model making.

At the end of the 1950s it became apparent that plastic models were going to be popular and were in fact becoming popular.

In 1959 Tamiya produced its first plastic model and it was of the battle ship Yamato.

High production costs meant that the company lost money on every sale.

So the company went back to making wooden models.

This kept the company going until the second plastic model was produced this was to be a Panther Tank.

Throughout the 1960s and early 1970s the company worked hard to improve their plastic mould making techniques.

As a result the quality of the company’s products improved.

In 1976 Tamiya bought a Porsche 911 they then completely dismantled it and put it back together again.

They did this to understand the car and produce the company’s first RC car.

It was a 1:12 scale and was a great success and the rest as they say is history.     

I love Tamiya and all their products.

They are good quality and making their kits is great fun and you learn so much putting them together.

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They also have a good selection of models for all ages and skill level on the major online retailers.

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We have a full article all about Tamiya if you would like to read click here.


Kyosho

Kyosho, a leading name in the world of remote control (RC) cars, was founded in 1963 by Hisashi Suzuki in Tokyo, Japan. The company started as a small family business, with Suzuki’s vision of creating high-quality, innovative RC cars that offered a unique blend of performance and enjoyment. With this vision, Kyosho quickly gained recognition for its commitment to quality and innovation, setting the stage for its transformation into a globally acclaimed RC car manufacturer.

One of the first significant milestones in Kyosho’s history was the launch of the “Dash 1”, the first RC car from the brand, in 1970. This model, known for its detailed design and superior performance, marked the beginning of Kyosho’s journey in the RC car industry.

In 1982, Kyosho made another breakthrough with the introduction of the “Scorpion” – the world’s first off-road buggy. It was a game-changer in the RC car industry, opening up a whole new segment of off-road RC racing.

Kyosho’s success can be attributed to its relentless focus on innovation, quality, and customer satisfaction. Their dedication to pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in RC car technology has consistently kept them at the forefront of the industry.

Over the years, Kyosho has produced a diverse range of RC cars, each designed to cater to different types of users and preferences. Some of their notable product lines include the Mini-Z series, known for their compact size and precise control, and the Inferno series, recognized worldwide for their performance in RC car racing competitions.

Kyosho’s contribution to the RC car industry extends beyond its product line. They were among the first to introduce Readyset (Ready-to-Run) models, making the hobby more accessible to beginners by eliminating the need for assembly.

Kyosho’s pioneering innovations have had a profound impact on the RC car industry. Their introduction of the off-road buggy brought a new dimension to RC car racing, while their Readyset models made the hobby more approachable for newcomers. These contributions have not only influenced the direction of the industry but also raised the bar for quality and performance.

Today, Kyosho continues to be a respected name in the RC car industry, known for its high-performance cars and commitment to innovation. The company is poised for future growth, with plans to continue advancing their technology and expanding their product range.

Kyosho’s legacy in the RC car industry speaks volumes about its commitment to quality, innovation, and customer satisfaction. As we look towards the future, it’s clear that Kyosho will continue to play a pivotal role in shaping the landscape of the RC car hobby, bringing new and exciting developments for enthusiasts around the world.

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We have a article all about Kyosho if you would like to read click here.


Team Associated

Team Associated, a notable name in the world of remote control (RC) cars, was founded in 1965 by Roger Curtis and Lee Yurada in Costa Mesa, California. The duo initially started a slot car race track business, but soon shifted their focus to manufacturing RC car parts due to increasing demand. In 1969, Team Associated released its first RC car model, the RC1, which was a nitro-powered on-road car. The RC1 quickly gained popularity, setting the stage for Team Associated’s success in the RC car industry.

In the early 1970s, Team Associated began focusing on off-road vehicles, leading to the introduction of the RC100 in 1977. This model sparked interest in off-road RC car racing, paving the way for the company’s future innovations.

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A significant milestone came in 1984 with the launch of the RC10, a gold-anodized off-road buggy. Made from aircraft-grade aluminum, the RC10 was lauded for its durability, performance, and design, and it played a pivotal role in popularizing electric off-road racing.

In the years that followed, Team Associated continued to innovate and expand its product line, introducing models like the RC12, RC10T, and B3, each contributing to the growth and development of the RC car industry.

Team Associated has been recognized for its technological advancements and commitment to quality, earning them numerous awards and accolades. They have won multiple IFMAR World Championships, making them one of the most successful teams in RC car racing history.

The journey, however, was not without challenges. The 1990s saw a decline in the popularity of RC car racing, impacting the industry as a whole. Despite this adversity, Team Associated persevered, continuing to innovate and adapt to changing market trends.

Team Associated’s contributions to the RC car industry are undeniable. Their early focus on off-road vehicles helped shape the direction of the industry, while their innovations in design and technology set new standards for performance and quality.

Today, Team Associated continues to influence the RC car industry, consistently releasing high-performance models that cater to both beginners and seasoned racers. Their commitment to innovation, quality, and performance remains unwavering, ensuring their legacy in the world of RC cars endures.

The history of Team Associated is a testament to the power of innovation, perseverance, and a passion for RC car racing. As they continue to push the boundaries of what’s possible in the RC car industry, Team Associated serves as an inspiration for future generations of RC car enthusiasts.

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Schumacher

Schumacher Racing was founded in 1980 by Cecil Schumacher, a former transmission engineer at Cosworth. The company had its humble beginnings in Northamptonshire, England, where Cecil initially started by creating an adjustable ball differential for RC cars. This innovation provided improved handling and control, which revolutionized the industry and set the foundation for Schumacher Racing.

Cecil’s vision for the company was to create high-performance, innovative RC cars that would offer an exciting and competitive racing experience for hobbyists and professional racers alike. This vision, coupled with a mission statement focusing on quality, performance, and continuous innovation, has been the driving force behind Schumacher Racing’s growth and success.

Two years after its inception, in 1982, Schumacher Racing introduced its first car, the 1/12th scale ‘C’ car. This car quickly gained popularity and recognition, winning the British Championship in its debut year.

In 1986, Schumacher Racing launched the ‘CAT’ (Competition All Terrain), a 4WD off-road buggy. The CAT was a game-changer in the world of off-road RC racing, winning multiple World Championships and becoming one of the most successful off-road buggies of all time.

Schumacher Racing continued to innovate and expand its product line over the years. Some of their other notable models include the Mi series of touring cars and the Cougar series of 2WD off-road vehicles. Each model is known for its superior performance, high-quality components, and innovative design features.

Schumacher Racing’s contributions to the RC car industry have been significant. From introducing the adjustable ball differential to launching award-winning models like the ‘C’ car and the ‘CAT’, the company has consistently pushed the boundaries of what’s possible in RC car technology.

Today, Schumacher Racing remains at the forefront of the RC car industry, continuing to uphold Cecil’s vision of creating high-performance, innovative RC cars. With a rich history of success and a commitment to continuous innovation, Schumacher Racing is poised to influence the world of RC car racing for many years to come.

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Traxxas

Traxxas was established in 1986 with an idea for a new concept in the world of remote-controlled (RC) cars. Jim Jenkins, the father of current owner and CEO Mike Jenkins, started the company with the vision of creating a fully assembled, hobby-class RC car. This was a significant departure from the norm at the time, as most RC cars required assembly by the user. Traxxas’ innovative approach set the stage for their future success and fundamentally changed the RC car industry.

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In 1987, just a year after its inception, Traxxas launched a series of electric buggies and stadium trucks, which quickly gained popularity among hobbyists. The company continued to innovate, releasing its first radio-controlled boat, the Villan IV, in 1992.

One of the most significant milestones in Traxxas’ history came in 1993 with the launch of the Nitro Hawk, their first gas-powered model. This was followed by the release of other nitro models, such as the Nitro Rustler and Nitro Stampede.

In 1999, Traxxas made a major breakthrough with the release of the T-Maxx, a nitro monster truck featuring a unique automatic shifting, two-speed transmission and a revolutionary auto-shifting forward/reverse transmission. The T-Maxx was a game-changer, winning numerous awards and becoming one of the best-selling RC models of all time.

Traxxas continued to push the boundaries of innovation with the introduction of the E-Maxx in 2000, their first electric monster truck, and the Slash in 2008, a 2WD short-course truck that created an entirely new category of RC vehicles.

Today, Traxxas is recognized as a leading company in the RC car industry, known for its high-quality products, innovative technology, and commitment to customer satisfaction. They offer a wide range of RC cars, boats, and helicopters, catering to both beginners and experienced hobbyists.

Looking ahead, Traxxas continues to push the boundaries of innovation, with a focus on enhancing performance, reliability, and fun. Their ongoing commitment to innovation, coupled with their rich history, ensures that Traxxas will remain a key player in the RC car industry for years to come.

We have a article all about Traxxas if you would like to read click here


HPI

HPI Racing, a globally recognized name in the world of remote control (RC) cars, was founded in 1986 by Tatsuro Watanabe. With its roots in Southern California, the company initially began as a producer of graphite parts for RC cars. Watanabe’s vision was to create high-quality, performance-driven RC cars that offered an unparalleled experience for hobbyists and professional racers alike.

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In its early years, HPI Racing focused on producing components and accessories for existing RC cars. However, the company soon expanded into producing complete RC car models, quickly gaining recognition for their innovative designs and superior quality.

One of the most notable milestones in HPI Racing’s history was the introduction of the RS4, a 1/10 scale nitro-powered touring car. Released in the mid-1990s, the RS4 was lauded for its realistic design and high-performance capabilities, contributing significantly to the company’s growth.

In 2005, HPI Racing merged with Hot Bodies, a company also owned by Watanabe, which initially began manufacturing RC car bodies. This merger allowed HPI Racing to expand its product range and reach a larger customer base.

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Throughout its history, HPI Racing has been known for its wide range of innovative products. From the Baja 5B, a large-scale, gas-powered buggy that offered an authentic off-road experience, to the Savage line of monster trucks known for their durability and power, HPI Racing has consistently pushed the boundaries of what’s possible in RC car technology.

Despite facing some financial challenges in recent years, HPI Racing was acquired by Ripmax in 2016, securing its future within the industry. Today, HPI Racing continues to produce a diverse range of RC cars, from on-road and off-road vehicles to drift cars and monster trucks.

Looking ahead, HPI Racing is committed to continuing its legacy of innovation and quality. With a rich history in the RC car industry and a passion for pushing the boundaries of RC car technology, HPI Racing is poised to remain a key player in the world of RC cars for years to come.

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Redcat Racing

Founded by Darin Oreman in 2005, Redcat Racing has emerged as a leading manufacturer of electric-powered remote-controlled surface vehicles. The company is based in Arizona, United States, and it was established with the aim of bringing people together through their shared love of RC racing.

Redcat Racing’s vehicles come fully assembled and ready to run, making them an accessible choice for those new to the hobby. Over the years, the company has become a premier source for Chinese manufactured RC vehicles of different scales, including 1/10, 1/8, and 1/16 scale models.

One of the key milestones in Redcat Racing’s history was the introduction of lowrider RC cars, which date back to the mid-1940s when full-size vehicles were customized with lowered bodywork. This innovation added a unique twist to the RC car industry and helped Redcat Racing stand out from its competitors.

Despite being relatively new compared to other brands in the RC car industry, Redcat Racing has made significant strides. The company has built an impressive track record of strategic, operational, and international brand development in the RC industry. As of today, Redcat Racing continues to develop and deliver fun and creative RC cars to vehicle enthusiasts and communities, creating memorable experiences for its customers.

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We have a article about Redcat Racing if you would like to read click here.


Duratrax

Duratrax began its journey in the late 1980s, initially starting as a tire line for remote control (RC) vehicles. The company was founded with the mission to deliver high-quality, durable, and affordable parts for RC enthusiasts. Recognizing the potential for growth in the RC industry, Duratrax began developing other car accessories shortly after their inception.

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In the early years, Duratrax focused on producing high-performance tires, which quickly gained recognition for their durability and excellent traction. The Duratrax tire line’s success paved the way for the company to expand its product offerings.

Over time, Duratrax began manufacturing a wide range of RC car parts, including shocks, motors, speed controls, and even complete RC vehicles. Their products were designed to cater to both beginners and experienced hobbyists, contributing to the company’s rapid growth and cementing its place in the RC industry.

One notable milestone in Duratrax’s history was the introduction of their own line of RC cars and trucks. These vehicles were primarily designed for first-time users and those who enjoy casual RC fun, marking a significant expansion of the company’s product line.

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Duratrax also continued to innovate in the RC parts industry, introducing various accessories and components to enhance the performance and durability of RC vehicles. Some of their popular product lines include the Evader and Warhead series, known for their robustness and high-performance capabilities.

Today, Duratrax is recognized as a leading provider of RC parts, known for its commitment to quality, innovation, and affordability. While the company continues to produce a wide range of RC parts, it has also ventured into other areas of the RC industry, such as chargers and power supplies.

Looking ahead, Duratrax remains committed to pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in RC technology. With a rich history of innovation and a strong presence in the RC industry, Duratrax is well-positioned to continue influencing the world of RC cars for many years to come.


Losi

Losi was founded by Gil Losi Sr. and his son, Gil Losi Jr., in 1980. Initially, they were producing pinions, spur gears, and nerf bars for Tamiya cars and selling them through a Pit Shop. At the time, “Pops” Losi and his wife Janet ran their own skateboard company in Colton, California. The idea of venturing into the RC car world sparked when Gil Losi Sr. first saw RC cars racing at a skateboard park’s RC track.

In the early days, the standard hobby-grade RC car wasn’t meant for racing. Losi saw this gap and focused on developing RC cars specifically designed for racing. In 1988, Losi released its first complete car, the JRX-2, which was a game-changer in the industry. The JRX-2 was the first 2WD buggy built on the brand’s first aluminum chassis, marking a significant milestone in Losi’s journey.

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Throughout the years, Losi continued to innovate by introducing new designs and technologies. They were one of the first companies to mass-produce RC vehicles, contributing to the accessibility and popularity of the hobby.

One of Losi’s significant contributions was the introduction of Stadium Trucks in RC racing. This innovation broadened the variety of RC racing events, adding a new dimension to the hobby.

Today, Losi is recognized as a pioneer in the RC car industry, known for its quality, performance, and innovation. The company has significantly influenced the design and manufacturing processes of RC cars. Losi’s commitment to racing has led to advancements in technology and materials, which have been adopted by other brands in the industry.

In 2010, the company branched out to create the Team Losi Racing (TLR) brand, focusing solely on dedicated RC racing vehicles. The TLR brand uses the technology and materials developed by Losi, taking inspiration from full-scale racing.

Losi continues to innovate and lead in the RC car industry. With a rich history of success and continuous advancements in technology, Losi is poised to shape the future of RC car racing, offering exciting possibilities for hobbyists and professional racers alike.


Arrma

ARRMA RC is a British company that began operations in 2009. The brand was initially conceived by Hobbico, an Illinois-based hobby products distributor. From the beginning, ARRMA’s mission was to design high-performance RC vehicles that could withstand extreme driving conditions and offer superior speed and toughness.

Early in their journey, ARRMA focused on electric RC vehicles, releasing their first product line in 2011. This included the Raider buggy, the Fury short course truck, and the Granite monster truck. Each model was designed with durability and performance in mind, offering a new level of toughness in the RC car industry.

In 2014, ARRMA introduced a new series of RC vehicles, the 1/8 scale Kraton 6S BLX monster truck and Typhon 6S BLX buggy. These vehicles were a significant step up in terms of size and power, capable of reaching speeds of over 60 mph.

One of ARRMA’s most notable milestones was the introduction of the Infraction 6S BLX, the first RC car designed for on-road “speed bash” action. This vehicle was a game-changer due to its ability to drift, something that hadn’t been seen before in ready-to-run RC cars.

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In 2018, Hobbico filed for bankruptcy, leading to uncertainty about the future of the ARRMA brand. However, later that year, Horizon Hobby, another major player in the hobby industry, acquired Hobbico’s RC assets, including ARRMA.

Under Horizon Hobby’s ownership, ARRMA has continued to innovate and grow. They’ve expanded their product line, introducing new models and improving upon existing ones.

Today, ARRMA is recognized as a leading brand in the RC car industry, known for its high-speed and durable vehicles. They offer a wide range of RC cars, from 1/10 scale 2WD vehicles to large-scale 1/5 4WD cars.

Looking forward, ARRMA continues to push the boundaries of speed and toughness in the RC car industry. Their ongoing commitment to innovation, coupled with their rich history, ensures that ARRMA will remain a key player in the RC car industry for years to come.

We have a article about the Arrma 1/8 Kraton if you would like to read click here

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