Many would argue that the golden age of R/C buggies in the 1980s was truly golden, a standard set by Team Associated’s RC-10 – a racing buggy which featured a gold-anodized aluminum tub.
As a kid, I couldn’t afford an RC-10. I kept hacking away at my intermediate Kyosho Raider, upgrading parts piecemeal as I could afford them. But my friend Adit convinced his parents to buy him an RC-10. He had never driven one, but he knew it was the best – probably because I told him so.
All-Night RC-10 Build
Adit wasn’t very mechanically inclined, nor did he have any tools. So one night he and another friend Gabe slept over at my house for an all-night build session. I remember being on the phone with my 7th grade girlfriend for most of the night while Gabe started the build. In retrospect it was time wasted on the phone when I should have been helping out.
After getting off the phone, Gabe and I worked into the night to build the car. Adit was a bit miffed that the he still had to buy a radio (with receiver and servo), motor, battery and charger. He had already spent so much on it, he couldn’t understand why it didn’t include everything.
Gabe and I just pointed to the list clearly marked on the box. In addition to not being mechanically inclined, Adit apparently didn’t enjoy reading as well.
In his defense, it’s a lot to take in as a kid in junior high. Not just understanding what is needed to buy, but all the tools and effort needed to build. Just Read the Instructions isn’t just the name of a fictional starship and now a real SpaceX ship. You had to read the instructions carefully. Having prior experience helped, especially when it came to stuff like painting the body.
Driving at Hansen Park
I don’t clearly recall if the RC-10 ever did drive. If it did, it was only once. The largest park in New Brighton, Hansen Park, had an off-road R/C track. I’m not sure if the Parks & Recreation people quite knew what they were doing back then, or if they were just following the trends. The track surface was baseball diamond dirt which provided zero traction – very loamy. Driving a 2WD buggy on it was near impossible. With any amount of power, it was just spinning out and fantastic clouds of dust.
Add in all of the BMX kids riding their bikes on the course and you can bet that it didn’t last long. Funny how now you can find endless videos of R/C cars being run at the skateboard parks.
Either way, that RC-10 got sold, never to put through the paces we had dreamed it would see.
That gold-tub RC-10 did get re-released in 2013 as the RC-10 Classic. But for $400, even now as a gainfully employed adult, it’s still too rich for my blood. I’m content remembering how it was as an outsider, and how it evolved over the years, even after I lost touch with the R/C world.