Radio Controlled cars have been around for over 20 years. They come in many forms, from the toy store ‘super-cool-really-fast-big-winged-monster-machines’ to the potent track performers that companies like Hot Bodies, HPI, Team XRay, Team Associated or Tamiya offer (to name a few).
The biggest difference between the two is that the ‘remote controlled toy’ style cars are just that…toys. If you break a part, you basically throw the car away. Parts are not (normally) sold individually for those cars.
The ‘radio controlled’ cars are the ones offered by specialty companies such as Hot Bodies, HPI, Team Losi, Kyosho, Traxxas and OFNA. They come in kit form and RTR (Ready To Run). If you break any parts, most hobby shops carry a wide variety of original and aftermarket replacements, and most are inexpensive compared to buying another toy car. The body shells are (in most cases) interchangeable, and range from the Aston Martin, Ferrari, and Lamborghini to the Dodge Stratus, Mazda 6, Honda Accord and Ford Mustang. Each shell can be painted to match an original car or with some wild design of your choice! Tires are also available in different compounds for different applications. Motors and batteries (for electric RC cars) can be purchased to make your car extremely fast! Nitro powered RC cars can be tuned much like a real car – better exhaust, manifold, fuel, plugs, etc. The list of upgrades on most RC vehicles is endless!
There are a few things you should consider, however, as detailed below for each individual category…
Style: Onroad or Offroad
Most radio controlled onroad kits resemble full-size touring cars, similar to the ones you see on tv (BTCC, etc). Radio controlled onroad cars are typically four-wheel drive (4WD), have real working independent suspension systems,