The Taiyo BMW 3.5 CSL Radio Racer is an early radio controlled car manufactured by Taiyo (Japan), and released into global market in 1980.
Early indication of greatness
Initially I had a very hard time believing this was a 1980 model, with its full function controls and 2 channel radio, however it very much is, just six years before the Taiyo Jet Hopper would change the face of toy and model R/C across the world.
And what an incredible looking machine it is, designed in the 1970s and first released in 1980 globally, this was one of the first true ‘Full Function’ radio control toys released by Taiyo Japan, and sold under various brand names such as Taiyo, Dickie, and Metro around the world.
Inspiration for the Jet Hopper / Turbo Hopper
With its rudimentary steering mechanism and 3xAA battery power (plus a 9V to drive the radio circuitry!) this isn’t a performance model by any means, however it was these toys that would inspire Australian George Tauber and staff to leave for Japan seeking the manufacturer who could create a more “dynamic” off-road radio control car, eventually leading to the 1986 Taiyo Jet Hopper / 1986 Metro Jet Hopper, otherwise known as the Tyco Turbo Hopper!
Looking undereath the car reveals the rudimentary steering system with its center brass pin, and large (square) plastic ‘block’ that sat atop the steering column and housed the steering servo. Moving this bulk around, with no suspension of any type, however for one of the first low cost radio control vehicles, it was revolutionary at the time – particularly for a toy you could pick up at your local department store.
First appearance of the classic R/C controller
Shipping with the Taiyo 2-Channel Radio Controller, a design that would be maintained by Taiyo, Tyco, and Dickie well into the 1990s, though saw many variations making it smaller and cheaper to manufacture until it was finally replaced around 1995 with an entirely new design.
It is difficult to rate these very early Taiyo vehicles, as someone not born in the generation that sees them nostalgic, while still appreciating their historical importance both for Toy R/C, and the Taiyo company itself, I’m not someone who owns one but I understand there is a collectors market for these models and can fully appreciate why. A true vintage toy, and collectors item.