This Taiyo Pontiac Firebird 88 is a 1:20 scale radio control model released into the Japanese market in 1980.
The Firebird is one of Taiyo’s first attempts at an RC sports or muscle car. Without much performance to extract from their early 3xAA+9V chassis, they opted instead to jazz it up in the looks department.
Looking very swish for a 1980 RC, the Firebird had
- 3xAA for drive train
- Onboard 9V for car radio (plus another 9V in controller)
- 2-Speed Gearbox
- Deep Red body with gold trim
- Fire bird emblem on bonnet in Gold and Black
- Working front headlights
- Red power LED in the rear
The car internals are complex in comparison to Taiyo’s earlier Bump ‘n Go models, and we can already see signs of their game changing 1986 Jet Hopper MK1 design, such as:
A. Compartmentalization of front steering servo mechanism.
This would evolve into a more typical looking RC 8g servo within a few years.
B. Antenna mount pole.
Similar to Jet Hopper.
C. Custom Taiyo 7820C radio control chip.
Taiyo would continue custom designing their chips throughout the 80s and 90s.
D. LED sleeve.
This is identical to the Jet Hopper.
This kind of R/C is a true piece of history. One of the first low cost radio control toys ever produced, and just 6 years before the explosive growth of the company that would come with their 1986 Jet Hopper design which would turbo charge the industry.
If you’re thinking of buying one, just be aware – as Indy said, it belongs in a museum. And I say that with great respect!