The Tyco A-Team Action Racing is a slot car set themed around the 80s TV hit, The A-Team, released into the US, UK, and other markets worldwide in 1983.
The A-Team was a popular American TV series (1983-1987) that followed the adventures of four ex-military personnel who became mercenaries while on the run from the U.S. military for a crime they didn’t commit. It’s most well known cast member was B.A Baracus, with his catch phrase ‘I pity the fool’, though it could be argued the black GMC Van was equally iconic due to its frequent starring role in car chases and stunts throughout the series.
In line with the TV’s popular release in 1983, the producers would team up with Tyco to create an equally fun and action packed slot car set featuring their uniqye ‘U-Turn’ mechanic, which was perfect for the theme.
The Tyco A-Team slot car set has more than just the GMC Van and Police car racing around the track. It features one of Tyco’s lesser known chassis designs, called U-TURN, whose cars can literally perform a U-Turn immediately on the track, and race back in the other direction!
Beyond that, the track set comes with two jumps which can be inserted into a specific track area, though whether you’re likely to land on the other side I don’t know!
Supplied with an excellent reproduction of the 1983 GMC Vandura that stars in the show, plus an iconic late 70s looking military police car, the vehicles in this set really are spot on.
How does Tyco U-TURN work?
As previously mentioned, both cars in the set are Tyco’s unique U-TURN chassis which allows the cars to spin around and go back the other direction. But how does this work exactly?
These are 3 elements required to make this effect happen.
#1. U-TURN cars have a Full Bridge Rectifier (see yellow circle) which allows the car to face the ‘wrong’ direction on the track and still have the motor push it forward. If you did this with any other car (placed it on the track backwards), it would’nt travel in the opposite direction, it would simply keep going the same direction on the track, with the car facing backwards, racing rear-end first!
To ensure the U-TURN cars could face the other way AND continue to drive the other way, a rectifier is required to convert all input voltage to positive no matter what. This ensures the motor always spins in the same direction pushing the car ‘forward’ even when the positive/negative contacts of the track are flipped around when the car is turned around.
But how to actually flip around?
That’s where the next two come in.
#2. Fake Front Tires! That’s right, the front tires on U-TURN cars are fake hard plastic tires moulded in, with a smooth surface to allow the front to have almost no grip, ensuring the car will spin easily. They’re naturally fairly unstable, as we’ll discuss next.
#3. Technique. Racing U-TURN cars in the normal way, you’ll immediately notice they like to ‘drift’ around corners with their rear end out wide. The car has been designed with this tendency, ensuring that you’re able to spin the car intentionally simply by giving the acceleration a kick while cornering, throwing out the back end, and spinning it on its pin.
Then once it’s facing the other direction, stick down the gas and haul it out of there!
The set features 13 feet of track, including several aprons which extend beyond the track and ensure the cars can drift and spin around freely without hitting a guardrail or flying off entirely.
- 6 x 9″ Radius Curve
- 1x 15″ Straight
- 4 x 9″ Straight
- 1 x 9″ Straight Terminal
- 1 x 6″ Straight
- 1 x 18″ Double Cross Jump Track
- Plus 6 x Piers, 4 x guardrails, 2 x Jumps, 1 x Flagpole set, 12 x Aprons.
Nothing like an early 80s TV Commercial for an 80s Toy based on an 80s TV Show! This one we’ve taken the original VHS recording and done my best to enhance its resolution using the latest in AI restoration technology.
Availability and Collectability
This is easily one of the coolest sets I’ve reviewed so far, and I’m not even a big fan of the show (it’s a bit before my time). Even just the cars themselves are so well modelled, but adding the U-Turn function, and the jumps, I can see why it’s still popular amongst both slot car enthusiasts, and toy collectors.
Of course, something this popular and relatively rare means it’s not going to be cheap. Just the A-Team GMC Van can go for ~80 USD, enough to buy many other vintage Tyco slot sets, with prices for complete used sets going for 2-3 times that, and the sky is the limit for new/unopened box sets.
But that’s okay – even those of us who cannot afford all these wonderful toys (inc. me!) can still enjoy them right here, at TycoCollectors.com 🙂