The Tyco Turbo Hopper is a radio control car manufactured by Taiyo (Japan) and released into the US, UK, and other markets worldwide by Tyco in late 1986.
This is the first version released into the USA in late 1986, available via a few major department stores who received stock before Christmas. They are identifiable via their typical MK1 features such as ‘fat’ front tires, and ‘Turbo Hopper’ cut into the front bumper.
How was the Tyco Turbo Hopper born?
Following the massive success of Taiyo Japan’s Jet Hopper in Australia where it was sold by PlayCorp as the Metro Jet Hopper, executives from Tyco America took notice and immediately placed orders for the same car, with minor changes to branding (Tyco) and naming (Turbo Hopper).
You can see our History of Tyco Toys / History of Tyco RC article for the full story.
Features and Performance
The first radio control vehicle many American, Australian, and European kids ever owned, the Turbo Hopper (or ‘Jet Hopper’) was a worldwide phenomenon as it brought ‘hobby-grade’ speed and performance to the masses, in the price and convenience of a ‘toy grade’ model, available at your local toy store or department store.
Based on the original Japanese 1986 Jet Hopper, the Turbo Hopper comes in MK1, MK2, MK3 variants each with various upgrades over time.
See our pages for each Turbo Hopper version
- 1987 Tyco Turbo Hopper MK2
- 1988 Tyco Twin Turbo Hopper
- 1988 Tyco Aero Turbo Hopper
- 1988 Tyco Aero Jet Hopper 2
- 1988 Four Wheel Drive Super Turbo Hopper
- 1988 Tyco Aero Jet Hopper Wild Thing
- 1990 Heads Up! Turbo Hopper
- 1990 Tyco Heads Up! Wild Thing Turbo Hopper
- 1990 Tyco Twin Turbo Aero Hopper
- 1990 Tyco 4WD 9.6V Super Turbo Hopper
- 1995 Tyco Dallas Cowboys Turbo Hopper 2
And of course, the Mini and Micro
There are no doubt others, however we trust this satisfies your ‘Hopper lust for the moment!
Year of Release – 1986, 1987, 1988?
Officially the Turbo Hopper first appeared in the Tyco catalog in 1986. This means it was advertised to large buyers from chain toy stores and department stores, and there are reports of cars being advertised in toy catalogs around Christmas 1986.
Over time many cars have become mixed up in the wrong boxes, leading to confusion over which version was released when. For example, a good condition 1989 car may be put inside an original 1986 box, leading us to wonder why a supposed 1986 has MK2/MK3 features. We hope the photos on this page make it clear exactly what model was released first in 1986 in the USA (after the original Taiyo, and Metro versions).
The Tyco Turbo Hopper is a classic in the R/C and Toy community in the same way Star Wars is a classic in the film community.
Obtaining a Turbo Hopper MK1 (or any) in good condition (especially with a box) is becoming increasingly difficult. Special models such as the Wild Thing or Heads Up! are even more valuable, and we can only say that if you’re a fan of the Turbo Hopper simply find a car within your means. Don’t worry so much about it being perfect – as owners of any perfect Taiyo / Tyco know… you can’t drive them!