The Taiyo Jet Racer 4WD is a radio controlled car released on the Japanese market in 1987. It is the first, original version of the Taiyo Jet Racer 4WD (Global), packaged for the Japanese market.
Easily in the Top 10 Taiyo vehicles, the Jet Racer 4WD has just about everything.
- 9.6V 8xAA Battery Power
- Twin Mabuchi 280 motors
- Full time 4WD
- All Round Shocks
- Front Differential
- Maximum Speed of 25kmh/16mph
This would be the ultimate off-road Taiyo up until this point, slightly improved in 1988 with the Max Hopper 4WD which would add some strengthened steel components.
Be aware the global version has unusually close and specific frequencies:
– White (26.995Mhz)
– Black (27.195Mhz)
We know that the usual Taiyo 2nd car frequency of 49Mhz could not be sold on the UK market, and so potentially this was a workaround until they began selling the 40Mhz variant in the UK.
Electronics and Passive Steering
One issue that should be noted with these early Taiyo cars is that many have ‘passive steering’, meaning that you need to be moving forward (or reverse) for the steering servo to work. This is fine outdoors, but indoors and when navigating small areas it’s a real pain. There are active and passive steering cars within the same models, so we’re not yet clear on how to identify which car is which however we suspect the frequencies do play a role in this.
It’s not yet 100% proven, but I believe the only way to be sure of getting an active steering version (steering servo turns anytime) is to buy a 1989 onwards, or a Tyco version of the model.
Similarity with Tamiya Boomerang
As with the Jet Fighter (single motor version, identified by the single air intake on the top) the Racer is very similar in design to the Tamiya Boomerang, causing many to claim Taiyo was ‘ripping off’ their Japanese counterpart. Ultimately many 80s R/C models shared similar designs, and the contribution which Taiyo made to the community was’nt an overall style, but their ability to design a near hobby grade radio control car for 1/4 of the price, and have it available (with spare parts) in your corner store, making the hobby accessible to a much wider range of the community.
In my opinion, the Jet Racer 4WD is simply a must-have in any 80s RC toy collection, and still has reasonable availability on eBay and elsewhere. Get it before it becomes hard to get.
Update 2023: Starting to get very hard to get, and pricey.