The Taiyo Max Jet Hopper is a prototype, advertised, but ultimately unreleased 1:14 scale radio control car which would have been aimed at Japanese and European markets in 1988.
Each year, Taiyo RC would release product catalogues with details and photographs of the next seasons toys. These would be taken to toy fairs, and sent to trusted Taiyo distributors in America (Tyco), Europe (Dickie), Australia (Metro) and other countries so they could consider what products they might order for next season.
Within the pages of this catalog was a name that immediately stood out to Taiyo collectors, because it simply did not exist.
As far as we know, this model was never produced, however its presence in the catalog suggests Taiyo was ready but simply never got enough orders, or faced other limitations that prevented it from proceeding to full-scale production.
Occasionally we learn of ‘new’ models that were only produced in one country (such as the Mini Traxx Pickup) or which are simply so rare that few people know of them, but in the case of the Max Jet Hopper, there’s no physical evidence of it ever being in production.
Features and Performance
From the photo, the Max Jet Hopper appears to be a 1988 Taiyo Max Hopper with a very realistic looking Jet Hopper ‘skin’ applied.
It’s possible there were other hardware-related tweaks, but without a functional model we can only imagine. Those familar with the Max Hopper know that it’s one of the most feature-packed and capable Taiyo RC models ever produced, which would make the ‘Max Jet Hopper’ the ultimate Hopper ever created.
- 9.6V ‘Turbo’ 8xAA powered (12V with alkalines)
- Twin Turbo 2 x Mabuchi 280 motors
- Dual Front AND Rear Differential!
- Metal Steering Hubs
- Improved Controller with Chrome Handle and Turbo LED
- Detailed driver
One particularly Nostalgic RC fan has done the community a solid by recreating what the Max Jet would have looked like had it been produced.
Most of the images in our Gallery are of this modified Max Hopper, with custom paint job and stickers to make it look as close to ‘the real thing’ as possible, with some artistic license taken through the use of modern alloy shock absorbers.
He’s even gone as far as reproducing the unusual rear naming and font on the Max Jet from the catalog which read ‘Max Jet Hopper EX-12’. Experimental 12?
If you would like the decals required to make your own Max Jet Hopper, or replacements for another Taiyo / Tyco model, contact Nostalgia RC on FaceBook.