The Taiyo Racing Pick-Up 4WD is a radio-controlled car manufactured by Taiyo (Japan), and introduced in Japan and other countries worldwide in 1987.
The TycoCollector’s #1 Favorite
On a personal level, as Administrator of TycoCollectors.com, I can say that this (along with the Tyco version) is my #1 favorite toy R/C car of the 80s/90s. Why? It’s Taiyo doing their best to max out what’s possible with a toy-grade R/C without getting into hobby-grade prices. On many levels, it was hobby-grade in that Taiyo was able to supply replacement parts for some time, and of course its performance is exceptional.
Key Features and Performance
- Relatively large 1/14 scale
- Manufactured in Japan
- Equipped with 8xAA Batteries giving 9.6V (NiCd original) or 12V (modern Alkaline)
- Maximum speed of 25km/h with very high torque
- Dual Mabuchi 280 motors powering a 4WD drive-train
- Front Differential, Rear Solid Axle, optimized for off-road
- Blue shock absorbers with steel shafts all around
- Spare tire mounted on the back
- Roof-mounted air intake
- Nissan King Cab hard body
This model is available in Red Top (27Mhz) and Blue Top (49Mhz) variations.
Background and Evolution
The development of the Taiyo Racing Pick-Up is closely related to the highly popular and eventual successor, the 1990 Tyco Baja Bandit.
Originally, Taiyo Japan pitched the Taiyo Racing Pick-Up 4WD to Tyco Industries (USA) as a prospective flagship product, akin to the highly successful Tyco Turbo Hopper, which was based on the Jet Hopper. The Racing Pick-Up was inspired by real Nissan 4×4 King Cab racing pick-ups, such as the ones driven by the late American Sherman Balch, who won the prestigious Baja 1000 off-road race in 1987 in California’s Peninsula (Mexico).
Other renowned off-road racers like Roger Mears also drove red, white, and blue Nissan pick-ups bearing a striking resemblance to Taiyo’s truck, so it was a popular design at the time, and Taiyo wasn’t the only toy/hobby company to use it – with Tamiya’s Nissan King Cab Pickup being the most widely known.
Tyco agreed to the collaboration, and after repackaging the car for English-speaking markets, Taiyo released the 1988 Taiyo Racing Pick-Up (Global) and 1988 Taiyo Racing Pickup (Japan), while Tyco launched the 1988 Tyco 4WD Turbo Racing Pick-Up in the USA, UK, and other English speaking markets.
Regrettably, the 4WD Racing Pick-Up did not fare well in the American market. Its lackluster sales could be attributed to the vehicle’s relatively high price point, owing to its advanced specifications, the use of a Japanese brand (Nissan) rather than a Chevy or GM pick-up, or simply an unfavorable market climate.
Consequently, Tyco went on to develop and produce a more simplified version catering to American tastes: the legendary 1990 Tyco Baja Bandit. This new model retained the Nissan Pick-Up hard body but featured an entirely new, simplified chassis.
This was a high-spec car, with dual motors, front differential, pistol grip controller, and of course the 9.6V Turbo battery pack, and of course that Red, White, and Blue Nissan 4×4 King Cab Pickup hard body.
Collectors largely agree that the Taiyo Racing Pick-Up 4WD – whether under the Taiyo or Tyco brand – is one of the finest radio-controlled cars ever produced. Its limited production run of just one year also makes it one of the rarest, while Limited Edition Championship variants are even more rare and valuable.