The Tyco Racin Hoppers was a slot car set based on the off-road radio control cars of the same name, and released into the US, UK, and other markets worldwide in 1988.
In the United States the Tyco version was released in 1988 with two versions, one featuring only Tyco Turbo Hopper style slot cars, and the other which included a Tyco Aero Turbo Hopper style slot car. They appear to have been released at the same time, but if you have evidence that proves otherwise, please let me know in the comments!
Concept and Features
The Racin Hoppers slot car sets were based on the radio control cars of the same name, with a track stylized as a dusty baja desert. It allowed racers to cross a river, drive through a rocky tunnel, climb a mountain, speed down a canyon, and smash through ‘boulders’ on the track.
From the 1990 Tyco Catalog intended for industry buyers, the product was advertised as follows:
Authentic HO scale replicas of real off-road Racing Hoppers squeeze through the terrible turns, climb monster mountain, dive down the cliffs, blast through the boulders, jump the creeks, tame the tunnel! It takes skill—and guts—to drive Racin’ Hoppers!– 1990 Tyco Catalog
Contents: 2 Hopper Cars, X2 Hopper and Aero X2 Super • Mountain Scenery • Boulders • Start and Finish Sign • 28 Sections of Track (2-9″ Straight, 3-6″ Straight, 10-9″ Radius, 1-15″ Straight, 1-5’ Cut off Squeeze, 5-Transition, 5-Hump and 1-9″ Terminal Track) • 8pc. Apron Set • Piers • Guard-rails • 2 Plug-in Controllers • Wall Power Pack, U.L. Listed.
The actual track layout was fairly tame and simple compared to some other Tyco sets which featured wilder elements, however it did fit very nicely into the Baja Racing theme.
Of course, it’s the included Magnum 440-X2 slot cars that make this set popular, and many simply collect the cars by themselves.
There was the Turbo Hopper release with a red and black car each.
And the Aero Hopper release, with a Black Aero Hopper, and Red Turbo Hopper.
More Incredible Box Art
There are so many packaged versions of the Racin Bandits that I had trouble identifying all of them. Apart from the 1988 boxes already shown, there were also…
1987 Tyco Racing Hoppers (UK version) featuring this wicked artwork!
As if I wasn’t blown away already with that ‘new’ artwork, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw this…
1987 Tyco SuperCircuit S-250 Racing Hoppers (Japanese version) – Unbelievable!
Availability and Collectability
As a collector of Taiyo and Tyco R/C cars myself, this set has always been a source of fascination for me, having never seen it as a kid.
And while the track itself isn’t the most interesting or exciting of Tyco’s bunch, it’s not bad, and the vehicles alone are collectors items, without even needing the entire track set.
Thankfully the Tyco Racin Hoppers is widely available online, and at a fairly decent price too – but for how long I don’t know.