The Tyco Turbo Hopper Mark 3 was the final version of the original Turbo Hopper chassis, with a number of upgrades making it the best possible OG design. Manufactured by Taiyo (Japan), it was released in the US, UK, and many other countries worldwide in 1988.
Unique to Tyco
The manufacturer, Taiyo Toys in Japan, sold both the original Japanese market version of the Jet Hopper MK3 and a western market version of the Jet Hopper MK3 (Global). Both had the same decal designs since the original 1986 Jet Hopper MK1, which was really starting to age by 1988.
Thankfully Tyco saw this, and opted to modify the decals for their version, with a subtle refresh that looked more modern, more colorful, and at least different to all the rest.
The last of the ‘original’ Jet Hopper chassis cars, it kept all the important aspects and improved some areas beyond the MK2 (marked with *).
- 9.6V ‘Turbo’ Battery Pack
- Battery located on bottom, no need to take the body off to change.
- LED Power Light
- *Improved Off-Road Front and Rear Air-Filled Tires
- Chrome wheels
- Active Steering (does not require driving forward to turn)
- Improved Top Speed of 27Km/h (17mph)
- 4 x Shock Absorbers
- Solid front bumper
- Spare tire on rear
- 2-Speed Gearbox
- Available in 27Mhz Red and 49Mhz White
The greatest and most welcome change to the MK3 release is of course the 9.6V Turbo Battery pack. While it still provided the same power as the old 8xAA release, it meant you no longer needed to take the body off to remove the batteries.
That said, the previous MK2 release did have a charge port which was almost as good as it allowed you to charge with the batteries still in the vehicle, and use higher power Alkaline batteries (non-rechargeable).
The Mark 3 version of the Turbo Hopper is unusually hard to find. Even photos are hard to get. Why? I had thought perhaps the Heads Up Hopper (Turbo Hopper 2 essentially) may have been released shortly after, but that was 1990, a full two years after the release of this Turbo Hopper MK3.
The other possibility is simply that this was the Golden Age of Tyco RC. The 1988-1989 period especially was choc-a-block packed full of awesomeness. Take for example…
- 1988 Tyco Turbo Outlaw 9.6v Turbo
- 1988 Tyco Twin Turbo Lamborghini Countach
- 1988 Tyco Twin Turbo Hopper
And there are many more! So many incredibly cool cars were released during this time, and so their factory production may have been working overtime, with limited numbers available for an ‘old’ design.
Either way, this makes the MK3 much harder to find, and more valuable in my opinion. Adding the fact it is the best of the original Turbo Hopper design, that makes it a car I’d love to have in my collection. Whether or not that happens may simply be up to luck.