The History of the Remote-Control Car

The History of the Remote-Control Car

Jun 16 , 2021


At BOT CARZ we love RC cars. That's why we created the Gesture  Controlled RC Car which can be controlled using simple gestures movements. 

Driving remote-controlled cars is an entertaining hobby for both young and old alike. Although these toys may seem like modern inventions, they’ve actually been around for over half a century.

In this article, we’ll take a brief look at the history of the remote-controlled car. From its humble beginnings to one of the most popular toys on the market, we’ll predict where this hobby may be heading in the future.

Invention and Brief History

The first known remote-controlled car was created in Italy by a company called Elettronica Giocattoli, or El-Gi, in 1966. It was a 1:12 scale model of the Ferrari 250LM and was later imported and sold to customers in the UK. The car was nitro-powered and featured a two-stroke engine.

A year later, in 1967, Mardave, a company based in Leicester, UK began producing its own models for the British market. El-Gi would once again create a Ferrari-based model in 1968, and introduce it to quite the fanfare during the Milan Toy Fair.

By the early seventies, the market in RC cars had grown to include additional power sources to complement nitro fuel. Tamiya, a brand that is still well-known in toy car racing today, introduced their first electric on-road car in 1976. The model known as the Porsche 934 ushered in a wave of RC accessories, model kits, and RC racing paraphernalia.

Electric RC car models saw developments in design that allowed them to go off-roading. With tough rubber tires, actual suspension systems, and robust engines, these electric remote-controlled cars heralded a golden era for the RC. No longer were enthusiasts limited to paved roads when taking their remote-controlled cars out for a drive. Off-road models allowed RC racing to be done almost anywhere.

The 1980s brought about another surge in popularity for remote-controlled car racing. A lot of brands moved away from simple scale models of actual cars, and began to develop their own designs. High-performance cars also increased interest in organized racing events, and the 1:12 World Championship became a biennial event with up to 400 participants.

From the 90s to the early 2000s, remote-controlled cars were all about speed. The introduction of sleek and smaller designs replaced the larger models of the previous generation.

Current RC Models

With the increase in power and reach of radio control technology, RCs took another step in their development. 4WD models and rock crawlers became a lot more popular, as better control and the increase in life of batteries made off-roading models prominent once more.

Nowadays, although the hobby isn’t what it once was, there are still plenty of enthusiasts to drive it forward. With modern materials, more powerful engines, better batteries, and versatile control methods, the RC’s potential for entertainment is greater than ever.

Recent developments include motion and gesture controls. Replacing the use of the traditional joystick, RC cars can now be driven by simply moving your hands in the direction you want it to go. Paired with the ability of 4 wheel-drive RCs to go off-roading, you can take the hobby to new heights.

Future Developments

It’s hard to tell what the future holds for remote-controlled cars, but it is certainly anything but dead. Many aficionados not only patronize the latest models, but also buy vintage cars to complete their collections. As interest continues to flourish, the future is certainly bright for RC cars.

Coming a Long Way

The RC car has come a long way since its heyday, but it continues to bring joy to many. Familiarizing yourself with the history of the remote-controlled car not only gives you an appreciation of its progress, but can also provide inspiration on how to advance the hobby further.

As modern technology offers more innovations to remote-controlled cars, both newcomers and enthusiasts are excited at what the future may bring. The next big development may be right around the corner.

Do you know of any new advances in remote-controlled cars? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Check out BOT CARZ to see how an RC car can be controlled with simple hand gestures.