If, like me, you were a child of the 1980s, then there were a few essentials you had to have as a kid – a Walkman, a bunch of Star Wars figures, the odd Transformer and a BMX. And, of course, a Tamiya radio-controlled car.
The original Tamiya Wild One was released in 1985 and became one of the brand’s most iconic models. Indeed, such was its popularity it was even re-released in 2012 to further acclaim.
And with good reason – the Tamiya kits offered not only freedom from cords (yes, before that you had to walk about a metre behind your ‘remote control’ car tethered by a cord, just like the original video players had a corded remote…), they also offered serious performance (on a 1/10th scale, of course) and all kinds of aerial antics.
And if you ever entertained fantasies of shrinking down and climbing into your Wild One (and let’s face it, who didn’t?), well, now your fantasies are about to come true. Well, sort of…
* Aston Martin reveals all-electric DB5
* Hawke’s Bay dominates Tamiya racing champs
* Aston Martin DB5 re-enters production after a 55 year pause
* Kim Kardashian’s kids have a car collection many adults would dream of
Instead of shirking yourself, The Little Car Company – the operation behind the Bugatti Baby II and Aston Martin DB5 Junior – has announced that the Wild One will make its return, only this time in 8/10th scale and fully drivable by an adult!
The Little Car Company is developing the Wild One MAX for release in 2022 under licence from Tamiya, and it will be a rear-wheel drive, off-road electric buggy. At approximately 3500mm long,1800mm wide and weighing around 250kg, the Wild One MAX will take up a bit more space than the R/C kits of the past, but just like the original, you can assemble it yourself at home.
The Little Car Company says the Wild One MAX will have a spaceframe chassis with four-wheel coil-over suspension and gets the power to the ground through 15-inch off-road tyres on lightweight wheels. The buggy’s braking system includes hydraulic Brembo disc brakes on each corner, backed up by regenerative braking to maximise range.
To actually fit full-size adults an adjustable composite seat with a three-point seatbelt is used (as well as digital gauges and a racing steering wheel), allowing drivers between 160cm and 195cm to get comfortable, and there are even multiple driving modes – including Novice, Eco and Race – which offer different top speeds, throttle mappings and power outputs according to driver skill level.
The base Wild One Max will have a top speed of 48kmh and a peak power output of 4kW from a 2kWh battery with a range of up to 40km, depending on terrain and driving style. However, if you would like to go faster or further (and who doesn’t?), several of the modular “PowerPacks” can be added to increase the performance and range.
Options abound as well, with things like a four-point racing harness and high performance brakes and suspension available, as well as packs that can be added to the buggy, such as the Tarmac Pack that provides road-biased tyres and mudguards, and three Road Legal Packs that add the components required to build the vehicle to be compliant with L6e or L7e Quadricycle legislation in Europe, or Neighbourhood Electric Vehicle legislation in the USA, and includes brake lights, indicators, reflectors and rear-view mirrors.
While it is still early days in the development process, the company says it will be trying to “bring back many of the classic elements of the Tamiya build that fans enjoyed most”.
Rather awesomely, they are hoping to include life-size sticker sheets and are keen to hear what fans would like to see in the development of the car, and are asking anyone who wants to contribute to sign up at WildOneMax.com.
“As a child of the 80s, developing an almost full-size Tamiya model, which you can actually drive, is a dream come true,” said Ben Hedley, CEO of The Little Car Company.
“We are honoured to be working with the Tamiya team on the project to bring one of their most iconic models to life for a new generation. Because it is still early days in the project, we have the opportunity to include the feedback and feature suggestions from the legions of Tamiya fans out there.
“We can’t wait to get these on, and off, the road in 2022!”
The Tamiya Wild One MAX will be a bit more expensive than the original however, with an estimated starting price of £6,000 (NZ$11,500) plus local taxes, but in terms of bang (and fun) for your buck, it’ll still be an absolute bargain.
The company is planning for a global release in 2022 and potential customers can reserve a build slot today at the website with a £100 (NZ$190) fully refundable deposit. Build slots are allocated on a “first come, first served” basis, so get in fast if you want to relive those precious childhood memories in full adult-sized irresponsibility!