In the early ’80s, the German RC manufacturer Robbe wished to expand its range of products mainly focused on planes and boats. It established a partnership with the Japanese manufacturer Kyosho and Robbe started to import cars, modifiying the box packaging and decals sheet for the European market.
Aware of the success of the Tamiya Sand Scorcher, Kyosho released this car dedicated to driving on sand in 1982. Its dustproof chassis will be produced with three bodies: a baja beetle, a buggy and a Toyota Hilux.
Period advertising :
This Toyota Hilux is a model imported by Robbe. It is slightly different from a Japanese or American model: no roll bar on the rear plateform and a rond bumper instead of a flat unit. The car was supplied pre-assembled with the the lexan body left to paint and the wheels and radio equipment to install.
The chassis plastic frame protects the electronics thanks to a cover held by rubber bands. The battery is held longitudinally and must be placed on the edge.
The front suspension uses trailing arms. A coiled spring on the suspension arms pivot makes the shock absorber. The adjustable servo-saver is located on the front body mount axle.
The Toyota features a solid rear axle without suspension. The rear tires are used as the suspension system since they can be inflated thanks to a pump pinched into the tire. The use of a special glue included in the box works as a rubber patch to fill the hole.
The aluminum gearbox contains the motor and plastic gears. The transmission has no differential, but there is a clutch that works like those found on nitro motors.
This model unfortunately lost the tire inflating pump, but foams provide the required flexibility.
Our test on hard and icy surface is not really appropriate since it highlights the flaws of this Toyota.
The lack of differential and rear suspension causes a lot of oversteer. The rear drivetrain bounces a lot while the front does its job without complaining. The steering is imprecise due to the too soft servo-saver.
The clutch is useless on this Toyota since the engine idling does not exist on an electric model. So the car goes coasting as soon as it doesn’t accelerate. As a consequence, braking is difficult, or even brutal when shifting into reverse gear.
However, the ground clearance and the lack of differential are very useful to climb softer grounds like grass hills.
Like with any other vintage rc model, the pleasure you can get does not come from the analysis of performances or comparison with competitors.
However, one can’t miss how much Kyosho got “inspired” by Tamiya’s successful models such as the Sand Scorcher, Rough Rider and F150 Ranger XLT.
Technically interesting in theory, this car is a pleasure to see. Its cute and vintage look is typical of 80’s, but it better deserves a beach than a snow field.
David de RC4ON.com
Thanks to Challenger-RT, Lowry and Aussie Nerd from Tamiya Club for their help
More pictures in gallery : Kyosho / Robbe Toyota Hilux