Full-size version of Tamiya radio-controlled buggy can be driven on the road at up to 60mph

Kids' dreams are coming true

The Little Car Company, better known for its ‘junior’ versions of classic cars such as the Bugatti Type 45 and Aston Martin DB5, has released more details and images of something aimed at grown ups: a full-sized version of Tamiya’s famous Wild One radio-controlled (R/C) off-road racing toy.

First released in 1985, the Wild One has become a firm favourite with enthusiasts of R/C cars, and those with deep enough pockets can now finally indulge their fantasy of sitting in one and driving it for real.

Just 100 examples of the Tamiya Wild One Max Launch Editions will be made, although if you miss out on those The Little Car Company has said further versions will be built afterwards.

Although a full-sized vehicle, the Wild One Max is still pretty compact. It’s just 3.6 metres long, which is the same length as a Volkswagen Up! and a fraction longer than the 3.5m prototype, to help accommodate taller drivers. It’s a little wider than originally planned, too, for the same reason, at 1.9m across.

Tamiya Wild One Max Launch Edition

Nothing toy-like about the specifications

It may be based on a toy but it comes with a serious specification including Cobra bucket seats with four-point harnesses, an Ingress Protection-rated 5in digital instrument screen with marine specification switches that are waterproof and dustproof, Brembo disc brakes all round and Bilstein off-road dampers coupled with Eibach springs. The car runs on 14in Maxxis off-road tyres at the front and rear.

It also has some serious off-road capability. With 270mm of ground clearance — more than a Range Rover — plus the ability to cope with a 34.1-degree slope at the front and a 50.8-degree slope at the back, there doesn’t seem much that will bring a Wild One Max to a halt. 

Electric power for up to 60mph

Just as with the toy version the Wild One Max is powered by an electric motor, but instead of a little 7.2v battery pack this one uses a high voltage lithium-ion battery with 14.4kWh capacity.

Its power output has yet to be disclosed but a top speed of 60mph is expected, as is a kerb weight of just 500kg.

Incredibly, the Wild One Max Launch Edition will also be road legal, as it meets ‘EU L7e’ quadricycle regulations.

Ben Hedley, CEO of The Little Car Company, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to be one step closer to revealing our Tamiya Wild One Max Launch Edition. While there have undoubtedly been a few hurdles along the way with industry-wide supply issues, our team have done a tremendous job of bringing an R/C car to life at full size, and I couldn’t be prouder of them.”

Tamiya Wild One Max Launch Edition

Hedley said he had listened to his Tamiya deposit holders’ “invaluable contributions and suggestions” in building the Wild One Max.

“Their feedback has helped us develop a new type of vehicle which illustrates that electric cars can be fun, without having to rely on brain-scrambling acceleration.

“By simplifying the design and reducing weight, this car is a perfect example of not requiring 500 horsepower to make an enjoyable drivers’ car.”  

It will be built for buyers

Unlike the Tamiya version, buyers won’t have to build it for themselves — The Little Car Company will make it all for you at its factory in Bicester, and the first deliveries are expected in early 2024 — prices, performance figures and range on one charge will be revealed in the coming months.

Tamiya, for those not familiar, is something of a legendary brand amongst model car enthusiasts. It started in Shizuoka Japan in 1946 as a sawmill that dabbled in making wooden toys and models but segued into making Airfix-style plastic kits in 1959.

The Tamiya Wild One R/C model

In 1976, Tamiya made its first radio-controlled kit, a Porsche 934 racing car in 1/12th scale, and the “Tamiya Standard” is regarded by many as the bar over which rivals must leap. 

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