Saturday, January 15, 2011

1987 - Traxxas Cat (Tomcat) and GTP / Fiero.

In 1987, Traxxas released the Cat and Fiero. I have a Fiero in very good condition (no box) and a Cat in new condition with the box. The Cat seemed to be a solid entry into the 1/12th scale carpet racing world (although heavy compared to the RC12 or Bolink counterparts) and the Cat simply seemed to be a backyard basher that was a low-quality Tamiya Grasshopper or Futaba FX10 alternative. Nothing about The Cat seemed to scream quality or performance, but it is nonetheless one of my cherished pieces of Traxxas history.  

Fiero / GTP:

As for the GTP/Fiero, I also wonder about kit vs RTR availability.  I know it was available as a RTR, but early on in the company's history, Traxxas seemed to offer both options for those who may want to build the kit themselves. If a kit did exist, were there separate part numbers?

Here are some images of the GTP from my collection.  A few things about it: I do have the original controller but the receiver has been replaced with a Futaba unit which requires a 4-cell battery pack.  Originally, the Traxxas receiver would have been located where the battery pack is now, and nothing would be mounted where the Futaba RX is.  I do not have the box for this one and it has some scratches on the bottom of the chassis, but overall it is in fair condition.

The Cat:

My questions about the Traxxas Cat are as follows:
Was it available in kit form?  I've found the Traxxas Cat and Tomcat (which appear to be identical) but what I've seen appears to all be RTR. I've not seen indication that it was available as a kit.
Is there any difference (other than branding) of the Cat and the Tom Cat?  I've seen box art which is different, but the product appears to be the same.   

Below are some pictures of my Tom Cat.  I have the original box and controller (it was an RTR package) and it appears to have never been used.  I've tested the functionality of the buggy and everything works perfectly.  The box is in decent to good condition but the buggy is in excellent condition.  

The first 10 years of Traxxas as I know it:

From everything I can find, the Traxxas brand began selling production RC cars in 1987.  The list below was lifted from a forum online.  I've made some slight changes to it over the last year or so and used it as a guideline for my effort.  If anyone can provide additional information or corrections, I'm all ears. I'm not attempting to be a definitive source for vintage Traxxas information, but rather trying to help put one together. To date, here is what I've found:

1987 Cat, Fiero
1988 Bullet
1989 Villain IV (boat), Sledgehammer, Radicator, Hawk
1990 Blue Eagle, TRX eagle
1991 Blue Eagle LSTRX-1
1992 Hawk 2Nitro Hawk
1993 LS-2TRX-3, Nitro BuggyNitro StreetMonster Buggy
1994 SRT, Traxxas RustlerStampede
1995 SpiritBlast (boat), TCPBanditNitro Vee
1996 Nitro Stampede
1997 Street SportNitro Rustler, TRX Pro 15, TQ Radio

???? The mystery of the Wildcat!

I will be posting blogs per year with additional information, details about my finds and questions which I have for each year and/or model.  Stayed tuned and wish me luck in filling the gaps in my collection! 

The mission...

So for the last 2 years my mission has been to collect 1 of each of the production RC vehicles that Traxxas released.  I collect Tamiya and Kyosho vehicles as well, but I've noticed a lack of information and availability of Traxxas products from the early years.  With that in mind, I decided to take on the task of collecting all of the vehicles that Traxxas produced early on.  I figure with the current market share (at least in the states) and growing support for the brand, eventually people would be interested in the history of the company.

Having contacted Traxxas on a couple of occasions and spoken with several people in various departments there, I can confidently say that while the customer support for current products is great, the historical knowledge is strangely lacking. Many questions I ask about early models either get ignored or shrugged off in replies from company reps.  I'm certain there are people at Traxxas with more historical knowledge, but I've never had any success getting in touch with them... so I suppose that lack of information alone validates my effort to some extent.