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.  


  1. Wow! Those are both very nice and that Cat is in amazing condition. The Cat was my first R/C but it didn't take long till I kissed a curb and busted one of the suspension arms. Those side rails are the first to get damaged and are fairly flimsy in my recollection. After I broke it I saved up and got a Tamiya Blackfoot. I put the oil dampened rear shocks from my Cat on the front of the Blackfoot. Still have that basher with the Cat shocks still on it. Man these pictures bring back memories. Thank you so much for posting this.

  2. Interesting post. I have a Traxxas Cat, not the Tom Cat, that was my first RC. And to answer your question, it DID come in kit form. I have a 'parts box' which is the original box the kit came in, along with a good portion of the replacement parts, in case I break something. The thing i'm missing is the body, which is how I came across your post. My body is in some sad shape and it would be great if I could find one and paint it the original (albeit ugly) color.

  3. Also, I see some differences between my Cat and your Tom Cat. The rear wheels are slightly different. The stickers are a little different - no little fire flame guy on mine. There are two 'risers' for the rear spoiler that lift it up higher on the original cat. They actually make it look pretty ridiculous and are the first things to break the body during a crash for obvious reasons. Also, your speed controller is a bit more elegant and looks like it has a cover on it or something. Mine is just a little blade that scrapes across exposed metal connectors.

  4. @Robert, thanks for the post. I'm glad I could bring back some fond memories. I agree that some (or many) of the parts on the Cat were weak points. It was a very common design at the time (axle design, front suspension, etc.) which shared many ideas (not specifics per se) with vehicles like the Tamiya Hornet, Grasshopper, Futaba FX10, etc... all were low-end vehicles. I think that the difference between Traxxas and many other manufactures is that they learned lessons from their failures and now are one of the most respected companies on the market, simply because they decided to make every single kit durable despite the target audience. These days Tamiya makes some of the best kits on the market and also some of the worst. With Traxxas, you will ALWAYS get a quality product, entry level or top-tier. I think this is why they are so successful in the United States, and much of that is due in part to the vehicles they produced in the first 10 years. Some of which were legendary and some were... well, the Cat. Either way I enjoy collecting them all for many reasons. Mostly for the nostalgic value, but also because the history of the company is very poorly documented and I think that many people are interested in reading about Traxxas' roots. Thanks again for the comment, I will be posting the next couple of years soon!

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  6. Identify car I bought at a pawn shop rather cheap unfortunately I do not have any body and one of the servers is broke but it does run and it runs good

  7. yes i have 2 of the cat's in the original boxes. One of them looks like the one ya'll show and is part #1202 and has a mechanical speed control. The other one the box are is pretty much the same but there are some differences and it has part #1208 and there is a yellow tag on it that says STREET CAT version and it has an electronic speed control and it has a pistol grip transmitter instead of the dual paddle transmitter and it is exactly the same except for that and I cannot find any information on this any where. I didn't know if I had one of very few or what.

  8. How much would somebody pay for an original Tomcat with everything to it except for the battery for the controller

  9. Almost brand-new only ran a few times