Radio controlled cars have been around for several years. Young people and adults have been hooked on this hobby, turning RC cars into a major business. The first nitromethane RC car came out in the 1940s. By mid-1960s a 1:12 Ferrari 250LM model was made by Italian company Elettronica Giocattoli (El-Gi). The British followed suit soon after and Mandrave introduced the nitro or gas powered RC cars in the late 1960s.
With the hundreds of models to choose from, a beginner can easily get confused. It is quite difficult to decide which one to buy and it will take some research and reading to be able to choose a 1/10th scale RC car that is right for you.
- The 1/10th scale RC model car is the industry standard for on-road RC cars. Racing cars and touring cars are the popular choices. These cars perform best on smooth surfaces. You can still get models for off-road racing. Suitable for off-road are the trucks, buggies and ATVs. They are not as fast as the touring and racing models but their rugged design and constructions give these cars the advantage of running on different surfaces
- For a beginner, a 1/10th scale nitro powered RC truck or car is ideal. Get one that is Ready-to-Run if you do not have much experience in building an RC car. They look like their full-scale counterparts and come with 2-wheel drives and .12 to .15 engines, with speeds that can reach up to 30 miles per hour. The Traxxas Nitro Rustler 2.5 RTR can reach a speed of over 47 miles per hour. The latest model is the Traxxas Nitro Jato with an amazing over 55 mph speed.
- Check out the 1/10th scale electric powered RC cars that are quite suitable for beginners. These stadium trucks are easy to build and maintain and some models are very realistic like the replicas of full scale SUVs and Hummers. Those 1/10th scale electric powered cars made by Nikko are suitable for kids. Models made by Tamiya are more suitable for teenage and adult hobbyists. These types can reach a speed of up to 21 miles per hour on the average. These are slower than nitro powered RC cars but they have a lot more torque.
- Choose which type of fuel you want. The gas or nitro powered RC car uses either nitromethane, a mix of pure gasoline and oil or pure gasoline only. They give more speed to your RC car but you need to refuel frequently. Nitro powered RC cars also require more maintenance, the engine needs frequent tuning and gas can leak. If you are not after speed for your first 1/10th scale RC car, you may opt for the easy to maintain electric powered one.
- Consider the price. A nitro-powered RC car is more expensive than the low-maintenance electric powered car.
- Nitro powered RC cars has a 2-stroke or a 4-stroke engine. The 2-stroke engine is like the motor of a chainsaw or a weed cutter. It requires an oil and gas fuel mixture. The less popular 4-stoke engine runs on pure gas because it has a separate oil reservoir. If you are going to use your 1/10th RC car for racing, get one with a 2-stroke engine. The 4-stroke is more suited for off-road RC cars.
For someone who is just getting introduced to the world of RC cars, the 1/10th scale RC car model is the preferred choice. Determine where you want to use the RC car and the type of fuel you prefer. For lower maintenance, get the one that runs on batteries. If you want more speed and acceleration for racing, get the gas powered model.