Hybrids & Electrics

The Tamiya Wild One RC Off-Road Buggy Goes Life-Size

Legos might be a great way to put a mini supercar on your desk, but they’re mostly static pieces. That’s where RC cars come in, to give you the sense that you’re actually piloting something. But as fun as it is to send an RC off-road buggy through the dirt, it’s not quite a substitute for the real thing. However, now you can get your hands on something that combines RC nostalgia with the thrill of actual seat time: the Tamiya Wild One MAX.

The Little Car Company turned the Tamiya Wild One RC off-road buggy to the MAX

The re-released black-and-red Tamiya Wild One Off-Roader RC buggy
Tamiya Wild One Off-Roader re-release | Tamiya

Those who grew up in the ‘80s might remember an RC buggy called the Tamiya Wild One. Originally released in 1985, it was a build-it-yourself RWD off-roader with a plastic roll cage, oil-filled metal shocks, and knobby rear tires. And it was popular enough for Tamiya to re-release it a few years ago, Tamiya Club and RC Driver report.

Still, although it’s a beloved toy, the Tamiya Wild One was always just that. Now, though, The Little Car Company, the team behind the Bugatti Baby II, has licensed its design and made a life-size version. It’s called the Tamiya Wild One MAX, and it’s not just an up-scaled RC buggy, The Drive reports. You can actually drive it.

The black-and-red Tamiya Wild One MAX electric off-road buggy
Tamiya Wild One MAX | The Little Car Company

Technically, the Tamiya Wild One MAX is an 8/10th-scale kit car, and only seats one person up to 6’5” tall, Car and Driver reports. It’s also about 16” shorter than a Miata and only 2.5” wider. But that also means the Wild One MAX is light; it only weighs 551 pounds, Roadshow reports.

Plus, the Tamiya Wild One MAX is a genuine off-road buggy. It comes with 15” wheels wrapped in off-road tires, Brembo disc brakes, and coil-over suspension, Hagerty reports. And that single seat is a composite racing seat.

The Tamiya Wild One MAX is only going to get wilder

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True to the design of the original RC buggy, the Tamiya Wild One MAX is electric and RWD. It has a 2-kWh battery pack giving a max (sorry, had to) range of 25 miles, Hagerty reports. And it’s powered by a 5.5-hp electric motor that gives the off-road buggy a 30-mph top speed, Motor1 reports. The driver can also choose between three different driving modes, and those Brembo brakes have regenerative braking.

30 mph might not sound that fast for some. But it’s plenty fast in the Bugatti Baby II, Roadshow reports. And considering the Wild One MAX’s size, 30 mph will likely seem closer to 60 or 70 mph.

The black-and-red Tamiya Wild One MAX parked in a garage
Tamiya Wild One MAX side 3/4 | The Little Car Company

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However, for those looking to give the little off-road buggy some extra punch, The Little Car Company has a solution. Like the original Tamiya Wild One, the MAX will offer ‘Hop-Up Kits’ with extra parts, Top Gear reports. Buyers will be able to order more powerful motors, larger battery packs, mudguards, upgraded suspension, and racing harnesses. What’s more, there’s a kit that turns the Wild One MAX into a road-legal vehicle.

How much does it cost?

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The Little Car Company is currently accepting pre-orders for the Tamiya Wild One MAX. The off-road buggy should arrive in 2022, with prices starting at $8250 for the DIY kit.

$8250 may sound like a lot for what is essentially an off-road toy, or perhaps a mini kartcross racer. But that’s roughly one-tenth of the price of an Ariel Nomad. And while the Nomad is faster, more spacious, and more capable, it’s not exactly a more practical vehicle.

A red-caged Ariel Nomad Sport in a garage
Ariel Nomad Sport | Ariel

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Plus, while you can get off-road motorcycles for less money, the Wild One MAX has a harness and a roll cage. And it’s electric, so it should be easier to live with than a Beetle-based dune buggy.

Oh, and critically, when has any RC car been a practical decision?

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