Analysis of individual cars
The Toyota Tom's 84C RM. Mk. 6 (58049)
The Toyota Tom's 84C RM. Mk. 6 was kit number 49 from Tamiya. A 1/12 2WD on-road pan-chassis racer it was a fast racer for its time.
- 1/12 scale on-road car
- 2 wheel drive (rear drive solid axle)
- Double deck chassis made from FRP (Fibreglass reinforced plastic)
- Rear rigid swing arm with stablizer
- Independent front suspension with coil springs over solid shafts
- RS-540 Mabuchi motor
- On-road foam racing tires
- Lexan body
The Toyota Tom's managed to break Porsche's winning streak in 1985. Quite a feat for its time because the 956 was pretty much considered unbeatable. Powered by a 2 litre turbo charged inline 4, it developed over 500bhp in racing trim.
The Tamiya 1/12 scale version of the race winning Toyota Tom's was a further advancement of their knowledge with on-road racers. Eliminating many of the heavier metal and aluminum the Toyota evolved into a FRP and plastic racer which was lightweight and responsive.
Pan-cars - a term which refers to their simplistic chassis design - were very popular; inexpensive and ultra fast they offered a lot for the money. The fact that they were restricted to parking lot racing was no big deal here in North America where big shopping mall parking lots were plentiful.
A sturdy double-deck design, it proved to be a very simplistic and reliable car. Where other companies struggled with FRP materials, Tamiya showed them that with good engineering FRP could have the ease of assembly as injection molded plastic. This is not to say that Tamiya did a lot of innovative things to how the car was designed, rather they concentrated on making the parts fitting better and easier to assemble. Given the simplicity of the cars, there wasn't a lot they could do with the units.
The only problem with these cars was that many were sold to young kids. Although fairly easy to assemble, the 1/12 pan-cars were very tough cars to learn how to drive with. Their foam tires didn't grip well on dirty pavement (which was basically ALL pavement) and their short wheelbase made them very "twitchy" and prone to sudden directional changes. All of this was aggravated by a coil type speed controller that overheats easily.
The Toyota Tom's featured a separate spoiler detached from the body. And for reasons of durability, it featured an aluminum cross member for the engine cage which was missing from the earlier Porsche 956 model.
The pan-cars don't hold up well with collectors. Mostly because the chassis' underneath offered nothing out of the ordinary. New in box examples still go for pretty good money, but only a little more than what the cars were new. Used examples do not hold their value well at all. You can pick up a used one for under $40.
Used examples just aren't worth purchasing unless you're looking for a parking lot basher. The lexan bodies are fragile and the chassis offers no protection. They tended to look all cracked up within very short time.
For collectors, I'd recommend only shelf display units and new in box examples. Other cars are only good for salvaging parts from.
Original wheels are tough to come by and new lexan bodies are even tougher. Restoring a used unit can become very costly. Plus it's tough to assemble all of the required parts. Many of the parts for this car are interchangeable with the Porsche 956 and NewMan Porsche, but be careful to ensure that you use parts which originally came with this kit.
- Collectibility – 5 out of 10
- Fun to drive – 4 out of 10
- Parts availability – 5 out of 10