Forget the Bugatti Divo or the other big debuts, this is much more interesting.
A couple of years ago at Pebble Beach, the spectacular Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 managed to grab the attention not only thanks to its sensuous body, but also because someone maneuvered the concept using an RC controller. This year at The Quail, there’s another full-size RC car, but of an entirely different nature since it’s based on the Volkswagen Baja Bug.
If you haven’t seen this one before, here’s what you should know. Several years ago, Japanese R/C model manufacturer Tamiya commissioned a 1:1 scale version of its 1979 Sand Scorcher, first introduced on December 15, 1979 as a 1:10-scale electric radio controlled car kit. What makes this full-size version interesting – other than its sheer size – is the amazing attention to detail that went into creating the life-like replica – right down to the “BAJA BUG” license plate.
It’s truly a spitting image of the toy car, which by the way had a suspension setup designed to echo the Beetle’s actual suspension. The 1:1 model was built by UK company Lanzante, which normally specializes in high performance and historic cars. They worked on a 1968 VW Beetle body to create the big Sand Scorcher, and in order to faithfully follow the 1:10 scale model, even the decals plastered onto the body were measured to scale.
The party piece? That would have to be the huge radio controller, which was built by Jody Lanzante, the brother of Lanzante founder Dean Lanzante and an accomplished cabinet-maker. It's just for effect, though, as the real-life Sand Scorcher can be driven like an actual car since it is one.