My first radio control car that was of any significance was a Sears Lobo. I don’t recall if it was a Lobo, Lobo II, or a Super Lobo, but I found this old eBay listing that looks spot-on:
I had other cars before it, some that had wires – “remote control” as they were called. Another early radio controlled car had a single button on the controller. The car would go forward with no input from the controller. When you pressed the button, it would go backwards and turn at the same time – effectively giving you an option to point it in a new direction. The Lobo put all those others to bed.
A Sears Family
My family was (and still is to some extent) a Sears family. The Lobo was a rebranded Nikko buggy which was sold at Sears. Other rebranded Nikko’s were sold at Radio Shack, but my family shopped at Sears. When I was a young kid, my dad had a video game system. Instead of ColecoVision, he had a Sears version called IntelliVision. Virtually all of our appliances then and now are Whirlpool or Kenmore, and both my dad and I have a metric ton of Craftsman tools.
1st Significant R/C Car
I distinctly remember my Lobo was red and had a stick radio like the one pictured. It was also my first R/C car that used a “stick pack” battery:
It came with a 1200 milliamp-hour nickel-cadmium battery that had a “Tamiya” style connector. The nickel–metal hydride battery shown above is almost 3x as powerful as the one I had, but they still share the same DNA in regards to voltage, layout, and wiring.
In my mind the battery pack is what made it significant. It’s the same type of battery used in hobby-grade models. I even kept this battery pack to use when I upgraded to a Kyosho Raider – my first kit model.
The Lobo was truly ready-to-run. It came with that huge brick charger shown, which only had one button to activate the “quick charge.” Quick charging took one hour for the 1200mAh NiCad battery. Then it was back outside for another 15 minutes of bashing.