The Grasshopper
Model Number: 58043




2 wheel drive, rear


Coil sprung all round, front indepentant rear solid axle

Chassis Description

Plastic Bathtub Design

Body Type

Highly Detailed ABS Plastic



Original Price








Wheel Base


Tread Front


Tread Rear


Ground Clearance








This was Tamiyas attempt to corner the beginners market, a job this car did VERY well. It had the slightly less powerful 380 motor to make it easier to control and also for longer run times. It was also quite affordable, and so many people got into 'proper' radio control cars thanks to this car!



7/23/2004 1:12:59 PM

The original Grasshopper will always hold a place in my heart because it was the first new in the box RC car i ever bought. Back then of course it was a great car for the beginner and provided a great deal of entertainment. When the gearbox was ballraced it proved to be very efficient indeed and incredibly tough. Large gears and thick axle shafts proved almost impossible to damage despite my best efforts and after years of abuse i don't remember ever damaging the gears. They were fast cars compared to the heavier SRB family and looked good. I remember the sinking feeling when on holiday my hopper got run over by the rear wheels of a tractor. Despite obvious body damage i was amazed to drive it away from the scene of the accident!

That's the good stuff so what about the bad? The gearbox housing was prone to cracking where the axle tubes meet the diff housing, this did take some doing though. The supplied 380 motor would need quickly changing for a 540 and the car could easily handle more power but for the beginner proved a good starting point before building confidence. The Grasshopper had an annoying habit of ejecting the battery from the bottom of the chassis when landing from a ramp. Quite amusing at first to see the battery being dragged down the road by it's connecting wires but the novelty soon wore off. Too much flex in the battery cover allowed this to happen and i guess now a simple fix would be a stiffer plate. The solid rear axle meant the hopper had effectively very little in the way of rear suspension causing it to bounce and hop all over the place on anything except smooth surfaces, this was marginally improved on the hornet with the introduction of slotted gearbox pivot points allowing some degree of independent travel and oil filled dampers but really on an off roader this fixed rear axle design in my opnion is pretty limited.

Bad points aside though the Grasshopper was fun fun fun, it was affordable, easy to build, reliable, tough and looked good. It had real character and deserves a place in Vintage RC history.


1/27/2004 8:30:31 AM

I never had one of these when I was a kid. I remember seeing them around, but I was racing blondes at the time! I recently restored one of these almost by accident. With a few modifications, they can be made quite presentable as far as speed and some improvement in the awful bumpsteer they are famous for. Building it was a snap and I restored a used body because I couldn't find a new one. It turned out great and my home made decals are really beginning to come around. I did manage to find a Thorp rear gear box for mine with speed gears, and I am running a Green Machine motor. I wish I could find a descent set of Scorcher wheels and tires, but in time, I will run across them. I ran mine over pretty rough ground, that's all there is where I live. It does tend to hop a little, but it is a lot of fun to drive. I like it better than my Brasshopper 2, which tends to tuck it's rear end in when you hit the throttle hard. All and all, I would recommend one for your collection.


11/22/2002 8:18:49 PM

The ubiquitous Grasshopper was Tamiya’s 43rd R/C car. In my teens, I remember seeing these things everywhere. Our local hobbyshop at one time had about 10 of these in his shop for sale. I think he even sold them for as low at $65. Ah the good old days! I recently received this car from my father. Upon receipt, I realized it needed some tender loving care. So I took it home and started cleaning it and this is what I found and also realized….

Lost but found…
My brother was given this for Christmas in 1984. I was the one who helped him build this car so how ironic was it is that I would be the one who would restored it after almost 20 years. I started disassembling this car and came to realization of just how simple and how bulletproof this was designed. The transmission casing and its inner workings are a simple affair. The transmission is a slip differential with an RS380 motor added for good measure. The whole chassis and body are very rugged. I have seen some of these cars that come up for sale every now and then and wonder how they can be in the condition they are in. My brother abused his or so I thought at the time, but the body was in very good shape.

Ok, tell us about the car…
The car itself is very simplistic. The manual is laid out to where a child of 10 years of age could assemble this car without any problems. The Grasshopper I has Styrene ABS body along with ABS tub. It shares several components with out vehicles has well. The front and rear tires are shared with our beloved Sand Scorcher. The major qualm that I had with this restoration project was getting the tires and wheels for this car. There are so expensive. The transmission assembly can also be seen on the Pajero, and Midnight Pumpkin as well as others. Although I’ve been told and have notice that the Pumpkins transmission case is missing a tab that’s on Grasshopper’s. The front has an independent arm type suspension with spring type shocks. No oil filled dampers here. The battery is inserted on the underside of the car through a sliding door. In retrospect, this causes problems overtime. One thing I remember about this if there is any dirt gets into the doors sliding track, it can be darn near impossible to get the door opened and closed. You will need to periodically clean this….

How does it drive?
Since this restoration, I have not driven it but plan to so I am going off my recollections of 20 years ago. The car itself was slow. This was attributed the RS380 motor. I remember the front end of this thing bouncing all over the place. We used to run these cars around construction sites and they where almost impossible to control at high speeds. On the asphalt, the buggy handled wonderfully. From a standstill, the RS380 could do burn outs in loose gravel with the best of them. The car at high speeds (RS380?) did tend to understeer just a little. The lawn was this car nemesis. The car powered by the RS380 proofed to be underpowered and there where many-a-times where I had go and get the thing unstuck from the backyard. I am sure that a higher-powered motor such as an RS540 would have solved this problem.

What a neat car this is!!! You have simplicity at its finest when it comes to radio controlled cars. This car builds up quickly and looks very realistic. A certainly a must have for any collection.


11/7/2002 5:38:39 PM

This is a classic without doubt, every youngster wanted one in the eighties including me. To me this is a classic tamiya, simple but effective in what tamiya wanted it to achieve, global success. its not fast, its steering is pretty lame, it doesnt look brilliant, but it has charisma, a certain charm to it. yes it was cheap and cheerful bu its the GRASSHOPPER!!!!! how many of you got into RC racing becuase of this car, i no i did...............make sure you collection has one!