I got interested in RC when I was 10 (almost 20 years ago). After many months of drooling over the cars at the local Beatties, saving up and selling my collection of old Dinky and Corgi cars I had a Marui Big Bear (I know it's not Tamiya, but I really liked Bigfoot at the time).
After realising that the Bear was not great for racing against my mates Hornets, Grasshoppers and Brats, I saved again and got a second-hand Sand Rover. Stripped gears and collapsed suspension later (after fitting a 540 and too much jumping), I got the remains of a Brat and Lancia Rally off one of my friends. The best bits were put together and made into what was basically a Frog without oil dampers (complete with grinding diff!) and a dodgy Parma body. Unfortunately this was sold to finance an Atari ST (a poor swap, in retrospect!), and apart from the Bear gathering dust under the bed, I was out of the hobby.
When I was in Uni, Tamiya brought out the Escort Cosworth (one of my favourite cars), and as i could never insure the real thing, the model was as good as I was going to get. I scrimped together the cash to buy one I saw in the small ads in the local paper and was hooked again. Since then, if Tamiya bring out a Ford or something I like the look of, then the wallet gets a bashing (however, I have just got a Baja Champ to replace the Frog-a-like I had for general knocking around - these scale rally and touring machines struggle off-road).