All of us, whatever the age, have used some kind of toy car at some time, whether mechanical, radio controlled, Barbie cars or Scalextric cars, so we are familiar with them, but do we know what the first toy cars were like up to what we know today?
The first toy cars were made of sheet metal and had the wheels painted on the silhouette, then there were some that already incorporated wheels and you could push them to make a little race.
All toys need energy to move, and on this basis were devised new toy cars that were launched with rubber bands, or dropped from slides or launching ramps.
Then came the first cars that moved with stored energy and the most popular were those that incorporated a winding system that consisted of a coiled spring that had to be compressed by turning a key around a pivot that acted as an axis; something like winding the clock so that the compressed mechanism would wait for the moment to release its energy, transmitting it to the wheels of the car.
Later came the toy cars that moved with electricity from a battery that powered a small motor.
Taking advantage of this type of energy, soon appeared police cars, ambulances and fire trucks, which incorporated sirens and lights that worked with the same battery that moved the engine.
A few years later, electric toy cars already had a remote control that was attached to the toy car by means of the same wires that served to transmit the commands of the control buttons, although these functions were reduced to forward and reverse.
This also evolved and the controls incorporated another pair of buttons that allowed to act on the wheels of the car and make it turn to either side.
Wireless remote control
With the advent of radio, it was possible to design stations that transmitted signals to a receiver installed in the car’s chassis. The receiver picked up a signal and fed a servo whose arms moved the direction of the car.
They were the first remote-controlled cars that did not need a wired controller because the commands traveled via radio waves and each unit that left the factory operated on a specific frequency so that you could not move someone else’s car with your controller.
Today all kinds of radio controlled vehicles are manufactured using the same technique but equipped with more channels that allow you to control more vehicle functions such as lights, rotors in the case of radio controlled helicopters.
The design of radio controlled vehicles has not stopped at helicopters and although they have not finished inventing everything, there are already the so called flying drones and this is only the beginning of the fourth generation of remotely controlled vehicles.