After searching for over 10 years, I finally found what I like to call the ultimate Tyco collectable, the Tyco Baja Bandit 9.6V Turbo. This was the first ever mass produced Tyco Bandit and is a massive collectable. I considered buying one off eBay before for over $150, but then decided to find the Bandit conventionally by scouring garage sales and thrift stores. I finally found one in fair condition. The only damage is light scratches on the body. Other than that the R/C is in excellent condition. The electronics are intact, the rubber is not worn, chassis is solid, the transmission doesn't grind, and best of all, the battery cover posts have not snapped.
To me what makes the Baja Bandit so special is the sheer power of the R/C and the quality of materials and assembly. Actually made by Taiyo and sold as a Tyco, this R/C has the famous 9.6 volt power set-up with a turbo feature. The remote is pistol grip style. When you lightly squeeze the trigger the truck drives just as fast as any other consumer class R/C; however, when you pull the trigger all the way back a green light on the remote shines indicating the turbo feature is engaged. Because the Bandit is so small, and powered by 9.6 volts, the power to weight ratio is astounding. In turbo mode the Bandit cruises across pavement, and even better is the high rpm scream it creates. When I was a kid this was the R/C that had me hooked on the hobby, and today it is still exciting. They honestly don't make consumer class R/Cs like they use to. Today they are made as cheap as possible for maximum profit, bypassing any expenses that could potentially improve the quality of the product.
Right now the Baja Bandit is in the same condition as when I bought it. > December 26, 2007
Tyco Baja Bandit 9.6V Turbo > Rat Version
I call this the "Rat Version" because it is not a genuine Bandit, but a hybrid, if you will, in between a Tyco Bandit and a Tyco Hi-Jacker. The truck was originally my brothers, then passed down to another brother, then sold to me broken for one dollar. When it finally fell into my hands the transmission was totaled, a front shock support was broken, and the remote antenna had snapped. None of these problems could be repaired because Tyco stopped producing replacement parts for this model, and at that time eBay was barely known. My only chance was to find another Tyco like it to salvage parts from. After a couple of years of searching, I kind of gave up. I decided to throw away the complete chassis because it was in such bad shape, and taking up room. I saved the body, bush bar, front deflector, and of course the remote.
Several years after throwing away the Chassis, I was searching through a thrift store toy aisle, with no specific R/C in mind. Upon reaching the end of the aisle, I tripped over something on the ground, sending it across the floor. I looked down and saw a Lamborghini like body, yet it had the unmistakable Bandit knobbed tires. After picking it up I realized I tripped on a golden nugget. It was a Hi-Jacker, another Tyco R/C extremely similar to the Bandit. When I arrived at home I put a 9.6 volt pack into it and dug up my original Bandit pistol grip remote. A quick flick of the power switch and it drove flawlessly, bringing back a flood of good childhood memories.
Since then I trimmed off the chassis sign panels that were not original to the Bandit, and I replaced the Lamborghini body and deflector with the Bandit counter parts. The Bandit box bed had to be trimmed to accommodate the chassis fixed shock supports that the Hi-Jacker came with. I also removed the solenoid that raises the Lamborghini body, hence the name Hi-Jacker. Lastly, I replaced the stiff wire antenna on the chassis with a modern plastic tube set-up, and rebuilt the antenna on the remote.
I'm so glad I have been able to rebuild mine, and my brothers, childhood toy. Unlike my stock Baja Bandit, this Bandit is driven all the time. I have no problems scratching the body and wearing out the tires. I still find it strange and curious how, when I stopped looking for what I wanted, in a way, it found me. It's interesting how that happens. > May 30, 2005