On road touring and sports cars have a low ground clearance and consequently need to be run on tarmac or smooth surfaces (if you are not interested in racing try your local supermarket car park!). They will run on flat grassy surfaces however performance will be impaired and you are likely to damage your body shell. These are the sorts of cars you are likely to find down at your local on road racing club.
Rally cars have a greater ground clearance and, like their full size brothers can be run on more uneven surfaces.
This sort of model is a good compromise if you want a vehicle which looks like something you recognise but has the versatility of an off road buggy. These cars are great fun but if you want to get onto the racing scene opportunities are more limited as not many clubs race these.
Off road buggies are exceptionally versatile and can be driven just about anywhere making them a great first car.
If you get bored with the look you can always convert them to a saloon with a change of body shell and a set of
body mounts etc. If you do want to get into racing there are off road series’ for buggies and many clubs race buggies both inside and out.
Models perform in the same way as full size cars when it comes to handling. Two wheel drive cars are generally less expensive, more easily maintained and a lot of fun if you like skidding around corners, however, they do not handle particularly well in poor conditions. You also wear more tyres out. Best advice is to see what type of buggy they race at your local club.
Electric power is usually a first choice. They are easy to drive, need less maintenance and can be driven anywhere at any time because they are so quiet. Performance wise they can be just as quick as a fuel powered car depending upon your choice of battery, motor and batteries. If you get into racing electric cars you will be amazed at the kind of performance which can be achieved. Typically you will get ten to fifteen minutes running time out of a battery and charging can be anything from fifteen minutes to overnight depending upon the charger.
I/C cars are usually powered by small 2-stroke engines which run on special methanol based fuel. Compared to electric cars these require a lot more maintenance and it does help if you are mechanically minded.
It is worth bearing in mind that fuel powered models are not welcome everywhere because of the noise. Clubs are very limited that have the correct facilities to cope with Nitro Powered Car/Trucks.
You need to be sure that what you are buying will suit the purpose you intend for it, so if you are racing, visit your local club and get advice. Choose a manufacturer that has a proven record and supplies cars that are durable. Good instructions are a must if you are buying a kit. It is essential that you are readily able to buy spares for your car otherwise you could find yourself with a broken model and not be able to fix it.
You need to purchase a two channel radio system to control your car which must operate on either 27 or 40MHz or more likely 2.4Ghz these days. Stick sets operate with one hand for throttle (forwards/reverse or brake) and the other for steering (left/right). If you choose to buy a steering wheel set, you have a trigger to operate the throttle and a steering wheel to control the steering. Neither set is better than the other, it is simply a matter of personal preference.