Mini 4WD was first created by the Japanese company Tamiya in 1982 as a powered variant of common plastic automobile model kits. Since then racing and tuning up mini 4WD cars have become a hobby for people across the world.
Other companies have ventured into the Mini 4WD market, and they include Tokyo Marui, Kyosho, Academy, Auldey, Okami, Gokey, HJH, Twinkk, and AA. Many of them introduced their own lines of mini cars, while some produce replicas of Tamiya cars, i.e. "Tamiya clones". The clones were a more affordable alternative to the more expensive Tamiyas, which gained popularity in the Philippines in the early 2000s (decade), as well as several other nations like Indonesia, Malaysia, Italy & Hong Kong.
To feed on the high popularity of the cars, Tamiya commissioned Shogakukan, a Japanese publishing company, to produce two anime TV series based on the Mini 4WD cars: Dash! Yonkuro in 1989 by Zaurus Tokuda, Bakusou Kyoudai Let's & Go in 1996, Bakusou Kyoudai Let's & Go WGP, Bakusou Kyoudai Let's & Go MAX, and finally Let's & Go!! Tamiya, The Movie.
Since 1997, mini 4WD cars were sold in the United States, though some hobby stores installed tracks, interest in the US has declined somewhat. Beginning with Racing, Tamiya's different Mini 4WD series include Super, Fully Cowled, Aero, Mighty, the discontinued R/C (Radio Control) and the also discontinued "Mechanical", which were "Let's & Go! MAX" static display models. Tamiya used to annually hold the Great Japan Cup, but the company stopped it in 1999 to promote their new product, "Dangun Racer", begun in year 2000. The next Tamiya Mini 4WD model is the "Mini 4WD Pro", introduced in 2005. This is the fastest Mini 4WD product available out of the box, due to its super-efficient, completely redesigned internal layouts: polycarbonate body, double-shaft motor in the center, and the batteries on either side of the motor to allow low and balanced center of gravity. The latest Mini 4WD model is the "Mini 4WD Rev", introduced in 2012 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Mini 4WDs, featuring the newest, aerodynamic AR chassis with a monocoque shaped base similar to certain R/C chassis bases.
Beginning again in 2006, Japan holds National Mini 4WD Championships in Spring, Summer and Autumn each year and by 2012 Mini 4WD is popular in more countries including the United States, Canada, Russia, Germany and India.
Guinness Book of World Records now shows the longest mini 4wd track in the world was set in Japan in October 2010 at 523.61 meters which record was quickly broken in Thailand in March 2011 at 1,074.5 meters at the Central World Mall sponsored by Panasonic.
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