Tamiya and part numbers

... especially if you are looking at the first RC models and their parts. During the years, Tamiya has changed the method of labelling parts making life harder for collectors and restorers. 

First, let's look at the different types of parts.


Spare parts:

These are the parts that Tamiya sold as replacement parts for their RC models. I have listed more than 14000 Spare Parts in the Spare Parts DataBase. The Spare Parts may consist of a single part number or several part numbers



Hop Up parts:

As the name suggests, these are hop up parts for the RC models, consisting of a single part number or several part numbers.

Individual part numbers:

This is where it gets tricky. Each individual part has a specific number to identify it. Such a part may be the "wing stay" for the 58068 Williams FW11 rear wing. These parts have 7-digit numbers identifying them.


Part numbers has changed over the years

Spare Parts

These has over the years changed designation as Tamiya grew and the Spare Parts became more and mores complex.

The first Spare Parts listed in the first RC English Guide Book was designated SP-1001, SP1002, etc. We can assume "SP" is short for "Spare Part" and the following number is a running number starting from 1001. But, looking at the Japanese versions of the Guide Books, you will notice that the parts are simply numbered, 1, 2, 3, etc. "SP-1001" is the same spare Part as "1"

In the 1983 Guide Books, the parts changed name to "5001", 5002", etc. This change is done at the same time as the Kit numbers changed from "RA-1010" to "5810" So, this makes sense :-)

Then, in 1988/89 (?) the numbers change again. Now a "0" (zero) is placed in the middle of the number. Now "5001" is "50001" and so on. This is also the same as the kit numbers, changing from "5810" to the kit number format we know today, like "58010".

So, we have the following changes in Spare Part number types:


Original Export (?) From 1983 From 1988
1 SP-1001 5001 50001


And, today, Tamiya names the spare parts as "SP.xxxx", Again SP has been used as prefix. The latest issued Spare part is "SP.1452"

Hop Up parts

The Hop Up parts first surfaced in the 1991 Guide Book. The numbering were consistent with that time's (and today's) Spare Parts numbering. The Spare parts were named "53001" and onwards. in 1991 a total of 66 Hop Up parts were presented.

The name Hop Up Parts is actually confusing in itsself.... The problem is that many of the so called Hop Up parts are standard replacement parts for many models. For example the "53059 Wide Stud Spike Tires" are a widely used standard part in many kits. So the Hop Up parts are not only for Hop Up, thay are also standard replacement parts. This goes for nearly every Hup Up part.

Today, the hop up parts are named "OP.xxxx". OP = Optional Part. By the time of writing, the latest hop up part os "OP.1313"


Part Numbers:

If you look at the manual for Tamiya's first RC model, the 58001 Porsche 934, you will see on the last pages that each component has their own part number. In the early models they are typically named "Y", "Q10", "G4", etc. A quick check also shows that the same item (for instance a 4mm Lock Nut) does not have the same "number" in different manuals. Basically, the numbering was a mess for anyone trying to organize/sell spare parts.
After some time, Tamiya even removed the simple numbering of parts and completely removed any part number. You can see examples of this in, for instance the Renault 5 and Golf Group 2 manuals.

It took quite some time for Tamiya to change the "simple" numberung system. The first manual I have with 7 digit part numbers is the 58048 Bruiser Manual.

The part numbers are here given for every part of the Bruiser, making the spare part hunting much easier. But, the problem now is that there are no reliable source of information for theses part numbers. You will se that a tot of the big vintage Tamiya ebay sellers refer to the part numbers, but that is either because they can read the number off the part, or because they have one of the old Dealer Catalogs Tamiya made for dealers. These catalogs contained all spare parts info, and an exploded view of the models, making spare part finding much easier.


So, can we trust the part numbers?

Hm, I wish I could say yes, but facts are that part numbers are not exact. There are a couple of things to look out for:

1. Parts changed during the production run of cars and their sister models. There are many examples of small changes made to parts, but where the part number did not change. One example is the gear box parts for the Wild Willy, which was changed when the Wild Willy "quitely" got longer wheel base.

2. Same parts but different colour. Tamiya did not change part numbers of plastic sprues even if they changed colour of the plastic. A typical example is the red Wild One roll bar. The sand coloured FAV roll bar has the same part number.

3. Same parts, but for different models.Actually this should not be a problem, if you know what part number to get, but if you randomly look for "g-parts" on ebay, you might find the correct one, but you might not know because the seller names the item accordin what model name is printed on it. (the first model to use it)

So, my goal is to make the part hunting easier. I have started with the Spare Parts, I will go on with the Hop Up Parts, and finally, I will make available info regarding the rest of the spare parts, I just need to find the time to do it...

Written by Larbut

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