Team Associated or Associated Electrics Inc of Lake Forest, California is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of radio controlled cars, trucks and accessories. The company was founded in 1964 by Roger Curtis and Lee Yurada, technicians at the Douglas Aerophysics Laboratory in nearby El Segundo, California. Slot cars were at the height of their popularity in Southern California at the time, so Curtis and Yurada decided to open a slot car track as a side business. Their experience in fabricating aircraft parts soon led them into producing slot car parts and accessories. So successful was the venture that it turned into a full-time business which they named Associated Electrics. The new company specialized in the manufacturing of a full line of slot car parts, chassis and accessories.
The business had grown by 1969 and was located in a small building in Paramount. Personal issues arose between Curtis and Yurada, leading Curtis to approach early RC racer Gene Husting in hopes that Husting would buy Yurada’s share of Associated. The popularity of slot cars was on the wane, but Husting was certain that radio control would flourish as the technology grew. Almost as if in anticipation of the fact, Associated had just introduced a 1/8 scale gas powered racer, the RC1. Designed by Mike Morrisey, it soon became the most successful car on the circuit. Husting agreed to the buyout in 1970. Still a small business, Associated had only six employees: Husting, Curtis, Husting’s wife Midge, and three others.
In 1971, Team Associated moved to Santa Ana, California where they began production of the Gene Husting designed Associated RC1. In 1977, the first IFMAR race at Pomona’s Thorp Raceway (later to become the Ranch Pit Stop, temporary home of Team Losi) saw the first five places swept by the RC100. Associated would double in size thanks to Roger’s next design, the 1/12 scale RC12 electric onroad racer, debuted in 1978. Simpler and far less expensive than the gas powered RC100, the RC12 is credited for much of the hobby’s growth as a sport.
As electric racing continued to grow, 1980 would see one of Associated’s most important partnerships come to fruition when electrical engineer and avid RC racer Mike Reedy joined Associated. Reedy’s development of Yokomo based motors and carefully matched battery packs led Associated’s dominance of electric racing. Reedy-powered cars are credited with 28 IFMAR World Championships to date, the most of any RC motor manufacturer.
In 2000, Gene Husting took the decision to retire and sold his share to Roger Curtis. In 2005, Curtis took semi-retirement and sold Associated Electrics to Thunder Tiger, a Taiwanese RC model manufacturer. Thunder Tiger expressed hope that the buyout of Associated would make it the fourth largest RC model merchant in the world.
Team Associated RC Car Pictures