LaTrax was once a major player in the RC world but now only offers a few new vehicles. Its parent company, Traxxas, is one of the most well-known names in the hobby.
How do these two RC car brands compare? Are there any real differences between Traxxas and LaTrax RC cars?
LaTrax is part of the Traxxas brand and produces a small catalog of RC vehicles to keep the brand alive. LaTrax vehicles are aimed at the entry-level RC buyer, looking for something between toy-grade and hobbyist-grade RC vehicles. They’re an excellent, low-cost way to start out in the RC hobby before jumping up to the more expensive Traxxas vehicles.
If you’re new to the hobby or searching for a beginner RC car that bridges the gap between a toy and a hobbyist vehicle, you should consider LaTrax.
Let’s dive in and see the differences between LaTrax and Traxxas RC cars.
Traxxas Vs. LaTrax: History
Although they didn’t start out that way, LaTrax and Traxxas are now one company.
LaTrax was founded in 1974 by Jim Jenkins. It quickly gained popularity with powerful, simple-to-control RC cars based on muscle cars of the era. Some of their more popular models included cars based on the Corvette Stingray, Mustang Cobra, Camaro Z-28, and the Pontiac Firebird.
Over the years, LaTrax was responsible for numerous innovations in the RC world and remained a well-trusted name in RC.
A decade later, Jim’s son, Mike Jenkins, founded Traxxas. Building upon his father’s love of RC, Mike established Traxxas as the brand that it is today.
LaTrax RC cars and other RC vehicles are powered by Traxxas, produced and manufactured by Traxxas, and contain fully Traxxas-built components. Eventually, it made sense to merge LaTrax into Traxxas to keep everything under one roof.
The LaTrax name still persists out of respect for Traxxas’s origins and LaTrax’s long history.
There are some differences between the LaTrax and Traxxas lines, just to maintain some form of brand personality.
Let’s go deeper into the intentional differences between Traxxas and LaTrax RC cars.
Traxxas Vs. LaTrax: The Vehicles
As I mentioned earlier, every LaTrax RC car is made by Traxxas and uses Traxxas components. So there aren’t as many differences between the two brands as you might think.
To keep to the true name of LaTrax, every RC car sold under this brand name is more affordable than those sold with the Traxxas name. LaTrax RC cars are still well-made, but they use more plastic components and less powerful motors to keep them less expensive than an equivalent Traxxas car.
There are only four vehicles produced under the LaTrax name:
- Alias: a quad-rotor drone
- Desert Prerunner: a desert truck similar to the Traxxas Slash
- Rally: an AWD rally car similar to the Traxxas Fiesta ST Rally
- Teton: a monster truck similar to the Traxxas Stampede or Hoss
All three RC cars are 1/18 scale, geared toward beginners or Traxxas fans looking for a cheaper vehicle.
By comparison, Traxxas has a significantly more comprehensive range of RC vehicles available at various price points and made to varying degrees of quality. An entry-level Traxxas RC car like the 2WD Bandit or Rustler is much more powerful than anything from the LaTrax lineup.
All LaTrax models come with NiMH batteries and don’t offer an upgrade to LiPo (at least not officially). Similarly, they don’t have any Nitro-powered RC cars in their lineup.
Traxxas produce many of the most popular and fastest RC cars on the market. They’ve developed a brand accessible for beginners but upgradable enough so that seasoned RC drivers still enjoy them. Following on from the LaTrax’s legacy, Traxxas has become one of the most innovative RC manufacturers around.
In the end, the comparison between LaTrax and Traxxas can be summed up in the fact that Traxxas owns both companies. Latrax is a branch of the overall brand that now distributes entry-level, affordable RC cars. At the same time, Traxxas focuses more on prosumer and professional-grade RC cars.
Can You Still Find Vintage LaTrax RC Cars?
Traxxas has an extensive range of RC cars available today, but there is only a minimal number of LaTrax cars on the new market. However, LaTrax used to be among the largest producers of RC cars anywhere and had a very extensive lineup of vehicles.
Are they still around if you want to buy a vehicle from LaTrax’s original lineups?
The only new LaTrax RC cars available are the Desert Prerunner racing truck, the Rally rally racer, and the Teton monster truck. If you want to purchase any other RC cars sold under the LaTrax name, the only place to do so is on the second-hand market.
A quick search on eBay shows dozens of listings for LaTrax cars and LaTrax car kits, modifications, spare components, upgrades, and repair kits. This company had so many customers back in the day that LaTrax cars and kits are still very readily available on the second-hand market.
However, if you are looking for an RC car of the same quality and performance, or better, as original LaTrax cars, look at the Traxxas catalog. This company has all the pros of LaTrax cars produced with modern materials and technology.
In the end, the only comparisons that can be made between LaTrax and Traxxas RC cars are old LaTrax cars and new Traxxas cars. That’s an unfair comparison, as Traxxas build vehicles on the cutting-edge of modern RC technology.
LaTrax is now produced by Traxxas, so every new LaTrax car is made at a high standard and performs very well in the RC market. Traxxas is among the best RC car manufacturers in the world, making LaTrax some of the best RC cars along with the entire Traxxas catalog.