Hobby Products International or HPI of Foothill Ranch, California, USA is a manufacturer of on- and off-road radio-controlled cars, both electric and nitromethane powered.
The company, originally an export firm, was founded in 1986 by Tatsuro Watanabe and a partner, each with a total investment of US $100 each. Their original office in Costa Mesa, California measured only 300 square feet. A line of electric R/C motors called the Uno series were among the first products offered by HPI. Buoyed by the success of the Uno, HPI opened a small office in Japan that same year.
1987 would see world champion driver Masami Hirosaka use an Uno in his first IFMAR World Championship win in England.
By 1988, the burgeoning RC aftermarket proved to be a boon to HPI USA as they started exporting popular American-made R/C products to Japan, including such familiar brands as MIP, Peak Performance and Paragon.
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