My suggestion for you is to start off with something that is RTR (Ready To run). You [usually] get a car that is prebuilt with a radio installed, batteries, charger, servo, esc, motor and pre-painted body.
If you don' get a RTR car then you have to buy everything separately and you will exceed your $800 budget.
If you start off with an RTR car and you bash it around, when it breaks, and it WILLLL break, you will go to your Local hobby Shop (LHS) and get replacement parts and FIX IT YOURSELF.
Every single aspect of this hobby requires: tuning, setup, soldering, screwing, unscrewing, again and again and again. Every single aspect requires tuning and tweaking from putting a car kit together all the way to trimming, painting and fitting a lexan body. If you don't have the proper scissors or xacto knife this will be a COMPLETE failure.
I think something like this will be a good start for you:
100 guys here will argue to get HPI, Yokomo, etc.. It doesn't matter, if you want to spend less money, do it If you want to spend more, go for it. I like Team associated stuff, very solid stuff and and easy to get a hold of replacement parts when stuff breaks.
It sounds like you know nothing about the hobby and I will go over a few main things. I am an amateur so please insert comments and correct me just don't be rude.
VERY SIMPLE EXPLANTIONS:
ESC - Electronic speed controller - Accepts signal from your radio for throttle/braking. basic ESC's will do just that the better, more expensive ESC's are fully programmable, have smoother operation, faster response, accepts sensored and not sensored motors, etc..
Motor - makes your car go
- Brushed - motors have brushes that have to be replaced every several runs
- Brushless - Motors are brushless and no need for constant maintenance
Motors are rated in terms of turns, rpms, etc...
Trasmitters - They have AM, FM and 2.4ghz. Think about it like a regular radio, AM sounds like crap, FM is better and 2.4 is like HD radio, the best. If you are on AM or FM you have crystals with channels on them so if your radio is channel 27 and you go to a track, park or whatever and someone there also has a 27mhz crystal your cars will go crazy cuz of the interference. 2.4ghz are the best, the radio talks to the receiver in the car and they find a channel that isn't being used and you will have less interference.
If you get an RTR car you can enjoy it immediately, once you learn how everything works you can start upgrading by getting a new body, a brushless motor and esc combo, lipo batteries, new radio, etc...
When you have upgraded the car by yourself and you want to get a new car you buy a new chassis and you can just take out all of the electronics out of your car and drop it in your car. You can have one ESC and change the motors as you need to. You may enter a race where you have to use a 17.5 turn motor this makes it fair where everyone uses the same turn motor, you can get a novak or a tekin or whatever, they may both be 17.5 but one can get to the higher rpm's faster which may make you faster.
When purchasing an esc make sure it accepts lipo batteries, brushless motors and check the maximum Turn Motors the ESC will handle. You can get a package, motor and esc combo for a good price.
I jumped from car to buggy, to car, from Nitro to Electric and never really drove anything long enough to learn how to really drive and set anything up so I sold almost everything I have and bought myself a setup for an on-road electric and will only concentrate on that. When I learn that I will upgrade to a better roller.
Someone's signature on this forum is "This hobby will $5 buck me to death
" and he is 100% right!
You want a new body, you need a body, reamer, scissors, sand paper or dremel tool, paint, xacto knife and paint, do you want 1 color, 3 colors, a flip flop paint scheme, racing stripes, liquid masking tape to make your own designs, you cut out a body wrong and you need a new one. To make a body your into it almost $100 or just buy a painted body by a pro like Phat Skeems for around $65 or whatever the going rate is nowadays.
you want a new motor and esc and you get a combo but it has no connectors attached so you need a soldering gun, flux, solder, connectors a steady hand and patience lol
Make youtube your friend, there are guys there that show you how to score a lexan body with an xacto knife and then just break it apart and it works great. You can learn from youtube, pros, friends, forums but you will only learn when you try. The first time I took my $2000 Mugen MRX-5 1/8 scale Nitro out on the road I drove it as slow as possible because one wrong turn and BOOM need to spend $100 in parts. I crashed it bad after 5 minutes, went to the hobby shop spent over $150 - I was not happy.
One more note - If you will mostly be driving on regular roads, streets, parks, etc... there will be little pebbles everywhere and that will cause damage to your motors, belts, shaft drives, etc... So if you will just be bashing get a 4wd RTR: http://www.amainhobbies.com/product_...ggy-Type-4-RTR
1/10 scale is like the main scale or at least I consider it to be the main scale. 1/8 scale is more advanced, 1/12 is usually carpet racing, and anything smaller is fun to tease your dog and/or cat lol. 1/18 racing is fun. racing the Tamiya Mini is really big in this hobby. they have mini-z racing which are tiny little cars and they have small tracks with competitive racing.