Starting in the 1920's, well before radio control cars, hobbyists built and raced nitro burning model cars tethered to a center point like an old Cox airplane. Eventually, there was a commercial market of such size that small manufacturers like Duro-Matic in Los Angeles started producing small numbers for sale. Tether racing is still going strong with world records in the 200+ mph range.
The above McCoy seems to have not met the $2,500-3,500 estimate and went unsold at auction last August.
Link to American Miniature Racing Car Association - Watch the video!