Ah toy cars. One of two things that defined my childhood. The love affair with toy cars started almost at the same time as my love for videogames started. Fascinated by cars, I would amass a collection that would dominate any other collection I had involving toys. Making them speed across the floor, jumping off furniture, or crashing them into other cars, these were my go-to forms of entertainment when videogames weren’t around. Things got awesome when I would come to own two stunt sets in the Hot Wheels toy line, which we’ll cover today. So on this Retro Weekend, we talk about those two stunt sets.
“There’s Toy Cars All Over The Floor!”
As stated in the intro paragraph, I had a huge toy car collection, and I mean huge! I’m not sure of the exact number, but it probably exceeded over 100. I remember having this big toy chest shaped like a football, and in it would be all these cars. There were other toys as well, but some cars here and there would be visible in the pile. And of course since I was a kid, bedroom upkeep was probably not my #1 concern, so there would be a bunch of cars in places they probably shouldn’t have been, like on the floor. Along with Lego bricks, stepping on these cars were painful.
One common scenario I’d play with these cars involved driving them off furniture Chicken-style. Sounds horrifying in hindsight, but there was some strange enjoyment of seeing the cars fly through the air. The crash part was funny, but the flight probably piqued my interest more. The other scenario involved crashing the cars into in each other. So as you can see, this is what we boys did before Burnout would make it a thing. As for where I got my toy cars, they would come from anywhere. Some would come from stores in the 138th Street shopping district in The Bronx, some from 99 cent stores, some found by my father on the street, and some passed down to me by neighborhood friends if they moved. When playing with these cars, I would have to use my imagination to paint the scenarios. But after getting bored, it was time to put some props to lay down the cars on. This is where the G-Force and Wild Wave stunt sets would enter the picture.
My first contact with the stunt sets probably happened tangentially. I didn’t know of these specific sets through commercials, but I did see other sets that would zip cars though the tracks, like Criss-Cross-Crash. My acquisition of both of these sets would come at two different times. I saw the Hot Wheels G-Force Stunt Set at the toy section of the Fat Albert store between St. Anne and Cypress Ave. in The Bronx and hinting that I wanted it. My mom didn’t buy it for me then, but she would go on to get me the set for my birthday. This was followed up by the Wild Wave stunt set I ended up getting for Christmas that same year. As pictured above, it was kinda cool seeing the set appear in Toy Story.