Truth be told, I didn’t play with too many toys as a kid. I loved my sandbox, and as much as my mother wanted me to love the elaborate (and now I realize) beautiful dollhouse that was given to me, I was really much more into playing with Hot Wheels. Looking back now, I know that my love of Hot Wheels had much more to do with my brothers. The youngest of three, I had to work hard to find things I could do with them without being so annoying that I got thrown out of the equation. I was a great assistant to the elaborate tracks they would put together.
We would go to Davco (the local toy store in Monticello, New York)…I would look at the Barbies — admire the fashions…and then buy another car. Cars meant entry into the great adventures that went on in our house. It’s probably an exaggeration to say that we had enough track to go throughout the house–but we certainly had enough to make the cars down the staircase! My brothers were pros at making ramps and there was great excitement when the first loops came out. This year Mattel has new Trick Tracks which has lots of the action we worked so hard to get with pillow and books beneath the tracks. Somehow, the new tracks seem like a cheat (to a Hot Wheels purist). We’ll have to see what kids today think! What’s missing from the current line is a track that has lots of length and maybe one or two loops. The recent batch of closed tracks seem more like one trick ponies– they’re cool to watch but they don’t offer the problem solving that most of us remember from our Hot Wheels days.
This year is the 40th anniversary of Hot Wheels–there’s an anniversary that will make many of us pause. Even more amazing–this year Mattel reports that they will produce the 4 billionth car!