Growing up in the ’80s and early ’90s, Hot Wheels, and Matchbox cars were a big part of my playtime. Both lines produced a lot of really fun cars and playsets, and here are just five of my favorites from the Matchbox side of things through the years. Don’t worry, I’ll cover the Hot Wheels side of things at some point in the near future.
Matchbox Super Spin Car Wash
After a long day of play in the dirt and mud of the hills around our house, a good car wash was just what the cars and trucks needed. This car wash was kind of automatic…as in you had to get the car in the wash and then turn a crank and it would go all the way through. It featured real water jets, a foam roller “scrub” brush, and a spin dry feature. The perfect play set for getting all of your cars clean before packing them away for another day.
Watch the commercial for the Matchbox Super Spin Car Wash HERE
Days of Thunder Cars from Hardees
In 1990, Jerry Bruckheimer’s Days of Thunder movie starring Tom Cruise hit theaters to a great reaction, and merchandise based on the movie started to flow. One of the better pieces of merchandise to come along were the replica cars from Hardees based on the stock cars from the movie. The five main cars featured in the movie were in the set, which allowed us younger viewers of the film to recreate all the action at home.
Matchbox Cars Based on the Code Red Television Show
In 1981, CBS debuted the little-remembered Code Red TV Show. It featured Lorne Green as the Father of a firefighting family in Los Angeles and the Chief of one of the many stations in the city. The show only lasted one season, but Matchbox produced a series of cars featuring the iconic vehicles from the show. There were two fire trucks, the Chief’s car, motorcycle, fireboat, helicopter, ambulance, and police car. As a kid whose Dad was a fireman, this set was one of my absolute favorite toys to play with in the ’80s.
One of the cooler concepts that came along in the 80’s toy landscape were these Connectables cars from Matchbox. Each car was in at least two pieces and connected in the middle. This allowed you to interchange parts of different vehicles to create all new cars and trucks to play with. There were also packs of other car parts available so you could even extend the new cars into total monstrosities if you wanted to! You could make a big rig limo or a drag car with tank treads! With these cars, you could take your imagination and play to a whole other level.
Check out the commercial for Matchbox Connectables here.
Matchbox released a series of train cars in the early ’80s to go along with all of their already awesome car collection. There were various engines in different colors, along with box cars, passenger cars, flat cars, and cabooses. The really fun aspect of this series was you could hook any of the cars to any of the other cars, meaning you could make many different configurations with varying train cars. They weren’t exactly in scale with the rest of the line, as they were each about the size of one of their normal cars. I used to love these things! My brother and I would hook all of ours together and make an imaginary track all through the house. We could get hours and hours of fun out of these trains.
So what about you? Did you have any of these awesome Matchbox toys? Did I leave out your favorite Matchbox toy? Tell me in the comments!
If you’ve enjoyed this look back at some old Matchbox cars, then you’d probably also enjoy looking at Five Fun Hot Wheels Toys as well.