Five Fun Matchbox Toys

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 in this edition of Retro Ramblings, I’m sharing a few of my favorite toys from the Matchbox side of things through the years.  


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.

Matchbox Connectables

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 Trains

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!

Weekend Reading 12/26/21

Welcome back once again to The Weekend Edition. It’s where I share with you my curated list of retro and nostalgia-themed stories and articles I’ve run across in my travels around the world wide web in the last week.

Here are five things I wanted to share with you this week…

TBS Christmas Creatures Features From 1992

TBS was one of my favorite TV channels in the late ’80s and the early ’90s, so I like to go back in time and talk about the things that made me love it so much. I’ve even given this stuff its own category…TBS Time Machine!

Am I the only one who fondly remembers TBS back in the days before it was a self-branded comedy channel? The days before the two-hour binge blocks of semi-modern sitcoms dominated their time slots?

The good old days of TBS were filled with off-beat movies from the expansive Turner library, and the programmers behind the channel used to come up with any and all reasons to group movies together and put them on the air. Like this special day of programming for Christmas in 1992. All it took was a little alliteration combining the words “Christmas” and “Creatures” and they had a theme. Then, they just had to search their library for movies that fit that theme.

The movies featured on Christmas Day 1992 were At the Earth’s Core, The Last Dinosaur, and The Golden Voyage of Sinbad. Three movies that probably haven’t been shown on television since. But that was the beauty of TBS back then. Where else would something like The Beastmaster get played at least once a month, and get promoted in bumpers as a “can’t miss” event?

If I could go back in time to 1992, my TV would certainly be tuned to TBS at 10:05 eastern, and that’s where the dial would have stayed until the end of the marathon. I actually looked into making this come to life this year for Christmas by purchasing the three movies, but I had two problems with that. One, I would have had to put out a little more money than I wanted to recreate this, and two, I realized that part of the magic would be missing, as my marathon wouldn’t be filled with those glorious old TBS bumpers for other movies coming throughout the week and would have felt flat as a result.

It wasn’t necessarily the movies themselves that made it special, it was the whole package. And that’s why I lament the loss of the old TBS.