Hot Wheels Sto and Go Playsets

Oh man, what a rush of nostalgia this past weekend. I’m sitting on the couch watching college football, and at the same time, checking out the TRN Slack Channel. It’s where everyone at The Retro Network congregates online and share all kinds of retro stuff and family life with each other.

So anyway, I’m checking it out and come across a picture that Jason had posted of his latest thrift store find. It was the Hot Wheels Sto and Go “City” playset. This particular playset holds a special place in my nostalgic heart for reasons I’ll explain in just a bit, but first, let me explain what a Sto and Go playset was for those who may not know.

In the early 1980s Hot Wheels started releasing their Sto and Go playsets. It was a playset that doubled as its own carry case. You could carry it around and when you wanted to play, you just popped it open, pulled out some cars, and away you went on whatever adventure your mind could come up with. All of the Sto and Go playsets had a theme.

The first one released was the Service Center. My brother owned this one and being in the same house, of course, I got to play with it. It was more fun than just imagining that you were taking your cars to the gas station or to get them washed, but in comparison to the other sets they would release, I found it a little lacking in the fun department.

The only one I personally owned was the Construction Site playset. It was great fun when you owned numerous construction vehicles as I did. That crane you see in the picture was the most fun part of it. I used that crane to lift so much stuff to the top of the playset, that I almost broke it on numerous occasions. When the weather was bad, and I couldn’t take my construction cars outside, I could always bust this out and let the good times continue.

The City Sto and Go playset was the one I really adored. Neither me nor my brother owned it, but it was one of the “community” toys that were at my grandparent’s house. The buildings that this playset had look a whole lot like the buildings on main street in Hazard County from the Dukes of Hazzard TV show. My cousins and I all had the ERTL Dukes of Hazzard cars, and I was always sure to take mine along for a visit to the grandparents. We’d take this playset outside with our Dukes cars. Being how most of Hazzard County seemed to have dirt roads, we’d set the city playset up in the middle of the action, and then incorporate all the dirt and grass around it as the rest of Hazzard County. The garage that says “Fire Station” above it became Cooter’s garage, and the Police Station was still the Police station where Roscoe’s car stayed when he wasn’t chasing the Duke boys. We had so much fun out of this playset, that one of my cousins and I still talk about it to this day.

Hot Wheels put out several more Sto and Go sets through the years, but these were the only three I ever had the joy of playing with. There was another one of them that really caught my attention, and to this day, I still hate that I never got to play with it. It was the Sto and Go Freight Yard. I’ll leave you with a picture of it, but I’ll save my thoughts on it until the next “Toys I Never Had” post.

5 thoughts on “Hot Wheels Sto and Go Playsets

  1. Ooh, I had the Service Center one when I was pretty young. I don’t think I quite understood what some of the stuff was for at the time, until I got older.

  2. Hot Wheels fell between my youth and that of my boys, so I never really got into them…though I do recall messing around with those of my pals’ younger siblings. I lived the way those wheel spun so freely. There was just something so sadly satisfying watching them almost glide over a kitchen floor!

    (I’m always amazed at how you get your hands on these things … and charity shop / boot sale I go to, there is never anything half as cool as you seem to pick up! ) 😉

  3. If ever come across the railroad or construction playsets, I may fall out on the floor. As lucky as I’ve been to find the service station and city, I’m not ruling it out now.

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