Home » Seven Car-Related Toys That Are Perfect Gifts For Kids Or For You To Take When The Kids Aren’t Not Looking

Seven Car-Related Toys That Are Perfect Gifts For Kids Or For You To Take When The Kids Aren’t Not Looking

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It’s Cyber Monday! If you told me that Cyber Monday would be A Thing one day way back in, say, 1989 or so, I’d have imagined something way cooler than a bunch of bored people sitting in offices and ordering stuff from e-catalogs on their computers. Cyber Monday should at least involve a bunch of robots chasing you or some sort of digitization beam that transfers you directly into a computer. Something like that. But, that’s not where history led us, so why fight it? It’s a day when people tend to buy holiday gifts online, so I’m going to use my expertise to give you a bunch of fun gift suggestions for car-related toys and games and whatever. Also: If you buy some of these, we, The Autopian, get a little bit of money kicked back. That’s right, this is a profit deal, I’m not gonna lie about it! Besides, there’s good stuff here!


Airfix Quickbuild Model Kits


Our own social media golem, Peter, sent me one of these – the one you see here, in fact, the yellow Beetle – and I was really taken by how easy and fun this kit was. I put it together with my kid Otto (we’ll have a silly little video of it soon) and I was really impressed with the novel assembly method used. Really, it’s Lego-based! Ever since Lego’s fundamental patents for their interlocking brick system expired, there have been more and more Lego-compatible knockoffs, but this use of Lego Tech may be the best.

It doesn’t look Lego, but it’s in there. The end result is surprisingly good! These are fun, and there’s a good variety of kits available.

Rocket Craft Custom Plush Cars


Okay, this one we don’t get any kickback from, but I’ve been shilling for Rocket Craft, a maker of plush cars, engines, trains, buses and whatever out of Japan for years of making lists like these just because I love the work they do so much. They make plush vehicles with a remarkable degree of detail and care, with a perfect eye for what parts or proportions should be exaggerated, which bits need the most detailed needlework, and so on. They’re charming and fun and like nothing else out there.

Tiny Pole Position

PolepositionAs someone who spent a lot of my youth being ditched in arcades for hours at a time while my parents did who knows what, I have to say that we live in an absolutely incomprehensible Golden Age of video games right now. And I’m not even talking about modern stuff like Xboxen or Stations of Play or anything like that; even the retro stuff is amazing now, like how an ’80s era arcade video game machine can be perfectly replicated by something I bet I could get my dog to swallow.

So, with that in mind, why deny yourself or a child you know the magic of playing the arcade first-person driving game classic Pole Position, but small enough to fit in your hand?

Have you seen these things? They have full-color LCD screens with nearly the same resolution and quality as their full-sized arcade inspirations. It’s bonkers. This one even has a steering wheel (well, it may be more like a wheel-shaped joystick, but still) and the gameplay is shockingly good. Here, look at a video:

What an age we live in.

Oh, also, these usually have multiple games in them, and if you open them up and play with some jumpers, you can access them all! Google it. I’ve done it with one of the Pac-Man ones.

Great Die-Cast Models Of Boring, Crappy, Or Under-Appreciated Cars

UnloveddiecastWhy set the expectations of the children in your life to unrealistic standards? Don’t give these kids Lamborghinis and Bentley toys, leading them to think such excesses are actually attainable; help them to develop an appreciation for cars they have a chance in hell of actually owning, like maybe some old AMCs or a grocery-getter Honda or some other unloved crap/treasures. There’s many options out there! Explore and go nuts with mundanity!

Candylab Toy Cars, Especially The One I Helped Design!

BeachbusI’m not sure if anyone remembers, but last year I announced that a toy bus/van/truck I designed in cooperation with the amazing Candylab Toys was available! It was great! Unfortunately, VW kind of got all pissy so it’s not officially available at the moment, but I bet you can find it some places. If you look.

Of course, Candylab has many, many other options if you want to play it safe, and they’re all fantastic and have that minimalistic, charming aesthetic that’s their trademark.

Besides, there’s lots of buses that looked like that. VW is assuming a lot, I think.


Model Engines

EnginekitWho doesn’t like model car engines, especially ones that move? Jerks, that’s who. Miserable, sour-faced jerks. You don’t want the kids in your life to grow up to be like that, do you? Of course you don’t. That’s why you need to get them some top-notch model engine kits. Like this air-cooled Porsche-like flat-6. Or a classic V8. Or a workhorse inline-4! These could help you understand your car better, too, and are perfect to bring along with you to your mechanic as you try to convince them that replacing those bearings can’t cost that much.

RC Cars With Cameras

RccarcamDid you know these were A Thing? Remote-control cars with cameras built into them, so when you drive them from your phone it feels like you’re inside the car? This one can even broadcast your voice and has a functional roof rack so you can use it to deliver snacks or drugs or small animals or whatever to your friends and family. Again, the world may be a mess, but the toys and crap that are available now, for pretty cheap, is just staggering.

This is a great time to be a kid who loves cars. Or a former kid. Point is, go nuts, and enjoy the bounty!

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17 Responses

  1. The prices on many of those diecasts are a little high. I can find most of them at the lical drug stores for around $6.99.

    That AMC Hornet is a toss-up. I know Corgi made a Hornet back in the 1970s, so I;m hoping that’s from a warehouse backstock to justify the price. If it’s a new Corgi casting, $9-10 should be the correct price.

    I’ve been collecting diecasts for 48 years now, so I’m very wary of internet prices.

  2. This article made me check, and sure enough, Revell is apparently still producing the original old-school visible V8 engine model. In all of its ancient, outdated glory!

    Also, years back after a discussion with a colleague about how he was always disappointed that toy cars were usually high end performance vehicles which never spoke to him, I blew his mind by leaving him a brand new Hot Wheels Honda Odyssey on his desk. He still has it.

  3. I have two of those “1:32 compatible” (actually 1:25, which I prefer and was a pleasant surprise) Honda Fits along with a “big” one. And I had to order one of the Toyota minivans.

    1. My Great-Uncle Willie (western Maryland born and raised) got me the Hess vehicle of the year from the time I was about 3 until he passed a few years ago. They are really an excellent example of attention to detail and fantastic creativity in model vehicle design!

  4. I had several of the remote controlled cars over the years. Very frustrating because my dog would eat the tires off them, or steal the weed in the bed of the trucks. F that! But yeah, I grew up with the Corgi cars, Matchbox, et.all and those were so cool. Miss being a kid a lot. Now I have about 2K die cast that all live in a closet in the extra bedroom. Because my farggin’ dog ruined all the display cases….Life can be hard.

  5. I love the picture of the kid with a cig. Reminds me of me back in ’82, when I would go to Hess and be able to buy some Marlboros for a buck.

    1. I was at a rest area in Georgia about five years ago and there were candy cigarettes in the vending machine. I had no idea anyone would still make those.

      1. I found some at a candy store recently. Even though I’m an avid non-smoker who understands why they went away, I still have a lot of nostalgia for them.

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