I have a very eclectic collection of toy cars, as is probably the case with most people. This is extremely easy to do as most of these cars cost right around US$1 brand new, or maybe US$5 for something more expensive, and garage sales act as a breeding ground for discarded Hot Wheels. I was never the sort to let anything go, so I bought what I could when I could and had as many birthdays as I was legally allowed within a single year.
This was my favorite car, almost for no apparent reason to speak of. I've always liked Jeeps and thought this one was particularly cool, perhaps because the hood could flip up, like so:
Whoa! I know, let's not get crazy now! Phew, okay, regained my composure. I called this Jeep with the flipping hood "Trick Racer," even though he wasn't great with tricks, wasn't faster than any other car, and didn't usually make the loop when trying his hand on the track (he was a male car, by the way). No, all of Trick Racer's greatness was in my head as I'd have him flip around and fight evil cars. He was the hero of a car city, which I think I just called "Car City," possibly "Car Land." Hey, all my creativity was used up making this beater Jeep flip around and fly.
Like all of my favorite toys, I selected a sidekick character, and this happened to be Trick Racer's sidekick, probably named "Chuckie" for no obvious reason. This little gold car wasn't made by either Hot Wheels or Matchbox, with the only indication of a company of origin being "China," which happens to be a very large company if you haven't heard.
Of all the villain cars they could face, the usual band of baddies consisted of cars that didn't look like cars at all. This here was a car that looked like a dragon doing a crabwalk. Also, this car had articulation: the neck swiveled back and forth! Articulation is awesome! A bit strange that a car would have articulation like that, but whatever. Notice the purple car in the background (I'd named it "The Phantom Car" or some such), and the snake car right next to it. The snake and the shark cars were the Bebop and Rocksteady of my car adventures.
In addition to the bad side's forces, I had a car that was also a robot with a blaster, though nothing fancy like Transformers or even Go-Bots or anything. It was just a car that drove around and then could stand up and hold a blaster in such a way that it points at nobody. Well, almost nobody. I made it shoot straight forward, physics be damned! That police car in the back right was the main police force of this town by the way. He was completely ineffective unless Trick Racer showed up.
Come to think of it, I never knew that this was a race car for Hardees. Is Hardees even still a thing? I have no clue, but I never gave a name to this one, even though it had a name plastered on the side. Trick Racer would encounter this car a lot, mostly just for casual races and a healthy rivalry. "Nameless Hardees Car" would never actually help solve crimes though, as he needed a truck to get around, making him cool but worthless on a crime scene.
Then there was this beast, or rather, "Night Runner." Also never noticed the actual name on the side of the car, this was a monster truck that sometimes aided the hero and sometimes crushed Chuckie just because Chuckie was getting too cocky, and only Trick Racer was ever permitted to be really cocky. Well, except for an episode or two where Trick Racer suggested he was going to retire and leave the task of trick racing up to Chuckie, though with Chuckie being unable to live up to the legendary status, Trick Racer would always come out of retirement at the last second to save the day. That was a very common theme in my plotlines for some reason. Huh, never realized that.
It would take someone even cooler than Trick Racer to ever snag the spotlight for a full episode or two, and the Mach 5 was just such a special car that a miniseries had to be done purely to contain all that was cool. Trick Racer lost to the Mach 5 at least twice, but the miniseries ended with Trick Racer stealing the Mach 5's sawblades and using them to defeat the dragon car and his cronies, thus reclaiming his title as Trick Racer and coming out of retirement once again.
I'll just leave you with something to think about. Who would win in a fight between the Batmobile and a tank? Think hard. In the meantime, why not share some of your memories of Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars? And if you're really good, I may just someday start recording these odd plotlines with voices and everything. Until then, here's a short video to chew on, though I had camera troubles and as a result the end gets lopped off and the audio goes weird when the tow truck appears. Always the tow truck:
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