QotW: What do you do with dumb car toys?

It’s a problem that never crossed our minds before children, but it’s a real one. Many JNC staffers have kids and we are happily giving them lots of cool Hot Wheels, Matchbox, and other automotive toys (while also reliving our own childhoods). The tots like cars, which is great. Unfortunately, they also have many well-intentioned friends and relatives who know they like cars. The issue here is not so much the gifters, but the fact that there are far too many dumb car toys out there. Most are four wheels under an amorphous blob, but those aren’t even the worst. The worst are cars non-car people think car people like — the Lamborghini Venenos, chrome-wheeled DaimlerChrysler Chargers, and yellow Hummer H2s — or toys that are flat-out wrong, like a V8 RWD Honda Civic.

The kids don’t know any better and are pumped to get them, and soon they start to accumulate piles of unavoidable plastic crap, taking the place of actual good car toys. But you can’t tell people, “Hey, stop buying us crap toys,” and  because they were gifts our spouses have deemed we can’t throw them out. With the holiday season upon us, we’re bracing for another avalanche of bad cars.

What do you do with dumb car toys?

The best comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What’s your fondest auto show memory?“.

Auto Shows of yore were something truly special, and the comments this week only reinforce that idea. Taylor Cheung told heartwarming tale of visiting the SF Auto Show as a kid and now taking his daughter to them. As it happens, both Rainmeister and MikeRL411 had different experiences (from different eras) at the old NY Auto Show. Meanwhile, dankan learned from auto show coverage of cars like the Figaro that you need not have a traditional performance car to have fun.

The winner this week was Ian G, who told the story of how falling in love with the magazine coverage of the 1983 Tokyo Motor Show and the Toyota SV3 concept. The car turned out to be the original Toyota MR2, leading Ian to a life of MR2 ownership, including one example that has stayed in the family since day one:

I was not there for this but I remember reading on R&T & Car and Driver about the 1983 Tokyo Auto Show where they debuted a very nice concept called the SV-3 which ended up being the Toyota MR2. I remember really loving that design even as a young kid. Fast forward a year & a half later seeing an actual MR2 for the first time outside my family’s shop in that glorious blue with Delaware vanity tag “MR2”. I was hooked. My older brother ended up buying a brand new ’86 that I begged him a few years later to let me take to prom.
As an adult, I’ve owned and sold a half dozen MR2’s but still have my brother’s ’86 as my one & only. I still recall being a kid & reading about/drooling over those Auto Show pics from ’83 as the catalyst for my addiction.

Omedetou, your comment has earned you a set of decals from the JNC Shop!

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16 Responses to QotW: What do you do with dumb car toys?

  1. Land Ark says:

    “Most are four wheels under an amorphous blob.”

    ..but enough about modern crossovers and SUVs.

  2. Lee L says:

    Who knows, but could these goofy toys one day inspire some crazy builds from our kids? Kyle from boostedboiz just posted a new video of a tube framed RWD Civic that they’re going to put an LS in.

  3. speedie says:

    I work at a waste to energy plant so my answer is obvious. The plastics have a Btu value of around 10,000 to 15,000 so they burn very well and any metals that don’t burn are recycled. So burn a toy car and produce electricity to power an electric car!

  4. athula wilson says:

    Omedetou, – wonderful story on MR2, i clearly remember seeing the MR2 for the first time on BBC Top Gear in 1984, I have never had one but still love the look of that go-kart,what an amazing design!

    • Ian G. says:

      Thanks. I remember trying to watch all the early coverage on the MKI and of course watching videos on YouTube.

      During the dawn of the internet around 1997, folks would share stories on a message board and drive 3 hours just to meet with other MR2 folks.

      I did not plan on winning the prize as I was just sharing my story. I am still in love with mine. But as much as I do love that boxy 80’s go kart, it is the 3rd generation that I’ve deemed my favorite due to its handling and being a roadster. Sadly I do not currently have one due to how expensive they’ve gotten.

  5. エーイダン says:

    Yeah 500 piece collection in…..keep finding new ones I like…..such as….the Corgi Juniors Ford GT70, Hot Wheels ’99 Civic Type R…Corgi Juniors Vauxhall Nova…..Tomica Pontiac Firebird Trans Am…..Bloody collectibles shops and eBay…..

  6. CycoPablo says:

    There’s always charity donations. Some kids aren’t so fussy!

  7. Nigel says:

    An answer from when I was twelve (still am really). Cherry bomb send off for the real bad ones, and garage sales for the slightly “better” ones. Value Village or United way donations is also a good way to manage.

  8. Broetto Navarro says:

    X-mas time is uppon us.
    Let the x-mas vibes touch your heart and soul.
    Stockpilling on those absurd toy cars will make you a ghoul.
    Those silly toy cars, to a new house must go!
    One’s trash is another one’s gold.
    They may even create a new lover of steel from nippon!

    (This should be read like a cheesy christmas song, yes)

  9. Ben Hsu says:

    These are great, especially the Christmas song, but one issue is spouses that believe because they were gifts (from close relatives) getting rid of them, which includes charity donations, would be rude.

    • Broetto Navarro says:

      As a father of two girls, I can say (based on my experience), that after two or three years of xmas, it becomes easier to reach an agreement point with your partner: Point being, the house becomes clustered of toys!

      Every room you walk in has a dozen (or more) dolls and cars and puzzles and “God-Knows-What-That-Thing-Is” kind of toy.

      This year, me and my wife made some donations to foster houses.
      Including a good ammount of gifts from relatives that I thought were doomed to accompany me and the family for years to come…


  10. Ben E says:

    When I was a kid I hated dumb car toys. Everything had to be realistic and detailed as possible. I started building car models when I was about 12. All the weird gunny and flashy things were gross.

  11. Negishi no Keibajo says:

    I agree with CycoPablo, pay it forward to a kid that can appreciate it for the next chapter. Ben E too; I used to geek out on detailed models or adultish designs over cute, colorful plastic blobs at a pretty young age.

    PS: I can’t reply with my phone at all anymore. Never could joins the forums; I gave up. I’m not the most tech savvy I guess…

  12. f31roger says:

    If it’s a gift, I’ll let my kids play with it (they are 7 and 11 now compared to 2 and 6). We had a lot of those Green Plastic ones (environmental recycled toys) and they were made here in the Bay area.

    We eventually send those to the Philippines (for the family that has little kids).

    I introduced my kids to “cool stuff” (at least in my eyes). I had a ton of wooden train stuff, even some older rare Brio and Thomas the tank engine OG stuff.

    While my little one likes those GI Joe knock off guys from Ross (with their vehicles too), my older one is slightly into diecasts cars and Nanoblocks.

    My eldest wants to restore some Tomica cars that I recently got for that purpose.

  13. Michael K. says:

    The answer is simple. You let the kids bring the dumb toys to school or the park. If they should happen to lose it or it falls off a jungle gym and breaks, then so be it. Nothing of value was lost.

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