We don't start to love cars when we turn sixteen and get our licenses; we start with little Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars. Here are Jalopnik readers' favorites.
Welcome back to Answers of the Day — our daily Jalopnik feature where we take the best ten responses from the previous day's Question of the Day and shine it up to show off. It's by you and for you, the Jalopnik readers. Enjoy!
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Photo Credit: Wink
10.) Majorette Limo
Suggested By: Kate's Dirty Sister
Why it's cherished: What's great about toy cars is they don't have to be super fast performance editions to get us excited. These limos had extra-squishy springs and a sunroof that opens and closes! That's all it took for us to love them.
Photo Credit: wcsalisbury1 /eBay
9.) Ford Escort Cosworth RS
Suggested By: Rooster Cogburn
Why it's cherished: You can dream of driving fast with any toy car, but some actively encouraged young hoons to go wild, like reader spayum and his big wing Escort Cosworth.
It was given to me on my first birthday, and it's always been my favorite. When I was 5, my dad saw me playing with it, and taught me the term "Rev limiter"..... and then watched as I spent the next month drifting the car around the living room going BRRAAAAP DADADA BRAAAAP DA DAADADADA BRAAAP DA DADADA DADA DA BRAAAAAAP DOUUUUUUU *POP POP CRACKLE POP* BRAAAAAAAP DADADA BRAAAAAAAAP.
Photo Credit: spayum
8.) 1984 Mercedes-Benz 500SEC
Suggested By: mingoesbueno
Why it's cherished: We miss the solidity of old, metal toy cars. We miss their working doors and all the different colors each model came in, just like these old Mercs did. They had really satisfying suspension, too.
Photo Credit: mingoesbueno
Suggested By: PlayerWAN
Why it's cherished: The old toy Hummers were the heaviest toy cars any of us had, at least when they still made these Hummers out of metal. That meant they always rolled the farthest, and were thus the best.
Photo Credit: justtoy/eBay
Suggested By: Dealkiller the Very Tired
Why it's cherished: The Cosmobile had lasers on it. As reader Dealkiller the Very Tired explains, that's more than enough to make it our favorite.
My Cosmobile was the most awesome Matchbox ever made. Why, you ask? Because it had lasers on top, rocket thrusters at the back end, and always, always landed wheels down when zooming over the space cushions on the couch. I still have it, and it sits in my son's room with all the other cars I've kept since the early 1970's.
Matchbox was the best when they were made in Jolly Old England. They haven't been the same since Mattel bought them out.
Photo Credit: wreck
5.) VW Baja Bug
Suggested By: uscg_pa
Why it's cherished: Reader uscg_pa grew up with a toy VW Baja Bug and loved it so much he's gone on to buy two real baja bugs.
Photo Credit: PMC 1stPix
4.) Citroën DS
Suggested By: owen-magnetic
Why it's cherished: There are many reasons to love the Citroën DS: the futuristic design, the complex and comfortable hydropneumatic suspension, and the general Gallic strangeness of it. Reader owen-magnetic has a more personal connection to his 30-year-old Matchbox.
I'm 35, but when I was a kid I had this old Lesney Citroen that I took everywhere. One day (i must have been around 5) we were driving to my grandparents' house and as we went over the old wood-plank bridge I dropped it out the window and into the river.
my dad stopped the car and we went back and it just so happened some kids were swimming in the river and one of them found it on the bottom of the river and brought it back up to us. We started calling it The-Car-That-Wouldn't-Stay-Away, which is pretty much a recurring issue for Jalopniks. I still have it too.
...sorry, I have something in my eye...
Photo Credit: owen-magnetic
3.) BMW 2002
Suggested By: Ash78
Why it's cherished: Toy cars at first seem like they're all about owning little versions of big cars you can't afford. You think everyone will want tiny models of McLarens and Ferraris. Reader Ash78 explains how the stories about the cars are what's important.
1968 BMW 2002...because saying "Bimmer" was one of my son's first two-syllable words after "daddy." Honorable mention to the Aston-Martin DBS, named "Aston."
And the really fun part of parenting is teaching him the difference between "CAR" and "TRUCK" based on details such as whether it's unibody, inherently RWD, has actual towing capability, etc.
These are things the parenting books never prepare you for. Thankfully he saw a Ridgeline the other day and said "Car." It made me smile.
Photo Credit: Ash78
2.) Mazda Miata
Suggested By: Jackie
Why it's cherished: When we're little kids, toy cars serve as stand-ins for the cars we dream of driving. When we get older, they can stand for cars we used to own and help us through our nostaliga, as reader Jackie explains.
Several years ago, I was lucky enough to buy a raggedy '91 Miata from a close friend of mine (for all of $700, no less.) She had nicknamed it Li'l Red, but it quickly became known to me as "The Mistress", since I would "cheat" on my daily driver with her on the weekends. Although I only really drove the car for a couple of months, I loved her to death — she essentially taught me how to drive — and love — manual transmissions. Another friend managed to convince me to sell the car to him (for $700), which I foolishly agreed to. As soon as the car drove away, I knew I had made a mistake.
Later on that Thanksgiving, I was invited to a party organized by the local Miata club. The guy who invited me saw me drive up in my other car and asked me what happened to my little red Miata, to which I sorrowfully told him that I had sold it and regretted it immediately. He took so much pity on me that he gave me one of the little Hot Wheels Miatas the club was using for table decorations.
Staring at that little toy Miata, driving it around the desk on slow days was a big part of what drove me to save up and buy a new one (which I did in '09.) Although I love my '09 dearly, part of me will always remain my original '91, and the Hot Wheels car serves as a reminder of how much fun I had with my first proper sports car.
Photo Credit: Thorsten Haustein
1.) Hot Wheels Twin Mill
Suggested By: DennyCraneDennyCraneDennyCrane
Why it's cherished: Custom cars got pretty crazy in the ‘60s. This was perfect for toy car makers, because they could think up toys crazier than anyone building full size customs in the real world. Hot Wheels made the Twin Mill, with two engines side-by side. It turned out so awesome that Hot Wheels made a real one.
Photo Credit: Scott Lowe