Stomper FunX4s were the Ultimate Tiny 4×4 Toy

How many of you remember these toys? They were small motorized trucks that ran on a single AA battery. Strictly speaking, they couldn’t do much, just go in a straight(ish) line, they didn’t have any kind of steering or remote control of any sort. In a child’s imagination though, they could conquer the world! They could crawl over any (small) obstacle placed in their path, pencils & small rocks being the most commonly used ones.

These little trucks were the most fun though when you got the track sets to use them on. The track sets included hills to climb, bridges to cross, 90 degree corners to turn, and 360 degree turn-around pieces. The tracks had high sides to keep the Stompers on the right path, and the 360 turns had a plastic flap to make sure trucks only went in one way (although this created a very narrow passage, which often caused the trucks to get stuck if they didn’t go in at the right angle, or were off-brand ones which were too wide).

I don’t remember precisely when I got my first Stompers, but it was somewhere around the age of 4-6. At about the same time, I also got a short set of track with a hill & a 360 turn:

I had a great deal of fun with this track, but it had one crucial flaw: The track at the back of the ramp would drop down at too steep an angle for the trucks to handle. You always had to find something to prop the track up on & fiddle around until you got a useable slope out of it.

Several years later I got this larger track set, which included 2 ramps, 2 90 degree corners, 2 360 degree turns, and a bridge piece to connect the two ramps. It was fun to let several Stompers loose on the track at once and just watch them go. They would actually stay on the proper side of the track pretty well, only requiring minimal intervention to keep things in motion.

Early models were very basic, just an on/off switch. Later models added a second speed, and headlights. They also came with two sets of tires, one set was fairly stiff rubber, intended for outdoor use, while the other was lightweight foam, intended for indoor use. I could never see the point in the foam tires though, and always just used the rubber ones.

They also had offshoot lines, including construction vehicles, motorcycles, jumbo versions, land/sea versions, and others (including truck pull sets).

The product changed hands numerous times over the years, sometimes changing names in the process (which adds confusion, since there were also competing products produced by unrelated companies & sold alongside the official ones). Stompers are currently being produced by Tinco Toys.

I leave you with this vintage commercial:

Drahken

Team Retroist Chief Nostalgia Psychic...

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9 thoughts on “Stomper FunX4s were the Ultimate Tiny 4×4 Toy

  1. After all my friends got Stompers, I begged my mom for one. She got me one at one of those bargain discount stores. When I got it home, the rear wheels wouldn’t turn. I think I owned the world’s only “front wheel drive Stomper”. Does that make it a 2×4 or a 4×2?

    My friends and I spent several weeks making the ultimate Stomper track in my neighbor’s backyard. Using a small gardening hand shovel we dug a trench with high walls that worked like those tracks did. It had hills and curves and was probably, gosh, 20 or 30 yards long.

    My gimpy two-wheel drive Stomper could never make it up the big hill. Suck.

  2. Drahken says:

    I also had a matchbox knockoff, “rough riders”. Rough rider had a gimmick where they had conical hubcaps, which allowed the vehicle to run sideways wheelies. Unfortunately, those hubcaps made them too wide for the 360 turns in stomper tracks, and too wide to have any other vehicle pass it on the straight stretch.

  3. I only had one (rough rider) but it was knight rider, it had a shifter on top and had the little light in front an everything. My friend had the General Lee.

  4. Had races with them in Junior high. Some would fiddle with the plastic gears in them to get them to go faster.

    My secret was to use rechargable AA batteries in them – they had a higher voltage output then regular batteries. Fun until you burn the engine up… Eventually….

  5. Man oh man did I want that KNIGHT RIDER and I wasn’t aware there was a General Lee but I would have killed for both. I had a plain old Stomper truck and I loved it to pieces.

  6. Drahken says:

    My rough rider was just the basic one. I think I might have had 2 of them though, because I seem to recall both a trans-am type and an SUV type. I didn’t have any of the big shifter ones though, nor any licensed ones like knight rider & general lee.

    No one else that I knew had any stompers/rogh riders of any kind.

  7. garsh says:

    Eventually, I ended up cracking my stompers open to extract the sweet, juicy electric motors for use in other things.

    Today, everyone I know understands what I mean when I routinely refer to my Isuzu Trooper as “the stomper”.

  8. Drahken says:

    I wound up taking the motors out too, but only after they quit working. Unfortunately, I had nothing that I could do with the motors, so they’d sit in the bottom of my toybox until they got lost or intentionally discarded.

  9. Wow…blast from the past. How many young girls got their hair irrevocably wound into the relentless gears of the diminutive Stomper 4×4 in our elementary school? One of my most vivid memories from 1st grade is a small girl arguing with a boy on the playground…he promptly turned on his Stomper and plopped it right into the middle of her golden curls. Tears, laughter and the school nurse with a pair of scissors soon followed.

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