There was just something about toy promotions in the 80s. Really there was! These days sure they still have some at your local fast food chain from time to time but usually they are stiff, immovable, licensed throwaways. The 80s however was a giveaway bonanza! You don’t have to look far on the Retroist site to see the many fabulous gems that were freebies back in the early days of collecting. I loved my Burger King Movie Glasses and Posters! I loved my Wrestling Stickers in specially marked bags of chips, I very much enjoyed that great giveaway in the bottom of a box of cereal! Giveaways came in everything! Hell even Gas Stations had cool giveaways in Canada!! That’s right Gas Stations!
The mid eighties between 84 and 86 ESSO gas Stations while jumping on the Transforming Robot craze that was exploding with Transformers and Go-Bots decided to entice kids to pressure their family to visit ESSO!
While rummaging through my toy bins for my kids in the basement I uncovered an old gem that I had forgotten about and it made me think back to 1985 and a visit to my local ESSO. Yep with one 20 dollar or more fuel up you could get one of these bad boys free! Or buy ’em straight up for 1.99 if your parents were frugal like that!
The signs all over station boasted their latest HOT giveaway..This time it wasn’t a free bottle of oil or windshield wash it was the very Transformers / Go-Bot inspired ESSO ROBOT RACERS!
The Robot Racer series contained 8 transformable robots mainly vehicular in nature and were repainted versions of a Japanese toy called Change Robo.
The series as mentioned above consisted of 8 unique Robot Racers each with their own name and body style. The toys transformed from Robot form into such fun vehicles as..
- Liftor Red/yellow Toyota 4Runner Crane Truck
- Mighty-Man – White Mazda RX-7
- Dromo – Red/yellow Toyota 4Runner Cement Mixer
- Surf-Finder – Yellow Volkswagen Beetle (Bumblebee Rip Off!)
- Command Van – Red/yellow Toyota 4Runner Missile Truck
- Wagon Master – Red Honda City Turbo
- Excelor – Red Nissan 300ZX
- Pro-Ton – Red/yellow Toyota 4Runner Pickup
Robot Racers featured the pull back and go motion and I recall that these things could really move! Their Robotic form left a little to be desired as they were light in the articulation department but fit seamlessly into my Go-Bot collection! I only have two of these left in decent condition but Robot Racers left an impression on me as a kid! You never know where your next childhood memory will come from! Who would have known it would be a gas station!
Till next time Heroes!