The Tyco Transformers Electric Racing Set is a slot car track set manufactured by Tyco Industries under license from Hasbro, and released into the US, UK, and other countries worldwide in 1985.
Wow, what an 80’s double hit! The years between 1985 – 1992 have always been my favorite for both movies, and toys, and this proves once again that it truly was the Golden Era of Tyco!
History and Context
Beginning in 1984, the Transformers toys by Hasbro were a worldwide phenomenon. Excellent action figures in their own right, they were combined with the power of TV advertising and a 98 episode cartoon TV show that ran from 1984 – 1987 (followed by several others), it became a text book example of how to sell toys, one that Tyco themselves would follow with their own Dino Riders toy and cartoon combination.
In an unusual series of events, Tyco would join forces with major competitor Hasbro to create the Transformers Electric Racing Set, no doubt both willing to put down their boxing gloves and embrace the sure-fire mountain of cash that would come their way with such a deal.
As you might expect of any Transformers slot car set, it comes with two slot cars whose bodies can be ‘transformed’ into some fairly awkward looking robots… but transform they do!
The transformation must be done by hand, given the micro size of the cars it wasn’t possible in 1985 to fit in any micro-electronics or tiny springs that would enable them to pop up automatically, but essentially what you have is a couple of Tyco 440 slot cars with mini Transformer toys built into the body. Still pretty cool!
Sadly I’ve not yet got my hands on one of these so I can’t confirm whether it’s a Magnum 440 set, or something unique but I suspect it’s all fairly stock standard for 1985 Tyco slot cars.
Included in the set are one Autobot Mustang and one Decepticon Mustang, named Natron and Freezon. The cars were available to buy individually and were compatible with Tyco’s other slot car sets from the era.
Track and Layout
The transformers slot car track is as simple as it gets; 12 foot long, with no additional props or features other than some included nite-glow tape and guard rails. This is a tiny bit disappointing given the material they had to work with, though I imagine Hasbro made the license so expensive that Tyco had little choice but to keep the set sparse in order to meet a reasonable price point.
This was a set for customers that watched cartoons and ate Jello for breakfast (me), and maybe even some kids too (hah!) so they needed it to be inexpensive, with relatively low margin, and the goal of making their money back on volume and the sale of other Tyco slot cars and accessories.
It’s Transformers, a 1985 Tyco slot car set, and it’s awesome! What’s not to like? Well, it’s not cheap. For a typical used set that’s missing a few pieces and has little Jimmy’s texta marks all over the box, you’re looking at ~$100-150 bucks.
For a new/unopened box we’re talking $350+. Ouch!
But well, it doesn’t get more “Vintage 80s Toy” that this folks, it’s a double whammy, so you’d better start saving that pocket money 😉