When I was a kid, any toy car that you didn’t have to push was high tech. And the coolest go-anywhere cars were Stompers. Two speeds, four-wheel drive, interchangeable bodies and tires, and attitude a plenty.
I had all but washed away the memory of Stompers trucks until my son received a motorized toy dump truck a few weeks back. The thing was four-wheel drive and had a switch that decoupled the motor from the wheels to allow for freewheeling action. Flipping that switch unleashed a flood of recollection. Saturday-morning commercials. Battery-powered trucks. Foam tires. Stompers.
I’ll admit that I lusted after many toys—the result of brain-worm commercials interspersed among my favorite morning and afternoon animated shows. But I remember especially wanting Stompers. I got a few, eventually, and they were everything I hoped for and more. The little things were powered by a single AA battery and could climb over pretty much any obstacle. And when the battery ran out, you could always flip the switch and fall back on pushing the them and making engine noises.
Stompers were released in 1980 and were produced for more than a decade by several different manufacturers. The first line of Stompers were produced by Schaper and had a direct-drive transmission without any freewheeling. Stomper IIs, the model I’m most familiar with, had two forward speeds and freewheeling. There were also big rigs, construction vehicles, tanks, and various other awesome military vehicles.
After I had abandoned Stompers for remote-control cars, Tyco took over and created amphibious Stompers. The brand was sold to Dreamworks and then Peachtree Playthings before almost disappearing altogether.
Today Tinco Toys still makes Stompers and you can get them at Toys “R” Us and online. I know with a certainty, that my son will be getting a few Stompers for his birthday. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll share them with him.
Source: Stomper 4×4