Thursday, April 19, 2012

Road Rovers and Funkymobiles

In 1974, Kansas City, Missouri-based greeting card giant HALLMARK licensed a line of die-cast metal cartoony-looking cars from LJN Toys in New York. They called them ROAD ROVERS (linkand gave them all silly names like Scuttle Bug and Little Dumpy. They were cute, lumpy, brightly painted and one of my early memories of childhood fun. I did not own any at the time, but played with my next door neighbor who had some. I remember them being kinda cold and heavy. And they sorta looked like they were made of Play-Doh.

Initially 10 cars were produced in a limited run. They were made in Hong Kong and individually hand-painted, so each one was slightly unique. They were packaged on individual blister cards with really cool 1970's style art (current for it's time). It's kind of a mix of The Adventures of Letterman cartoons from original The Electric Company series and Heinz Edlemann's designs for The Beatles Yellow Submarine animated film. The artwork was so cheerful and appealing I wanted to shrink myself down and run around in the little Road Rover's world. Well instead, I just played with them in mine

Now what's interesting to collectors today is that in the 1974 series, they introduced a pink and yellow car called Rosey Racer. Perhaps because of it's feminine name and color scheme, the predominantly young male market was not that interested in Rosey and it sold poorly enough to get a face lift and a name change for the 1975 revamped line of Road Rovers. Of course today, little Rosey is the crown jewel of many a collection due to it's rarity. 

Here's all 10 of the original '74 line-up featuring: Fuzz Mobile, Scuttle Bug, Flash the Garbage Eater, Banana Bus, Blue Blob, Firey Fred, Little Dumpy, Red Rover, Rosey Racer, and Merry Mover.




Inexplicable minutia: Scuttle Bug, Banana Bus and Bue Blob have white cardboard floors inside their clear bubble. And Merry Mover does not have "NON TOXIC" written on the package (and it also features a different font). 

The reverse side features a complete checklist of all 10 cars available at that time and the slogan "The Biggest Thing Yet in Tiny Car Fun!".

In 1975, the Rovers were relaunched (more widely this time) with 9 of the original 10 Rovers, while poor Rosey had her pink parts painted dark brown and her yellow bits red. And wahla... Fudge Drudge was born. Plus two new cars were added to the line. (Purple Squash and Chocolate Mouse). Another change was the packaging. Instead of blister cards, Hallmark sold them in little "garage" style boxes that featured a clear plastic slipcover that slid open to let the little car out. But could also be used to store the car back inside when not being played with. Reusable packaging! And they looked cool too. Utilizing the same basic fun artwork only now revamped to fit a 3D wraparound box. Here's all 12 of the popular 1975 series (clear plastic slipcovers not shown, as they don't photograph well):

Here's the bottom of the 1975 garage-style box:

Here's a comparison of Rosey Racer and Fudge Drudge:
Hallmark had a hit, but wasn't done. To compliment the 12 Rovers, for your hard-earned $2 you could buy the rather elaborately designed cardboard ROAD ROVER'S GARAGE. You put it together yourself (or more likely with your parents help) and it featured two levels, a play car wash and parking spaces for all 12 cars. Plus a working "hand-operated" elevator. It also sported the same idyllic fun artwork. Here's the garage packaging and the garage assembled:




Note: Although I've found no evidence that the product shown below actually shipped to stores, a 1976 LJN Toys Catalog features a photo of a Road Rovers Vinyl Garage. This carrying case-style vinyl playset is similar in overall construction to LJN's other sets produced for their mid-seventies TV properties such as EMERGENCY! and S.W.A.T. It's most likely that the photo is of a prototype and was never mass-produced. Perhaps the less expensive all-paper version shown above was seen as a more economic, and quite honestly better looking, alternative and therefore the vinyl version never made it out of the catalog. Until evidence surfaces to prove otherwise, the "vinyl garage" remains a curious oddity in Road Rovers toy history. 
   


Then, in 1976 something unexpected happened. At that time, Wallace Berrie Co. was a maker of cheap toys and novelty items. (They would go on to great success six years later with a line of Smurf figurines.) Well, someone over at WB must've been a big fan of the little Rovers, as they decided to do a knock-off line of VERY similar little vehicles. They called theirs... FUNKYMOBILES (link). 
They had the same overall design, hand-painted with silly names, bright colors, white wall tires, garage-style boxes with clear plastic slipcovers, even the 1970's style artwork looked almost like it came from the same artist. I'm not sure how they got away with it. Most kids at the time thought these were just the next series of Road Rovers. Even the Wallace Berrie logo (a jester's hat), looks like a silly droopy version of the elegant Hallmark crown. See for yourself:
Here's a comparison of the art on the inside of the Road Rover Firey Fred box and the Funkymobile Flamer Tamer box. Notice the similarities: helmets hanging on wall, boots paired up on the floor, one man on pole, one man putting on his boots, even two windows with drawstring blinds.
The main difference was that the Funkymobiles were made of plastic instead of die-cast metal. This afforded more detail. (The Funkymobiles would have a painted and scultped door edge whereas the Road Rovers would have the edge of the door only painted on.) Over time, with heavy play the paint on a Funkymobile would rub off (usually revealing a white base) whereas the Road Rovers were more likely to chip. To keep them fresh looking in the box Wallace Berrie included an additional clear plastic molded vehicle holder inside the printed cardboard box (in addition to the clear plastic outer slipcover). Unfortunately they did not include a checklist on the packaging, but 20 different toy vehicles were released. They consist of: Copper Bopper, Ramblin' Wreck, Garbage GuzzlerDouble Decker, Haulin' Harry, Flamer TamerDirty Dumpster, Crasher DasherMighty Mo, Brown Bomber, Golden Gooch, Rumble Roadster, Razzle Dazzle, Gallopin' Grape, HoodMobile, Sir Drag-a-Long, Maxi the Taxi, ScrubMobile, Razzamagas, and the very rare Pupil Packer (school bus). (Clear plastic slipcovers and vehicle holder not shown.)
  

There was some variation in the Funkies during the production run. They were hand painted so each vehicle had unique details, but their were some slight fluctuations in overall base color, such as the shade of purple on Gallopin' Grape. There was a production run of the vehicles produced in Hong Kong, and another run from Taiwan. Perhaps for this reason some cars were produced without the white painted rim on the tires. It was just left black. (Most, if not all, vehicles were available with and without white rims. This variation does not affect the collector value of the car.) And apparently a small number of the Copper Boppers had a light blue star on the door instead of the more common red star. 

Here's the rare "light blue star" version of Copper Bopper as seen on the Funkymobiles facebook page:
Here's the bottom of a Funkymobiles box:

Each Funkymobiles box featured a cartoon rendering of the vehicle on the bottom. Here's several of those drawings:

Then...
In 1983 someone at Hallmark had the bright idea of bringing the ROAD ROVERS back! Six cars were chosen from the 1975 line-up. But instead of just re-releasing the exact same cars. Hallmark had them all re-designed to take advantage of new casting techniques. So the new versions had slightly more detail and a little less "lumpiness" (similar to the Funkymobiles). Also of note, Banana Bus (originally orange) was now actually painted yellow (appropriately) with a lightning bolt added down the side, and was released under the new name Banana Flash (perhaps a nod to Flash, the Garbage Eater, from where they borrowed the lightning bolt). Old Fudge Drudge was given a revamp like the others, but was released under the name Chocolate Mouse (although it's obviously NOT a redesign of the old Chocolate Mouse.) Little Dumpy, previously green, was now a dark plum. Another change, instead of white wall tires, they all had Road Rovers written in metallic silver on each tire. 

The first batch consisted of redesigns of Little Dumpy, Firey Fred, Banana Flash (really Banana Bus), Chocolate Mouse (really Fudge Drudge), FuzzMobile (now written as one word instead of two) , and Blue Blob. They were presented in the most elaborate packaging yet. Each featured a unique die-cut "re-sealable box on a card". Combining elements from both the 1974 and 1975 packaging into one, with new full-color wraparound artwork rendered in the old 1970's style (by artist Bob Martin, aka Robert Blair Martin, who also illustrated many jig-saw puzzles for Hallmark). Sporting a clear window box, a tall card for artwork, and a series checklist on the back. Although not quite as easy to open as the 1975 "garage" style boxes, kids could store the car back inside after use. But they did not feature a hole for hanging the card/box on a peg, so they were shelf-displayed at the time in stores. Here's the 1983 Road Rovers in (and out of) their packaging:


The next (and final) series of Road Rovers, released in 1984, consisted of six entirely new vehicles. These were slightly more cartoonish in nature. Instead of simply a lumpy-looking fire truck, Hallmark offered a pig on wheels and called it Road Hog, and a postal truck which looks like a mailbox (Letter Limo), a street sweeper which resembles a vacuum (Vroom Broom), etc. 

And, perhaps to save on production costs, Hallmark released these six cars with no packaging at all. Just an oval sticker on the bottom (as seen on the right). From day one, all Road Rovers had their name embossed on the bottom. (Although it's hard to see in the photo, it reads Cash Cargo on the bottom of the bumper here in raised letters.) Also the 1983 line were re-released in late 1984 with just the white oval stickers on the bottom and no other packaging.

I don't think the 1980's line made as big of a splash with consumers and this, sadly, was the end of Road Rovers.

Here is the complete 1984 series of Road Rovers: Car Pool, Road Hog, Cash Cargo, Vroom Broom, Letter Limo and Scoop Coupe:  

In addition to the toy cars, Hallmark released a die-cut sticker sheet to accompany the 1975 series:

And again in 1984, another sticker sheet, featuring a mix of the '83 and '84 series. (Apparently they had no love for: Blue Blob, Little Dumpy and Banana Flash.) On this sticker sheet Fuzz Mobile went back to being written as two words.

Also in 1975 Hallmark held a "Color, Draw ,and Name Contest". The contest form was printed on a 12 x 17 inch sheet (seen below) and the instructions were as follows:
'Color each of the Road Rovers, then create your own drawing of a new Road Rover in the blank space, and give it a name. Return this entry blank to your Hallmark store for judging.'

1. When you complete this entry blank, return it to your Hallmark store and you will receive a free FUZZ Mobile door decal for your room
2. Six grand prize winners will receive a free Road Rovers garage.
Many thanks to reader "Zipactonal" for contributing the above info an image.

Here is the crack-n-peel Fuzz Mobile door decal prize:

Due to interest I've now included a Market Value List (as of 2012). 
If you are a collector eBay.com is still one of your best bets for finding them.
But they do turn up on other online auctions sites, and of course yard/garage/estate sales from time to time.

Keep in mind these are only as valuable as the buyer's desire.
You may get lucky and get a bargain, or you may be up against another collector heart-set on getting that last piece. Rosey Racer has been known to fetch nearly $200 on rare occasions.

All evaluations are in US Dollars.

Hallmark Road Rovers:
MIB= Mint Condition In Box  

1974 Fuzz Mobile ~ MIB: $25/Loose: $15  
1974 Scuttle Bug ~ MIB: $25/Loose: $15
1974 Flash the Garbage Eater ~ MIB: $25/Loose: $15
1974 Banana Bus MIB: ~ $25/Loose: $15
1974 Blue Blob MIB: ~ $25/Loose: $15
1974 Firey Fred MIB: ~ $25/Loose: $15
1974 Little Dumpy MIB: ~ $25/Loose: $15
1974 Red Rover MIB: ~ $25/Loose: $15
1974 Rosey Racer MIB: ~ $95/Loose: $65
1974 Merry Mover MIB: ~ $25/Loose: $15

1975 Fuzz Mobile ~ MIB: $15/Loose: $10  
1975 Scuttle Bug ~ MIB: $15/Loose: $10 
1975 Flash the Garbage Eater ~ MIB: $15/Loose: $10 
1975 Banana Bus ~ MIB: $15/Loose: $10 
1975 Blue Blob ~ MIB: $15/Loose: $10 
1975 Firey Fred ~ MIB: $15/Loose: $10 
1975 Little Dumpy ~ MIB: $15/Loose: $10 
1975 Red Rover ~ MIB: $15/Loose: $10 
1975 Fudge Drudge ~ MIB: $15/Loose: $10 
1975 Merry Mover ~ MIB: $15/Loose: $10 
1975 Purple Squash ~ MIB: $15/Loose: $10 
1975 Chocolate Mouse ~ MIB: $15/Loose: $10 

1975 Garage ~ MIB: $100 

1983 Fuzz Mobile ~ MIB: $15/Loose: $10  
1983 Banana Flash ~ MIB: $15/Loose: $10 
1983 Little Dumpy ~ MIB: $15/Loose: $10 
1983 Firey Fred ~ MIB: $15/Loose: $10 
1983 Blue Blob ~ MIB: $15/Loose: $10 
1983 Chocolate Mouse ~ MIB: $15/Loose: $10

1984 Road Hog ~ Mint: $20 
1984 Car Pool ~ Mint: $20 
1984 Cash Cargo ~ Mint: $20 
1984 Scoop Coupe ~ Mint: $20 
1984 Letter Limo ~ Mint: $20 
1984 Vroom Broom ~ Mint: $20  

Wallace Berrie Funkymobiles:
MIB= Mint Condition In Box  

1976 Copper Bopper (Red Star Version) (model # 8514) ~ MIB: $20/Loose: $15 
1976 Copper Booper (Blue Star Version) (model # 8514) ~ MIB: $45/Loose: $40
1976 Ramblin' Wreck  (model # 8506) ~ MIB: $20/Loose: $15
1976 Garbage Guzzler (model # ????) ~ MIB: $45/Loose: $40
1976 Double Decker (model # 8509) ~ MIB: $20/Loose: $15
1976 Haulin' Harry (model # 8505) ~ MIB: $20/Loose: $15
1976 Flamer Tamer (model # 8507) ~ MIB: $20/Loose: $15
1976 Dirty Dumpster (model # 8510) ~ MIB: $30/Loose: $25
1976 Crasher Dasher (model # 8513) ~ MIB: $20/Loose: $15
1976 Mighty Mo (model # 8508) ~ MIB: $25/Loose: $20
1976 Brown Bomber (model # 8516) ~ MIB: $20/Loose: $15
1976 Golden Gooch (model # 8511) ~ MIB: $30/Loose: $25
1976 Rumble Roadster (model # 8512) ~ MIB: $20/Loose: $15
1976 Razzle Dazzle (model # 8522) ~ MIB: $45/Loose: $40
1976 Gallopin' Grape (model # 8515) ~ MIB: $20/Loose: $15
1976 HoodMobile (model # 8520) ~ MIB: $65/Loose: $60
1976 Sir Drag-a-Long (model # 8523) ~ MIB: $85/Loose: $80
1976 Maxi the Taxi (model # ????) ~ MIB: $100/Loose: $90
1976 ScrubMobile (model # 8517) ~ MIB: $45/Loose: $40
1976 Razzamagas (model # 8524) ~ MIB: $95/Loose: $90
1976 Pupil Packer (model # 8519) ~ MIB: $135/Loose: $120

Here's a nice article with more information from the Collector's Club of Great Britain.

So that's the history of the Hallmark Road Rovers and Wallace Berrie Funkymobiles. I'll update this post with new information or better images as they become available. Happy childhood memories! And please leave me a comment if you liked this post. ~ Thanks!



59 comments:

  1. i was just at a yard sale and picked up a 1983 banana flash and a 1984 vroom broom, loose... theres some paint chip-age on both but the vroom broom is in pretty nice shape. if ur interested in them let me know.
    724-496-9432 my name is Bill. and thank you for making sucha detailed website. it really helped.

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  2. Thanks Bill. Glad you found this page informative. Sorry but I already have the ones you've mentioned but I bet they would sell to someone on eBay for the right price. Remember Vroom Broom did not have any packaging so "loose" is all there is for that one. If it has the white round sticker on the bottom that may add some slight value. But it's condition is more important. Good luck!

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  3. Darren - thanks so much for this great information! I've recently decided to display my collection of fun little cars I bought as a child and was curious about their history. I remember buying 1 at a time at the Hallmark and thinking they were so unique. But I didn't know anything about them. This is so thorough. I really appreciate knowing the details on what I have in my little shadow box. And I'm thrilled to know that Rosey is special. I love all your pictures. They bring back memories! My collection isn't valuable - I loved to play with them so they are a bit worn. But it is a very fun memory. Thanks! Andrea

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    1. Your welcome. I was kinda surprised that I couldn't find any information about these old toy cars online. And not many good pictures either really. So I decided to just make my own page to "fill the void". I'm glad you liked the info and photos. FYI: Lovingly worn toys have much more character than Mint-in-Box anyway, so display with pride. ;-)

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  4. Thanks for putting together some great information about the Road Rovers. As a child I only had the stickers. I had a lot of them at one point. Now I think I would like to start buying the actual cars. I am torn between getting the 1974 series or the 1975 series.

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    1. Glad you found this information useful. The 1975 series is much easier to find, and less expensive usually. Someone is selling the entire 1975 series on ebay right now: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Hallmark-Road-Rovers-Series-1-1975-Complete-Set-in-original-Boxes-SUPER-/271063487173?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3f1ca492c5 . They look to be in near-mint condition. Their asking price is pretty steep though. Perhaps make them a more reasonable offer. Good luck!

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  5. My Word, what a great site you have here! I really enjoyed reading about the history and love the photos you've included. Truly wonderful! Thanks for your detail and posting for all of us to enjoy!

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    1. You're quite welcome. I'm glad you found it interesting.

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  6. I have the first full set of 12 with boxes in Very good to excellent condition. What is that worth? Phone 208-890-5935. Thanks

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    1. David, The prices are listed above. But you might get more for the lot if you sell them individually. Usually as a set they go for around $100-$125. But if a collector only needs one or two to complete his collection then he might not bid on the whole lot. But on eBay you never know who will see your auction or how "hungry" they are for what you have. I've posted items that went unsold, only to be re-posted later and then a bidding war started over my item. And if you auction them one by one you can sometimes gauge how they are selling and price the remaining items accordingly. Good luck!

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  7. Replies
    1. MIB= Mint Condition In Box,
      So the prices above refer to a "very good condition" toy complete (no missing wheels or paint damage) with original packaging (if it originally toy had any, the 1984 series of cars had only a sticker on the bottom)

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  8. Great info - thanks for pulling everything together!

    I have an old Hallmark 'Color, Draw and Name' contest form. It has a 1975 copyright date. It's about the size of a placemat and has outlines of each of the 2nd series Road Rovers at the perimeter (no Rosey). There's a big blank area in the middle where you can design your very own RR.

    Instructions:

    'Color each of the Road Rovers, then create your own drawing of a new Road Rover in the blank space, and give it a name. Return this entry blank to your Hallmark store for judging.'

    1. When you complete this entry blank, return it to your Hallmark store and you will receive a free FUZZ Mobile door decal for your room
    2. Six grand prize winners will receive a free Road Rovers garage.

    ** It's too big to scan 12" x 17" but I'll take a photo if you'd like.

    Cheers,
    Edward

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    1. That sounds neat. I would've totally done that as a kid. If you can kindly photograph it I can add it to the post above. Thanks for the info.

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    2. Thank YOU for all of the great info - the history of the Road Rovers and Funkymobiles was always a mystery to me. This contest form may help explain the one-off nature of the Fuzz Mobile decal? Cheers, Edward



      here's the link:

      http://i237.photobucket.com/albums/ff250/hytr456/miscellaneous/roadrovercontestform.jpg

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    3. Thanks! I've now incorporated your info into the blog above. Much appreciated!

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  9. Great posting with lots of pictures!

    Question: What is the serial # for Garbage Guzzler and Maxi the Taxi? One would be # 8518 and the other # 8521.

    Also, a mint Pupil Packer sold on e-bay for $223 in November: http://www.ebay.com/itm/70s-Funkymobiles-RARE-School-Bus-Pupil-Packer-Boxed-Wallace-Berrie-Road-Rovers-/200844316914?nma=true&si=5StnI8%252BRRL0k08OFMsiPP11k8iM%253D&orig_cvip=true&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2557#ht_3172wt_1125

    Thanks! - Jeff

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    1. Thanks Jeff.
      I've updated the Funky Mobile checklist with known model numbers. Your numbers sound about right to me. But I can't verify.

      And yep I know about the recent Pupil Packer auction. That's where I snagged the image for it above. They don't show up very often. When you have two determined bidders you get a real feeding frenzy. It's nice to see that the FB and RR collector's market is still vibrant and very much alive.

      Anything else you can contribute is much appreciated. Thanks Again.

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    2. Additional Funkymobile model #s:
      8517 Scrubmobile
      8519 Pupil Packer
      8524 Razzamagas

      The model numbers are interesting because I've found 8505 through 8516 are much more common than 8517 through 8524 (your price estimates reflect this). I wonder what the distribution was for each group.

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    3. Razzamagas actually has a date of "1977" on the bottom of the packaging box, although the bottom of the actual car has "© 76" embossed.

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  10. Thank you.

    I had a set and the garage as a kid. Not sure where's they ended up. Really appreciate your website and all the detail.
    Kelly

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    1. Thanks! I'm trying to make this information as complete as possible. Check back as I update this page whenever I get new info.

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    2. I bought the garage off of eBay, and I have since put together a set made up of some from '74 and '75. Now if I can just get the space to set it up on the bookshelf! Wish Me Luck!

      Again, I cannot thank you enough for your site!

      Kelly

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  11. Hi Darren,
    Do you happen to have any boxes for sale?
    Thanks,
    Laura :)

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    1. Sorry no. You might try eBay or other auction services. Good luck.

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  12. Hello Darren...I recently bought a HoodMobile from a local diecast collector based upon its funkiness and uniqueness. I had no idea of the history behind it, nor of the other available vehicles. Thank you for providing such a wealth of information.
    -David, Mesa, AZ

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    1. I'm glad you found this blog valuable. Now you've got some work to do if you want a complete collection. Happy collecting!

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  13. I have found a Haulin' Harry MIB. You have it listed as $20, but i have noticed this same item going for between $35-$60 without a box on ebay and amazon. Any idea how to get a more accurate price?

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    1. A single item can be driven up by just 2 collectors willing to pay "above average" price for something to complete their collection. I've been guilty of that as well. A seller can ask for whatever they want. I've seen a beat-up Rosey Racer on the auction block for over $300, far above it's value. It doesn't mean it's now worth that. I stick by my price guide as an averaged fair market rate. But you, as a collector, are the only one to know it's true value to you. Happy hunting.

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  14. Hi Darren I have the Rosey Racer plus about 6 more of the 1974 series I have the packages for the ones I have but they are open the Rosey Racer and all the others I have is in excellent condition they were opened but never played with how much do you think the Rosey Racer is worth alone

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    1. Well, I mentioned above in the price guide that you could honestly sell Rosey Racer for about $65 open in good condition. Perhaps $95 or so still in the box (or maybe WITH the box) to the right buyer. Of course sellers are asking hundeds on ebay but you can ASK anything you want. But the second hand collector market seems to still support my averaged values listed above these comments. If you list it at $65 the auction market will push it higher if you can find two buyers willing to go higher. Good luck!

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  15. Hi Darren! I have a '75 Firey Fred and a '75 Purple Squash in very excellent/mint, but the plastic slide box covers are kind of worn or slightly scuffed/marred and discolored. Would that knock off $1 or $2 in your estimation? Thanks! v/r, Randy

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    1. It certainly could. The market value for second hand items is always fluctuating, like the stock market, so always check "completed auctions" (in the "advanced search" section) on sites such as eBay to view the most recent price ranges.

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  16. Thanks for the information! My husband and I have a small collection of these cars, which we display among HO trains, etc. and have been searching for information about these funny little cars! This is the most, and best information we have run across. Keep up the great work!

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  17. They're cute. I like the bright yellow one and the chocolate one. It's interesting how sometimes the toys of youth become more valuable as time goes by. They mean a lot to people and so they become more valuable to those who are now adults. It's quite an interesting collection of photos you have there.

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  18. It's great to see this on the web. I was one of those kids who won a grand prize. My picture in the middle was of a white van with a big pink rose on the side. I loved playing with those cars. Unfortunately, I have no idea where they ended up.

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    1. Wow that's cool that you won. AND still remember what you drew. Yep, it's surprising what information you can find on the web.

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  19. My mother saw these cute cars when Hallmark first marketed them about Easter time 1974 and in my Easter basket she started my collection. Today in 2015 I finally have a complete set. She was persistent and finally found them all! What fun it has been and my two daughters are totally in love with them and use a great deal of caution keeping them pristine. Aaron

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    1. Thanks for your story. It's great you can pass them down to the next generation and they can appreciate them too. They are simple toys, but obviously designed with much care.

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  20. Darren, Thanks for the efforts spent creating such a great site. Do you have any information concerning who the Hallmark artist/s were that designed the Road Rovers? I have noticed that some of the Road Rovers are assembled using one rivet, while others are assembled using two. Does this have something to do with the company that produced the die cast car? Would appreciate any other information concerning Road Rovers yoiu can share. Norm

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    1. Sorry Norman, I don't have any additional info regarding the production of the Road Rovers. The rivet assembly may have differed simply due to the design of car itself. I know of no Rovers that CHANGED from 1 rivet to 2 during the production runs. Some always had 1 (usually the smaller cars) and others always had 2. It was probably only out of necessity that the second rivet was added. I'll add more info if I find any. - Thanks!

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  21. One article I have read suggests when LJN was presumably ditched as the middle man (1975) in the production of the Road Rover, Hallmark started dealing with the manufacturer directly. At this point the base of the models were mmodified; with LJN name removed and a different typeface used. At this point the frames were attched using two rivets instead of one used by LJN. Http://www.colletors-club-of-great-britain.co.uk/Features/Hallmark-Road-Rovers-character-diecast-vehicles/_ft527

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  22. Thank you for your detailed post! I had been trying to remember all the details of these little cars I purchased back in the 70's. I couldn't find anyone that remembered they even existed and I have no idea what happened to the ones I had purchased. It was nice to look through the post and re-live that little piece of childhood that has never left my memory for 40 years! Thanks again!

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    1. Glad I could help drive you down Memory Lane. Just remember to make the first right turn after Nostalgia Boulevard. And. Drive. Slow.

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  23. Thanks for that trip down memory lane! I was 10 years old in 1975 and was one of the Grand Prize winners from the coloring contest at my Hallmark. Believe it or not, I'm now 51 years old and still have the garage! It's certainly not mint condition because I played with that garage and my cars all the time!! : )

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    1. Awesome! Congrats on winning the Garage! Did you take a photo of you posing with your art before sending it in?

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  24. Thank you so much for this informative page, Darren! Earlier this evening, I happened to be digging through my garage, and found the Scuttle Bug I have owned since I was a child. It's possible I had additional Road Rovers, but I'm not certain. What I did remember from my childhood, though, was that I had always assumed these toys were made in South or Central America, because they looked so much like Mexican folk art, and because my parents bought them for me at a hippie store that carried a lot of toys and gifts from such countries.

    It was only tonight that I looked at the bottom of my Scuttle Bug, learned its name and manufacturer, got on Google, and wound up here, where I learned the true origin of these treasures.

    Interestingly, the copyright date stamped on the bottom of mine says 1977.

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    1. That's interesting. Perhaps Hallmark produced the cars through 1977 and updated the date stamp to reflect that. I don't suppose you still have the box packaging to see if the date on that was also 1977.

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    2. Sadly, no, the packaging is long gone. In fact, I never had any recollection at all of the toy coming in a package.

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  25. Just got Banana Flash and Chocolate Mouse in a big box of toy figurines for $3.00... (Off the subject.. but there was also a Tomy Flipbot in there as well)

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  26. Thank you for the great info. I didn't know about these cars.
    I dug one metal detecting today
    Rosey Racer.
    I now see it is rare.
    The wheels are a little rotted away.
    But cleaned up nice and most of the paint is still there.
    And other than the wheels, no real damage.
    Looks like it was in the ground for a long time.
    Again, thank you for the great site and all the info.
    I now know about these great little cars.
    Lucky find.

    sandfisher

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    1. Glad you found the above info helpful and entertaining. That's pretty rare to dig one up! Probably a kid was playing with it in the dirt and got called home to dinner and there it rested, forgotten and lost for 40 years. Slowing sinking into the earth, back to Mother Nature and then you happen to come along and give Rosey a new life. If only toys could talk. Keep it as a souvenir.

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  27. Thank you for the Great Info Picked Up A Large Toy Car Collection of Redlines and Matchbox and found 3 i had no idea what they were Turns out they were Pupil Packer Sir Drag along and Maxi Taxi Im Not sure What I'm doing with them yet There is Such Beautiful Shape Already Made Back Double with one of the Redlines And Have Been Keeping all the rest every since Last year. Funny Thing was i took them to a Sports show once last year asked 20 each Would Have been bad. Lucky they didn't sell HaHa Might Have to Display Them Now :)

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    1. Sounds like you've got some rare Funkymobiles. eBay is your best bet to sell them at market price. Or hold on to them and enjoy them if you don't the extra cash. Thanks for the comment.

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