Early Dodge Charger Toys

As a toy collector and a basic MoPar nut, I have kept my eyes open for cool old toys of some of my favorite cars. I always pay particular attention to the old Chrysler toys. Now I’m not the guy with an unlimited budget who buys everything he sees but I have attended a lot of toy shows and swap meets over the years looking for a cool piece at a bargain price. Most of that was before the internet and Ebay you understand. So here are a few of the Dodge Chargers I have in my collection. This is not an exhaustive list of everything produced back then. There are many I don’t have, but I’m thankful I bought these when I did. Now days you can get ’69 Charger stuff any day of the week. But I prefer the challenge to find the toys that were made back in the day. Toys inspired by the popularity of the car when it was first on the street.

Cragstan ’66 Charger.

 The original Production Charger was based on a mid-sized Coronet. It was much more up-scale in its amenities but shared the same power-train options. Big blocks, Hemis…you, know. This car is not quite 1/25 scale. It is a bit smaller and measures 7-1/2 inches long. Many Cragstan friction cars shared that same scale. The details weren’t exactly correct either.

Cragstan ’68 Chargers.

The large purple Charger is actually 1/25 scale. A nice job over-all. Good detail and proportions. Obviously, my example is missing a few velocity stacks. It has an attempt at red-line tires too!

The little pink version is about 1/43 scale and measures 4-3/16 inches long. It has a clear hood that shows the motor and underneath, a spiral disc that spins. Not sure why. I know it was the flywheel part of the friction motor, but did we need to see it?

The little yellow and green ’69 is the same scale as the Cragstan and features spring loaded body that lifts up like a funny car. It has the copyright date of 1970 by CII. Made in Hong Kong.

HO Scale Slot Cars.

I have collected Aurora Thunderjet slot cars since I was a kid. But there were other companies also trying their hand at the H-O scale. Eldon was one of them. They are most noted for their 1/32 scale rides. But I really like this little silver ’68 they made. It is slightly shorter than the Aurora ’69. The body was offered in a “Matchbook” snap kit too. It had an interior and chassis and was engineered similar to the Lindberg “Mini-Lindy” 1/64 scale kits. The Aurora for some reason had six round tail-lights. The Eldon is missing the pick-ups and guide pin but it is still one of my favorites!

Eldon 1/32 Scale Slot Cars

Eldon had a good relationship with Dodge. They produced several Dodge racing sets and Thrill Drivers sets. The yellow ’66-’67 Charger is a nice piece but suffers from a proportion problem. They were notoriously too short. The later ’68 and’69 Chargers were very well proportioned and had five spoke mag wheels that they shared with the Coronet slot cars of the same years. The ’66 originally had the typical Eldon wire wheel style hubs and larger diameter tires. I have never liked those so I replaced them with ’68 wheels. Sacrilege, I know! The ’66 did have an interior plate with a driver where as the later slots had smoked windows and no interior plate.

Hot Wheels and Kenner ‘69s

We all know and love the original Mattel Hot Wheels Custom Charger. It is slightly out of scale with the other pony car offerings by Mattel but still a fun car. The car I got for Christmas back in the day was blue. I like the pink a little better. It stands out. What most folks have never seen was Kenner’s ’69 Charger. It was slightly longer at 3-7/16 inches and didn’t have glass. It had nicer wheels though in my opinion. It came with a long piece of track that curled up for easier storage. It was part of the Zip Strip product line.

The body on the Kenner car was molded in plastic. That’s why the rivets look strange. I think they had plastic pins that came through the chassis and they just melted the pin down to hold the body on. Crude but effective.

Mini Lindy ’70 Charger Kit

Lindberg had been in the model car business since the fifties, really. The tooling wasn’t always exceptional and some of the cars looked a like wonky. Others were nicely scaled but very simple in their engineering. They got the idea of making small scale kits that were about 1/64. This had been tried in the past by Ideal Toy Company and was successful. Lindberg produced an impressive variety of kits in that scale and even kept up with the yearlys coming out of Detroit. In 1970 they added the Charger to the product line. It was a fairly nice kit and not always easy to find. They retailed for about 50 cents.

This is basically what I have in my collection so far. Hope you enjoyed the trip and maybe saw some things you haven’t seen before.

Brad