What Happened to Micro Machines?

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As an 80s kid, my favorite memories are justifying my Turbographix 16 to the Super Nintendo kids (I was definitely wrong) and collecting Micro Machines. From the officially licensed Predator, Jurassic Park, and Star Trek lines, to the standard car and military vehicles, I loved them all. So where did they go?

As a connoisseur of nostalgia, I decided to do some Googling. The first thing to pop up was a museum that claimed to have over six thousand Micro Machines in their collection, complete with photos. I of course fell down a black hole of clicking on photo after photo, reliving my childhood of both nostalgia and sadness — I was reminded of Micros I had requested from Santa, but sadly never found underneath the Moan4Stallone family Christmas tree. Wow, that was a bummer! Let’s get back on track.

According to Wikipedia, John “Motormouth” Moschitta, Jr., the famous speed-talking spokesperson from the commercials we all tried to imitate, is credited as a… singer. I can only imagine the epic rap battle between MC John Micro M and Twista  over a Timbaland beat. John was considered the “world’s fastest talker” by Guinness World Records in 1990, with an ability to speak an insane 586 words per minute — arecord that has since been broken, but an amazing feat nonetheless.

Laser Time, micro machines, 80s, toys, collectibles, cars

“The man, the myth, the legend.” He could say that in 0.2 seconds, I bet.

My next click was on the official Micro Machines page, where I learned they were just called “Micros” in some countries. The brand was launched by Galoob in the mid 80s, and most claim it officially debuted in 1986. From my research, it appears the idea came from Wisconsin toy inventor Clem Heeden. Micro Machines’ famous tag line “Remember, if it doesn’t say Micro Machines, it’s not the real thing” was heard in commercials back in 1987, but I was unable to find out who was responsible for the phrase.

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According to Wikipedia, Micro Machines outsold Hot Wheels for a time, but I couldn’t find any other data to support this. But it does sound possible, given their many licensed brands like Star Wars, Power Rangers, and criminally underrated sci-fi series Babylon 5. How many of you remember the color-changing line?

Some of my best times were spent playing with the Car Wash City play set, which, in my mind, was just a front for oozing my cars with officially licensed Ghostbusters ectoplasm. In hindsight,  I was running a car wash to hide my true criminal enterprise way before Walter What’s-his-name made it popular.

Laser Time, micro machines, 80s, toys, collectibles, cars

You’ve never seen a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.

I discovered that Galoob was purchased by Hasbro, which opened the door for Nascar, GI Joe, and even Men in Black vehicles and play sets. Other Google searches revealed that James Bond, Indiana Jones, and the awesome Aliens brand were all licensed as well. The company even produced transforming play sets, boats that actually floated, and a monster truck line that included the infamous Grave Digger. There are just too many to list.

Sadly, the brand died off in 2006, while competitor Hot Wheels is still in business and as popular as ever. Fortunately, the collectors’ market for Micro Machines is still thriving, and it’s a cheaper option when compared to the competition. I would personally take Micro Machines over Hot Wheels any day. Heck, I’d even take the Kenner knock-off brand Microverse solely because of their awesome Batman lineup. I still own my 1989 Batmobile and Batwing, and they are proudly on display next to my Rocky Balboa statues.

Micro Machines still live on in my memories, and probably yours if you’re taking the time to read this. I’d like to close this out with another memory. It was the Christmas of 1995, and there was only one thing 13-year-old Moan4Stallone’s Christmas list. Nope, not the popular Dangerous Minds soundtrack featuring Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise”; it was the Millennium Falcon play set — an exact replica, if I remember correctly. Sadly, I don’t have it any more, but with a quick trip to eBay, I’m sure I can re-obtain this little piece of my childhood. And you know as soon as I open the box, the first thing I’m going to check for is that logo, because “if it doesn’t say Micro Machines, it’s not the real thing.”

Moan4Stallone writes stuff all the time here. Check out his Twitter.

19 thoughts on “What Happened to Micro Machines?

  1. I could see MMs outselling hotwheels for a while there. Me and my little sister certainly liked them more. they were so freekin cute!
    I suppose they had the same fate as those tiny cute pull back penny racers, the cute just wore off and people stopped caring. I see hotwheels at the grocery store by the dozens dabbling in the ghetto of everything under the sun that could ever have a motor, just to stay relevant.
    ah well, we always have our memories.
    :3

  2. addendum to last comment:
    Lenny racers apparently died and went to Japanese collectors heaven. They’re call Choro Q there, and they’re still produced and popular.
    too bad micro machines didn’t share their fate.
    poo.

    1. *Penny* not Lenny
      stupid auto correct.
      thinks its doing me a favor sticking my friends name in there.
      “duuuuh, I’m helping!” it says stupidly

  3. I played the micro machines game on ps1 a few times but i being it the 90’s i hat hotwheels. some of them looked like they came out of a meatloaf album cover. i remember poring warm water on them to change colour and cold water to revert it back.

    1. Just saw that hot wheels is coming out with Nintendo based cars later this year! I am micro till I die but the idea of a Mario minivan has peaked my interest! Yoshi pinto perhaps minus the proneness to exploding; yes please.

      1. yep more reasons for me to waste my money on nintendo crap, god dammit nintendo i’ll have to get them all!!!

    1. Holy crap It does! Cant wait to hear Casey Kasem give it a shout out “Up next, Coolio’s Gangsta’s para…..wait im dead!”

  4. I was always more into Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars. Still have some of them. Sadly most of my child hood toys either ended up as chew toys for the dog or were sold to fund my video game addiction.

    1. I sold most of my toys via ebay to fund various gaming purchases as the sega saturn and dreamcast; in hindsight id like to have my toys back!

  5. Great article, dude! I loved me some Micro Machines, second only to my GI Joe’s. I lost my Batman set sadly, but I still have my BTTF delorean.

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