The Wonderful World of AMAZE-A-MATICS!

Above: The Dodge Charger III Showcar

 

Fun Stuff From Hasbro!

The AMAZE-A-MATICS toy was a finely designed, very fun toy which was comprised of the following items:

One of four futuristic cars

Pre-programmed cards

Blank cards for your own programs

Racing pylons

Instruction Booklet, as picture above

 

These program cards really did mechanically program your car to execute manuevers. Each car had two spring-retained levers that rode on both edges of the cards. One controlled steering, the other controlled the gearbox on the car. Depending on the depth of the cuts on the cards, the car's steering and forward/neutral/reverse status were changed. The car pulled these cards through its undercarriage via a roller system, and the car's control levers followed the edges of the cards.

The six pre-programmed cards came with each set, and their layouts were contained in the instruction booklet. You could also cut your own cards following instructions on each card very simply. As a kid, I remember making one that made the car go backwards in a circle the whole way!

When you knew how to program well, you could set your pylons up and have the car easily drive right around them and miss them completely. The car was pretty accurate, and if you were not abusive to it, would last a long time.

I got the Chevrolet Astrovette Model when I was 8 and enjoyed it alot. Unfortunately, it developed a spring problem that I tried to repair with a pen spring and it never worked right again and I gave up on it.

I have now encountered many issues with these cars, now that I got back into them, and have repaired all three of mine to excellent running condition.

If you get one of these cars, I can almost guarantee issues that will require repairs. The upside is that these cars are cheap on EBAY, are very attractive, and when you get them running right, very satisfying.

 

 

 

The Buick Century Cruiser.

This particular unit came complete, however, the drive wheel was shot (like all of them) and the drive pinion slipped off. Someone had already removed the steering notch unit, which was fine by me.

 

 

Here is the real Buick Century Cruiser. Hasbro was right up to date selecting dream cars that were very current. Notice, however, that the Hasbro model is more stubby then the graceful GM machine, but you get the idea.

 

 

The Chervrolet Astrovette

This is the model I had as a kid, wish I had kept it, but got it again a few years ago. This unit's drive wheel still works, but it is decomposing a little bit each time I use it. So it is only a matter of time, and it will get replaced too. Instructions on doing this are below.

 

 

Here is the real 1968 Astro-Vette. Alot of people think this was done in the 80s; the original (and only I believe) was built in the late 1960s and is not seen or widely known about. Again Hasbro was right on target.

 

 

Above: Here is the real Dodge Charger III show car.

 

I don't believe I have the the Ford GT in stock at the moment (might have one in storage). I will acquire one and profile it here when I do.

Repairs

If you have an Amaze-A-Matic, you probably need repairs!

Most of these cars will either have sticking steering mechanisms, and/or worn and disintegrating card drive rollers. Both of these can be dealt with and your car can be up and running again nicely. Just be very careful when you work on these to not make them worse. Don't let your small child play with it as it has some delicate parts to it that can break easily.

   
   
   
   
   

Additional Sets and Items

 

I was surprised to find that there were other sets in this time period that were simply not nearly as popular as the initial four sets.

These sets included bare chassis sets and Customized Body sets. The Collection has gathered representative samples for The Museum and is generously sharing them with you.

 
 
 
  Here is a rare Chassis set. Inside you get a standard chassis, pylons, some additional program cards and instructions.
Here is the side of the box. Note the Mustang, Volkswagen, Corvette and Dune Buggy Customized Body sets. There are no indications as to the "Chassis Sets". Perhaps on the Customized Body boxes.
  Here is the Dune Buggy Customized Body, and three of its four add on tires. These slip over the existing chassis' tires and actually fit quite well and don't slip. The rear tires are preposterously large.

Here is the Volkswagen Bug with factory applied stickers, rear mag wheels and additional programmed and blank cards. Here is your chance to see how the original Customized Bodies were packed. While I have this part, I don't have a box or a representative picture of the box--yet.
  Close up of Bug wheels. Notice on this set, unlike the Dune Buggy, you get just the rear tires. The front hub caps, however, you replace by prying the old ones off and putting these "flower" ones on.
  Here is the body I just happened to get with my Chassis Set. It's the Mustang, and in my opinion, is one of the nicest cars of the group.
  See what I mean? How about that "pro stock" hood?!
  I like the stock wheels, these oversized tires are a bit much!
  On the Mustang model, as opposed to the Dune Buggy, you replace just the front "wheels", or really hub caps, with new ones to match the back big tires if you are so disposed.
   The bodies came with some additional specific programmed cards. This came with my Mustang in the Chassis box. With the Dune Buggy I got the "Desert Swing", "Dune Dance" and "Running Wild" programs.
   

 

Origins and Other Oddball Data

Interestingly, there are three different international versions of this toy that I know of.

 

The first is the "Computer Car" as distributed by Mettoy in the UK.

Next is the Japanese version of the toy. It is unclear until I get better information as to whether this is a Japanese toy made under license by Hasbro, or vice versa. This is made by Bandai, but notice the Hasbro logo on it also.

Bandai, oddly, re-released this toy with at least 3 different models, released I believe in the 1980s. I have a very nice example of this.