Most of our car related hobbies were triggered by the toys we had as youngsters. Here are some of them this author recalls, mind you these are toys which did not spin off of cartoons like Transformers so those were not included. Before the days of Youtube and PS3 there was thought put into toys, especially automotive toys. Here are several that come to mind.
Turbo Tricksters/Penny Racers/Choro Q-
Based off of the Takara’s Choro Q line of pull-back toy cars, with an insertion of a coin in the back these things would wheelie it up all day. The fact that they were based off of real cars made them that much more awesome. Just check out the JDM pink Celica in the commercial.
Record Breakers/Mini 4wd
I think I officially caught the car bug playing with these. Easily modified with higher output electric motors, bearings and tires this was the last hobby before eventually stepping up to RCs..
Tyco Zero Gravity Cliff Hangers-
These already hard enough to keep on the track, but to actually race them? Impossible; without flying off the track navigating a turn or jump.
Based off of real life autos, Micro Machines were for those who found Hot Wheels and Matchbox too mainstream. The fast talking front man and the crazy commercials often comes to mind when mentioning these pint sized replicas.
Voltron Vehicle Team
Lesser known of the Voltron variants the Vehicle Team was composed of Land, Sea and Air vehicles which combined to form Voltron. Robots combining to form a bigger robot, what more could a kid want?