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SSP Racers
by Kenner
SSP Racers


Read memories from others.


More memories from:    2005-2006    2003-2004   

This memory was added on: April 18, 2010

It was 1971 & I was 7 years old. I got my first SSP Racer for Christmas. "Two-Much". It was absolutely awesome, since the other kids in the neighborhood got racers as well. We jumped home-made ramps, ran them into each other & generally had a blast. Over time, my racer disappeared. Now I'm 45, & recently found an almost mint condition "Two-Much" online for $75. I jumped at the chance, & now have one of my favorite toys from my youth back. Needless to say, it does not get the same type of play as my first, but it does hold an honored spot on my shelf.

Terry from Clarksville, TN


This memory was added on: January 8, 2010

I am now 45 and have a three year old son. We were on the floor playing with his cars (from the movie cars) and it brought back the memories of my SSP dragster and Evel Kenevel stunt racer and other great toys like my Army men and the helicopter that went around in circles. The good old days. My son now has so many fun toys but nothing as cool as the SSP. Why don't they bring them back? To dangerous? Maybe to table legs. Mine lost it's fake wheels on the side and alot of other parts but I think its final demise was the rip cord breaking down too short. They were a quality toy. Lets get them back!

Bill from Superior WI


This memory was added on: January 8, 2010

I was 7 at the time and all I wanted for Christmas was the Stars & Stripes Smash-Up Derby set….nothing else. Christmas Eve came and gone and we unwrapped everything and I got good things….just not our generations version of "Red Ryder". So to bed I went. Next morning I awoke to find displayed proudly in front of the tree….my very own Stars & Stripes Smash-Up Derby set. I played & played for a couple years til as I got older the novelty wore off along with the stickers and the parts and the teeth on the rip-stick. Lord knows I'd give anything to relive those times again. I've owned SSP cars but nothing is like owning a set of them. I am nearing 41 today but will forever be 7 in my heart. And oh yes, I will find a way to own a Stars & Stripes Smash-Up Derby set again.

Tom


This memory was added on: January 8, 2010

I have two newer versions of the SSP's and they suck, you rip that cord out put the car down and it slowly goes down the sidewalk; looks aren't enough.I had two or three of the old ones when I was a kid, and I'm sure when that rip cord was yanked thru the wheel and you set it on the sidewalk it took off like a bat.Are the wheels smaller or softer on the new ones, don't know.I really must try and find an old one and do a test run.

Larry L
1952


This memory was added on: April 17, 2009

Thanks for the memories!

I remember having two SSPs but I have no idea now which ones. I do remember that the older one was silent, unlike my newer one which had the Sonic Sound. Oh, I loved that sound, though I still remember the quiet hum of the older SSP.

For some reason, we (me and my friends) called the "rip cord" a "T-stick." I wonder what's the official term?

My parents would not allow me to have the Smash-up Derby cars (something about demo derby being "wrong"), but my friend had a set and he and I smashed them for hours til they were ruined. So much fun for both of us but his mom got really mad.

Parents can be such killjoys.


Tom
(born in 1967)


This memory was added on: March 13, 2009

Back in ’75? I got the dragster. My brother is 4.5 years older, he had a different model. I was hanging out with him and the older kids, and they were building massive ramps. First jump the dragster just nosedived and the front end snapped off of it. That was the end. First day, snap. Oh, little Bob can’t take care of his stuff. To bad. Take better care next time.

Bob


This memory was added on: March 13, 2009

I am now 43, and holding the my “non-gently used” purple Sidewinder SSP from my childhood that my mother recently found -- the memories are flooding back fiercely ! Sadly, she did not find the rip-cord. Anyone know how I can find one?

Holding this in my hand, I can actually remember applying these decals. Many of them have been grated away from happy use, and the cockpit is completely missing… but the love is still there !

Reading the memories on this site encourages and comforts me tremendously J I spent a lot of my childhood cherishing this car, banging it with complete disregard to “future value” – a memory which is offering me the needed insights so I can now wonder/worry less about my own son’s indifference to his toys’ value.


Mark
1965


This memory was added on: March 13, 2009

It was 1971 and I was a five year old kid in Kindergarten. One day for show and tell I brought in one of my SSP cars. It just so happened that about ten other boys brought in their SSP cars as well. The teacher decided to let us have a race. My SSP won. As a prize I was given a lollipop. Unfortunately I opened the lollipop in class and the teacher scolded me. One of my friends convinced me to trade him my winning SSP.

Ishaq


This memory was added on: March 13, 2009

I had the ssp snow mobile dragster, with the ski's on the front and the big engine sticking out the top like a top fuel dragster..it was purple..and that thing was indestructable ..man they dont make toys like that any more...whats wrong with the world today..those were the good ole days..i had my plastic red boomarang from wham-o Bugga Boo's ..little tin lady bugs that had two wheels on the bottom and they would go staright for a while then spin arround and arround ..then take off in a different direction.. and my ssp's, and my evil knevil stunt cycle..and JARTS.. lawn darts.. I guess too many people got hurt by those things... but they were still fun... and what about ULTRA MAN and Johnny Sokko and his Flying Robot... all things that you never see anymore... but made my childhood a wonderment of fascinating possibilities.

Seth


This memory was added on: January 27, 2009

Those cars were awesome!

I had a red Laker Special and alime green Can-Am racer.

The Laker Specials were definetly the fatest! I used to beat the heck out of that thing! It was held together with masking tape due to numerous high-speed collisions. I wish I could remember what I did with them. The Can-Am reacer was probably in good shape because it was so slow I hardly played with it.


Steve
1963


This memory was added on: January 1, 2009

I used to get all the SSP's I wanted for free. My dad was the original real life SSP. He was Jim Bucher. In every SSP there was a decal with his name on it. He traveled around the country running a Top Fuel Dragster sponsored by Kenner. He appeared on children TV show. I would rebuild SSP's making them as fast as possible and in our neighborhood we would race. I am considering getting my Dad's car out of Don Garlits museum and taking it to some nostalgia race.I would like to find a sponsor. It would be nice if the SSP's came back. He was recently inducted in the Drag Racing Hall of Fame here is a couple of clips from the induction ceremony;

part 1:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FKkx7DbZ1DI

part 2
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eahhFbNsz1k

Mike Bucher

Awesome! Thanks, Mike! - the management


This memory was added on: February 8, 2008

If you weren't racing a Laker Special.. you were "losing to one"!!! I had my best days ever as a kid during recess while attending a K-8 Catholic school just south of Baltimore in the 60's. Even with the uniforms (no jeans, no sneakers, and we had to wear a tie) you couldn't keep boys from playing rough. Man did I catch hell just about every week for putting a hole in the knee of yet another pair of dress bell bottom pants, or scuffing the bejesus out of the toes on my platform dress shoes. In 1970 I was in 4th grade and that's when we first started really playing "catch one... catch 'em all" for keeps. It amaizes me now that I can't remember one case of a kid getting a concusion despite full contact sports being played on a "paved parking lot"... and platform shoes were "far from ideal" for maintaining your balance when running.

When SSPs first began to show up just after Christmas of '70 I can recall the entire back of the parking lot filled with these cars going back and forth for the entire recess period. It was like a game of horse shoes... only instead of U shaped metal, it was "fly wheel lightning" and bright colored plastic shooting from one end to the other with lines of kids on either side waiting to retrieve your car and send it back, just as you were doing on your end with theirs. If the cars collided in the middle... "bonus points"!!! On other occassions when the numbers were lighter and you had more room, it was all about the "maximum distance" you could get out of your favorite car. This is where the Laker Specials just "could not be beat". Granted I was probably a year older and a little stronger in 1971, but I recall my last purchased SSP (a purple Laker Special) on the verge of setting a personal best when it traveled so far it ran out of the "safe zone" and onto the entrance ramp for cars at the far end... "just as a car was coming in". I have no idea what the actual distance was, but it seemed like the longest run I had ever made in my life by the time I finally arrived at my car's final resting place (literally). It was totally flattened, but for the now sideways fly wheel... which appeared more like a top.

During the year or more before that misfortunate incident that ended my SSP racing days far too early, I recall felling bad for the kids who had those damn Bananna Split Dune crawlers, or that "dreaded" Daytona Superbird (all show and no go). I believe I had 6 SSPs all told. One red, one orange and one purple Laker Special... one blue Eliminator and one red CanAm Racer (that car was a piece of crap... which I talked some younger kid you liked the way it looked into trading for his orange Laker Special). Looks shmooks... if it couldn't make it to the other end of the lot, I wasn't playing with it. I did have one very creative friend who was all about the looks, and he actually built models and mounted them to working SSP chassis. I recall a "perfect" Herby the Love Bug. The problem was... at first we would all admire these creations, but soon after the conversation would turn to... "let's see how well it runs"! We would eventually bug him to the point (sort of the double dog dare thing, only no such phrases were ever used that I can recall) of putting them to the test. Every first run would end up the same... "disaster" for the much more fragile model plastic... and I can't even count the number of times that occured. So many times, that maybe Ricky actually enjoyed destroying them??? Hmmm...

One things for sure... SSPs kept a boy active and entertained, and not one battery was necessary!!!


Victor
1961


This memory was added on: November 4, 2007

Wow, the things that a person remembers after 30+ years!

I had some of those ssp devices. I can't remember all of them, but I do vividly recall my super groovy-neatest of all cool wows Smash Up Derby Set!

Holy Moly! The fun and constant use we got out of those things! I had the Smash Up Derby set with the Nomad and the old Ford(?, I think it was). We used those toys all winter, then all summer and finally, when they were little more than shards of plastic, with stripped "rip cords", we would huck the wheels down the street to see how far they would roll. Mine rolled into a sewer. Never saw it again.

But I did see the parts to those cars for years afterwards; a door would show up at the bottom of this box of toys, a snap-on wheel in the corner of the garage, a hood in that box of toys. For years afterwards. Might still have one or two chunks kicking around somewhere.

I also remember the searing pain of catching a finger in the 500,000,000,000 rpm wheel after pulling the "rip cord" with all the strength that my massive ten year old frame could muster. I swear, sometimes it would get spinning so fast it would create, for a brief instant, its own gravitational field.

Or how about stripping the flesh to the bone when you made the foolish rookie mistake of running the "rip cord" against a hand that was placed to close to the little square holes in the top of the machine? Did I cry? Hell no! By that point my lust for speed had clouded my vision to the extent that I didn't feel a thing until much later at night, in bed, when I would wonder how I nearly cut my hand in half. Oh baby, those were the days!

Have I grown so old that I can no longer see the joy in kids toys now-a-days? Am I just out of the loop? Or does it seem to others here that the toys of those glorious seventies were more adventurous, less politically correct and just more fun? It seems to me that those old toys had an element of imagination and physicality that is lacking somewhat in the toys of today. I might be full of it, but it also seems that the 1970's were the best damn times to be a kid. We were so ignorant and blissfull!

Of course, now I am all maudlin and reflective. If I were to come across an SSP set, I think that I would have to pass it by, knowing that I am no longer that barefoot boy with cheeks of tan that found great pleasure in dislocating his shoulder in an effort to get that last little bit of speed out of his SSP in order to trounce and humiliate that other kid from down the street who had the audacity to challenge me to a race. Sigh.....more's the pity.

SSP's ROCKED. (so did Hot Wheels Sizzlers and Legos and....)



Cliff Eisler,
Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.


This memory was added on: October 14, 2007

My memory...

THESE ROCKED!!! Nothing beat pulling the t-cord and hearing that sound. I remember they played up the sound aspect in the TV commercials, which made me want one so bad...and MAN, I WAS NOT DISAPPOINTED! I didn't get that much into toy vehicles, when I was younger (I really only started collecting Hot Wheels in my late 30's - early 40's), but these I had to have. I had both a red one and a blue one. I cannot remember for the life of me, what the model names were. The blue might have been a Ramjet and the other possibly a Detonator, but I'm not sure. THOSE SUCKERS FLEW DOWN MY DRIVEWAY LIKE NOTHING ELSE! Something else I must replace at some point.



rob
42


This memory was added on: May 23, 2007

I'm 43, and yes, now I know why I must go see a shrink once a month. The euphoria, the adrenaline rush, the endorphins experienced in childhood growing up in the 70's have all gone away. The main culprit, my beloved front engine dragster SSP which I have been without for 30 plus years. Yes, for a couple of years I remained undefeated, in the neighborhood, at school, racing, jumping, whatever, that was a most prized posession for most of us growing up in the 70's. As everyone can see from most of the writings, no ones SSP lost a race, we were all one in the same with our own SSP, just like the pocket knife our dads gave to us, our Schwinn Stingrays with that big'ol stickshift, or a steering wheel, or our Hotwheels or Matchbox cars. Those are wonderful memories of days past, days when a couple of good quality rugged toys was all you needed.

Saturday morning, watch a couple Bugs Bunny- Roadrunner shows, grab your SSP, your bike and head to your friends to win some races. Yes, just like the glass marble clackers, a few too many parents of Suzy, Donna, or Linda, who got scalped by their brother or brothers friends SSP, probably sued Kenner, and after so many law suits, Kenner just decided to stop making them, thus, stripping us of what was most important, an irreplaceable toy. After the SSP became extinct, it was back to playing a game of Kick The Can.(amazing how much use an old coffee can got) I hope everyone has the best of luck getting over the loss of their SSP's or the best of luck finding a good used one so they can have some closure. If Suzy, Donna, or Linda is out there, lets see you in those tight big bells and Foreigner T-shirt.


Steve
1964


This memory was added on: May 17, 2007

I loved the SSP racers. Me and my brother would race them and we had the Plymouth Superbird and the Rail Dragster


Tim W.
1962


This memory was added on: April 18, 2007

I loved my ssp's. I had the Black Jack Special and a blue and I think silver Kenner Lake Special.


John
1963


This memory was added on: April 8, 2007

These things were awesome. The power these things had when you pulled the ripcord...unbelievable! In fact, I'm thinking back on the SSP's, the Strange Change Machine, and the "clackers" and they were all fairly dangerous. which, of course, is what made them so much fun to play with.

We used to have races with these bad boys. There was even a "Smash-up-Derby" set that featured old Chevys and Fords molded like beat-up 1950's junkers that had pop-off doors, bumpers and wheels. You'd rev them up and aim them at one another and WHAMMM! Plastic would fly everywhere and we'd hoot and yell in delight. Fun memories, indeed.


D.P.
1965


This memory was added on: April 6, 2007

OMG I had the smash up derby kit with the chevy coupe and nomad wagon I beat the crap out of these cars for so many hour, it was especially a close thing for me because when I was a kid in the early/mid 70's my father was stationed in Hawaii and he used to drag and do the demolition derbys. Easily aside from my star wars stuff and Hugo was my best toys.


D. Norton
1970


This memory was added on: April 5, 2007

At first, I got the blue Nomad SSP demo derby car at a Good Will store in the 1970's... then I got a set that included a silver (or white) smash up derby truck and a stationary car for it to smash into. When the truck hit the stationary car, parts would fly off. I remember someone who had the Nomad before me had glued the parts on so they never flew off. An older kid at the end of the street had like 2 or 3 sets! I was real little though, 4 or 5 at most when I had them.


Randy
1974


This memory was added on: March 23, 2007

Ha,ha.... I remember the "T" cord always breaking and You'd only have about 1/2 of a cord left, but that never stopped us from racing every saturday morning


Robert
1962


This memory was added on: March 22, 2007

We boys were into these, when I was about 9 years old. The idea was, of course, how hard you could possibly pull the strip out, revving up the pinion and wheel. This would frequently cause the teeth on the plastic strip to break off. I thought the demolition derby ones were all right (I think I remember those being SSP), only the ones that looked like dragsters were the best.


Raymond
1962


This memory was added on: March 21, 2007

My fondest memory of my childhood was when I won an official SSP contest in Vernon, CT. I received a trophy and a free trip to the Indianapolis 500 time trials in Indiana. What a great toy, and great memories !!!


Karl
1962


This memory was added on: March 20, 2007

I can remember as if it were yesterday! I had the lime green "Two Much" in grade school and all the boys would race at recess down the sidewalk - you were not cool unless you had a SSP. They were wonderful times......


Bob
1964


This memory was added on: March 18, 2007

I remember these getting stuck in my sister's hair after my brother pulled the rip cord out and stuck it on her head! It winds hair up pretty good!


Jennifer
1967


This memory was added on: March 15, 2007

Every kid in the neighborhood had an ssp racer. mine was a purple indy racer. We would race them for hours. My car was so beat up from throwing it down the driveway, but it always kept working! What a great time to be a kid! I wish someone would make them again.


mike
1963


This memory was added on: February 26, 2007

Can remember lines of kids on the school ashphalt at each end in a mega SSP car war, they were demon. It was every man for himself when it was time to rescue your car in the middle, required some fancy footwork. Now with the new anti-smacking laws SSP's should be safe to re release on the market. Mama wont be able to put the rip-cord across yer butt when she's angry.


Gaz
1966
New Zealand


This memory was added on: February 20, 2007

When I was a kid my mom watched all the neighbors kids during the summer. We all had two or more. I had the chariot.the purple coupe, and the old fords for the smash and crash set.Not long ago I was at a KAY BEE toy store and they had the crash and smash set of 56 chevy's. YES! I bought them my wife thought I was nuts. I brought them home and put them away. I'm afraid if I get them out, I might destroy every thing in my house. Not to mention not make it to work the next morning!


Dave
1970


This memory was added on: February 15, 2007

Hey lets get a petition going to get this greatest toy of all times produced again at reasonable prices and not collectors prices where you would be afraid to give to your gets to crash and tear the hell out of it.!!! what about people let´s stop taling and get this thing going I´m goin on 42 but would love to buy this for my kids (haha yeah right). let me know what you think!!

Phill 1965


Phillip
1965


This memory was added on: February 12, 2007

Okay, I had the Crash Up Derby cars also, but my memory is how I was snowed by the commercials. They showed the cars going over the jump and actually hitting each other, crashing into many pieces (even showed it back in slow motion).Of course reality was that at least one if not both cars missed the jump, hit the wall, and fell apart. Still good times though :)


Dale
1962


This memory was added on: February 4,2007

I remember the year 1972, all I wanted for christmas that year was SSP Smash up Derby. I used to run to the TV every time an ad would appear on the TV. I played with that set for hours at a time. I even took the set to school for show and tell. What a great toy.


Gary
1964


This memory was added on: February 1, 2007

In this safety conscious world of ours they wouldn't dare make the SSP Racer again. Too bad, too - I had Black Widow and it was the best toy I ever had because it actually did what it claimed on TV. These toys were crazy fast and they were built better than most real cars! Indestructable. I used to point it at the cat and watch him freak out as this black dragster raced towards him at mach 5. Hilarious!


Tim
1963


This memory was added on: January 28, 2007

I had the SSP Superbird or Roadrunner.


Tony
1964


This memory was added on: January 8, 2007

"Two Much" was the model I had! It was AwESOME!! Made of very durable orange plastic, duel rocket design in front!! I remember that screeching sound it made when you pulled the cord! It was much too powerful to play with in the house, besides it would leave black scuff marks on the kitchen floor!!


steve
1963


This memory was added on: January 6, 2007

Had the smash-up derby set. Enjoyed it, but soon found out that the jumps were perfect for my Evel Knievel stunt cycle.


Stevie B.
1966