Live Drive from Mattel (1971)

Company: Mattel | Release date: 1971 | Where to purchase: eBay

Fly! Dive! Blast Off! Race! Roar!

In 1971, Mattel released Live Drive, a driving simulator for children featuring six different types of vehicles.

Operating on a single D-battery, the tabletop toy comprised a plastic dashboard outfitted with a steering wheel, gear shift, and various switches, dials, and gauges. To provide a more immersive driving experience, Live Drive came with a six-way picture board made out of plastic that could be attached to the windshield. The cardboard backdrop allowed children to visually represent a race car, fire engine, airplane, speedboat, submarine, or spaceship.

To add to the realism, Live Drive also featured an integrated record player and speaker operated via a sound control button. Children could add sound to their selected driving adventures using one of three included records that played 33-second snippets of related “real action sounds.” The console included a built-in storage compartment for the records when not in use.

The record player was patterned after the company’s Instant Replay record player, released the same year.

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