“Rev up the motor and get set to make the most exciting drive you will ever take!”
In 1983, Tomy released Turnin’ Turbo Dashboard, a child-sized replica of a sports car dashboard complete with working parts and a viewing screen.
After sitting behind the wheel, junior drivers ages four and up were presented with a working steering wheel, gear shift, on/off key, speedometer, tachometer, and fuel gauge. A built-in viewing screen depicted a small car amidst a winding road full of bends and curves.
The front of the mostly plastic dashboard featured a set of headlights with a bumper situated below. After turning the key and putting the car in gear, the toy emitted simple audio cues to mimic an operating engine. It ran 4 D-batteries.
Tomy gamified Turnin’ Turbo Dashboard by allowing drivers to score points while driving. The object of the game was to score as many points as possible before crashing off to either side or running out of gas, whichever came first. The toy dashboard’s trip mileage counter also doubled as a score indicator.
Tomy rewarded increased speed with more points. Driving off the road caused the toy to emit a clicking sound, flash the viewing screen, and stop the trip mileage counter from advancing — a sign that the game was over.
When it was released, Turnin’ Turbo Dashboard was atop many a child’s holiday wish list and it remains popular with Tomy collectors and fans of toy driving simulators today. While the toy is relatively easy to find on the secondary market, be prepared to pay top dollar for a fully functioning model complete with the original box, instructions, and sticker set that shows minimal wear.
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