Wednesday, May 25, 2022


 Well, maybe not incredibly amazing, but still pretty neat. When I was but a wee lad living in the tiny Scottish borough of Denison, Texas (ok, that didn't make sense to me either, but let's continue...) I was given a computer controlled car for Christmas! Now, since this was in 1969, the computer was less Microsoft and more 19th century lathe, but it still works! 

In during extensive research for this post (I Googled it) I found that this was actually an English toy released by Mettoy under the name "Computacar." It was released in the U.S. by Hasbro as "Amaze-A-Matic." The computer part was a punch card that you fed through the back of the car that would engage cams on the streering system and motor that would cause the car to turn in predetermined directions and go forward or backward for predetermined amounts of time. Feeding the card in also turned the motor on, so there's no "on" switch. Pretty nifty engineering, really.

Here are some pictures of mine...

As you can see by the rather lengthy instruction booklet, you could also cut your own cards to program the movements that you wanted. There were little orange pylons that you could set up, but alas, I have lost all of mine.

Also, my car caught a bad case of "battery cancer", which is what happens when batteries corrode in a device. The corrosion not only eats at the contacts, but actually travels up the wires and into the mechanics of the device, which pretty much kills it. You end up with an interesting display piece. If you are buying vintage battery operated devices, always beware of battery cancer!

That being said, there ARE still quite a few cars to be found out there, and while they aren't exactly cheap, they generally aren't horribly expensive either. Maybe it's time to get things up and running again...

Until next time, I'll keep searching for treasure!


  1. What a cool toy! Of course the best thing is those punch cards that it used to "program" the way it would drive. SO COOL. Pre-digital, but in the best way. I also love the thorough manual.

    It's funny, I was thinking, "I wonder if you could make your own custom punch cards?", and there it is, with directions and everything.

    I'm sorry the batteries leaked and ruined the innards, that has happened to most of my old battery-operated toys. Remember those old Mattel football games? I kept mine in its pristine box, but the batteries leaked, and that's that.

    Thanks for sharing this cool toy!

    1. Hi!
      Yes, the engineering is better than almost anything made now. I'm toying with (pun intended) getting a new one.
      Battery cancer stinks!
      I'm sorry about your gams! I had one of those too. Very fun!

  2. Both a clever concept and also just a generally cool-looking toy. The design folks should have been proud.


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