1970 Hot Wheels Dual-Lane Rod Runner Drag Set

In a prior post, about the 1970 Super Speed Action Set, we saw that the single-lane rod runner clocked the highest car speeds of the three single-lane speed sets produced that year.  Now we are going to look at a set that, basically, puts 2 Super Speed Action Sets together and creates a drag set.  But this time, not only are the cars launched at high speed, they are also brought back down to a stop with drag ‘chutes.  It’s like those real world auto tests that show how quickly high performance cars can race from 0 to 100 mph and then brake hard all the way back down to 0 again.

This set is the 1970 Dual-Lane Rod Runner Drag Set.

Dual-Lane Rod Runner box art – front.

It comes with 28 feet of orange track, 10 joiners, 1 dual-lane rod runner with 1 “fair start” T-bar, 1 dual-lane speedometer, 1 finish gate, 2 ‘chute traps, and 4 drag ‘chutes.

Here’s the instructions:

Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Track layout. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Track layout. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Set contents close-up. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Set contents close-up. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

This may well be the busiest track set that Mattel ever made for Hot Wheels.  Just to get ready for a race you have to load the drag ‘chutes, set the finish gate flag, adjust the speedometer, cock the rod runner handles down to start position, and place 2 cars on the track in the cradle of the “fair start” push bar.

The race, itself, is totally high speed.  Getting a smooth, even start with the push bar takes a bit of concentration.  In the moment it takes to satisfy yourself with the start, the cars have already gone through the speedometer.  Before you can even look at the dials, the cars have flashed through the finish gate.  And before you realize who won, the ‘chutes have popped and the cars are slowing down.  You almost need a mental “instant replay” to appreciate the recorded speeds and who won the race.

Set up time, the actual race and post race evaluation takes a couple of minutes for just one person to do.  And then you have to do it all over again for the next race.

If you look at Mattel’s original 1970 TV ad for this set you will notice that there are 3 kids playing at the same time.  I have come to realize that there is a lot of merit to having a bunch of people help you run this drag set.

Also, close-up shots of the cars in the TV ad are presented only in slow motion (which still looks fast).  Even then, the speedometer section requires 3 repeating views from different angles for the action to be grasped.  This set is what fast is all about.

Here’s Mattel’s original 1970 video courtesy of Mark Roach:

And here’s the 4 cars I’m racing on this drag set today.

L to R: ’67 Pontiac Firebird 400, ’70 Pontiac GTO, ’71 Dodge Charger and ’70 Camaro.

At the starting line.  Waiting for the Rod Runner handles to be shifted down and a push from the T-bar.

Flying out of the Rod Runner and heading for the speedometer.

Hard tilt into the dual-lane speedometer.

Clocking the speeds.

Flat out to the finish.

Winner about to take the flag.

Hitting the ‘chute traps.

Poppin’ the ‘chutes.

Here’s my YouTube video of this set in action.

So there you have it.  The 1970 Hot Wheels Dual-Lane Rod Runner Drag Set.

It’s still fast.  Still fun.

1970 Collectors’ Catalogue. The “short track” version! Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Box art -front: 1st close up.

Box art – front: 2nd close up.

Box art – front: 3rd close up.

Box art – front: 4th close up.

Box art – back.

Box art – side: full color.

Box art – side: red, black and white.

Box art – end.

A complete Dual-Lane Rod Runner Drag Set with box insert. Courtesy eBay.

The above Drag Set unpackaged. Courtesy eBay.

Sunday Newspaper Comics Section.  Mattel's Hot Wheels Ad for drag racing with the Dual-Lane Rod Runner.  August 30, 1970. Courtesy eBay.

Sunday Newspaper Comics Section. Mattel’s Hot Wheels Ad for drag racing with the Dual-Lane Rod Runner. August 30, 1970. Courtesy eBay.

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