1969 Hot Wheels Talking Service Center

A filling station is a facility which sells fuel and lubricants for motor vehicles.

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The most common fuels sold today are gasoline (“gasoline” or “gas” in the U.S. and Canada, generally “petrol” elsewhere), diesel fuel, and electric energy. A filling station that sells only electric energy is also known as a charging station.

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A Tesla charging station.

Originally, filling stations were of the full-service variety. A service attendant would meet you at the pumps and take care of your automotive needs. He would fill your tank, check the oil, measure air pressure in your tires, clean the windshield, etc.

Chevron postcard from the 1950s. Courtesy eBay.

Chevron postcard from the 1950s. Courtesy eBay.

In the 1970s, two periods of gasoline shortages (1973 and 1979) caused higher fuel prices which in turn resulted in permanent closure of many full-service gas stations as consumers looked for price relief that came in the form of self-serve operations.

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A pair of Mopar’s getting self serve.

In the U.S., a filling station that also offers services such as oil changes and mechanical repairs to automobiles is called a service station.

A classic service station on historic Route 66.

A classic service station on historic Route 66.

Until the 1970s the vast majority of gas stations were service stations.  Today, service centers are tied more to car dealerships than to gas pumps.

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Entrance to a modern Service Center.

Work bays inside a service center.

Work bays inside a modern service center.

The Talking Service Center is a Hot Wheels play set that goes back to 1969.  With this set kids are encouraged to “Drive ’em, Service ’em and Park ’em”.

Box art – front. Courtesy eBay.

Box art – top. Courtesy eBay.

Box art – back. Courtesy eBay.

Box art – bottom. Courtesy eBay.

Box art - side. Courtesy eBay.

Box art – side. Courtesy eBay.

The sides…

Front - courtesy eBay.

Front – courtesy eBay.

Close-up front. Courtesy eBay.

Close-up front. Courtesy eBay.

Close-up back. Courtesy eBay.

Close-up back. Courtesy eBay.

…unfold to reveal a drive through gas pump area on one side and drive-up ramps for the 3 levels on the other side.

Gas pumps on the back side. Courtesy eBay.

The gas pumps side. Courtesy eBay.

The front side folded up. Courtesy eBay.

Step 1: The track side folded up. Courtesy eBay.

The front side unfolding. Courtesy eBay.

Step 2: The track side unfolding. Courtesy eBay.

Step 3: The front side unfolded. Courtesy eBay.

Step 3: The track side unfolded. Courtesy eBay.

The second level has 3 moulded lube racks for oil changes and servicing.  There is roof top parking on the third level.  And orange Hot Strip track can be attached to the third level.  That means cars can be launched from the roof and head out for the open road.

1969 Collectors' Catalogue image. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

1969 Collectors’ Catalogue image. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

The unique feature of this play set is the talking function. Pulling the string cord on the side produces 10 different sound tracks.

1.  Now there’s a hot set of wheels.
2.  Wow! Your car’s a beauty.
3.  Out of gas?
4.  Check under the hood, sir?
5.  Lube and tune-ups on the second level, sir.
6.  Regular or super, sir?
7.  Fill ‘er up, sir?
8.  Sir, park on the third level, please.
9.  So, how fast does she go? vroom. vroom.
10. Vroom. vroom. She’s ready to race now.

Here’s a video showing the 1969 Hot Wheels Talking Service Center TV commercial. Courtesy Mark Roach.

So there you have it. The 1969 Hot Wheels Talking Service Center.  Where Hot Wheels stop, service and go.

It’s still fast. Still fun.

Alternate 1969 Collectors' Catalogue image. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Alternate 1969 Collectors’ Catalogue page. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Side view. Courtesy eBay.

Side view. Courtesy eBay.

Side view close-up. Courtesy eBay.

Side view close-up. Courtesy eBay.

Close-up of the other side. Courtesy eBay.

Close-up of the other side. Courtesy eBay.

Front cover of "The Fast Cars Book" published by Golden Shape in 1969 showing the Talking Service Center in action. Courtesy www.onlineredlineguide.com.

Front cover of “The Fast Cars Book” published by Golden Shape in 1969 showing the Talking Service Center in action. Courtesy http://www.onlineredlineguide.com.

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