I’m sure today’s kids would love it, but this 1970s Evel Knievel Stunt Cycle Toy is probably back to appeal to grown-ups.
Of course, it is. Once upon a time, this was the toy to have, and as a result of what it does, the vast majority were probably destroyed doing some mad stunt off a large hill. Kids eh? But fear not, the mini version of Evel Knievel has returned for one more go.
Amazingly, the toy dates back as far as 1973 and is being remade using the original factory moulds, which were acquired from the now-defunct Ideal Toy Company. So this is pretty much the original toy – but without the huge collectors’ price tag. It certainly looks familiar to me. Yes, I had one, and I remember taking it to junior school and firing the little man off a large hill on ‘take in a toy’ day. Happy memories.
If you don’t remember it, let me give you bring introduction. Once upon a time, Evel Knievel was king of the stuntmen, daring to do what no one else would try, usually in front of the TV camera. The sight of Evel flying over cars and buses on his motorcycle is a defining image of a bygone era. The man is an absolute legend.
As a result of his exploits on TV worldwide, Evel Knievel became heavily merchandised. In fact, he still is. I featured the Even Knievel balance bike in my top 10 retro bicycles for kids round-up not too long back. But head and shoulders above all the merchandising was this toy.
A replica of both the bike and the man was attached to a plastic ‘generator’. Wind the handle, give the bike some power, let it go, and your very own Evel does some kind of stunt. It sounds simple. It was. But it was also a lot of fun. This is why the appeal endures.
As I said, getting an original might set you back a bit due to so many not lasting the distance. But the new version is much the same and thanks to Jay Horowitz, the man behind the reissue, the price of this one new isn’t too restrictive. Obviously more than one in the 1970s. But still affordable. Whether that’s for nostalgia or to introduce the man and the toy to a new generation.
The one downside is that you can only buy them from the Evel Knievel Toys website in the US. No issue if you are in the US, of course. But if not, you are looking at extra postage costs.
Talking of that cost, it retails for $49.95. Also, check out the accessories on the site, taking in everything from original posters through to clothing and mugs, A joy for a fan. Like me, in fact. Note that the 2023 edition (pictured below with the blue generator) is reduced to $39.95 right now. Which might help with the postage costs.