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Thursday Trivia

Robert Emslie May 18, 2017 Thursday Trivia 7 Comments

Welcome to Thursday Trivia where we offer up a historical automotive trivia question and you try and solve it before seeing the answer after the jump. It’s like a history test, with cars! 

This week’s question: What was the design feature of Hot Wheels’ Ramblin’ Wrecker that caused its creator, Larry Woods such grief?

If you think you know the answer, make the jump—or for those of you on mobile, just scroll on down—and see if you’re right.

What is a more vivid memory of Hot Wheels from when you were a child: racing the cool cars down their iconic orange track, or getting slapped with one of those sections of track by an annoying sibling?

Introduced by Mattel in 1968, Hot Wheels were the hot rods to Matchbox’s somewhat more staid production models. The models ran the gamut from takes on real cars, with eye-searing paint or flame details, to wildly imagined original designs. Kids had to have them all.

It was the design scheme of an original Hot Wheels car that caused one of Mattel’s designers a ton of consternation. Something you’d regret having done from just about the moment the model hit the shelves.

From the Hot Wheels Wiki:

Larry Wood has created some of the most well-known and unique Hot Wheels cars, including the ’49 Merc, the Boyd Coddington collector set and the Ramblin’ Wrecker (which originally featured Wood’s phone number on its sides). He has been with Mattel/Hot Wheels team since 1969. He’s originally from General Motors. His initials have been featured on some 2009 cars, such as the ’41 Pickup and Hiway Hauler. Each one bears the name “Elwood”. Elwood is identical to L.Wood in pronunciation. Larry Wood has made a new car series, Larry’s Garage. This series features many of his popular designs, such as Dairy Delivery, Metrorail Nash Metropolitan and the infamous Bone Shaker. The car, Cabbin’ Fever, bears a close resemblance to Larry Wood’s truck.

This isn’t the only instance of a real phone number having been used when a phony number would have been more appropriate, but it’s the one with the clearest car connection.

Perhaps the most famous instance of this was the Tommy Tutone song 867-5309/Jenny released in 1981 and for years after causing frustration for everyone with that number in area codes across the nation getting calls asking if Jenny was home. Maybe they all wanted just her to come and play with their Hot Wheels.

Image: Complex

  • smalleyxb122

    I read an article a few years ago that said if you are ever shopping somewhere where there is a loyalty discount and don’t have a card for that store, you can give them your phone number as 867-5309, and since someone has invariably registered with that number, you get the discount. Granted, you won’t be able to redeem any additional perks, like fuel points, but you can get the discount. A lot of stores want a name with the number now (maybe you can tell them your name is Jenny?), but I imagine that after the article posted, whoever was lucky enough to register with 867-5309 at any given store would have seen a significant uptick in earned rewards.

    • P161911

      I still remember the main phone number for one of my former employers that went out of business in 2001. I often use that one when a clerk asks for my phone number.

      • dukeisduke

        When the Tutone song came out, Plano (TX) had just started handing out 867 numbers (before that, everything was 422, 423, and 424), and so, needless to say, one family in Plano got plenty of calls asking for Jenny, until GTE issued them a new number.

    • JayP

      I tried that before – the checkout lady paused and asked for a manager. I asked if there was a problem and the manager said there were already 300 people listed on the number. No one got it.

      I’ve assigned a conference call number 86753099 – the extra nine as someone beat me to it.
      Way easier to remember than a random string of numbers.

    • Papa Van Twee

      853-5937, ask for Angeline:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rk0iT7egdd4

  • 0A5599

    When I was 10 years old, an entrepreneurial woman made audiotapes of her making orgasmic noises. She had a phone number you could call up and hear a 15-second snippet, followed by directions to order the full tape by sending money to a PO box, or something like that. When I was 10 years old, my friends and I called the number frequently.

    Yes, I still remember the number. It belongs to someone else now.

  • CraigSu

    866-867-5309 will get you the local Ben Franklin Plumbing Co. here in town. They’ve reworked the Tommy Tutone song to tout their services.