Our favorite purveyor of heirloom quality toy cars, Automoblox, has partnered with Highcroft Racing to enter the world of toy (and real) motorsports. The company's logo will be displayed on the wing of Highcroft's HPD ARX-01c car being campaigned in the 2010 season of the American Le Mans Series. The season opening 12 Hours of Sebring endurance race occurs this weekend, and Automoblox is celebrating its association with Highcroft Racing by announcing a new model to its extensive lineup of toy cars.
The new car is a Highcroft-branded version of the C9-R sports car. Not only is it decked out for racing duty, but the new model also comes with a color-coordinated version of the heavy duty T900 truck and a trailer to tow the race car to each event. And by "event" we mean the imaginary 12 Hours of Sebring in your living room and the 24 Hours of Le Mans that goes from your spare bedroom into the home office and down the very famous Mulsanne Hallway.
Curiously, these two companies got together when a member of the Highcroft Racing team bought an Automoblox car for his kid. They reached out to Automoblox and found a partner that, according to them, shares their values of "professionalism, precision, high performance and striving to be better than the opposition."
So keep an eye out for the Automoblox logo whizzing by the cameras on the wing of Highcroft's HPD ARX-01c this weekend at Sebring, and if that gets you hankering for some toy racing of your own, the Highcroft-branded Automoblox racer will be available in April (price TBD).
DANBURY, CT, Monday, March 15: Highcroft Racing is set to inspire the automotive designers and engineers of the future thanks to a new partnership with innovative toy manufacturer, Automoblox.
The range of Automoblox toys consist of wooden car body sections with patented plastic interconnects, polycarbonate wheels and rubber tires, plastic passengers and polycarbonate screens. Each car can be disassembled into its component parts and re-assembled. Parts from different cars can be combined to allow children to design their own models.
As part of the new sponsorship deal, Automoblox will market a Highcroft-branded model which will feature a racecar and accompanying tow-car and trailer. The new Automoblox Highcroft model is expected to be available in April.
The Automoblox logo will be featured on the rear of the #1 HPD ARX-01c chassis that Highcroft will campaign in this year's American Le Mans Series.
"Every member of the Highcroft Racing team played with toy cars when they were a child - in fact, you would have to think everyone in the entire paddock kicked off their passion for the sport with toy cars," Highcroft Racing President, Duncan Dayton said.
"The Automoblox product is really impressive. It is a great quality product and something that can really inspire children's imaginations.
"Anybody who has seen the cars has instantly said 'Wow, I have to get that for my kids' - I think the adults probably enjoy playing with them as much as the children.
"I am really looking forward to seeing the finished Highcroft version - I know one "big kid" who can't wait to have one on his toy shelf."
The Automoblox concept was created by founder Patrick Calello while studying Industrial Design at Carnegie Mellon University. Faced with the challenge of developing new consumer product concept for the do-it-yourself wooden hobby industry - being a "car guy", Calello immediately developed a novel toy car concept that could be fashioned out of wood. It was the fall of 1992 when the original concept was born for what would be become Automoblox.
The idea was to inspire creativity in children by allowing them to visualize assembling cars of their own design.
"Our relationship with Highcroft kicked off after a member of the team purchased one of the cars for their child," Calello said.
"The team got in touch with us and we quickly realized the brand values and the quality of what we do at Automoblox matches the Highcroft philosophy.
"I discovered the team was all about professionalism, precision, high performance and striving to be better than the opposition. Above all, we both like to play with toy cars so it really is a perfect fit.
"A partnership between us really makes sense."
The quality of the Automoblox product is a marked contrast to what many children find under their Christmas tree each year.
"We have taken a fresh look at the toy industry. Presently, many manufacturers focus on low cost and disposability - big retailers are always looking at the next big thing they can put on their shelf. Calello said.
"We wanted to deliver beautiful, high quality play-things for kids that will stand the test of time and enrich their lives.
"In years gone by kids had toys that would last for years but these days they'll get toys for Christmas that will be broken or in a garage sale by the spring.
"Our product really interacts with a child's senses rather that assault them with bright lights and sound - it's about the sense of touch, the materials and the way it clicks together."
The Automoblox logo will get its race debut with Highcroft at next week's opening round of the American Le Mans Series championship, the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring on March 20.