Yesterday this little beauty landed in my inbox courtesy of my old buddy John Skidmore. It's the front panel of a 1969 slot racing set called Shutdown! Plymouth Super Stock Racing Set. It was sold by Republic and manufactured by the Tool and Manufacturing Co. in LA.(An all-American product!) These sets were only sold at dealerships, so they're a pretty rare find.
What's not to love about this box illustration? Given that it was made in '68, we see the psychedelic poster style influence and big typography that was common in the day. It's even got the Road Runner character in one of the cars. Plymouth licensed the Road Runner character in the late 60's to early 70's for their advertising and for the emblems and styling of the classic Road Runner car.
I love this box cover, and since I was a big slot racing fan in my youth, I wanted to learn more about the set. The first thing I found was this video that shows the unboxing of a vintage set. I'm blown away by the level of detail this set has. Since the set was featuring Plymouth branding, the cars themselves were perfect in every detail. What really got me was the level of design in the supporting print materials. Unfortunately, we don't get to see the set run, but I can understand why – this set has all the original packaging, including the poly envelopes and car decals, full intact.
I couldn't find any of these for sale on eBay, but I'm told these can go as high as $400 (a mint set was up for bid at $725, but we're not sure if it sold at that price). I did uncover an ad for the set that appeared in Life magazine on November 8, 1968. Just $14.95!