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Motorized Nostalgia: 7 Obscure Car-Themed Cartoons from Your Childhood

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When we were children, there was nothing better than waking up and sitting in front of the television on a weekend, eating breakfast while mesmerized by the latest cartoons. Everyone had their favorite shows back then that they still remember fondly to this day; but over the years, there have been numerous ones that ended quickly or have simply been forgotten.

Let’s look back at our childhood and look at some obscure animated gems that starred cartoon cars. You may even remember one of these from your childhood!


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7 Bizarre Animated TV Shows from Yesteryear That Starred Automobiles

Incredible Crash Dummies Fox TV show program 1993 CGI animated cartoon cars

Photo: Lamb & Company, Nelvana

The Incredible Crash Dummies

This early foray into full-length CGI-animations was inspired by the inexplicable popularity of a PSA campaign at the time that featured talking crash test dummies getting maimed in all sorts of ways. So, of course, this half-hour TV special featured plenty of detached body parts and eye-rolling puns.

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Pole Position animated TV show car racing series DIC Entertainment Nostalgia cartoon (1)

Photo: LBS Communications/DIC Entertainment

Pole Position

Loosely based on the hit Namco arcade game, Pole Position was seemingly an innocent show about a family of stunt drivers fighting crime, but it contained a lot of oddities, looking back, made it a truly bizarre show.

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Speed Buggy Hanna-Barbera Cartoon TV Show Scene Image Talking Dune BUggy Review (3)

Speed Buggy

A humdrum show that recycled many of Hanna-Barbera’s standard elements, designs, and tropes, Speedy Buggy received lukewarm reception from critics and audiences and only lasted one season.

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M.A.S.K. animated television show cartoon cars military DIC Kenner toys transforming vehicles flying

Photo: DIC Entertainment

M.A.S.K.

A competitor of G.I. Joe and The Tranformers that shared similarities and yet was some in many ways, M.A.S.K. combined all the best qualities of what was popular at the time—including transforming vehicles and masked international crime organization—and had a tie-in lineup of toys, too.

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Hot Wheels 1969 television cartoon show footage race car toy garage

Photo: Ken Snyder Properties, Pantomime Pictures

Hot Wheels

Yes, the Hot Wheels brand of die-cast miniature cars even had its own television show during its explosive initial popularity. The show didn’t last very long, though—not because it wasn’t good (it wasn’t, but that’s not why), but because it was the first show to clearly be a half-hour-long commercial promoting merchandise. It led to the FCC intervening and regulating product tie-ins.

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Turbo Teen cartoon TV show 1980s animated boy car title screen

Turbo Teen is much more sinister than it first appears
Photo: Ruby-Spears Productions

Turbo-Teen

We enjoyed watching cartoons about vehicles robots transforming into vehicles, but what about humans transforming into vehicles? This potentially-distressing premise was indeed as ghastly as it sounds, with the main character being depicted with his body distorting slowly into a red sports car.

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Cadillacs and Dinosaurs animated TV show cartoon cars Jack Tenrec

Isn’t this a beautiful image?
Photo: CBS/de Souza Productions

Cadillacs and Dinosaurs

A brilliant TV show that embodied the term “bad-ass,” Cadillacs and Dinosaurs was inspired by a comic book set in a post-apocalyptic world where dinosaurs ran alongside humans and their tricked-out classic cars. It inspired an awesome arcade game, action figures, and a role-playing game.

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