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SSP "World's Fastest Big Racers" By Euphrates
It's Christmas morning and the year is 1973. You impatiently rip off the Christmas
Tree-patterned paper on the box that you have had your eye on all morning. As the graphics
on the box start to become visible, you realize that here it is, the Smash Up Derby
set that you have been seeing on TV during your favorite cartoons. As soon as the sun
comes up, you ring up a friend and he arrives at your door, shivering, just moments after
breakfast. You set up the two ramps facing each other in the hallway. You both insert the
rubber zip strip or t-stick in the back of the cars and on the count of 3, pull them out as
quickly as you can causing the two cars to rev up to 20,000 rpms. The vehicles
clatter over the ramps and meet violently in mid-air, spraying car parts everywhere. Is the life
of the toy over? Nope, just snap the pieces back together and do it over and over
Kenner's SSPs, which stands for Super Sonic Power, have names influenced by Hotwheels and everything else inspired by the antics of Evel Knievel. The majority of the cars were not manufactured to "break up" on contact, just the cars from the Smash Up Derby set. The rest of the cars were for racing and performing stunts. These gyro-cars first started screaming up and down sidewalks in 1970 and the line continued for many years after.
If you read the first paragraph, it should come as no surprise to you that these cars are hard to find in nice condition today. The wheels usually have wear from running on sidewalks, the cars are scuffed and decals are torn or missing. If, somehow, you find a car that has made it through time in good shape, the odds are that it will be missing the zip strip. Good cars can run $35-$45. The hard-to-find cars like the Blue Monday with it's red zip strip and the Creature from the Black Lagoon can set you back over $100.
Here is a parital listing of some of the cars and playsets that Kenner made in the '70s.
Cars - Partial List Black Jack Blast 'Em Blue Monday (HTF) Bonneville Bike Boss Henry Bush Burner Can-Am Racer Copper Cart Creature from the Black Lagoon (HTF) Darth Vadar Van Detonator Deuces Wild Elephant Eater El Camino Eliminator Flair Pair G.T. Coupe Hustlin Hoss Indy Racer Jet Star King Cobra Knight Rider - (HTF) Laker Special Mini-SSPs - Bush Burner, Dune Dragger, Formula Mini, Mini-C, Mini-T, Outlaw, Pinto, Stripper Mod Mercer Mod Vans - Dirt Digger, Shark Shifter, Slammer, Smokin' Dragon, Star Wars (White and Black) Moovin' Marvin - (HTF) Mustang II Paddy Wagon Pee Wees - Short Snort, The Bugster, Circuit Breaker, Dynamo Rail Bird Ram Jet Siamese Slingshot Sidewinder Ski-Baller Skorpion Super Stocker Superbird Tee-Riffic Tigera Though Tom Two Much Sets - Partial List 4-N-1 Collectors Racing Set - Cord Roadster, Bullitt Bob, Scan Cam Racer, Classy-Chassis Buggy(HTF) Classy Crashers Flying Finish Action Set Herk Stunt Set Launch Pad and Jump Set Six Pack Carrying Case Smash Up Derby - Tough Tom, Buggem Tournament of Thrills - 1975 Similar Cars Kenner TTPs (Turbo Tower of Power) Hasbro Blasters Hasbro Hot Foot Racers Hasbro RailBirds Hasbro Ricochet Racers Hasbro Stick-Shifters Remco Power Masters Remco Road Devils