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It's the beginning of summer and you decide that it's time to take The Great American Road Trip. After setting your sights on a cross-country trip from Chicago to California, you head on over to Lou Glutz Motors to pick up the special-ordered Antarctic Blue Super Sports Wagon with the CB and the optional Rally Fun Pack -- the car that the entire family has been waiting for. Instead, you're presented with the all-new Wagon Queen Family Truckster in Metallic Pea. It's not what you ordered - not even the same model - but Lou's got a few of 'em on the lot, and with a trip to Cali happening in the morning, you settle. At least, that's what Clark W. Griswold (Chevy Chase) did in 1983's NATIONAL LAMPOON'S VACATION, and in 2016, thanks to the folks at Greenlight Collectibles, you can bring the Family Truckster home.

It's no secret that when it comes to Hot Wheels (and diecast vehicles in general), I really love the "star cars" - those inspired by television and film, or those with some other kind of pop culture spin. This week, Mattel made the official announcement that for the first time ever, THE BEATLES and HOT WHEELS have teamed-up for a collection of seven vehicles - each meant to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the band's 1966 single, "The Yellow Submarine," and the film that followed it two years later. 

Whenever The Rock Daughters spy a yellow and black Chevrolet Camaro on the streets, they always shout "there's Bumblebee!" For awhile following the release of Michael Bay's first TRANSFORMERS movie in 2007 (which pre-dated our parenthood by two years), you could actually buy an officially-licensed TRANSFORMERS Edition Camaro through Chevy, and over the years several of the Autobot-badged rides have been spotted not far from Rock Father HQ. With 2017's TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT, perhaps a new package will be available for purchase, as Bay has teased Bumblebee's latest version, a 2016 Camaro, possibly based on the ZL1 we saw at the Chicago Auto Show earlier this year. Keeping with the classic yellow, the new 'Bee features deeper black accents spread across the wheels, hood and a new ground effects package. 

Part of #TMNTweek 2016 on THE ROCK FATHER Magazine! Check out TheRockFather.com/TMNT for more.

Out of all the toys released for TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: OUT OF THE SHADOWS, the Turtle Tactical Truck by Playmates Toys is by far my personal favorite. While I was a fan of the 2014 Turtle Assault Van (reviewed here) from the last film (a vehicle that The Rock Daughters™ still play with regularly), the 2016 Tactical Truck is just better on every possible level. In the last film, the Van showed up briefly at the end - almost an afterthought, while this year's Tactical Truck (a converted NYC Garbage Truck) is featured heavily. Over the years there have been many Turtle vehicles including Shellraisers and Party Vans, but perhaps none has been as real-world plausible, or functional as this one, even as a toy. The folks at Playmates sent us one for review, so we had to hit the streets with it...

Part of #TMNTweek 2016 on THE ROCK FATHER Magazine! Check out TheRockFather.com/TMNT for more.

When it comes to a great toy collection, it often seems like toymakers forget that the vehicles and playsets are a key part of the lasting appeal (something G.I. JOE and MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE absolutely dominated when I was a kid). The folks at Playmates Toys' haven't lost sight of that, and over the years they've done a fine job of making sure that their Basic Action Figure Assortments are complimented with plenty of rides and environments to help kids keep those big adventures going. For TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: OUT OF THE SHADOWS, there's a new assortment of motorcycles hitting the streets, each paired with an exclusive action figure. Let's take a look...

I've written much about Toy State on this site over the years, but today's story is a little bit different - a chance to shine a little light on some really great things that they're doing... pledging support to helping children with mobility issues. This past week, Toy State, along with Tommy Baldwin Racing, hosted their 4th GoBabyGo! workshop of the last 12 months, and the second in the Charlotte area. The workshop took place in Mooresville, NC at the Tommy Baldwin Racing shop. Toy State provided ten area children with a ride-on car that was outfitted to model the No.7 Nikko RC/Toy State car driven by Regan Smith on the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit. Smith along with fellow NASCAR drivers Kasey Kahne, Michael McDowell and Ryan Preece were in attendance along with other members of the NASCAR community. Toy State is currently in the middle of a 14-race partnership with TBR as the primary sponsor of the No. 7 car. Check out some photos and details on the program below...

Back in the 90s, the folks at Hallmark offered a series of "Kiddie Car Classics" - diecast vehicles based on classic pedal cars, each with a Keepsake Ornament counterpart. Recently, the line returned, and now there's a new assortment racing into Hallmark Gold Crown stores (and online) featuring four new Kiddie Car vehicles - 1945 Gillham Fire Engine, 1969 Chevrolet Camaro SS, Tracy's Hot Rod and 1957 Ford Thunderbird - each as a detailed diecast replica (with collector card) priced at $49.95, and as a Keepsake Ornament priced at $19.95. They look pretty sweet... take a look...

The Hot Wheels Team is really firing on all cylinders this year! Seriously, the crew at Mattel has been on-fire with some fantastic new products and initiatives, and today, Hot Wheels rolled out something special to celebrate the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 - a custom take on the classic Indy 500 Championship Trophy, unveiled by Ryan Hunter-Reay at the Indianapolis Children's Museum. This hand-made trophy celebrates the past 99 epic Indy races with 99 Hot Wheels cars. 

The time has come... MARVEL's CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR is thrilling audiences worldwide as the MARVEL Cinematic Universe enters a new Phase and heads toward the inevitable coming of AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR. When it comes to the current battle, audiences are divided between #TeamCap and #TeamIronMan, and while generally I prefer Tony Stark as both a character and a hero, when it comes to the issue at hand in CIVIL WAR, I have to join Steve Rogers' crew... if I were a superhero, I'd want the Government to stay out of my business... much like real life. So with that in mind, THE ROCK FATHER Magazine is celebrating all-things Cap with this Hot Wheels Captain America 75th Anniversary Set - a special collection of eight vehicles released as a Walmart-exclusive. I've got one up for grabs, and they could be yours!

Brand unity is something that the folks at Kia Motors USA have really nailed over the past few years. Whether you're driving an entry-level model, or a fully-loaded luxury vehicle, the experience is distinctly Kia, and there's a comfort level in that feeling that's hard to surpass - no matter if you're in a car, crossover or minivan. When I last found myself behind the wheel of their best-selling nameplate, the Kia Optima, it was the 2014 Hybrid model. While we enjoyed that car, the 2016 Optima has been redesigned, and I recently had the opportunity to do a little roadtripping in Florida at the helm of the SX Turbo Edition - the perfect family ride for rockin' the road.

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Columbia Bicycles, but all my opinions are that of THE ROCK FATHER. #pmedia #RideColumbia http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

There is a rebirth taking place... With roots dating back to the 1877 opening of Boston's Pope Manufacturing company under the leadership of Colonel Albert Pope, America's first bicycles bore the name "Columbia," and were manufactured using pioneering techniques that would later win fans and adopters such as a cyclist by the name of Henry Ford. In fact, Columbia Bicycles once had a sister company in Pope Automobiles, a short-lived venture that while innovative at the time, would somewhat ironically be eclipsed by the Ford Motor Company, among others. While automotive aspirations didn't quite pan-out, the Columbia Bikes would amass a rich history, rolling on for well-over a century before slightly fading from the public eye, just waiting for the right time to re-emerge... now.

Over the past couple of years, there's been some pretty cool collaboration taking place between two of my favorite companies - Step2 and Mattel. It started with furniture and ride-ons based on Thomas and Friends, and eventually the Hot Wheels brand got into the mix, spawning one of the coolest race car beds to ever be released... the Hot Wheels Toddler-to-Twin Race Car Bed. Last year, we had the honor of collaborating with Step2 and Mattel ourselves, teaming-up for the "Rock Daughter Edition" of that very bed - with only two being produced, one for our youngest daughter here at Rock Father HQ, and the other given away to a lucky winner during a Holiday Wish Guide promotion. While you can't buy the purple/yellow/pink bed that we have here at our home, Step2 has a pair of color variations available, and now there's an accompanying Hot Wheels Race Car Dresser. The cool thing with this is that it doesn't have to be a "dresser," but can be used as a sweet storage cabinet for Hot Wheels vehicles and tracks, and that's exactly what The Rock Daughters™ are using ours for!

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