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I do love classic traditions, and one that was previously an East Coast thing first landed firmly on my radar about five years ago, when I started writing about the Hess Toy Truck during the Holiday Season. 2016 marks the 52nd year for the annual toy, and it’s the third year (and fourth truck) that the folks at the Hess Corporation have graciously sent to Rock Father HQ for review. As the story goes, Leon Hess wanted to offer an affordable, yet exceptionally high-quality toy for customers of his Hess Gas Stations, and in 1964, the first Hess Toy Truck was released. Over the years, the “truck” wasn’t always just a truck, but often a hauler paired with a secondary, complimentary vehicle – sans a few years where the “truck” was actually something totally different – like an oil tanker. Over the past few years, the vehicles have been made to include an impressive array of action features that rival even the biggest of toy makers, packing LED lighting, digital sounds and more into packages with Batteries included. For 2016, it’s the Hess Toy Truck and Dragster!

2016 Hess Toy Truck & Dragster Review

With the Hess Corporation having sold their Hess Express stations to Marathon a few years back (since rebranded as the Speedway stations we have here in the Midwest), the toys are no longer available at gas stations, but exclusively online via Funny thing has happened, though – the Hess Toy Truck is no longer just an East Coast tradition, but one that’s spread not only Nationally, but Internationally. Additionally, there’s a flurry of activity online when the annual announcements take place, and that becomes a frenzy on November 1 of each year when the new truck goes on-sale.

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2016 Hess Toy Truck & Dragster Review 

I’d kept this year’s toy a secret, but when I gave it to Finley to open, she asked me “Is this Thanksgiving present a race car?” I asked her why she’d think that, and she said “because usually these green boxes have something with wheels inside.” She’s wise to the yearly plot! And my, how she’s grown since she opened her first truck.

2016 Hess Toy Truck & Dragster Review

Toy Truck Features:

  • 43 total lights that work in flash or steady mode, including super bright LED headlights
  • 3 button-activated sound effects (ignition, horn, countdown)
  • 1 Pull-out-ramp activated hydraulic sound effect
  • Free-rolling wheels
  • Chrome accents
  • 3 ‘AA’ Batteries included

2016 Hess Toy Truck and Dragster Review

Dragster Features:

  • 9 total lights, including super bright LED headlights
  • Pull-back Motor with tilt-activated wheelie action
  • Spoiler
  • Chrome accents
  • 2 ‘AAA’ Batteries included

2016 Hess Toy Truck and Dragster Review

As in years past, the quality here is excellent, and while I’m usually not a huge fan of “sound functions” on toys, what they do with these is top-notch – probably because it doesn’t sound “electronic.” The key thing with the Hess Toy Truck is that you have to act fast to get these since they tend to sell-out well before Christmas.

Get yours now at, and keep an eye on my socials over the next few weeks for more pics from Rock Father HQ!

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