I Want a Hess Truck!

A look at the quintessential Christmas gift


I never got a Hess truck under my tree.  Oh, I was still a kid when the first Hess truck premiered in 1965, in fact I was the perfect age for a toy truck that would let me fill the big tank with water, then dispense it from a little hose to the Hot Wheels that zipped around the floors after Christmas.  But I grew up in a neck of the woods where Hess was unknown,  so my childhood was deprived of the one of the iconic toys of New England childhood.

From time to time I heard the commercials, but until this year I never realized what these trucks were all about. First off, the Hess Truck isn’t necessarily a truck.  In 1966, it was a ship.  In 1970, and several times afterward, it was a fire engine.  Most years after 1988, the truck was actually two vehicles – a tow truck  and a sports car, for instance.   In 1999, the truck towed a space shuttle.  Of course it has the Hess logo emblazoned all of them.

The folks at Hess sent their 2013 truck to our office.  I finally got a Hess Truck!  Inside a fairly compact box was a nice sized green and white cargo helicopter. The five blades opened up to make the copter look even bigger.  Inside the clear-sided cargo bay was a second vehicle.    As I poked around to find the latch release, I pressed one of the buttons that activated the propellers, lights, and sound effects.  It turns out that the copter had three buttons that simulate different parts of flight, along with one that can be pressed for just general pretend flying around the living room.

The second vehicle was an emergency response van.  Lights, sirens, and – oh wow, the thing is motorized!  If I was a kid, I’d spend hours flying to the rescue of pretend stranded campers, swooping low across the sofa mountains and diving into the collapsed rubble of Christmas bows and ripped wrapping paper, then unleashing the rescue van with sirens blaring and lights blinking as it runs under the arm chair in the final leg of the mission.

Alas, I’m not a kid, but I know a few.  I carefully rewrapped the box to re-gift to someone who would give it a a grand workout.  But at least I had a Hess Truck for a little while.

The helicopter and van are tough plastic, durable enough to stand up to some rough rescue missions. But just about the only thing it can’t handle is a slow buyer – the Hess Truck is always a limited edition. If you hurry, you can get yours for $27 at your local Hess Station.  Read more about the trucks online at www.hesstoytruck.com

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