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Mattel Disney Pixar Diecast CARS: Lightyear Launchers Pictorial

As most of you know, Mattel is switching from the Pit Row Launchers to Lightyear Launchers.

Because it’s fun! 🙂

Okay, just kidding.

Presumably because the regular launchers cost way more to manufacturer. Not only is there a launcher device but there’s a button that lifts up the flag plus a whole slew of stickers and various color paints …


Lightyear Launchers are nowhere near as elaborate.


It is a one-piece launcher that rests inside a “generic” Lightyear wheel.

TiresOn the other hand, they look very nice.

For those interested, while they look like the Tomica Box Set Lightyear “Wheels,” they are not the same. The Tomica ones are slightly shorter but wider and heavier plastic with more deatiling of the hubs and lugnuts. Eventually, I will crack my box open to photograph and compare.


One other thing to note, they are not really color coordinated. While McQueen’s red is pretty close, Bumper Save gets a ‘generic’ silver and while there is red on Lil’ Torquey Piston, it’s not his dominate color – and as you see in the closed pic above – Chick Hicks gets the “Leak Less” green instead of his green … of course, much cheaper to do a few select colors and re-use them for the Piston Cup racers … also no sponsor or racer decals or names on the launcher to indicate it’s theirs.

And in more confusion, there seems to be TWO different case assortments of CASE A out there so it’s all a little confusing now … and to add to the confusion?

Lil Torquey Other
And yes, same production dates …

Lil Torquey
One to make you feel all sunburst-ish …

And no, the Pit Row Launchers are NOT canceled. They are apparently a Target exclusive but for now, Walmart still has it on the planogram so collect ’em all.

Launchers devices courtesy of “Chuki Mama.” Thanks!

(And for all those going crazeee over Rev ‘N Go, unless you are really, really, really hot for another silver launcher, it’s coming later this year as a Pit Row launcher, in the Target 4-pack and with rubber wheels at Kmart CARS Day III so don’t overheat yourselves too early).

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24 August 2009 Mattel Disney Pixar CARS 29 Comments


  • What Mets pictures dont show on those above is a white label on top of the bubble over the wheel. Like a part number label

  • heinz57baby says:

    I actually found Lil Torquey! Too bad it was $15.92 CAD. That’ll be the first and last one I buy!

  • My son and I saw the Lightyear Launchers at WM the other day. They’re nice looking but we like the Pit Row Launchers better. Glad to hear that Target will still carry them. Although I don’t think I’ll be able to show my face at Target again…

    Funny but humiliating story…

    My daughter and I where at Target today. We’re looking at some clothes for school then all of a sudden my daughter busts the biggest grumpy! We’re not talking about the “silent and deadly” type. Oh no…it was the loudest Grampa fart you ever heard. And it stunk! So what does my darling daughter do then? She says “Eewwww Mom!” and runs from me laughing. She leaves me standing there in a cloud of noxious gas and everyone is staring at me. 😕

    Child for sale!!!

    (MET: Hahahaha ….).

  • Sebastien says:


  • Sebastien says:

    Hey guys…I have an unrelated question…a while ago, there was a post wherein there was information about how to make the crew chief pit row stands out of cardboard, if I remember correctly. I have not been able to find that post. Could someone point me in the right direction?


  • cac1959 says:

    Like many of you, I like the old style design… I have them connected in 2 rows completely covering a shelf on the corner desk. I did buy Rev N Go and Lil Torquey and have traded for an International Clutch Aid in the Lightyear Launchers series, because I want the Car. I have extras of some of the Pit Row Raceoff launchers and may try to make some custom launchers. For several of the launchers, I bought 2… one to put the Car in the display case, and one to put in a pit row… and now I need a 3rd of some to put in the hauler display case.

    My grandchildren and I loved to connect 2 launchers together and race… whoever’s Car went the furthest got both Cars and we repeated until I ran out of Cars… I never did win, but that’s part of being a good grandfather. Can’t do that with the lightyear launchers.

  • Tyler is extremely smart, especially for a 3 year old — he likes things that are functional, and openly expresses his displeasure if something does not meet his expectations.

    When I first opened up our Lil’ Torquey Pistons Lightyear Launcher he thought it was really cool with the tire that opens and closes. But it only took about 30 seconds for him to realize that when the tire is open the little flap thingy doesn’t stay up. He tried it, I tried it — about 6 times total. When I told him it just wouldn’t stay, he threw a fit, smashed the tire on the table a few times, and subsequently took his Lil’ Torquey and walked away.

    He hasn’t touched the lightyear launcher since.

    (MET: Funny!)

    • camlgt says:

      Boy that story sounds exactly like my house down to the exact same car, my 3 year old was a bit pi$$ed as well about the little flap, although he did like that 8 out of 10 times the car flipped and wrecked as it barely came out of the launcher and went a whole 14″ away. That only lasted a few mins though and he quickly lost interest, with a regular launcher its a good hour of playing with 4 or 5 of them. I really don’t know what they were thinking with these they are no where near as nice as the originals, and don’t nearly work as well either from a play stand point. I guess mattel hasn’t heard the phrase if it isn’t broke don’t fix it.

  • Steve AKA: Poppa says:

    Either type of launcher is a hard sell in Pierce County WA. They have been sitting on the shelf for ages. except for the initial sales week, Fred Meyer cannot get rid of them at 40% or Buy 2 Get 1 free. It’s a chunk of change to buy an additional car, when mom and dad can buy Cars at $3.99. Personally, if I were to collect the launchers, the originals make a better display piece.

  • Daniel says:

    Rev N Go as Pit Row Launcher?

    Was this posted before Met because I thought I had all the info on Pit Row Launchers and Rev N Go was not amongst them.

  • babychristianscars says:

    Thank you I will take back rev n go than I hate the new launchers and only need the car, not a hunk of plastic.

    The other launchers I do like and will collect.

    Our wal-mart just reset and they are keeping the original launchers, actually just got them in for the first time since they originally came out.

  • John in Missouri says:

    We still prefer the original ones, since you can connect them all together.

  • Dpcnh says:

    walmart in manchester and hudson nh has them as well

  • Dpcnh says:

    lightyear launchers r out at tru in manchester nh plus mater the greater stunt play set as well

  • L8rM8r says:

    “Because it is fun” actually made me laugh out loud Met, cause that is exactly how I present situations like that to people. Anyway, I picked up my(Oops, must be catchy, I mean my son’s)first Light Year Launcher and eh.. They are OK, my son did like the carrying case as well, but I do like the pit row ones better.

  • The rest of the pics of sealed launchers I sent you? Will you be doing the whole set on this page?

    (MET: They will be in the ROR Checklist magazine but ROR isn’t quite closed yet 🙂 ).

  • cars-in-your-eyes says:

    If anybody is looking for the ones with the NEW Sunbursts Email me.

  • Jibber uk says:

    My,(oops, my sons’) preference are the pit-row launchers, as you (sorry, he) can line-em-up and race….

  • carsmama says:

    From a kids point of view the first launchers seem to work a lot better. But my son did like toting his around this weekend in the tire. We lucked out and found a Rev N Go at TRU. And no, he didn’t tote around Rev N Go, he replaced it with an old McQueen (just in case you were worried).

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