Posted Dec 22nd 2012 12:00PM
Automoblox, the little and terrifically simple wooden cars, are always a treat for car guys around the world. And every single year, tonnes of of us get them as gifts. So even though scale-model cars are as detailed as the real thing, R/C cars can go faster than and do things that real cars can't, and real cars have previously unthinkable amounts of power and tricks that toy cars still haven't even imagined, folks continue to queue up for an artfully carved chunk of wood.
That kind of timeless appeal is what got Italian designer Matteo Ragni to start TobeUs. Tired of seeing his children quickly bored with toys, he wanted to create a toy that his kids would love, that had "a recognizable smell, an unquestioned resistance to impact and texting" and the ability to be recycled or reused at the end of its life. The result is little and terrifically simple wooden cars carved from a single block of cedar.
The effort, 100% TobeUs, now features 100 wooden cars from 100 designers, and there's an exhibit – called 100% TobeUs: 100 Designers for 100 New Toy Cars – at the Natural Museum of Science and Technology in Milan, Italy, to go with it. A few of the cars can be bought as toys, but all of them can be viewed on the TobeUs site. They all come with the names of their designers, but most of the captions are in Italian. Don't let that stop you, though – like holidays and food comas, the language of the little wooden car is universal.