|The Space Crawler was and still is one of those "must have" toys and was featured prominently in Mattel advertizing from the period. This was supposedly modeled from offical Space Program designs, but I've yet to find any proposed vehicle photos quite like it. The Space Crawler was molded in silver/gray plastic and featured a pair of four-spoke wheels, sans rims, which could straddle rocks and rough terrain. The premise is interesting, however the montion sickness a real driver would experience due to the ungainly gait of the vehicle would be difficult to overcome. One cool aspect of the vehicle is its ability to continue even if flipped on its back (of course, in reality the driver would be thrown and crushed!). The Crawler ran on two "D"- Cell batteries and featured two switches, one controlling power and the other the winch.
The Space Crawler is probably the most unusual of the MMM vehicles, in that it was multi-purpose. A tow hook to the rear can wind objects to it and enabled the Space Crawler to tow or winch just about anything (the winch is connected to the mechanical inner-workings of the motor/drive and was ingenious in its design). The Crawler could also be mounted to hooks atop the Space Station to act as a crane. To further the Crawler's functionality, a tow yoke was provided with the Space Bubble so that it may be towed behind.
The Space Crawler is often found missing either the tow-hook or rear roller (both are molded in red/orange plastic). Also, they are often found in non-working condition, either due to corroded battery compartments or deteriorated gearing. The inner gearing is fragile because of composition - a plastic that breaks down over time. It appears that the Oil Hole on the bottom of the vehicle prompted all manner of lubricants to be added to it. Many of the Petroleum-based lubricants reacted chemically with the plastic gearing and caused the teeth and bearings to disintegrate. Exposure to heat and air accelerates this problem. One almost never finds an example that works completely as intended (they often run, but need to be "coddled" to run). The good news is, the interior guts may be replaced or reworked. Please review the Restoration page in the Resources: Restoration area of the site.
Space Crawler Images:
Side 1 | Side 2 | Top View | Bottom View | Back View | Front View | Copyright
The box is made of corrugated cardboard printed on all sides (in black, white and blue ink), except two sides which have applied a full-color, process-printed label (top and front). The box measures 14 1/8" by 9" by 9". Copyright is 1966. The box reads: "Nothing Stops It - Unlimited Power! - Crawls Over Craters..Rocks...Deep Crevices...Pads Over Moon Dust - Always Lands on its Feet! - Powerful Rotating Hoister & Winch - Adapted From Official Space Program Design"
Additional Box Images:
Top | Back | End | Bottom | Inside | Insert 1 | Insert 2 | Insert 3 | Insert 4 | Insert 5
Mattel #6304-0920 Space Crawler
Mattel Catalog Specifications:
(First appearance: Mattel Toys Fall 1967 "Toy Fair" Catalog Page 95 **note that the Crawler originally had a "four-color wall poster" as an accessory, abandoned in actual production).
New Space Crawler #6304
Nothing stops it!
Powerful winch and hoister
Crawls over anything!
Always lands on its feet!
When the going gets rough, Major MATT MASON rides across troublesome terrain and dangerous crevices in his all-purpose vehicle, the SPACE CRAWLER!
Adapted from official space program designs, the mighty transportation unit features eight rotating legs with curved power pads, so it always rights itself!
Major MATT MASON uses his SPACE CRAWLER as a winch to haul material and as a hoist to raise and lower supplies. Turned on its side, the masterful machine rotates whenever its heavy-duty hook touches the tail boom. Forward, neutral, raising and lowering accomplished by unique gear shift. Instructions, four-color wall poster and catalog included. Battery-powered (2 "D" batteries not included).
Package size, 14" x 9" x 9".
Std. Pack: 6/12 Doz.
Wt: 14 ½ Lbs.
Major MATT MASON not included.
- Oil Hole: The Crawler may be found with or without the lubricating hole on the bottom (with appears to be more common)
This is indeed my favorite vehicle of all time, for any toy line. I vividly remember the TV commercials for Major Matt Mason, and how "spooky-spacey" the Crawler looked. I immediately wanted one, and only had to wait 36 years before finally acquiring one in a boxed Space Crawler Deluxe Action Set (paid $50 for loose contents in a decent box - which I still own). There's nothing quite like the Crawler, though it was copied by Eldon for Billy Blastoff and others. I like to have several of them around as conversation pieces.
Accessory may also be found in:
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