Memory Lane: ‘The Visible V-8’

Unbuilt 1960's Renwal The Visible V8 Engine plastic model kit 802:1298 |  Toys Trains and Other Old Stuff LLC

Hey, boys ‘n’ girls! How would you like to build your own V-8 engine that really runs?

This was a hot toy in 1960–the Visible V-8. A lot of the parts were transparent so you could see how the engine worked. My father got my brother one for Christmas that year. Mark was pretty handy, but this model was too advanced for him; and I don’t get machines, so I was no help. Dad wound up having to assemble it.

I had to admit this was pretty cool. Push rods and pistons and rocker arms, and the fan propeller! Just hook it up to a couple of flashlight batteries, and you were off to the races. Lots of transparent parts so you could see what was going on inside. Even I learned a thing or two about engines from this. (“If them parts don’t move like so, it’s to the garage you go…”)

We had a lot of those “visible” models–the Visible Man (skeleton with guts–horrific), Visible Frog, Visible Cricket (yes, really)… and the coup fourre: the Visible Head. Crickey, you could open up a doctor’s office with this stuff. Just add a fake diploma.

Since 1960 there’ve been any number of “visible” engine model kits; I’m afraid to ask what they cost.