In March of 2008 I discovered something rather interesting! It seems that back in 1977/1978 POPY had a mail order deal where kids could get their hands on a real life racing suit!
This mail order deal was advertised on flyers included with the various POPY toys, like PB-41 and so on. Andres was kind enough to scan his flyer for me, so I could put up a legible version on the site. You can see it below.
One of my Japanese-reading friends enough (Hi Masami-san! o/) was kind enough to help me translate parts of the flyer. He confirms that the flyer does indeed mention a mail order, for both the helmet pictured below and a racing suit.
Masami told me:
It seems that you're right. In the red part, I read: "レーシングスーツをもらお！” [Get a racing suit as a present!]. I couldn't properly read the part to the right of the head, but seems to mention 100 persons, so maybe that's the amount available. Below the round part, there's a table with the header "サイズは3種" [three different sizes].
One of the key words to look for in Yahoo auctions and such would be "レーシングスーツ" (racing suit).
Then fellow Ars Technica forum member Akatombo came to the rescue!
Get your own Race Suit!
(A drawing with 100 winners a week)
Jacket - length - shoulder width - sleeve length
S (3-4 year old)
Pants - leg length - above crotch
How to apply * does not include helmet
we will be giving away 100 wonderful racing suits (set of top/bottom) per week from the contestants. Please write and send your name address age and your desired size. The drawing period is from S.53 Jan 15th to the last day of April. We will announce the winners by sending the products. Note that entries other than by this entry post card are void. Make sure that parents or guardians fill out address and name clearly and completely.
*make sure to specify a size
Name | Age
Desired Size Jacket / Pants
*please use a 20 yen stamp
Tokyo Taito-Ku Komagata 1-4-14
Poppy Inc. attn: Racing Suit Present
Big Present (poppy) 100 people win a racing suit!! lets have your mom or dad read the back side instructions so you can enter the contest now!
This greatly improves our chances of finding one of the suits through an auction, since there were at least 1400 made! Of course, it's been thirty years since that time, so I'm affraid that 99% of them may have already been destroyed.
This is the flyer that was included in all the POPY model boxes.
One interesting tidbit that Akatombo gleaned from the flyer is that the helmet was in fact NOT part of the mail-in raffle. This means that the helmet was a for-sale product available through stores. Hmm. This means we're still going to have to come up with a model number.
Masami has also translated parts of the flyer that came with the helmet.
"トドロキスペシャル" [Todoroki Special / Todd Rocky special / ?]
"タカヤヘルメット" [Takaya helmet]
"***レーサ用ヘルメットをモデルに作られた" [made with a racing helm as model]
"*トドロキタカヤヘルメットです。" [a Todoroki Takaya helmet]
"***ヘルメットのかぶり方" [how to wear the helmet]
*= illegible due to bending
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All content, with exception of "borrowed" blogpost images, or unless otherwise indicated, is copyright of Thomas Sluyter. The character Kilala the cat-demon is copyright of Rumiko Takahashi and used here without permission.