In the early 1960s, Leon Hess, founder of the Amerada Hess company (later called just Hess) started a casual conversation with a toy maker who happened to be seated behind him at a ball game. Hess wanted a toy truck for his oil company to use as a gift to his loyal customers. The conversation launched a successful series of holiday vehicles that continues to this day. (No one recorded who won the ball game, though.) The first truck, a Hess gas tanker, arrived just before the holidays in 1964, and it sold for $1.39--batteries included. It was quite sophisticated and detailed: the tank could be filled with water and emptied through its delivery hose. The toy was a huge success. Hess service stations sold out of their inventory quickly. In the years since that first tanker was introduced, the company has issued a different vehicle each year, and for many American kids, the appearance of the Hess truck signaled the start of the holiday season. The more than forty distinctive vehicles released by Hess have been coveted by collectors as well as kids.