All three kids received a vehicle from Automoblox this year ... and this was by far the coolest kid present under the tree. :)
Automoblox are primarily wood and polycarbonate (bullet proof glass strength plastic), with interchangeable parts (which is why having three vehicles in the house is really cool, they can trade bits and pieces, making all kinds of different vehicles from the available parts). The whole idea behind these toys is ... well, here's what the company has to say:
We live in a world where toys are a disposable commodity. The founders of Automoblox believe however, that we may be giving our children a harmful message. We feel that it's better to have one great toy instead of 10 cheap ones. It is this thinking that enabled us to engineer Automoblox to last. ... Designed as a heirloom toy from the get-go, we anticipated the bond between the child and the toy to be so great that they would wish to save Automoblox and pass it on to their own child.
These are durable, well built toys. The kids played with them off and on all day, running them along the floor, swapping pieces, and generally just ... being kids with toy cars. The Boy is on the floor beside me as I type, asking me to pick out pieces for the new car he is creating (which headlights, Mom? Okay, which roof?)
If you are looking for a gift for a child (or several children), and you want it to last *and* be fun ... let me pass on the whole-hearted recommendation of the kids in this house: Automoblox are awesome.
(They have a new set of mini cars, too, which are much less expensive ... although the full size versions are certainly worth their price!)