Although not much of a Tonka toy fan as a kid I now make a living watching life sized Tonka toys build roads.
Matchbox cars and Hot Wheels were my favorites. Hot Wheels had all of those crazy over the top designs and they rolled so well. But Matchbox had the realism thing going like concrete mixers and car haulers.
If I recall correctly the Big Jim toys competed with GI Joe. My brother was into those. But one thing we shared was Evel Kneivel toys. Even had an Evel Kneivel edition 20" Western Flyer at one point. That one held up way better than Schwinn's and Columbia's of the day and cost half the price. While Schwinn and the rest were trying to mimic the grown up sized bikes or building crazy looking choppers the Western Flyer was all about durability. A Schwinn orange krate looked really cool in your bedroom but the Western Flyer were being bashed around by all kinds of Evel Kneivel wanna-be's.
By 12 I was all in on skateboarding and put away the toys of my childhood. Hanging around kids in their late teens and early 20's meant it was time to be a man. Yeah buddy, gotta be tough. Yet I secretly played with Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars well into my teens while recovering from skateboarding injuries due to my ambitions far exceeding my talents.
I don't know why I remember this, because I don't think I ever had one favorite toy, but I have fond memories of American Plastic Bricks (stacking bricks, but different from Lego). You could build houses and/or buildings, with doors and windows that opened. Long defunct, but several years ago I found a bunch of vintage American Plastic Bricks on ebay for what I consider to be exorbitant prices. Didn't buy any, but oh the memories.