Category Archives: Matchbox

A 30 Year Old Matchbox Town Set Finally Found!

By Marcel Bakker

All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author unless otherwise stated.

I now have this Matchbox Toys LL-102 Town play-set in hand. There were three My First Playtrack play-sets introduced in 1989 to appeal to younger children. I have had the other two for a while. The seller (from the south of The Netherlands) bought this not long ago as ex-shop stock from a closed shop in Belgium.

As you can see, the cover of the box shows some preproduction models. The other 2 sets are shown below.

I wrote about these sets for 1989 as well as all the other colorful Matchboxes in a PDF posted to the web a while ago. Now all three are in my collection!

I will keep this set shrink-wrapped, but here are some contents from a similar set – it seems that regular Matchbox were used in these first sets!

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Trip Report to the German Matchbox Club Weekend

By Marcel Colijn

All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author unless otherwise stated.

The German Matchbox Club recently spent a weekend in Maastricht, NL. 35 people attended the weekend. Dirk Schleuer had organised the very successful event, including a bus tour on Friday with an old yellow school bus from the US. We all had a great weekend!

I am in the front row, in the middle, with my girlfriend.

Then we had a lovely dinner in local restaurant in the city centre on the Friday evening and then a much liked 4 hour boat trip in the south of The Netherlands and Belgium on Saturday. The same bus brought us to the boat on Saturday from our hotel!

The main event was Saturday night with dinner in the hotel, displays of members’ Matchbox collections, and an auction. I presented my Matchbox store display stand that I acquired at auction in Nov, 2018. it is from around the 1964-1966 period and sized for bigger Matchbox models (Models of Yesteryear, King Size & Major Packs).

I have started to find the right period models to populate the display stand, with the original boxes. This was quite a task to have this
all done before the weekend in Maastricht. I am still working on it, so I borrowed some of the models in the photos from a fellow collector. I have tried to populate the display per the 1965 UK trade catalogue.

It is also of interest to know that the display stand came packed in the original transport crate (which I have never seen before)! The auction house believed that the display had never been removed from this crate, being old shop stock from the Leicestershire area of the UK.

Photo by Kay Schaber

The blue display is Dirk’s stand for toy fairs, and I used it to place all the original boxes which belong to the models on the yellow display stand.

Photo by Kay Schaber

In addition to the displays, we also had an auction after dinner. The most expensive item there was Alex Picha’s 1st book (The Big Book of Matchbox Models of Yesteryear, 1956-72, Alexandr Picha & Libor Miks, 2012) which went for many euros and had many bidders.


Here are some pages from 1964-66 UK trade catalogues.

1964 Lesney Sales Catalogue
1965 Sales Aids
1965 Sales Aids
1966 Sales Promotion Guide

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Matchbox Moving Parts

By Maz Woolley

All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author unless otherwise stated.

Hot on the heels of the anniversary Superfast models Mattel has launched a Matchbox Moving Parts series. This article looks at the first three models in the series. Two are of vehicles that appeared in the original 1960s Matchbox range, and one is of a modern US SUV.

Volkswagen Type 3 Fastback 1965.

Known in the UK as the 1600TL this vehicle appeared in the original Matchbox 1-75 range in regular and superfast wheels. The red paint used is reminiscent of one of the finishes on the original car, though I think it is rather darker. The reproduction is generally similar to the original model but there are some disappointing differences. Firstly the glazing is very thick and the window openings are compromised by the thicker plastic at the top and sides. The steering wheel is just moulded into the dashboard and is not a separate part like the original had.

Underneath we get a plastic base with some moulded in detail and wheels that are very wide like those fitted to Johnny Lightning models and bearing no resemblance to those of the original model.

The opening front doors are the same moving parts as were fitted to the original model.

We do get a VW badge printed on the bonnet, printed headlight markings, rear amber and red painted lenses, and number plates. Mind you the plates just have a German flag and unrealistic letters and numbers and they are too wide and too shallow. So those wanting to buy a bit of Matchbox history are frankly better off buying a battered original model and repainting it.


Pontiac Grand Prix 1964

Another vehicle originally seen in the Matchbox 1-75 range with both regular and speedwheels. This was always a lovely casting and though this is a replica it still looks good. The purple shade is again reminiscent of one used on the superfast version of the original 1-75 model., though again it is not quite the same with its metal flake finish.

The underneath is similar to the VW as it has the same over wide wheels and a plastic base with some moulded detail.

The opening front doors are the same moving parts as were fitted to the original model.

Sadly the model is again treated to a clumsy very over thick glazing unit which is so thick it protrudes behind the A pillar so it fills part of the door area. Inside the steering wheel is again crudely moulded into the dashboard whereas the original has a separate wheel on a column.

Here we get no printing on headlights and no coloured rear lights either, nor are any number plates fitted.


Nissan Xterra

Here we get what to me seems a strange choice. The version of the Xterra modelled was made between 1999 and 2004 so it neither formed part of the original 1-75 series nor is it an up to date choice for younger buyers. Presumably it will appeal to US model buyers?

European model collectors may not be familiar with the Xterra as it was never sold here. It was a basic ladder framed pick up truck chassis bodied with a utilitarian separate five door body and the obligatory large standard roof rack. It was sold as both two wheel and four wheel drive and It was made originally in the US and Brazil. Once replaced there by an updated model tooling passed on to Iran and to China where it was badged as a Dong Feng. Sold as a sports utility vehicle (SUV) it seems to me to fall lamentably short of the sports element of the name.

The only moving part is an opening tailgate which does not even fully open.

Again we get a plastic base, but one with little detail in this case. The wheels are again over wide even for a off road vehicle. Here the thickness of the window unit is not an issue and the interior is a simply moulded component though the steering wheel is moulded so it is separate from the dash board though it does then have a curious hole in the bottom of the tub underneath it.


I understand that this range is not being imported into the UK by Matchbox so it is not surprising that the next wave of releases features no more classic Matchbox models and includes US favourites like the Datsun 280ZX, Chevy C10 and Tesla X.

Robin’s new Models

By Robin Godwin

All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author unless otherwise stated.

The photograph above shows a new colour for the second issue of the Matchbox 1959 Chevrolet Brookwood station wagon. All the details are the same as the original red version reviewed and posted 3 Jan 2017. The canoe load is the same, but in a slightly lighter shade of brown. I opened the original red version, but am tempted to keep this one in its blister on the card. That card artwork is superb, and obviously unique to this version of this model – almost like a colour spot on old Dinky boxes.

The second photograph shows a recent Norev release in its approximately 3 inch range of cars. It is a passable Volkswagen 1303 Beetle (Super Beetle with curved windscreen). It lacks quarter window frames, and the interior is basic, with a steering wheel nearly horizontal. Livery is accurate, at least for a much earlier VW, as shown in the third photograph below.

Source: Google Photographs

S.A.M.U stands for Service d’Aide Medicale Urgente, which shouldn’t require translation. Moissac is a French town. To the best of my knowledge, this is the third version of this casting from Norev, following a plain dark green version, a ‘near Herbie’ version (a number 53 car, but just short of copyright infringement). It is the first version with a roof light. The Norev is shown for comparison next to an M2 “chase model” (or a deliberate rarity as the editor calls it), in reasonably accurate 1:64 scale.


The Matchbox Adventure 2000 and Judge Dredd Comic Book Connection

By Bob Neumann

All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author unless otherwise stated.

In the 1970’s, Matchbox was expanding their range to include larger scale die-cast models that had more working features and play value for children, while retaining the high Matchbox quality. Following up to the Superkings and SpeedKings series of large scale trucks and cars, they introduced the “Battle Kings” range of Military models that included tanks, transporters, missile launchers and ambulances.

Following that, Matchbox went on to produce the Adventure 2000 range which were Superking/Battle King scaled models with a Science Fiction theme. All of these models were made in England by Lesney. I recently found out through the “Miracle of the Internet” that the Judge Dredd comic book series adopted one of the Adventure 2000 models to serve as a critical vehicle in the plots of the comic books. The model that was chosen to feature in the comics was the K-2001 Raider Command, a model that featured a futuristic cab with treaded trailer that included a missile launcher. Here is a mint and boxed example.

Thanks to Wikipedia, here is a brief explanation of the Judge Dredd comic book character: “Judge Joseph Dredd is a fictional character created by writer John Wagner and artist Carlos Ezquerra. He first appeared in the second issue of 2000 AD (1977), a weekly anthology comic magazine. He is the magazine’s longest-running character.”

Adventure 2000 model joined together

Now back to the Matchbox connection! Lesney was already in production with the Adventure 2000 series which included three large scale models when the K-2001 was chosen to be used for the comic strips. In the comics the front vehicle was called the “Killdozer” and the rear treaded vehicle was called the “Land- Raider”. The Killdozer connected with the Land-Raider to form the “Land-Raider”, which is kind of redundant, but that is what is described in the comic book reprints below.

Back of Adventure 2000 K-2001 Box

After the model was featured in the comics, Lesney Matchbox sponsored a competition to win the three current Adventure 2000 models. So Lesney was quite aware of the use of their toys’ image in the comics. What I do not understand is why Matchbox did not do a separate marketing strategy and create new packaging for the models as “Judge Dredd” vehicles. A missed opportunity for Matchbox. And they needed that marketing kick.

Matchbox Competition Advertisement

In fact due to cost cutting, the fourth model in the Adventure 2000 series was a recolored Missile Launcher from the Battle Kings, and the fifth model, the Shuttle Launcher, is now one of the rarest Matchbox models out there. It was painted metallic blue, a change from the rest of the series which was painted light olive green, and was produced in low numbers due to Matchbox canceling the Adventure 2000 series.

The series was canceled due to poor sales and simultaneous feedback from some European markets to block the importing of “violent” themed toys. The entire series was to be recolored metallic blue, but alas only the Shuttle Launcher was released in the new color. Three Superfast models were also recolored metallic blue to be included in an Adventure 2000 gift set, but due to the canceling of the range these three Superfast models were “dumped” on the market and are now also quite rare. Below are further pictures from the comic books and a nice fan illustration.

Unattributed photo from the Web. Artist Mike McMahon. Copyright acknowledged.
Unattributed photo from the Web. Artist Mike McMahon. Copyright acknowledged.
Unattributed photo from the Web. Artist Mike McMahon. Copyright acknowledged.
Unattributed photo from the Web. Artist Mike McMahon. Copyright acknowledged.
Computer generated fan rendering of the Judge Dredd “Land-Raider”. Copyright acknowledged.

Editor’s Note: This article was published in December 2018 in the Illinois Collector’s Club Newsletter, Volume 22, Number 6. The club is open to new members around the world and can be contacted through their website at imccclub.com, or by contacting Bob Neumann at PO Box 1582, Bridgeview, Illinois 60455 USA; or neuelectro@email.com


Matchbox Hudson Hornet Sheriff’s Auto

By Maz Woolley

All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author unless otherwise stated.

In the early 1950s Hudson‘s powerful six cylinder engines were powering them to many racing wins. So naturally their police special was a popular choice with police departments across the United States. Matchbox have made a superfast version of the Hudson Hornet of 1951 and liveried it for MBX Valley Sheriff Department.

It is built with a diecast top and a plastic baseplate. The baseplate forms the grille, bumpers, side chrome sills and the rear bumper. It has moulded in additional lights, siren, and some of the badging.

The model shown has had a few details added like the headlights and additional lights which are chromed and coloured.The siren has also been picked out. The rear lights have also been picked out in silver and red transparent paint added. Adding these few details is fun and certainly makes the model rather more real.

The white door panels, and livery are printed on. The white panels are slightly rough edged. Looking at the photographs of real cars on the web it would appear that most police cars would have also have had the roof painted.

All in all a very nice pocket model toy at roughly 1:64 scale though no scale seems to be stated on the model. Though if you are interested in a larger model with many more details Franklin Mint do a rather nice 1951 Hudson Police Cruiser in 1:24 scale.

The Ford in Miniature – Falcon XA, XB and XC 1972-79

By Dave Turner

All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author unless otherwise stated.

Ford Falcon XA

Replacing the US designed Falcon XY in February 1972 the XA was the first Falcon to be completely designed and produced in Australia. While based on the preceding XY and having the same wheelbase, the bulkier and bolder styled body was a couple of inches longer. Five levels in the sedan line started with the basic version, the 500, the Futura, the Fairmont and the GT. 2 door hardtops came as the 700, the Fairmont and the GT. The wagons on a 5 inch longer wheelbase (the same as the contemporary ZF Fairlane) came as the basic version, the 700 and the Fairmont. Then there were the basic and 500 Utility and the van.

Engine choices were a couple of straight sixes in 3.2 and 4.1 litre sizes and a couple of V8s of 4.9 litres and 5.7. The four door sedans featured the ‘coke bottle’ line rather like being a larger version of the Cortina MkIII while the 2 door coupes boasted very deep rear quarters with rather sinister looking rear side windows quite different to the sedans.

As usual various options and specials add to the complexity for example the Grand Sport Rally Pack ‘boy-racered’ up the base, the 500 and the Fairmont while the proposed GT-HO Phase IV was abandoned after just one example. Just 250 of the GT – RPO 83 Falcons were made – 130 sedans and 120 hardtops, and differed only by a few mechanical upgrades with no external changes. Another limited run were the Falcon 500 Superbird RPO – 77 hardtops featuring considerable mechanical upgrades to engine, suspension, instrumentation complete with rear window louvre.

The up-market version of the Falcons were the bigger Fairlanes but these differed from the regular Falcon in size and equipment sufficiently to demand a separate feature – sometime.

Australia seems to have a reasonably healthy model car supply base with several local operations providing miniatures of their home-grown product. For example Top Gear/Trax may be the most familiar on this side of the globe although Classic Carlectibles and Oz Legends have also been imported.

Oz Legends have in fact provided quite a few models of the XA in a variety of 1:32 scale diecast sedans, hardtop and Ute versions. Most of which appear to be limited to 2,500 examples and feature opening doors, hood and trunk. Classic Carlectibles have gone the 1:18 scale route with slight variation on the same subjects.

Back on 1:32 a range on the Signature label (Yatming?) has a few sedans, hardtops and utes and inevitably concentrates on the higher performance end of the line and like the other makes includes a few customised examples. Auto Art offered some Aussie Falcon Hardtops under the Biante name in both 1:18 and 1:43 scales.

Top Gear/Trax seem to have concentrated on 1:43 for most of their vast range of Ford models but the only XA seems to be the 1972 GT Sedans in at least four colours. These came in the relatively expensive Opal Series that featured a vast amount of detail for 1:43. All four doors open as well as bonnet and boot while the interior and engine compartment are detailed to an incredible degree. The door windows are in the lowered position so that the interior can be viewed without opening the doors.

Falcon XA Models

Oz Legends
Ute 150mm 1:32 diecast
Ute GT 150mm 1:32 diecast
Hardtop GT 150mm 1:32 diecast
Hardtop GT RPO-83 150mm 1:32 diecast
Sedan GT 150mm 1:32 diecast
Sedan GT  RPO-83 150mm 1:32 diecast
Classic Carlectibles
18268 China Superbird hardtop show car 250mm 1:18 diecast
18448 China Hardtop GT RPO-83 250mm 1:18 diecast
18545 China Sedan GT HO Phase 1V 250mm 1:18 diecast
18615 China Sedan GT RPO-83 250mm 1:18 diecast
18640 China Hardtop GT 250mm 1:18 diecast
Signature
China Hardtop 351GT 150mm 1:32 diecast
China Utility GT 150mm 1:32 diecast
China Utility GS 150mm 1:32 diecast
China 2016 Sedan GT 150mm 1:32 diecast
Auto Art/Biante
72725 China Hardtop GT 1:18 diecast
72726 China Hardtop Superbird 1:18 diecast
72747 China Hardtop GT 1:18 diecast
China Hardtop GT 1:43 diecast
Trax
T005 China 2008 Sedan GT Ltd 2400 112mm 1:42 diecast

Falcon XB

Succeeding the XA in November 1973 the XB was very similar but featured a few subtle changes to the bonnet and grille – the latter having a central divider. The sedans got larger tail lights that featured a wrap-around section at each side. Once again there were some ‘specials’ such as the Sovereign Edition based on the 500 and celebrating Ford Australia’s 50th Anniversary. The John Goss Specials were Hardtop 500s with decals and a GT bonnet named after a local race driver while the McCleod Horn Specials were produced by a Sydney Ford dealership and identified by a large strobe stripe on the body side.

The Australian model suppliers have provided even more of the XB series than of the previous one. The same names crop up again but with the addition of a new one on this subject – Hot Wheels, who offered a XB Coupe in no less than 20 versions, and apart from the unsightly wheels they are reasonably acceptable.

Most of the previously mentioned ranges offered both custom and competition versions of the standard issues while some are detailed to a commendably degree once again. For example the 1:43 Auto Art XB GT 351 Hardtop features a great deal of underside detail – even steerable front wheels while deciding not to bother with opening doors etc, and probably looks neater as a result. The Trax Opal Series XB GT 351 Sedan followed their XA in featuring a mass of detail plus opening parts quite neatly. The Oz Legends range now included a trio of Panel Vans.

Falcon XB Models

Oz Legends
Sedan GT 140mm 1:32 diecast
Ute GT 140mm 1:32 diecast
Sedan GS 140mm 1:32 diecast
Panel Van GT 1:32 diecast
Panel Van 1:32 diecast
Hardtop GS 1:32 diecast
Panel Van GS 1:32 diecast
Hardtop GT 1:32 diecast
Classic Carlectibles
Sedan GT 1:18 diecast
18615 Sedan GT RPO-83 1:18 diecast
Hardtop GT John Goss 1:18 diecast
Signature
Hardtop GT 150mm 1:32 diecast
Hardtop GS 150mm 1:32 diecast
Sedan GT 150mm 1:32 diecast
Sedan GS 150mm 1:32 diecast
Ute GS 150mm 1:32 diecast
Auto Art/Biante
52742 China 2003 Hardtop GT 111mm 1:43 diecast
72742 China Coupe GT 1:18 diecast
72796 China Sedan GT 1:18 diecast
72881 China Hardtop GT 1:18 diecast
72886 China Hardtop GT McCleod Horn 1:18 diecast
Trax
T006 China 2008 Sedan GT 351 112mm 1:43 diecast
Hot Wheels
2010 Malaysia 2009 Hardtop GT 351 75mm 1:64 diecast

 

Falcon XC

A second update brought us to the XC Falcon in July 1976 and this was to carry through to March 1979, late examples can be identified by featuring a Ford oval on the XCs horizontal grille. The front of the XC was given a softer look than the XB while a larger rear door window was provided by the use of the Contemporary ZH Fairlane rear doors effectively losing the ‘coke-bottle’ line. Tail lights were now horizontally divided while the GT was replaced by the GXL and the Fairmont given rectangular headlights. A limited run of 400 Cobra Hardtops were finished in white with blue racing stripes.

Models of the XC are far less well represented than the first two of the series. Oz Legends are present again but so far only the Hardtop Cobra has been recorded while the only Auto Art XC seems to be once again the Cobra but in 1:43 this time. Trax have concentrated on the Hardtop to a greater extent, they again did the Cobra first but followed it with at least six further versions, some of them in competition form as the Hardtops were a favourite with the racing fraternity. Another Cobra they did was a model of the projected Phantom that in reality didn’t go into production and this was followed by another rare subject, the GS Homologation Hardtop of which only 13 real examples were made. Finally a model of the production GS Fairmont 4.9 Hardtop was produced. A sedan Fairmont GXL was a recent issue and while it is a highly detailed resin model, it features a degree of stick-on chrome edging – none of which has peeled off yet it must be said.

Falcon XC Models

 

Oz Legends
Hardtop Cobra 140mm 1:32 diecast
Auto Art
52752 China Hardtop Cobra 111mm 1:43 diecast
Trax
TR10 China 1994 Hardtop Cobra Ltd 7500 111mm 1:43 diecast
TR10C China 1998 Hardtop Cobra Phantom 4500 111mm 1:43 diecast
TR10F China 2004 Hardtop GS Homologation 3200 111mm 1:43 diecast
TR10G China 2008 Hardtop GS Fairmont 4.9 2800 111mm 1:43 diecast
TRR 36 China 2016 Sedan Fairmont GXL 115mm 1:43 resin

Illustrations Ford Falcon XA, XB and XC

 

Trax 1:43 diecast from China: TR10G, Hardtop XC GS Fairmont 4.9.

rear of TR10G

Trax 1:43 resin: TRR 36, Fairmont XC GXL

rear of TRR36

 

Hot Wheels 1:64 diecast from Malaysia: 2010, Hardtop XB GT 351 one of at least 20 versions.

 

rear of Hot Wheels

 

Trax 1:43 diecast from China: T006, XB Sedan GT 351.

 

rear of T006

 

Trax 1:43 diecast from China : T005 XA Sedan GT.

 

rear of T005

 

Auto Art 1:43 diecast from China: 52752, XC Hardtop Cobra.

 

rear of 52752

 

Auto Art 1:43 diecast from China: 52742, XB Hardtop GT.

 

rear of 52742

 

Trax 1:43 diecast from China: TR10F, XC Hardtop GS Homologation

 

rear of TR10F

 

Trax 1:43 diecast from China: TR10C XC Hardtop Cobra Phantom.

 

rear of TR 10C

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1991 Alfa Romeo SZ

By Karl Schnelle

For the last couple years, I have driven down to Nashville, TN, in the autumn to drive a car from the Lane Motor Museum.    If you are lucky enough and have the funds, you can sign up for a Rally to drive their cars if you donate a certain amount to the museum.  The museum wins and the participants win!  Plus the cars get to be driven as they should be on the back roads of Tennessee for a day.

Being an Alfafanatic, I saw that the museum had just acquired an Alfa Romeo SZ (Sport Zagato) and it was on the 2018 Rally list!   Somehow, I was so extremely fortunate that I was the first in line for this car.  I got my buddy Skip, a fellow car guy and 1/43 collector,  to co-drive since you really need a navigator to read the Rally book and call out directions. He did not need any convincing!

The museum has a short write-up on the car, so I won’t repeat the whole story.  In 1988, Alfa Romeo and Zagato collaborated on a show car based on the Alfa 75 (Milano) sedan, but with 3L V-6 engine, called the ES-30.  The slab-sided body was a little ‘wedgy’ (it was the 1980s!) and nicknamed “Il Mostro”, the Monster.  Either you love it, or you hate it, as they say.  Enough people liked it that they produced 1000 red examples for sale and 1 black one for Signor Zagato from 1989-91.

The Models

After the Rally, I came home and dug out my SZ models.  I have three or four.  I am mainly a 1:43 guy, so I do not have the 1:18 from BBR Top Marques, the 1:24 Alfa Centenary partwork by Hachette, or the small 1:64 from Kyosho.

Being in the US, Matchbox are common so I do have this little 1:55 Matchbox in all red.  Matchbox made many different ones right after the real one came out.

SMTS in their 1/43 Voiturette series made a very nice white metal version.  I acquired this heavy Monster in 1993, so I did not get the newer handmade resin Make Up model later.

Finally, Spark made both the red and black versions in 1:43 over ten years ago, so I picked up the black one.

Have you seen other SZs out there in model form?  Please let me know.


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Matchbox Camaro in 1:43!

By Frank Koh

Believe it or not, this exquisite 1:43 scale 1968 Chevrolet Camaro Super Sport is a Matchbox product, specifically from the Matchbox Collectibles line from 18 years ago.

The Matchbox Collectibles 1968 Camaros were 1/43 scale miniatures of the ultra-desirable RS/SS cars. The Super Sport (SS) package was a performance option group which offered a choice of a 350 cubic inch Small Block V8 or a 396 cubic inch Big Block V8, plus performance-oriented suspension components.

The Rally Sport (RS) package was an appearance and luxury option group with special trim, upscale interior appointments, an all-red tail light and separate, under-the-bumper reverse light setup, and those famous hidden headlights. When a first generation Camaro had both RS and SS packages, it was the SS emblems that were used on the car.

Those faux hood louvers that looked like a quartet of square velocity stacks per side were exclusive to the 1968 Camaro SS equipped with the Big Block V8s, and all 1969 Camaro SS variants. For model year 1968, the hood louver trim on the Small Block 350 cubic inch V8 SS Camaros were different: they featured multiple lengthwise vents / vanes that were earlier used on all 1967 Camaro SS models.

A Vinyl Top, Hockey Stick Stripes and Rallye Rims were popular options on well-equipped first generation Camaros!

This exact same Camaro casting was shared with the Hot Wheels Classics series from that era, but because of the use of the signature Hot Wheels chrome-like “Spectraflame” colors, the Matchbox cars were a lot more realistic.  Several bright blue Hot Wheels versions are available online, even now nearly 20 years later…

Once upon a time, Matchbox and Hot Wheels were fierce competitors. For more than two decades now, however, both brands have Mattel as their mother company; hence they could be considered “complimentary” to each other. Such is the way of the corporate world. The baseplate says it all: this is a Matchbox model made by Mattel from 2000.


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The Ford in Miniature – 2004 Ford Shelby Cobra Concept

By Dave Turner

All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author.

When Ford celebrated their Centenary in 2003 a whole series of concepts were unleashed, along with the many other related events. Most, if not all, these special productions were conceived to recall one of the memorable and significant vehicles of Ford’s past.

Among these was the Shelby Cobra that resulted when Carroll Shelby inserted a big US Ford V8, first a 4.2 and for production a 4.7, into the front of an unsuspecting AC Ace. This had previously been the home of the old 6 cylinder 2 litre AC engine that dated back to the 1920s and from April 1956 there was the option of a straight 6 Bristol 2 litre. For just over a couple of years from March 1961 the 2,553cc Ford straight 6 was employed.

Since the production of the first Cobras ended in Jan 1969 there have been many copies and kit cars replicating the Cobra, in fact Carroll Shelby produced a very limited number of 2 seater roadsters in the late 1990s that had a degree of GM content and called simply Shelby Cobra.

The 2004 Concept car was produced by Ford and featured an all-aluminium 6.4 litre V10 engine that was claimed to be able to propel the car to 267mph – although it was actually electronically limited to 100mph. Its chassis was based on that of a Ford GT, modified to be front engined but with the transmission in the rear. It was not registered for road use but was subsequently purchased by one of its designers, Chris Theodore, at auction for $825,000, the proceeds going towards the restoration of Henry Fords Fairlane Estate.

Models of the Shelby Concept as might be expected appeared in the few years following the real cars appearance. Auto Art gave us no less than three quite different models, a big 1:17 scale diecast and much smaller one in 1:64 and in between a plastic slot car in 1:32. Mattel also produced the model in two sizes, their Hot Wheels examples came in at least eleven versions and in many cases almost being little models rather than pure toys. Their larger 1:18 diecast were excellent despite coming in a variety of colours, the real car was only ever silver.

Matchbox also issued a small diecast Shelby that looks very like the Hot Wheels version and it came in at least six versions. Minichamps issued their 1:43 Shelby in a three part “The Ford Power Trilogy” set in 2005 along with 2005 Mustang and 2005 GT, all finished in the silver/white stripe colour scheme. The Shelby was then issued separately for a couple of years.

Model Listing

Auto Art  China 20541 1:64 diecast
Auto Art  China 13101 slot car 1:32 plastic
Auto Art China 73031 228mm 1:17 diecast
Mattel  Malaysia G6687 67mm 1:60 diecast
Mattel  Malaysia H3051 215mm 1:18 diecast
Matchbox 42 1:60 diecast
Minichamps  China 146430 93mm  1:43 diecast

Illustrations 2004 Ford Shelby Cobra Concept

 

Mattel Hot Wheels 1:60 diecast from Malaysia: G6687, in authentic colour scheme.
Minichamps 1:43 diecast from China: 146430, also came in set 402 058000 “The Ford Power Trilogy”
Rear of Minichamps

 

Interior of Minichamps

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