Tag Archives: Matchbox

Ten Model Car Brands With Unusual Histories

By Ron Ruelle

Ron is Social Media Guy, Catalog Editor, and Collectibles Expert at hobbyDB, a database and marketplace for collectibles, and originally published this article at the lamleygroup blog and then on the hobbyDB blog. Therefore, the titles link to items at hobbyDB.  Click on the photos for larger images.

Anyone who’s collected model cars for any amount of time has become acquainted with the major diecast brands as well as some of the small-market, niche-oriented companies. There are a lot of older brands that have gone by the wayside, or have been bought and sold so many times you aren’t sure who they are anymore. Here are a few diecast oddities to add to your collection.  Some are older, some newer, but they are listed in random order.

Jet Wheels/AMT Pups



Jet Wheels was a company that made realistically proportioned 1:65 scale models with working suspension and opening hoods or other features. The earliest cars from the late 1960s were in fact made by AMT, (they called the series “Pups”) who then sold the business and the molds to Mego. The original range of 8 American street cars was augmented by a series of Formula 1 cars as well as some garage and track accessories. Some of these were later released under the Tuffy and Super Speedy names, but they eventually faded into history…

Kenner’s foray into 1:64 scale diecast only lasted a few years in the late 1970s, but they made some interesting cars. Some of them were souped-up models of production cars, while others were far-out fantasy rides. What tied them all together was the rear bumpers, which stuck out and angled upward so you could read the license plate. Each of these cars represented a different state, so the plates were kind of a big deal. The packaging also had a neat feature, a transferable “title” that was to filled out by the kid who bought it and then filled out again if it was traded or sold. Clean copies without writing on the back are somewhat rare these days.

This range of toys included a variety of construction equipment such as dump trucks, loaders, and tractors, not all of the Mack brand vehicles. This was one of several brands available from Zee Toys in the late 1970s. Detail is surprisingly vague, as they appear to be direct, unauthorized knockoffs of Matchbox cars from a few years earlier. With different wheels and the wording removed from the base, they just seem a bit “cheaper” than the originals.

Here’s another brand from Zee Toys, one that tried a little harder than Mini Macks. Detail is again pretty basic, especially the interiors, but at least they were trying by creating their own original molds. And they even made a model of the George Barris SuperVan, so that has to count for something, right?

This was a brand of inexpensive, crudely detailed cars perfect for letting your kids play with in the sandbox. In a strange twist, instead of these cars being based on another well-known brand, the molds served as the basis for a revival of another popular brand. In the early 1980s, as Dinky was headed for bankruptcy, Kidco rebadged some of these cars under the Dinky name, a sad step down in quality. Despite the crude detail, Tough Wheels managed to score a few licensed properties such as M*A*S*H vehicles.


Then there were the Burnin’ Key Cars, a subset of Tough Wheels. These came with a very cool feature: a spring-wound motor that was activated by a slightly out of scale key. As with the Tough Wheels brand, they managed to finagle licensing deals with some popular TV shows, including Magnum P.I. and Knight Rider. For several years, the Burnin’ Wheels name lived on as a Matchbox brand and then again as part of Maisto. Each change of ownership brought vastly improved designs and packaging.

You may not recognize the name, but if you’re of a certain age, you should know their cars… Doepke started off as a family company in 1946 making mostly construction and fire vehicles. The owner’s mother suggested that they not make military vehicles (it was just after the war) and to make more peaceful toys.  They also created some very large scale kits, about 1:12 scale, of a Jaguar XK120 and an MG TD… [ED: Here is a great website with lots of Doepke info and photos.]

The bodies are made of thick diecast metal, while other parts were white metal, plastic or stamped steel. Both cars featured working steering and suspension. The MG was branded as the “MT” so they may not have had the rights to produce that particular model. While only available for a few years, these kits were huge sellers at the time.

Hard to say if these models were meant as a sincere tribute or something of an ironic joke. This division of Motor Max made models of Pintos, Gremlins, LeBaron wagons and such… not exactly the keys to real-life excitement. On the other hand, it’s been hard to find models of these cars if you did want them, and Fresh Cherries cars were nicely detailed with delicate luggage racks and other bits. They came in several scales including 1:24, 1:64 and 1:87, all in high quality packaging. They even did 1:16 radio controlled versions of some of these cars, and you have to admit that’s beyond awesome.

It’s understandable if you don’t recognize this brand… This Eastern European company made mostly promotional models of Trabants and Wartburgs and Moskviches that were given away not in cereal boxes, but in cases of beer! In fact, only a few of their models represented common Western European marques like Volkswagen or Jaguar. Some of their packaging evokes a strong Cold War era image, something you don’t see every day at any scale.

Wait, Hallmark? Like the card company? Yep! In the early 1970s, Hallmark introduced a series of overtly cartoony cars called Road Rovers, which looked almost like balloon creations. They were roughly the size of 1:64 scale cars, but because they are so oddly proportioned, scale is irrelevant here. The early cars were all metal and represented familiar vehicle types such as fire trucks or Volkswagen Beetles. After a decade hiatus, the brand was revived in the mid 1980s with plastic bases. The new line included reinterpretations of several of the originals plus designs that transformed objects such as vacuum cleaners or piggy banks into cars.

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New Book Review: Matchbox Toys, by Nick Jones

By Marcel Colijn


I now have this great new little book about my beloved Matchbox toys in hand, and I really like it!

The book features Gary Galvin’s early, large scale Lesney toy collection which is one of the two finest collections in existence. With so many early Lesney Toys shown, this certainly gives one of the most complete overviews ever published. Where ever could we see 7 variations of the early Road Roller pictured?  The box pictured with the great Massey Harris Tractor is different then the one in Collecting Matchbox Diecast Toys – The First Forty Years (1989), so even if you have this book (published almost 30 years ago!), there is much new for you to see in this new book by Nick.

Both Nick, Gary, and myself were among the fortunate collectors who visited the opening of the Matchbox exhibition in the London Hackney museum on the evening of March 18th, 2004, and as we now know, this was the last occasion that collectors could meet both founders of Lesney Products (Matchbox); Leslie Smith and Jack Odell.  Nick Jones had his great, all-original UK 1966 Matchbox dealer display on show there,. A photo of that display in full swing with all the correct models is one of the many fine pictures in this book.

The new book also features Matchbox Regular wheels 1-75, Superfast, Matchbox Accessory packs, Major packs, and Kingsize. Don’t expect endless variation lists. The mixture of photos is fine, showing both the more easier to find models but also some of the more elusive variations. There is also a small section about Matchbox Models of Yesteryear models, and some of the fine Matchbox giftsets are pictured. With almost 80 color photos, there is something for everyone.

The book also contains original black and white photos of Leslie Smith and Jack Odell and the factory; that section makes the book especially fine for me.  Although I have many books and paperwork on Matchbox,  and when I was helping with Alex Picha’s book about Matchbox some years ago,  I have never seen the black and white photos in Nick Jones’ book published before. These black and white photos make the book an indispensable reference to have for the genuine Matchbox collector.

It has been quite some years ago that a book about Matchbox Toys was published, and I always welcome this. I personally want to thank Nick for all his efforts in promoting our beloved hobby. Online forums including Nick Jones’ own Vintage British Diecast Forum are nice, but a book is for ever!

Nick will travel south to the Sandown Park swapmeet on Saturday, November 12th, and will have the books with him. So why not come along and say hello and buy the book there? It will save you postage, and you will get a personal chat and a superb swapmeet as a bonus:  see www.bpfairs.com  Or use amazon.co.uk.  If you are not in England, then amazon.com and others still have it on pre-order (as of this writing), or use paypal directly to the author:  see link.

We welcome your comments and questions.   Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page,  or email us at maronlineeditor at gmail.com.

Alfa Romeo – Back to the US with the 4C!

by Karl Schnelle


4C 3 times

3 of the 4C’s Described Below

Post-war Alfas were sold in the US for many years up to 1995 when they stopped importing the 164.   Then,  in the 2000’s, rumors started about their return to the US market.  Every year it seemed it was the same story:  next year Alfa will be back ran the headlines!

In 2008 finally the low volume, high cost 8C was imported in very low numbers.  I have never seen one so far!  But the real return happened in 2014 with the US launch of the more ‘affordable’ 4C. Then the Spider was launched as a 2015 model in the US.

If you backup a few years, the 4C Concept was introduced at the Geneva and then Frankfurt auto shows in 2011.   I saw it first at the Chicago auto show in 2015, and by then, both production versions were shown.


The Spider was shown in bright yellow (Giallo Prototipo) to contrast the Alfa red coupe!4C Spider


The Models

After the European introduction in 2013, the scale models and toys have trickled out from various manufacturers.   Starting with the big boys, AUTOart makes them in six colors in 1:18 scale.  At more than twice the price, BBR has both the coupe and Spider in multiple colors.   They also have the coupe in red or white in 1:43 scale.  More my size, but not my budget!

With other  1:43 resin makers at half the price, I can not justify a BBR at this time.  So the following are now in my collection!  First up was the Spark coupe in red.

Spark 4C

If you can see the detail, the Spark is a model of the original concept car with exposed projector beam headlights and a different side vents.

More recently, TSM introduced their Spider version. Their website labels it a 2014 concept but the box says 2015 concept and the base says 2014!  So I am very confused (not too unusual!)…


But they are great models and nice to compare.   Both come in an outer box and inner clear plastic display case.  The  red Spark has the projector beam headlights of the concept car.  The wheels and mirrors are also different on the two 1:43 cars.  The edges of the Spider’s grill seems to be less defined when you examine it closely.  Overall, they are both great models of this new Alfa.

Going down in size is the 1:55 scale SIKU, which is really more of a toy but very nicely done.  SIKU does weird scales but are very nice toys, I think.

Siku Alfa 4C

And finally, the small 1:64 scale 4C from Matchbox:  another fine toy Alfa.  The overall shape represents the real car very well, but those generic wheels do bother me a little.  Much less detail than the others is present, but at this scale it still looks very nice.

4C Matchbox

If you’ve seen other models of the 4C or would like to comment, let us know on FaceBook!

Trip Report to Sandown Park, England, Toy Fair

By Marcel Colijn

I visited Sandown Park on Saturday, May 28th.  It had been 18 months since I had been there, and I very much enjoyed it.  The journey from the Netherlands on Friday evening through Belgium, France and the ferry from Calais to Dover went well although customs took ages.
At Victoria station another 45 minutes was lost because of customs and a small parcel I had with me with a Rolls Royce model with a radio inside for a fellow collector had to be opened.  We finally arrived at Sandown at 8.00 in the morning.  So many vintage toys all together.
I met many old friends including Garry, Bob, Paul (who had a stand there for many years), John, Reg, Philipe and 2 friends from Belgium, Holger from Germany, Graham and more.  These are some photos taken at John Moore’s stall (who had his 71st birthday that day!)



Next to him was the stand of Bob may who had these Yesteryear sets among many other Matchbox items.


Andrew had very nice items including a boxed MOKO Excavator.


Opposite of him was a very nice stand full of vintage models.


Vectis had many nice items on display including rare Spot On models.


Another auction house had these superb tinplate toys including the GBP 16.000 (US$ 23,000) Carette model.



But of course there was more tinplate…



Some nice Matchbox giftsets from the 1964 period were on another table.


Later early 70’s Matchbox sets on another table


Paul Carr was there with a stand at Sandown for 4 years he told me. Graham Hamilton from Rockerton Toys shortly came along and had a nice box full of models which were never released, including a handmade white metal model for the Models of Yesteryear range made by a craftsman outside the Lesney Factory.




Of course there were many nice Corgi and Dinky models, this is just one of the stands with Corgi and Dinky models on sale:


This is always one of the better tables at Sandown.


Philipe Sergeant from Belgium had several Corgi items like this one.


Bob and I left for the south around 12.30 and what a lovely tour it was via Seaford and the famous chalk cliffs to Eastbourne.
It was the 2nd time to visit Bob’s collection and what an amazing collection it is. Far more models were added since my last visit and the cabinets now all have glass. Superb preproduction models, a very nice plated section and many many models most of us can only dream off…


After a lovely dinner I took the 19.00 train from Eastbourne (see photo) to Victoria for my 21.30 night coach back to the Netherlands. At 9.30 Sunday morning I was home again.  Many, many more photos from Sandown can be seen here.


Happy Easter

by Chris Sweetman

Matchbox O&K MH6 hydraulic excavator


Matchbox issued this wonderful working model in 1970 in their King Size range. Originally with red wheel hubs and plastic tyres. However, in 1971 this range was renamed Super King and the models were gradually given superfast wheels as in the case of the version pictured here.

The cab swivels on the wheeled base and the excavator arm has a range of realistic movements. These replicate the hydraulic action of the real vehicle.

Based on the Orenstein and Koppel (O&K) MH6 hydraulic excavator which came out in 1970. This suggests that Matchbox must have been working directly with O & K as there is usually an 18 month period from designing a toy model to bringing it onto the market.

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Happy New Year: McCormick International B-250 tractor

Matchbox King Size K4 McCormick International B-250 tractor

by Chris Sweetman

Matchbox King Size K4 McCormick International B-250 tractor

Lesney released the first of their ‘King Size’ models in September 1960. These were larger models than either their 1-75 series and the Major Pack ranges. The majority of the ‘King Size’ series featured models with a construction site connection. However, to add variety agricultural vehicles were also part of this range. The earliest farm related ‘King Size’ model was the McCormick International B-250 tractor and was numbered K4. This ‘King Size’ model was introduced in September 1960 and replaced in 1966 by the GMC Tractor with Hopper train.

Scale quoted in Matchbox catalogues is 1:37th. The model is nicely cast and features fine details. Unfortunately, it doesn’t feature a three point lift only a tow hook.  The rationale here would be to keep the price down and the fact that Matchbox didn’t issue a plow. Matchbox, unlike contemporary Corgi Toys and Dinky Toys, didn’t have a range of agricultural implements and only included two versions of farm trailers in their ‘King Size’ series.

History of the real deal

The International B250 was built by the International Harvester Company of GB Ltd. The factory was formerly the Jowett cars and van manufacturing plant which was located in Bradford, England. They also built Bristol crawlers for a period. The B250 was built from 1955 through to 1961.

The B-250 was the first English made IH medium size tractor and was introduced at the 1955 Royal Smithfield show. A 4 cylinder 30 hp (22 Kw) indirect diesel engine powered by glow plugs was used. This featured a 5 speed forward and one reverse gear box, live hydraulics, two stage clutch and a three point hitch. The B250 was one of the first tractors to have disc brakes and a diff lock. ( Thanks to Woolbeef & the Yesterday’s Tractors Co. Forums.)

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Ford in Miniature – 1969 Mustang

By Dave Turner

1969. A year when men landed on the moon and Henry Ford II made GM‘s Semon E. Knudson President of his company. Various GM personnel followed but he was dismissed as President by the end of the year.

However, the GM influence did bring change at Ford. As far as the Mustang was concerned it was bigger, with a longer front end, and wider and lower overall resulting in a sleeker but more massive appearance. Choice of bodies continued to be Hardtop, Convertible and Fastback, the latter now called ‘SportsRoof’ by Ford. More changes included quad headlights, two of which were in the grille, the deletion of vent windows in the doors, a higher bulge over the rear wheels and a new dashboard.

The range of specific models continued to be extensive. A new version of the Hardtop called Grande featured lavish fittings and a vinyl covered roof. The Mustang ‘E’ was a SportsRoof with an in-line 6. The GT featured scoops and stripes, and the Mach 1 had scoops on the hood and rear quarters plus a rear spoiler. When fitted with the Ram Air 428 the Mach 1 had a Shaker that protruded through the hood and shook when running!

Engines were the in-line six at 200 or 250 cubic inches, and V8’s of 302, 351, 390, 428 and 429 cubic inches. The Boss 302 was made to allow homologation for the Sports Car Club of America races (SCCA). 1,000 were required but 1,934 were made complete with chin spoilers and rear window slats whilst the Boss 429 was made to qualify the semi-hemi 429 V8 for NASCAR and 852 of these were produced. In addition the Shelby GT350 and GT500 continued to be made.

Models of 1969 Mustangs have been numerous, though the vast majority are of the more exotic versions. AMT produced some now very rare 1:25 plastic promos in 1969, finished in Cherry Red they depicted the Mach 1, and have been followed by numerous issues of the same mouldings in kit form, some under Matchbox or MPC labels. Slightly different was a metal-bodied kit of a Boss 302 whilst plastic kits of a 2 plus 2 fastback were made in 1:43. These have been used as the basis for some re-creations both in metal and resin. For example,Performance Detail Products in Illinois made some 1969 Boss Mustangs most likely of racing subjects while Richard Carlson Productions of Arizona produced some resin bodied versions of this AMT and got a mention in MAR 52. Another obscure range called mDa from Belgium included a 1969 SportsRoof. Even the old diecast Nacoral 2 + 2 from Spain looks to have more than a little in common when all the details are studied against an original AMT.

Danbury Mint produced some superb 1:24 models of both the Boss 429 and Boss 302 featuring everything opening and masses of accurate detail inside, outside and underneath. Just to illustrate that occasionally perfection means very little, Dinkum Classics made some rather basic handbuilt 1:43 Boss 302s in the early 1980s and these can currently be found on the internet and being sold for more than the Danbury cost new! They were featured in MAR 11.

Ertl had a passionate affair with these Mustangs, the mid 1990s saw various issues of the distinctively styled ’69 Shelby in Convertible form while a whole myriad of Mach1’s were produced in around 2000. These came in a variety of colours, and were all in 1:18 scale. An additional issue came in the form of a pre-painted kit, under the Racing Champions label. Meanwhile a few 1:64 scale versions of the Mach 1 were offered under the Racing Champions Ertl label, the level of detail being quite remarkable in this scale with opening hood and trunk. A few of these Ertl issues featured one of each of the two size models in one package. Another range recorded was Fairfield Mint and as these are all 1:18 it is likely that they featured existing models but in their own packaging.

The other familiar Mint, Franklin, is included with their issues of the ‘69 Boss 302. It is interesting to note that no two details on either these or the Danbury are the same. It might be suspected that some of the same tooling was shared, none of it is in fact. Greenlight have become familiar in the last ten years or so and include some 1969 Boss Mustangs in their 1:64 scale range of diecasts, being listed in MAR 200, while Highway 61 have produced at least four colour variations of their 1:18 Boss 302 in addition to a 1:43 version.

Johnny Lightning has offered a small selection of 1969 cars in their 1:64 scale series: Mach 1s and Shelbys, the latter both convertible and SportsRoof but most of them spoiled by the untidy opening hood. Most surprising however is a superb 1:24 scale Mach 1 from JL. Not quite in the same league as the Mints but most acceptable. Back to the small stuff and a superb little Boss 302 from Kyosho, absence of any opening parts makes for a much neater appearance with plenty of fine detail. Hot Wheels of course included a couple of 1969s in their toy series, their convertible Shelby GT 500 being more realistic than most from that range. A 2 plus 2 saw various issues, some being too far removed from the real thing to be relevant here.

Even smaller were the limited run of Nu-Rora 1:87 scale slot racers. As the name hints they were based on old Aurora bodies and chassis but having plastic bodies painted and finished to look quite realistic. In the same scale, Monogram who are usually associated with 1:24 scale plastic kits, launched its Mini-Exacts series of small vehicles in the late 1980s. This featured a perfectly shaped plastic body on a cast metal base. The range was subsequently sold to Herpa, the quality of the models saw them survive for many years and for they were also sold in the US under the Con-Cor label. Monogram did offer a 1:25 kit for the Shelby GT 500 and this re-appeared on the Revell label. Revell also offered kits of a 1969 Hardtop/Convertible and a Mach 1 2 plus 2. A smaller 1:32 plastic kit for a 1969 Convertible was offered many years ago by Palmer, whilst at the other end of the scale, a 1:12 plastic kit for a 2 plus 2 came fromKogure.

Among the very few alternatives to models depicting the SportsRoof fastback shape, Playartdid some cheap toys of the Hardtop, but featured the ‘Cobra Jet’ shaker projection in the hood. Up a scale and the Road Champs 1:43 2 plus 2 depicts a Boss 302 although MAR 142 featured a picture of a bread and butter red example. More disparate examples of small 1969s include a Schuco Mach 1, some biscuits in the shape of Mustangs from Summerfield, a big tin 1:18 scale Mach 1 from Taiyo, more diecasts from Tin Toys with their Boss 429 in 1:32 and a 1:18 scale Boss 302 from Welly. At the far end of the alphabet comes Zaugg and they produced some very expensive 1:43 Boss 429s many years ago, the resin body looking far too flat in the roof area.

Illustrations 1969 Ford Mustang.

1) Ertl 1:18 diecast from USA: 7350 Shelby GT 500 Convertible complete down to the Cobra Jet 428 decals on front fenders.


2) Road Champs 1:43 diecast from China: 20103 Boss 302 with reasonably neat opening hood and doors.

3) Johnny Lightning 1:63 diecast from China: 842B Shelby GT 350 Convertible, spoiled by the opening hood.


4) Johnny Lightning 1:63 diecast from China: 724 Mach 1 suffering from oversize rear tyres.


5) Johnny Lightning 1:63 diecast from China: 842A Shelby GT 500.


6) Playart 1:65 diecast from Hong Kong: Hardtop with Cobra Jet ‘Shaker’ hood and painted base.


7) Rear view of Playart Hardtop with painted base.


8) Hot Wheels 1:64 diecast from Malaysia: T9691 Shelby GT 500 Convertible, ‘Cobra Jet 428’ decals are on the front fenders but too small to read.

9) Johnny Lightning 1:64 diecast from China: 842B Shelby GT 500 Convertible rear view.

10) Herpa/Con Cor 1:87 plastic from China: 21586 Boss 302 rear view showing more painted detail and better wheels.


11) Monogram Mini Exact 1:87 plastic from USA: 2019 Boss 302.

Not pictured
12) Kyosho 1:64 diecast from China: 490, Boss 302.

13) Racing Champions Ertl 1:64 diecast from USA: 32330 Mach 1.

14) Racing Champions Ertl 1:64 diecast from USA: 32329 Mach 1.


15) Johnny Lightning 1:67 diecast from China: 112 SportsRoof.


16) Revell 1:25 plastic kit from USA: 7161 Shelby GT 500, the ex Monogram kit.

17) MPC 1:25 plastic kit from USA: 6319 Mach 1, the ex AMT kit.


18) AMT 1:43 plastic kit from USA: T107 SportsRoof.

19) Nacoral 1:43 diecast from Spain: 102 SportsRoof the similarities to the AMT are noticeable.


20) mDa 1:43 plastic from Belgium: SportsRoof supplied as a built kit.

21) Zaugg 1:45 resin from Germany: 18 Boss 429 with a rather flat SportsRoof.


22) Danbury Mint 1:25 diecast from China: 1322 Boss 429.

23) Franklin Mint 1:25 diecast from China: AS341 Boss 302 limited run of 2500.

24) Johnny Lightning 1:24 diecast from China: 5110SB Mach 1


25) Arko 1:32 diecast from China: Boss 302


1969 Mustang Models in detail


AMT Promo USA 1969 Y905 Mach 1 1:25 Plastic Kit
AMT USA T397 Mach 1 1:25 Plastic Kit
 AMT USA 1996 8233 Mach 1 1:25 Plastic kit
AMT USA 1999 30009 Boss 302 1:25 Plastic Kit
 AMT USA T241 Mach 1 1:25 Plastic Kit
 AMT USA 1969 M780 SportsRoof 1:43 Plastic Kit
 AMT USA 1974 T107 SportsRoof 109mm 1:43 Plastic Kit
 AMT USA 1981 2103 SportsRoof 1:43 Plastic Kit
 AMT USA 1989 6902 SportsRoof 1:43 Plastic Kit
Richard Carlson transkit USA 1990 SportsRoof  1:43  Resin
mDa  Belgium Sportsroof 104mm 1:45 Plastic
Performance Detail Products  USA 2002 Boss 1:43 Transkit
Arko China 2010 Boss 302 149mm 1:32 Diecast
Danbury Mint China 2003 1322 Boss 429 Black 194mm 1:25 Diecast
Danbury Mint China 2005 1429 Boss 429 DM Society special 1:25 Diecast
Danbury Mint China 2009 1595 Boss 302 only 500 made 1:25 Diecast
Danbury Mint China 2010 1635 Boss 429 White 1:25 Diecast
Dinkum Classics Australia 1982 4 Boss 302 1:43 Metal
Ertl USA 1995 7350 Shelby GT 500 convertible 262mm 1:18 Diecast
Ertl USA 1995 7351 Shelby GT 500 convertible 262mm  1:18 Diecast
Ertl USA 1997 7778 Shelby GT 500 convertible 262mm 1:18 Diecast
Ertl USA 32996 Shelby GT 500 convertible top-up 1:18 Diecast
Ertl USA 2000 32073 Shelby GT 350 convertible 1:18 Diecast
Ertl USA 2000 32262-69 Mach 1 428 CJ many colours  1:18 Diecast
Ertl USA 1998 8233 Mach 1 1:25 Plastic Kit
Fairfield Mint L3J Boss 302 1:18 Diecast
Franklin Mint China  1996 WHO7 Boss 302 195mm 1:25 Diecast
Franklin Mint China 2001 ZU14 Boss 302 Dragon Graphics 195mm 1:25 Diecast
Franklin Mint China 2002 AS31 Boss 302 Limited to 2,500 195mm 1:25 Diecast
Franklin Mint China 2006 E225 Boss 302 195mm Walmart only 1:25 Diecast
Greenlight China 2006 Boss 302 1:64 Diecast
Greenlight China 2006 Boss 429 1:64 Diecast
Highway 61 China 55495 Boss 302 1:43 Diecast
Highway 61 China 6150727-30 Boss 302 various colours 1:18 Diecast
Johnny Lightning China 112 SportsRoof 70mm 1:67 Diecast
Johnny Lighning China 724 Mach 1 77mm 1:62 Diecast
Johnny Lightning China 842A Shelby GT 500 75mm 1:63 Diecast
Johnny Lightning China 842B Shelby GT350 Convertible 74mm 1:64 Diecast
Johnny Lightning China 842B Shelby GT500 Convertible 75mm 1:63 Diecast
Johnny Lightning  China 2005 5110SB Mach 1 197mm 1:24 Diecast
Kyosho China 490 Boss 302 74mm 1:64 Diecast
Kogure Japan 1:12 Plastic Kit
MPC USA 1986 731 Mach 1 1:25 Plastic Kit
MPC USA 6319 Mach 1 (AMT) 1:25 Plastic Kit
Mattel Malaysia 2010 T9691 Shelby GT 500 Convertible 76mm 1:64 Diecast
Mattel China 2771 Mach 1 Diecast
Monogram USA 1989 2019 Boss 302 Mini Exacts 55mm 1:87 Plastic
Monogram USA 1989 2027 Boss 302 Mini Exacts 55mm 1:87 Plastic
Monogram USA 2545 Shelby GT 500 1:25 Plastic Kit
Herpa Germany 21586 Boss 302 ex-Mini Exacts 55mm 1:87 Plastic
Nu-Rora USA 2002 Mach 1 ex-Aurora 1:87 Slot racer
Palmer USA  634/692  Convertible 1:32 Plastic Kit
Revell USA 1969 H1261 Hardtop 1:25 Plastic Kit
Revell USA 1988 7161 Shelby GT 500 ex-Monogram 1:25 Plastic Kit
Revell USA 1989 7121 Mach 1 1:25 Plastic Kit
Nacoral Spain 102 SportsRoof 109mm 1:43 Diecast
Playart Hong Kong Hardtop 73mm 1:65 Diecast
Racing Champions Ertl USA 2001 32330 Mach 1 74mm 1:64 Diecast
Racing Champions Ertl USA 2001 32329 Mach 1 73mm 1:65 Diecast
Road Champs China 1998 20103 Boss 302 111mm 1:43 Diecast
Road Champs China 2000 69000 SportsRoof 111mm 1:43 Diecast
Schuco  5831 Mach 1
Summerfield USA Cookie
Taiyo Japan C11 Mach 1  1:18 Tin
Tins Toys China 165 Boss 429 1:38 Diecast
Welly China 2516 Boss 302 1:18 Diecast
Zaugg Germany 18 Boss 429 106mm 1:45 Resin/metal

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Ford in Miniature – The Lincoln Zephyr

The First Genuinely Successful Car of The Modern Age.

By Dave Turner

Previously exclusively producers of very high priced top-end motors, Lincoln realised in the early 1930s that the economic situation would make things almost impossible for them and other manufacturers in the same high-end sector. A mid-range offering was essential if Lincoln was to survive.

As a first step, the Sterkenberg is often quoted and this was a styling/design exercise dreamed up by John Tjaarda based on aero industry construction techniques. Briggs, Lincoln’s main body supplier managed to interest Edsel Ford in the whole concept, no doubt as a means of stemming the decline in demand that was already being experienced. Several more prototypes followed, some front and some rear engined, but traditionalist Henry Ford made sure that the engine was going to be at the front as well as insisting on transverse springs and mechanical brakes.

A relatively short front end dictated the use of a correspondingly short engine, and so a new V12 of 267 cubic inches capacity was featured when the new ‘streamlined’ Zephyr appeared in November 1934 for the 1935 season. Compared to contemporary styling the new Lincoln must have looked as if it came from outer space, with its ‘V’ shaped front end and faired-in headlights and not a sharp edge in sight. Initially just two and four door Sedans were available and rather strangely the trunk accommodated only the spare wheel, luggage being stowed behind the folding rear seat.

A three passenger coupe and a town limousine were added to the range for 1937, and a more practical trunk and spare wheel arrangement was adopted. 1937 Zephyrs can be identified by the four sets of twin plated bars on the grille. For 1938 convertible sedans and coupes were added, at the same time an additional three inches was added which took the wheelbase to 125” while a split grille of fine horizontal bars made identifying the 1938 model easy. Hydraulic brakes arrived in 1939 whilst the fine bars in the two-part grille were now vertical, the central section of the front bumper was now open and the body sides curved out to hide the running boards. The latter disappeared altogether for 1940 when the headlights became sealed beam and thus vertical rather than sloped, the windows and trunk were also enlarged, as was the engine, to 292 cubic inches. The convertible sedan was dropped but a new five seat club coupe was added to the range.

A fine plated border to the two-part grille appeared for 1941 together with small combined parking and direction lamps which were now mounted on top of the front fenders. The 1942 season was cut short in February by world events but styling of that years Zephyr was considerably changed by squaring up the fenders, fitting a heavier grille and enlarging the engine, yet again to 305 cubic inches. When production resumed for 1946, the engine reverted to 292 cubic inches in size while the appearance was changed by the adoption of a rather Cadillac-esque grille. The Zephyr name was dropped, the range being simply Lincoln. Identifying 1947 and 1948 cars is simple since they had Lincoln script on the side of the hood in place of the previous plated strip and the return to pull-out type exterior door handles. Production of the erstwhile Zephyr terminated in January 1948 in anticipation of the significantly different 1949 cars.

As the first Lincoln Zephyr was such an eye-catching design, contemporary toy makers inevitably featured them in their product line. A few toys were even based on the prototype Doodlebug and in some cases were subsequently turned into actual early Zephyrs, the diecast Tootsietoy for example. Their actual Zephyr initially came as a four door sedan or as a wrecker with a crude crane mounted at the rear. Hubley produced cast iron Doodlebugs and Zephyrs during the later 1930s while another US name from the past, Erie offered two sizes of toy four door Zephyrs.   in New Zealand began their range of sandcast aluminium toys with a four door Zephyr in 1944, although it was the shortest lived of their range lasting just one year.

Kingsbury made pressed steel toys and included a two door Zephyr that came with a caravan although the distinctive fenders on the real car were simplified beyond recognition. The only modern day 1936 miniature Zephyr so far recorded came from the National Motor Museum Mint Range, and was a 1:32 four door sedan with opening hood and front doors that reveal some basic plastic interior and engine detail. The model sits rather low on a chassis that features extremely low profile white wall tyres and incorrect longitudinal springs rather than transverse.

Moving to 1937, just two examples have been recorded to date, a toy clockwork plastic bodied four door sedan was offered by Wells Brimtoy, steered by a lever below the grille. Unfortunately the tinplate base doesn’t shrink with age to keep pace with the body, the latter having lost over 8mm on the example to hand. At the other end of the extreme, a superb 1:18 model of the new for 1937 Zephyr Coupe from Ertl Precision 100 made its appearance in 2002 and despite the passing of nearly 12 years, its quality and accuracy has still been equalled by very few models. In fact the days when the Chinese made models to this quality and detail, at a price one could afford have gone and will probably not return. Everything opens that should, even the vent in front of the windscreen. The spare wheel tilts in the trunk behind which is a tool roll full of tools and there is even a key in the ignition! Contemporary model reviewers were ecstatic but forecast even then that such quality could not be continued.

The Arcade cast iron 1938 Zephyr four door sedan must be among their final toys as production ceased with World War Two and it’s price today reflects this. The next miniature 1938 Zephyr didn’t arrive until 1989 when Durham Classics created just 200 handbuilt models of the three passenger coupe for the Toronto Toy Show. This subsequently became a regular model and was eventually reworked to produce models of the convertible coupe. Detail on these is rather limited, even inside the re-worked convertible. Next along came Matchbox with another convertible coupe in the Great Marques sub-series of their Models of Yesteryear range. Unlike the Durham these are diecast, the plastic interior offering more detail that featured variations in the painted detail applied in subsequent issues. The most pleasing model 1938 came from Brooklin in 2004, their cannon smoke metallic painted four door sedan comes up to their well-established standard of accuracy and finish, and of course being a sedan made a welcome change from all the recent more ‘exotic’ convertibles that latter day model makers seem to prefer. Not only has there been a kiddies pedal car by Steelcraft based on a 1938 Zephyr, but Hallmark produced some die cast miniatures of it.

Models of cars from the Tin Tin stories have offered some interesting subjects, another 1938 Zephyr convertible coupe was featured in the Seven Crystal Balls story as the car of Captain Haddock, and while not pretending to be a scale model the Atlas Editions miniature has much appeal. Moving on to 1939 and we have to thank the Yatming range from China for a pair of very nice convertible coupes. To stand alongside the superb Precision 100 1937 there is the Road Signature 1:18 scale model, obviously less expensive than the Ertl and with less fine detail but very nice nonetheless. It came with a choice of top up, or a cover for the top when down, whilst a range called Fairfield Mint had them produced in a different colour and re-packaged. Obviously employing the same background work, this big model has a little brother in the shape of a 1:32 scale version of the same subject, available with the top up or with the top down. Commendably this boasts all opening parts and steerable front wheels.

Another 1939 Zephyr model has been recorded under the Marty Martino label but the author has never seen one. These are said to be highly detailed aluminium 1:6 scale models, and sound intriguing. 1940 Zephyrs received a plated surround to the twin grilles, and as such theDinky example falls into this category. This was probably the first toy car I received back in the 1940s, a claim that will be familiar with many other current and long since abandoned “collectors”. This depicted the rakish three passenger coupe and must have inspired many young enthusiasts to become life-long admirers of cars in general, and the more stylish in particular. Many years ago the opportunity was taken to acquire what was advertised as the prototype of the Buccaneer model Zephyr and this turned out to be the Dinky body together with a base plate built up in brass inscribed simply “Buccaneer 1937 Lincoln Zephyr”. If the body was intended to be substantially modified at the front to create a ’37 was not known, but illustrations of an actual Buccaneer model show the Dinky 1940 details plain and simple.

A range that enjoys the title Essence of the Car depicts well known motoring subjects as a simple but recognisable solid shape, one of these represents a Zephyr, the exact identity of which is probably not intended but appears closer to a 1941 three passenger coupe than any other. New for 1940 were the sealed beam headlights which were still enclosed behind the teardrop shaped rims but for 1941 the headlight outline was now circular and vertical rather than smoothed into the curve of the front fender. Styling got a significant change for the short lived 1942 season with the rather heavy looking full width sub-grille surmounted by a shallow vertical section. A 1:25 scale resin kit for a two door coupe version was produced in the US byGuy Cantwell in the 1980s while just twenty examples of a slush cast miniature of the same subject were made by Steve Lovan of St. Louis. The latter were illustrated in MAR 76.

A contemporary toy of the 1946 Lincoln came from the Auburn Rubber company in the US, depicting the convertible coupe in open form. Of chunky and robust build they were claimed to be soft and non-damaging to furniture etc., however with age they will now be quite hard. Some examples featured round headlights while for some reason others had rectangular shaped lights. Another very early toy 1946 Convertible Coupe came from Mercury in Italy, and while the Auburn’s rubber content hardens with age, the Mercury diecast material simply disintegrates and the delicate windscreen and side window frames will be lucky to have survived. Much later, and hopefully more resistant to time, are the trio of handbuilt 1948s from now defunct and much missed Western Models in the UK who offered four door sedan, club coupe and convertible versions. Despite the technology of their white metal model cars going back to the days of chunky plated parts and bright strips being created by simply scraping the paint away, they do have undeniable appeal. It appears that they have re-located to Israel and now concentrate on aircraft models.

Photographs below include:

1. Matchbox 1:43 diecast from UK: YY64, 1938 Convertible


2. Tootsie diecast from USA: 6015, 1936 Four Door Sedan.


3. Unknown tinplate from USA: Prototype.


4. Erie 1:37 diecast from USA: 1936 Four Door Sedan.


5. Wells Brimtoy 1:34 plastic/tin from UK: 9/43, 1937 Four Door Sedan with clockwork motor and shrunken plastic body.


6. Erie 1:58 diecast from USA: 1936 Four Door Sedan.


7. Signature 1:19 diecast from China: 102, 1939 Convertible shown with top fitted.


8. Dinky 1:50 diecast from UK: 39c, 1940 Coupe.


9. Matchbox 1:43 diecast from UK: YY64 1938 Convertible rear.


10. Brooklin 1:42 handbuilt from UK: 106, 1938 Four Door Sedan.


11. Steelcraft 1:5 pedal car from USA: 1938 Convertible in front of a real ’37.


12. Western 1:43 handbuilt from UK : 83, 1948 Four Door Sedan.


13. Auburn 1:46 rubber from USA: A17, 1946 Convertible.


14. Mercury 1:43 diecast from Italy: 5, 1946 Convertible, showing part of the windscreen frame missing.


15. Ertl/Precision 100 1:17 diecast from China: 32890 1937 Coupe


16. Nation Motor Museum Mint 1:31 diecast from China: 23600 1936 Four Door Sedan


17. Signature 1:34 diecast from China: 32333 1939 Convertible


18. Western 1:42 handbuilt from UK: 105 1948 Club Coupe


19. Western 1:42 handbuilt from UK: 83 1948 Four Door Sedan


20. Western 1:42 handbuilt from UK: 109 1948 Convertible


21. Durham Classics 1:44 handbuilt from Canada: 4, 1938 Coupe, CTCA first issue.


22. Auburn 1:46 rubber from USA: A17 1946 Convertible


23. Atlas Editions 1:48 diecast from China: 12, 1938 Convertible from the Tin Tin Collection.


24. Buccaneer 1:50 kit prototype from UK: 1940 Coupe, Dinky Toy body fitted with brass base for the kit



Lincoln Zephyr

Fun Ho NZ 1944-45 108 Four Door Sedan 180mm 1:29 Sandcast Aluminium
NMMM China 2006 23600 Four Door Sedan 165mm 1:31 Diecast/Plastic
Erie USA 1930s Four Door Sedan 140mm 1:37 Diecast
Erie USA 1930s Four Door Sedan 88mm 1:58 Diecast
Tootsie USA 1937-8 6016 Four Door Sedan Tow Truck Diecast
Tootsie USA 1937-9 6015 Four Door Sedan Diecast
Hubley USA 1937 Two Door Sedan 150mm 1:34 Diecast
Kingsbury USA 1939 Two Door Sedan Steel

1937 Models

Brimtoy UK 1949 9/43 Four Door Sedan clockwork 152mm 1:34 Plastic and tin
Ertl/Precision 100 China 2002 32890 Coupe 295mm 1:17 Diecast/Plastic
Autoworld China 205 Cuoupe – Pepsi Cola livery 295mm 1:17 Diecast/Plastic

1938 Models

Arcade USA 1930s /40s Four Door Sedan 216mm 1:24 Cast Iron
Arcade USA 1930s/40s 1590 Four Door Sedan Yellow Cab 216mm 1:24 Cast Iron
Matchbox UK 1992-6 YY64 Convertible 123mm 1:43 Diecast/Plastic
Durham Classics Canada 1989 4 Coupe 120mm 1:44 Metal
Durham Classics Canada 1991 8 Convertible Closed 120mm 1:44 Metal
Durham Classics Canada 1991 9 Convertible Open 120mm 1:44 Metal
Atlas Editions France 2002 12 Convertible “Tin Tin” 110mm 1:48 Diecast
Brooklin UK 2004 106 Four Doord Sedan 127mm 1:42 metal
Steelcraft USA Pedal Car 40 inches 1:5 Steel
Hallmark China Pedal Car 102mm 1:9 Diecast

1939 Models

Marty Martino USA Coupe 1:6 Aluminium
Yatming China 2004 102 Convertible Signature 282mm 1:19 Diecast/Plastic
Fairfield China Convertible as above repacked 282mm 1:19 Diecast/Plastic
Yatming China 2008 32333 Convertible Signature 156mm 1:34 Diecast/Plastic

1940 Models

Hubley USA 2237 Cast Iron
Dinky UK 1939-50 9c Coupe 106mm 1:50 Diecast
Buccanner UK Coupe Repro of Dinky 106mm 1:50 Diecast

1942 Models

Cantwell USA 1980s Coupe 1:25 Resin Kit
St Louis USA 1992 Coupe 1:43 Slushcast

1946 Models

Mercury Italy 1950 5 Convertible 126mm 1:43 Diecast
Auburn USA 1950s A17 Convertible 119mm 1:46 Rubber

1948 Models

Western UK 1990s 83 Four Door Sedan 131mm 1:42 Metal
Western UK 2000 105 Club Coupe 131mm 1:42 Metal
Western UK 2000 109 Convertible 131mm 1:42 Metal

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Ford in Miniature – The Courier

‘A Perfect Combination of Distinction and Utility’

By Dave Turner

The Courier badge first came into the Ford lexicon when it was applied to the sedan delivery version of the base level two door Ranch Wagon for 1952. Although it had last appeared in 1947, Ford had featured the sedan delivery in their range of light commercials since 1932. A sedan delivery basically consisted of the passenger car front end, with the rear section adapted to carry goods. This was a development of what Ford called the Town Delivery and the concept goes right back to light commercial variants of the Model T.

As before, the sedan delivery, now called the Courier, followed the styling of the contemporary passenger cars from 1952 until 1960, then after a nine year gap the name was applied to a slightly Americanised version of the popular Mazda B pickup and this continued until 1982, when Ford replaced it with the Ranger for 1983. Seven years later the name re-appeared, this time in Europe applied to a high-cube and long wheelbase version of the little Fiesta van until 2002, when it was replaced by the Transit Connect.

In the meantime Ford in Brazil used the Courier name on what at first appears to be a much more altered Fiesta variant. Based on the local Ford Ikon, it was a pickup, which ceased production in 2013. At the same time Ford announced a new Transit Courier for 2013 so the story continues. I hope more models of this new version of the Transit will appear than there have been of the Connect; hardly any have appeared. Arguably Ford’s old strapline could be justified for their Courier in all its various forms. Having said that, models of Couriers are few and far between, and even then some of them are relatively obscure in their origin.

The new for 1952 Fords had a 115 inch wheelbase, an inch longer than the 1949-51 series, for which there was no sedan delivery variant. The new Courier mirrored the two-door Ranch Wagon in most respects; no passenger seats, blank side panels and a side-opening rear door were the main differences. Engines were the ohv inline 215 cubic inch six or sv 239 cubic inch V8. These continued with the 1953 version, along with all the same trim changes that the passenger cars received. Again for 1954 the same changes were made all across the Ford line, including the new ohv 239 cubic inch V8 while the six was slightly enlarged to 223 cubic inch.

Durham Classics produced white metal models of both the 1954 Ranch Wagon and the Courier, the latter in numerous liveries. Closer to 1:42 scale, with wheels that are a few inches over scale, these handbuilts were of typical early 1990s technology, nicely finished but with modest detail.

1955 Fords were re-styled to look longer, lower and wider, featuring those extreme wraparound windscreens, while the engines were the old six or a V8 now enlarged to 272 cubic inch. The Courier was based on the cheapest Ranch Wagon, but again it had a side-opening rear door, rather than the split type on wagons. Even so when Bandai produced their big tin 1955 Courier they utilised the lift up and drop down split tailgate that they employed on their Ranch Wagon version. These tin toys are now regarded as among the rarest of their ilk. The two that are most often seen feature designs for flowers and coffee on their side panels. The following year’s Courier adopted the same trim changes as the car line, but for 1957 a completely new car featured another inch longer wheelbase, generally wider and at the same time lower. Now the rear door became a one-piece lift-up tailgate, while optional side windows meant that 1957 Couriers fitted with them were almost a two-door Ranch Wagon without the passenger seats.

The Japanese Collectoy range of diecasts was imported into the USA by Marx and given the name LineMar. A 1:57 scale 1957 Courier was included in this range, with flywheel drive and solid side panels. Somewhat larger is a 1:28 diecast from China sold in the USA under the Spec-Cast and Liberty names. It is a bank with coin slot in the back window and trapdoor under the rear. Even bigger is the 1:18 scale 1957 from Yatming under the Road Legends banner, complete with opening hood and doors, ribbed rear floor, and full length side flash, plus dual colours from the high level 1957 cars. From All American Models in the mid 1990s came a 1:25 resin transkit to be used in conjunction with a contemporary plastic kit to produce a 1957 Courier.

Engine choices remained the same for 1958 with the addition of the option of a 352 cubic inch V8, the Courier being restyled along with the passenger car range. For 1959 the Courier, again styled alongside the passenger range, adopted the same two-piece tailgate as the wagon. The last year for the Ranch Wagon based Courier was 1960, when it grew yet again with a 119 inch wheelbase and an overall length only a couple of inches short of 18 feet. Despite the Courier now being made exclusively with side windows, the two models I have seen so far both have blank solid sides. The smaller of these came from Hubley in their Real Toys diecast range, the base of which is inscribed Country Squire Sedan. By contrast, the big tin toy from Asahi is even harder to find than the Bandai 1955 Courier. An example of the Asahi is known to feature the same Coffee signage as the Bandai 1955.

By the early 1970s, Ford were aware that a demand existed in the US for a slightly lighter and less rugged pickup than the traditional hefty workhorse produced by the US motor industry. This was becoming obvious due to the increasing numbers of Japanese-sourced small pickups on the US roads. To adapt a well-used phrase, Ford joined rather than beat them, adopting the small Mazda pickup into their range. Mazda’s B1500 pickup goes back to 1961, with a second-generation version arriving in 1965. For this version Ford created a grille that resembled that of their beefy F Series, with single instead of quad headlights, and they had their own mini-pickup, reviving the Courier name in the process. These vehicles proved extremely successful; their popularity assisting Mazda in no small way to survive a very delicate financial period that they were experiencing at the time.

The first series of Mazda-based Couriers employed a 1800cc four-cylinder engine. They came into the USA as chassis-cabs to avoid what had been dubbed the chicken tax. The pickup box was added in the USA. Rolling chassis-cabs could be fitted with a variety of aftermarket bodies. So far no model of the initial Courier has surfaced, althoughCorgi offered a 1:38 scale diecast model of the second-generation Mazda B1600, which was subsequently copied by Playart.

A third generation of Mazda B-Series pickups was produced between 1977 and 1985, which became the second generation Ford Courier, available in a choice of two wheelbases and with a 2.3 litre engine option. In 1980 Matchbox offered the 1977 version (1978 onwards had parking lights in the grille) complete with a plastic ‘piggy-back’ camper body, in reality this was a feature more usually seen on the bigger F Series pickups than on the little Courier. A miniscule FORD badge can just be made out on the grille, and the licence plates read COU 113 a hint that this represents the longer Courier with a 113 inch wheelbase. We can’t leave AMT out; they offered several plastic kit variations of much-modified 1978 Couriers in the late 1970s with a mid 1990s re-issue. Revell also produced a plastic kit of the 1978 model, and like most of the AMTs it depicted a severely modified vehicle.

A van version of Ford’s little Fiesta had been in production for many years by 1991, but by extending the wheelbase by ten inches to 106 inches and adapting the front end onto a high-cube box-shaped van, the next Courier was created. Putting windows in the sides and a row of seats behind the driver created the Courier Kombi. Using a 1.3 petrol or 1.8 diesel engine it got the same updates as the corresponding Fiesta; the oval grille for 1996 and the next new-look front end three years later. It was replaced by the new Transit Connect in 2002, and that eventually morphed into the next Courier 11 years later.

Matchbox issued 1:57 scale diecast models of both the Courier van and Courier Kombi in 1992.

Maker Origin Released Model Code Year of Prototype Style and Size Scale Material
Durham Classics Canada 1991 7 1954 Various Liveries 119mm 1:42 Metal
Bandai Japan 343 1955 12″ 1:16 Tin
Line Mar Japan 1957 91mm 1:57 Diecast


Liberty/SpecCast China 1995 58002 1957 185mm 1:28 Diecast


Yatming China 92209 1957 Road Legends


1:18 Diecast
All American Models USA 1996 1957 1:25 Resin


Asahi Japan 1960 12″ 1:18 Tin
Hubley USA 551 1960 No Side Windows 90mm 1:60 Diecast
Matchbox UK 1980 38 1977 LWB Camper


1:67 Diecast


AMT USA 1995 6690 1978 Stepside Pick Up 1:25 Plastic Kit
Matchbox China 1992 198 1991 High-Cube Van


1:54 Diecast
Matchbox China 1992 199 1991 Courier Kombi 1:54 Diecast


2) LineMar Ford Courier 1957
3) Liberty Bank Ford Courier
4) Road Legends Ford Courier 1957
5) Hubley Ford Courier
6) Matchbox Ford Courier Kombi
7) AMT Ford Courier Kit
8) Matchbox Ford Courier
9) Matchbox Camper on Ford Courier
10) Mazda Courier B100
Classic Metal Works Ford Courier 1953
Classic Metal Works Ford Courier 1953


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Ford in Miniature – Ford Bronco

Ford Bronco – “Total Toughness”

By Dave Turner

Among the many recreational activities that were developing in the USA after the Second World War, off-road exploring in 4x4s and/or posing in such on the school and shopping run had manufacturers hard at work making sure that they exploited the situation to their advantage with sales of appropriate vehicles.

Initially it was ex-military Jeeps that were pressed into service, but the US motoring public like their comforts combined with practicality, so when the new Bronco appeared in August 1965 for the 66 season it featured big comfy seats and relatively supple suspension combined with quite nimble handing. The well-proven six-cylinder 170 cubic inch engine from the Falcon and Econoline, along with many other components common to other Ford products featured in a rather boxy and possibly somewhat Land-Rover-esque vehicle that came in three versions, an open-sided Roadster, a Sports-Utility pickup and a steel-topped Station Wagon.

As a result of low gearing, a top speed of around 74mph was coupled to a 14 mpg (US) thirst, while the huge list of options even ran to a snowplough. The Roadster was deleted in 1968, while the pickup lasted until 1972. From March 1966 a 289 cubic inch V8 was optional, and this was enlarged to 302 cubic inch in 1969, the same year in which the body was generally toughened and the windscreen no longer folded flat. Numerous package options changed the appearance of the Bronco over the years, including a Sports Package from 1967, a Ranger Package from 1972, and a Special Décor Group from 1976, but for 1978 a completely new and much more rugged-looking Bronco arrived on the off-road scene.

Having the appearance of a regular Ford pickup on steroids, the new Bronco was in fact based around much of the F Series and was to continue in production for 18 years during which several face-lifts help to date examples. Now on 104 inch wheelbase, a foot longer than before, a 351 cubic inch (5.8 Litre) V8 was employed with the option of a 400 cubic inch (6.6 litre) unit. The top of the rear section was removable and soft tops were available to enable open-air motoring to take place.

From the start, multiple packages were offered, originally the standard Bronco was called Custom, while the Ranger XLT version featured better trim with much brightwork and bodyside moulding with vinyl inserts. In 1982 the grille was squared-up with a central blue oval Ford badge in place of the hood mounted FORD letters. For 1984 the 5.0 Mustang engine was added to the power line, receiving the Mustang’s EFi injection set-up the following year. 1986 had the top line version now called the Eddie Bauer Edition in a special two-tone colour scheme. A flatter ‘aero-look’ front end was adopted for 1987. A Silver Anniversary model came for the 25th year of Broncos in 1991 finished in Currant Red with leather seat covering. Another new front end appeared for 1992 this time slightly rounded and this was to remain more or les unchanged until the Bronco line ended in 1996.

This isn’t the end of the story, however, as a shortened variation called the Bronco II was launched for 1984, this time based on the Ranger pickup that was developed alongside. Now on a 94 inch wheelbase, they were powered by a 2.9 litre German V6, and copied most of the Big Bronco’s characteristics in a down-sized manner. Like the Ranger, a simple egg-crate pattern grille featured the Ford oval mounted towards the left side. Both Ranger and Bronco II were subtly re-styled for 1989 with a slightly fussier grille pattern now with a central Ford oval badge. The Bronco II lasted only through the 1990 season, after which it was effectively replaced by the Explorer, and that again was Ranger-based. Unlike the Big Bronco, the rear section of Bronco II was not removable.

The Models

A rather modest selection of Bronco models has been produced, most of them toys but a few plastic kits enable good miniatures to be created, and a couple of nice 1:43 models save the day. Starting with the first series of Land Rover inspired Broncos we have the many different issues of the toy Nylint Roadsters, despite their robust steel construction it is likely that all but those not played with will have lost their fold-flat windscreen. At the other end of the spectrum in both size and detail are the tiny die cast Johnny Lightning Roadsters complete with chunky rubber tyres and some interior and underside detail. Slightly larger is a small Matchbox that is not sure what it wants to be – it looks like a Wagon with roof removed but with a soft top erect, the rear seats being for the legless while the model is riding on utterly massive tyres. A larger and earlier toy in the 1970s from Tootsietoy is bigger again, this Wagon features a simple diecast body with a plastic base that doubles as the interior as well as the ugliest front end ever seen on a toy, it must have given toddlers many a nightmare!

By far the most attractive of the early Bronco models are the 1:43 Matchbox Yesteryear Station Wagons. They feature good interior detail, very neat opening two-part tailgate with a spare wheel mounted inside the drop-down part, as well as some pretty involved underside detail. Despite being marked 1966, the front parking/indicator lights are amber, a 1969 introduction. A second issue in The Great Outdoors series featured a collection of fishing tackle on the roof.

Moving on to the first of the ‘Big Bronco’ models and back to Nylint who produced a steel toy in 1:17 scale, the detail being simply by metallic stickers on the sides including the badges “Bronco Ranger XLT” together with a plastic interior and rear section. AMT and MPC came in with 1:25 and 1:24 plastic kits of the same vehicle, some of which were sold respectively under the Matchbox and Monogram labels the latter also produced some 1:32 Bronco kits. Revell also issued some 1:24 plastic kits which may (or not) be re-issues of some earlier issues. In the same scale Ertl showed a forthcoming diecast model of this Bronco in their 1980 catalogue as number 1681. Back to smaller toys and very Matchbox-like is the little Kidco from Universal that often came in sets of four different toys. This has a very basic plastic interior but is otherwise quite appealing.

While researching the 1982 Bronco a couple of models from Galgo of Argentina came up for consideration, as one of them featured “Ford Bronco 4×4” stickers on the hood. They do look rather like regular pickups, however, and after consultation with Robert Gunn, the source of info on all things pickup, it was realised that some South American Ford pickups used the Bronco name as a sub-series, just as the US Bronco confusingly employed the Ranger name as a variant identity. The little Buby from Argentina however is a Bronco with its diecast body but everything else in plastic including the rear top, which is therefore often detached and lost.

When the diecast Ertl 1:25 Bronco kit arrived it was a facelifted ’82 with the squared up grille despite the box art showing 1980 on the model’s licence plate. BS Design, a German range of very small solid resin models that require paint and simple assembly include a Bronco meanwhile for a pleasant change the Hot Wheels Bronco is almost a decent model, rather than a figment of someone’s imagination and is all diecast apart from the plastic rear top. Almost the same size is the nice little Bronco from Racing Champions that carries “’80 Ford Bronco” on the base, despite the front end looking very ’82. The only model of an Aero-look ’87-’91 example found so far was a resin transkit from Pinecrest in 1988, which utilised parts from existing plastic kits of the earlier examples.

Bronco II models are a strange mixture, Nylint once again feature with a 1:24 steel toy that looks suitably rugged, and a couple of very similar 1:56 diecasts came from Majorette and Matchbox, the latter in at least ten different issues.

The James Bond films once again come up with some worthwhile models, in this case a James Bond Car Collection 1:43 Bronco II from Quantum of Solace. For non-Bond watchers the fact that the model is treated to some light brown ‘weathering’ may suggest it featured in a desert scene. However, the same model comes from Premium X in a ‘clean’ and more detailed finish. Some person at Premium X must have a strange sense of humour as two of the badges have been applied upside down – just as two on their Econoline had been.

Nylint USA 1965-69 8200 1966 Roadster Steel
MPC USA 1976 Station Wagon 1:25 Plastic Kit
MPC USA  14-200  1969 Station Wagon 1:25 Plastic Kit
Johnny Lightning China 2006 600  1966 Roadster 60mm 1:66 Diecast
Matchbox Thailand 2006 720 1972 Pickup 67mm 1:60 Diecast
Matchbox China 1998 35057 1969 Station Wagon 90mm 1:43 Diecast
Tootsietoy USA 1970-9 1966 Station Wagon 96mm 1:43 Diecast/Plastic
AMT USA 1979 2708 1979 Ranger XLT 1:25 Plastic Kit
AMT USA 1991 38567 1982 Wagon 1:25 Plastic Kit
Matchbox/AMT USA 1979 4629 1978 Ranger XLT 1:25 Plastic Kit
Nylint USA 1978 Ranger XLT 250mm 1:17 Steel
MPC USA 1979 434 1980 Wagon 1:24 Plastic Kit
MPC USA 1981 437 1981 Wagon 1:24 Plastic Kit
MPC USA 1982 443 & 446 1982 Wagon 1:24 Plastic Kit
Monogram USA 2271 1982 XLT 1:24 Plastic Kit
Monogram USA 1993 2962 1982 Wagon 1:24 Plastic Kit
Monogram USA 1981-4 1024 1982 XLT 1:32 Plastic Kit
Monogram USA 1981 1034 1982 XLT 1:32 Plastic Kit
Monogram USA 1982 1041 1982 Wagon 1:32 Plastic Kit
Revell USA 1980 7307 1980 Ranger XLT 1:24 Plastic Kit
Revell USA 1981 7308 1981 Ranger XLT 1:24 Plastic Kit
Revell USA 7682 2000 Ranger XLT 1:24 Plastic Kit
Revell USA 1077 1997 1:24 Plastic Kit
Kidco (Universal) Hong Kong 11700-1 1978 Wagon 67mm 1:62 Diecast
Buby Argentina 1220 1982 Wagon 1:54 Diecast
Ertl Hong Kong 8107 1982 Wagon 1:25 Diecast Kit
BS Design Germany 7901 1982 Wagon 1:87 Resin Kit
Hot Wheels Malaysia 1982 Wagon 74mm 1:55 Diecast
Racing Champions China 215 1982 Wagon 70mm 1:57 Diecast
Zymlex Hong Kong 369 1982 Wagon Diecast
Pinecrest USA 1991 CC116 1987 Wagon 1:24 Resin transkit
Matchbox Macau 1987 39 1984 Bronco II 73mm 1:56 Diecast
Majorette France 251 1984 Bronco II 71mm 1:56 Diecast
Nylint USA 1984 Bronco II 185mm 1:24 Steel
Fabbri (JBCC) China 2011 103 1989 Bronco II 96mm 1:42 Diecast
Premium X China 2012 145 1989 Bronco II XLT 97mm 1:42 Diecast