It is Matchbox Monday, where all Monday posts here at the Lamley Group are dedicated to Matchbox.
Today we continue our series on rare Matchbox models of the Mattel era, and if you haven’t read the first four installments, here you go:
Today’s model is a very interesting one, mainly because it is the only one ever found. Of course it can be argued that this should not be considered a rare model, because no other one was ever reported. But when there is a wheel variation like this one, on one of the most popular Matchbox models from the last few years, I think it merits discussion.
The Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser debuted in 2009, and was already one of the most anticipated models of the year. It was a classic Matchbox choice. Unique, somewhat obscure, and a complete classic. It had collectors reminiscing about the days of long family trips and no seat belts. Little did they know it would become a variation goldmine as well.
The Vista Cruiser was officially released in two colors in 2009 – green, and then recolored white. But if you were a completist, you ended up with at least six:
There were three shade variations on the green, two wheel variations on the green, and two more wheel variations on the white.
It started with the first early run of the green models with trispokes. The first Cruisers off the line were colored in what can only be described as a toxic green. Mattel noticed the error and corrected the problem, but not before a decent number shipped to stores. The color was corrected to more of a metallic moss green, and even that came in a bright and dull color variation.
It was then recolored white with trispokes, and soon after that both green and white versions showed up with 10sp wheels. The normal trispoke wheels apparently ran out at the factory, and as is the norm, replacement wheels were used instead of shutting down production. Hence, the wheel vari.
But none of those six is the featured model of this post. It is this one:
Yes, that is the initial run toxic green vari with disk wheels. It is the only 2009 issue of the Olds found with disk wheels. It was found at midwest dollar store by a Hot Wheels collector, and after a decent amount of negotiation, sold to yours truly.
You might ask why it is loose. There are two reasons:
1. I open all my Matchbox models.
2. The blister cracked while being shipped.
So although this was a model I would have considered leaving in the blister, the choice was made for me. And what it did provide was an opportunity for the model to be inspected by those in the know, and it was proven legit.
So how this happened is anyone’s guess. Maybe a factory worker having a little fun? A prepro that made it into a blister? One of many that were shipped but bought up by non-collectors? No one will ever know. But here it is, and it is as rare as it gets – a one-off.
Some additional photos:
One other note about the 2009 issue of the Olds. I had a bit of luck with it. Not only did I acquire the disk wheel variation, but I found this ultra-unique error at a Walmart near my house:
I was shocked when I found it, and yet another that is a complete mystery of how it was put together like that. Hot Wheels/Matchbox mash-up errors are definitely some of the best out there, and this one is at the top of the list for me. Incidentally it was also victim of a cheap cracked blister. It was a huge problem at the time and Matchbox corrected the problem soon after. Almost all the Vista Cruisers I found had cracked blisters.
One last photo, of all of the Olds variations (and error) together:
Definitely one of my favorite subcollections.
Happy Matchbox Monday! Now get to work…