Remember the preproduction Ford GT in a mock-up Superfast blister that I was going to open for David Tilley at the Gathering?
I couldn’t do it.
I totally chickened out, maybe because I feared for the safety of my daughters and I, maybe because I have made great friends in the Matchbox world, and want to keep those relationships, maybe because my DLM instincts betrayed me. Whatever the reason, I felt it more appropriate for Tilley himself to do it and document it.
That model will be on its way to DT shortly, and when he does the deed we will document it here.
In the meantime, His Tilleyness in all his DLM glory:
Well, this is going to be a little different to the norm. Time to raid the archives of Matchbox as we move back into the Tyco era.
Well, actually the story starts in the Universal era of Matchbox. 1985 to be exact. This was the year that Matchbox launched 2 convertibles in the basic range. These were the BMW 323i Cabriolet and the Ford Escort XR3i Cabriolet. The BMW debuted in blue, and the Escort in white. Neither of these 2 models sported tow hooks when they were launched, but in 1987, it was decided to use them both in twin packs, and so their castings were altered to include a tow hook. The Escort was still in its debut color of white when this happened, and the basic range version also started to appear with tow hooks too and so getting both versions was easy to find. However, the BMW had been changed to red in 1986 and the red model was the one that could be found with or without the tow hook. So that is the end of that story. Except it is not….
When Tyco first took over the Matchbox brand in the early 1990s one of their early initiatives was to release a counter box of Matchbox models called “The Sports Car Collection”. These models were mainly models that were in use at the time, and were packaged in a plastic bag with no view of what was inside the package and were sold on store counters for easy sale. You were basically buying in the dark. It was easy to feel the packages to know what was inside however, and it was soon discovered there were 15 models that were inside these bags, and once opened it was found that most were simply duplicates of current basic range models. However, there were a few exceptions. The biggest one for collectors was the Lamborghini Diablo which was exclusively released in red. But the BMW 323i was also included and reverted back to its original blue from 1985. Not being such a variation freak then as I am now, I completely missed out on that model. As the BMWs were now coming with tow hooks, this one now sported one too. So the blue did come with a hook.
A few years later, Woolworths in the UK did a promotional where these same models were packaged on top of a box of chocolates. And this is where I come in. At the time I still missed the chance to get the tow hook version (although it was then I got the red Diablo after not getting any of the bagged models).
It was only a few years ago I was cross-referencing my collection and discovered that I was missing this variation, and so the hunt was on. I had been specifically hunting around for this model ever since. I was aiming for the sports car collection model, but the choco box example will do. I finally found an example, but it was still packaged up. Now anyone who knows me will know I open any and everything. So this model was ripe for the tearing apart.
But where to begin?
Yes, that’s it. Rip apart the plastic covering to reveal the model inside (and the box of chocolates).
So after 16 years, this model is finally free and ready to be added to the collection. I finally have my blue tow hook example.
The model is made in Thailand whereas the original blue was made in Macau, so there is a small shade difference too. Another thing I like to look for.
But what of the chocolates? The packaging had a sticker stating “best before Oct 1996” so these are almost 16 years out of date.
It doesn’t look very appetising in there.
Opening up the package (yes I literally will open everything) you see a nice selection of model shaped chocolates, but they no longer look very appetizing.
I think I may pass on eating these, although they do still smell of chocolate.