Occasionally a mystery pops up in the diecast world that is hard to explain. Like why are Kool Kombis so hard to find? Or why do so many Hot Wheels collectors wear t-shirts to conventions that would have fit much better 30 lbs ago?
Then there are the mysteries about a popularity surge on certain, and seemingly random, models. One such is the Hot Wheels Bugatti Veyron. The car was a pretty consistent pegwarmer each year it was released, even though it was a mini version of the fastest production car of the time. The casting was not Hot Wheels’ finest moment, and the model tended to sit. Yet once Hot Wheels announced that the license for the model had ended and the tool was being put to bed, the prices on all those former pegwarmers skyrocketed. Any version is now hard to find under $20 to $30, and even more for the satin red Walmart exclusive.
Yes, maybe collectors reacted strongly to the announcement that it was done, but more so I think it was one of those organic groundswells. As one collector saw another was trying hard to acquire them, that collector would assume there was a reason to have it and do the same. Pretty soon collectors are battling each other and bid the prices up.
That is currently happening with a somewhat random Matchbox model. While the Toyota Land Cruiser is an iconic vehicle, done mini-style so splendidly by Matchbox, it still seems ludicrous that a 10-pack model from 2009 that was very easy to find is now fetching $120 loose and $235 packaged on eBay.
So why is this happening? Well, it is most likely the same scenario as the HW Bugatti. A couple of collectors battled it out for one. Other collectors noticed the price, and decided it was time for them to acquire the model before it got too expensive, and it just kept happening and happening. Soon the prices of the red Land Cruiser were being talked about, and other collectors joined the mix to push the price up. The red Land Cruiser was surely produced in smaller numbers because it was a gift pack exclusive, but still it was very easy to find. I was still seeing these packs in stores two years after they were released.
There might be other reasons. Maybe the red Land Cruiser is more iconic than I am aware of, and non-diecast collectors want it for some reason. If any Lamley readers have an idea, please let me know.
Whatever the reason, the red Land Cruiser has officially joined the likes of the Chilean Mini and EMS Ambulance at the top of the list of most sought-after Mattel-era Matchbox models. So those of us that have had them for awhile, we will continue to revel in the $10-for-10 models price we paid just 3 years ago. The rest of you? Get our your wallets and head to eBay, or just enjoy the photos I am posting below.
One other thing to pay attention to is the fact that the other versions of the Land Cruiser are slowly starting to creep up in price as well. Popular colors like the 2009 versions in yellow and blue, respectively, are moving from $2.99 to $5.99 to $14.99 and maybe even higher in the coming months. The Superfast version is now going from the $6.99 range to the $30 range. If this is a model you want to collect, I suggest you get the earlier versions ASAP.
Here is what is currently available on eBay. You can also find in those listings the brand new version coming out as part of Matchbox 2013 Batch D…
Me? I only go for the plain-jane versions. Only the green Lesney Edition, with its Matchbox logo, has any sort of side design. I will probably keep it that way, and I hope Mattel gives us a few more plain versions.
Here is the infamous red version, followed by it’s stock-color compatriots…
Matchbox Toyota Land Cruiser (2009 10-pack exclusive):
And all stock versions:
2009 New Model
2009 New Model recolor
2009 First Editions 10-pack
2010 Lesney Edition
There is one more version I want to show. This is my Southern Utah travel companion. This dusty model has been to several National Parks, and had its photo taken in all kinds of beautiful settings. I plan on taking more as I can and sharing them here. The rule is to try and keep the dirt on him. It is nice to have this little reminder of one of the prettiest areas on earth.
A couple of shots from his first trip. He started with some snazzy duds, and by the end he had his more common dusty coverup: