Where to start…
It is Tuesday, and I officially ended my run as Matchbox Ambassador yesterday. And I spent all weekend at the Matchbox Gathering talking…uh…Matchbox. And after all that was done, I spent what seemed like an eternity writing my final Ambassador Report about…well…Matchbox. Last year, I remember coming back from the Gathering, as Ambassador mind you, and showcasing just Hot Wheels for a week straight just to shake things up a bit.
That same thing might have happened this week, had I not returned home with two items. The first, photos that I was given permission by Mattel to take of the brand new Matchbox BMW 1M. And second, a preproduction version donated by Mattel of the same BMW 1M that I won in the charity auction.
So while I have plenty of palate-cleansing Tomica and Hot Wheels models to show this week after the deluge of Matchbox last weekend, they will have to wait so I can do a proper Lamley First Look at the best Matchbox model in the last few years.
Best, you say? Well, yes, and of course that is my opinion. If you read my Ambassador reports, I think it was evident that I am not a doomsdayer, and I think Matchbox has the right to go whatever direction they want. And is it happens, being a diecast car collector, the last couple of years I have bought a considerably smaller number of models. Is it disappointing? Sure it is, but on the other hand I have bought a considerably higher number of Hot Wheels. From my perspective, how can I complain when Mattel has provided my collection a slew of JDM classics, as well as other too-cool-for-school neo-classics like the BMW E30 and Porsche 993. Matchbox will do what it needs to, Mattel will continue to separate the brands, and I will happily adjust.
But I do love my Matchbox, and I want to see them get in on the cool car act every once in awhile, even if it is not as frequently as before. This new direction towards utility models like emergency and construction doesn’t allow them that opportunity to appease the car guys like me a whole lot, but when they aim for the fences, they usually hit it out of the park.
T34 Karmann Ghia, Dodge A100, Seagrave, and Buick Police are all recent examples of this, but where are the current cars? Yes, we got Mitsubishi Evo and Lamborghini Police cars, but we haven’t seen many proper street sports cars in awhile. Actually, not since 2011, when we saw the likes of the Porsche Panamera, Mini Cooper, Cadillac CTS Coupe, and Aston Martin DBS.
So little BMW 1M, you are a long time coming. And we street car collectors are happy to see you joined next year by the Alfa Romeo 4C. Its just you two, keeping the current street car legacy at Matchbox alive.
And while we won’t see the Alfa until the tail end of 2014, I can happily say that the BMW does a stellar job of just that. So much in fact that after finally having it in hand, and pairing what I know about the actual 1M, this goes up with the modern Ford GT as one of my favorite current car castings Matchbox has done.
Why? Because they captured the car near perfectly, and the real car is THE absolute shit. Just a tiny little badass. And yes, that is the only way to describe it. Just ask Jeremy Clarkson. He couldn’t figure out what to say.
BMW wants to categorize the 1M as the current successor to the 2002tii and E30 M3, and I am totally buying in. It has the look and feel of both, and like the current Toyota 86 to the classic AE86, hearkens back wonderfully in both design and performance to those two.
The 1M was done in very limited quantities, and in fact the 1-Series itself will be replaced in the US by the 2-Series. Which makes some car folks like the dudes at Jalopnik predict that the 1-Series will be the next great modern classic. I agree. Most modern sports cars like say, a Bentley, won’t turn my head like many of the neo-classics will, but the 1M will (and does). Its flared wheel wells, its meaty stance, its small stature, its pure coupe-ness. It is easily one of my favorite current cars.
And Matchbox did it right…
(Find Matchbox BMW’s on ebay…)
Matchbox BMW 1M Coupe (2013 New Models):
Considering the real 1M will end up being a very rare car, I decided to go all out at the Gathering charity auction to acquire its rare Matchbox counterpart. Here is the preproduction 1M I acquired after an epic bidding battle with my Lamley counterpart, David Tilley. It was the last item in the auction, and we both wanted it. We will just say that Rachel’s Courtyard got a hefty donation from the Lamley Group.
A tiny sliver of my collection is Matchbox prepros of my favorite models donated by Mattel to auction. And when I say tiny, I mean three models. They are always in strange colors, always a little beat up, but definitely very unique, and interesting additions. I will showcase the three I have later today or tomorrow here on the blog…
Matchbox BMW 1M (preproduction model):