Ambassador Report 27
In my haste to show the new Mustang I inadvertently featured a Foxbody Mustang from 1986. Thank to Nic, I can show the correct Mustang from 1993 in the form of a Ford MustangFoxbody Special Service Package. There have already been several requests that the livery is as accurate as possible and there has hardly been a dissenting voice regarding the surpriseintroduction of this US Police Car. It would be a great idea if a Police Car, modern or classic, could also be included in the range from a country outside of the US.
I am pleased that the International Brush Fire Truck will be generally available in the US. I cannot think of even one promotional that was available world-wide. I have manyMatchbox promotionals from around the world and part of the fun has been in the chase to find something not issued in the home country. This has often led to long-term collecting friendships where we help each other. I certainly would not have many of my most treasured models without the help of a collector overseas. Now that the model will be available for a fraction of what was being asked on auction sites, perhaps we should not complain but seek out an accommodating US collector – there are hundreds out there!
Several of you asked for further information regarding the Guildsman. Chris Pryor has found a link to the originaldesigner and further interesting information.http://www.breithaupts.com/totc597.htm
To quote just a small section from the original designer, Phil Gannon:
I have just come across your letter by chance. I can give you all the details relating to the Vauxhall Guildsman model as I was the designer and modeller of the original way back in the 1968/69 competition year! I still have the original model, sketch plans and Vauxhall information.
I was placed third in the competition. The competition ran from 1965 to 1970, I entered three times being successful in year one in the top twenty five, year two 4th place and finally year three 3rd.
Lesneys (Matchbox) approached Vauxhall to produce a model from one of the thousands of designs submitted over the five year period, mine being the only one selected!
All entrants were given a number and all rights for publicity were given to Vauxhall Motors as part of the competition, however, two years after the competition I was awarded a further £25 for the model being produced. Out of interest the second and fourth place winners went on to work for Jaguar Cars and Land Rover design depts.
Should anyone be interested in further information relating to the model, competition or details of the original model, please do not hesitate to contact me.
MATCHBOX ANSWERS YOUR QUESTIONS
This is something to consider. Thanks for the suggestion.
These are good suggestions. We do have challengesregarding their size and weight but we will take your suggestions into consideration.
Never say never when it comes to Muscle cars. There is always a place for them in the City Adventure segment. We are doing Mustang LX SSP this year although it’s a police version. We have not abandoned Muscle cars but need to be prudent about where they fit in the line.
We are always looking around the world to see what new vehicles will work in our Heroic Rescue segment. You have some good suggestions.
We hope to post this later this month. Revisions are always happening. We want to post a list that is the most final. The paint is not dry yet as they say.
Note that there is no “Premier” series for this year.
No plans for new trailers at the moment. We did want to make it compatible with our current farm trailer however.
Thanks for the suggestion.
There are no new images available to show this week. I hopeto have more in my next report.
A Little More History
In the 1960s most Matchbox models were replicas of vehicles that could be seen on the streets. The1970s saw a change in direction, not only to feature unrealistic cars in flamboyant colours, but also to copy the most exotic and expensive cars often including concept cars in the range that would never see the action outside of the motor show stand.
The full size Maserati Bora was first introduced at the Geneva Motor Show in 1971 during an era that spawned a myriad of mid-engined sports cars such as the Lamborghini Countach, Ferrari Boxster and BMW M1. The Bora dates back to thedays when Maserati was owned by Citroen and although it was an Italian, Alfieri, who designed the real car, a number of French idiosyncrasies were included in the design. Citroen’s high pressure hydraulic system not only meant no-travel braking but also was the source to raise and lower the headlights, tilt the front seat and move the pedals forwards and backwards. The seat was rigidly fixed to the bulkhead and so the pedals, steering column and seat squab had to move to accommodate different sized drivers. The Maserati Bora could be yours in 1972 for just £9832, which included air conditioning and electric windows and a speedo showing an optimistic 200 mph – its top speed was just 175mph. Only 500 were made of which only 20 were right hand drive and so Matchbox decided to model the left hand drive version.
The new models for the 1973 Matchbox range did not include one commonplace vehicle. Most were figments of a designer’s imagination striving to copy the Hot Wheels range. No wondercollectors of the time, who had been used to the traditional releases of everyday vehicles, complained bitterly. There were 19 new models including five cars that most children would never glimpse in their lifetime. The Monterverdi Hai, Lamborghini Countach, Datsun 126X, Saab Sonnet III andMaserati Bora were certainly not everyday cars that fathers would drive to work.
The Maserati was released in early 1973 painted in metallic burgundy with a yellow interior, opening doors and a No 8 label on the bonnet. The very first issues had an unpainted base but it was quickly decided to paint the base green as the front grille and rear bumper and exhausts were visible and it was felt that green would be more attractive than bare metal. The green paint tended to be dark in shade but light and metallic green paint was used on occasion. The variations notpainted dark green are rare.
The miniature range contains hundreds of models that received at least one colour change during its period of issue, sometimes to lift flagging sales and to stimulate further interest. The Bora must have been a good seller as it was not replaced until 1978 and during that time it remained inmetallic burgundy. However, it popped up in the 1979 catalogue towing a massive Caravan so the interior had been adapted to include a very unlikely tow hook. There was a change in livery to plain gold and the base was painted silver grey. This colour scheme did not last long and so prices tend toreflect this.
The mould was used again, albeit in a simplified form in 1985 as a model in a budget priced range called Super GTs. These models first produced in England and then in China, all had plastic bases, no opening parts and blacked out windows to avoid the fitting of interiors and thus reduce cost. They were painted in a variety of colours including yellow, shades of blue, beige and fluorescent green.
Collectors thus have an interesting choice. The cheapest example will include the whole Super GT range that may still be purchased at swapmeets or on auction sites for not much more than a few pounds, though they are getting harder to find. There are 15 known variations to look out for. The standard issue Bora in metallic burgundy has 11 known variations, mainly relating to wheels and base shades. A standard model should cost no more than £5 and you may be lucky and pick up a rarer base colour. A mint boxed example may cost a little more from a dealer at around £10. The gold Bora may well cost you more with a mint example in a pristine TP-4 blister pack, often changing hands around £80.
In 1981 the Bora was reissued when, for the first time, the standard Superfast range was split into two parts to suit the USA and Rest of the World markets. Demand for Hot Rod models had declined outside of America and so more realistic models featured in the Rest of the World range. However,sixteen reissues of obsolete Hot Rod models were released across the Atlantic with new names and numbers. The Bora was now called Sunburner, emblazoned across the roof, and took the number
37 berth. It was painted black with yellow and red flames decorating bonnet and doors. A red interior and tow hook was fitted and this was one of only a few models that were made in Hong Kong. It was also manufactured in England and Macau.Tampo printing on some of these models was more of a green than yellow flames. Though not that easy to find outside of America, it is not a rare model and may be found for only a few pounds. The white model is a pre-production for theSunburner when colours were being considered.
DID YOU KNOW
Also at this time Lesney brought out the first military vehicles which appeared in the line until 1967, when the last vehicle, No. 67 Saladin Armoured Car, was retired. Some of the very avid collecting fans have reported finding as many as nine different shades on a particular model. The militaries have remained excellent collector’s items, especially the No. 55 DUKW Amphibian.
Comment: I have never seen or heard of these shade variations and I thought that the olive green paint used remained exceptionally constant throughout the time military models were issued. The DUKW was probably the worst seller of the military models as it was out of scale with the other models. However, the picture box associated with this model is very rare. The image of the 1966 range still shows two military models which had first joined the range in 1958.
…. A surprise awaited them in the Matchbox reception room where a Matchbox Motorway was made up in a nice little scenic form. The Queen and Duke were so excited with it, Mr Smith and Mr Odell gave it to them. In the corner of the room was a very exclusive visitors’ book. The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh were the first ones to sign their names ……. and doesn’t it make you feel good that she and the Duke are proud owners of the Matchbox Motorway?
8Wildcat DragsterOntario Orange
19Road DragsterLime Rock Red
29Racing MiniOval Track Orange
30Beach BuggyGrand Prix Gold & Violet
34Formula 1 RacerPikes Peak Purple
36Hot Rod DraguarRiverside Red
52Dodge ChargerLe Mans Magenta
54Ford CapriTalladega Tangerine
62 Rat Rod DragsterLanghorne Lime
…. It seems as though Lesney are falling back into the toy making business to compete with other companies. Many of the “Mod” type Superfast vehicles are figments of someone’s imagination. I doubt seriously if a number of them would be roadworthy. The MB11 Flying Bug is an insult to Germany and the Volkswagen industry. The Big Banger, MB26, is so nose heavy that it would topple over at a sudden stop. What about the poor driver’s visibility? Whoever heard of a Superfast Fork Lift Truck? I guess, however, once you become a Matchbox addict, it’s hard to kick the habit. I just pray the Models of Yesteryear do not go Superfast.
By 1982, most of the futuristic models had been deleted from the range.
Nigel Cooper 24th February 2014