This was mentioned in the latest Matchbox Ambassador Report, but it was buried a bit at the end, so we thought we would do a separate post. Especially since we are lucky enough to have the variation.
Some of the best variations in both the Hot Wheels and Matchbox worlds are the “mid-run” changes. It usually happens when something wasn’t communicated correctly, and a model starts its production run doing something wrong. Someone will eventually catch the mistake and make an immediate correction. Or, in some cases, someone, be it a designer or someone else, changes their mind after seeing the product, and asks for a change.
Depending on when the change is made, one version could end up being more rare than the other. If it is early in the run, the error will be the rare one. If it is late, the corrected version would be.
One famous running change among the Matchbox collectors was the 2007 Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint in white. After approving the license, Alfa decided that the only colors they would accept would be red or white, since the real car was only offered in those two colors. Matchbox tried to mix things up a bit by producing a white version with a pearl white paint, and Alfa quickly caught wind and asked that it be changed to straight white. Some early run pearl white models did end up packaged and shipped, and a few were found, but not a lot.
We mention that particular example because Alfa has struck again, this time on the just-released Matchbox 4C.
Let’s start with this image:
Notice the grill in the front? Here it is again:
Now look closely at this next pic:
You will see the front intakes are part plastic and part paint. If you don’t see it, just take a look at this pic:
Now you see it. This version has no outer grill. Just red paint.
That is because on the first models in the batch, Matchbox forgot to paint it. Alfa noticed the mistake right away, and asked for the change. Matchbox obliged, and now almost all the 4C’s released will feature the full intakes.
According to Mattel, by way of the Ambassador, this error was detected very early, meaning unpainted intake Alfa Romeo 4C’s will in very small numbers, and probably in very high demand. So get out there and look. Maybe you will get lucky…
(Try eBay too.)