Some Matchbox models that could use a modification, by David Tilley…

When you see a new Matchbox casting, do you sometimes think this could have been done in various ways?  Not just the one they created.  Well, Matchbox has a history of creating castings and then modifying them later on.  One of the most common ways is by creating a civilian vehicle and then turning it into a police vehicle.
This has been going on for a long time.  Lesney did it in the 1970s with this BMW 3.0CSL which turned from a civilian into a police vehicle.
Sometimes they had a little fun.
Like when they turned the VW Golf LS into….
Romping Rabbit with the large 4×4 wheels.
This is still happening as for 2016 the 1968 Ford Mustang GT/CS will be turning into the “Mudstang”.
Imagine this with large 4×4 wheels….
But sometimes you also have to think a little more outside of the box.  Remember when they created a Peterbilt casting in the 1980s?

They had fun with a variety of rear section on the one casting.  Paul Carr was the designer of this casting in the 1980s, and only had one picture to work off of.  He told me once how he simply made up the rest of the vehicle as the picture showed the front and one side.  Being in the UK at the time he had not seen the real ones.  Just this one picture.  Oh the days before the internet where a quick Google can do wonders.
This sort of thing still goes on, as the 2006 Utility Truck was modified into….
Aqua King.  But we are really looking at licensed vehicles here.
Of course there are many licensed vehicles that have seen alterations in them.
Does anyone remember the Cadillac Hearse?  Of course you do.  This model was turned into the Cadillac Ambulance a few years later.
Of course that was partly down to the Greek Orthodox Church complaining, due to the idea of a hearse as a toy car.  
But not all cars were modified for reasons except they thought it was worth trying something else.
The Jaguar XK120 started off as a convertible, and lasted for many years like that.
But Mattel decided to take the vehicle and turn it into a hardtop.  Lo and behold this model got a new lease of life.
So this is where we come in.  What vehicles that Matchbox currently have are worthy of turning into other variants?  Well, the list is actually really long when you think of it.  The first thing most people will talk about is these 2 models….

The Mitsubishi Lancer and Subaru Impreza were brought in as police vehicles.  It was said that Subaru actually needed convincing of theirs with pictures of real ones before they signed off on them.  But they did.  However, many MANY collectors have asked for these to be in non-police liveries too.  
But there is a model or 2 that could be turned into police vehicles.  Why they were not is unknown as they work.  The first one is the Volvo XC90.
Debuting in the mid-2000s, this model was only released in civilian liveries, but there is a very big demand for real emergency related ones, especially in Europe.
A simple light bar on the roof can bring this a whole new lease of life.
The other is also an obvious choice.
The Toyota Prius debuted at the end of the 2000s, and lasted a few years before fading away.
But this could easily have had a new lease of life with a light bar on the top.
You could have put a taxi sign on it too and this really starts opening up a whole new world for this casting.
But these are simple alterations.  What about some more constructive alterations.
Take the Double Decker Bus.  This is a hugely popular model, but due to the weight issue is now likely to see very sporadic use.  So what if we took some of the weight away (without changing it to plastic).
The open top version gets rid of the whole roof section cutting away a bunch of weight without drastically reducing the look of the model.  Just imagine the types of liveries that can adorn the sides of them.  Many tourist style liveries, or celebration liveries.  It opens up the model to a whole new world of possibilities.  
Or (thinking about the earlier Peterbilt reference) how about this model?
The Mack Type B Fire Pumper.  The actual Mack Type B is a base and front section which can open up the possibilities.
How about a “classic” wreck truck?  With the GMC Wrecker starting to show its age (it has been going almost 30 years), and the new “Matchbox originals” not catching collector’s eyes the possibility of a new classic utilizing the base of an already existing cab section would work well.
Or how about just using the cab as a trailer unit.  We have the Ford Cargo and DAF XF95 Space Cab as 2 modern ones, but a classic one could fit in well too.
Something that has also been thought of too is this model….
The Land Rover Defender 110.  Have you seen just how many different body styles there are for this particular vehicle?  It was recently cost reduced a little by cutting out a section of the roof and turning it into an extension of the window part.  But that does sort of ruin the model a little.
They should have thought about changing it to a different version.  The 110 Crewcab is a slightly different take on the vehicle.  Less body than the previous one, this could have used a metal body with plastic for the rear bed, thus reducing the need for cutting parts out to lessen the weight.
Or perhaps the Renault Master Ambulance.  The fact that the body is plastic is really a sore point with many people.
But the Master gets used for much more than ferrying around injured people to hospital.  With the Mercedes Unimog not currently being used, how about a Renault Master Flatbed?  The cab can be metal, as there is a lot less body area for it.
These are all ideas that could be utilized.  
But there is something about a classic car that people do like.  They are always popular, but many times we tend to see the one version, when the real vehicle had different versions to play with, sometimes even making them look better.
One of the more popular models is the 1961 Jaguar E-type.  It has had a number of issues over the last decade, and as such many of the different colors are now being done again.  So why don’t we change it into a….
Convertible version?  This opens up all the different colors again to roll through.  Plus, the is something seriously nice about the top down version of this model.
Or how about the Volvo P1800S?  Matchbox went for the most common version of this vehicle, but they missed out on a truly unique vehicle….
The Sport Wagon.  That rear itself just sets this apart from pretty much anything else around.  Plus, we all like a good wagon in the range.  The Vista Cruiser has seen a large number of variations, so how about a different classic.  
Finally, this is something that bugged me when it happened.
Matchbox got the license for the Karmann Ghia Type 14, and created it as a convertible.
When they then sought out the Karmann Ghia Type 34, they also created it as a convertible.  But out of the 2 of them, the original as a hardtop is way cooler.
This model looks really amazing as a hardtop, and I think better than with the top down.  The Type 34 is definitely better with no roof on it.  The original Type 14 would be amazing to re-tool as a hardtop vehicle.  
Of course the list could go on and on, and on, and on.  These are just a few of the ideas that are being floated about.  I am sure people can think of even more licensed vehicles that can be turned into something else.

16 Replies to “Some Matchbox models that could use a modification, by David Tilley…”

  1. Always a treat to read something from the esteemed Mr. Tilley. With due respect to the current MB Ambassador, I don't think that appointment has worked out. One report every 3 months doesn't cut it, and when one does arrive, it's inadequate. I'll take a one-off report from Mr. Tilley about whatever he wants to write about anytime.

  2. Matchbox needs to scrap the 4 piece rule
    I think they need to stick to American cop cars
    E.g. crown Vic corvette (2015 Tahoe I bet they'll fuck that up) etc
    Matchbox itself has failed whereas Hotwheels I admit has many flaws e.g. upsloped chins but theyre doing way better than Matchbox ever will

  3. (Corrected)
    Look carefully at the 2006 generic tanker. It looks as if other versions were in mind when it was designed. It's got little, unused lugs behind the rear mudguards.

    Other possibilities…..
    1. VW beetle into either sun roof saloon or for extreme metal saving a convertible.

    2. Porsche 911 from coupè to convertible.

    3. BMC minivan to estate – saving a little metal – or to a pickup for max metal saving!

    4. Buick Century police car to convertible.


  4. The type 34 Ghia was never available to the public as a cabrio, although prototypes were made and shown. A few people have recreated cabrios over the years too – making a model of the coupé would be difficult as it has extremely thin roof pillars.
    I know it's been mentioned before but the Volksdragon/Dune Man/Sand digger was a good example of re-using and modifying a casting.

  5. It looks like many people here are looking for the original manufacturers specifications. I wanted to tell everyone about It has free access to all specs for almost every auto and truck ever built! Hope this helps some people. Thank you, Rashida, Ten Doves”

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