The 1966 Dodge A100 Pickup will be this year’s Dealer Exclusive at the 2016 Matchbox Gathering of Friends…

This is a first for the Matchbox Gathering of Friends, at least during the time I have been attending.

The first Matchbox Gathering Exclusive has been unveiled!  And yeah, it is pretty awesome.

Jim Gallegos, who runs the annual event that Mattel has adopted as their official Matchbox Convention, has asked us to unveil one of the two Matchbox exclusives that will be released.  And with a model that looks like this, I am thrilled to do it.

One of the most anticipated aspects of the Gathering, which is held every year in Albuquerque, New Mexico in July, is the unveiling of the Convention Models.  There are always two – one for attendees at the Dinner, and the other for dealers who reserve a table at the Sunday toy show.  Both models are made by Matchbox exclusively for the event, and they go all out.  Full tampo on all sides, tons of detail, and premium packaging, usually in an acrylic case.  Along with the Toy Fair model, the Gathering models are always the most detailed models Matchbox releases each year.

And this year is no exception.  The models chosen are bound to make attendees very happy, and probably persuade a few of you not attending to book a flight to next years event.

And you should.  The Gathering is the diecast event I most look forward to every year.  Small, simple, low key, and more focused on friends instead of dealmaking.  There is plenty of wheeling and dealing to be sure, but it is a lot more relaxed and fun.  It is easy to tell how pleasant the Gathering is based on how many collectors return each year.  And a lot do.

And the dealers will go home very happy with this year’s exclusive in tow.  It will be the ever-popular 1966 Dodge A100 in spectraflame red.  It comes with full 4-sided tampos, a simple stock-like deco, and a very cool homage to something from Jim’s past.

That something is the Hindi Sheep & Cattle Co.  Jim explains:

My grandfather Alex Hindi immigrated from Lebanon to NM, in 1908, following his brother William and with other Lebanese families such as the Maloofs, Bellamahs and Budaghers. He began ranching in Duran (Torrance County) shortly after and the ranch remains in the family today covering parts of 3 counties in south eastern New Mexico. Sheep, Cattle and Arabian horses have been the main livestock throughout most of these years.

In 1950, my grandfather returned to Lebanon. His brother, Subhi Hindi, was a breeder and trainer of Arabian horses who raced successfully at the famed Beirut track. My grandfather bought a champion stallion, Daham, and a pair of mares, Dalal and Bint Attebe, bringing them home in specially-made crates via ship to New York City, rail to Las Vegas, NM, then by truck to Duran, accompanied by Subhi all the way.

This was the inspiration for the 2016 Matchbox Gathering Dodge A100 decoration. 

Pictured is an early ad from the early 1950’s picturing my uncle Brahaim with Daham who was one of the first horses brought to this country by my family.

I have always loved some the references in Matchbox and Hot Wheels decos, and this one is great, especially considering the history and Jim’s connection with New Mexico.

And how cool is it that it is the A100?  It has been popular since the day it was released, and it doesn’t stay on the pegs long.  I personally love when Matchbox does classic vehicles as the exclusives, and seeing this one with a vintage and very appropriate livery makes this release an instant fave.

So, how can you get one?

Dealer tables for the Sunday Toy Show are sold out, so if you don’t have one, or are not attending, it will be hard.  There is always eBay of course, or friends you might be able to pry one from as well.  But my best suggestion is to plan on coming next year.  The event always happens in mid to late July, in New Mexico, so block out some time and plan on heading to the Southwest.  The exclusives will lure you in, but you will enjoy the company and event far more.

The models never disappoint, but it is the people that will keep you coming back.  It would take a lot for me to miss the Gathering…

Incidentally, the tradition is to unveil the Dinner Model at the actual dinner, and that will continue.  I will just say the Dinner model is a doozy, and Lamley will be sure to have a feature ready to post here on the blog as soon as it is unveiled that Saturday night on July 16th.  And the dinner will be streamed as well, so stick around to learn who the 10 Skyline Custom Contest winners are, as well as a preview of the 2017 lineup.  Jim will also unveil the ONE winner who guessed both exclusives right a few weeks ago.  That person will get one of these Dodges.  Pretty cool, eh?

Something tells me these two Gathering exclusives look really nice together:


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