Based on the response so far, I think I can safely say there is excitement for the first batch of 2017 Matchbox Best of the World. It was very cool for Matchbox to allow me to debut them here and on the Lamley YouTube Channel, and I had a blast doing it. These should be available starting next month, and some stores have them listed.
I promised pics of all six, and here they are. And oh my, is this a pretty set. I have pontificated enough on the video, so I don’t need to say too much here. But there are a few things I think are worth mentioning.
I have said many times this last year that the current Matchbox Team, in particular Gerry Cody and Abe Lugo, have gone to battle to bring Matchbox back to glory. There was – and is – a lot of work to do, from more licensed models and realistic decos, to better quality and, of course, better distribution.
Distribution is still a major factor, but ultimately it comes down to whether retailers want Matchbox on their shelves or not, and the best way to make that happen is to have a better product. That is exactly what Gerry and Abe have worked tirelessly to do. I have been lucky to see a little of it behind the scenes, and I think my excitement for what I have witnessed permeates here. To say they have battled is an understatement.
These guys reached out to collectors first, knowing they were the most passionate about the brand, and could give relevant feedback. They learned what frustrated collectors the most, as well as what they could do out of the gate to improve Matchbox. The 2017 Best of World line is as great an indicator as there is for what they are doing, and it was done for collectors.
It starts with the line itself. Best of World has been a passion project for the Matchbox Team. 2016 was well received, and Gerry and Abe made sure it returned in 2017. That is not always easy, and I think it is safe to say they went to bat for collectors, and battled until 2017 was confirmed. Mattel is a big company, with a lot of people with a lot of opinions. Gerry and Abe worked it until the line was a go. Once it was, they had a little fun.
First off, two assortments of six instead of one assortment of ten. After that, all street cars, in this case all Euro cars. And lastly, after several complaints about the “off-road” look of the Matchbox premium wheels last year, they threw caution to the wind and put Hot Wheels Real Riders on four of the models. What?!?!
I have been very curious to see what the response would be to HW wheels on a Matchbox, and so far it has been positive. But I have said to many people, at least among the majority of readers here, they don’t care what is done just as long as the model looks awesome. And these wheels on these Matchbox cars look awesome.
So here are the first six. Some thoughts on each (and like I said in the title, it is the little things):
- My favorite? I can always tell based on how many pics I take of one compared to the others. Not a weak one in the bunch, but the Miura wins. This was one of Ryu Asada’s favorite designs when he was still with Matchbox, and this version seems to be his vision realized. Saying it is a beautiful model doesn’t do it justice. Abe said he was inspired by the Pebble Beach car shows when he chose the color and detail for the Miura, and it shows.
- Check out the wheels on the Range Rover Sport. Black rims, but a hint of green right around the axle. Such a cool little touch.
- I love how the BMW M5 Police shares the exact same livery as the Lesney Edition BMW X5 Police from a few years ago. Little easter eggs like this make it so fun to collect.
- Mercedes is coming back strong, and it is great to see the CLS 500 tool is still in good shape. I have never been a huge fan of the Real Riders it sits on, but they look great here.
- The Porsche pops, and reminds me a tad of a certain Toy Fair model from a year ago. I agree that the white spoiler could be better, but I don’t know what the other options would be for the plastic. That spectraflame color would be hard to duplicate on plastic.
- The T2 will probably be the first off the shelves, along with the Miura.
- Lastly, the artwork is pretty bad. Awful in fact. I like the colors and overall design, but the depiction of the models is cringeworthy. The models are where they need to be, so hopefully the artwork will catch up. I think there are efforts being made to make that happen.