This is part preview, part history.
The Matchbox team is allowing me to preview the latest version of one of my favorite Matchbox castings, the 1957 GMC Stepside. The Stepside has enjoyed all kinds of decos, from plain to military to farm to police. I’ve liked them all.
The latest version is a treat. This time the Stepside takes the role of a police vehicle, in a licensed livery. I livery that you have seen before, not only with Matchbox but with other brands. It’s the Boone County Sheriff’s Department in Missouri.
So why are diecast makers so into Boone County? Keith Hoskins. Keith is an avid police and diecast collector, as well as a Boone County Sheriff. Take those two, and you have a licensor’s dream. And we collector’s get some cool stuff.
I’ve known Keith for awhile, and he was cool enough to give us a history of Boone County diecast models, leading up to the Stepside, due on the pegs in a couple of months.
In 2000 a friend of mine asked me if I wanted to attend the Annual Farm Toy Show in Dyersville, Iowa. He knew I collected emergency vehicles and told me he had scene several emergency vehicles at previous Farm Toy Shows. Well of course I went with him. While we were in Dyersville, we toured the ERTL plant in town. Yes, they made diecast toys in Dyersville, Iowa. We got to see all the production lines in action.
After the trip I got to thinking, which usually gets me in trouble and in early 2001 I contacted ERTL toy company in Dyersville, Iowa about creating a model firetruck for the local department that I have been associated with. After some lengthy discussion ERTL decided to do a model kit where the buyer could put the model together. It was in the American Muscle Body Shop series. It was based on the following firetruck. At the time the model was made the engine was assigned number 101.
It was based on the following firetruck. At the time the model was made the engine was assigned number 101.
I then laid low for then next several years. Until I knew I was going to the Matchbox Convention in Albuquerque in 2009.
I prepared a nice 3 ring binder of pictures from both the Boone County Fire District and the Boone County Sheriff’s department fleet along with the appropriate Matchbox vehicles which could depict the Boone County vehicles in diecast. I contacted Amina Sekandari from Mattel at the convention and before I returned home I was getting emails requesting more information. The first agreement was signed less than 30 days later.
The first vehicle to be completed under this agreement was the Ford Expedition. The process started in February of 2010 for a vehicle in the 2011 5-pack. If you notice the Boone County Vehicle was used on the lower right printing of the 5 pack.
In late 2010 Matchbox contacted me about using a Boone County Fire vehicle in the 2011 Lesney Edition collector line.
That vehicle was the Ford E350 Ambulance.
This was based off an in-service Mass Casualty Incident vehicle from the fire district.
In 2012 I contacted Matchbox about doing our newly arrived Dodge Charger. It took a little bit due to changes in team members but in late 2013 the Boone County Dodge Charger was approved. It was based on the Dodge Charger below.
Matchbox was kind enough to put my department badge number on the plate depicted on the card.
In 2014 Matchbox decided to do an International Pumper decorated with the Boone County Fire Logo’s. I kind of prodded them into doing this one. Little did I know it was going to be included in the Premium line for 2015.
It was based on the Engine 510 below.
Now most of you know there was some concern about the 2015 Premium Line. The numbers that were first mentioned were lowered each time I spoke with Mattel. Finally, on August 14, 2015 I was informed by Mattel that “Regrettably, we had to drop the second half of the Supreme Heroes line which included the Boone International Pumper”. Disappointment was not the word I was using at the time. Disappointment only lasted about 10 days as 10 days later I received the samples of the Boone County International Pumper. We of course now know the rest of the story.
In June of 2016 Matchbox informed me they would like to do the 1957 GMC Step side in Boone County Sheriff’s Department colors. While I think that would be a splendid idea. This idea was Matchbox on it’s own.
In August of 2009 after getting back from the Matchbox convention I contacted Russell Hughes from Greenlight. Greenlight had just released Hot Pursuit Series 1 in July of 2009. I asked Mr. Hughes if he would be so inclined to include a Boone County Sheriff’s vehicle.
In October of 2009 I received notice from Mr. Hughes the Boone County Crown Victoria will be included in the 3rd Release of the Hot Pursuit Series which was scheduled for a release in September 2010. With this vehicle the license plate was my badge number.
In July of 2011 I asked Greenlight to include a 1975 Dodge Monaco that was one of our current employees first department vehicle and they obliged by putting it in County Roads (renamed Country Roads later) Series 7.
In September of 2104 I contacted Greenlight about doing a vehicle/trailer combination for the new Hitch and Tow Series. This vehicle was released in April of 2015. I even got permission to use the Missouri Department of Transportation logo on the trailer.
In February of 2011 I contacted Tom Z from Johnny Lightning and asked about including a Central Missouri Radio Squad in the Johnny Lightning line up. The real vehicle was a 1947 Chevrolet Delivery vehicle and JL had a 1950 Chevy Panel that was very similar in looks. I provided Tom Z with my background and whom I had worked with in the past.
With JL now purchasing ERTL I thought maybe I would be able to drive on up to Dyersville to see the production of this vehicle. I was out of luck. No more diecast being produced in Dyersville as JL moved production over to China.
The 1950 Chevy was released in March of 2012.
7 Replies to “The 2017 Matchbox 1957 GMC Stepside is the latest in a long line of Boone County diecast…”
Wow! That is something else! Keith, if you are reading, I applaud your hard work. I believe I have every Matchbox Boone County model released thus far, and even have the Dodge Charger with “pink” windows; it was in a 9 pack, and had a pink tint. Once again, great work.
Thanks still looking for the pink window variation.
Also I am still full of ideas with several of the companies listed above.
I have the Expedition and the Charger from Matchbox, as well as the Hitch & Tow from Greenlight, but I was quite surprised to see that the Chevy Delivery with the Radio Squad livery is connected to the others! By some miracle, I actually own the Radio Squad car…I say miracle because Johnny Lightning is VERY hard to find where I am, and even when I do find some, it's usually models I'm not interested in. But that one is so clean and simple, and on a killer casting, I just had to pick it up when I saw it. Now that I see that it ties in with all the Boone County vehicles, I'm even more glad I went for it. Very interesting article, and I look forward to hunting for the Stepside!
Spendid model! Would look sweet sitting side by side the Expedition. So far I've only got the Expedition. I hope to find the others soon.
It's fantastic that they were so receptive to repeatedly depict your department and use your number, and across different brands. I don't collect Police or emergency vehicles per se – I have the MBX silver Fox Body, MBX Charger and an old Polizei G-Wagen from childhood – but knowing the personal story behind these, I'm sure to look out for them now.
Cool story! The latest GMC would look so much better with a chrome grill …
Cool story! The latest GMC would look so much better with a chrome grill …