It’s Big Red.
Not to be confused with my father’s “Big Red”, a red (of course) Ford Galaxie 500 that whisked he and my mother away on their honeymoon. (Later replaced by a Ford Maverick, then the oft-mentioned Honda Accord I have written about here.)
This Big Red, or ’95 Custom Chevy Van, a converted ambulance no less, is a replica of the bicycle hauler that still sits in the driveway of one Gerry Cody, maniacal biker, facial hair specialist, goofball and overall passionate dude whose day job involves developing playthings for some El Segundo-based toymaker.
When talking to Gerry (pronounced “Gary”, but just call him Codyman), amid an onslaught of “dude”, “bro”, and “rad”, you will quickly learn about his passion for life, which for him should be spent outdoors. And if you want to spend every extra moment outdoors, you need something to get you there. A few years ago Gerry chose this van to be his transport. Big Red.
|photo credit: Gerry Cody|
Back then Gerry ran the bike racing team Bike Blood (the blog still exists), and he needed something to get him, his team, and their equipment around. Finding this used ambulance for sale was love at first site, and a bright red paint coat later, Big Red was born. His new trusted companion for the Boom Boom that is biking.
The Bike Blood days are over, but the van continues on, taking Gerry and all his whatnots on excursions all over the place. And there is usually something attached to the back, ready to take the adventure that much deeper. Big Red screams Codyman.
So is this blog feature a tribute to Gerry? Probably. Gerry should get a lot of credit for bringing the passion back to Matchbox. His approach to life is “all in”, and that was his approach to bringing Matchbox back. It is contagious, and the orange brand continues on that trajectory, even as Gerry has moved on to new duties at Mattel (with an eye still on orange).
If you look at the last two years of Lamley, the Matchbox passion is there too. I said it was contagious. Meeting Codyman made it so. I could not help but buy in, and I am excited for what is coming. Doing this blog does afford me the opportunity to get to know people and see how things work, and getting a glimpse of the efforts made at Matchbox the last couple of years has truly been a blast. And hanging with Gerry is, well, rad. Bro.
So Big Red is most definitely Gerry’s model. His Matchbox legacy. A model he had to battle to get done, jumping over numerous hurdles along the way. (Note the diecast body. Based on history this model doesn’t get made unless the body is plastic.) It also sports another cool detail that we have seen emerge the last year from designer Abe Lugo:
Yep, following the bed of the VW Pickup and the engine and harness of the Nissan Skyline, we now have two versions of the van. One with a motorcycle on the back and one with a spare wheel and equipment. I love that Matchbox is doing this. Brings the fun back, even within all the budget and other restrictions they have to work with.
So yeah, this model is cool. Super cool. For me personally, it represents a special friendship that wouldn’t have happened without doing this blasted blog thing.
Look for Big Red soon. Thanks once again to Mattel for allowing this preview…