The 2017 Matchbox ’70 Datsun 510 is ready to roll.

It’s Matchbox season.

The Matchbox Gathering of Friends is next month, which means the unveiling of the 2018 New Models, among all kinds of other news.  It is one of the great weekends for diecast collectors, and if you have never attended, you really should make plans on visiting the event in Albuquerque one of these years.

Coming out of that weekend, there are always a few new models that get the most attention.  In 2015 it was the Nissan Skyline, and last year it was surely the Datsun 510.  Who knows what must-have model will be announced this year?

If you ever wonder about how far in advance things are planned, just consider this.  The Datsun 510 was announced as a 2017 New Model last July, and Matchbox even brought an early 3D print with them to show off.


Yep, that was shown a YEAR ago.  It wasn’t until May of this year that the first prototype Datsun 510 was shown, looking a bit lost sitting on Hot Wheels 5-spokes.  But we got the idea.


Well, it has been almost a year and the finished 510 is ready to make its debut.  So here it, Matchbox’s jump into the diecast frenzy that is called the Datsun 510:


Call it a Rally 510, which has a rich racing heritage.  But Matchbox has added its own touch by giving it a Dakar Racing look with the roof rack full of equipment and mud flaps.

And it is because of that roof rack that Matchbox went a different direction with the deco.  The photos speak for themselves:

Yep, a fully detailed roof rack with hood and truck deco.  It does leave the sides a little plain, but the bright orange helps make up for it.  And hey, add your own decals if you’d like.  (More on that in a few days.)

This model makes for a fresh new take on the 510 for Mattel brand collectors.  Hot Wheels will obviously continue on with their 510 and 510 Wagon, and now you can add a full rally version from Matchbox.

It is also one of those signature curveballs that Matchbox likes to throw.  A stock Hakosuka to compliment the converted GT-R version from Hot Wheels, and a Rally 510 to compliment the HW Sedan and Wagon.  The more the brands mesh in my collection, that happier I am to see the variety.

Look for the Datsun 510 in the L Assortment, most likely in September/October of this year.  And get your custom chops warmed up.  That is coming too.  Stay tuned.




24 Replies to “The 2017 Matchbox ’70 Datsun 510 is ready to roll.”

  1. Well, I was kind of excited for this, but consider me underwhelmed now. Aside from the roof rack that shouldn’t be there on a “rally” car, the first release wasn’t red like the real East African Safari Rally car. This leads me to believe that it isn’t a “rally” inspired car at all, but some sort of scene car. Maybe even a rally support vehicle?×426.jpg


  2. I think this is a pretty cool Little car and from what I read it’s looking like someone has been eavesdropping again. I’m thinking their giving the customizers a little extra to work with. (GREAT MOVE!)
    I mentioned this here a few times but I also posted on their IG feed. If that is in fact what is going to happen I can only hope HWs will follow suit. If the pwoers that be are still listening WHEELS! Wheel sets alone RRs like the old RL wheel set would be great.
    Sorry drifted off target, as for this 510. Like I said cool little thing. Maybe it’s the pics but it dose seem undersized. Even still it’s great.
    Another question, where is the recolor of the Crysler 300 and will there be one? How about the Ford F350 or the utillity truck and there’s probably more. Probably my only complaint of late with MBX is the fact we keep getting these generics when they have these great licsened models that most would rather see and enjoy. I’d take ten recolors of the Chevy Silverado than a recolor of another generic. Are there limits to what they can run? I mean I’m just trying to understand. I’m guessing sales are on the up swing. They have to know why right?

    1. We did get a second example of the F350 contractor truck (in yellow), but I’m with you as far the 300 is concerned. I’d like to see the follow-up

  3. When I saw the lead pic on the homepage I was like “that’s it…?” but having seen the whole thing, I’m really digging it. The roof rack tampo detailing is another example of the myriad ways Matchbox plays around with the details and comes up with interesting ways to keep things fresh. Yeah, the sides are plain, but the rack makes up for it, and the decals on the trunklid are a nice little surprise too.

    It would be interesting if they extended some of the mud splatter onto the windows…I suppose it’d probably scratch off pretty easily without clearcoat over it, but still, I think it’d look neat.

  4. Mattel, why can’t Matchbox use Chrome – at least for a licensed model?
    The proportions look great on this model as usual from Matchbox designers, but not sure about the roof rack on a rally car. Still a nice little model to collect.

  5. Matchbox is often so close to excellence on their models, but they fall short due to details. I’m hoping this one has an interior although I can’t be sure from these photos. The lack of interior really lessened my enjoyment of the Toyota Tacoma and 59 Chevy wagon. As mentioned above, the wheel choice leaves a lot to be desired. I’m hoping more Hot Wheels rim raiding takes place like they did with some of the premium castings last year (Lamborghini Miura and others).

  6. The tampo on the luggage rack looks really weak. The rest of the car looks ok, and THANK YOU for not doing a chrome interior.

  7. I guess I am the curmudgeon here. I am entirely underwhelmed by the release. It is well done. I will get one. Then it will be done.

    Enough of the JDM and relatively obscure models. If we are to believe that these are for kids and collectors are but a small part, then market to kids and their parents who only know what they see on the road, on TV and in magazines.

    Where are:
    current Mustang
    Lamborghini – Huracan? Aventador?
    Ford GT?
    Nissan GTR?
    Toyota 86?
    Chrysler Pacifica minivan?
    Chevy Tahoe?

    If we want to go retro then give us more mainstream cars, even Japanese but more popular
    Mitsubishi Starion
    original Civic (CVCC)
    Porsche 356 cabrio
    Mercedes SL nice redo would work.
    Mercedes 300SL gull wing
    Porsche 911 Targa
    Buick Wildcat
    bring back the Corvettes.

    You can make models that other brands (even the blue) have done if they are mainstream. These are models the series model collectors will get. Customizers will buy them. Casual collectors will buy them and the MB collectors will buy them.

    The new Skyline is great. But it appears to be a one hit wonder. The first silver flew of the pegs. It was new and great The second release is clogging the pegs. It isn’t because it isn’t well done, it is because it is no longer scalper bait and mom in Target and her kid do not know what it is so they don’t buy it.

    1. There is not a SINGLE licensed model by Matchbox that clogs the pegs anywhere near me (and there are lots of stores near me), so clearly what’s happening is a combination of 1) not enough licensed models per case and 2) the licensed models they are doing are damn popular, obscure or not. And sorry, but the average kid doesn’t care if they’ve ever seen a licensed model on the road, it’ll still be attractive to them as a Matchbox even if it’s an obscure model. You want endless muscle cars and super-mainstream Japanese cars? Stick to the blue aisle. Matchbox has carved out a place for itself that allows for some of the less common models, and has been tremendously successful doing so. Yes, they need to work on putting more licensed models in the mixes, because there’s still way too much generic crap that clogs the pegs (clearly children aren’t enthusiastic about them either, and they’re supposedly the reason for the generic stuff in the first place), but in terms of the licensed models that Matchbox has been doing recently, I”d say they’re on a roll. I’ll gladly take an oddball old JDM car outfitted for rallying over YET ANOTHER Corvette or Mustang ANY day of the week, and I don’t think I’m even remotely alone in this opinion.

      1. I do not WANT these models. The masses want these models. MB needs volume to make money. Plain and simple. There are more mustang collectors than there are 510 collectors. Volume pays the bills that affords the others to be made. As for the kids not knowing about current cars (or types of current cars) then 1. why are they working for Majorette, Siku, Tomica AND hot wheels, 2. you must not have been a kid and 3 many times it is the parent helping the choice and I can tell you more times or not they are buying the car they recognize. It is a wide variety of models that makes the line successful. As for mainstream Japanese cars, when was the last 2nd gne CRX done? Prelude? Starion? And I guarantee if a current mustang was on the pegs, it would sell out faster everytime over the Skyline and 510. Sales is volume and speed of cycle.

        I agree completely on the generics. Not only are they clogging pegs, but many are meant to be take offs of real vehicles and they do not find a good blend real vs fiction and have odd proportions. IN addition, for the past couple of years the new models are repeat of themes or models done only a few years before. As a result the castings becoming some what repetitious. For example, we now haw 3 different side by side off roaders, too numerous to count desert racing type trucks, how many boats?

        It was less than a decade ago when MB slaes were growing at a much faster rate than HW. This was in John’s Golden Age and the line was flush with real models and many were mainstream. Mattel can have 2 similar lines that are similar and successful. They just need to realize this.

    2. So you think the “poor man’s 2002” is obscure, but Preludes and Starions are well-known? Nahh- the 510 is easily a top-5 for affordable Japanese classics- Curbside Classic even called it the Japanese Tri-Five Chevy. Preludes and Starions should be done, but the 510 is by far a more popular and worthy vehicle.

      Hot Wheels already did the daruma Celica, 1st gen CRX & NSX, Chevelle, current Mustang, Huracan, Ford GT, every gen Viper, GT-R R35, and Scion FR-S. A 356 cab was just spotted in Petrolicious’ Hot Wheels interview. I’m not saying a few of these couldn’t use a re-color, but they’ve recently been available (or will be). The GT was even a $TH.

      I have been bemoaning the endless hakosuka and 510 re-dos. But I don’t think the “variety” should consist of cars Mattel already did. As seen on the Lamley front page:

      “If we are in the JDM/Euro era now, and that followed the Muscle era, then I would consider the time before that the Classic/Low Rider era. … I am sure there will be a time when the Low Riders take over our IG accounts more than Skylines, but for now we can enjoy the Hot Wheels replicas from 10-15 years ago.”

      Perhaps the JDM craze overshadowed what could have been a Mad Men style 60’s/mod lineup. I would personally love to have a 1/64 Chrysler with a mod top or color matched steelies. But M2 and Auto World offer lots of really great American castings, at a higher quality than Mattel, and for collectors only, if you are interested. I love my ’61 Dodge Phoenix by AW, partly because it would never get done (certainly not to the same quality) at Matchbox or HW.

      But American classics and Instagram favorites like Porsches and Mercedes are not all that the car world encompasses. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I think Hot Wheels owes us a couple iconic Group B rally castings like an Audi Quattro or Lancia Delta HF. But there are also a lot of popular, old, but not overdone cars like the Alpine A110 and perhaps Ford Capri that could be neat to see in the Matchbox lineup. Matchbox definitely needs a Corvair coupe, too, to go with the ’59 Chevy wagon which I still have yet to find. How about a ’60 Ford Starlight coupe?

      Just hang around for a few more years and you will get your Wildcat while I bemoan the lack of an Isuzu 117 Coupe or Hino Samurai. Because, with three hako castings, there’s a snowball’s chance in hell we’ll get either of those. I will look for that Corvair.


  8. The tampo work is pretty good but sadly there isn’t a lot of it. The side looks too plain. A few decals on the doors would’ve worked very well. As for the casting itself, I like it but can’t say I am flattered. I don’t like those front wheel arches, or the fog lights on the sides of the bonnet or the ride height which is too high. Also the tri-spoke wheels would’ve worked better. Just my 2 cents.

    1. Sounds like you don’t like rally cars, because with the exception of the tampo work, ALL of the things you mentioned not liking are important equipment for rally cars. I’m pretty sure you would not want to be driving through the forest at night on a rally stage without spotlights and a high ride height. I get that it’s just a toy, but it is accurately depicting a specific type of vehicle, and realism is usually something we collectors get heated up about when we don’t see it, so I think it’s nice that these cues are present and accounted for.

      1. @Benjamin Addie Okay, I can accept the ride height, it looks fine. But the fenders should’ve been all around, not just the front. And the bonnet fog lights I still don’t like (even on the real cars). Would’ve preferred them on the front grill instead. The car is indeed growing on me but like I said, I’m not flattered by it.

      1. Well said Tyler. I too love rally and hope that we see more of these from Matchbox in the years to come (Citroen, Peugeot, Lancia, Audi, etc.). But like you, I don’t feel this execution is all that believable. It feels more like a family “adventure” vehicle to me, in a similar vein as the recent VW Golf Country. Ditch the roof rack MBX and swap out the wheels and tires for something a bit more off-road oriented. How cool would it have been to get this in the red, black and white livery of the official Nissan Motor Co. #4 car? As it stands, I’ll likely pass on this release.

    1. To do that they’d have to ditch the interior…I’ll take the interior over a removable rack by far…as nice as the ’59 Brookwood Wagon is with the removable canoe, losing the interior robs the car of a lot of character. I’m glad they did an interior here.

  9. I am in love with this casting. It reminds me of the green fiat from matchbox in the 60’s. I am a baby boomer. I remember reading reviews of these cars way back in 1970 and the era when these cars were sold. I have auto ads with these cars featured from motor trend and car and driver magazine. I love adding these to my collection.

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