Some Golden Age models return with 2017 Matchbox Best of World Release B

(UPDATE: The set just arrived at Wheel Collectors)

Call this a stepping stone.

Next year appears to be the time that Matchbox steps into a more appropriate premium realm.  There will still be the $1 basics, but with new lines featuring opening parts, and with the introduction of two new Real Rider-type wheels, Matchbox seems to settling into a slightly new area for 1/64, especially compared to its blue Mattel mate.

But that is 2018.  We need to finish 2017 first.  And that means Release B from the Best of World series.  In the next few days, hobby dealers should be getting this batch, and Matchbox sent over a set for collectors to preview.

Release B continues where the first two batches left off.  Popular licensed castings with two-piece wheels.  What is interesting about this batch in particular is that all the castings come from several years ago.  A couple we haven’t even seen this decade.

So whether it was on purpose or not, this set of five models gives a nod to the last Golden Age, and with plenty of new stuff coming next year, maybe makes way for a new Golden Age.  Time will tell, but I like where Matchbox is headed.

And for this set that is a good thing and a bad.  For many this will be their first chance to grab the splendid Alfa Romero Giulia Sprint, but for others, it is just another white Alfa, after three previous white Alfas.  Same with the Porsche 914.  We have seen this livery before, but then it was on a metal base.  Now it is on plastic.

Outside of the Alfa, it might be the Bentley that is most welcome.  Returning in a new color, it is very nice to see back.

These all look good on two-piece wheels, especially those on Hot Wheels Real Riders.  But those days are over too, I think.  Ultimately, this is probably the least exciting batch out of the three, but it does its job in setting up next year.

Can you figure out the tv reference on the Blazer?



23 Replies to “Some Golden Age models return with 2017 Matchbox Best of World Release B”

  1. The Hot Wheels wheels was an interesting venture. Personally, I liked when they did that, and I am not sure but I think a lot of people came around on them. Also, I think the 2nd batch worked a little better with the HW rims compared to the latest batch- the wheel choices were spot on. I don’t know if they were forced to use those wheels, but the Alfa used the large truck rims, and I don’t know if they fit it. I definitely am happy to see that Blazer on the HW rims. Can’t wait for Globe Travellers!

  2. The term “Golden Age” seems to be overused around here. The first (and in my opinion) only golden age was in the mid to later 1960s. This was the height of the Matchbox brand. Opening parts. Lesney ownership. Metal bases. Separate interiors. Picture boxes. Massive sales + comprehensive distribution. Contemporary subject matter (not counting Yesteryears). Crisp detail. Quality paint (although there were instances of tacky finishes). Separate accessories.
    What some are calling the last golden era didn’t compare to the era I’m referring to. I would have a hard time calling it golden at all. Chrome interiors. Plastic bases. Iffy pain (too thin / too thick). Generics. Inconsistent packaging and branding. Poor distribution.
    I feel the same way about HotWheels. The Golden Era for that brand was 1967-1972.
    These eras were the iconic ones, and should not be overshadowed by a few spurts of random improvements from recent years.

    1. Well you can’t go back. Times were different then, and I think I speak for a lot of people when I say that I’m just incredibly thankful that Matchbox was doing so many well-executed vehicles in the 2005-2010 period, plastic base or not. I defy you to look at the Audi RS6 Avant, the Morgan AeroMax, or the Jaguar XK140 Coupe and tell me they’re not absolutely fabulous models.

      So in short, I don’t think the term Golden Age is overused. Now, the recent signs of improvement in the orange brand does not at all indicate another golden age, but I think it’s fair to use that descriptor for the aforementioned ’05-’10 era.

      1. I have the three models you mentioned, and they are nice enough (but, not ab-fab. They would be if they had a moving part or a metal base, but they don’t). There was a handful of good models from 05-10, but too much inconsistencies to merit a “golden age” status.
        Copper age, yes. Golden? No.

    2. I’m going to disagree with you. I don’t know on what basis you’re saying 2005-10 isn’t a Golden Age because it clearly is. Just look at the variety of licensed casting Matchbox was doing every year at that time. And not just that, but the quality of the castings was way better than whatever came before, and at such a small scale as 1:64, opening parts take away from the model rather than add to it (they leave huge panel gaps). While I agree that we didn’t get metal bases anymore, but when you consider that these were and still are (for the most part) $1 models you can’t really argue. Now I know you will say “they cost the same in the 60s but they had so much more” well, petrol was dirt cheap too in the 60s but is it cheap today? No.

      1. No, I was not going to say that about pricing. I believe the term “golden age” should be reserved for when the product was at it’s very best, which includes quality, relevance + iconic qualities, popularity, availability, and the produced topics. The 2005-10 era was an improvement from the previous ten or so years, but there were still plenty of flaws keeping it from a “golden age” status. Once again, here is the basis for my conclusion regarding the 02-10 era: so-so quality in fit and finish (not all models, but enough of them), cheap-looking chrome interiors, mediocre product packaging (unlike the iconic Lesney-era packaging), poor availability + limited interest (compared to the 1960s-1970s), and little to no working parts (if you look at panel gaps of the 1960s Lesney and Mattel model, the gaps are pretty precise – with modern technology, it can be done. Autoworld is proof).
        I thoroughly collected the range during the 2005-10, and understood why collectors were excited – it was a decent era compared to the previous models. However, decent does not equate to golden. There needs to be more of a cohesive aura to the brand, setting it apart from other brands and other eras of itself. And, it needs to sell. In the 1960s + 70s, one could buy Matchbox almost everywhere. They were on the check-out end caps. They were at newsstands. They were available for mail order on the backs of cereal boxes. Every kid had them, and every kid wanted more of them. Massive amounts were shipped to a seemingly endless demand…until Mattel introduced HotWheels. That kind of demand and interest did not exist during the 05-10 era. Kids have moved on to other interests, and stores had little incentive to stock the entire range, let alone any models at all. That does not sound like a golden era to me.
        The news from this years gathering sounded promising, and may well usher in a new golden age for Matchbox, though it’s not terribly likely – kids are more interested in gaming and other electronic distractions. Cars are not as popular as they were in the past. The brand is returning to more licensed vehicles and working features. That’s good news. If they can pull off some of the other things collectors like myself want, I may even start collecting them again.

    3. I agree with you. The Bentley is the only one above that I think could compete with the 60’s cars. Even if they didn’t often have three-color bodies (body, interior and base all leveraged as part of the design) for most if not all, the Lesney bases were so well cast as to have so far unsurpassed detail and quality. I still marvel at the clearly legible license plates of these old models. I grew up with 90’s Matchbox cars, and they were neat. But I always knew my dad and uncles’ old Lesneys were different. They were better.

      I’m ok with calling 05-10 the “modern golden age” or “silver age” or something, but you just can’t touch the build quality of the old ones. I wish they would re-release some 60s cars with the original build quality. They’d probably be $4 a piece, but it would be worth the cost.

  3. Both the Alfa Romeo and Porsche are heavily put down by their older counterparts (which is funny considering the new versions probably cost more). The Magnum and Blazer both are very nice but just don’t cut it in my opinion. That leaves the Bentley as the only one that truly feels premium. The blue colour paired with the white interior looks nice, and the chrome wheels add a touch of bling (which you want in a Bentley). Needless to say it is my favourite of this batch.

  4. It’s a shame to see the recycling of decos on a couple of these, but there’s no denying the choice of castings is superb…they hit some of the major hallmarks of what Matchbox has always been about. I’m also enjoying the use of the Hot Wheels wheels on these, although I do wish Matchbox could develop some better premium wheels for itself. The newest couple Matchbox-specific rims have been missed opportunities in my opinion…I think the wheel choice on the Alfa is a particularly glaring misfire on that front.

    Definitely VERY happy to see a separate light-bar on the Magnum! Overall the last batch of BoW was better but I’ll still be earnestly looking for these.

  5. Great to see the Magnum back, I love it! And is that a seperate lightbar??? I’m thinking Jaws or Fall Guy on the blazer but not sure.

    As far as golden age not golden age. Dose not qualify here or 02-10. When you say golden age it reffers to age. So technically it would refer to the begining. To me anytime your getting licensed models with quality their doing good things. Even if some models are off in quality dose not matter. When your dealing with mass production not everything will be perfect.

    Next year will be great on paper but some will still complain. It’s a shame because what they are embarking on is great for the hobby. How about we use the term rebirth or the next chapter. The biggest concern is distribution. People can not get excited about something they will never see! That is a simple fact! Some people are just going to trash the brand anyway.

    It’s all about how you personally feel about it. Hopefully many of you are like me excited for a new era not just in MBX but this in my opinion will carry over into HWs. After all shouldn’t matter that Mattel own both brands. Both brands should be competing that’s just smart business..

    1. Actually, the term “golden age” refers to an apex of an event, be it art, prosperity, or other occurrence. One definition is this: “an idyllic, often imaginary past time of peace, prosperity, and happiness.
      the period when a specified art, skill, or activity is at its peak.
      “the golden age of cinema”

      For Matchbox, the peak brand activity was around 1967 when the demand was at it’s all time high…right before the Mattel ambush.

  6. The Blazer is homage to Stranger Things because of the “CHIEF” logo but the Stranger Things one is most likely an homage to the Jaws truck as well.

  7. I have only found Release A in one TRU store and all they had left was the green Mercedes with the passe gold multi spoke wheels. These stores are a joke, unless Mattel is stalling somehow. I know distribution is a problem outside the US but it seems you can’t even find regular mainstream releases.

  8. Nice to see the Alfa back, but the wheels are a dealbreaker…Blazer looks great, really sharp authentic looking livery. I always think of 85-88 as a mini golden age, reaching its peak with the ’87 Thunderbird with the separate red tailight piece…

  9. Thanks for the definition and yes that would make 67 the golden age.

    Look fact of the matter is the premium line is not selling because I’ve seen them sitting. Don’t know how the online sales are but my guess is about the same. Collectors I don’t think are bombarding online retailers because part of the hobby is going into a store seeing it and deciding if it is worthy.

    Going back to the golden age thing. Not to beat a dead horse or anything. Sales were high then because kids had imagination and no video games. Today your not going to have that sale market. Mattel needs to realize that their main consumer today is the adult collector. Lines should be trimmed to what is selling. I said this before if they want to market to kids fine but make it a separte line. They have all these recycled castings, colors ect. How about moving into the present and produce some recycled models but with more new models? One thing is for certian their losing tons of sales when you have peg warmers. The retailers are not inclined to reorder if they still have stock sitting.

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