Enjoying a few classic 80’s & 90’s Matchbox before they head elsewhere.

As a collector sometimes you have to make some tough decisions.  This was one of them.

It figure it is pretty obvious where my Matchbox collecting is focused.  All Mattel.  ALL Mattel.  I actually think it is the best era of Matchbox.  Blasphemy right?

Many Matchbox collectors will disagree with me, and mention many other eras.  The 80’s and 90’s might be one.  And there are some fantastic models from that era.  I owned a ton of them.

Because of that, I started putting together a small collection of 8-dot wheel Matchbox Models, just for nostalgia’s sake.  Then, for space reasons, I ditched the idea.  And made arrangements to send the models elsewhere.  But before I did, I decided to showcase them on the YouTube Channel.

So here they are.  Enjoy.


9 Replies to “Enjoying a few classic 80’s & 90’s Matchbox before they head elsewhere.”

  1. I love the Lensey era I think Tyco did some good things and yes the 90s has SOME great models. I think you have to agree that what we are looking at right now is pushing the best times of Matchbox! Really looking forward the models they are going to be putting out are going be some of the best since Lensey! The one thing I’ll give you is, back then it was all metal. That said when you started the movement to get Matchbox to change their ways. What was the main battle cry? Realism! Even though there are still generics they tend to be based on vehicles we would see on the road. I honestly never thought I would see Matchbox ever do another funnycar. Now their going to a stock Chevy truck.I mean think about it, it was just a few short years ago this brand looked headed to bankruptcy. So for me these are the best times of the brand!

    1. I love the Lesneys as well, that’s what started my collection back in 1973. But there were several great models that came out during the Universal era (1983-1992) too.

      So you’ll know, Matchbox-or rather it’s former parent, Lesney Products-did file for bankruptcy in 1982, and Hong Kong-based Universal Toys, whose CEO, David Yeh, was a Lesney board member, bought the brand later that year. He did manage to keep the spirit alive, but angered many Matchbox faithful by moving manufacturing to Macau.

      I followed their stock quite a bit during the 1980, and Universal Matchbox Group was one of the hottest stocks on NASDAQ quite often until 1991, when Yeh became ill. That’s when Tyco, who had earlier bought Coleco Toys (Cabbage Patch Kids, anyone?) took and interest in Matchbox and eventually bought the brand.

  2. The Universal Years offered some quite brilliant models. You could also buy them everywhere. The Universal period also offered the beginning of a fantastic relationship with White Rose and those early NASCAR castings. Great times for sure.
    Having said that, when Mattel first took over “MATCHBOX” from Tyco there were some seriously great offerings – especially the early Mattel era 5 packs – it just went downhill from there, mainly due to the age old problem of distribution more than anything else. I gave up collecting primarily because I just couldn’t find the stuff and could no longer afford the shipping costs from the States..

  3. Mattel the best era? I laugh at you French like hor hor hee hor! If you like plastic, heavily cost cut, generic and featureless models which are 90% unavailable to most of the world then Mattel is defo the best for that. Lesney and Universal were miles ahead of Mattel by far. It’s Mattel that have damaged the brands reputation the most in my opinion. If you look at the models from the 80’s you show, nothing from Mattel even comes close to that level of quality and these were still just toys back in the day. Each to their own though.

  4. Wow! Totally love that Alfa Romeo SV Zagato! Not what you call a beautiful car by any means, but ugly and brutal and therefore distinctive. I never knew that existed as a Matchbox model. Now I’ll have to hunt one down.

  5. Mattel era is my personal best. Pound hound ,capn cop, mixopotamus ,garbage gulper and the ford plastic news van. …..classic s!…… I’m glad Mattel’s distribution has been crap. However lesney and universal years set examples of how and what this brand should be now!!! The good , bad and ugly from all eras. however you would say Mattel was the best! Ok …each era had their own batches issued to various countries. Pretty much of Mattel’s era it has concentrated on one……

  6. I stopped collecting Matchbox as an early teenager back in 1993, coincidence ? Partially yes, as the biggest toy shop in my town was closed down, but the biggest problem for me was that there was very little reasons to collect between 1994 and 1999, the only good thing that new owner brought was new color for the boxes – bright orange, what a relief after awfully dull blue boxes of late 1980s till early 1990s.

  7. I think this era Matchbox has some of the better designed products with a quality feel to them (metal bases on many). Some great casting choices like the Mercury Sable Wagon, Dodge Caravan, Toyota Supra (in addition to those featured) plus opening hoods and doors. It’s a shame the following regime ran it into the ground by drastically cheapening the product, putting horrendous wheels on them, and juvenile paint schemes. Glad to see the current team is getting back to their roots and producing some awesome stuff once again.

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