Matchbox Monday continues working through 2020 Batch C

Well it’s that time of week again. I split my review into batch C of the 2020 basic range into 3 parts, with this being the middle part. One more next Monday. As ever, I am thankful to Wheel Collectors who sent me over this batch to review. As mentioned last week, I did a random pick for this batch, and these were the 6 that I came up with this time.

We start with a brand new casting. The MB1209 ’76 Honda CVCC. Yes, we know it’s a Civic, but Matchbox have made it clear that it is the later version of the debut 1st generation. In 1975 Honda released a new engine called the Compound Vortex Controlled Combustion (CVCC for short). It was an entirely new design that lowered emissions from the exhaust. Considering how big environmental concerns are now, remember this was in 1975. In fact, work began on the engine in 1971. After debuting this radical new engine design, the first car they put it in was the Honda Civic. So although the 1st generation was around from 1972 until 1979, they actually chose to go with one which was, for it’s time, quite an environmental achievement. It arrives under the MB45 slot for the 2020 range.

It’s a very cute little model, and debuting in yellow could be considered pretty clever. For anyone who may not know, when they showed the TV advert for the 1976 Honda Civic, they showed the model looking very much like this in the ad. Flyers and promotional tools were also often yellow too. It was an iconic colour.

Just so you know the rear does make mention of it being a Civic. With its California “MY76TOY”license plate, and the simple light design, it also added in the badges, which were the Honda letters over the license plate, and the CVCC and Civic nameplates to the left.

The front has, although my camera decided not to focus on it, the Honda badge in the middle and CVCC badge in the grille.

It’s a new casting, the only one in this batch I am previewing, so I am doing an obligatory base shot which also confirms that they marketed it as the 1976 Honda CVCC there too. I think this is a really cute model. I remember when Matchbox released their first Honda Civic (an 8th generation Type R) I stated at the time that I was not a big fan of the real vehicle but loved the model. But this one gains an advantage as I like the real one to begin with. The model just adds the cuteness factor up to 11. I hope to see many of these over the coming years.

So as it is the debut, no history of this casting. But as already stated, there is a history of Matchbox Honda Civics.

Did you know that Matchbox only ever noted the Honda brand in miniature as a bike manufacturer until the mid ’00s. There had been a bike on a trailer, a bike, a police bike and a trike during the 20th century. It wasn’t until 2004 when the Element crossover SUV arrived that a 4-wheeled Honda was added to the Matchbox range. After that came a Ridgeline pick-up, and then the MB753 8th generation Honda Civic Type R arrived in 2008 as the first “car” that Matchbox ever created by the Honda company.

Of course this was during an era where a lot of models were released in 2 versions in a year, and the debut of the MB26 Civic Type R was in red, followed a few batches later by the yellow one.

2009 and things went a step further. It continued as MB26, and for a 2nd year sported 2 versions, starting in silver then turning white. It was also a part of the 40th Anniversary Superfast series that year too in a striking silver and grey combo.

After the high of 2009, 2010 saw it quieten down. Only 1 issue as MB29 in blue. So to make up for it, I went and found shades of blue.

In 2011 it was still MB29 and this time in tangerine. Finally, in 2012 it moved to the MB117 slot where it finished in green before the casting was retired. It has not been used since.

After that we waited until 2018 to see the Civic name again, when the new 10th generation MB1090 arrived in blue as MB7. In 2019 it moved to MB8 now in red.

With the the new classic CVCC we now have 3 different Civic castings that have been created by Matchbox.

Next up is the MB1170 ’18 Ford Mustang Convertible. This is its second outing in the Matchbox range and this year takes the MB54 slot.

It looks fairly close to the Kona Blue official colur choice from Ford, although perhaps it is a little lighter. However, I do like this particular shade.

Just like the CVCC, this too sports a similar California license plate, this time stating “Wild Stang”.

I know some find the rear to be a little too flat, but I still like this model.

As stated it only debuted last year as MB4 in “Orange Fury”, an official Ford colour choice. However, production of the model did throw up some nice shades.

It also has seen its first of 2 Walmart exclusive Mustang set releases for 2020 in burgundy, which is not far removed from the Ruby Red Tint official colour choice.

But being a fairly new casting, this is all we have so far. So let’s bounce back. You knew it was coming.

Not including the Mustang Mach III Concept model, we first saw a Matchbox Mustang in 1995 when the 4th generation MB277 Mustang Cobra debuted. Early issues had a great big cobra on the front (red US exclusive MB71 basic from 1995, black worldwide now including MB43 ROW basic from 1996 and white Convertibles 5-pack also from 1996).

It too has seen a rather similar blue look to the latest issue, as seen in the 2005 Superfast issue.

Later on, after being dropped, the casting popped back up in 2009 in a series of 4 colours all released in non-exclusive packs as an exclusive in that year’s 10-pack series.

Where the real vehicle was superceded by a later “new edge” but still 4th generation design, so was the Matchbox with the MB368 arriving in 1999. The white was the US exclusive MB36 and the red was in the Cars Cars Cars 5-pack.

This too saw a nice blue issue, this one sporting the pony on the rear behind the seats too. Not something you see very often. It was in the Sun & Fun II 5-pack in 2000.

Just like the ’95, this too saw a return in 10-packs in non-exclusive packs alongside others. This time in 2007. Yes that’s right, the earlier casting outlived this casting.

I would also like to throw in a little oddity into the mix. The 1964.5 model was created for the 2000 Motor Trend series. Although miniature sized, these models were all built to a higher degree with additional features in some cases and lots of detailing. As such they didn’t actually receive manufacturing numbers. It’s such a shame they didn’t create a “regular” basic version of this too. It was beautiful. It only ever came in black. There were plans for a second issue in red but they never got beyond the pre-production stages.

But back to the more regular stuff again, and I am going to throw this one in too. It’s not a Ford Mustang per-se. But it is based on it. When the 5th generation debuted, Ford looked to Shelby to re-create the classic Shelby Cobra, which they did in short numbers. This is the MB744 Shelby GT500 Convertible. It first arrived in 2008 as MB11 in red.

Saw a similar blue to the new one twice, this one being the 2010 MB7.

And after being dropped, it popped back up as a 10-pack exclusive, although only in 1 version, pea green, in 2017. 10-packs (which are now 9-packs) had dropped the all-exclusive sets and were now just coming out with exclusives every few months. But I see a pattern. Will the new one follow the same pattern of being used for a number of years, disappearing, then popping up in a 9-pack. We will see.

But we have seen a nice array of open top Mustangs over the years, well since the mid 1990s anyway.

Spin the wheel. It now lands on the MB896 Range Rover Evoque. 2014 according to the package, 2015 according to the model’s base. But at the end of the day you couldn’t tell the difference between the 2 years anyway so it doesn’t matter. It is being sold as MB31 for 2020.

A nice simple look as always with this model. I mean I don’t think we have seen a single version without the front and rear detailing, which I really like.

The other end as it always looks. Consistency is the key here. I do enjoy a nice consistent look.

So let’s go back to, well, beyond the start of this one. The model was slated to debut in 2014 as MB70. However, there was an issue and it got delayed. It missed the mark for the 2014 year and the MB70 was left vacant. So it got bumped to 2015. However, more issues caused it to miss the 2015 window too. It finally arrived in 2016. As MB27. It debuted in orange.

But what we also saw that year was a Walmart exclusive Land Rover series in USA, which was also an Asda exclusive in the UK (Asda being owned by Walmart). For this series it was brown.

In 2017 it saw its second basic range release in charcoal as MB100 and then it was dropped from the basic range for a few years until this one turned up.

During its time out it was a part of the 2018 Ice Voyager 5-pack in blue.

This red version currently stands as its 5th outing altogether, with the 3 basics in front and the Land Rover and 5-pack models at the back. Hopefully we will see some more in the future too. I know the model has been replaced in real life, but it is not a massive change, and the model still works in miniature. I won’t delve into other Land Rovers here as I have 3 more to work on and I didn’t want to overload people.

Ooh my favourite of the batch. The MB1185 ’85 Porsche 911 Rally. It takes the MB66 slot in the range this year..

I don’t know why, but I have this tiny feeling that the design may be one of Michael Heralda’s designs. His tell-tale sign of Adlar58 appearing in some capacity is my biggest clue.

The wheels also have a rather novel look, with the middle of the hot foil printing not being done. We have seen many models with just the rim printed, but not usually the rim plus the spokes. It makes it stand out.

I wonder if a top print is coming at some point, as the MB1023 Datsun 510 Rally has seen a few top print models, and this could have a lot of fun with a top print at some point.

Mind you, you could count its debut. It was actually the 2019 Toy Fair model in September 2018. With Mattel really flexing their detailing muscles, it saw a lot of detailing all over, especially on the roof.

It then debuted in the 2019 basic range in white as MB65 before turning green for this year.

Again a very short section unless I pad it out with something. So how about all Mattel era 911s? I could have gone with the classic Lesney issue too, but I think that is enough for a post on it’s own. That is, or course, if anybody is interested in a Matchbox Monday post all about the Lesney era Porsche 911 Turbo. I have lots of them.

So the Mattel era kicked off with a bang with the MB335 Porsche 911GT1. Designed by Porsche specifically to race in the GT1 categories, they had to homologate road legal versions too, which are known as Straßenversion. As Matchbox never made any proper racing designs for it, I guess they went with the Straßenversion look. It debuted in 1998 in white as MB68 in the US market or MB58 in the ROW market.

It saw a number of versions over the next few years bouncing around various markets (German exclusive, ROW exclusive, US exclusive). They culminated in a final ROW exclusive basic range issue in 2004 as MB21 in dark red, alongside a US exclusive Superfast issue in white. At this time the casting was retired.

But as I said, Mattel really kicked off their tenure in Porsche style, as 1999 saw another 911 arrive. The MB423 Carrera Cabriolet. It was part of a German exclusive range for the year which saw quite a few brand new castings exclusively sold in Germany. The Carrera was one of them, being sold as MB72 in pastel yellow.

What I show here are the 4 times (to date) that the model has been issued as part of a worldwide basic range. Lighter blue was MB14 in 2005, mustard MB10 in 2007, darker blue was MB19 in 2008 and bright yellow was MB25 in 2013.

The next 911 was the MB544 911 Turbo which arrived as an ROW exclusive in 2002. Being sold as MB69 there, the first 10,000 sported a “50” logo on the side before the rest came without.

This model too, has seen quite the turnout over the year. These are the last three 5-pack issues seen so far (still hoping for more). The red one was a part of the 2012 Police 5-pack, the red one was in the 2016 Exotic 5-pack, and finally the red one was in the 2017 Open Road Cruisers 5-pack. For those a little confused, it was reading left to right. Not that I personally mind. Red’s my favoourite colour, and that’s my favourite car. They keep bringing out red ones, I keep smiling.

Next up in 911-land is the MB729 911 GT3. This one debuted in 2007 as MB3, and was one of the 25 models chosen that year to sport 2 different looks. It first arrived in white, and then in red a few batches later.

It ran until 2014 in the basic range, with perhaps its most controversial issue being the 2011 MB12 in green. This arrived just as Matchbox were in the process of trying to “brighten up” models in the range. A small tweak to the ideals that they had been working on for a few years, which ended up being dropped after a few years due to not being as successful. But I actually liked this one. Especially as the shade of green varied wildly throughout production. I actually own 5 personally, but just chose 3 for the photo as you put too many in 1 picture and they often seem to blur into each other.

Finally, after bringing out modern 911s, last year saw them tackle not 1 but 2 different classics. We had the ’85 Rally in the basic range, but also the enhanced model series (encompassing the Moving Parts and Superfast) also saw a classic. The MB1152 ’80 Porsche 911 Turbo which features opening doors and was heavily influenced by the classic Lesney casting. It first arrived in the premium Superfast range for 2019 in blue and in 2020 sees a second release as part of the more basic Moving Parts series.

All I can say is, I am a huge Porsche 911 fan, and seeing this sort of variety with 911 castings is just incredible to me. I love it.

Next up in my little merry go round of models, I have the MB1174 ’35 Ford Pickup. This one takes the MB51 slot in the 2020 range.

There seems to be a small renaissance of Hot Rod style vehicles in the Matchbox range.

Although this one being based on a Pick Up Truck does set it apart from the rest.

I like the tampo detailing on this one with “the best soda pop since 1935” carefully written in the small area over the front wheels.

This is only this casting’s second release with the green version debuting as MB21 in 2019. So I think I need to bolster this model’s section with a look back at….

Hot Rods! During the Lesney era we had a few early 1970s generics that toyed with the idea of being rodded out, but nothing really stood out as a proper Hot Rod until the MB108 arrived as a US exclusive in 1982. The casting ran in the US range until 1995, but never saw action in the ROW range at all.

After debuting in white and made in England, it had the majority of its run in blue. It ran from 1983-1992 unchanged, with production moving to Hong Kong initially for blue to start before moving over to Macau and then China. During those 10 years we saw a number of wheel variations and the base changed from silver metal to black plastic.

1997 was the one time it was sold outside of the US, but still in the basic range, where it popped up as an Australian exclusive MB60 in purple. Teal was also a 1997 issue, but a part of the American Street Machines 5-pack, and the model finished in 1998 as part of the Star Cars series in a Greased Lightning themed design.

This was because Mattel had created a new MB327 ’33 Ford Coupe Hot Rod casting to replace it. Arriving in 1998 as MB34 worldwide, that was the only time (until 2020) that the model was sold in the worldwide basic range, with the yellow being an Australian exclusive MB13 in 2000.

The casting also spawned an MB508 Police version (same model with a light bar slapped on the roof) which didn’t see much use, with these 3 all being part of the 2006 10-pack exclusives. Each batch (there were 3 thoughout the year) had 2 10-packs and one other pack of alternate models, and each of the 10-packs had the same 2 castings, but their colour changed for each release throughout the year.

The MB327 itself was retired after seeing a 2004 Superfast issue in bronze, but was retooled for 2018 and brought out of retirement arriving in red in the Dirty Mudders 5-pack.

This would make for a nice pair, but they too have been bolstered by an enhanced model in the way of the MB1192 ’32 Ford Pick-up which arrived in 2019 in the Superfast range and sports opening doors. So we actually have 3, although the ’32 is barely rodded out at all. It is close to stock.

Finally, the MB1074 MBX Flatbed King. This is the only Matchbox originals casting in this part of the review. The push for more licensed models in the assortments is really paying off. But for a non-licensed model, this one is still pretty popular.

For 2020 it takes the MB25 slot in silver with MBPD side design.

For anyone unaware, the rear section slides out to make the surface for transporting longer models possible, and once it reaches a certain point….

You can then push it down to the floor to roll your vehicles on to. It is a very clever design, and yes even at quite a length back it will hold another model very easily.

I will do things slightly differently here. A short history. In days gone by, the only time we saw a vehicle carrier was when Matchbox released a larger vehicle (Major pack, Kingsize, Superkings etc) that would work with the smaller basic range models. If you wanted to tow off a model you needed a tow truck. Something with a hook in the rear.

The closest we ever saw to a miniature sized car carrier was when the CY-10 Kenworth arrived. However, to accomodate models in the back it was much longer than a regular basic range model. It debuted in 1983 with the Tyrone Malone Super Boss on the back, but during the 1980s and into early 1990s it saw a number of outings in Team Convoy with various racing vehicles on the back. The Kenworth was based on the existing MB045 casting, but with a whole new rear end.

But Mattel changed things. Their first attempt was the MB443 Flatbed Truck. It debuted in 2000 as MB41 in the US range (first 10,000 had a Matchbox 2000 logo in the window) and simply had a rear that you could pull back to stretch out to fit longer vehicles.

Well yes, it worked. However, the section that was originally upright had a terrible job of staying flat. So you could put a model on the back but it wouldn’t sit very well. The last version was in green and was a part of the Pleasant Book series, for the “Tow” book.

Because in 2003, they came up with the MB576 Car Carrier. It had a much better 2-part ramp section that would always be angled up, but one part could slide down to the ground to roll the vehicle on to, as seen on this pair of 2003 MB16 models, the one at the front being the first 10,000 produced sporting the Hero City logo at the top of the tampo section.

However, the model itself wasn’t the prettiest. The play value was right up there, but it just wasn’t proving popular. It only ran for 2 years in the basic range, and then 2 more years as a 5-pack issue (red – City Services from 2005, blue – City Transport from 2006).

So Mattel went back to the drawing board with the older Flatbed Truck model. The whole of the rear section was taken off and a whole new section designed. This warranted a whole new MAN number, MB708. This would have a lifting and sliding look to it, but sadly it wouldn’t stay up, so you would have to hold it on the floor to roll a model on to it. It ran for 2 years in 2007-2008 and then after a 10-pack model in 2009 was retired too. The 2007 MB43 in red and 2007 Garage Works 5-pack are shown here.

And that was it, we were back to general tow trucks until this new casting arrived in 2018. Its first year was white with a blue rear as MB32.

Last year saw it turn red with a light grey rear as MB95.

This model does have a lot of play value, and is clearly the most cleverly designed basic range version of a flatbed truck made so far. I think it is really good.

Well, that was a stacked post wasn’t it. Oh I have terrible puns, but I left it until the end so you didn’t all stop reading after the first few lines.

And that is it for another week. Next Monday I will tackle the last 5 models, one of which has an added story with it. Until then. Enjoy.

David Tilley

3 thoughts on “Matchbox Monday continues working through 2020 Batch C

  1. I have a Tomica Suzuki Jimny, which has rouchly the same shape as the Matchbox Civic. Why does the Civic need that massive post in the interior, while the Jimny does not?

  2. That poor green rally Porsche could have been so much better by MB. Bummer how well they are doing with others but that one… 🙁

    Little Civic looks great though!

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