Model: Mazda Bongo Friendee
Release: No.23 Tomica regular range
Ebay link: Tomica Mazda Bongo
Why I am featuring it: The Bongo Friendee is one of my favourite Tomica castings. It’s a solid lump of metal and has the fantastic ‘Auto Free Top’ extendable roof for great play value. It also comes in paint finishes that reflect real-life colours, complete with the correct graphics. I believe this green one, which came from eBay, was the original issue. It came out in May 1996. I also have a silver one but there are a couple more to find.
Quite a few older Mazda Bongo Friendees have been imported into the UK so I used to see them around quite a bit. A black one was owned by a family that were childminders to my kids when they were smaller. When we left the UK, I tracked down a black Tomica Bongo key chain from a Yahoo auction as a gift for them.
It’s a good job I don’t live in Japan because if I did, I would have a hard time not buying vintage Tomica non-stop. I can mostly resist buying online but seeing them in front of you in a branch of Mandarake or another secondhand store will always seal the deal…