Model: Matchbox MB076 Mazda RX-7
Release: 1983-85 basic range as MB31
eBay link: Matchbox RX-7
Why is it in the collection: My first memory of an ROW window box
Growing up I did not know the ins and outs of the Matchbox brand. Until 1980 I just wanted toy cars. In 1980, at the age of 8, that was when I decided to just go for Matchbox. In the UK at the time, Matchbox would be sold in 2 different ways. We either saw them on a large blister card (roughly the same size as the US large blisters are now), or they would come in a small picture box. The larger stores like Tesco would sell blisters, with small independent stores more likely to carry the boxes. Little did I know that in 1982 Lesney went bust, with the assets being swooped up by Universal. I went in stores, there was Matchbox. I still went in stores, there was still Matchbox. I knew nothing. But what I wasn’t expecting was a new package style.
I remember it well. It was Easter 1983. Every year at Easter, my parents would drive me and my sister to a seaside town called Mablethorpe on the East Coast of England with our caravan in tow. My dad’s older brother and his wife would head up there too. We would always go to the same caravan park and hopefully manage to pitch up next to each other (occasionally there was a slight gap between us). The beach was a few minutes up the road, but the town would be about a 10 minute walk along a dead straight road. I still remember us going along that road, and barely being able to see the end of the road in the distance at first. But we would often find various Matchbox there. We went into one store, one that in previous years had Matchbox, but I couldn’t find them. I was busy looking for those little picture boxes that I was used to.
But then I saw that view in a blue window box. There was a Matchbox logo on the blue window box, but I did not know this model. Mazda RX-7? Cool car. Matchbox don’t do that do they? Plus, what is this blue box? That’s not how they come. I rummaged through and recognized various models. So I guess this was how they were coming now.
Now I admit, this isn’t that exact model. I had to replace it. I was 10 years old at the time, and my toy car got played with a lot. The gold striping was worn away to nothing, the chrome on the wheels were almost gone, and the body had a lot of chips in it. I loved it. But as an adult I had to upgrade it.
But whenever I see this model I am still taken back to my childhood, and our little trips to Mablethorpe.