Matchbox Monday is on a show stopping roll

In between parcels from Wheel Collectors, I try to pull out some models from my collection that are linked in some way. This time I decided to go back to 1993 and bring out the Show Stoppers set. Or Motor Show depending on market. The US used the Show Stoppers name, and ROW markets referred to them as Motor Show. This is because there were a couple of differences.

The models came with a stand to support them, and these stands would interlock into a hexagon, meaning there were 6 sets available. But we actually had 8.

For those curious, there was a groove in the stands to slot the rear wheels of the models into so they wouldn’t roll off.

But what we had was a core group of 4 sets that were sold worldwide, and 2 sets exclusive to one market or the other. So let’s get into the sets themselves.

I’m going to start with the 4 core sets, and go alphabetically. As these were the most common, being sold worldwide. First up was the Ferrari set.

Included in the set was the MB172 Ferrari Testarossa in light red.

With lights highlighted front and rear.

Of course at a quick glance you would think it was just a basic, but the shade of red was notably lighter. Plus the basic range issue didn’t sport lights on it. Just a much larger badge on the front (as well as the same side badge).

A quick shot showing the difference in shade between the Show Stoppers almost orangey-red compared to regular red of basic range models.

And that red was quite a long running red, running from the debut in 1986 until 1995 (the last 2 years ROW exclusive) and apart from country of manufacture changes did see the Italian flag removed from the top of the front badge for the 1993 model year, then the 8-dot wheels turning to spirals (which in 1994 were gold for 1 year before turning chrome).

The MB207 F40 was much the same, although due to the front lights being part of the window section did not see additional tampo on the front.

But rear lights were added to the Show Stoppers model.

Again this followed the same route as the Testarossa. The Show Stoppers model was much lighter, almost orangey-red compared to the standard Ferrari red of the basic.

As I said, the only additional tampo this time was at the rear, with the front not getting anything additional.

Again, the basics followed the exact same route as the Testarossa. Debuted with an Italian flag over the front badge? Check. Knocked flag off later? Check. Became ROW exclusive in 1994? Check. Wheels turned to gold spiral at that time, then chrome in 1995? Check. The only difference? The F40 debuted in 1989. As I said it was 1993, the year Show Stoppers arrived, that the Italian flag was deleted from the front badge (on both models).

I still miss Matchbox Ferraris.

So after Ferrari comes Jaguar.

This set featured the MB244 Jaguar XJ6 in blue, which on top of lights depicted, also had the upper edges of the bumpers tampo printed too. I’m not sure why they didn’t just chrome the base section. I am sure it would have been easier.

The silver tampo edging went around the upper rear end too.

MB244 had actually only just debuted that year. An earlier MB141 casting that sported opening doors had been around since 1987, although it was almost shown in the 1984 catalogue. A covered model was shown as “coming soon” but the real vehicle was delayed and so the model was too. Early bases had a copyright year of 1984, and the manufacturing number is among the 1984 debuts too, but shortly after production started it was re-copyrighted to 1986. After being dropped after 1989, the casting was retooled into MB231 which was the addition of a roof light and sealing the doors. It arrived in 1991, but during 1993, with this Show Stoppers model (and a gift set release) warranting non-police vehicles, the police casting was switched for a civilian one again during the year in the basic range too, actually mid-way through the year.

The casting saw its final basic range outing in 2001 in British Racing Green, outside of the US range (and Australian range), although the US did see a British Racing Green version, as it randomly popped up that year in the Superfast series (ROW saw it in black) before it stopped for good. Oh look, the original with opening doors from 1987 pops in too for good measure.

The other casting was the brand new MB239 Jaguar XJ220. It came in silver with front lights and grille depicted.

As well as the rear grille area.

As I said, the model had just debuted that year in blue, although that had much less tampo.

Who remembers when the US range saw many models sport much, okay I am going to be blunt, uglier designs for 1994. The ROW range carried many models on in the same 1993 designs, but simply added in the gold spiral wheels that were debuting that year. However, this model was an oddity as it did see a small change with the addition of the Jaguar name and logo added to the doors. But the US range, well, they had that. Half fluorescent yellow, half fluorescent orange, with blue tyre tracks going up it. I could have shown the US versions of the 1994 Ferraris too above, but I wanted to keep that bit nice.

Luckily Tyco didn’t keep the brand too long, and Mattel swooped in to take over the company and in doing so brought back much nicer designs. The model finished in the 2002 basic range (exclusive to ROW markets) in plain green, unless it was one of the first 10,000 produced, then it saw the “50” logo added to the front.

Next up for the core worldwide range was Lamborghini.

This was the brightest coloured set, as the MB154 Lamborghini Countach LP500S was bright green.

With just a few highlight depicted out above and beyond the lights.

Of course those were mainly depicted on the basic range issue too (except rear lights) as the basic was in red.

A different red to how it debuted in 1985, as that one had a tan interior instead of white, just a simple raging bull badge on the front, and a choice of 3 different wheels (gold 8-dot, chrome 8-dot or 5-arch).

By the time the casting finished being used, in the 2000 basic range, it was bright yellow.

Which is how the MB232 Lamborghini Diablo was sold in this pack. Although this is even brighter. I did say it was a bright pack. Again, the level of detailing was not great on this one, with just a badge on the front.

Although the rear did see some detailing. But that was in line with regular issues anyway.

The casting had only debuted the previous year in a darker yellow, although if you saw the Sports Car Collection (an early incarnation of the current power grabs) blind packets, and felt around, you may have been able to find the exclusive red Diablo in them during 1993 too. All the other models were pulled from the basic range for that counter box. Mind you, some were pulled from years gone by giving us some fun variations.

The Diablo and yellow seemed like quite a mix, in Matchbox land. It finished in the 2005 Superfast series with the US version being yellow again, with ROW markets getting a green one.

This is the final core pack of the set. Porsche. Being a huge Porsche fan, you know I am going to add a little bit to this one.

Because this is still my favourite casting. The MB003 Porsche Turbo. It came in this set in white with just silver and black front detailing for the lights and badge.

With just a touch more at the back too.

In contrast to the side and front logos adorning the basic range issue which was it swansong for the basic range. This was the last time it was in the basic range. 1993.

Which isn’t bad considering it debuted in 1978 in brown. After 1993 we saw it one more time, in the Super Cars 5-pack in 1997 in blue.

Of course the recent MB1152 ’80 Porsche 911 Turbo is an incredible update and is based on that original casting. There are a few tweaks here and there, but you can tell what was influencing it.

Then there was the MB173 Porsche 959. The front had a similar assortment of tampo hits as the Turbo, except this time the badge and lights were all silver.

The rear didn’t see much in the way of anything, except some black highlighting to the engine cover on the blue model.

A little different to how it was looking in the basic range that year, with an orange top stripe and side door name.

It was the 1993 evolution of a design that in 1992 was a bit more multi-coloured and in 1994 swapped to the spirals in gold again. Unless of course you were part of the US market, as in 1994 it went nuts with a peach version with “Rage” down the side.

Considering it started back in 1986 in silver with a simple side design in red and blue and sported either 8-dot or 5-arch wheels that year.

It was another model that lasted a long time. Its final outing(s) was in the 2001 basic range, where the UK exclusive sub-set had a silver release, and the German exclusive sub-set had a white release. They sported the same design, except the German one included a large Matchbox logo over the rear spoiler for some reason.

There were plans to resurrect it in the 2006 Superfast range as number 37. It got as far as the pre-production stage before being swapped out for the ’06 Jaguar XK. But as we are talking pre-productions…..

A couple of samples of what the Porsche Turbo was going to look like. Originally light blue with a more detailed but small Porsche badge, or as they were getting closer to production the badge on the white one was still highly detailed. They went with plain black for production (and the light tampo was smaller than the hand painted sample).

Of course there was the Porsche 959 too. Plum or pink. They also had a few more highlights to them as well.

We could have ended up with a very bright set more akin to the Lamborghini one.

We could have ended up with a plum and white combo. Of course the other 2 combinations could have been done too (plum and blue, pink and white), but they settled on the blue and white as shown earlier.

So now I delve into the market exclusives. I will work with the ROW (Rest Of the World) market first, because you know, this is all alphabetical. The first set exclusive to the ROW market was the BMW set. This being an ROW exclusive meant it was only sold as Motor Show.

The first model included was the MB206 BMW 5-series. It came in red with just a simple front end detailing in silver.

The rear end saw no tampo at all.

Note to self: must get the 1993 version of the basic range BMW 5-series. From 1991 until 1994, the model was an ROW exclusive as MB31 in the range, but each year saw subtle differences. In 1991 it had Sachs and Bendix logos on the side which were removed in 1992. They just moved the word “Team” to under the word “BMW” to not leave a gap there. But in 1993 the Michelin logo and Bilstein were changed from black to blue and I realized I didn’t have that. I will get one eventually. But I got too invested in this blog post to scrap it over missing a model. This was before 1994 when both Michelin and Fina were removed.

They were the only other versions sold apart from the 1989-1990 debut in black. This was a worldwide issue with the US range dropping the model after 1990 and then the ROW range getting the rally design(s) for 4 more years before dropping. Motor Show (as it was called) was the only other release. I do own a silver pre-production sample which I believe was an early thought to replace the black before they went rally style.

The other model was the brand new, at the time, MB240 BMW 850i, which appeared in white with front detailing.

And rear detailing too. Plus a couple of paint chips in my case. Well I have had this set for 27 years.

The silver was the debut version that appeared that year as MB49 in the US market or MB2 in the ROW market. It only saw the grille highlighted.

It had a good dozen years until finishing in 2005 with a Superfast flourish. Grey (US) or burgundy (ROW) single releases, and a blue 5-pack issue to finish it off.

The other ROW exclusive Motor Show release was the Mercedes-Benz set.

This one contained the MB220 Mercedes-Benz 500SL Convertible in red with a little front end detailing.

And nothing else. It is one of the lightest Matchbox models made due to the plastic base section taking up half the side.

In contrast, the basic range issue was mid-way through a 3 year stint in white, with front and rear lights depicted and 500 SL down the side.

It had first debuted in 1990 in plain silver and after the white issue finished in 1994 it was dropped from the basic range. However a bit of an oddity appeared in 1999. A green model appeared as a German exclusive MB40. Except it wasn’t. It was also in the Open Road 5-pack that year. Although with the German exclusive running a little later in production you may find it slightly lighter in shade.

However, that wasn’t strictly the last we saw of the model. At the end of the 20th century & into the early 21st century, Matchbox used to run a series of “blanks”, which were then sold to companies like ASAP and Color Comp in USA to create short run models, which at the time were known as code 2. In 2000, they produced a run of the Merc 500SL in silver, pretty similar to it’s debut. However, it is a more metallic looking silver, and features a black base and interior compared to grey and blue of the debut. After that the model was officially retired.

The other model was the MB234 Mercedes-Benz 600SEL. This came in metallic brown with a chocolate brown side stripe and front lights (as well as a chrome insert grille).

And rear lights too. It was obviously built in a different way to the 500SL due to the opening doors. As I think had the doors been sealed, it may have been better doing it the same way as the other one.

The model was also in year 2 of a 2 year stint in the basic range in silver with dark grey side stripe and the same detailing as the Motor Show model. And that was it for a while. It had debuted in the basic range in 1992, and was dropped after 1993. The Motor Show model was the only alternate out there, unless you really delve into it with production of the silver moving from China to Thailand in 1993.

However, it did pop back in 1996/97 for a series of Premiere issues. This black was the first of 6 they did over the 2 years.

Which then takes us to USA, where the series was known as Show Stoppers and the start of their 2 exclusives, Chevrolet.

The first of which included the MB164 Chevy Camaro IROZ-Z28. It came in red with white striping over the top and sides.

No lights were depicted on the model though.

It was not an awful lot different to the basic range issue which was black with orange stripes, with a small touch of white too. This was its final outing in the basic range, where it was finishing a 2 year stint as a US exclusive issue.

That was in contrast to when it debuted in 1985 in green as a worldwide issue. That first year saw both 5-arch or 8-dot wheel examples found too. The ROW range dropped the casting after 1990 but the US range continued on until 1993.

The other casting was the MB204 ’87 Chevy Corvette Convertible. This came in teal with front detailing and Corvette across the top of the window.

And amazingly rear lights depicted. Normally they didn’t bother due to the lights being firmly set back inside the casting, but in this case they did paint them red. It’s tough to make out, but it is there. It also had Corvette written on the side too.

It was a little bit more detailing to the basic range which was a US exclusive that year in red.

This casting debuted in 1988 as a US exclusive in yellow which ran until 1992 before turning red for the one year. However, it did see a brief one year spell in the ROW range in 1990 during its 5-year yellow run. It carried on in the US range until 1997 changing almost yearly after the initial yellow, with the final 1997 issue being purple with a white design on it.

Which then brings us to Ford. Again, I got too invested in this blog report to stop now. I couldn’t find the stand. I found 5 almost straight away, and after some digging around I found 2 more. But after a few hours of going through boxes I gave up. I am sure it is around somewhere, or it could be sitting at my parents house in the cupboard of assorted stuff I still have there. So you will have to use your imagination for this one. So imagine a Ford logo. If you don’t know what it looks like it is on the stock car version. You do realize as soon as I post this blog I will probably trip over the stand in a corner somewhere.

Both models on the Ford set were Thunderbirds. The only set to utilize 2 of the same vehicle. Although obviously they were totally different looks of Thunderbird. The first was the MB196 Ford Thunderbird Turbo Coupe. It came in dark red with the Thunderbird logo front and sides.

Due to the unique construction of this model (front lights part of the window section, rear lights a clip in section) there wasn’t much need for tampoing them too.

The basic range counterpart for this casting was blue and pink. This had a bit of an unusual life. The casting debuted in 1988 worldwide, as either MB59 for the US market or MB61 for the ROW market. The ROW range dropped it after 1990. However, when they came up with this new design for the 1992 range (and through 1993) they decided to re-add it to the ROW range again where it returned in the MB28 slot.

But this red version was the only other basic range issue. As I said, released in 1988, its final 1991 year was as a US exclusive. The model also saw a Laser Wheels release worldwide, but no Superfast equivalent. All Superfast models from the 1986-1990 period also saw Laser equivalents, but the last few released in the Laser series didn’t see a Superfast too. The Universal and into Tyco era of the Matchbox brand can be quite confusing to follow at times.

Of course, like the Mercedes-Benz 600SEL above, this too came back in 1996 for a run of premium issues after being dropped from use after 1993.

The other model was the MB212 Ford Thunderbird Stock Car. This stock car style vehicle is based on a 10th generation heavily modified for stock car use, whereas the Turbo Coupe was a late version of a 9th generation model.

The model sported some front detailing as well as top/side designs.

The casting had originally been developed for use by White Rose, who had a license to create a load of NASCAR themed releases in 1992, but they decided to add it to the US basic range in 1993 in a fictitious design. Maui 17 was only around the one year in the US range, as it also joined the ROW range in 1994 and was re-coloured blue.

It ran until 1997 worldwide before reverting back to being a US exclusive again for one more outing in 1998. Peterson Pistons was actually a children’s contest winner who had his name added to the model as a prize.

And that brings us to the close on another Matchbox Monday. Hopefully I will be getting back to some new 2020 issues very soon. I hope you enjoyed my little dive in 1993.

David Tilley

6 thoughts on “Matchbox Monday is on a show stopping roll

  1. The Testarossa (my all time favorite car and Diecast) and the F40 are two of only a few cars I kept from my childhood. Kicking myself that I didn’t keep more. I have since bought a few more Testarossa’s on eBay. Including one each for my daughter and son. My son is too young to really appreciate it yet, but my daughter keeps it in a special box with all her special stuff in it and has brought it to show and tell a couple of times. Including when she has had to bring in things that are special to her. Pretty cool.

    Anyway, I had no idea these Show Stopper editions existed! I will be hunting these down.

    This is awesome. I’m going to go back and read the rest as I remember quite a few of these castings.

  2. The Testarossa (my all time favorite car and Diecast) and the F40 are two of only a few cars I kept from my childhood. Kicking myself that I didn’t keep more. I have since bought a few more Testarossa’s on eBay. Including one each for my daughter and son. My son is too young to really appreciate it yet, but my daughter keeps it in a special box with all her special stuff in it and has brought it to show and tell a couple of times. Including when she has had to bring in things that are special to her. Pretty cool.

    Anyway, I had no idea these Show Stopper editions existed! I will be hunting these down.

    This is awesome. I’m going to go back and read the rest as I remember quite a few of these castings.

  3. I have two sets only of Motor show. I got those from Asda in the early 90’s. Being around 12. I kept the BMW and Jaguar sets in their packaging. Still have them now in their packaging . I liked them that much and still do. Good write up.

  4. That Diablo is so nice!! Please Matchbox, can we have a retooled Diablo back in the line again? I would rather have seen a Diablo in the opening parts line than that ugly Centenario (i.e the real car is ugly).

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