A look at the classic Matchbox Ferrari Berlinetta (Part 1)

(Matchbox Ferrari Berlinetta on ebay)

This was a diecast that was high on my list to write about, but both my examples were stored away out of sight. I came across them again recently and decided to finally put some words down.

I found my first example on one of my usual trips to a nearby antiques store. Normally I visit to find my next restoration project as the diecasts there are normally in need of some love; battered old Corgis and Dinky Toys missing wheels, doors, seats etc. It’s my sort of place. On one particular visit I spotted this surprisingly complete Ferrari tucked amongst a row of shattered Matchbox circus trucks.

I had to take it back with me and it quickly became one of my favourite cars of my whole collection. I think it’s one of the most beautiful diecasts of all time, a fine representation of what is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful Ferraris of all time: the 250 GT Berlinetta Lusso.

Image: ferrari.com

The last of the legendary 250 GT lineage, the Pininfarina designed, Scaglietti bodied Lusso was produced between 1962 and 1964, and is considered to be one of the most elegant Ferraris ever made. Powered by a 3 litre V12 developing 240bhp, the car was capable of reaching 150mph. 351 cars were made and the Lusso found many admirers, Steve McQueen included, and these days examples sell for north of one million pounds.

Luckily my Lussos didn’t set me back quite that much. The loose one I picked up for £2 and the boxed example was a steal at about £20. It’s like I have the mythical barn find and the restored version in miniature!

David Tilley would definitely be able to fill in the history of this casting but I really don’t know much about it. I fell for the looks. It’s such an elegant shape. Perfectly proportioned. The bumpers and quad exhausts have been well replicated and those wire wheels look so perfect, a fine representation of the Borrani wheels on the real thing. The looks are mercifully distracting; they take attention away from the tow hook and the abnormally large steering wheel.

Later versions in the Matchbox line up lost the wire wheels, so these early versions are in my opinion the best looking And I think the colour sets it off so well. Luckily having the mint example means I can enjoy it as it would have been when new.

But don’t just take my opinion on it. In a bit of a twist we’re going to give you another look at this model but this time from the perspective of another one of our team. And we’re turning over to Graham Heeps for that, but in the meantime you’re always welcome on my Instagram @alex_the_hoarder.

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