Matchbox Monday moves some parts

It’s that time of week again when I sit down and preview some new stuff from the Matchbox brand. I have a good few weeks worth of new items thanks to Wheel Collectors who have been sending me loads of goodies. This time, I showcase the contents of the second batch of 2020 Moving Parts. There are 5 models included, although 2 may look familiar. So let’s get stuck in.

I am doing these in manufacturing number order as there is no numbering sequence to Moving Parts. Unless it’s on the back of the blister as people know how much attention to those I pay.

Rip – rip – tear. Yes, this is the MB1137 Nissan Xterra in yellow. Look familiar? That’s because it is. It was first issued in 2019 as a part of batch D. Not all releases are brand new. A new batch will sometimes only have so many new issues in it, with the others carrying forward from previous batches. Matchbox do this with a number of releases (the Audi R8 from batch C carried forward to batch D in the basics). Larger assortments you don’t tend to notice, but the smaller ones it’s more obvious.

As you know, the rear opens up on the Xterra to show off the inside.

It was one of the initial 3 Moving Parts models that debuted in 2019, at which time in batch A it was light blue.

It then arrived in yellow as a part of batch D later on. Comparing the new issue to the previous one, on mine at least I am noticing that the new issue is definitely a darker shade of yellow. If you like the little things, you may want to keep an eye on things like that. I do. It is part of the fun I enjoy with the models.

So as Moving Parts is a recent adventure for the Matchbox brand, there is not a lot of back story to any of the models themselves, but I can always find ways to pad out the article. As many know, this particular Moving Parts model was paying homage to the original 2001 issued Nissan Xterra. MB490 first appeared as a US exclusive MB31 in 2001. It was silver with a kayaking theme on the side, and a pair of [painted up] kayaks on the roof. The only time those kayaks ever saw any detailing. It too featured an opening rear, although with the kayaks hanging over the back like that, you found the rear was not too easy to raise.

Later on the Australian market saw a release too. In 2000 and 2001, we were up to the biggest split with the basic range, as the US market had one set, with the ROW markets another set. However, among the ROW market, they also created 10 exclusives for the UK, German and Australian markets with other ROW areas getting a 4th set. So in theory you could actually have 5 different assortments of models making up the series. The Australian issue was blue with plain yellow kayaks as MB65 that year. But it was also added to the 5-pack too. However, that didn’t have any kayaks. The School Spirit 5-pack had the model in white with a music themed side design. As such Matchbox had created an alternative casting, and the non-kayak issue was given a new Manufacturing number, MB543.

In 2002, we didn’t see any kayaks at all. MB543 was the only casting in use. It made its debut in the basic range in the MB47 slot, with the first 10,000 exampled sporting the 50 logo on the hood/bonnet. Plus, it was in the Across America series as the model for Tennessee.

The kayaks returned in 2003. It appeared to be alternating basic range issues, as after debuting with kayaks in 2001, losing them in 2002, it had gained them again in 2003. Released as MB39, the first 10,000 sported a Hero City logo on the side after the rear wheel at the end. However, this is the strange thing. The model made its licensed 5-pack debut this year. It was a part of the Looney Tunes 5-pack and featured Taz on the side of the model kayaking. But they used the non-kayak casting. I would have thought the design was created specifically because of the kayak model. Still, don’t you just love creating more questions than answers.

2004. Now which did that mean for basic range? Oh yes, no kayaks. Yep it was bright yellow with, well, to be honest I am not too sure. But there does appear to be a lifebelt in the design, and 2 paddles shaped into the design. So again, was this leaning more to the kayak version? Stop coming up with questions! The kayak issue was used again, this time in the Around the World series in red. It was advertising the Amazon Rain Forest.

So 2005. I figured out the routine, so what do they do? Drop it from the basic range. Doh! However, this was the year they decided to dress it all up in proper threads and add it to the Superfast range. Being a stock look they obviously went with the no-kayak version. The ROW range had a yellow issue very similar to the current look as SF63, whereas the US range saw it in dark green. It was also included in the Off Road Riders Superfast 5-pack in red too.

We did see a few other issues that year too. It was added to the Buried Treasure playset in red with a treasure map on the front and a skeleton-ized hunter side design. It also appeared in the Sonic X licensed 5-pack that year too in white. Sonic X was an anime cartoon based on the Sonic the Hedgehog video game that ran for 3 seasons (consisting of 26 episodes a season) from 2003-2006. It featured Chris Thorndyke, the main human character from the show on the side.

In 2006, the model only saw the one outing, and it was the final outing for the MB490 with kayaks on the roof. It was in the Coast Guard 5-pack that year.

The MB543 casting though, that was still pottering on in the Buried Treasure playset. Production had continued on this set for a number of years, and in 2007 they made a slight tweak to the exclusive model included in the set. Due to the fact that the Matchbox oval had by then reverted back to the lozenge they made the call to remove the oval from the side design on the model in the playset too. But that wasn’t just it. The trasure map on the front disappeared too. The interior went from blue to black and the base from black to grey. The wheels were updated to to the current 6-spokes from the sawblades which which were starting to be phased out. Buried Treasure stopped being produced after that and the casting stopped being used at all.

There was a plan though. In 2013, as a part of the 60th anniversary of the brand to recreate some items. Many slightly older playsets that had stopped being produced in the noughties were revived for 2013 as a 1-off. Plans were afoot to restore exclusive models in them too, but they were shelved last minute. But pre-production samples were made of some of these models. The MB543 casting was sporting a new look Treasure Seeker design on the side of the model. But it never made production.

However, in 2018, completely out of the blue, we had a Nissan Xterra in the basic range again. During its time off, it was just sitting there in the factory doing nothing. So the Matchbox team set about doing some work on it. The rear was sealed up, and the roof had extensive work on it to remove the kayaks and replace them with a spare wheel. Because, if you were to check the base, this was a rebuild of the MB490 casting. The original one with kayaks.

That’s right as far as MAN numbers go, the Nissan Xterra MB490 slot was originally with kayaks, it is now with spare wheel. MB543 was retired after 2007 (almost returning in 2013), and MB1137 is an offshoot of the current MB490. Got that? Or is your head hurting?

The next model is the MB1149 ’83 Buick Riviera Convertible.

As with the Nissan, this is another carry forward to the current batch of models.

Also, as with the Nissan, it was originally a part of batch D last year.

For those curious, I know I always am, the new production run is almost identical, although I find my new one is a slightly darker shade of red. The casting had only debuted in batch D, so at the moment still have the one version as such. Which is a shame, because Buick is a sorely underused manufacturer in Matchbox circles. To prove it, I am doing a complete history of Buick castings in the Matchbox miniature range. Both of them….

Yes, that’s right, before the current Riviera arrived, we had only ever seen 2 Buicks in miniature. The first one didn’t arrive until 1987. Considering Buick was formed in 1899, and their first car (the Model B) arrived in 1904, and with so much history, it is surprising that the Riviera is the first civilian car too. The first Matchbox Buick offering was the MB185 Le Sabre. But it wasn’t a civilian car, it was a stock car. As NASCAR rules were dictating changes, the Buick Regal was no longer transformed into a stock car in the mid 1980s, and Buick turned their attention to the Le Sabre instead. Matchbox added the La Sabre to the basic range in 1987 as MB10 to replace the now dated Chevy Pro Stocker casting. For its first 2 years in the range it was black.

It was also added to the Laser Wheels series in purple too. The only time that an additional hood scoop was added to the front of the model. Although that was a late decision. Early prototypes had no scoop and a silver front and lower sides instead of white. Of course, this was a pre-production model so didn’t have laser wheels, just regular 8-dot.

It also made an appearance in the Super Color Changers series too. The first year (1988) it was dark green, but in 1989 it turned to rose.

They were the cold positions, as when they got warm the dark green would turn to pea green and the rose to pale orange.

In 1989 the basic range changed to yellow and had E. Marshall on the roof. This was Everett Marshall, who owns the Matchbox Road Museum in New Jersey which houses tens of thousands of Matchbox models. I have been there twice myself. Well worth a visit. He still uses the yellow Buick as part of the logo. It ran for 3 years in yellow. There was a small run towards the end that featured a wide rear window, as the casting had been altered as a temporary measure to accommodate a Days of Thunder set which was supposed to have used a new Chevy Lumina, but the casting wasn’t available yet, so they doctored the Buick. A few leftover castings had the regular yellow look made. I am still personally looking. It doesn’t come up for sale often. The model was changed to white but keeping the same design in 1992 and ran for 2 more years until the model was dropped, although the ROW market dropped the white one after just one year.

Its final look was in the 1993 Racing 5-pack. Once this red issue (and the by now US only white basic range) finished production we had no more Buicks at all until….

2012! The MB858 ’56 Buick Century Police arrived that year in CHP livery (part of the ongoing CHP liveried models we have, as showcased last week). It was sold as MB69 that year.

In 2013, we saw a white version appear in the basic range as MB18, and we also saw a beautiful promotional model created for the Matchbox Gathering that year in July. The Dealer model in red was fully detailed and even had the roof dome painted red.

2014 saw its last outing in the basic range and also its first foray into 5-packs. And yes, same model. The Crime Squad 5-pack pulled the MB76 basic range issue into the pack as at the time they were experimenting with limiting exclusives in 5-packs.

We saw another Fire Chief vehicle added to the 2015 Fire 5-pack in red and after that the model stayed quiet for a few years.

We have only seen one more issue since then. In 2018 it was included in the Coffee Cruisers 5-pack in black featuring a State Police livery. So as you can see, Buick has not had a big history from Matchbox. One stock car in 7 versions, 1 police car in 6, and one convertible currently on version 1. I hope we see some more of the Riviera, and hopefully another Buick in general.

So now we move into what is new in the batch. This is the MB1192 1932 Ford Pick-up. It’s the first time it has been in the Moving Parts series.

It comes in a very simple metallic black colour scheme. To quote Henry Ford, “Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black.” Of course he wasn’t referring to this model. He was talking about the Model T. This being a 1932 would be a model B, or BB (the difference wouldn’t be visible on a model, as BBs had reinforced framework and larger engine to allow it to cope with heavier loads).

The side doors open up on the model giving us a lovely look at the interior which is also in black. For some reason I think models in all-black look fantastic.

Now it was pretty noticeable in the debut Superfast issue as the rear wheels were notably bigger, but the same is happening here. The Matchbox disk wheels do actually come in a larger and smaller radius. There’s not a lot in it, but if you check the hot foil printing, you can see the smaller wheel on the right has a smaller inside ring with the outer ring closer too. It gives the model a very small lifted stance.

The rear has simple detailing attached.

As I already mentioned, this model debuted in the 2019 Superfast series. That series is a premium series, and as such the tampo detailing is more enhanced, and the models sport 2-part rubber wheels. Although in this case, most of the enhancement was to highlight the front grille in chrome. It was extremely well done.

Apart from the addition of a 50th Anniversary Superfast logo, the rear had the same detailing as the new one does. Well, that’s it for this one, as it didn’t have much of a history.

I could add in the MB1174 1935 Ford Pick-up which also debuted in the basic range in 2019 as MB21 in green.

And has now turned blue as MB51 in 2020, but these are modified Hot Rod style pick-ups, and the ’32 is more stock. So, technically, if I look at the real life situation – the Model BB Pick-up gave way to the Model 48, which moved on to the Standard Line, and then to the F-series. Why does that sound familiar?

Ah yes, Matchbox has done a bunch of F-series Pick-ups. Okay the F-series is a lot more than just a pick-up range, as it is a platform for a whole range of utility vehicles, but I am going to try and stick to the pick-ups for this one. Obviously the first incarnation of F-series (1958-52) has not been made by Matchbox in miniature, but the next generation has. The MB300 ’56 Ford Pick-up Inaugural Collection release was in black and looks really good next to the ’32.

It was part of the debut year for the casting, as it arrived in 1997, when all new castings would see an Inaugural series set made with one highly detailed and another zamac with no tampo. They would then debut in the basic range, this one arriving in purple with flames as MB48. I did luck out in finding one without any tampo printing, plain purple. Of course 1997 was also a time when all the models in the US range would see a gold issue in a limited run too, with this being no exception.

This casting originally ran until 2007 with its last issues being a green basic range version for Farm Fresh Produce as MB56, and a charcoal grey Superfast America issue.

Although after a decade off, the casting saw a small amount of tweaking (mainly around the rear bed) and returned in the Coffee Cruisers 5-pack (the same pack as the Buick Century above) with a Moon Eyes logo. It was so popular they re-issued it as a part of the Ford Trucks Walmart exclusive series in 2019.

The next few generations have not seen pick-ups and I believe this is a seventh generation. A Custom F-150 Flareside to be exact. MB053 is an older casting, and was actually a modern vehicle when it debuted. It first appeared in blue as MB53 in 1982. Baja Bouncer was a lovely little model, and the suspension on it was incredible. Usually sporting a side tampo too, some were found without.

It ran until 1998, although in 1986 the normal wheels gave way to large racing slicks. The 1998 MB55 was a US exclusive in purple with white flames, and the black with yellow/orange flames was included in the Rugged Riders 5-pack worldwide.

How about a ninth generation? You thought larger racing slicks were too big, this one came with huge 4×4 wheels. These wheels originally started out on Superkings models before moving into the miniatures as and when needed. The MB248 Ford F-150 4×4 Pick-up arrived in 1995 in red, and early issues had a chrome rollbar before it turned black.

The casting continued on until 2003 as the Construction Heroes 5-pack was the same 2002 5-pack except in alternate colours. However, this one in fluorescent yellow also lost the hood tampo print too which the black 2002 issue had.

But after a full blown 4×4 issue, the tenth generation was a very simple stock look. MB326 arrived in 1998 as MB50 in red with a simple 4×4 side design. It was also specifically dated as a ’97 Ford F-150.

However, its most productive year was almost its swansong. 2004. After seeing a few uses each year, the 2004 model year saw a Fire Chiefs 5-packs issue in red. Around the World had a Car Transporter set which saw one exclusively in greenish tan denoting Easter Island on the side. The model arrived in the first series of Superfast as SF75 in the final batch. It was also added to a Duracell on-pack promotion at Home Depot stores in USA.

I said almost, as after fading away, it did reappear briefly in 2008 in a Jimmy Neutron licensed 5-pack. Shades of mustard yellow were to be found during production. I always enjoy finding nice shade variations.

We also saw the MB663 Ford F-150 SVT Lightning. A pick-up with an attitude, this performance version of the 10th generation created by Ford’s Special Vehicle Team division was added to the 2004 Superfast series and 2005 basic range at about the same time. Both were also silver with the Superfast SF2 issue having the bling wheels and a more detailed set of lights, and the basic range MB19 a more basic look and lace wheels.

It only ran 3 times in the basic range. The 2006 issue was the most fun though. MB6 could be found with 3 different types of wheels. Creamy flower wheels, chrome lace wheels or gunmetal grey lace wheels.

Its final basic range issue was in 2008 in red as MB16, exclusively in the US market. It was so cool, this was also brought back for the 2019 Ford Trucks set at Walmart. There were a few minor tweaks to the tampo in the 11 year gap, but the biggest change was the wheels.

We sort of have a current thirteenth generation. As I said, we have a number of F-series models in the toolbank, but this one is about as close to a regular pick-up as it gets. The MB1027 ’17 Ford Skyjacker SuperDuty F-350 which originally debuted at SEMA in 2016 featuring full tampos and a blacked out window and grey lift off rear section . It was then added to the 2018 basic range in a very similar, albeit slightly more basic tampo look and now with blue windows and black rear lift off section. They liked it so much it got repeated in the 2019 basic range and was added to the Walmart Ford Trucks set. Hmm! Doesn’t that rear lift off section look good on the ’32 Ford. Almost a perfect fit.

Well that’s a brief rundown of Ford Pick-up Trucks. What’s next?

A Divco! Detroit Industrial Vehicles Company, as it was properly known as, but it simply went by the acronym. This is a first.

I have heard requests from collectors for many years about adding a Divco to the Matchbox brand, and it has finally arrived. Brand new for 2020, MB1222 is undated for the year of the original, but that is because the Model U was first created in 1937 and was produced basically unchanged until 1986. So take your pick. You have 50 years to choose from.

The packaging has labeled this particular release as a Divco Milk Truck, although as you can see with the base, it just has Divco Truck. No mention of any milk.

Got milk? Nope. I see no milk in the livery either, as it is pretty much a stock design for Divco itself. Although I do say this is a really nice design to start us off with.

No milk in the back either as seen through the opening rear doors. Ah this brings back memories of being a kid and having Matchbox models with these little plastic opening rear doors. It’s very traditional, adding to the sense of history that this model really brings home.

So, yeah, what can I compare to this one? I mean we have never had a Divco before.

Hmm! What if I continue the Ford F-series. I had been doing a rundown on pick-ups, but as I kept saying, they were not the only F-series models that Matchbox have made. They have also made this MB733 1955 Ford F-100 Panel Delivery. A casting that at the time in real life would have been a direct competitor of the Divco. Remember how I said the MB300 ’56 Ford F-150 Pick-up had a big gap after 2007? There was a decade it wasn’t used. That’s because they decided to modify it into this casting. The MB733 1955 Ford F-100 Panel Delivery. It arrived in 2008, the year after the earlier MB300 had originally retired. It debuted as MB64 in orange with a farming theme, and also was the 2008 Matchbox Gathering promotional that year too. That one was gold with a white roof.

In 2009, it was chosen as one of the models to sport 2 different liveries in the basic range. At first, the MB49 issue was in red with an Auto Parts theme, but after 3 batches a second blue model arrived with McKenzie’s Ice Cream Co. on the side.

It saw another white roof example, smurf style, as it was in the 2009 Superfast series with full detailing and Sammy’s Ford Shop livery, and a purple “Mobile Pinstriper” themed model was a part of the Classic Cars 5-pack that year too.

In 2010 we saw 3 different releases. In the basic range, the model was only available in the US range (during the US/LAAM/ROW split) in matte black with a Holst Speed Shop (a nod to Felix Holst who was running the brand at the time). It was available worldwide at first in the “Real” all exclusive 10-pack at the beginning of the year in yellow featuring a design for “The Garage”, and then also in tan as part of the Farm 5-pack for Bros. Farms.

2011 was a fun year. This was just as the brand was transitioning slightly with the looks of models. Brighter looks were the order of the day, which in 2012 moved a little more into vivid designs and castings. I quite liked this one though as something a bit different. Plus I had a lot of fun as the shade of green did vary quite a bit. I own 4 myself all different shades, but just show the 2 here, because I liked that the design was different on the 2 sides. P8 Energy Drink might have been fictitious, but I still wanted some!

However, after that, with the direction that brand veered into temporarily (it was short lived, as it wasn’t successful), this model wasn’t seen. But the move back towards more realism a few years later brought the casting back again. In 2014 it was an exclusive in one of the 10-packs during the year in red with an MBX County period-inspired theme. It finally returned to the basic range in 2017 in light blue with an MBX City Store look. We haven’t seen the casting since, but oddly the MB300 returned after this one.

So yeah, I didn’t have a lot to play with when it comes to Divco history, so I just padded out the previous one. You know what though? Still no milk!

Which brings us to the last model in the set. Another brand new casting. The MB1223 Lamborghini Centenario.

It is fantastic to see the Matchbox brand releasing a supercar. It has been a while since we last saw one. The detailing on the model is absolutely amazing. It has quite a few edges and so getting the tampo perfectly aligned was extremely important. A fraction out and they could miss the edges very easily.

This model debuts in the exact look that the real vehicle was unveiled in. Centenario is Italian for 100 years, and the model was unveiled at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show to celebrate what would have been Ferruccio Lamborghini’s 100th birthday.

The pièce de résistance to this model though is the scissor doors. Perfectly replicated by Matchbox these open beautifully. And did you know, they are plastic with the body metal? The colour match is incredible. They have done extremely well with this model.

Being a new casting, the obligatory base shot to finish off. Now again, as this is the first of a new casting, I don’t have any history of this casting, so I guess we will just have to do Lamborghini in general.

Ferruccio Lamborghini was born in Cento, a town in the Ferrara province of Emilia-Romagna in northern Italy. In the late 1940s he set up a tractor company (Lamborghini Trattori) and later moved into air conditioning too. He had built up quite an empire, and was now buying high powered sports cars. He was often seen driving Ferraris around. However, he was not happy with their after sales service and thought certain parts were inferior. When he brought it to the attention personally of Enzo Ferrari, Enzo dismissed him. So, he took some of his own parts and modified his own Ferrari 250 GT. Spurred on by this, he set up his own company, Automobili Lamborghini in 1963. After a few early attempts, they really hit it out of the ballpark with the Miura. This was the first casting that Matchbox recreated. It arrived in 1969 in yellow as MB33, although when the casting transitioned to Superfast in 1970 they turned gold. However, a yellow can be found with Superfast wheels. It is pretty rare.

Although some say not actually as rare as the bronze shade. When the model arrived it did vary between light and dark gold, but on the left is one that is actually classified as bronze. It ran until 1972, but did pop back up in Japan in 1977 for 3 more years. All those were notably on the lighter shade of gold.

It also was one of the second batch of castings that were sent to Bulgaria. Packaged up during the Univeral era, the set of set of 7 castings were shipped to Bulgaria with, at the time, instruction they had to be back in Universal’s hands within 1 year. Sadly the Miura casting broke during its time, and not many were made in ratio to the other 6. Due to time constraints it wasn’t really worth trying to get it fixed, or get another shipped over. So it was just short run and the remains of the tooling were sent back with the other 6 when the time was up. However, it still managed to get quite an array of variations as each day at the factory felt like a whole new set up. Greens, blues, golds and reds were made. Black, yellow and red interiors were created. Clear or light amber windows were produced. There are believed to be about 30-40 different variations on this casting from Bulgaria still. Not as much as the others from the batch which are closer to 100. But they did still crank out quite a lot before the casting broke.

Of course I couldn’t leave the Miura without showing off one of my favourite pre-production samples in metallic silver. I thought being a type of grey, it worked well with the Centenario’s grey.

But Matchbox (at the time owned by Lesney) were not content with one Lamborghini in the range. Later in 1969, with the launch of the Superfast series, 5 brand new castings debuted exclusively as Superfast models, and 5 models were converted immediately to Superfast wheels for the 10 model launch. One of them I believe was the first concept car. Or should I say joint first. Until Superfast, Matchbox had always just done the sorts of vehicles you would see on the road. But the new direction also gave them a new freedom to expand. The first expansion was the concept car. So the 1967 Lamborghini Marzal Concept which was shown off at the Geneva Motor Show (as well as a BMC 1800 Pininfarina from the 1967 Turin Motor Show) were added in 1969 as new Superfast models. The Marzal debuted in dark red and ran through 1970 like that. It was also included in the G-3 Racing set and featured a few labels already, with a sticker sheet to add more yourself.

In 1971 the casting turned pink. Or salmon. One or the other. Honestly, over the course of the year the differences in production runs were incredible. So many different shades can be found.

In 1972 Lesney went through the process of altering the casting to accommodate much wider wheels. As the casting had rear wheels arches that partially covered the rear wheels, these had to be greatly enlarged to take the wider wheels. By this time the colour had settled down a bit and was pretty much salmon now, although still quite a few shades down to almost orange. Windows are usually dark amber, but lighter ones can be found too.

It ran until 1974 before being dropped, but apart from G-3 Racing set sporting labels on top of regular issues (it saw it through all types of basic) we did also see this yellow issue as one of two exclusive in a short lived B-r-r-oom Stick set (also known as Zingomatic in some markets).

However, with the Miura’s demise in 1972 we weren’t down to 1 Lamborghini in the range. The MB27-B Lamborghini Countach arrived in 1973 to take the Miura’s place, keeping us at 2 Lambos in the range. It ran for 8 years, lasting until 1980 and the first 2 years it was yellow sporting a 3 label. Shades of yellow can be found, and the window was either red or purple. This lasted until 1974 and after that the range was reduced to 1 Lamborghini with the Marzal’s deletion.

In 1975 the model turned orange. As a transitional release the first few made still used leftover 3 labels, and are not easy to find. This is because….

The casting was one of the first “Streakers” models. Lesney had bought their first tampo machine and they went nuts with designs on some of the models. This ran for 6 years like that, and throughout the time it was a lot of variations. Windows could come in a variety of colours and even shades of colour. I am only showing red, purple and clear here. There were a lot more.

Tampo printing and interiors were known to change too. Dark green or light green were the most notable changes in tampo and these 2 show chrome and light grey interiors, and many more were known. Shades of orange were known and the base came painted in a variety of colours or not at all.

There were oddities, like ones that didn’t get any hot foil printing on the wheels, or perhaps they put it through the tampo machine the wrong way round. It went a bit nuts. But then, after 1980, it went quiet.

Between 1981 and 1984 we had no Lamborghini. Not even a Bulgarian issue (as that was 1985). The 1985 range saw a brand new Lamborghini Countach casting debut. The MB154 LP500S version. It only ran for one year in its debut red, either as MB67 in the US range or MB11 in the ROW range, but that still threw up some nice wheel variations. 5-arch wheels were found or 8-dot wheels, the latter in either chrome or gold.

In 1986 the model turned black, and shortly after production the casting was altered. The rear of the model was raised a little which can be seen on the base with a lift between the rear wheels. An early run saw gold 8-dot wheels (with the low arches) but the norm was for 5-arch wheels which transitioned into the higher arches. This run for 2 years. The raised rear continued on for a number of years after that before being lowered again.

As well as the basic range, it also ran in the Superfast series in white from 1986 until 1989 and in black for the final year 1990. It was also in the Laser Wheels series from 1987-1990 in silver.

But I digress, I could do a full rundown but this article would go on forever. Basics saw a yellow issue in 1988 which turned red in 1991. However, in 1994 the range designs split between the US market and ROW market, and although the ROW market continued with red, the US market turned it fluorescent yellow and blue. There was also an Aquafresh toothpaste on pack promotion at the end of the year where the model was included without hood strips.

However, by the end of the decade we were back to a worldwide release and more realistic looks. Black, green, blue and yellow were its final 4 basic range issues from 1997-2000.

It’s amazing it did last as long in the basic range, as the real vehicle’s replacement, the Diablo arrived in 1992. MB232 was sold as MB22 in the US market or MB49 in the ROW market. For its first 2 years it was yellow.

But again, 1994 saw the US and ROW range divert with the looks of models, and this was no exception. The ROW range just carried on, but the US range saw a blue with black rear fade and a white/orange strike down the side. Still it could have been worse.

Oh wait, it was. In 1995 the range amalgamated the look for this model. Bright yellow with black blotches. They even did an alternate pink in the Super Cars 5-pack. In 1996, it turned red, still with blotches, and the 5-pack also saw it change to purple now.

Luckily Tyco didn’t need long to see it wasn’t working. In 1997 they diverted it again. The US range saw a blue issue and the ROW range a black one. Although whether the Mattel takeover had any influence as the company was taken over in late 1996. 1997 would have been pretty much done and dusted already as Mattel’s influence was seen in 1998.

Strangely though, while the Countach was still plugging away in the basic range, the more modern vehicle was dropped. It did return in 1999 exclusively in Germany as MB28 in purple. A very similar blue was then added exclusively to the US range in 2000. In 2001 we saw 2 releases at the same time. The German exclusive MB54 in bronze and the MB55 UK exclusive in blue appeared at the same time in the 2 different markets.

The casting saw one final outing in 2002, so did outlast the Countach. It was an ROW exclusive MB23 with the first 10,000 sporting a 50 logo on the front.

After that it was dropped from the basics, but did pop up in the Superfast series. It finished in green as SF72 in the 2005 ROW exclusive range and in yellow in the US exclusive range. Until now, this was the last time that Matchbox made a Lamborghini with a moving part.

Between 2003 and 2010 we again had no Lamborghini in the basic range. That changed in 2011, briefly. The MB811 ’68 Lamborghini Miura P400S arrived as MB14 in yellow. It was really nice. Finally, after 8 years without a Lamborghini we had one again. It saw a second version later that year in orange, and then saw inclusion in the all-exclusive 1st Editions 10-pack at the end of the year in pastel green. And that was it. Dropped from the basic range after 1 year. A victim of the temporary change of direction. Most classic vehicles were dropped for 2012 or brightened up.

Luckily it hasn’t been forgotten. It appeared in 2013 as one of the 10-pack exclusive models in the 60th Anniversary logo top print only series. All the exclusives in the general 10-packs that year was of a classic vehicle, each sporting the 60th logo as a part of a top only tampo print. It then made a further appearance in the 2014 MBX Exotics 5-pack in tan.

We have only seen one issue since then, as it was a part of the Best of… series in 2017 in blue with full tampo printing and 2-part rubber wheels. However, this wasn’t a swansong. There will be another issue coming shortly, exclusive to Target. You might remember I gave a sneak peek on that a little while ago.

The next Lamborghini to grace us was the MB867 Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 Polizia. Quite a mouthful. Thinking outside the box, they decided to go with a police style casting. It arrived in 2013 as MB22, but was also added to the Police 5-pack later that year too during the short-lived era of pulling models from basics to bolster 5-packs.

It was also added to the 60th Anniversary set of 24 models in blue in the real Polizia design that started the ball rolling in them creating the model.

At the front are basic range issue. In 2014 it was white as MB81, and in 2016 black as MB92. After 2016 it was dropped for a while from the basic range. You may think, wait a second what about 2015? Well, that is at the back. 2015 was the year that Power Grabs debuted. The first year was just blind bags and pulled models from the basic range in them. However, there were a couple of exclusives to the range, and the Gallardo was one of them.

After the 2016 basic we didn’t see it at all in 2017, but it returned in 2018 as a part of the Globe Trotters set. A premium issue with full tampo printing and 2-part rubber wheels.

Since then we have seen 2 of what Mattel call core models. These are basic issues as such which the Moving Parts does actually fall under. It includes the basic range, 5-packs and 9-packs too. These are models that simply get a basic tampo print and regular wheels. But both managed to get away with a 3-surface tampo. The 2019 9-pack exclusive in white with red checks and Follow Me design. Most recently, it returned to the basic range for the first time since 2016 and again saw a third pass through the machine with the blue/red Police design.

But there is one more Lamborghini to deal with. The MB956 LM002. Part of the Lamborghini Militaria series (often known as the Rambo Lambos). The LM002 was the only one that actually entered production. After the Cheetah concept, they came up with LM001, LM002, LMA002, LM003 and LM004. Since then there were ideas and thoughts about resurrecting the series, but eventually they went a slightly different way and came up with the Urus. The LM002 only had about 300 examples made in real life. I believe a few more in Matchbox production. It debuted in 2015 in yellow as MB82.

2016 saw two different releases. Red was the basic range issue as MB10 and the Best of… series had a white issue with full tampo printing and 2-part rubber wheels. Amazingly after this, the casting went very quiet.

There has only been one more release. It was black as part of the 2019 Autobahn Express 5-pack. Only its 4th issue to date. I am sure there is room for a little more.

So that’s it, a full rundown of Lamborghini by Matchbox. Next up, a tractor. No? Wouldn’t you want to see a Lamborghini Mach VRT in the range? Now that would be different!

So that’s it, another report over. I hope you enjoyed it. Until next time.

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David Tilley

5 thoughts on “Matchbox Monday moves some parts

  1. That red Ford F-150 SVT Lightning was not really US exclusive because I have found that model in India (and so did others). I still have the blister somewhere.

    Regarding the Gallardo police car, I’d like to point out that, in addition to the original Italian Polizia version, two of the releases are based on real cars and one is inspired by a different model (a Huracán). The 2014 white is based on the UK police car and the 2020 white is based on the Indonesian police car, while the 9 pack exclusive is loosely inspired by a Huracán airport security car.

    Lastly I’m going to say again that Matchbox needs to bring back the Diablo! Exactly like the original but a brand new tool. They’ve been bringing back so many other older models, like the 930 Turbo, Xterra, Pontiac Grand Prix, VW Fastback etc. then why not the Diablo?

    1. Ah yes, what is referred to as US and ROW really isn’t exactly that. The US range is available in many countries. Australia and New Zealand actually have both ranges as some stores prefer short cards, others long, which was particularly useful when they had exclusives. Many areas outside of Europe actually do take long cards. It was just an easy way of referencing them, rather than being specific.

  2. Good job on the Ford pickups, David. Maybe you didn’t plan to include the Lesney models, but how could you leave out the red Ford Pick-Up from 1968? I still have the transitional Superfast version from my first batch I received in 1973. I also have the Ford Kennel Truck and Rolamatics Ford Wildlife truck.

    1. No. I forgot all about it. I could have added that in too. I tried to cross reference and was racking my brain thinking I had missed something. Oh well. I tried. Thanks for reminding me.

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