Lamley Daily: Matchbox Iso Grifo

Model: Matchbox MB14-A Iso Grifo

Release: 1971-74 basic range

eBay link: Matchbox Iso Grifo

Why is it in the collection: More childhood memories.

Yes, this is model is battered. Yes, this model is bruised. It had a tough life with me as an owner from new. I still remember getting it. I was about 6 or 7. I don’t remember the year, but I do know I was on holiday with my parents (and my sister, I always keep leaving that bit out). We had gone to the seaside in the late 1970s for a week and were busy bouncing around the local shops nosing at things. We went into this one little store that had loads of various things, and I saw this little plastic tub with 6 old Matchbox models inside, mint in box. Now I was used to the later 1970s style picture boxes we had in the UK at the time, but these were yellow boxes. They didn’t look familiar. And neither did the models.

There were 2 that stuck in my head. This, and the Boss Mustang. The Boss Mustang got broken (black hood came off) and I ended up replacing it, but this is still going. It’s had a rough life over the years. As a kid I loved it, and I also discovered something.

The door would come off. Actually, they both do. There is a piece of metal that curves through the model that holds them in place. If I am careful I can slide that piece out too. However, last time I did it, it took ages to feather it back through again and I vowed never to attempt it again. The doors? Yeah I can still pull them off easily. Destructive aren’t I?

But they pop back on and I carry on with it again. I am quite amazed it is still in one piece, and even the tow hook is all there too. It did stick out quite a way.

What’s even more surprising is the fact that I have never upgraded this. There is a part of me that would like to. I did with the Boss Mustang, and to be honest the minty ones in my collection still remind me of that trip to the seaside. But as I said, when I pulled the hood off that one it never went back on. I didn’t have a lot of choice. I have attempted it over the years on numerous occasions with this Iso. When I used to go to the UK MICA Conventions each April (between 1995 and 2010 was when I went) I used to take this to compare to any for sale in the hope of an upgrade. I have even taken it to a few places since too.

I have picked up 11 more Iso Grifo models over the years to add to my collection, but I have never found another that is anywhere near close enough to the shade of blue of this one to replace it. I am now starting to believe there is something telling me never to upgrade it. Keep it as is, and cherish it.

David Tilley

2 thoughts on “Lamley Daily: Matchbox Iso Grifo

  1. David, unfortunately I am like many collectors who did not keep my childhood toy cars. They went to my brother who lost them over the years. Well-loved toy cars don’t bother me. Abused toy cars are another matter. I don’t want crushed, melted or crudely repainted toy cars. I recently bought a rough example of a Penny Toy Ferrari I’ve wanted for years. It is quite rare and while it is missing paint, it is all there and will complete a part of my collection. It is currently being shipped from Italy. My hope is that the play-worn paint is simply a testament to the years of joy it brought some child, just like your Iso Grifo.

  2. I also had a soft spot for the Iso – I thought it was a European ‘GTO’ and looked like a Pontiac of that era with the split grille. I had the dark blue regular wheels version, and recently I purchased a ‘replacement’ 50 years later and did a wheel swap which I had imagined since I was 10 years old! Now it runs on current Matchbox 5 spokes and looks fantastic!

Leave a Reply