Matchbox 9-Packs Are Busting My Budget.

When it comes to diecast collecting, I openly admit I’m a hypocrite. One day, I’ll be anxiously pacing in my garage, feeling as if the walls were closing in around me. The next day, I’ll be adding two Matchbox 9-Packs to my Wally cart just for the exclusive models, tossing care to the wind as I double up on singles that I already have. 

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Anxiety and excess on display, being presided over by the man of the house.

My justification? Why shell out $10 (or more) for one car, when you can buy the pack at the same price and essentially get eight cars for free.

The only problem (well, I’m only admitting to one) with that flawed logic is it does nothing to help curb my collection and settle my anxiety when I feel as if I’m a passenger in a 1:64 car careening towards a cliff and there isn’t anyone behind the wheel.

The marketing folks at Matchbox should be getting monthly bonuses for hooking, landing and mounting unsuspecting collectors on a daily basis. I didn’t always take the Exclusive car bait. Looking back at what 2019 had to offer, I’m surprised there aren’t more of them stacked in my garage. The silver BMW 1M? Nope. The CHP Corvette? Skipped, although I wish I hadn’t. The Lamley Leaks GMC Wrecker? I passed, just don’t tell John.

But then, in the beginning of the year, or maybe at the end of 2019, I caught a glimpse of the Jaguar F-Type finished off in the color it should have made its debut release in – British Racing Green. How does one leave that behind? I didn’t, so into my garage it went.

Then, Matchbox suits got even more clever – they started offering two colorways for the same casting. Brilliant! Except the initial offering of the ’59 Chevy Wagon in Camp Arrow Flint wasn’t enough to sway me. I dodged that, err, dart.

But then, MBX tempted me, and I’m sure countless other collectors, with the Porsche 997 GT3 in blue and purple. Back to back home runs, in my opinion, and impossible to resist! 

With simple front and rear decos, these two GT3s are welcome additions to the 997 fleet.

And what do they follow that pair up with? The Ram 1500 slathered in one of the most recognizable and desirable police liveries – the California Highway Patrol, in both traditional black and white and all white “Polar Bears.” The difference between the two was a quick Google and 30 second read: the all-white cars are deployed in more problem areas, as they’re harder to spot (the real cars don’t have any roof-mounted lights and in some instances pushbars). Of course, both 9-Packs had to go in the cart.

So where am I at? To obtain five exclusives, I managed to add 45 total cars to my inventory. And the evil genii behind the orange brand made sure I already had many of them. The 9-Packs are a combination of 5-Packs and Mainlines that have already been released, so chances are slim to add something missing beyond the top left car. 

While MBX was smart to put an image to the corresponding car on the packaging, inept employees at big box stores aren’t going to prevent the purchase, replace and return tactics of the hobby’s lowest members.

Thankfully, it wasn’t a total gluttony of duplicates. I haven’t come across the Alfa Romeo Giulia yet, so I was chuffed to add two. I also have a bunch of unopened Mainlines that were present in the 9-Packs, so they can be returned. I also wasn’t mad at quadrupling my force of Boone County Sheriff Fox Bodies. And another WRX Police? Sure, why not. Plus, a handful of the fantasy castings will go in my daughter’s bucket of cars, and eventually my son’s once he’s older. The more realistic dupes and trips I can offer for trade, or toss them in baggies to hand out to kids I interact with at work. 

Here’s a quick breakdown of the 5-Pack representatives. The purple Holden Ute was part of 2019’s Blue Highways. The brown Stepside Squarebody present in the Construction pack. The Gulf-liveried 4×4 Beetle was in No Road, No Problem, and one I had skipped many times. Now I have two, and despite changing the lighting and squinting really hard, I couldn’t find a shade variation between the two. Sorry, David.

The blue Golf Country was a member of the Service Squad, and to be honest, I can’t remember if I bought it. If so, I now have two and I’m ok with that. The orange Hummer was part of MBX Wild and the gray City Bus in the MBX Service Crew. The Sea Hunter, Baja Bandit, Trail Tracker, and the Subaru Impreza Police are four of the five pieces of MBX To The Rescue, one I had purchased solely for the Scooby. If I had only known…

MBX Highway of 2020 sent along three of the five, with the Fiat 500X, Porsche Cayman and Mustang SPP. The Hudson Hornet Police was part of the Countryside and the balance of the cars were all 2019 and 2020 Mainlines.   

Overall, despite swiping the credit card for far more than I wanted to, I’m happy with my acquisitions. The next two 9-Packs feature the Datsun 510 Rally in complementary colors, so we’ll see if they find their way to my garage. All I know is until then, I won’t be opening anymore Mainlines.

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17 Replies to “Matchbox 9-Packs Are Busting My Budget.”

  1. Bad enough that they are hard to track down in the UK, but for Mattel to fill the rest of the pack with cars that we have already bought and maybe opened is a bit naughty. Times are hard enough for most collectors without having to pay twice over.

    1. While I can only empathize with your struggle to find Matchbox in the UK, the 9-Packs are good if you’re looking to create an instant collection. It’s even better if you can hold off on the singles to fill them in with the 9-Packs…and, they’re especially helpful if you’re only looking for one or two from a 5-Pack.

  2. It’s shameless what Mattel is doing with the 9 packs. I’d rather pay $20 for a pack that includes 4 to 6 exclusives than paying $10 bucs for a pack just for one special car.

    1. While it’s certainly annoying, I wouldn’t call it shameless. It’s smart business on their end. If someone wants the Exclusive bad enough, they’re going to pay for the 9-Pack and enjoy eight other cars as a ‘bonus.’

  3. It’s effective, and I think they’ll keep doing it as long as we keep buying. The solution: leave it on the shelf. Please leave the Ram 1500 in black-and-white on the shelf so that I can buy it–I mean, so that we can convince them to switch away from repeating mainline models.

    1. Ha! Yeah, that’s the thing about the 9-Packs…you can’t really pass them up or chances are you may not find them again.

  4. Haha… as a collector whose basement is getting full, I usually pass over the 9 packs. Those Rams look nice though…

    1. Yeah I feel ya. But these ones are like Sirens’ calls…right into the rocky shores of Diecast Island, ha.

  5. Looks like you’ve *tripled* up on some duplicates there.

    I have a personal rule: I only buy a multipack if at least half of the contents are licensed models that I don’t already have, or if 2/5ths are licensed models I don’t already have and one of those is a casting I don’t have.

    It’s saved me a lot of money on a lot of 5 and 9 packs (remember when there used to be 10 cars in the box, and they’d sometimes be new releases?) over the years.

    1. Yup! I mentioned them as trips in the post. That’s a good rule to have, but the way the mainlines are released around me (which is mostly often), that wouldn’t really work for me. Thankfully most of the extras are nice castings, and not all fantasy or MBX Originals.

  6. There’s no holding off on singles, even here in the US where I live. Even visiting the stores frequently, I see most of the models I buy on the pegs only once and never again. Waiting for the 9 pack means risking not getting one at all.

    1. That is true. I just happened to save the receipt and was within the acceptable return window. But you’re right, many are one and done affairs.

  7. I actually bought the Jag F-Type nine-pack solely for the pink Cadillac Fleetwood, as those never showed up in single packs in my area. I waited a pretty long time, and as the nine-packs started to dry up and there was still no sign of the singles batch containing the Cadillac, I bit the bullet on the pack for fear of never finding the Caddy. The British racing green Jag was the bonus, as were a couple others.

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