Mail call: NASCAR truckin’ with vintage Matchbox Convoys

It’s great to see the return of Convoy (originally no ‘s’) to the Matchbox lineup. I’d be even happier if I could buy them in Canada. But as the Matchbox team has said on several occasions, rebuilding distribution and extending the lineup will take time. I’m happy that things are on an upward curve, and to keep waiting and hoping ­that more product will continue to reach more collectors with each passing year.

In the meantime, these arrived recently as part of a large box of Matchbox that had endured a Covid-related, five-month layover at a friend’s house in the US.

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I bought them through a Facebook auction at the start of the year and they represent Convoys #62-65 in my collection (I count any of this style of Matchbox truck as a Convoy, even if it wasn’t branded as such). There are many more out there, of course, but as usual I tend to just buy stuff when I see it for a good price. With a bunch of extra shipping to cover when my original plan to collect them in person changed because of lockdown, that strategy didn’t work out this time! C’est la vie!

All four models date from the early-1990s, when York, PA-based White Rose licensed and distributed a ton of Matchbox-made NASCAR race cars and trucks. I don’t have the information to go into incredible detail, but let’s take a look at them one by one.

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The oldest release here is the ‘white Petty’ with a Macau-made, Kenworth Aerodyne cab. As you can see, the trailer has yellowed a bit with age. The box dates the truck as 1989 but I’m not sure that the model was issued that year – please let me know via the comments if you can confirm! White Rose/Matchbox made several different versions of the Petty rig over consecutive years with tweaks to the deco, but I believe this was the first.

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Next up is the Goodyear Ford Aeromax from 1992. Goodyear has supplied tyres to NASCAR teams since the 50s ans has been the sole supplier to the top three series since 1997. Note that Matchbox production had by now switched to Thailand. I love the fact that the transporter’s ramp pops down, but loading would be a struggle with that gap to the ground!

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The first of two Kenworth Cabover Racing Transporters is the 1992 #42 rig in the colours of Kyle Petty. Non-NASCAR fans might remember Mello Yello as one of Cole Trickle’s sponsors in Days of Thunder. The Racing Transporter is one of the best things Matchbox has ever made, in my opinion, and there are loads of different ones to collect.

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The transporter comes in a nice Team Convoy set with a Pontiac Grand Prix and a matching Chevy Van. The Chevy Vans that often came with these NASCAR sets are nice to collect on their own.

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Finally we have a Team Convoy trio featuring the #68 Country Time Lemonade-sponsored Ford Thunderbird that was driven by Bobby Hamilton at the 1993 Daytona 500.

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I particularly like this set because it comes with the car in two colours – the pink, as used by Hamilton at Daytona (note his name on the roof), and the yellow, which was campaigned mostly by Hamilton and Greg Sacks for the remainder of the season. Unfortunately, by ’93 the rubber tyres that we saw on the Pontiac earlier had been dropped in favour of cheaper and decidedly nastier plastic wheels with oversized Goodyear Eagle markings.

Hope you enjoyed this brief look at some NASCAR Convoys. There are stacks of different ones to collect and prices are pretty low, so it’s dangerously easy to build a big, colourful display of vintage NASCAR. Happy collecting!

Find Matchbox NASCAR transporters on eBay

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Graham Heeps

6 thoughts on “Mail call: NASCAR truckin’ with vintage Matchbox Convoys

  1. It would be nice if convoy would be as big as it was back in the 90’s and offer some of the haulers that it did back then too.

  2. When I was playing with cars as a kid the Matchbox Convoys were some of my absolute favorite. Before I really started collecting again, back around 2009, I decided I wanted to collect the MBX Convoys again. I had acquired a few when I was a kid but the prices were right and I had the ability to pick up what I wanted. I ended up getting all the NASCAR versions that were made and a few other MBX creations. And ultimately they are what got my interested in collecting again. I moved onto Maisto Elite Transport and the rest is expensive history.

  3. Nice to see these here. The White Rose Matchbox NASCAR series was something of a specialist subject of mine back in the day, I have all the cars and the Team Convoy sets, but am still missing a handful of the original Convoy first series of models due to cost at the time.
    When White Rose started using effectively their own castings for the Series II Convoy hauler releases I chose not to bother with them, as the cab units just didn’t look right and weren’t ‘Matchbox’ enough for me.
    There are some models in the first series that never entered full production due to licensing problems. I’m lucky to have one of the Tide sponsored Team Convoy sets that were originally planned for release in the early 90’s.
    Incidentally, Paul Carr designed the deco on the first four White Rose Convoy haulers that were released.

  4. Awwww. Man I had a ton of these but as NASTYCAR was going out I sold em all to NASCAR Guy locally. I did keep the Indy ones though! 🙂

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