Today, in lieu of my usual rundown of new items or deep dives in to my Matchbox collection, with the Lamley awards just finishing for Matchbox, I am going to be doing a run down of my favourite 10 models of the 2020 model year. Now, I have to be honest, it was tough, and 3 of the models are actually doubled up (well actually, in one case quintupled). I had a long think about my choices and why I chose these particular models. I hope you can follow my reasoning for some of them.
I will count down backwards from 10 to 1 for the models, which means coming in at number 10 is the MB1163 Range Rover Vogue SE. Now technically, I prefer the look of the Superfast issue of the model, as the orange is a nice colour than metallic black, but I looked at this beyond just the immediate visual.
You see this particular issue is a part of the Moving Parts series. It comes with an opening rear. Moving Parts is part of the core area of the Matchbox brand. There are limits to just how much they can do with a Moving Parts issue. They are limited to how much tampo they can get on a model for starters. But when I saw this model I was blown away by the fact that the opening rear was tampo printed, but the model also saw side and front printing too. I felt this was a real winner in what they could achieve with what they are allowed to do and felt that the effort that must have gone into getting this one done was phenomenal. So as I said, technically the orange looks a nicer colour, but I preferred this one with how it was done.
Plus, being a Range Rover, I have been wanting to have a Matchbox model of a Range Rover ever since I was a kid and saw the Police Patrol being a modified version of the Range Rover. They did a Superkings Range Rover later on, but I wasn’t interested in the larger scale. I wanted a miniature. I have been loving this since it first debuted in 2019 and seeing what they were able to achieve with a basic look to it I am even more keen to see future examples.
Number 9 in my list as actually a 2-for-1. The MB1214 1956 Aston Martin DBR1. I was in Albuquerque NM in July 2019 when the Matchbox team gave us a run down of the new tooling that was going to be created for the 2020 year. I saw plenty to get excited about, but I have to be honest, this was not one. I had been wanting more Aston Martins in the range for ages (maybe a 1970s V8 Vantage, or a modern DBS Superlegga Volante). I was not expecting a racing vehicle.
Sure I like seeing Matchbox think outside the box, but deep down I was not too keen on the idea of finally seeing an Aston Martin in the range again and for it to be such a niche vehicle. In among the new castings, in my head this was actually one of the forgotten ones. Later on I heard a rumour that this vehicle was featured in the Top Gun: Maverick film, which did pique my interest a little. Seeing how they went all in on the Jurassic World stuff, and sought out many licenses for vehicles from the range of films, I started to understand why they had sought this out too. That would be cool if they were getting it done because of the film. Now obviously the film has been delayed, but the models weren’t. I guess the solid British Racing green is the exact vehicle used in the film. Quick research shows it does exist in real life, so I guess they were allowed to borrow it for the film. I don’t think it usually comes with a 3 roundel, so that might have been added for the film. But then we also saw a green basic range issue shortly after too and I have to say, this model looks amazing.
These 2 make for a stunning pair, and now that I have them, I am so happy that they did go with something totally unusual. Sure I still want my 1970s V8 Vantage or modern DBS Superlegga Volante, and still hope to see them in the future. But I am very happy with the one that we do have now. Something I was not expecting to be after the initial announcement. This is why I always like to wait before making final decisions. The idea was meh, but the execution was amazing!
Number 8 on my list is the MB799 ’69 Volvo P1800S. This vehicle is a very beautiful design, and it’s a Volvo! When it first arrived back in 2010 I was very happy. We saw a lovely pair of models in its debut year and promotional models, further models in year 2 and then….. Nothing! After 2011 it just ceased. The XC90 had stopped being used already as its final version was in 2010, and the C30 was also stopping as we saw a random appearance in 2011 after it had no-showed 2010. But we went from having an XC90, a C30 and a P1800S dotting around to getting absolutely no Volvo vehicles at all. The other 2 were modern vehicles and as such starting to become a little dated (although I would not complain if either popped back up randomly), but the P1800S was a classic, one of Volvo’s finest ever, and had only just arrived. This needed a return. I waited, I waited a little more. In 2016 a new Volvo arrived. Obviously they were still working with them as we now had a V60 Wagon in the range. But still no P1800S! I waited more. Finally, the Hightway Speeders 5-pack of 2020 brought us the return of the P1800S.
It hasn’t been altered or changed in any way from how it was. It just came back as is. The colour was beautiful too. Huge red fan, and after a solid red debut, the only other fantiastic way for me to do red was a deep dark metallic style. I know you get some who complain over not having chrome bases. But that sort of thing does not bother me. Maybe it is because I am not a huge base person. Sure I see it popping out front and rear in the shape of the bumpers, but as far as I am concerned it doesn’t detract. After 9 long years of waiting, I finally get to see this model return (with more to come in 2021 too, yay!).
So yes it might have been an older casting, but with so few uses and such a gap it was all a huge blessing and surprise to me. I love seeing older castings being dusted off and given more chances to shine.
Which brings me to number 7 on my list. Mr. Bean’s Mini. The MB765 ’64 Austin Mini Cooper 1275S has been around since 2009, and ever since day 1 has been one of the highlights of my collection. Again, as a kid I wanted a stock Mini. Lesney created their first one in 1971 but it was a Racing Mini. It then saw a huge fantasy off-shoot in the Mini Ha-Ha later that decade. But neither was a road going Mini. Just a standard one you see on the road. In 2009 they finally gave us a standard classic.
In 2017 they released MB117 in green with a black bonnet (or hood if you live in USA), and many saw it as a Mr Bean car. His TV series originally had an orange one, but that was quickly wrecked and the green and black model became a bit of a co-star in its own right. But the 2017 wasn’t quite his. A more green shade compared to the yellowy green of Mr Bean’s car. But that still didn’t stop the comparisons. I thought to myself then it would have been cool if they did get the license. They only went and did it. Issued as MB30 for 2020 in the now correct shade of yellowy green, plus they even added his iconic SLW 287R number plate (as they are called in the UK) to the front of the model. This really took me back to my youth, as during the Lesney era and into early Universal, UK numberplates were often added to models. I think the last one was the MB181 Mercedes-Benz 300E back in 1987. Sure the Aston Martin already mentioned above has one too (the Top Gun version) but this one really resonated more with me.
So I was very happy seeing that they actually pursued the license for an official Mr. Bean model and got it. I think I am not the only one who loved it.
This brings me to number 6 on my list. The MB1209 ’76 Honda CVCC. A Civic without actually calling it a Civic. I don’t know why. But I do know that I love it. It is so cute. Yeah I know there is a rivet going through it. I think many chose it in the Lamley polls as most disappointing due to that rivet, but again these are the things that don’t bother me too much. We all like things in different ways. Metal vs plastic is not a big thing with me. Not chroming things is not a big thing to me. Putting a rivet through the middle of a vehicle is not a big thing to me (except when they re-tooled the Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser and it caused them to split the 2 dogs up). It wasn’t until people even pointed it out that I noticed it. I just thought it was a really cute little model.
Released as MB45 for 2020 it debuted in yellow, which looks a lot like the models used in early adverts for the real thing. The Matchbox model really gives it a decent sense of the era too. I admit, back in July 2019 and the announcement of new tools, this also was not one of the top models in my list of new castings. It wasn’t as low as the Aston Martin, but I did not expect too much. But I saw the first shot that was on display and knew instantly I was going to like it. I saw the direction and I was liking the direction.
When it arrived I just adored it. Definitely one of the stars of the year and I cannot wait to see what other versions we get to see of this casting over coming years. I hope they also give me a nice 1970s vibe to them too.
Taking the number 5 spot on the list is a Porsche! The MB423 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet. The oldest casting in the list by quite a while, as the model debuted back in 1999, but I was really happy to see another outing for it as MB37. Now I am guessing people who know my love of Porsches is quite shocked to see it only in the number 5 slot, but I have reasons.
The biggest one is that I would love LOVE L-O-V-E to see the brand new 992-series of 911 model in the range. This is the 996-series, which was taken over by the 997-series, then the 991-series before the current series debuted in 2019. So it is now quite a bit of or date. Yeah I know, the 911 doesn’t change an awful lot with each generation. I mean, they pretty much nailed it right from the word go back in the 1960s, so they don’t need to be radical with anything. But I have to admit, the new rear end with wrap around lights etc, I just love it. So there is just a small part of me that just wanted that new casting.
But my initial disappointment of not getting a new casting was vanquished with the release. Having not been around since 2013, and seeing how later issues were losing the finer details, I was so stoked to see a makeover done with this one. It does look so fresh again, and the details are really popping. So my emotions were pretty much all over the place with this one. But all in all, number 5 in my list for 2020 is still really good.
But it didn’t top my emotions with this. In the number 4 slot is the MB1023 ’70 Datsun 510 Rally. I was not expecting this at all, so when the first pictures starting to appear online and finding out my name was on the door, I am sure people were tripping over my mouth which was sitting on the floor. Appearing as a 9-pack exclusive, which meant that I didn’t just get 1, I got 2 of them. Both black and white with tampo that matched the wheels. These were amazing, and I was so happy.
But even better still was seeing them at my local Tesco store. I grew up in the 1970s. We lived about a 5 minute drive from Tesco, although if I was just with my mother and sister we would be taking the bus or walking so it was a little longer. But I still have memories of my childhood going to that Tesco store, going in the front door and heading over to the right where the toy section would be and going through the Matchbox stuff. Today, I live in the same town. Currently about 5 minutes the other side of that same Tesco store. My parents are still in the house I grew up in, and therefore not that far away either. But that feeling whenever I walk in to the door of Tesco, head over to the right to where the toy section is, and check for Matchbox never goes away. But the day that I went over, and there were the 9-packs with my name on them, that was definitely one of the highlights of my model collecting life. It is something that, growing up, I could never have even imagined.
It is not the first time that my name has appeared on a Matchbox model. Last year, the GMC Wrecker in blue was also a 9-pack exclusive, but Tesco only went and skipped the batch! Many years ago, my name was added to the side of a Jaguar E-type for the Best of British series 3. After selling series 1 and series 2, Tesco only went and stopped selling before series 3 arrived. I had missed out on that one. They say third time lucky. Well, it is definitely true here. The 3rd time my name has adorned a Matchbox, and finally, I got to walk into my local Tesco store and see it looking at me. That memory will stay with me for life.
Moving in to the top 3 now. In 3rd place is the MB1213 ’71 MGB GT Coupe. Back in 2019 when the Albuquerque Gathering showed us a preview of all the new castings for the basic range and also for Moving Parts/Superfast, my top choice was the MGB. Again, going back to growing up as a kid, I was always loving the little MGs. The MG 1100 had already been deleted from the basic range before I knew anything so that was irrelevant. Any older MGs were also unknowns to me. But I had a Yesteryear. I was not a fan of Yesteryears at all, as they were too big compared to the basics, but there was one. A Y-8 1945 MG TC. The one I had was red with a tan roof. I had a few other Yesteryears, a few Superkings, the odd Skybuster, but I just was not into them as much as I was the little miniatures. But this little red MG TC, that stuck around a long time. That one, I liked. It was pretty small, and barely larger than the miniatures I was getting. It got me fascinated with MGs in general, and as a kid, what was the cool MG of the time? The MGB. I kept thinking why are we not getting an MGB in the range? It was one of those models that as a kid, I was just hoping and praying would come. It never did. We had an MGF in 1998 which I was really happy with, and in 2002 tying in with an Elvis Presley license, we saw a 1960 MGA. But even though I was happy with those, and my subsequent dive back to buy MG 1100s, there was still that little part of me that wanted the childhood dream of an MGB.
Fast forward to 2017 and the Albuquerque convention. Yes, that’s right. 2017, not 2019. Matchbox gave us a line preview of what was to come for 2018, and mixed in the sizzle reel was a little shot of an MGB GT driving along a country road. Then came the rundown pictures, and a note that we were getting a 1967 MGB GT in 2018. Abe did mention at the time that initial plans were to make it in the vein of the Datsun 510 which had been released for 2017 but they were changing it to a stock version. The first shots were uncovered and we saw the initial rallying style look with roof accessories and spots on the front, but we were told they were going. I was over the moon. Finally, one of my childhood dream toys was coming out. But then, nothing. Things went quiet, and in the end we got an Austin Healey instead. Lovely model itself, but it just wasn’t that little MGB.
It’s that sideways profile with the fixed roof that just did it for me. Over and above any other MGB, the GT was the one. So when 2019 came around, and we got another notification of its arrival, my jaw almost hit the floor. Yes, my prayers surely must be answered this time. And they were. It finally arrived this year and of all things, it was red. It reminded me of my time as a kid with the old MG TC in red. This was easily my most anticipated new casting coming out of the Albuquerque convention.
So what’s this then? Number 2 in my list is another brand new casting. The MB1226 2019 Ford Mustang GT Coupe. You see, while we were all in Albuquerque NM, we saw a sizzle reel of new castings, we had a run down of new castings. We had visuals of mock-ups of new castings but I never saw this. I am a huge Mustang fan, and would surely have remembered something about it. Well, it was 3 months later. I happened to be in Leipzig in Germany for the European convention surrounding the 2019 Modell-Hobby-Spiel. Again we had a rundown of new castings, but then the physical castings were unveiled. This time, as things had progressed a lot, , we were seeing more actual castings, some painted up in final colours ready for release in early batches. Among them was a new Mustang casting. I had to go back through my notes. There it was, buried in the Walmart exclusive series, a brand new casting. They had pretty much glossed over it. I had not noticed it. How could I have missed it. Once back in my hotel room I went through the video of the Albuquerque convention. Sure enough, there it was, marked up as one of the models in the Walmart exclusive series.
Seeing the first mock-up in Leipzig I knew I was already loving it. This thing is absolutely gorgeous! I adore it. I could not wait to finally get a hold of one. Obviously it was only sold in Walmart in USA, so I had to get one shipped over (with many thanks to the other half of Lamley), and the excitement of waiting for the box to arrive from USA was excruciating! Until they come up with a red one (as I drove a red one in USA in 2019) this is easily the nicest of the 3 released so far. One each in the 2 Walmart exclusives (I will get around to showcasing series 2 soon) and a Top Gun Maverick issue.
I love this green and gold look. I did not think any new casting would top the MGB GT, but I was totally surprised. Multiple times it appeared. Definitely my favourite new casting of the year. But there was no way it was going to top this….
Number 1 in my list. The MB1052 ’80 Porsche 911 Turbo. I mean, was there any doubt? Debuting last year as a Superfast, I knew I was going to love it right from the word go. It is my favourite car of all time, and I always used to say if I won the lottery I would own a brand new 911, but would also go for a classic 930-generation 911 turbo in red with a black spoiler. Hello! A 930-generation 911 Turbo in red with a black spoiler. Most kids in their teenage years would put up posters on their bedroom walls. Things that they liked. Actors, actresses, pop stars, groups, films, TV shows, sports teams and/or players. You name it, there would be posters and pictures of them on teenage walls. My teenage walls were pretty much all cars. And probably about half of the pictures were Porsche 911s. And about half of those were the 930-generation in red with black spoiler. It was, and still is, my dream car. I hope to one day own a real one. But until that day comes, this red Moving Parts issue will do as a stand in.
Of course it was not the only 911 Turbo that appeared this year. And when dirk Schleuer chose the casting for the Leipzig Convention in 2020 I was so over the moon. I am still grinning now. Being a moving parts model, it only gets uses in that range or Superfast (which gets renamed in 2021). Basics can appear in multipacks, 5-packs, 9-packs, other offerings too. But the Moving Parts models get that or Superfast as their outlets for release. Seeing the 2020 line preview I knew I was getting one of each. Little did I know 4 promotional issues were coming too.
Which honestly was just the icing on the cake for me. Suddenly finding 4 more of this casting to add to the one that is a model of my number 1 dream car has made 2020 a truly fantastic year for me as a collector. Yes, the outside world may be horrible this year. But in my Matchbox world, I think I have likely had one of the best years ever!
If there comes a top 10 of the decade at the end of the 2020s, I already have a feeling I know what would be number 1! I literally stopped for a minute as I was typing just to look at the 911 Turbos again. If there was a top 10 of the century and I was still around, I have a feeling I know what number 1 will be.
And that is it for this week. My top 10 featuring 16 cars. Who would have guessed that I could do something and cram more in at the same time? It’s not like I tend to do that on a regular basis or anything? Next week the final 6 models from Batch F 2020 will be showcased, so expect a good look at those 70-80 odd models….