Matchbox Monday looks back at the 9/10-pack exclusives

I am currently between cases from Wheel Collectors, so I was looking around at things to do in between. Well, I thought, 2021 will be a bit of a bigger year for 9-packs. Not since the mid-late ’00s has the larger multipack been quite so significant. For 2021, we will be seeing 6 releases of packs through the year. Each release will feature 2 different pack assortments. Each assortment will feature an exclusive model in the top corner (something we are very used to), but in addition across the pair of packs we will also be seeing 3 semi-exclusives too. Three models that will be in both those packs and nothing else. So I thought to finish off my Matchbox Monday posts in 2020 I would do a run down of the 2020 9-pack exclusives. But instead of just the 6 from this year, and diving in to the history of those models, I thought I would go right back to the start.

Now Matchbox has been doing gift sets for many years. From the Lesney era we would see packs of different sizes containing assortments of models pulled from the basic range. Sometimes there would be exclusives, sometimes random variations not seen elsewhere. Into the Universal era again multipacks were the name of the game, and often we would see larger packs with random exclusives, sometimes something unusual again. 10-packs started to become more common, but as a general rule there was nothing of major note in them. During the 1990s they started to become a little more common, and in the Tyco era a “starter pack” box became notable. When Mattel took over, these 10-packs continued and occasionally a random model would appear that got us all excited. This MB504 Jeep Liberty came from a 2001 10-pack in silver with Police side design. It was not found anywhere else. But it wasn’t until 2006 that Mattel made a decision to come up with exclusive models for them.

This was because for the early part of the 2st century the assortment containing 10-packs also featured a Launcher set. You would open a box of 6 packs, and there would be two launchers, and four 10-packs, with 2 different assortments of models making up the 10-packs. There would be 4 assortments throughout the year. For 2006 they came up with something a bit different. Instead of a Launcher set each time and 2 different random 10-packs, 2 different 10-packs in each set, but these 10-packs would contain an exclusive model by choice. Alongside these 10-packs would be something a bit different. But this is where things took a strange turn. Rather than 1 additional set per assortment, they dwindled them down. Only 3 assortments arrived that year. The first assortment did not arrive until April, and inside was the two 10-pack assortments, each containing an exclusive model, but there was a car transporter launcher set with 3 models too. But that wasn’t it. A 4th set appeared . This unusual set was called Mummy’s Gold and saw some miniatures, a Convoy and Skybuster, as well as some additional accessories included. No launcher of any kind. For the 10-packs, one pack featured the MB508 ’33 Ford Coupe Police casting in black with a white door and the other featured the MB320 ’57 Chevy Bel Air Convertible in orange. These were the first 2 official 10-pack exclusives.

In August, a new set of packs appeared. This time there was no launcher at all, and a Construction Zone playset was one of the now 3 options featuring a number of miniatures, a Convoy and a Skybuster (plus 2 cones). As well there were 2 more 10-packs, and again the same 2 vehicles were included as exclusives (depending on which pack you got) but now the ’33 Ford Coupe was white with a black door and the ’57 Chevy Bel Air was pale blue.

Finally in November we got our last assortment. This time no additional sets were included, and we only had the 10-packs. Again the two 10-packs featured the same 2 cars. But now the ford was now blue with a white door and Chevy purple.

So we ended up with 3 of the ford Coupe, which turned out to be the last time we ever saw the Police version of the casting (which had until then only been used once anyway).

The Chevy Bel Air Convertible has been seen since, as we saw a few more issues until 2013.

In 2007 they launched a new initiative where each assortment would contain 1 all-exclusive pack, and alongside would be an additional 2 packs with 1 exclusive in the top corner. When I have another quiet moment between new stuff, I may pull out the all-exclusive packs for a run through, but doing that alongside these would have turned this into a mega long read. I didn’t want to do too much in one go again. After last week when I extended my usual selection to double the size, I felt I needed to scale back just a bit again. The thing is, people would hone in on the all-exclusive packs, and the non-exclusive packs with 1 exclusive top corner would often get overlooked. They came up with a system for the 10-pack assortments. The first batch would be known as “Real” containing 10 standard road going cars and similar. The second batch would be known as “Action” and would have 10 utility style vehicles in the exclusive pack. The third batch would be “Adventure” and see 10 exclusive pack models with an off-roading theme. The final batch would be “New Toolings” and would see 10 brand new castings that had debuted in the year see an alternate look in a 10-pack. the non-exclusive packs though, they didn’t follow the pattern of the exclusive packs. They carried on in a similar vein to how 2006 had started. Take a casting that was not being used elsewhere that year, perhaps not been used in a few years, and add it to all the packs that year, but in an alternate colour each time. The “Real” pack was joined by 2 standard packs that would see an MB368 ’99 Ford Mustang convertible in golden yellow or an MB515 ’00 Chevy Corvette Convertible in purple.

But that was not it in this case. I had mentioned how in previous years before coming up with exclusive a random model might appear. Well this batch did not just see one, it saw two. In the Mustang 10-pack among the models that were pulled from other ranges (basics, 5-packs, or at the time playsets and other ranges) was an MB630 Chevy Corvette C6 in steel blue. We assumed at the time it had just been added before appearing where it would normally appear. Well, we are still waiting. It never turned up in anything else. So this was a random bonus exclusive. But as I said, there were two.

With the Mustang set getting a bonus Corvette, the Corvette pack saw a bonus Mustang too. This MB609 Ford Mustang GT Concept was also included in dark green with white side detailing. Again, we assumed it was something about to hit, but as time went on, we realized it was not. A second exclusive, which unlike the one that was supposed to be exclusive being marked as such, this just slipped in under the radar.

So where we were expecting a single exclusive in each pack in that assortment, we ended up with a pair and now 2 Mustangs/2 Corvettes.

After that things did settle down though. the “Action” assortment came along, and alongside the all-exclusive pack was a pair now featuring the Mustang in green and the Corvette in red.

The third assortment arrived later on and alongside the “Adventure” all-exclusive pack was the other 2 featuring the Mustang now in silver and the Corvette in blue.

Finally the “New Toolings” 10-pack saw 10 brand new castings in new colours, and alongside we had a blue Mustang set and orange Corvette set.

Of which I discovered something I often do. Metallic orange, good for a shade or 2.

But there was something else, if you were being specific. In 2006, a Monsters pack appeared as a Target exclusive in USA, and included in the set was the MB222 Highway Maintenance Truck in white and blue. It reappeared inside the 10-pack from the Corvette, except in 2007 the model was altered into MB652 which was literally just the same casting without a plow on the front end. So officially it would have been a Monsters model duplicated, but due to the change of model (no plow compared to plow) it is officially an exclusive. What’s more, if you looked carefully you would have found it with sawblade wheels or crown wheels. Funnily enough, the original Monsters release from 2006 sported the same wheel variation.

So, aside from random extra exclusives, we saw a range of 4 ’99 Mustang Convertibles throughout the year.

And a range of Corvette Convertibles.

In 2008 they carried on with the theme of 2007. Real, Action, Adventure, New Toolings. Alongside them would 2 more pairs of non-exclusive packs except 1 exclusive running through all 4 with an alternate colour each time. Again, a Ford Mustang was chosen for one of the packs, this time the MB298 ’68 Ford Mustang Cobra Jet. But this time, an MB434 Mercedes-Benz S500 was the other pack’s model of choice. The Real packs saw a lavender Mustang and a blue S500.

When the Action packs rolled in, the Mustang was now red, and the S500 silver. I loved the license plate to the Mercedes-Benz S500. 5X3LUS9V5, which when you swap numbers for letters turns into “Exclusive”. I missed those days where the writing would be lots of codes. With the design being the same on all 4 releases throughout the year, all 4 Mercs would see the same 5X3LUS9V5 license plate.

When the Adventure sets came to town, we now saw the Mustang in lemon and the S500 in iridescent white.

But this was yet again another round of “where is this model from?” You see the MB661 ’06 Tow Truck was one of the other models in the Mercedes pack in purple. Most people thought it was from an upcoming playset, but it never turned up anywhere else.

Finally, the New Toolings pack saw 2 additional packs alongside, but featuring charcoal grey versions of the 2 models we knew were coming. The Mercedes being a lighter shade than the Mustang.

I have always been a huge fan of this particular Mustang casting. Still one of my favourite ones, and these 4 are all great, with the simple hood stripe and side detailing.

Plus, these 4 5X3LUS9V5 Mercedes-Benz S500s made for a great set too. These proved to be the last releases of the Merc though. The casting was retired after this quartet.

In 2009, there was a very minor tweak to the roll out of the non-exclusive 10-packs. The 4 assortments would carry on as they were, but the 2 models chosen for 2009, well this was batch A. Released alongside the “Real” 10-pack were 2 10-packs both containing an exclusive MB616 ’70 Plymouth Cuda. One was in orange, the other in black.

Batch B rolled along a little later, and again, mixed in with the “Action” all-exclusive 10-packs were 2 additionals both containing the Cuda again. This time they were either green or purple.

So 2 batches into the year, and we had already received one set of 4 models.

So then batch C came out later and this time, both the accompanying 10-packs to the “Adventure” set saw the MB277 ’95 Ford Mustang Cobra included. One in blue and the other in tan.

But that was not it. Okay, the blue is not a massive shade, but it was enough to keep me entertained. But each pack had something else.

This one had an MB519 Hovercraft in the pack too. Perhaps from an upcoming 5-pack or playset. Well, we never knew, because this was it. It did not appear anywhere else.

The tan pack? Oh yeah that was a better shade. Definite differences there. But this also saw a second random exclusive.

This time it was an MB518 Rescue Boat.

Putting these 2 models together you could definitely see a theme. Something was being planned that never came to fruition. MBX Coast Patrol. I think whatever it was, it could have been good. An SB-69 Hydro Prop had been released in the Skybusters range in 2008 with this design on it, so I am positive they were planning on going somewhere with it. But this was a recurring livery that sadly just never got off the ground. Or shall I say out the water? Maybe it can be looked at in the future….

So where was I? Ah yes. 2009 and batch D. The New Toolings 10-pack assortment featured 2 other 10-pack sets and again both featured the Mustang. One was black, the other red.

Giving us our other set of 4 models of the year.

2010 got us back in to the previous groove, as the “Showroom Models” 10-pack of the year saw 2 different castings as an exclusive in the other sets. And yes, the names of the all exclusive packs did change that year. Now we saw the MB702 DAF XF95 Space Cab making an appearance in blue, and the MB322 ’70 Ford Boss Mustang arriving in green. Side note: has anybody noticed that this is the 4th year in a row that a Ford Mustang has been one of the two exclusives?

City Heroes was the name of the new all-exclusive 10-pack for batch B, and alongside the set, the DAF was now burgundy and the Mustang blue.

I did spot a shade to the DAF in that set too, coming in lighter or darker shades.

Assortment number 3 of the year now saw the all-exclusive set known as Off Road Adventure (just lengthening that name) and the DAF was now golden tan and the Mustang red.

And New Toolings was still New toolings, and alongside that 10-pack we saw a DAF pack with white DAF and Mustang pack with a yellow Mustang.

You may also notice that an ongoing theme through these packs is that the tampo design on the models would stay the same throughout all of their issues. It is most noticed in this DAF casting, with its Euro Transport theme.

Is this the colours of the eBay logo? And Google. And Microsoft. And…. oh you get the picture. Red, yellow, blue and green. Quite a combination.

So 2011 rolls around and things took a drastic turn. Quite a shock. One of the models was a Mustang. Oh wait, that wasn’t it. Well it is, but that was not the shock. The shock was that when the first assortment came out, there was no all-exclusive pack. The MB342 ’65 Ford Mustang GT in steel blue was in one pack as an exclusive and an MB302 ’69 Chevy Camaro SS-396 Convertible in yellow was in the only other pack in the assortment.

Batch B turned up later in the year, and the only 2 packs in the assortment featured either a golden tan Mustang or a black Camaro.

Oh and that golden tan was very good for shade variations.

The third batch of the year saw both the Mustang and the Camaro turn red with white detailing. Made for a nice matching pair.

Oh and batch D? That was a total change, with a random 1-off all-exclusive new toolings set. No additional sets included in that batch.

So we only saw 3 each of the Camaro in red, yellow or black.

And 3 of the Mustang too, in red, steel blue or golden tan. With the dropping of the all-exclusive sets, they decided to mix things up a little for 2012 and mix it up they did. I hope you can follow….

The year started with a bang. Four different 10-packs were released in the first batch. We saw the MB420 Chevy Impala Police in blue with a UB Busted side design. still one of my favourite “out of the box thinking” designs of all time. This model is just awesome, and I am waiting for a new, updated UB Busted model to appear at some point. An MB668 Mitsubishi Ecliipse also appeared in green, with a Holst side design (a nod to Felix Holst who was in the Matchbox team at the time). the MB627 Jeep Compass was another exclusive in yellow with a Jamoboree side design. Finally, the MB778 Ice Cream Van was in the 4th set in orange with a Matty’s Cones & Scones side design. But that was not the only thing. 10-packs were no longer sold in USA. For the USA market itself 1 of the additional models was removed and the packs were now being sold as 9-packs.

When Batch B arrived later, we discovered some carryovers of the first batch and only 1 new addition. This was the MB630 Chevy Corvette C6 in orangey red with a Pace Car design on the side.

The third batch of the year saw 2 new additions. An MB628 Land Rover SVX set with a white LR with an 8 side design, and an MB379 International Pumper in black with a simple red/yellow striped Fire Dept side design. This proved to be the final release for the MB379 casting as it was modified after this release.

But it was also notable for including another random bonus exclusive. Not marked as such, buried in the middle of the set was the MB759 Dodge Challenger in green. It was due to be released in the basic range that year, and we just thought it was an early insert. But there were a few issues that stopped any Dodges from appearing later that year, and by the time it arrived in 2013 as a late 2012 issue it had turned purple. So this green issue became an additional exclusive.

Finally, the last batch of the year saw the MB399 Chevy Silverado 4×4 arrive in the ongoing National Parks theme. It was the only set that came out, but there was another twist. For some reason, it was not sold in USA, the market that was selling 9-packs. Most of the ones that were being found were coming from Canada, which was still selling them as 10-packs, although they were found in other places around the world too.

So that was the story of 2012. With the “brightening” of the range, all models released as 9-pack or 10-pack exclusives (depending on market) that year saw side tampos added to the models only. No front or rear printing.

2013 saw another small tweak. The basic range was seeing more and more modern vehicles depicted and some fantasy vehicles being added that were envisioned as being seen from a child’s point of view (think fire engine or school bus with massive wheels). But they were also celebrating their 60th anniversary that year. A special collector set was created of 24 models (plus a chase), but they decided that the 9/10-packs that year would be of all classic vehicles. But in each case, they would add only top tampo printing and a 60th Anniversary logo to them. The first batch arrived with 3 different sets. An MB629 ’69 Chevy Camaro set in orange, and MB097 ’79 Chevy Corvette T-top set in red and an MB739 ’69 Cadillac Sedan DeVille set in blue.

I love this Camaro casting. And I feel so sad because it barely gets used. In fact, it has not been used since this appearance. It is well overdue a return somewhere. so as I was such a huge fan, I was determined to find shades on it. I found them.

Batch B arrived, and again we saw 3 classic castings all with top printing only. The MB785 ’71 Porsche 914 in blue, the MB760 ’69 VW Karmann ghia Type 14 Convertible in green and MB765 ’64 Austin Mini Cooper 1275S in black. The Karmann is another casting that really deserves another go around, as this too has not been seen since 2013.

After this, things got quieter. Batch C contained only 1 new set. The MB811 ’68 Lamborghini Miura P400S in green, which had only debuted in 2011 but had gone AWOL in 2012. So it was good to see it return.

The final set of the year was just a single new additional again. This time the MB810 ’71 Pontiac Firebird Formula was the model chosen, and this was the first time that the screaming chicken was added to the hood of a core release. 2012 had seen a small chicken on the doors, and a promotional issue for the Albuquerque Convention. But this was the first time a mass-produced issue had sported the chicken in its usual spot.

Which meant that as with 2012, by the time the year had finished and all the dust had settled, we had seen 8 different 9/10-packs released during the year.

2014 just carried on with adding random models to 9/10-packs. But now, at least they became a normalized pattern. 2 packs released at a time, in 4 batches throughout the year. The first batch contained the MB844 Batmobile in black and MB573 Opel Frogster in green. The Opel Frogster was a real surprise as the model had not been seen since 2005. It proved to be the swansong for it though as it has not been used since.

The Batmobile though, this had been launched in 2012, and after a 2013 basic issue too, this proved to be the swansong for this casting as well. But it went out in style sporting usually blue rimmed wheels, but a batch was made with chrome rimmed wheels instead.

Batch B saw another 2 castings, the MB754 Morgan Aeromax in blue and MB733 ’55 Ford F-100 Panel Delivery Van in red. This was the first time the Morgan had been seen since 2011, and again this proved to be a swansong for the casting. the Ford though. It too had not been seen since 2011, but has had another outing since. It popped back up in 2017 for a random basic range appearance.

Neither of the 2 castings in batch C have faded away. The MB188 GMC Wrecker was actually the first time the slightly amended casting (tow hook now a part of the boom, not a separate piece) and was in one pack in yellow, with the MB883 VW Karmann Ghia Type 34 Convertible in silver being in the other.

The final pair of the year were the MB938 Ford F-350 Superlift Superduty in white and MB3567 Porsche Boxster in steel blue. The Superlift was actually part of the debut year for an altered casting too. However, unlike the GMC Wrecker which kept its number, this moved from MB837 to MB938 when it made the change.

The Porsche though, yeah that was another that was saying goodbye that year. After debuting way back in 1999, this model said adios to its time as a Matchbox model by giving us a lovely shade variation.

So another year with 8 exclusives, and half of them were the last we would see of those models. Goodbye Boxster, Frogster, Aeromax and Batmobile (unless they decide to bring any back again).

I say that because as 2015 rolls around, they continue on as they had been. the first set of the year contained 2 exclusives in the way of the MB887 Two Story Bus in green/white and MB802 Caterham Superlight R500 in black. As at the time of writing, neither of these models has been used since, but the Two Story Bus is currently scheduled to be a semi-exclusive in batch B of 2021. So this means you can never tell what may pop back up again. Daft fact, the bus is supposed to be depicting a style of Bus predominantly associated with the UK. Double Deckers (as we call them) have been around for a long time. But they gave it an American name. Story in UK English literally is about something you would read in a book. In USA it can mean a second level too. But if we are talking about the second level, we add an “e”. We call it “storey”. It helps to differentiate between levels and books.

The MB763 MBX Moving Truck (which features a cool opening rear) and the MB864 ’74 International Scout 4×4 were the 2 exclusives for the next batch of 2015 9 or 10-packs. Both castings have been seen since, so neither was a swansong issue, and the International is the second National Parks vehicle to be involved in a larger multipack (after the Silverado). This was a lot easier to find though.

The MB932 Flame Smasher appeared in the 3rd batch of 9/10-packs in 2015 in blue/white. This too has been seen since, but the other pack had a really cool BF Goodrich liveried MB693 ’07 Ford Transit in it. The first time we had seen the casting since 2011, but again, this is another which has not been seen since. But if this was the swansong for this one, what a way to go out.

The final 9/10-packs of 2015 though. They got a little delayed, as they appeared at Christmas that year. As most people know, the model year doesn’t quite follow the calendar year, and items usually start appearing in November time. So when we started seeing new 2016 items already, in packaging that was basically the same as 2015 packaging, when this turned up people naturally assumed it was the first 2016 pack and we only were getting 3 assortments for 2015. But it wasn’t, it was just late to arrive. Inside the 2 packs were something unusual though. We had a ’70 Chevy El Camino in red and a ’71 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser in yellow. Now this is the fun part, if you are a nerd like me. Neither model had been seen since 2011, so both were making a welcome return. However, the El Camino had seen a modification since its last use and was no longer MB328, now being given the MAN number MB1001. But the Oldsmobile was actually the final release for the original casting of MB777, as this was modified after this yellow model was issued. But when that got modified, it kept the MB777 numbering. See I told you, you had to be a nerd to enjoy that bit.

So that put a wrap to 2015. Another year with 8 packs and 8 different exclusives.

2016 soon arrived though, as the first batch popped up in January, only 1 month after the last 2015 did, as Matchbox were playing catch up. The MB716 Ridge Raider was one of the exclusives in the 9/10-packs in black and the MB808 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X Police was the other in white. Both have been seen since. In fact, one will be seen a little later.

For batch B we found the MB899 Questor as one of the 9/10-pack exclusives, with its little opening rear section in a livery that was identical to the 2014 basic range issue, except that was blue and this was golden yellow. I love repeated liveries. However, the MB906 ’63 Mack Model B in green was the last time we saw that casting. In fact, we have seen neither of the 2 Mack fire vehicles since 2016. The other one had only just arrived too. This was only on year 3. I do hope they are still able to work with Mack and we see both fire vehicles again.

But after that pack, things changed. The 3rd batch of the year arrived, and well, there was only 1 pack. It featured the MB805 ’85 Toyota 4Runner in blue as the exclusive, which until 2020 had been the last we had seen of that casting too.

With the final batch of the year also containing just the 1 pack. This time it had the MB987 ’78 Dodge Monaco Police as the exclusive.

So in 2016, although we did see 4 assortments throughout the year, we did only see 6 packs. Two pairs and two singles.

2017 saw even more reductions, as now we were definitely seeing just the 1 pack in each assortment throughout the year. the MB744 ’07 Shelby Mustang Cobra Convertible had not been used since 2013, and popped up in this 9/10-pack in pea green. Until 2020 when the casting was used in the second Mustang set, it had not seen any further use. Almost a swansong.

Batch B saw 2 endings. The MB675 Porsche Cayenne Turbo had also not been used since 2013, and this proved to be its final showing (unless they bring it back). But this was also the last we saw of 10-packs. The 9-pack for USA was now a 9-pack worldwide.

The MB1001 ’70 Chevy El Camino was back again in the 3rd pack of the year, this time in blue. A 2015 exclusive and now a 2017 exclusive. I believe this is the shortest gap between uses as larger multipack exclusives.

Finally, the debut of another altered casting. The old MB500 ’55 Cadillac Fleetwood had been totally reworked into the MB1129 casting. The roof was now a part of the body section and the whole vehicle had been shrunk slightly. Quite a rebuild. Arriving in charcoal, this also had the first appearance of the Matchboxworld moniker that they use for their social media posts.

So this was an easy year to sort out, as it only had 4 packs during it.

2018 carried on where 2017 left off. The MB865 Torque Titan was the casting chosen to be in the first pack. The casting had arrived in 2013 and had been a mainstay of the basic range until 2017. After 5 years it was dropped from the basic range, and this appearance the following year has been its last.

The second 9-pack of the year had the MB1012 Mazda MX-5/Miata in blue. This one had been in the basic range for 2 years before being dropped. However, after this release it did finally return to the basic range in 2020.

Batch C of the year was another model only in its 3rd year. After 2 very successful years in the basic range, the MB1022 ’71 Nissan Skyline 2000GTX was also moved to 9-packs for 2018.

And if you are crazy, you may be one of those people who attempted to get both interior variations. The seats come with or without harnesses on them. Daft fact, if you are a customizer, and you drill the model apart, you will also find an engine in the interior too that is different between the 2 models as well. And yes, double the change, that is a shade variation I have between my 2 interior variation models.

The final 2018 9-pack release was the MB872 BMW X5 Police. Or shall I say BMW X5 Notarzt. This had a very realistic Notarzt design as currently used in Germany for emergency doctors. Being the first time the casting had been used since 2014, it too has not been used since, much like the Torque Titan.

Well I have to admit, only having 1 per release is making the trip through each year much faster. But I do miss having more stuff.

Woohoo! Got my wish. The first batch of 2019 saw 2 different exclusives again. The MB808 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X Police was back for another go after being in the first pack of 2016 too. Alongside it though, we had a second pack with different models and a different exclusive. the MB1014 ’15 Chevy Corvette Stingray Police in a California Highway Patrol livery. What is unusual is that this was the first time they had an all-white CHP livery. Usually they were black with white doors.

Batch B of the year saw another 2 models as exclusives for the 2 packs. The MB957 ’14 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk was in one pack in orange. The other pack had the MB893 BMW 1M (or M1, depending on how you catalogue it) in silver. Launched in 2013 as a BMW 1M, the casting was altered on the base to M1 at BMW’s request in 2014, but they like to keep using iM in the license plates. I love it. This was the first we had seen the casting since 2016 though. Hopefully not the last.

But the Jeep? Well it is orange, and orange is good for shades. This too had been the first outing for the model after 2016, but it had only arrived in 2015, so has had very little use. Again, I hope this is not the last we see of this one.

But for batch C, there was another tweak. Have you noticed how quite a few of the tweaks are actually mid-year. We were still getting 2x 9-packs in the assortments, but as of batch C there was only the 1 exclusive, and it was stretched out across both. This is because they had upped the assortments to 6 for the year, but had only got the capacity to include 8 exclusives that year, as these had been planned out before a change to the roll-out schedule. But what a one to begin with. I am not one to say I have favourites, but this one has my name over the rear wheels. Plus, it has a link to this very site too. The MB188 GMC Wrecker is a second time exclusive (after 2014) and comes in a very fetching blue Lamley’s Leaks design.

Batch D saw the MB327 ’33 Ford Coupe arrive in blue with flames across a pair of different 9-packs.

Batch E had the MB867 Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 Polizia in white with a Follow Me airport themed design on the model across a pair of packs.

And Batch F had the MB975 Jaguar F-type in British Racing Green included as the exclusive to both the last sets of the year.

So we did get double the exclusive vehicles we had in 2018, but it did take us 12 packs to get there.

So this brings us to 2020. This time they were able to give us a pair of exclusives for each of the 12 packs being released across 6 batches. But they thought they would go a slightly unique path with them. How about the same exclusive in each batch across both sets, but in an alternated colour between them. The first batch of the year contained the MB1035 ’59 Chevy Brockwood Wagon. One pack had the model in silver, the other had it in olive. They both had the same design, which was more of the Camp Arrow Flint design as seen in the MBX Wild pack in 2019. But there was a tiny twist. Check the rear ends of the side tampo. the silver model is unit 3, and the olive unit 8. Just one little tiny tweak makes a huge difference.

Batch B for the year saw the return of the MB729 Porsche 911GT3. Now I am not sure if this is supposed to be MB947. The casting was scheduled to be altered a few years back after the “Best of” release, and MB947 was the allotted MAN number. Sure enough, the casting now has a solid rear wing as part of the body instead of a separate plastic wing it had before. But the base does still stay MB729. I am not sure if it is simply a case of an oversight due to the base not being tweaked, they forgot to change the number on it, or if they have now scrapped the altered number and are simply using its original number at the factory. The 2 models were either blue or purple in the assortments depending on which pack you had.

Batch C of the year, and oh yes, another fantastic design choice. My name again. So cool. One of the highlights of my year, and if you remember it was in my Top 10 of the year I noted recently here on the blog. Of course, with both a white or a black issue of the MB1023 ’70 Datsun 510 Rally, I have ample opportunity to show both sides, and as such, my co-pilot for the model, Larry Scaduto (another former Matchbox Ambassador) had his name on the other side.

Batch D saw a lovely pair of MB1039 BMW i3s in either charcoal or red, both featuring a black hood (or bonnet).

Batch E saw the California Highway Patrol again used as a design, and this time with a pair of models, we could see both the all-white and black with white door incarnations of the design too, on the MB1021 Ram 1500 Police.

The final sets of the year contained the MB1013 VW Transporter Crew Cab in Feuerwehr designs on either a red or yellow model.

And of course, the VW Transporter is another of the casting that has a dual interior. The rear bed can come with items in it or empty. So to get them all you had to buy 4 sets. They know how to make money.

Which gives us a hefty amount of models obtained from 9-packs in 2020. Of course 2021 sees another tweak and even more attention as pointed out. 2 packs per assortment will still be the name of the game, although this time each exclusive will be unique. Not a pair in alternate looks. But the Matchbox guys have managed to increase the model count in the assortments by giving us 3 semi-exclusives, that will be available in both 9-packs, but will not be found outside of them. So with 6 batches planned for the year, 2 exclusives and 3 semi-exclusives per pack, that is 5×6 – 30 models that will be coming from the 2021 9-packs. It is surely building back up. In the late ’00s we did have an all exclusive 10-pack per assortment alongside 2 exclusive, so in total 48 for the year. But as things dwindled down, I am so happy to see that they are picking back up again.

So there we go, another blog report finished. ’33 Ford Coupe Police flagging down a civilian one anybody?

Or perhaps a random assortment of other random models that ended up being exclusive for one reason or another.

Or perhaps, well actually this is just for me. My name on 2 models! Woohoo!

A range of Mustangs. 5 years in a row we saw a set of Mustangs as exclusives. Quite a feat in itself.

But coming from the ’57 Chevy Bel Air Convertible up to the VW Transporter Crew Cab, 10-packs, now 9-packs have come a long way. 2021 is seeing them expand and I plan to try and start incorporating some of them into my weekly posts. Look out for those in the future. But there will be a little bonus content from me before the year is out. A little tiny something extra before moving into 2021. So keep an eye on the blog for that. Until then, have a safe time.

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