Model: Matchbox MB424 BMW 328i
Release: 1999 Mb68 Germany exclusive
Why it is in the collection: Reminding me of the German 1999 series
1999 was an amazing year for the Matchbox brand. Mattel had not long taken over the company after their buyout of Tyco, and although 1997 had already been set in stone, 1998 was the first year they were able to make their mark on the range. But some things were still being filtered out, and 1999 was the first full year of all-Mattel planned Matchbox items. One of the best parts of the year was their focus on the German range. We had the US and ROW split between ranges, with some appearing in both and some being in just the one range. Australia had a small dabble in 1997 with a few exclusive designs on some castings, but in 1999 Germany saw this whole range of brand new castings that just debuted there. Out of a range of 75 models, Germany saw 45 exclusive to their market. Out of those, 9 were brand new castings, mainly of cars.
But out of all the new castings, one of the ones that struck home with me the most was the simple BMW 328i. I knew somebody who had a BMW 3-series 4-door model so this was the most relatable model out of the 9. Sure, there was a Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet which is my favourite, but I don’t know anyone who owns one. This I did.
After surviving the Tyco years and seeing Mattel slowly transition, when the 1999 range started hitting, I knew things were on the up. But it was these late 1999 – German exclusive – brand new castings, all completely stock with simple lights depicted, that I knew they were definitely going in a good direction. Sure the range ebbs up and down a lot of the time, but when I see this model, a completely standard road car of a vehicle seen almost daily (at the time, I still see E46 generation 3-series on the streets on occasion) I get reminded of the simple fact that I love the basic run of the mill cars just as much as some of the fancy ones.
It’s a very simple look. Dark metallic green. Simple lights and S MP 0893 license plate (looking pretty German), along with a nice light tan interior. Vehicles like this are the bread and butter of the range. I have always liked Matchbox doing regular vehicles. BMWs are a great brand to see too, and I like seeing a regular everyday BMW in the range.
I am hoping to see more regular current BMWs pop up in the near future. We have a Z4 Convertible coming for 2021, but I am still holding out hope for a new 1-series or 3-series to join in as a basic range issue. Simple run of the mill everyday BMWs.