It’s that time of the week again, where I delve into my toy box of Matchbox models to meet up with some new additions, which again is courtesy of Wheel Collectors in USA, as at the moment batch A has not arrived near me. Still on 2020 batch F in the UK. But this week it is going to be quite heavy on the Dodge brand. There were 3 different Dodges released in batch A, and instead of trying to do one in each post, I decided this time I will tackle them all in one go. Of course there are 2 other vehicles in the batch that are being looked at here, as I am doing them in groups of 5, and I am going to start with one of those ones.
The MB785 ’71 Porsche 914. This is because this week I am going in manufacturing number order, and this has the lowest MAN number of the 5 in question.
It makes a triumphant return to the basic range in 2021, 10 years after the last time it was seen there as MB74. And that beat the record of the MB423 Porsche 911 Carrera Convertible which returned in the last batch 7 years after its previous basic range release. So I am very happy to see this one return.
The model is white with a red base and red wheels, along with a red side stripe with Porsche on it. It looks very nice. Not that I am biased with it being a Porsche or anything. But as it has been a few years since we last saw this casting, I think a rundown is in order.
The model started off as MB16 in 2010 in bright apple green. At least that was the plan. The first batch came out a bit wrong.
The initial production run saw the model appear in a very pale pastel green, which was not what it was supposed to be. So a running change was made to correct it to the apple green look that continued for the rest of the runs. However, you may notice that the window section had a matching tampo print around the edge of it. A pastel green print around the pastel green model, and a regular green around the regular model.
But there was a crossover. Very few apple green models still sported the original pastel green window edging.
Although some of the regular green window edging didn’t come out very well too, leaving a very thin layer which looks very dark, due to the black underneath almost coming through. Yeah I wasn’t totally obsessed with this casting when it first came out.
Later that year, Matchbox released a version 2 in…. green. Although this time it was a very dark green. A planned very dark green. And try as I might, I didn’t find anything unusual to add with this one. Just the one.
The model was also chosen to be the show model for the 2010 Matchbox Gathering in Albuquerque New Mexico that July. At the time. the convention used to do 4 models. The dinner (regular and early bird), a dealer model for those who were selling at the event, plus a show model. This was a blistercarded model that was given out to people who were attending the toy show on the Sunday. I can’t show you the unique card for the model as for some strange reason, mine never made it out of the hotel. This was also the first time that we saw a side stripe with Porsche on it.
It was an action-packed first year for the casting, as it finished the year as a part of the 1st Editions 10-pack in mustard.
2011 saw another Porsche side striped model, this time it was in the basic range. As mentioned, this was the last time it was in the basic range too. It was sold as MB16 in orange.
It also saw action in the Classic Rides 5-pack that year in yellow. Again I had some fun with this one as I could find lighter or darker shades of yellow in the pack.
Not to be confused with the mustard from the previous year’s 10-pack.
Also in 2011, we saw a Lesney Edition release of the model in red with an Earl B Comthax livery. Lesney Editions were known for sporting metal bases on the models as well as metal bodies (double diecast as they were sometimes referred to) giving this model more weight. But if you were wondering just who Earl B Comthax is, then wonder no more. He doesn’t exist. It’s an anagram. Earl B Comthax = Real Matchbox. The Matchbox team do like playing with us at times.
But sadly, as often happens, the range ebbs and flows through the years, with changes in ideas and formats coming and going. After 2011 a slight tweak to the format saw many classic vehicles dropped from the range for more vehicles as seen from a child’s perspective and brighter looks, and the Porsche was one. It was thrown a lifeline, as the 2013, 10-packs had a nod to the 60th Anniversary of the brand, and as such they decided that each exclusive in them that year would be of a classic vehicle with the 60th Anniversary logo on it. The Porsche was in blue with the logo on the rear. But after this the model faded into the background again.
Until 2017, when Earl B Comthax made a return in the Best of series. A new team with a new approach was mixing things back up and many classics were sliding back in.
Although this was a carry forward design as such, the shade of red was significantly different.
Plus Lesney Edition sported metal bases and plastic wheels, Best of had plastic based and 2-part rubber wheels. So it was actually quite a bit different, for being the same. That was actually the last time we saw this casting until the latest release, so I am very happy to see it return. Hopefully we will see more of them over coming years too.
So let’s get into it shall we. Dodge! Three different Dodge castings are in this batch, and all 3 are pretty new ones too. In fact, all 3 are castings that were created in 2019 and on their 3rd outing in the basic range. Now as I mentioned I am literally going in MAN number order, so the first is the MB1168 ’18 Dodge Charger.
It takes the MB55 slot for 2021 in solid grey. Or should I say “destroyer grey” as it is an official colour option on the real Dodge Charger. This is a replica of a real Charger look.
Which means that we have seen real paint options on all 3 basic range issues to date.
As the 2019 debut version was in F8 green as MB2. I don’t know why it was called F8. If anybody knows the history behind that please let me know in the comments below. Note how this release sports the exact same tampo print as the F8 one did.
The 2020 MB15 was officially known as B5 blue. From what I can tell, those are the only 2 colour choices that Dodge have consisting of a letter/digit followed by the colour. As I said, 2021 is destroyer grey, and seeing some of their other colour choices like plum crazy, TorRed, white knuckle, go mango, and more that could make for great future issues, I do wonder why B5 and F8? Was somebody playing Battleship while they were coming up with names?
So, as that was not long enough for a dive back, I am going to go a bit radical here with the Dodge Caravan. Basically because I have been wanting to get this one in there are some point anyway, and to showcase it’s really cool feature. Plus, a grey Charger? What was the debut look for the Caravan? Grey. Wait, so why am I showing a burgundy one here? Well, this casting actually was created especially for a Chrysler convention in Las Vegas, Nevada in August 1983. A set of 5,000 models was made in burgundy with no opening parts and no rear license plate. These had promotional information on the base in place of the usual information. At the start of 1984 a second set of promotional issues were also made, still in burgundy, but now with regular bases and an opening part.
As a basic range release, the model debuted officially in 1984 as either MB68 in the US market or MB64 in the ROW market. It started off in silver with a grey side door. I knew there was a grey reason for getting this model inserted here.
Because that door is one of the coolest opening parts I have ever known. Honestly, I remember back in 1984 getting my first Dodge Caravan. I would have been about 12 years old at the time, still not grown out of Matchbox (obviously never did), and absolutely loving that sliding side door. I have never known of any other Matchbox release with a side opening door like this. We have had a few with internal sliding doors, but no other one I can think of where you pull the door out to slide it. I would love to see a Moving Parts model using this type of door.
Later on in 1984 the model had the colours reversed. Instead of being a silver vehicle with a black lower stripe, it was now a black model with a silver lower stripe. I am not too sure why they created 2 looks in the first year. Now there is a little addendum. As stated, the model was created for the 1983 Las Vegas event, and early models had 1983 Dodge Caravan on the base. It was later corrected to 1984 Dodge Caravan and both base types exist for both models. In fact the promotional burgundy can also be found with both years on the base. Not being a base collector as such I have not worried about finding them. One of each and I am good.
In 1985 the model was slightly changed to incorporate a much larger side stripe which went across and over the back wheels. It was now dual coloured with silvr being joined by gold too. Although recently I found a rather unusual error where they forgot to add the silver stripe. It is like it on both sides, and also does incorporate the sliding door too.
A quick shot of the other side for proof. It was a cool little error.
After this, we started seeing a lot of this vehicle as a multipack model. In 1986 the first of those was the G-11 Pan-Am set.
This was swiftly followed by a G-6 Virgin Atlantic set model.
Although 1987 did see one more basic range look. the model ran from 1984-1988, and after a quick turnaround with early issues, the gold/silver striped model stayed for 2 years from 1985-1986 before turning to this white Caravan model with red, orange and blue stripes. Oh and a black stripe running along the bottom. This look stayed for another 2 years before the model was deleted from the basic range. Although the model did survive a while longer in Brazil, who made the model locally using a rough design of the 1985/86 variant with unusual wheels.
Also in 1987, BP in Netherlands ran a promotion which featured an assortment of Matchbox models in unique designs. This one took the standard 1985/86 design of the Dodge Caravan and changed the stripes to the BP corporate yellow and green.
After the model was dropped from the basic range, it did survive a while longer in those multipacks. In 1989 the MP-108 NASA set saw the model in white with a Shuttle Personnel design.
And in 1990 the MC-17 British Airways Cargo set saw a grey/navy blue design on the model. There is an Intercom City variant of this with a different base section in black instead of chrome with a hole in the middle featuring a barcode. I don’t own that particular one.
The final release of the model was in 1992 when the Red Arrows gift set was released in Britain featuring this model in, strangely enough, red.
But there was one final footnote for the model. In 1994, Belgium wanted a Chrysler promotional set, but the look was a little dated, so the Matchbox team simply came up with a new base section (which forms the front grille too). For this, the MAN number was changed from MB128 into MB262 and the model was renamed Chrysler Voyager. Some issues had a plain roof but some had a Kipling sticker applied.
The base section was the only part that saw an update. The rest of the model stayed the same.
Which was unusual in that Dodge and Caravan were actually cast into the rear of the model. However, because of its age, that rear was almost faded away to nothing and you could no longer read the wording. This is why the probably tampo print a lot of details now. You could physically rub the details off, but when produced by the factory, those details are always going to be in place, if it is a model that tampo prints them.
Which manufacturing number is next on the list? Why it’s the MB1180 ’59 dodge Coronet Police.
This model is the latest to receive the National Parks treatment as it takes the MB71 slot in the 2021 basic range.
It’s also the first time the model has not sported a chrome base too, but I think the black suits it better than a chrome base would have.
Again this model is on year 3 in the basic range, and this time I am simply going to do a quick recap of the models seen to date. Yes, I know there is a National Parks theme just begging to be explored, but that is going to be a different rundown. For now, especially as last 2021 batch A rundown I did a bunch of police cars, I am just going to do a quick look at what we have seen to date. It started in 2019 with the black and white MB43 in standard police markings.
And in 2020 we saw a white and blue MB94 County Patrol vehicle.
We also saw a special limited edition created for Everett Marshall’s annual golf tournament too, half in red and half in pink with Fire Chief design.
Which means as a Parks Superintendent for this year, we have had 4 releases all sporting very different looks.
National Parks will be a fun thing to do at some point soon. I promise.
Which brings us to MB1183. the 1968 Dodge D200 4×4 Pickup Truck. Although I just added that last part from 4×4 onwards.
For 2021 it comes in a pale blue with simple side graphics as MB93.
Which I like the look of. Sometimes the simple looks are the best. But this does remind me of something. Let’s dig out….
The MB107 Ford Mini Pickup with roll bar. MB107 was 1 of 2 castings created in 1982 especially for the US market, taking the old MB57 Ford Wildlife Truck and completely redoing it as a large 4×4 vehicle. At first the rear had a canopy a bit like the Wildlife Truck did, and was assigned MB098. But then they further altered the casting with a roll bar too, and this one actually took over the Wildlife Truck’s spot in the US range. In the ROW range, the Wildlife Truck was just dropped and a Carmichael Commando took its spot there. During 1982 the shade of red changed from a dark cherry red to an orangey-red through the course of the year.
Plus, if you hunt carefully you might find one with a silver base and not unpainted. Unpainted does appear more common.
Although if you really hunt around you might find this. As I said, the model was also turned into MB098 with a canopy, but a few canopy designed models ended up with roll bars.
A picture of the normal MB098 for comparison. Big Foot with a roll bar is very hard to find.
But I did say about light blue reminding me of something. It was this model. Mountain Man. Now the Dodge is actually a much paler shade when you put the 2 together, but when I first saw it, this was the model that popped into my head.
Early issues of Mountain Man were sold in 1983 coming from Hong Kong. The casting was sent to Hong Kong for initial production from England where the red/orangey-red one had been made. It is a notably darker blue that later issues. By 1984 the casting had moved again to Macau where it continued until 1989 when the model was dropped from the US range (never appeared in the ROW range). However, it popped back up in a multipack in 1991, now made in Thailand, which was the lightest shade of them all.
The only thing I don’t have is the 1989 basic which was the last year of Macau production where the base was changed from metal to plastic.
But what I do have is a random oddity. You thought the Big Foot crossover model was rare. This is even rarer. Partly because it was an error. This is USA-1. You may be thinking it looks familiar but is not listed. That’s because….
It was actually a part of the Super Chargers series in 1986. SC-2 was a part of the first set of 8 model with monster wheels on them that year. But somehow one of the models ended up on regular wheels instead. Oops! Although perhaps not really, because this is a cool little oddity.
SC-1 Big Foot and SC-3 Taurus also used the same body, but I have never been able to find one of those 2 in error form.
Big Foot meet Bigger Foot.
And this brings us to the last model in the group today. I have run out of Dodges, so now it is the turn of the MB1212 Self-Driving Bus.
It takes the MB28 slot in the 2021 range in gold and black. And do I spot an Adlar58 logo in there? It’s pretty obvious who designed this one. Michael Heralda. This vehicle is the Campus Transport vehicle for the University of Hard Knocks. And it was donated by the Class of 2021. I like all the little details. Caution, doors open out. Love it! The Adlar58 logo too.
Although that only appears on one side. But which side is which? the packaging showed the Adlar58 logo on the side facing towards us, but the model was packaged in the blister with the Adlar58 logo at the far side. But with everything else being the same, and the vehicle symmetrical, which side should the logo be on? Does it really matter?
It was a gold bus. There was only 1 way I was taking this. The MB694 Double Decker. It was basically an AEC Routemaster in all but name. But due to various legalities, the look has slipped into the public domain and Mattel were able to recreate it without the need for obtaining a license. Excellent. So why was this so obvious? You will discover as you keep reading. But I will start at the beginning. Because this debuted in 2006 as MB56 in traditional red with “The British Invasion Continues” on the side.
In 2007 the model turned blue as MB34. It was actually a double-homage look, as the blue with Matchbox Toys logo was actually based on the look of a Lledo promotional model of a real 1960s Matchbox bus that ferried the employees to and from the Lesney factory, and the No. 5 was a nod to the original Matchbox bus slot in the Lesney range as it was the 5th model they created back in 1954 taking the no.5 slot in the range.
The model was also a part of the first set of Best of British models that year too, again in classic red with Superfast retro 5-spoke wheels on it.
It also saw its first Albuquerque promotional look too, as it was the dealer model for the 2007 event, and again featured a nod to the past, as this was in the style of the 1970s bus that ferried the Lesney employees to and from the factory.
With the range 3-way split of 2008, US and ROW ranges saw a tan model as MB53 marking 55+ years of Quality and Heritage of the Matchbox brand. LAAM markets did not receive the model.
It also saw a second Best of British release, this time in dark green with a High Wycombe side design. Back in the day, real AEC Routemasters used to ride between Amersham and High Waycombe in dark green. So this was a very realistic design.
Later on in 2008 there was also another promotional issue. This time for Dream Halloween, where the Matchbox team went nuts with a spooky purple bus with a Physic Encounters design.
In 2009 all 3 markets of the basic range saw MB53. This time it was a dull olive green with a Matchbox Transport Sightseeing Tours design.
And again, series 3 of the Best of British range saw a red and white with a Summer Arts Festival design. This was the last year for Best of British, and this was one of the few castings that ran through each set.
2010 saw a final release in the basic range. Back to traditional red this time, with a What’s Your Adventure?” side design. No. 58? Yeah this was definitely a Michael Heralda design. Just like the new one is.
After being dropped from the basic range, the casting did not see action in 2011 at all, and most of 2012 passed it by until it randomly popped up late in the year as the 2013 Toy Fair model. This was gold.
It also featured an alternate design on the other side, using a design that was being used on various 2013 packaging for both looks. However, this was not the gold I was thinking of, when I knew I had to bring this model in. It’s coming….
But before that, the model did see a repeat showing for the Albuquerque Convention in 2013. This time it was the dinner model in white over green. However, if you were one of the 75 early bird ticket holders, yours was white over zamac.
Also in 2013 it was included as one of the 24 models in a special 60th Anniversary series. Premium issues had been dropped after 2011, and in 2012 everything was basically just a core release. The 65th Anniversary series was not a full blown premium series, but they had a window to just enhance things a little. A box was included in the blister and all of the 24 models did see slight additional tampo printing over what they would normally see in a core range. Or in the case of the Double Decker, it was an ink jet printed look across the entire side of the model with a huge Union Jack which covered windows as well as body. That is something you would not see in a core issue. But they also created a chase model. Another bus was found in limited numbers in spectraflame red too, with additional printing and a 60th Anniversary logo on the side.
Since 2013 there has only been one issue. In 2016, the new premium series Best of…. saw the bus return in golden tan with 2-part rubber wheels. Part of Michael Heralda’s series of designs, which was denoting he was hitting the 5,000 mark on unique designs for models. But this was also not the gold I am thinking of. Some of you will likely have guessed what it was. For those who don’t know, I will explain.
Before the Matchboxworld social media account became the main tool for the Matchbox team to link to the collector, we had an Ambassadorship. Starting in 2005, and beginning/ending in line with the conventions, and Ambassador was chosen from the collector field who spent a year liaising with the Matchbox team, and being a middle person passing information back and forth to the collector community. At the end of their tenure, each ambassador was gifted a unique 1 of 1 Mattel made Ambassador bus. At a recent convention, we had a number of buses brought together, which showed that each one was slightly different. They were being made as and when they were required. I was one of the lucky recipients, Ambassador number 3. As noted on my bus.
And yes I do have the original box it came with. I was one of 11 Ambassadors over the course of the years. The list being (in order) John Yanouzas, Jim Gallegos, me (David Tilley), Terry Ozima, John Nijhuis, Chuck Wiersma, Shabbir Malik, John Lambert, Nigel Cooper, Larry Scaduto and Dirk Schleuer. Each one of us owns one of the unique 11 Double Deckers that Mattel created especially for us. And this is why, when I saw the new bus was gold, I had to bring my Double Deckers out.
And on that happy note, I believe I have finished another blog report for the week. Next week in my bouncing around various items I will be nudging back into 2020 again. I will be doing a few of those over the next few months too. I got a bit behind, and I want to go through various things.
I hope you enjoyed the latest random set of models that I couldn’t “Dodge”. Until next time, have a good week.