Model: Matchbox Nissan Prairie
Line: 1998 Mainline 1-75 series
Ebay link: find the Matchbox Nissan Prairie by clicking here
This is another one of those models I’m very fond of and not really sure why. There’s nothing especially amazing about the Nissan Prairie as a vehicle, and the casting isn’t especially a hugely popular one. But It’s a rather neat little thing if you look closer, and that is exactly what we’re going to do.
The Matchbox model is based on the second generation M11 Prairie introduced in 1988. The M11 was based on the contemporary Bluebird saloon and shared the same CA20 and SR20 engines. North American market cars were badged as the Nissan Axxess and featured a larger 2.4 litre KA24 powerplant.
The Axxess was only sold for one year (1990) in the US, which may explain why the Matchbox version is right hand drive.
The interior is well replicated and the steering wheel is surprisingly intricate and well scaled for a mainline. Where a disk of plastic seems to suffice these days, the scale wheel is identical to the real thing. The model itself is very accurately proportioned too, instantly recognisable as a Prairie, and well finished. Panel lines, door handles and lights are all neat and accurate, and the Matchbox pepper pot wheels ride on something that is really missing from mainlines today: sprung suspension.
The Prairie featured in various Matchbox lines from 1991 to 1999 and this is the last version to be in the mainline, followed by a promotional special and a Sea Explorer 5 pack version before the casting disappeared for good. This metallic green one is one of the best versions in my humble opinion, and the colour scheme with those big gold Nissan decals looks entirely plausible for a vehicle of the era.
I’ve got plans for this one that don’t involve it staying stock for much longer, so all the more reason to give it the Lamley Daily to celebrate it in it’s totally untouched form before it gets drilled out. watch this space if you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, this one is going to make another appearance very soon…