Matchbox Monday “Targets” another Hitch & Haul

Matchbox Monday time again! Boy the weeks come around quickly. And thanks to my good friend Rory McDonald (who goes by @wyoming_wheels on Instagram) who sent these over to me, my latest report is mainly concentrating on the Target Retro series batch B of 2021, although does sneak in a little Hitch & Haul action too.

I didn’t want to miss this little Hitch & Haul model. I tell you, it is weird calling it Hitch & Haul. It always used to be Hitch ‘n Haul. Something as little as changing the ” ‘n” for an “&” is confusing me. I still keeping saying and writing ‘n…. I had to double check I got it right here. This set is called Roadside Assistance and is number 7 of the 8 sets that are coming this year. It was actually a late arrival to batch A and should have originally arrived when the other 2 I previewed earlier this year arrived. Sadly, they were tooling up a new “crashed” car to utilize as the vehicle being towed. But it wasn’t working out and in the end they had to scrap it. Such a shame, but these things happen. To start from scratch again would likely take too long for this year’s sets and would mean that only 7 would be released with people asking where is the 8th set? Having already got everything else done for this set, they simply grabbed something else that required no additional licensing fees/checks/queries etc. A Matchbox original with no real livery marks. Which in this case was the Baja Bandit. But again this still involves a few tweaks for the set. The artwork needed a quick change. The models are encased in a shaped blister housing that needed to be reshaped to house the Baja Bandit. So it did delay the set just a small amount and it missed the cut off point for the first production run. So only the 2 sets arrived. A second production run followed and it was added in to the mix. Things do happen behind the scenes, that logistically can prove to be quite a nightmare. They didn’t want to overload the second batch which is due any time, as it currently stands at 5 sets. Leaving it until then would mean 6 sets in one batch after a batch of 2. So 5 after 3 was a bit better, and so it was kept with its original plan of being in batch A, but just missed a production run.

It is a lovely little set. Yes I know, the MB731 Baja Bandit is the same as the one in the 2021 Off Road Rally 5-pack, but as I said, there was a hiccup and they did what they could to keep a full set of 8 packs being released for the year. Joining the Baja Bandit is the MB1074 MBX Flatbed King in blue and grey, as well as a few additional items. A mechanic, a man on a phone, a bent “Stop” sign a couple of cones.

Lots of play action with the Baja Bandit rolling up the ramp on the Flatbed.

You might not know, but the Flatbed has a nod to a former Matchbox Ambassador on the side. Terry Ozima was a former Ambassador, and I remember it well, as he was the guy I handed the reins to back in 2009. I was Ambassador number 3, he was Ambassador number 4. Hence the inclusion of a 4 in the tampo design on the model too.

As I mentioned, the Baja Bandit was a last minute substitution so does appear the same as the 5-pack issue. Although strangely enough, I do find shades everywhere don’t I. The maroon tampo on the model is a more dark red shade than proper maroon on the H&H model. It is noticeable.

But the MBX Flatbed King is all new. I am sure Terry Ozima was extremely happy with this one. It is a very nice design.

Plus the model does feature this really amazing ramp that slides out and down, and when left further back will still hold models pretty easily. I think it is a great casting and deserves more uses.

Of course I couldn’t help noticing how a number of the additional pieces are pretty much the same as classic Hitch ‘n Haul sets. In particular “Speed Bump” from the mid 2000s. Obviously the new run has left the pieces blank, whereas when they were used in the 2 sets in the mid 2000s they were detailed. The only change was to the bent “Stop” sign, which originally had a label applied to it, but has now been detailed with the word “Stop” embossed into it. I still like this set, and am eagerly awaiting batch B to arrive with the other 5 to finish off the series this year.

Which brings me on to the main part of the report. Target USA Retro series Batch B. This batch had 7 models in it. I am not sure why. With a set of 24 and 4 batches, I thought it would be logical to release 6 at a time. Not that I mind, I am getting more models earlier than expected. First up is number 3 of 24 (if you remember from my last report on these, they are not released in number order). This is the welcome return of the MB810 ’71 Pontiac Firebird Formula.

It comes in a lighter red with a screaming chicken across the front. Plus a side design. This is terrific work by the Matchbox team in squeezing out an extra tampo print on this one.

I like the side design too, and it feels to me like it has a bit of a retro vibe to it. After all this is the retro series, so we should get a bit of a retro feel when we see them. I am very happy to see this model return too, as it has been a few years since we last saw it. Hmm! Rundown time!

The casting debuted 10 years ago as MB15 in 2011. As was the norm at the time, 25 models in the range saw 2 versions throughout the year, and 3 batches after it arrived in blue, it popped up again in tan.

In 2012 it moved to the MB63 slot in the basic range, and guess what? They only decided it would be one of the 25 getting doubled up again. It first arrived with its first screaming eagle look. However this time it was on the side of the model. Then later on, it returned to the simple front/rear print on a light green model.

It also got its first outing that year in a premium look. That is because it was chosen to be the promotional issue at the Albuquerque Convention. Jim chose it to be the dinner model that year, and the first 75 models saw the screaming eagle on the hood too. The rest of the models had a plain black hood.

2013 was in the midst of a short-lived tweak to the Matchbox brand which started looking at brighter models, and the idea of seeing things from a kid’s perspective (hence why we saw many new Matchbox originals with oversized wheels). Sadly, as part of this, many classics were dropped from the basic range,and the Firebird was one. But it did pop up as a 10-pack exclusive. Because they were also celebrating their 60th Anniversary that year, they still wanted to do some sort of nod to the past. It was decided that all the 10-pack exclusives that year would be of a classic car, and each would see a single tampo print across the top that also incorporated the 60th logo. This was one of them, and came in orange with just the screaming eagle hood print (plus a 60th logo over it).

Luckily classics were not dropped from the basic range completely. They were simply reduced. It came back to the 2014 basic range in green with a side design. I found a nice shade to the MB11 that year.

In 2015 we saw a red model that had a somewhat similar side design to the latest issue. Inspiration? It was not the same design, but certain elements were similar. This was a part of a Classic Rides 5-pack that year.

And finally, the last release before the current one was back in the basic range again. This one featured the screaming chickens on top again as a rusty orange model was MB25 issue that year. And again I did notice a nice shade to be found on it. I am very happy seeing it return again.

Next up we get the number 4 of 24, which is the MB1023 ’70 Datsun 510 Rally. As is the case with these smaller series, half the models (roughly) are new releases with the other half being carry forwards, and this is a carry forward of the 2019 MB73.

So many will remember this look as it was just 2 years ago we last saw it. It was a nice one, as it did feature some more of the Matchbox Ambassadors.

We had Chuck Wiersma, Shabbir Malik and Nigel Cooper adorning part of the front end tampo print. As well as….

Terry Ozima. Wow! He gets a mention on 2 different models in this report. Excellent for Terry. But the model, is it the same as before?

I always like to check carefully, as often you see differences. I was a little nervous I had 2 already. The bases came in lighter or darker yellows.

Which you might be able see better in this picture. The one on the left was a darker shade than the one on the right.

The stripe on Nigel Shocks also seemed to follow the shade of the base, which I thought was really cool. So how does the new one compare.

Holy wow! This is a huge shade difference to the base. This is more of an orangey-yellow this time. A very noticeable change.

The Nigel Shocks stripe! This too has turned orangey-yellow! OMG! This is freaking awesome. Base shade variations that are being duplicated on the tampo stripe. This is so incredible. Did the team deliberately plan this, or is it just a massive coincidence? Either way, I absolutely love it! Yeah I know I may be more of a minority to these things, but I just love when a model returns and sees something different like this.

Oh wait, am I doing another run down? Okay, the year was 2017. The model arrived as MB94 in orange with err 6-spoke wheels? Disk wheels? Take your pick.

How about shades of orange? Light? Dark? More choices.

But that’s okay, it’s not like, wait! The items in the roof seem to vary in shade too. The luggage down one side being lighter or darker brown. The jerry can at the front being yellow or orangey-yellow. Yes there was a lot to this debut, and I personally have quite a selection of them. Am I mad? Definitely! No arguing from me. Mad as a hatter!

There was also a rare exclusive edition which had additional side printing too. This was given away at JCCS that year, as well as to some custom Matchbox winners as they had an Instagram contest going that year for people to submit their customized looks.

After that the 2018 MB108 seemed like a let down. Sure it had another Ambassador on the tampo (John Yanouzas), but there was only the 1 variation (as far as I could find).

It was also chosen to be an Albuquerque special that year too. Jim Gallegos (another former Ambassador) commissioned this as a dealer model, and I believe his names was etched along the back.

After the 2019 basic with 3 Ambaasadors on it, we next saw it in 2020 when it was a 9-pack exclusive. And lo and behold, it has me on one side. Another Ambassador. The alternate side had Larry Scaduto too, yet another Ambassador. Luckily with 2020 seeing 2 colours for each exclusive, this being black and white, I can show both sides at once.

It was also in the Walmart Off Road Rally series too. This green model features a small logo behind the rear wheel that is an “S” with Schleuer written over it. Yes, you guessed it, Dirk Schleuer, a former Matchbox Ambassador. As a recap, in the past we had 11 different Matchbox Ambassadors over the years. With John Yanouzas (1), Jim Gallegos (2), myself David Tilley (3), Terry Ozima (4), Chuck Wiersma (6), Shabbir Malik (7), Nigel Cooper (9), Larry Scaduto (10) and Dirk Schleuer (11) all featuring so far, that equates to 9 out of 11 Ambassadors so far appearing in one way or another on a tampo scheme on a Datsun 510 Rally. Only 2 holdouts. John Nijhuis (5) and John Lambert (8). Will we see their names on future Datsun 510s for a full rundown of Ambassadors? You would think so.

Number 10 of 24 is another carry forward. This time the MB574 Jeep Cherokee with roof light.

Only this time the model moves from being a Walmart exclusive to a Target exclusive, as it originally came in the Walmart Jeep set in 2019. So as we know, this model is one that sports the always popular National Parks livery.

I mean you can’t go wrong with the National Parks livery. Unless it is a carry forward? Let me see.

Back in 2019 the model sported shades of mint green. One here is noticeably paler than the other. So I have to admit to being a little nervous over this one.

I don’t know if you can see but the new one in the middle is a little brighter than both the 2 originals.

The orange in the tampo printing is also coming out in a darker hue too.

Even the grey interior section is a slightly different shade. So yes, again I am happy with the new issue. For me it is a variation added to my collection.

Matchbox Vanner. The MB1052 ’95 Custom Chevy Van pops up here in an all-new livery as number 11 of the 24 in the series.

I only recently showcased all these as it was also in a recent 9-pack in a Forest Ranger design, so I didn’t feel the need to showcase them all again, or to point out (as we all know) that there are 2 variations with either a spare wheel or motorbike on the back. I thought I would just concentrate on the look of this new issue. Again this new look is giving me all sorts of retro vibes. There is also a nod to Gerry Cody, whose real van was the inspiration for the model. Nice touch.

I also love that the design is different on both sides. One of the sides features a picture of the van too, which I thought was a great little touch. I do enjoy a livery with 2 different looks on either side. This one is definitely one of my favourite looks for this model.

Ooh the MB956 Lamborghini LM002 has returned. Taking the number 14 slot in the set of 24 in a light blue.

This model is new for the series and does not have a retro vibe to the design, because this is just a retro model. A very 1970s vehicle. The LM002 does stand out, and this colour pops too. I like it. Simple detailing front and rear, yes this does the job nicely.

I am very happy to see it return too as it does not get a lot of use.

It debuted in 2015 in bright yellow with the same sort of front and rear detailing. MB82 in the basic range that year.

In 2016 it moved to the MB101 slot in a lovely red with again the same sort of front and rear detailing. This completes a lovely triple shot of primary colours for the model. But there were two others.

Because also in 2016, its only time being issued with more than just the simple front and rear look, we saw this white with a stripey side design added in the Best of series that year. This also featured 2-part rubber wheels too.

And that was how it stood for a few years, before it popped up again in the 2019 Autobahn Express 5-pack in black. As per normal for the core ranges, it sported a simple front and rear tampo look.

Which means that in 7 years we are now up to 5 issues of this casting. And if you notice the colour choices, black, white and the primary assortment. So I believe the next step is to start looking at secondary colours. Come on orange, green and purple issues! I Googled it. They all exist. They all look good too. Seriously, I am starting my campaign for it now….

Well actually I might just finish the report now. Up to number 23 of the 24 now as we see an old friend. The MB564 Foam Fire Turck! Yes I said Turck! It wasn’t a mistake.

Of course now it goes by the name Wildlife Rescue Truck (although the base doesn’t include “Truck”, maybe they were worried over spelling it wrong). It has seen a few modifications since it first debuted during the Hero City era back in 2002.

But what it didn’t see was a new look. Termite Terminators has been seen in the past.

Originally it was MB43 in the 2006 basic range. So this is a blast from the past carry forward. Oh I love these. What’s the same? What’s different?

Oh boy oh boy there is a lot different. Okay I may be dribbling a little here as I go through all the changes.

The casting has seen quite a bit of remodeling over the years. The items in the rear of the model have changed. The container of equipment that originally sat behind the seats was removed and the tank was pushed forward. The resulting space behind it somebody threw a wrench in there. That’s a bit different. Due to the different interior section to the model the steering wheel has changed too. You may also notice that the open section on the door has now been filled in too.

Looking at the other areas, obviously the wheels are different. The old sawblades have been replaced by a set of cog wheels now. The Termite terminators logo on the side has been shrunk down a little and no longer fills the entire side panel. The poison sign has also been upgraded, and a few additional details now adorn the knobs and switches on the side too. This is, well, just awesome! I keep saying that don’t I.

Of course it sported the original base at the time, as the rear was originally held down by the interior rivet-wise. This was the reason behind moving the tank forward, as it is quicker to rivet front and rear from the body section. Riveting the front body and rear interior sections was a little more fiddly. So move the interior forward and rivet from the body again. Simple!

But why did I call it Turck? For those who don’t know, when the casting first debuted back in 2002 they accidentally spelled it wrong on the base. Yes, Foam Fire Turck! They had to wipe the Turck off and rename it Truck, which for those with really good eyesight might be able to just make out the speckled pattern to the base on the upper model here is a little different around where Truck is. It’s like blending in a metallic paint. Pretty tough to get just right.

Which brings me to the last model in the batch. Another new look for the MB813 Express Delivery in the number 24 slot out of 24.

I think this is a rather snazzy design. Definitely has some retro colours to it, and even though it sports a “since 2006” in the design, it definitely feels much older. Sort a ’60s vibe? Definitely something different.

They have done quite a few models with a bike themed design to them. I think it is good, as it helps to promote clean air, exercise, and helps with the whole “environmentally friendly” appeal that is important nowadays. As we have seen a few of these lately and I have done a few photos shoots with the old ones I will not bother doing it all again which means I am done.

9 models in total, although with one being a twin pack, a rundown of 8 packs. Oh look, the Ozima car is still on the Ozima truck. But obviously I can’t leave it here can I. Dive back time!

So where to start? How about with the classic Lesney MB011 Car Transporter. Although never mentioned on the base of the model, it clearly has Bedford across the front, and is therefore a Bedford Car Transporter. If you were to be specific, this is one of 2 variants of the Bedford TM-series truck. In real life it was built from 1974 until Bedford ceased in 1986 and was their first foray into the Heavy Goods Vehicle or Long Goods Vehicle category. They had never built a unit this large before. But it was a good seller. It was known for its refinery (very important for truck drivers) and quality of ride. It likely would have been made for longer, but General Motors decided to sell off the Bedford truck brand to a company who set themselves up as IBC Vehicles and continued making various trucks under an AWD moniker. But not this largest one. Funnily enough, Bedford was the van and truck subsidiary of Vauxhall in the UK, and the smaller vans were actually just Vauxhalls with no rear seats and a cargo area. General Motors sold off Vauxhall (along with their German equivalent Opel) to the PSA Group in 2017 which itself merged with Fiat Chrysler this year to form Stellantis. What was the firs thing Stellantis did? Buy IBC Vehicles. So what was Bedford was split off from Vauxhall, but now through various mergers and acquisitions is now part of the same company again. How cool is that? Oh wait, I was supposed to be talking about the model.

It was launched in 1977 in the basic range as MB11-C. Through the rest of the 1970s the model was orange with a beige carrier sporting 3 plastic cars on it. These cars were red, yellow and blue and usually came in the set pattern of red front/yellow rear on top with blue underneath. Combinations do exist in alternate formats, and also it has been known to have 2 or even 3 of one colour. All non-standard combinations tend to be fairly rare though.

Of course with 3 years of production all sorts of things can change. Shades can appear on most items. The orange to the model can differ, the plastic cars on top can vary from lighter to darker and those bases. Flat black, gloss black, charcoal, grey, unpainted, brown. There are quite a few combinations.

Windows too. The default was usually a dark blue, but a lighter greeny blue can be found, as well as green or purple.

In 1980 they changed the model slightly by swapping out the orange body section for a red one.

But again these combinations of window, shade, base and plastic cars continued to confuse us and make trying to hunt down variations much more difficult. However, it did appear that as a general rule, blue windows continued to be the most common, and this time the unpainted base was definitely the go-to choice there too.

But again silver, as well as gloss black appear to be found too. In 1982 the US range dropped the model, but it ran a full 3 years in the ROW range until 1982.

You could literally go nuts trying to hunt down all the different variations. Where to stop? These 2 for instance have a dark red and light yellow car on the top on one, the other a medium shade to both. Do you go for mix and match combination?

Don’t forget there is a blue one underneath too. This was varying too. This is a model that could go on and on.

But anyway, this still was not it for then model. In 1983 they decided to mix it up a little again.

By going back to orange for the body, but now the carrier section was grey. At this time they decided to default change the position of the cars on top, with the yellow being the usual front issue and red rear. However, again many combinations exist, and some can be found with red at the front as well as other mix and match (plus duplication).

When placed with the original ’70s orange, the new shade was significantly darker. The model now only came with light blue windows except for a rare early batch that had dark blue, leftover from the previous model. I am still hunting that down. The base is usually gloss black now, but a few unpainted ones were found. It was run for 2 years as an ROW exclusive in 1983 and 1984 while being produced in England.

And in 1985, production moved to Macau for one last year. So what fun did Macau have for their one year of production? None! Not a single item varied. Orange, silver base, grey carrier, light blue window, light blue car front, dark red rear, yellow bottom. End of discussion! Party poopers! After they finished production in 1985 the model was retired (although crudely copied by a Hungarian company).

Where to go for my next dive back? Well let’s do another truck shall we? Inspired by Express Delivery being in blue, I went with the MB139 Volvo Tilt Truck. This was a part of the first Volvo casting that Matchbox ever had. The Volvo F-series in real life was sold between 1977 and 1993 before being replaced by the FH-series. They were either F10, F12 or F16, depending on the size of engine inside. Matchbox created a casting of the F-series in 1982 and over subsequent years came up with a number of it. Alongside the MB026 Cable Truck, MB035 Zoo Truck, MB148 Container Truck, MB315 Stake Truck and MB390 Tank Truck was this. The only one to see a modification to the model to incorporate a 3rd axle. Every other one was a 2-axle vehicle.

MB139 was first launched exclusively in the ROW basic range as MB26 in 1984. It ran for 2 years in blue with a Fresh Fruit Co logo on the canopy section (although if you are lucky, you might find one where they forgot to tampo, I haven’t yet).

But as with a lot of items, during the Universal era, production of many items moved to Macau in 1983 when they took over, but items that were solely being sold in the ROW market did not make the moved until 1985. So this model began in England and ended up in Macau.

I tend to find Macau issue have a more red looking tampo print, and England a more orange. But Macau is also a lighter blue too.

In 1986 the model changed to a yellow design with Ferrymasters on the side. This also now included a door tampo print too.

It ran 3 years in this livery, but again part of the way through the model got shipped off again. This time to China, which does give us more differences.

This was because in 1987 they decided to add the model to a gift set, and this particular gift set was all being made in China. Don’t ask me the logistics of how and why they do that, they just did. Some gift sets were made in Macau, others China. I believe it was something to do with where the gift sets were going, but with China being basically the same place as Macau, would it have made a difference? Perhaps. Maybe there were certain taxes that could be sidestepped at the time in some markets.

This was that Gift set model. A 1987 G-5 Federal Express set. I believe these were only sold in the ROW market at the time, and only made in China.

In 1989 the model changed its look again for the ROW basic range. It was back in blue, although a dark solid blue instead of a lighter metallic look. It now featured a Michelin logo on the side of the cab and Michelin sprawled across the canopy. However, after an early run with very thick writing, the canopy section saw a thinner Michelin in later runs.

This year also saw the launch of the Commando series too, and the Tilt Truck was given an outing for both warring factions. Both Dagger Force (the black one) and Strike Team (the olive one) had a Volvo in their stable.

The model was also given a blue outing in the “Swiss Collection” too. This was a set of models released exclusively for the Swiss market that year. A few castings saw multiple looks, but the Tilt Truck just had the one for Henniez. Henniez being a company that sold bottled water in Switzerland since 1905, and since 2007 is owned by Nestle.

Then in 1990, something unusual happened. No, it was not the new look. It was now white with a Pirelli side design. No, they decided to add it to the US range too as MB49. After the 1980s being all ROW focused, the model was now a worldwide release.

It also saw a release in the My First Matchbox series too. A series aimed at being the starter series for the youngest of children, with models mainly seeing primary colours and a very childlike look.

Pirelli ran as a worldwide basic range release until 1992 but during that time the model saw the tyre tracks change from grey to black. At the end of 1992 the model was dropped from both ranges.

Although the My First Matchbox model eked out an additional year as this finished in 1993. Some were sold without canopies on the back (legitimate variation but no additional value as you could literally pop a canopy off to make one). But during the last year they decided to stop printing the hubs on the wheels.

After this the model went very quiet until 1998 when it popped up in an Action Pack (which was was they were calling what is currently Hitch & Haul). The Circus Pack saw a red model with a white canopy with Big Top Circus on it. It was paired with an MB317 Ford Cargo with Cage and additional accessories.

And in 1999 saw a final swansong in the ROW basic range again. It was MB4 for that year and sort of had a nod to the debut with an apple themed design. After this the model was retired for good.

So where to go with my next bounce back? Well if you were wondering why I didn’t do a rundown of all the Jeep Cherokees with light bar when I showed the new one, well, I decided to do them all here instead. The MB574 Jeep Cherokee with light bar was an offshoot of the earlier MB168 Jeep Cherokee that had debuted in 1986. However, this is the complicated bit. Manufacturing numbers rules tend to vary as the years go on, and what happens at one point will not necessarily happen at another. In 1996 they decided to add a light to the Cherokee. They didn’t assign it a new number, and for a while they were just using the original MB168 and marking down to add lights. It was only later, as both were still popular castings, that they decided to give it a MAN number. This was officially assigned in 2002 with models retro-actively being re-assigned that had already been produced. But to make things easier, I will only refer to it as MB574.

Because the thing is, this model at first was just being used in 5-packs. After debuting in red with a gold side design and Fire Chief on the hood in the 1996 Fire 5-pack, for 1997’s Fire Pack it was now red with a white side design. Although there is a variant found in Canada at the time of the 1997 where the blue light bar did not have a silver middle section. This was one of a number found in random window boxes there, all numbered as 20.

For 1997 it had a late run in a City Streets 5-pack too. It was a change-out of the MB041 Ambulance later on in the production run.

It also saw a premium issue (oh look I am actually doing one) as it was in the PC-7 set that year. Of course I showcase it as there was some leftover body sections painted up which just saw other components added to make a complete model and umped on the Chinese market in 1998 too.

In 1999 we also saw another 5-pack issue. Airport featured yet another red issue, with a winged side design on it. If you lived in Germany though, you might have been able to find it on its own too, as the German range had a bunch of exclusive models, plus a few pulled from 5-packs added to the range there that year. It was MB23 for the German market.

The US range also saw a basic range too, although MB97 there was totally different. It was white with a Water Works side design.

It was definitely bouncing around the countries. 2000 saw Australia (and New Zealand) see an exclusive MB63 with a crocodile themed Animal Rescue design.

We also saw yet another 5-pack issue, this time in the Camp Jeep set in blue with a tan spayed mud design that might vary between models.

It also saw its first use as a Launcher model too. The Test Center set saw a white model with a polar bear themed side design.

2001, and yet another Launcher model. This was in the Test Center pack again. Although now it had a totally different design.

for 2002 it returned to 5-pack usage again. It was in a Fire Chiefs 5-pack that year in white and red.

Which continued in 2003 in a new colour.

The casting took 2004 off before returning with the relaunch of Hitch ‘N Haul (as that was how it was marketed at the time). It was in the Grizzly Lake pack with a Pop Up Camper in tow.

Plus, it was back in the Launchers again for a final shot there. This was the Surf Watch pack (it had no real name, but because the models had Surf Watch on them, it became the default pack name).

In 2006 it had one final outing in its original guise in the Coastguard 5-pack. Most production runs saw the model sport sawblade wheels, but there is a harder to find lace wheel variant.

After that the model took 11 years off! When it resurfaced in 2018, in yet another 5-pack (Texas Rangers), the model did sport a few changes.

It had seen a retool to incorporate the roof light into the window piece to reduce the part count. The model was tidied up a little and detils re-enhanced too.

Although a big change affected the rear as the model was no longer a slot in production model. Normally they would have slotted the license plate through the rear and riveted front front down.

But with the move to the drop method, these slot ins are all being removed. Oddly though, it still has 2 rivets. Originally it was double riveted at the front.

Then, as I noted already, Walmart saw a 2019 Jeep set issue of the same model that is now out at Target.

In 2019 it even saw another basic range outing as MB51 in red. There was a 2020 Rocky Peaks 5-pack issue, and after photographing everything I discovered I forgot to take a photo of it. I have no idea how I missed that. But there was one more before the current release.

I am going to finish off my dive back with a Pontiac, because we had one in the retro batch. This was the MB612 Pontiac Solstice.

The Solstice debuted in the 2004 range as MB64. In a range full of Hero City and Ultra Hero models, this was a real breath of fresh air. A simple light blue with headlight tampo. Very nice.

However, it did not continue into 2005. But was handed over to the Superfast range in either silver (ROW market) or black (US market) in the number 42 slot.

It even saw 2 licensed 5-pack issues too. Mario Kart 64 had a yellow model with Luigi on the side of it. Namco had a silver model with a Pole Position design.

For 2006 the model returned to the basic range again as MB14, this time in blue again but now with a lot more detailing.

When you place the 2 side by side, you notice the type of blue is significantly different. A silvery type of blue for the debut and a purplish hue for the 2006.

It continued on with the Superfast series too, and was one of the models chosen to be a “Streakers” model, in a nod to the original 1970s Streakers.

It was a few years before we saw the model again though. 2009 to be exact, when it was used in the Disneyworld/Disneyland exclusive 5-pack in green. This was the 1 year that they extended their usual bus and plane exclusives to also have a 5-packtoo (mind you they lost the plane this year).

Then, it disappeared again until 2013 where it saw, what is so far, its last outing. A Jake and the Never Land Pirates licensed 3-pack, which was the last year they did licensed packs, reducing from 5s to 3s. But this is where things get rather odd.

Because after that, the model was looked at to enhance all the detailing.

You see it was pretty quick at losing a lot of detailing. The front light section was pretty much faded away to nothing. So they re-crafted the light section and smoothed out the grille too, as it did originally have a lattice effect to it, which had pretty much gone away anyway.

Again at the rear, a lot of the detailing had just faded away from the model, so this was all carefully crafted back in again.

They even had the base redone and re-copyrighted to 2013 ready for further use. We’re still waiting. All this trouble and effort, and to date it has never been used. The thing is, as I have mentioned already, Matchbox have been moving away from the slot in production method. So if they did want to use it again, it would need to be re-tooled again to remove the slot in area at the rear and utilize a rivet area instead. Somehow I am not sure if they will bother. Strange the way things go sometimes.

And on that bombshell, I am definitely finished with this week’s report. That was all about (initially) the Target Retro and Hitch & Haul models. It featured 4 carry forwards (or in 1 case, duplicate) models.

As well as 5 all-new designs. I hope you enjoyed my run down of those, as well as the dive backs.

Next week I guess I should finish off my report on batch E shouldn’t I. Until then have a safe week.

8 Replies to “Matchbox Monday “Targets” another Hitch & Haul”

  1. The Volvo tilt truck was a great casting. I would love to see it made again. Wag n drag would be great too. Mbx in that era 80s early 90s was good. Retro!….. Yeah in a Tesco’s future retro lineup.?!πŸ€žπŸ˜ƒ…….. Anything been found at Tesco’s?. Nothing at my local. 14th September tag. UK series2 found in UK yet?!… Good read as everπŸ‘

    1. Nope! Lol. Nothing at all from what I’ve witnessed, no stock of any Matchbox at Tesco except for 2 new 9 packs. I’ve just come back from Spain and considering there were no Matchbox at all on my last visit in January 2020 they are now available everywhere!! Clearly using Tesco as sole retailer for the UK needs to be ditched ASAP!

      1. I agree this exclusive only to Tesco needs to end. To be fair I can say their pricing of Matchbox have been fair. Also this transport problem. They have a million and one products to deal with I get that. I see as Matchbox is now changed for good it now needs to be seen in UK. My local Tesco seems to have cleared up of their own Carousel brand and made way for a Mattel Barbie stand and also Lego additional…. It’s good to here of Spain’s Matchbox distribution is good. Good old Skool brand of Guisval makes me smile. I need a holiday!.
        As 9packs still nothing at my local but dated today’s 14th September for all to come?!…
        I will check and see what’s to offer.
        Bring back where even corner shops… Every outlet sold Mbx . Petrol station promotion’s…Blanks to Adtruck North Walsham to do local / regional promotion model’s.. maybe a thing of the past but this brand needs to be let loose here in the UK.
        Thank you Mr Tetlow. Hope you enjoyed your holiday… Lucky man!!!πŸ™‚πŸ‘

    2. Hehe thanks Aaron yes I had an amazing 10 days away and came back with over 100 diecasts, many being Guisval who somehow continue to survive against all odds! I suspect like you say the general availability of any diecasts here in the UK is down to the transport shortages. Food will always be prioritised over diecasts understandably but the run up to the festive period gets ever closer….

  2. Hello David. Another great Matchbox update. It has to be wonderful to wallow in one’s passion! πŸ™‚ The Lamborghini LM002 is a superb casting. It looks best when the deco is kept simple — the matte red being my favorite. The BEST OF version with the blingy tampos and ornate wheels is the weakest from my viewpoint. The MB011 Car Transporter is the best of your historical mentions. I found one of those in an antique toy shop a few years ago in perfect condition. A wonderful (and lucky) addition to my Lesney collection.

    One of my usual off-topic questions — because I know you always know all answers where Matchbox history is concerned. I recall John Lambert posted (several years ago) how the Ferrari 456 GT is the last time we saw a Matchbox Ferrari. Was the Lesney # 73 Ferrari F156 race car the first Ferrari? Have you ever discussed all of the Matchbox Ferraris? If not, it would make for great reading for the collectors. Of course, if Mattel ever obtains the Ferrari license once again we all know the OTHER BRAND will benefit — not Matchbox.

    1. I have to admit, I have so far never done a timeline of Ferrari models. Yes you are right, the old Lesney regular wheel era Ferrari 156 Racing Car was the first. I do not own one as I don’t do regulars. The next was the Berlinetta which drifted into the beginning of the Superfast era so I do have those (just Superfast, 2 green and 5 red, all different). Then it was the 308GTB, Testarossa, F40, 456GT, F50 and 360 Spider in that order. But strangely the 456GT outdid the F50 and both that and the 360 Spider finished up in 2005 when they lost their ability to make them. In total we have had 8 different Ferraris done by Matchbox. But if Mattel were to ever get the license back maybe they would have a Mattel license, and then it could be used across multiple platforms. I am always hopeful.

  3. Ah yes, distribution. Current transport problems aside, it was already bonkers. I can get HW in newsagents, toyshops, supermarkets…now even including the local small Waitrose!! MB used to be available in every corner shop because they were distributed through wholesalers and I guess that’s all changed? The strangest thing is toyshops can’t get MB and that must be a strategic decision by Mattel. Ho hum. Tesco labels now say 28th September. Don’t hold your breath…

    1. I agree Tim my local Tesco’s has now put out Hotwheels new batches…. B&M still has a lovely stand for Hotwheels set out. Well pretty much everywhere…. May not be up to date or all but they find their way here no problems. Matchbox has been played out for years it seems. I just don’t get why?!…. My local Tesco’s still says 14th……. LOL πŸ˜ƒ…. Yet Hotwheels put there.

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