I decided for this week’s post, I would go slightly different and just ramble on about the 2021 5-packs in general. I am not covering all of them, although I delved in to quite a few. But with so much great stuff in them, I thought it would be cruel to just leave them out from my reporting.
Now Matchbox has been doing multi-packs for a long time. Lesney weren’t around for too long before they started creating certain packs that contained more than just the one model in them. But more often than not they were simply pulled from singles and sold as a group. Some packs saw something unusual, and the first time we saw anything unusual in a 5-pack was in 1979 when the MP-1 packs saw a few unique looks. The MB65-A Saab Sonett III and MB10-B Ford Mustang Piston Popper in particular stood out as both were white. When they were originally sold, both were blue. Over the next few years they continued to sell MP-1 packs usually with standard models, but they were often used to clear out excess stock, and when they cut ties with their unique Japanese range, a whole host of models that had already began production with something unique about them ended up being thrown in packs. Universal occasionally made 5-packs for sale too, but there was nothing standard or routine about them. It was just random packages for random things. Nothing stood out. It was not until Tyco took over that the 5-pack became a “thing”.
One of the first things they did when they took over the brand from Universal was to come up with a small selection of 5-packs. This Off Road pack was one of the first packs released, back in 1993. It featured (in MAN number order) the MB005 4×4 Jeep w/rollbar in blue, MB095 4×4 Jeep w/canopy in yellow, MB102 4×4 Chevy Van in black, MB180 Land Rover Ninety in orange and MB187 Ford Bronco II in red. It was fairly late in the year and they also ran through 1994. In 1995 a new range of 5-packs appeared, and since that time, every single year has seen a new range of 5-packs. I have been a big fan of them and have picked up every single 5-pack released since they first debuted in 1993. At the time, being in the UK, the only place that would sell them at first was Woolworth. Now, the only place that sells them is Tesco.
So let’s cut to the chase. 2021. I mean, this is the basic point of this post. This year has seen some great stuff appear in 5-pack as well as a number of curiosities. I am starting with a pack that to me, has both. The MBX City Drivers pack.
First appearing back in April, this pack saw a lovely dark blue MB1090 ’17 Honda Civic sporting a simple front and rear tampo scheme.
It also saw the MB981 Chevy Silverado 4×4 in black with some really cool side logos, including the continuing Skyjacker Suspensions logo. It is nice seeing this having a new lease of life after returning from the doldrums last year.
The pack also contained the MB795 Cliff hanger. Yes, city pack. I haven’t quite figured out how it fits in. As I said, curiosities. Not that I mind. I have always loved this casting. So getting another version of it to add to my growing army is great. But i always find it funny when you see something so out of place. In fact I think they did at first too. When they previewed the 2021 5-packs at the 2020 Gathering, it was shown with a “replace” tag on it. I guess they decided to just run with it. Good for me. For many though, I am sure it was a case of WTF!
But this pack also had 2 very nice surprises as well. First of all was this. The MB809 Infiniti G37 in red. Beautifully done with simple front and rear tampos again. It is so nice to see this has not been forgotten. Quick recap time.
Which won’t take long. This is it. The entire history of this casting. It debuted in 2011 as MB9 in blue. 5 years later it reappeared as MB32 in grey. And now here we are, 5 years later, and we now have a red one. So by this logic, version 4 is due in 2026 (as I don’t include the debut blue being carried forward to next year). So yes, this has one of the slowest roll-outs of any casting ever, but I do enjoy seeing it. Seriously, I am trying to think of any casting that is averaging less than 1 release on average every 5 years (not including the one hit wonders, still wondering where the MB1075 Arctic Thunder is, not due after its 2018 debut in 2022, so if it pops up in 2023, it will tie with this one).
Then there is the MB715 ’65 Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GTA. Whoo! A grey one.
This model hasn’t been gone quite as long, as it was last seen in the 2017 Best of series. But that was part of the ongoing red or white scenario.
This is the 3rd time that the model has not been in plain red or white. The other 2 were from its debut year. 2007. It was the Dinner model at the Albuquerque convention that year in bronze, and the end of the year 1st Editions 10-pack had a metallic burgundy issue.
But apart from that, they have all been red or white. Aside from the 2017 already shown, the debut year as MB32 saw both. It started in red, and after a few batches turned white.
2008 was supposed to have been green, but ended up being white. First run was metallic, but this was changed to solid white again as a running change. After MB4 finished that year it has not seen a further basic range issue.
But there was only so much red or white that could be done. In 2008 Superfast saw an enhanced red issue with further tampo all over, and Best of International, being in-between core and premium, managed to eke out a little side detailing with the cloverleaf for the white issue. But after 2008 it went on hiatus. With the 2017 random offering again being white, it is so nice to see a grey issue. Finally, new colours. I can’t wait to see if they can get some more going. Will we see it back in the basic range? Will we finally see the green release? This model returning is quite a big deal, but almost slipped by being in a 5-pack. This is part of the reason why I really wanted to do some 5-pack talk.
I also like that they are embracing the recurring themes again. We have the big ones, like this year the MBX Road Crew pack featured 5 models in the white and orange Ranec theme.
Just like in 2018 when we had the Ranger Rescue 5-pack featuring 5 models in the National Parks theme.
But we had a smaller, less noticeable recurrence. Coffee Cruisers II was the first pack of the year. Being “II” sort of gives it away that this is not the first time they did Coffee Cruisers.
As a reminder, the 5 models in this set were the MB1087 ’33 Plymouth PC Sedan in red.
The MB1130 ’47 Chevy AD Pickup in green.
The MB363 ’62 VW Beetle in blue.
MB761 ’72 Lotus Europa Special in yellow.
And the MB987 ’78 Dodge Monaco Police in black. Now most people picked up on the link with the 2 packs. The Matchbox State Police livery.
But let’s bring the last pack back in. Coffee Cruisers from 2018.
Yes the police car in the set used the exact same design, altered in tiny parts in reference to the new model (MAN number in the shield and rear, precinct being different between the Dodge and MB858 ’56 Buick Century). But let’s look closer at the others too.
A classic pickup truck with a door logo. The last one had the MB300 ’56 Ford Pickup in yellow with Mooneyes on the side.
A classic British sporty vehicle with some sort of numbered reference on it. The MB688 ’61 Jaguar E-type had 65 on it (in reference to Matchbox 65th Anniversary) and the Lotus has a 6.
2 vehicles named after animals. As the MB260 Dodge VIPER RT-10 joins the BEETLE from this pack. Okay that was a bit of a stretch, but to me it works.
And 2 more. I couldn’t really see a link for these too. The MB700 ’63 Cadillac Hearse and the MB1087 ’33 Plymouth PC Sedan. But there is another recurrence for the packs too.
The 2 police cars are black.
Then we now have 2 yellow vehicles.
2 green vehicles.
2 red vehicles.
& finally 2 blue. I just thought that was such a cool thing. Next year will see a Coffee Cruisers III, and I doubt they will keep this going again, as the preview didn’t have a police car in it. But for this one I thought it was great seeing such a link to the last pack.
But that is the thing with these. You never know if they will use a recurring theme or not. As Blue Highways II is obviously another Blue Highways pack, but contains no major linkage to the original pack.
There was only thing I could see as a loose link between the 2. The new pack has the MB042 ’57 Ford Thunderbird in orange.
Plus it has the MB1036 ’16 Chevy Camaro Convertible in black.
The previous Blue Highways pack had the Camaro in orange. As I said, that was the only loose link I could find. One casting used again and the colour used again. Everything else was completely different. Some cool stuff too.
As the MB1214 ’56 Aston Martin DBR1 came in a beautiful shade of burgundy.
After the debut “real” model as used in the Top Gun Maverick film (which is still to arrive) appeared last year in British Racing Green.
Very soon after a metallic green basic range version appeared too as MB73.
With this year seeing the opposite. 5-pack to basic 2020, basic to 5-pack for 2021 as this silver MB44 appeared before….
The burgundy issue.
This casting is coming along nicely. Are we now to expect 2 releases every year?
I also loved the look of the MB1083 ’63 Austin Healey 3000GT Mk2. This is the first time it has seen a side flash, and it looks lovely. It is also the first time it has been seen in an original look outside of the basic range (as the debut was thrown in a 9-pack before anybody mentions it).
Just to recap, it debuted in red as MB87 in the 2018 basic range. It was red with simple front and rear tampos.
2019 saw it turn blue as MB78 again with the simple front and rear printing.
With 2020 going nuts with 2 basics. One was MB42 in cream.
The other later in British Racing Green as MB55.
Which means it is the same basic colour as its last release. Green!
The last model in the pack was another British Roadster, the MB1094 ’56 Jaguar XK140. This was a lovely dark blue.
I doubt anybody will remember my little talk earlier this year on how these 2 models seem to be fairly well linked. This debuted in 2018 as MB3. It was metallic charcoal.
After that it was British Racing Green as the 2019 MB9, which was the same as the 2020 Austin Healey V2.
It then turned cream as the 2020 Highway Speeders 5-pack issue, the same as the Healey’s V1 2020 issue. Going backwards.
Then it appeared earlier this year in a light metallic blue as MB83, the same as the Austin 2020 basic. I made a remark how we were expecting a metallic charcoal Austin Healey and red Jag. Well they went a slightly different route.
Because the latest issue of each is a differing shade to the last issue of the same casting. Last time light blue, now dark. The Austin was dark green, now light. They are still linking together and I love it!
Another thing that this year has given us is an abundance of Wagons. Oh yes, I do enjoy the wagons. Anybody who follows me on Instagram knows I pretty much do a Wagon Wednesday post each week. I love ’em! So seeing a whole pack dedicated to them this year is just heaven. Seriously, why is this not a yearly occurrence? So I had to do a little recap of these too.
We saw the MB696 Audi RS6 Avant in a really nice matte charcoal. Giving it a matte finish really enhances the sportiness of this wagon.
It looks so much different to the last charcoal issue, the MB9 from 2007.
Apart from having the different tampo, different interiorm, and in this case an updated casting style. The matte vs gloss finish really changes the whole dynamic of the model. I really feel we should have more matte finishes.
For a bit of fun, silver. That was a 2008 “Real” 10-pack issue.
Or black, the 2007 Autobahn 5-pack issue. Charcoal fits nicely in between both and again being matte I think makes it look cooler.
Yeah I could have gone with the 2008 Superfast as the black issue instead. The one where the wheels changed to normal wheels on the last production run. But it would have still left me with the same answer. Matte charcoal, so much cooler.
How about the MB806 Cadillac CTS Wagon. A dark lavendar release after the black from the 2021 Cadillac series, and it is nice seeing this casting get more love again.
Yes I know it got cost reduced for 2021 after being left on the sidelines after 2014 (something I showed in detail when I ran down the set on the Cadillac issue here), but I still like this new issue. A very unusual shade.
We also have the MB1035 ’59 Chevy Brockwood Wagon in purple. This is the first time the model has not been seen with the canoe on top. Instead it sports the roof piece from the Land Rover Gen II Safari (as these are mix and match-able). I say roof piece, the Land Rover actually has 2. I am only showing one, but both exist. I like that this has a different look to it. All the others in the set wore simple front and rear tampos or pin striping down the sides, but this had a proper side design. Texas Gene and the Wild West Tours, along with a ropey side design too. I thought it was a nice touch.
Not that I minded the pin striping. The 2017 MB1 debut in red had them and it looked great.
As did the 2018 MB10 in blue.
Of course the 2020 issue was a 9-pack issue, and for that year, each assortment was seeing 2 packs featuring the same model in 2 colours. This had a really cool Camp Arrow Flint design in either olive or silver (and they even sneaked in a tiny change with Unit 8 on the olive or Unit 3 on the silver).
I have to admit, this model has been under-used in my opinion. This is only the 5th release of it.
Mind you it is not as quiet as the MB1133 ’64 Ford Fairlane Wagon. This is only its third issue. They have come out with some cool wagons recently, and barely used them. So I am really happy to see wagons getting some real love this year.
I might as well bounce back on this too. It’s one and only basic range release to date. Debuting as MB2 in 2018 in a lovely metallic blue, it has not seen a basic range issue since.
The only other issue before the current one was a 2020 MBX Highway 5-pack issue in pale grey.
Although there is one thing I have noticed with this model. Ever issue to date has the same side pin-striping design. I do like consistency, but I would love to see this model get more action.
Because I never get tired of wagons. This is the MB777 ’71 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser. Release number 11 or 12 since it debuted (depending on whether you count the carry forward brown as new or not) back in 2009, this latest issue is also the third blue issue to date. Am I getting tired of it? Nope! Bring ’em on! I will never get tired of the Vista Cruiser!
I am very happy to see the blue seeing the standard wood panel side design, as the other 2 were quite unique. I mean we had this very unusual 2011 MB18. I am yet to see them to do another model with a look like this. One day we will get another with a “For Sale” sign on it. Then we can start to build up a car dealership.
The other blue was the Target USA exclusive from the 2018 basic range where it was one of the 65th Anniversary specials mixed in with a basic range batch.
It was a really cool pack and I think we could easily get a second wagons pack.
Of course I also wanted to bring up this pack too. The Autobahn Express pack. Another really cool pack.
Because this one had brought back the MB823 Aston Martin DBS Volante after a way too long 6 years. It looks fantastic in white.
But then I just think it looks good in general. Debuting in 2011 as only the 4th Aston Martin casting ever in the Matchbox range (now have a 5th thanks to the DBR1), at first MB5 was green, but later on it changed to red.
2012 saw it turn silver as MB23.
And in lieu of a basic range for 2013, the model was in a very dark blue as part of the 60th Anniversary series instead.
Before returning to the basic range in 2014 in black as MB4.
But the last we had seen of it until now was the 2015 MB18 in champagne. Daft fact, I don’t know if anybody ever noticed, but this model always came with the same rear light structure. No red. If you were to ever see a 2011 Aston Martin DBS Volante in real life, that is what you would see. It does look a little unusual as you sort of expect red there, but that is officially correct and Matchbox have replicated the official lighting structure perfectly.
So another model that had not seen an awful lot of use finally returns. This is only the 7th issue of the casting. But this is also the first time the model has been sold in a multipack. Five basics and a 60th Anniversary (which was also sold as a single).
The MB1173 ’69 BMW 2002 also sees another look in dark green with clear windows. All releases (except the gold Target Superfast from 2019 which had smoke windows) have had blue windows until this release.
The MB671 Ford GT returns for another outing in a lovely cranberry with dual white stripes over the front too.
We also see the MB180 Land Rover Ninety in a lovely silver with blue striped Polizei side design. A nod to a recent pack methinks.
As the 2020 Highway Speeders pack had an MB945 Subaru Impreza Police in it in the exact same design. Even down to the fuß vom gas and MBX Star logo. For those who don’t know, fuß vom gas is German for “Foot off the gas” and is used by the police over there to help slow people down. But is it just a 5-pack thing?
Because the MB966 BMW M5 Police was in this year’s Best of Germany series in silver with a blue Polizei design, but made no mention of fuß vom gas in the livery.
And finally, because it is so cool. I love the fun license plates, and this MB816 Porsche Panamera in yellow has a C YA L8TR plate on the back. So with that, see you later….
I jest. Because I haven’t finished yet. Time to discuss what else is happening. Matchbox are now starting to bulk out 5-packs with additional packs of “carry forwards”. This will be continuing on in 2022 as well. We had 5 this year, 5 will be scheduled again next year. These have been brewing for a while. We have had random 5-packs of carry forward models appear over the last few years. It’s pretty clever in a way. All the licensing, all the legal requirements, you know, all the “i”s have been dotted and “t”s crossed. These models have all been cleared for use. So give them a second outing at a later date. It helps to bulk out the different looks on pegs, and although we as collectors do know they have all been in use before, the core market (you know, the kids) might not have seen those models. Especially when they have been able to pull models out from years before. Now the MBX Hybrid & Electric pack shown here does feature fairly recent models (although the eStar Electric Van had a casting modification which means it is different). But other packs have seen some models that haven’t been seen in a while. For those people who are like me and enjoy seeing variations, we enjoy seeing these 5-packs.
But although I enjoy them, and found that I kept every model in this particular set because I saw a variation, I did see perhaps a missed opportunity. This is the MBX Rally II set. It features some models not seen for a while like the MB666 Hummer H3 and MB670 Jeep Hurricane. Why did I mention those 2? Well, daft thing. I am not sure if it was a missed opportunity as I said, or whether the respective companies just did not allow them to re-issue the specific models again, but the other 3 in this pack had a common theme.
From top to bottom on the right is the MB723 VW Beetle 4×4, which was a carry forward of the Target Retro model from 2020, the MB767 Quick Sander, which was a carry forward of the 2009 basic range model and the MB716 Ridge Raider, which was a carry forward of the 2010 basic range issue. All 3 carried a D.E.R. theme. Desert Endurance Race. This was a theme that in the late ’00s and early ’10s recurred quite a lot on vehicles in an off-road theme. But the Hummer and Jeep were both plain black. The Hummer was a carry forward of its 2005 basic range debut and the Jeep the 2016 Jeep set release.
But look at this Hummer. A 2006 Adventure 5-pack release. Also black, but there is the D.E.R. side design. The Jeep too. This tan issue was from 2007’s basic range. I see the D.E.R. on the side. Were Matchbox lobbying to release this as the 5-pack, but unfortunately had to switch 2 of the models to alternates? A D.E.R. set would have been awesome. Even full of carry forwards. You don’t tend to know what is happening in the background behind the scenes, so as I found I wanted all 5 I was not too fussed.
But let’s go a little more in-depth with another pack. This is MBX Exotic. It contains 5 cars that were sold quite a while ago. A few are even casting that have not been seen much recently.
Like the MB749 ’08 Chevy Corvette ZR-1. It was last seen back in 2016 and this particular issue is a carry forward of the 2011 MB6. So this was originally produced a whole decade ago. But it’s white, so obviously you can’t get much in the way of a variation on white.
Well shall I bring in the 2011 release to find out?
I see it. The new one is on the left. It is actually a brighter white, and the window section is not as tinted as the new production run. Wow! To me, that is a lot of fun. That’s not all.
Look how much darker the rear lights are. Plus that license plate has grown.
Okay I will just bring in the alternates. The MB671 ’05 Ford GT is a carry forward of this 2009 MB18.
Oh wow! Look at the difference in the blue stripes. So much darker on the new one. It has also elongated the headlight tampo.
But flipping the model over shows something more. An updated base with new copyright date. Yes they have tweaked the casting, so there is so much more to see.
You can see how the rear detailing in the bodywork is now different. The whole rear end has been re-crafted.
They also changed the top edge of the hood. No longer does the model sport the little kink under the window where the wiper blade came from. I could point out other little tweaks too, but you get the idea. It is so much different.
Another reason why I did this whole post. If you read last week’s post, I talked about the Best of UK seeing this Jag. The MB688 was originally MB6 in the 2008 basic range, but was carried forward to both the Best of UK and to this 5-pack. As I said, I am a fan of carry forwards. I was just sad to see the same version carried forward to 2 different ranges at the same time, when there were plenty to choose from.
But as a carry forward, I am very happy. The new one is on the right here. A noticeably paler shade of blue for the model, and just like the Corvette the window has less of a tint. so yes, I am more than happy to see it as a carry forward, but I had 2. Didn’t want 2. Wanted 2 different ones!
The MB687 Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 Polizia was a carry forward of the 2014 MB81.
Again the white seems brighter and the windows have a lighter tint.
The blue in the tampo design is also a different shade. Newbie is on the bottom and has a lighter shade to the blue. Yellow and black are quite consistent. But to me, I am seeing differences.
The MB750 Lotus Evora was my biggest curiosity. This was a carry forward of the 2011 Modern Rides 5-pack issue.
However, when they first appeared, the model saw quite a noticeable shade variation at the time. Some came out quite green compared to the other more yellow shades. So would the new one match any?
Well I bring it in and yes, I see it.
It has even less of a green tint to it. Even more yellow. I love it!
The difference between most yellow and most green is so much greater now. So yeah, some people may be complaining over seeing carry forward 5-packs. But not me. I will happily take these packs and add even more models to my collection. So if this is their new approach to 5-packs, then I am fine. This does not bother me at all. If this helps to increase the variety on pegs for minimal additional costs then go for it.
I didn’t go through all the carry forward packs. I thought that would make the report too long. You get the gist with what I was talking about though.
I didn’t even do all the “new” 5-packs either. So very little talk of eStars or Rams.
But before I do my dive back into older stuff, I just wanted to point out 2 more things. Firstly the 2021 Ford GT release in the Autobahn Express 5-pack has the same tampo as the carry forward pack (or older 2009 issue). I love seeing the same design used again.
And if anybody follows me on Instagram, you might have seen a post I made the other week promoting my last blog report where I had Mr Bean’s chair on a VW Type 3 Fastback.
Well I have also discovered that this chair is an absolutely perfect fit for the BMW i3 too. It slots in perfectly. I am determined to find other models it slots on. Many are narrow enough it can just balance on but finding a good fit like this is a much tougher quest.
So time to bounce back. Well I had a massive choice of vehicles to use as inspiration this time. To begin with, as the ’65 Alfa Romeo Giulia sprint GTA was a significant model in the report, I thought I would go back to where we saw the first Alfa Romeo.
The 1968 Alfa Romeo Carabo Bertone Concept. Legend has it that Alfa Romeo were struggling to find buyers for the 33 Stradale. Launched in 1967, by the time they gave up on it, a total of 18 had been made. However, thinking sales would be good, they had already created 23 chassis for it when they stopped to take notice of how it wasn’t selling. in the end they gave 5 chassis away to various design houses to use as a starting point for some concept vehicles. Pininfarina had 2 (created the 33.2 and Cuneo concepts), ItalDesign had 1 (came up with the Iguana) and Bertone had the other 2. As well as this they also did the Navajo. But out of all the 5 concepts, the Carabo was by far the most significant. It was actually called Carabo because it was named after a particular green and gold beetle. The concept was green with gold touches. Marcelo Gandini was the designer, and he came up with something revolutionary for it. Front pivoting wing doors. Often known as the scissor door now, he later designed a certain Lamborghini Countach using the same principals. That was the first production vehicle to see them, but this was where it started. It also lent certain ideas to the Lancia Stratos HF as well. Matchbox created this orange pre-production sample, which is the closest to the green and gold one before launching it in the 1971 basic range as MB75-B.
For 4 years, the model was metallic light purple. But you know, 4 years, there was no way that shade of paint was staying the same. It never varied a lot, but you can find shades on it.
But what you will also find is that there was a few that they forgot to paint the base.
Then things got a bit interesting. 1975 came along and so did a certain tampo machine. Their initial plan was to run a number of models that had rather flat upper body areas under the machine once fully built to create a design using 2 different colours of tampo. Easy enough. Except when production of the new colour for the model (bright pink) started, somebody forgot to tell the factory workers they now have a tampo machine. the first small batch were produced without passing under the machine. Oops!
That was rectified quite quickly, and now the bright pink models were passing under the machine and getting a lime and yellow print applied over the top.
You can find variations in shades of pink and tampo shade. But there was one thing. Although it stands out on the louvres at the back (being black), a bright pink with light lime and yellow tampo wasn’t really standing out.
So they turned the model red. Ah! Much better. The tampo stands out on the red much better. They got this fancy new tampo machine, they wanted to use it to full effect.
As 1975 was finishing we saw a few batches of red roll off the production line and so that meant we could find shades there too.
In 1976 as wheels were being updated, this model swapped the 5-spokes for 5-arch instead. It ran one more year worldwide, but in Japan in continued on for another years in the MBJ-7 slot.
So in essence, the 5-arch wheel variant did eke out another 4 years of production. It would have been 5 but Lesney shut down all Japan stuff after the 1979 fiasco, and models already in production for what would have been a 5th year (1980) were simply thrown in MP-1 5-packs to get rid of. And yes, I did just reference my first paragraph again. So with all this production time, shades were quite noticeable again. After this production finished, the model was retired from general use (although was revived in budget form for a series of Super GT in the mid 1980s).
So, why not do the same again. Because Alfa Romeo started off with a concept car from Matchbox, well so did Oldsmobile. In fact, in this picture, you are looking at every single Oldsmobile casting they have ever done! that’s right. One concept car and one classic. Obviously with Oldsmobile being defunct as of 2004, there will never be another modern Olds in the range, but I do hold out hope for more in the way of classics. I have always liked the front end of the 1966/67 Oldsmobile Toronado, and think Matchbox could do a lovely casting of it. Or maybe a 1984-87 era Cutlass Supreme T-top (because how many T-tops do we currently have?), as it has that strange front grille that slides down onto the bumper, Salvador Dalí style.
In 1984 Oldsmobile set out to make a concept that was able to do the fastest speed on a track. Three years later, they created the Aerotech Concept in 2 forms. Known the the shorttail (which includes a spoiler) and the longtail (which doesn’t). A.J. Foyt managed to hit 290mph at one point (remember this was back in 1987) although the credited top speed was 267mph (as you have to do alternate directions to count). Matchbox created a casting of the concept in shorttail form and added MB210 to the basic range in 1989. It was either MB62 in the US range or MB64 in the ROW range, and both saw the model run until 1995. At first, the vehicle, with an opening engine bay, saw created in the concept vehicle’s look. Silver with simple detailing of the name and mention of a Quad 4 engine inside. It ran for 3 years like that.
Although for variation hunters there is a small fact that during production they closed the Macau factory and shipped the casting off to Thailand in 1991.
Being silver there wasn’t an awful big change to the model between factories, so you do need to check the base to be sure.
In 1992 they went bright orange. That stood out. It ran another 2 years like that.
Before 1994 saw a final look for the model. Purple and white. Being 1994, many models were switched to the new spiral wheels, which for their first year of production were hot foil printed gold.
The model ran for 2 years, so as with everything else, anything sporting gold wheels that stayed the same in 1995 changed to chrome.
Later on in the year Tyco, who were the owners at the time, decided to have a little fun for collectors, and reduced the amount of tampo printing on a range of models in the series. this was one of them, and the second half of the year the model no longer said Aerotech on the sides. After this, the model was retired and we never saw an Oldsmobile again until the Vista Cruiser arrived in 2009.
So what next? How about Hummer. I did talk about the return of the H3 to the 5-packs this year (nice to see it back), so why not go with the first Hummer from Matchbox too. The MB2567 Hummer (later known as Humvee).
Again, just like with the other models I have showcased, this is the first Hummer that Matchbox made. But it wasn’t a concept. This was a real vehicle. Originally created for military use, after Arnold Schwarzenegger bought one for personal use, they made their way into civilian life too. But this was the army one. It even had an opening hatch and a swiveling gun on the roof. It debuted as MB3 worldwide in 1994.
In 1995 it saw a slight change. The model moved from a pale tan to a very yellowish tint. Or khaki to sand. Or whatever shades of colour you might come up with. It was a noticeably different colour all the same.
Oddly, it also saw another small change. The tampo printing on the opening hatch at the rear changed from a + to a – sign. I am still waiting for x & ÷ to appear. If Ed Sheeran can do it, why can’t Matchbox?
This was also a part of the 1995 Military 5-pack too. An early go-to model of 5-packs. Yes still keeping this topical.
In 1996 the basic range model turned army green with a simple * & A-4873-2 design.
It also appeared in not 1, but 2 different 5-packs as well. Military returned for another round, but it also appeared in the Police pack as well. I will let you guess which one was in which pack.
In 1997 the model was dropped from the basic range. 3 years and it was done. but 5-packs? As I said, this was a serious go-to model. Desert Assault force saw a more sandy colour scheme and Tundra Defence Force saw a more arctic look. There is another 1997 release, although I am still to get it. The model was included in a Lost World: Jurassic Park playset known as Fuel Depot in green with InGen side design and the Jurassic Park logo on the opening hatch. One day I will find that one.
Oh hello. It might not have been in the basic range in 1997, but in 1998 it came back. Now as MB48 (again worldwide) in tan with a * & A-4873-2 scheme. Yes, they just used the 1996 issue and switched colours. Not that I mind. Love it!
It was also in the Jungle Attack 5-pack that year. For those who pay attention this was also a recurring look.
Because although they all had different names, the 1996 Military, 1997 Tundra Defence Force and 1998 Jungle Attack package all used the same design for this model, just in different colours.
The model also popped up in the Real Talking series twin packs, paired with a Missile Launcher in matching scheme that would talk to you. That Missile Launcher was later modified into MB384 without the talking feature (or lights on its roof).
In 1999 the ROW range dropped the model, but the US range kept it going a little longer. It was now MB81 there, back in army green with, well what you see on the side. There was a Premiere issue that year too, in army green as part of a Military set, but I did not get that being premium at the time and am still hunting one down now.
2000 saw one final look for the US range before it too dropped the model. The tan Alpha Co look was MB53 and of course, being 2000, saw a Matchbox 2000 logo on the first 10,000 produced. After this the model went into semi-retirement.
Because in 2005, it returned. It popped up in the Superfast series that year, as number 53. The US release was in army green with camouflage, the ROW in tan.
Now with a second wind, the model started to become a bit of a Battle Kings go-to casting. In 2006 when the series was relaunched, it was in the Courage set as part of the United Alliance team.
2007 saw it in the Mountain Defence set, and this time it was in the Rogue faction. During production you would find quite a variation in shade of grey too.
In 2009 it was a part of the Jungle Defence set. With the demise of Battle Kings after this the model returned to where it was best used. 5-packs.
But not just 5-packs in 2012. The red model was part of the Battle Mission 5-pack that year, but the green was in a Mission Force set. It was known as Military Crew.
2013 and now just 5-packs to finish the model off. But it wasn’t going to go down quietly. This was in the Battle Mission 5-pack. As you can, the shade of tan varied quite a lot during production.
As well as the wheels. More commonly found with cog wheels, there was a batch produced with 6-spokes instead.
After all that fuss over 2013 it had just the one more outing. Still sporting all the original moving parts, it was in the 2014 Battle Mission 5-pack. After this, the model retired once and for all. Unless…. Well you never know….
Finally, well I did it last week, so I am doing it again. Because the MB671 ’05 Ford GT has made a triumphant return this year in not one, but 2 different 5-packs, I am going to finish off by diving into its history.
Which began back in 2005. It debuted as MB49 in the basic range in red with dual white stripes.
It did sport a shade, but that was more down to the fact that after the first production run in China, they shipped all the tooling over to Thailand where it is still being made now.
It had a good start too, as immediately after debuting they also threw it in the Superfast series too. Number 67 in the series in either silver for the ROW market or black for the US one.
In 2006 it came in a rather Gulf-like livery in the basic range. Obviously MB9 was not a Gult model, and the shades or blue and orange are different to official Gulf colours. But you knew where it got its inspiration from.
It also appeared in a Showroom Cars 5-pack that year too in yellow with dual black stripes.
And it continued in Superfast too. Green with dual yellow stripes in the number 67 slot.
It still wasn’t done though. Stars of Cars, exclusive to the German market saw this white with dual blue stripes model too.
In 2007 it only had a basic range issue. MB13. But this one was a 2-version release. After debuting in golden tan (something I had great fun finding shades on) with dual black stripes.
The model appeared later on in orange with a single stripe and 56 roundel.
2008 only saw a 5-pack issue though. Modern Rides was the name of the pack, and the model was in green with dual white stripes and 26 roundel. Of course I found a shade too, although not quite as strong as the golden tan one.
2009 saw the model return to the basic range again. This is the model carried forward to now, but I did find the zamac itself appeared to sport a shade as well as a small variance to the light blue dual stripes.
2009 was also another busy year for the model too, as it returned in the Modern Rides 5-pack for a second outing in off-white with dual red side stripes. Except a few were found without. They still contained the rest of the tampo, but just no side red. This, at the time, was quite a talking point. Error? Variation? A small quantity was found, and the argument was that errors would be 1, maybe 2-offs. But how many models produced moves a model from error to variation? I don’t think we ever had an answer.
I said 2009 was busy, as it was also in a 10-pack. The Real pack that year had this was one of the models in black with dual gold stripes.
So 2010 rolls around and this purple issue turns up as MB13 with silver stripes. This one I did find an error on.
The Ford GT is designed to come with larger wheels are the rear than at the front, but I found one that had all large wheels. It is not something that you instantly notice, but when you do you see it, you can’t un-see it.
After 2010 the model took a year off, but returned as MB44 in the 2012 range in tan. This was the first time the model came without stripes of some sort. This was part of a new sideways step that Matchbox were trying at the time. It didn’t last as it didn’t prove to be beneficial. But I still look for shades, and again I found one.
In 2013 it was a part of the Exotic Rides 5-pack. This one in green had a low side stripe in black with Ford GT on it. After this the model took a few years off.
And before the resurgence this year we only saw one more issue. In 2016 in another 5-pack. This time it was just called Exotic. Not Exotic Rides. It came in blue and oh yes, the shades on that were quite extreme.
As you can see, that model still had the divot in the casting just in front of the window, as it was still the original tooling. As I mentioned, the model was refined between 2016 and now. So I think that means we should see a few more of it before it retires for good. I would be surprised if they went to all that trouble for a 1-year use.
And that is me done for another week. Next week will be a more “normal” week as I begin work on more Wheel Collector models I have received. Until then, I hope people have a safe week. Catch you next Monday.
9 Replies to “Matchbox Monday talks 5-packs”
Wow David. This is a lot of product for one week! 🙂 It is good to see great oldies like the Saab Sonnet and Alfa Romeo Carabo. Two of my very favorite 70s Matchbox toys. I am hopeful you will profile some of the Matchbox sedans from the 70s like Ford Cortina Mark IV, Mercedes 450 SEL, Roll Royce Silver Shadow. There are many others I’m sure!
Yeah I did notice it was a big post. I could tell by the amount of pictures I was adding in. I am trying to cut down just a little, as it did take a long while to write up too. Now those are some good models to dive back in to. I am going to have to see how I can work them into future posts. Although the Merc is going to be sitting a while. They are re-creating one for the Moving Parts series in 2022 so I am waiting for that to arrive and do a comparison showdown. But the Cortina and RR, those are 2 I definitely need to squeeze into my dives.
I look forward to a reboot of the Mercedes 450 as a future release. Similarly, I keep begging anyone at Matchbox who will listen to reboot the Lesney 31 Lincoln Continental as a Moving Parts toy. If properly done I think it would be a hit.
This is probably not the best thread but I’ve found 2020 batch F on long cards in Boyes stores locally. Nothing I need as this batch did get distributed in the UK but there’s JUST a hope they may get further batches…
I have never heard of Boyes. I am Googling them now….
Follow up. I should have just Googled first. The closest Boyes stores I have to me are around 40 miles away. So a bit of a drive. Keep us updated if they get in different batches too. I might swing by if I am in the area.
Probably not worth a long trip at the moment; it looks like the models had been in store for some time as stocks were low. But I’ll visit my local branch more regularly and update if I find anything new
The rear lights on the DBS are called clear lenses. Pretty common in Europe, and every Aston Martin from this period had them as standard or as an option. It’s actually very cool to see Matchbox sticking with the clear lenses and not painting them a generic red.
Porsche also makes clear rear lights for 911s, the most famous example being the 911 R and 991 GT3.
I’m still quite disappointed about the loss of interior on the Cadillac CTS. I hope Matchbox retained the old casting and will release it again soon. It would be nice to see a premium release of that model.