No sooner had I written up my last Matchbox report about the first batch of 2022 5-packs, Tesco stores in the UK jumped straight into batch B. And as I said last week, I really should try to include more 5-packs in my reports. Some really cool models appear in these. And in lieu of me getting new stuff from Wheel Collectors (who you can click to visit by clicking on their highlighted name) who are still waiting on a huge influx of Matchbox goodies to send me, I thought why not get these 5-packs shown now. Well actually, now and next week. There are 2 “new” packs and 2 “carry forward” packs, so I split things into 2 halves (and included a random dive back at the end again for those who might like them).
So this week, the 1 “new” pack I am showing off you could say is a hybrid pack. Because 2 of the models included are actually carry forwards themselves. The pack is called MBX Electric Drivers, and following on from last year’s carry forward 5-pack of Hybrid and Electric, is all about the modern vehicles with the more environmentally friendly power sources. Matchbox is working hard on including a lot of these into the ranges and you will likely note on a lot of packaging for models that are electrically powered, a certain logo appearing. It is not on the front of the 5-pack, although it may have been on the back. I never checked. Photographed, ripped apart, chucked (well recycled, because you know, it is what we do now). And confession, you might notice spots on the front of the packages here (and next week’s second half). I have a light box which I use to photograph models, but it is not that big. I couldn’t fit the 5-packs in and get a good shot for the report, so I wandered out in to the back garden and set myself up on the picnic table with a white board. Just as I got everything set up, it started raining. Typical. Not knowing how long it would rain for, I just went for it, and took photos as quickly as possible. But as I was spending the day taking photos for both weeks, I did all 4 at the same time. So next week, expect more spotty damp package shots too.
Now the first model in the pack is just awesome! I love it! The MB1025 Toyota Prius Taxi, in the real NYC Taxi livery. I just mentioned recently about the NYC stuff, and so seeing another NYC taxi arrive in the Matchbox world is just fantastic. See, this is why I am doing 5-pack stuff too now. There are some brilliant models in them.
So they can’t go wrong using the NYC livery on a taxi. I remember on trips to NYC in the mid ’10s, I did see a lot of Prius taxis around, so this makes absolutely perfect sense. And it looks brilliant too.
Is this the beginning of a theme? are we going to see the MB980 Checker Cab in an NYC look? I hope we do. Ever since that casting (well originally MB600 until being altered a few years back) debuted, I have been wanting to see it in an NYC livery. Now we have the MB1140 ’06 Ford Crown Victoria (Moving Parts) and MB1025 Toyota Prius, I see that as the logical next model to use.
And talking of the Crown Vic, I also live this extra little bumper sticker style look. The Crown Vic had NYC loves Matchbox, and now the Prius has a bumper sticker with MBX loves NYC. It’s the little things. They just get to me. You know what else gets to me?
Shades! Yes, the model has only just arrived and already I have found a lovely shade variation to it. It is not subtle either. That was a significant difference.
Both models are dated P50 so appear to have been produced at the same time. Although that is never a given. Obviously a week is a long enough time. If they produced stuff at the start and then again at the end, it could make a difference. But, and this is something we don’t often talk about as it sort of muddies the water so to speak, the date code is applied when the model is finished. Therefore logically speaking the model could have had the body parts sprayed yellow and then put in a container ready to have the other parts fixed to make a model and be tampo printed. But there might have been a delay and they were put in storage for a week or 2 until such time as they were ready to finish assembly. We are not there at the factory. We are not seeing the day to day goings on and keeping tabs on exactly when models get painted up. The other possibility is that FEPs were made and were too yellow. But some slipped in with the first batch so as not to waste them.
We don’t know. I just know I have 2 cool shades. So I am very happy. As I dive back I will just use the more orangey one.
Because things have a habit of happening with this model. When it first arrived it was a civilian vehicle, MB774. It first appeared in the 2009 basic range as MB25, and was chosen to be in 2 colours too. However, these are not them. These are both the first one. It was coming out in metallic light green for version 1. But the first batch came out really pale. A sort of pale greyish green shade, and a running change was made to correct it to the metallic light green it was meant to be.
Better luck with version 2. Err no. It was supposed to be a light metallic brown, but the first lot came out in a pale greyish brown. so again, they fixed it as they went along. That was a fun year to be a Prius collector.
At least you couldn’t go wrong with the black. A pale greyish black? No, this was just a nice solid black. It was the 2010 MB26 follow up.
And in 2011, now that they had sorted things, the MB26 that year in red was also pretty consistent throughout production. Although if you lived in a LAAM market that year you might have been thinking what Prius? We had a VW Saveiro Cross! Yeah LAAM markets didn’t get this one.
After that the casting went on hiatus. In 2016 the model finally returned for what would turn out to be the final “civilian” casting release. However, plans were already underway to convert it. This green MB9 saw taxi signs on the side, even without the sign on the roof.
The casting saw the conversion to MB1025 for the following year and has been a proper taxi ever since. It was MB15 that year in yellow, which did see a little bit of shading over the course of production (nothing like the new one’s shade).
The only other look was the 2020 MB58 which came in silver. The earlier yellow did reappear in the 2021 MBX EV & Hybrid 5-pack, which was all carry forwards too. This one was a new look.
But talking of carry forwards, I did saw this pack was actually a hybrid pack itself. Because the MB1039 ’15 BMW i3 is a carry forward. Say what? Yes, this is a repeat of the 2017 MB5 debut version.
So those who remember that release will know what we are seeing here. Metallic off-black with a simple front and rear set of detailing as well as a thin blue line going down the sides too.
And you are not going to believe this. There’s a variation. The window on one is a light smoke, the other a sort of milky smoke.
Perhaps a sideways on look helps to show them off better. It is quite noticeable. And just like the Prius, these are both dated P50. I have no idea what was happening at the factory at the time, but maybe they were having a Christmas party and just having a little too much fun. I don’t care. I live for variations. Because you know; nerd!
So obviously there is an original 2017 to talk about. How does it compare? Well, obviously this too had the light smoke windows, not a milky smoke.
So I will leave that one off as I compare shades. And that is quite the shade. Metallic off-black? It makes the original 2017 look like a very dark charcoal. That’s quite a shade in itself. I was very pleasantly surprised.
The interior is pretty much the same, as is the window tint. Tampos seem to match too.
But I did notice the base section to the new one is a little bit darker too.
Now obviously the 2018 MB13 in white was used in the 2021 MBX EV & Hybrid carry forward pack already so I am glad they didn’t just throw it in again.
Although they could have gone with one of the 2020 9-pack pair (as that year batches had 2 of the same exclusive vehicle, but in different colours for each assortment), with the charcoal and red being the 2 on offer that year.
So I was a little surprised seeing a carry forward in the “new” pack, but it was still enough of a difference for me to not worry too much. I still hope to see a blue one at some point (matching the BMW i8 Superfast issue). I think BMW i3, I keep thinking blue was a bit of a signature colour, and am surprised it hasn’t been done.
Now talking of blue, are you feeling blue finding out there is a second carry forward in the “new” pack? I’m not. The MB790 ’10 Honda Insight is a carry forward too.
This blue was seen before, and gets a repeat outing in this pack. As I said, the “electric” pack is a “hybrid” pack. So why am I happy?
I have only gone and found yet another shade to a model in the brand new, only just been released pack. I was doing really well with these wasn’t I. That’s 3 for 3.
Again, just as with the Prius and i3, these are both batch dated P50. They should have parties at the factory more often. I tell you, this is like the classic Lesney stuff of the 1970s. Going old school with whatever they felt like doing! This is just brilliant. So if anybody was to ask me if I was a little upset seeing carry forwards in this new pack. My answer will be “not in a million years”. This could be pack of the year for me, they way things are going.
Which sort of makes sense with this Honda Insight. I have been pretty good at finding shades on it. It debuted as MB25 in the 2010 basic range in red. I found lighter and darker shades.
They gave it a version 2 that year as well. White? Sure, how about creamy white as well.
And don’t even get me started on what the deal was with the 10-pack First Edition release was supposed to be. I found it to be in both light metallic blue and silver. 2 different colours. I honestly don’t know which was supposed to be the correct one.
So 2011 comes along and it appears as MB31. Looking familiar? Why yes, this is the one carried forward.
The front tampo is similar although I don’t know if it is intentional of not to have the lower “smile” as I call it, closer to the rest. And yes, the shade of blue is significant.
The rear sees the rear lights now a brighter red and not as large as they were. Plus as is often the case, the license plate has shrunk in the wash.
Clear windows, black interiors and black bases do match, although between 2011 and 2022 the base details have seen a slight alteration to the wording.
Although we never actually saw the model for a whole decade after the original blue. After 2011 the next release was a matte black issue in a 2021 9-pack. It was one of the semi-exclusive models in the first batch of the year. So yeah it is nice seeing the model get a little love again.
Next up is the MB1091 ’09 International eStar Electric Van. This is an all-new look for the pack for the model, and rather surprisingly it appears in white. The casting was recently renamed to state it is an International. It comes with an EV side design, helping to bolster the push towards these types of vehicles. I see the logic behind it.
As such, I think the message it is conveying is an important one, and I applaud the Matchbox team for making sure that these types of messages are slipped in to kids toys to help them understand from an early age about the importance of this type of feature. Although, I am going to shock you know, I did not find a variation! Rats!
I did mention about being surprised it is in white. Well, I know I only recently did a dive back, but I am going to go through them again quickly. It arrived as MB6 in 2018. White with a Matchbox themed side design (and being the original casting sporting 2 interior variations).
In 2019 it was in the Service Crew 5-pack and appeared in blue with a Fenski side design.
Then at the beginning of 2021 we saw a white version again for the last time using the original casting with interior variations. It was in the Thank You Heroes gift pack. So of the original casting, we had 2x whites and 1x blue.
Then the casting was altered to remove the interior (losing the dual variations) with the front end re-cast as part of the window and rear end re-cast as part of the body. The first release was white, with a DCM side design in the basic range as MB59.
But this model was also a part of the carry forward 5-pack MBX EV & Hybrid, but the original Matchbox themed model was now on the new casting.
As well as a Speedy Express themed white model in the City Adventure II 5-pack on top.
And for 2022 we saw the MB76 basic range issue in white with WARN on the side (and front). This means to date, we have seen the newer updated casting used 5 times, and each one has been in white. I think this has now surpassed the Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 Polizia as having the greatest percentage of white releases.
Which brings us to the final model in the pack. The MB1079 ’18 Nissan Leaf. This is a new look for the pack in a dark metallic red with the usual front and rear detailing, and I never noticed on the blue one before the little thin blue line around the lower edge of the rear body section. I guess blue on blue didn’t really stand out. But, much like the BMW i3 in the pack, I like this little extra touch.
I can’t believe that this model has seen 2 looks for 2022 after such a sparce debut.
Because this model debuted as MB91 in the 2018 basic range in white and then we watched the tumbleweeds drifting past. Nothing in 2019 and nothing again in 2020. Where was it? Had it been forgotten?
Well not quite, as this too was a part of the 2021 carry forward MBX EV & Hybrid 5-pack, and obviously came in white again as it had been the only release. The newer run was a little brighter.
And I think that has finally opened the floodgates, as now there are 2 more. It only just appeared the other month in the first 9-pack batch of the year in blue.
It’s not much, but I can’t believe as of the end of 2021 a 2018 new casting had only been in one colour, but just a few months later it has tripled. Finally, the leaves are falling. Wait, wrong season….
And, as I like pointing out daft trivia, I have mentioned the 2021 MBX EV & Hybrid pack quite a bit in this report haven’t I. Well, it turns out that 4 of the 5 castings in the new pack were also in that pack. Only the BMW i8 has been switched out for a Honda Insight.
Plus, if you hadn’t noticed in the “in-pack” picture, the inserts for these is made of the recyclable material rather than plastic. Strangely enough it is the only new 5-pack (just like the one released in 2021) that is using this material. I don’t know if it is a more expensive material or not, but I am surprised they are not making more 5-pack and 9-pack inserts out of this yet.
So, let’s finish off the “new” portion of this report by going through one of the carry forward packs that is being released alongside the new pack.
This one is called MBX Japan Tourers, and as you might guess, all 5 models are from Japanese car manufacturers. Now as I often say, the idea of a carry forward pack is to do a new run of a model that had already been signed off on. If you were to make any significant changes, there are extra expenses involved as you would have to go through the process of obtaining licenses and paying additional fees etc. Which is completely losing the point of bringing these in. These are a clever way of bolstering the assortment available at next to no additional costs. So are the models sporting any variations? I do like to check.
So, going in order, I start with the top model, the MB1090 ’17 Honda Civic. I wasn’t expecting too much. It’s white. Plus it was only a repeat of the 2021 MB98. The white paint is almost identical, but the grey interior has a slight nuance to it.
And although I didn’t capture it very well, the rear license plate has a lighter shade background too. Not a big difference, but I kept it.
Not like the next one. This is because the Subaru Impreza WRX is on an updated casting. It was originally sold as MB93 in the 2014 basic range. At the time, the casting was the original MB751 casting, which featured a separate light bar on the roof. That happened to be the last of the MB751 castings, and the casting lay dormant for 5 years before being altered into MB945 for 2019.
So the latest release uses the newer casting, which means that the window section is now blue to match the blue lights on the roof. And well, the model is actually a darker shade of blue too. Extra bonus points.
So obviously checking the base you will discover the re-copyrighted information, although you may notice that the new base still has MB751 on it.
The MB809 Infiniti G37 is a casting that has not seen a lot of action. It debuted in 2011 as MB9 in blue, immediately went on hiatus until a second basic issue in 2016 in grey and back to being on hiatus until a 5-pack issue popped up last year. So seeing the model 2 years in a row is something very new. The 2011 basic, well I found 3 shades to it. I was pretty curious as to how the new one would match up.
It turns out it is very close to the darkest of the 3, but I do see a difference to it still. So you think is it worth it?
And then you check out the rear. Ooh! Bright red rear lights. They were pretty dull when the model originally debuted. That’s quite a noticeable difference.
And if you are a base variation collector, there has been some mild tweaking to the writing that appears on the base. That’s not something I worry about personally, but I know there are people who do.
This then leads us to the MB1023 ’70 Datsun 510 Rally. First appearing in 2017’s basic range as MB94, this model had quite an explosive debut. For starters, choice of wheels anyone? Disks or 6-spokes.
And then once you had settled on a wheel, you would then start seeing shades to the orange as well.
But that wasn’t all. The luggage in the roof, mainly regarding the tan jerry can, was quite noticeable for shades.
So I was quite curious as to how this one would stack up. Which is why I stacked it. Ha ha! But the new one is quite a light orange. Definitely noticeable, even compared to some of the lighter examples from before.
But the luggage is also very noticeable. The brown luggage bags are not milk chocolate instead of dark chocolate, and the jerry can is now yellow. The internal cogs to the spare wheel also appears to be a darker grey too. So quite a lot to pack in (get it I am doing a luggage pun there).
Being curious, as I did have a JCCS model, which at the time I had noticed was sporting much brighter elements on the roof, the brown luggage is still darker than on the new one, but the yellow jerry can was a very light pastel yellow.
Finally, the MB1041 ’62 Nissan Junior. Rather surprisingly this is simply a carry forward of the 2021 Walmart exclusive Trucks issue from 2021. That was a bit of a surprise. I thought they would have gone with an earlier issue.
But there was still a shade to the one I had originally. Newbie is a dark blue than before.
Date codes for mine were P23 and P50, so 27 weeks apart. Just over half a year, but having not been in USA, I don’t know how long the Walmart Trucks issue had been produced for, and whether there had been shades during it’s original production anyway. But for me, a win-win.
Which brings me to the end of the “new” section of the report. I am still shocked at finding a 5-pack with 3 variations in one go, especially as they all had the same date. But as this report is not as long as the last one I am back to doing a dive back again.
So let’s start at the beginning. 1969. The birth of Superfast. As many know, Matchbox launched the range in the second half of 1969 with 10 Superfast models. 5 of them were brand new castings created for the series, with the other 5 being regular wheel models making a switch to the new wheel. Often known as the red script models, due to the Superfast logo being in red on their boxes. One of those 5 was the MB33-A Lamborghini Miura. The casting had not long debuted in the basic range anyway, being a 1969 new casting, and was easy enough to switch to the new wheels. I am lucky to have a lovely silver pre-production sample of the model.
But when the model debuted in the basic range, it was yellow. When they switched to Superfast they changed the colour but the first Superfast models used up leftover yellow bodies.
It then switched to bronze. But they decided that was too dark, and almost immediately switched away from it.
So by the end of 1969 we were already on to its third incarnation. A dark gold. People know about yellow being rare, and it commands a good premium for it, but the bronze one I think is probably just as rare, if not rarer. But until you put it next to a dark gold, you don’t really see it. So the premium for it may or may not apply, depending on how lucky you get.
As 1970 rolled through they decided to switch out the red interior for an ivory one. It was actually a switch back to the original interior that the model had debuted in for 1969 as a regular wheel model. They were switching to red for the Superfast, didn’t like it, and went back. I have heard the yellow has been found with an ivory interior too. But I have never seen one.
During this period the base was always left unpainted. You might find a few slight variances to the shade of gold, obviously. But the switch from red to ivory interior was the main one.
And then things started to get more interesting. In 1972 this model finally saw the switch from the thinner wheels with sensible wheel arches, to the wider wheels with oversized wheel arched to accommodate. This also coincided with a change from a dark gold to a light gold. There is a crossover. They switched to light gold before altering the casting, but I am still to find one of those.
The difference from dark to light is quite significant.
And bringing in an earlier bronze really shows just how the model was getting lighter and lighter as it went on.
Of course light gold varies in shade too.
But now they also decided to go a little nuts with bases. They started painting them red. But red comes in lots of shades from dark to light, and one so light it is actually pink. I have to admit to not worrying too much with them, although admittedly I should.
Because they also form the front grille on the model too. But I admit that so far I have only bothered with one red base example, and that was because I saw a shade on top. It ran until the end of the year and was replaced during 1973 with a Datsun 126X. However, it did make a return in the Japanese market originally as MBJ-1 in 1977, and then moving to MBJ-38 in 1979. I don’t have one of those, as they are still essentially the same light gold, now back to an unpainted base again. There is a small wheel variation, as 5-spokes by then were showing a squared look to the spokes, where early 1970s models had more of a rectangular look to them. It was going to receive a black base for the 1980 model year in Japan as a small variation, but when Lesney pulled the Japanese stuff at the end of 1979 and cancelling the contract, these black based ones that had just started production ended up being randomly dumped in some MP-1 multipacks instead.
The model was retired after that, but when Universal took over the company, they set up a deal with a company in Bulgaria to make models at their factory for local sales. After the first year started mid 1983 went well, and castings were shipped back to the Universal at the end, a second batch of models was sent over in early 1985 for another year of production. the Miura was one of 7 castings chosen for that year. Sadly this model was a little short run compared to the rest as the parts broke. So not as many variations can be found, although there are still a lot out there.
After this partial year of Bulgarian production the casting was retired for good.
So time to move properly into the 1980s with a very regal model. The MB160 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud. This was one of 2 castings that was created in 1985 exclusively for a James Bond film, as Matchbox had secured a license for it. It was a late call for Matchbox to get the license, and the Rolls-Royce (along with a Renault 11 Taxi) were brand new castings created for the tie-in and released, but a planned gift set with an additional Plymouth Gran Fury and Helicopter in designs as featured in the film (along with a launcher) never materialized. As these were late, they arrived as James Bond models first in 1985 before being added to the basic range for 1986. With R&D still in the UK at the time, it was also due to the quick turnaround that production was also in England. By now pretty much all of the Matchbox basic range items and twin packs were being made in either Macau or China, with only a few additional items (mainly Super GT) still being manufactured at the England factory. I was lucky to find this plum pre-production sample of the casting.
As seen here, this has an England base.
The version for the James Bond film was in silver, and these appeared late in the year tied in with the film, in exclusive purple packaging with Roger Moore on the front and the “A View to a kill” logo.
After that the model was changed to cream and added to the basic range worldwide as either MB62 for the US market or MB31 for the ROW market.
Production was still being made in England to begin with and this (as well as the Renault 11 which was now also in the basic range) were the last 2 English produced basic range models from Matchbox. By late 1986 production had moved to Macau, and the factory was winding up, with a full closure at the start of 1987.
The model sported a different shade of cream when production moved.
A base shot again with the new Macau based model on the right. Not too easy to tell on chrome.
The thing is, the model ran until 1988 in the basic range. So with the majority of production in Macau, these Macau issues were likely to sport shades too. I have currently found 3 unique shades of Macau and 1 England. There is a caveat. In 1991 when production of various items were sent to Thailand, they did some test runs of some things, and one was a cream Silver Cloud. These were then shipped out to USA in 6-packs known as Super Value Packs, and as yet I have not managed to secure a 1991 Thai issue.
After 1988 though, as a basic range model, it was done. But not completely forgotten. In 1990 it was given this gold look as a World Class series 2 model. The series was being produced at the time of the switch from Macau to Thailand. Universal were closing the Macau factory and China couldn’t cope with everything so a second factory was opened in Thailand. This casting can be found with both a Macau or Thailand production. It was pulled out of storage in 1997 for one more outing too. A Gold Collection issue, which as I am still building my premium collection, I do not have. I did used to wish there were more outings for this casting. I used to love it as a kid. Obviously with Rolls-Royce not allowing toy cars of their vehicles any longer I know not to wish for more any longer.
So where to next? The 1990s. and the MB281 Ford Transit. Matchbox had created a Ford Transit in line with Ford debuting the second generation in 1986. It even had promotional issues surrounding this launch. Hmm! I should showcase that casting too shouldn’t I. Anyway, when Ford debuted a substantial facelift for the Transit, Matchbox started to feel that their model could also do with a refresh. So in 1996 they came up with the facelifted look for the basic range too. It was launched as MB15 exclusively in the ROW basic range in a blue look with a Simpsons-esque surfing side design.
Now this is the thing with this casting. As soon as it was developed, they started making promotional issues of it. In the earlier 1990s many promotional offerings were in place with Matchbox, and the older Transit casting was being used quite extensively, and as orders for promos were still coming in, as soon as they switched to using the new casting, they just switched promotional issues to it as well. This is a Parcel Post issue for Australia in 1996. But with soooooo many promotionals of this casting, I am just going to leave it with this and carry on with non-promotional stuff.
Which means, by leaving out promotional stuff, I will actually shoot straight in to 1998. The basic range in blue ran 2 years, but in 1998 they simply switched to a new colour. It was now white, with the same scene, but I think the surfer might have been out in the sun a little too long. Or he had eaten too many carrots.
The casting saw its first 5-pack outing that year too. The Dino Riders 5-pack saw it in black with dinosaur bones down one side and stretching around the front. If you were unsure as to which dino it was, they had that covered.
The opposite side told you. It was a stegasaurus.
In 1999 the model was still not sold in the US range. But ROW markets saw their first kink with the inclusion of a German only range. Outside of Germany a red MB25 with Vinnie and a pizza logo appeared (the US MB25 was a Ford Bronco with the same design).
But if you were in the German market, you saw an MB14 instead, and this was white with a Lufthansa design.
The casting also saw its one and only premium outing in 1999 too. It was part of a Coca-Cola series, and funnily the packaging artwork stated it was a 1955 Transit. Not a 1995. Oops! It came in white over yellow with a simple Coke design on it.
In the year 2000, the basic range saw its widest split. The US and ROW had already been in place since 1982, Japan had come and gone briefly, and Australia had seen some random changes over the years as well. After 1999’s trial with Germany, the ROW range split further between Germany, Australia and the UK. Other ROW markets still continued with their own vehicles. The German market saw a new Transit in red over white with polar bears drinking coke in the icy water as MB40.
And the UK market saw a yellow model with a Union Flag side design as MB13. There was supposed to have been a third Transit too. A creamy looking one with a Taxi side design released in the “other” ROW markets. But due to a blip with ordering, no “other” ROW market ordered any batch that contained them. It was a part of the MB36-40 sub-section in the series. 2 of the models in the section (an Ambulance and an Airport Fire Truck) wound up in some 3-packs. A Mercedes-Benz TV News Truck ended up in a US FAO Schwartz 10-pack. But the other 2 never got produced at all. The Transit was one of them.
For 2001 the model was finally dropped from the basic range, but did see other action. The On Patrol 5-pack that year saw this blue issue with a Police 3 side design.
We also saw a series of Coca-Cola singles released too, which saw this red over white model featuring a polar bear playing hockey with a bottle top.
Which was a completely different side design to the 2000 German issue which had 2 polar bears drinking Coke in the icy water.
In 2002 something unusual happened. It was back in the basic range. But what is unusual about that you say? Well during the initial 1996-2000 period it never saw action in the US market as a basic range model. For 2002 it was a US exclusive! It was sold as MB50 there, and the first 10,000 examples had a 50 logo on the rear.
And yes, you might notice me non-logo model has amber windows. That is a bit of an unusual one. They have been like that since new.
We also saw another Coke model as the license was still ongoing at the time. This was now silver with a couples side design.
Which did mean that the model saw 4 different outings in the Coca-Cola theme.
For 2003 things were getting a little quieter for the model. Only the 1 outing here. It was a part of a Nickelodeon 5-pack featuring Rugrats on the side.
Before 2004 saw the model back in the ROW basic range again. It was sold as MB29 there in blue with a painting themed side design.
2005 saw one final basic range outing for the model. But to finish it off, it finally, for the first time, was sold worldwide! It was MB11 with an appropriately designed Transit side logo. This wasn’t actually the original look. It did see a few little tweaks during pre-production stages.
This was an early draft of the design. The line “the best in service” was originally directly under “Transit” and an additional “Call 1-800-it’s your back” was the tagline under the stripe. It got altered before production began.
That year also saw not one, but two licensed 5-pack issues as well. We had a Sonic-X pack released that had Dr Eggman on the side of a black Transit, and also a grey Ed, Edd & Eddy pack model with err, Johnny on it.
In 2006 we saw this white model with a black and yellow side design for Water & Power on it. We have seen this livery used since, but so far it has not quite reached recurring status level yet. It was in the City Services 5-pack.
But by now the casting was winding down. Matchbox had created a new Transit casting of the next generation model and as such this was basically past its sell by date. After taking a year off in 2007, the model saw one final outing in a Scooby Doo licensed 5-pack in 2008. The second of 2 Scooby Doo packs that were released that year.
So now I move into the 2000s with another casting that was a bit of an ROW-exclusive for a while. The MB440 Lotus Elise. Pronounced “el-eeh-say”. I decided this was a good time to run through this model as at the end of February this year, the Elise finished its 26 and a bit year production run in real life with the last of the 35,124 models in gold being made for the very person it was named after. In 1995 Romano Artioli was the chairman of the company, and when the new car was unveiled on September 12th, his 2 year old granddaughter was sitting in the car. Her name was Elisa Artioli, but the car was given an “e” at the end instead of an “a”. Elisa was in Norfolk to unveil the final Elise produced at the end of February which is her own. She is now the proud owner of the very last Elise ever produced. The Matchbox model did not last anywhere near as long. Which is a real shame. It was the first Lotus made since the Lotus Europa finished production towards the end of the Lesney era (or mid 1980s if you include Bulgarian issues). It debuted as an ROW exclusive 69 in the 2000 basic range in yellow. As it was not a part of the US range it did not see the US only 2000 logo hunt.
In 2001 it stayed exclusive to the ROW market with this off-white model in the MB49 slot.
With the ROW market joining in logo hunts for 2002, the MB24 ROW exclusive did see a 50 logo on the first 10,000 made.
2003 was just the same. Still an ROW only issue, this time it was black and the first 10,000 MB67s had a Hero City logo on the front window.
However, this was also the year the casting saw its first use outside of the basic range. And it was worldwide too. It was a part of the Sizzlin’ Style 5-pack in metallic green.
For 2004 it continued to be a part of the ROW only range, in place of one of the Ultra Heroes that year. The ROW market only saw 15 Ultra Heroes, with the other 15 slots from the US range taken up by very realistic looking models. In fact, some would say probably the most realistic looking models of the entire year. It was MB18 in a dark green with a lovely interior.
But it also saw a little extra action that year. The Superfast range had launched in the US market, and the model was chosen to be one of the vehicles in the first year. It came in a metallic burnt orange withe blingy wheels that had debuted that year. However, that was its only Superfast appearance. The number 42 slot went elsewhere in 2005.
In Germany, 2002 had seen the debut of an exclusive series called Stars of Germany, which included 12 models of German made vehicles. It continued on in 2003, but 2004 saw them tweak it slightly. It was renamed Stars of Cars, because not every model in the series was German. The Elise was British. It came in silver with simple front and rear lighting.
And just like the Transit above, this model saw one final outing in the basic range in 2005. It was both yellow (again) and available worldwide (again). It was MB8 that year with a large Elise logo down the side along with the various coloured striping.
After that, this model too was quietly ushered away with a final swansong in 2007 as a part of the Best of British series in the UK. It was a rather familiar burnt orange, but as you can see, during production the shade varied wildly.
But it was different to the US Superfast issue from 2004, as the colour there was also diffeent (you could argue it’s just another shade), but the tampo printing is all different too and obviously those wheels are different.
As well as the base. I often forget about bases. And yes, it had a metal body, metal base. After the Best of British series finished production, so did this casting. Which is a shame, as in real life the vehicle saw another 15 years of production.
So now I finish off with a little model I am surprised only saw 2 outings. The MB1054 Tuk-Tuk. It debuted in the 2017 range as MB6 in green and pink with a smokey roof section.
The roof section is a removable piece which just slots on top of the model.
But during production they went and made a tweak to the tampo printing. As you can see, the 2 sides here are a little different with the signage and logos, as it early issues were not clear enough so a running change was made to enhance them better.
It also saw a rear print on one of them too.
For 2018 it was recoloured to blue with a yellow and grey interior and this time just had the 1 look to the tampo, which always included a rear print too.
As you can see, both sides did see alternate designs.
However, the roof did sport a variation. Some came out noticeably lighter than others did during production.
But to date this has been all we have seen of this casting. Will we see it again? Who knows. We just bide our time and wait.
And on that note, I think I am done with another report. Showcasing one of the 2 “carry forward” packs in this 5-pack batch.
As well as one new pack.
Although as I said, it was a bit of a hybrid pack itself as 2 of the models are carry forwards too.
With 3 all new designs. Next week I will get stuck into the other 2 packs released in this batch. But as I mentioned, I took the photos outside in the rain of all 4 together so they too will be a little bit wet when I show the package shots. But until then, enjoy the week, stay safe and catch you next Monday for more Matchbox goodies.