Every big company has to start somewhere and that includes diecast manufacturers. The Matchbox you know and love today weren’t always Chase Broncos, Moving Parts and Working Rigs. Back in the early days the name Matchbox was a line made by Lesney, and the range comprised of vehicles like Ford Thames vans and Morris pickups. Hot Wheels had working suspension, opening parts and candy paint in the mainline. In 1961 a man named Emile Véron (Norev fans take note of that surname…) founded a company named Rail-Route in Lyon, France. The company at first produced model railway accessories but in 1964 they branched out into diecast cars and Majorette was born. And this is one of their first models: the Peugeot 404 Break.
I’ve covered a 404 before on Lamley; the wonderful Lone Star 404 saloon. But we’ll take another quick look at the real 404 and the Break model. Introduced in 1960, the Peugeot 404 is probably one of the longest lasting production vehicles in history with the last pickup variants built in Kenya in 1991! The Break model was the estate variant of the 404 and its size and capability made it a very popular taxi and also very useful to the French emergency services, especially as an ambulance.
The Majorette miniature is a beautiful little thing and at 1/65 scale is rather diminutive compared to Majorettes of today.
One thing that Majorettes have never lacked is opening parts and details and this thing is as crammed with features as a diecast of this era could be. There’s an opening bonnet, boot and doors but strangely no steering wheel. There’s also an early form of rear suspension though not the spring set up that became synonymous with the French brand.
My example has barely any paint left but given the rarity of these things I was happy to have secured this one in any condition. Especially for €25. And besides, what do I always say about patina?
I’m always hunting for interesting diecast and I’m really hoping this isn’t the last time I can bring one of these classic pieces of Majorette history to Lamley.
(Find the Majorette Peugeot 404 on Ebay)