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Welcome to my Online CreateSpace Store (an Amazon.com subsidiary Company) to purchase my books directly from the Publisher-Printer:

 

  1. “Volkswagen: a Car for the People – a Success Story” ($19.99): www.createspace.com/3565359
  2. “The German and the Austrian Navies: Volume One” ($19.99): www.createspace.com/3555718
  3. “The German and the Austrian Navies: Volume Two” ($18.99): www.createspace.com/3582093
  4. “Scale Model Collectible Cars” ($19.99): www.createspace.com/3550258
  5. “The Borromeo Family of Cebu” ($17.99): www.createspace.com/3562639.

Scale Model Collectible Car brands from around the world

Note: this Article now has its own gallery of illustrations which is under construction.  It has received more than 7,000 page visits since November 2007 - many thanks for your interest and visits.  It has been published as a book by CreateSpace of Santa Cruz, California (an Amazon company) and has been endorsed by Hornby Hobbies of the United Kingdom – the owner of the Corgi, Lledo, Jouef, Scalextric, Airfix, Humbrol, Slot-it, Mettoy Playcraft, Meccano, Nikko, Dublo, Bayko, Tri-Ang, Dunbee, Combex, Marx, Lima, Rivarossi, Skaledale and Lyddle End toy brands.  My toy book (ISBN 978-1460915028) may be purchased through Amazon.com in the USA (MSRP = $19.99), Canada, the UK, Germany, Austria, France, Italy, Spain and Japan.  The Amazon Kindle edition (ASIN B004WSXFLM) retails for just $9.99 and was professionally made by CreateSpace – a Barnes & Noble NOOKBook e-book edition also retails for just $9.99.  My toy car book has received 27,210,000 cumulative searches on Google.  Major international press release to 28,908 media contacts in 41 countries around the world (July 16, 2012): http://www.mmdnewswire.com/marc-nonnenkamp-scale-model-collectible-cars-114466.html.  “Scale Model Collectible Cars” is described as a “must have” for collectors and enthusiasts in the November 2012 issue of “Jaguar World Monthly” magazine from England – thanks to editor Jim Patten. 

This book is featured in the February 2013 issue of  “Hemmings Sports & Exotics” Magazine as well – thanks to Editor Jeff D. Koch from Phoenix, Arizona: http://mydigimag.rrd.com/publication/index.php?i=&m=16622&l=1&p=64&pre=&ver=flex.  “Scale Model Collectible Cars” was also used as a reference in a wikipedia.org article about Franklin Mint Precision Models: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franklin_Mint_Precision_Models#p-search.

This press release has received 146 responses - a phenomenal performance where 15 replies is considered to be very good.  Thanks so much for your support and for your interest!  My toy page on ebay.com has 342 positive reviews to date – once again many thanks.  More than 2,000 people have read this book in either paperback or e-book format.

“Toy and Hobby Retailer” of Australia is the leading toy industry magazine and website from the land “down under.”  Their latest monthy issue and website feature my article on “Scale Model Collectible Cars” as their lead article in conjunction with the 75th anniversary of their magazine.  Thanks very much to Editor Fiona Cameron: http://www.toyhobbyretailer.com.au/news/history-of-scale-model-cars.

Part of being an automobile enthusiast is not merely being interested in the “real thing” but also in scale-model collectible diecast cars and trucks.  Our collection consists of 10,369 scale models, figurines, die-cast catalogues, automotive brochures, leaflets, flyers, illustrations, books, magazines, audios and videos.

Of the 1,963 wheeled vehicles, 895 are from the “Matchbox / Dinky” brand group (plus 376 “Dinky” and 37 “Hot Wheels” vehicles), 379 are “Corgi,” 44 are “Minichamps / Paul’s Model Art,” 45 are from the “Schuco” Group (i.e. Schuco, Gama and Schabak), 19 are “Wiking,” 13 are “Welly,” 42 are “Maisto,” 21 are “Eichhorn” wooden models (of cars and sailing ships), 12 are “IXO-IST,” 17 are “Brekina,” 7 are “Hongwell,” 5 are “Vitesse,” 4 are “Rio,” 5 are “Solido,” 7 are “Ertl,” 3 are “Igra,” 3 are “Franklin Mint,” 10 are “Kinsmart,” 6 are “Premium Classixxs,” 4 are “Yat Ming,” 2 each are “New Ray,” “Budgie” and “Märklin-Gama” and 1 each are ”Cursor,” ”Model Power,” and “Action Models.”  The remaining models in my collection have no brand names displayed on them – they are miscellaneous wooden and metal vehicles.

Ich intereßiere mich nicht nur für “echte” Autos, sondern auch für Sammlerautos, hauptsächlich für Matchbox-Dinky (aus England), Corgi (aus Wales), Minichamps (aus Aachen in Deutschland), Wiking (aus Deutschland) und Schuco (aus Fürth in Bayern, Deutschland). Zu Hause habe ich 1,963 Sammlermodelle; 895 davon sind Matchbox und 376 Dinky (aus England), 379 sind Corgi (aus Wales in Großbrittanien), 37 “Hot Wheels,” 44 sind Minichamps (aus Aachen in Deutschland), 45 sind Schuco (aus Fürth in Bayern), 19 sind Wiking und 17 sind Brekina (beide aus Deutschland, und alle Volkswagen). Ich habe auch 13 Welly Modelle aus China, 21 “Eichhorn” Holzmodelle (PKWs und Segelschiffe), 12 Ixo-Ist Modelle aus China, 42 Maisto Modelle aus China, 5 Vitesse Modelle aus Portugal, 4 Rio Modelle aus Italien (Volkswagen Käfer), 5 Solido Modelle aus Frankreich, 3 Igra Modelle aus Tschechien (Tatra 11), 7 Ertl Modelle aus Amerika, 2 New Ray Flugzeuge aus China (Boeing 377 Stratocruiser), 3 Franklin Mint Modelle (2 Volkswagen Käfer und 1 Chevrolet Corvette), 2 Budgie Modelle aus England (Volkswagen), 6 Premium Classixxs Modelle aus Deutschland (VW Transporter), 10 Kinsmart Modell aus China (davon zwei Volkswagen “New Beetle” Limousinen), 1 Model Power (ein Eisenbahn-Zug), 1 Action Models (ein LKW), 2 Märklin-Gama Modelle aus Deutschland (Volkswagen 411 Limousinen), 4 Yat-Ming aus China (ein 1950 Studebaker Champion Coupé und ein 1969 Chevrolet Corvair Monza Kabriolett), 7 Hongwell Modell aus China (ein VW T4 Transporter und ein VW Passat Variant) und 1 Cursor Modell aus Deutschland (eine VW 411 Limousine).

Lesney Matchbox

Matchbox and Dinky (both English brands) have been favorites of mine for many years. Dinky was a pioneer in the English market, and began in the United Kingdom in the early 1930s.  They were the most instrumental company in making 1:43 scale models the most popular scale among collectors and hobbyists to this day.  Dinky Toys went bankrupt and was purchased by Matchbox in the mid 1980s.  Matchbox was started by Lesney Corporation in 1947; by two former English servicemen named Leslie Smith and Rodney Smith (no blood relation) who wanted to go into business for themselves after World War Two.  The name “Lesney” was a combination of the first half of Leslie Smith’s first name and the last half of Rodney Smith’s first name.

They began by performing diecast work for other businesses, and entered the toy business almost by accident.  Once per year, English businesses would virtually shut down for inventory purposes.  To generate business during this time of year before the Christmas Season, Lesney began making toys for discount chains such as Woolworth.  Many merchants and even parents considered such toys to be “Cracker Jack” trash, but children loved the toys.  They eventually became so popular that Lesney discontinued its former industrial diecast business in order to devote itself entirely to the toy business.  The famous “1-75 Series” of Matchbox toy cars got its formal start in 1953, with the “MOKO Lesney” vehicles.  They were named Matchbox because the small boxes in which the toy cars were packaged resembled boxes for match sticks.  They varied in size, but tended to hover around the 1:64-scale.  Eventually, Lesney expanded into more lines of diecast vehicles.  The first new line was the so-called “Major Packs” of a larger scale, which eventually came to be known as “King Size.”  These were closer to 1:43 scale, but not necessarily uniform in scale – a situation similar to that of the 1-75 Series.  After the King Size models the “Models of Yesteryear” series were introduced, which were around the same scale as the King Size cars and trucks.  The Models of Yesteryear concentrated on classic and antique car models, going anywhere from the 1890s to the 1950s.  Due to high and rising labor costs in England (a familiar problem in the industrialized countries) Lesney fell on hard times and declared bankruptcy in June 1982.  Another factor was competition from “Mattel” and its line of “Hot Wheels” (they used ultra thin axles to give their diecast cars very high speeds) cars by 1968.  Lesney went into receivership and was purchased by Universal Toys, a firm in Macao owned by David Yeh.  The new company was named “Matchbox International, Limted” with David Yeh as Chairman and Jack Forcelledo as President.  In May 1992 Matchbox International was purchased by Tyco Toys, and then in 1997 Tyco Toys was purchased by Mattel which owns the Matchbox and Dinky brand names today.  Mattel is the largest toy company in the world, and derives about 80% of its profit from the “Barbie” and “Ken” range of dolls.  Mattel also owns the famous “Fisher-Price” range of baby toys.  They are based in Southern California, but do most of their manufacturing in East Asia.  By some measures, Lego of Denmark may be larger than Mattel – measures such as stock market capitalization or net worth.  The third largest toy company in the world is Hasbro of the USA.

Most Matchbox products and most toy brands worldwide are now manufactured in Mainland China, and to some extent in Thailand and Malaysia.  Certain Matchbox items long since discontinued but still very much prized by collectors and hobbyists include “Superfast” track sets, “Matchbox City” play cases, themed gift sets (such as auto racing, farming and construction) and accessories such as large and authentic “BP” (British Petroleum) service stations and fire stations.  Matchbox also used to make diverse products such as model kits (cars, trucks, ships and planes), a line of King Size models known as “Battle Kings” (military tanks and trucks which has now been revived in a much less expensive way), a line of navy ships known as “Sea Kings,” motorized roadway tracks, puzzles with miniature vehicles featured in authentic dioramas and action figures for children (pirates, dolls, cartoon characters and the like).  A really good site for Matchbox enthusiasts is www.bamca.org (the San Francisco, Bay Area, California site of Matchbox collectors).  They have many good photographs of models over the many years.

A good North American retail source for NOS (new old stock) Matchbox Models of Yesteryear and Dinky-Matchbox diecast vehicles is “Model Empire, Inc.” of Wisconsin.  Look for their “Amazon.com” storefront, or e-mail them at info@modelempireusa.com.  Their phone number is (414) 453-4610.  The packaging is from the 1980s and 1990s, but many of the model castings go back to the 1960s and 1970s.  Some of the packaging is unique to the UK market.  The vehicles are made in England, Macao and China.  You shouldn’t be disappointed – the prices are reasonable, the inventory is good and the service is great.

1948-1952 Matchbox Model Years: the Early Lesney Toys

From 1948 until 1952, the Lesney Corporation made some early toys as a sideline to their industrial diecasting business.  These toys were of larger scale than the future 1-75 Series toys which came to be known as Matchbox toys due to the small boxes in which they were marketed.  In 1948, there were four such early Lesney toy models.  In 1949, this grew to 7.  In 1950, they had 10 such toys and in 1951 they had 11 models.  By 1952, this grew to 12 early Lesney toys.  In 1953, what was to eventually become the Matchbox 1-75 Series was born.

1953 Matchbox Model Year: the future “1-75 Series” is born

In 1953, Lesney stopped making industrial die-cast equipment and machinery to concentrate entirely on manufacturing die-cast toys.  Their toy business had become this profitable and important.  In 1953, Lesney Toys of England featured 13 various die-cast toys plus the first 3 models of what would eventually become the Matchbox 1-75 Series. The early Lesney toys (13 of them, and larger in die-cast scale compared to the 1-75 Series) included an Aveling Barford Road Roller, a Cement Mixer, a Caterpillar Tractor, a Caterpillar Bulldozer, a Horse-Drawn Milk Float, a Rag and Bone Cart, a Soap Box Racer, “Jumbo the Elephant,” a Prime Mover with Trailer and Bulldozer, a Ruston Bucyrus Shovel, “Muffin the Mule,” a Large Coronation Coach and a Small Coronation Coach.  The two coaches of course commemorated the start of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II of the Royal House of Windsor (actually Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, as the name “Windsor” was merely adopted in 1917 due to anti-German World War One sentiment in the United Kingdom).  The first 3 members of the future 1-75 Series were the 1) Diesel Road Roller, the 2) Dumper and the 3) Cement Mixer.

1954 Matchbox Model Year

In 1954, the early Lesney toys were scaled back to merely two models, and more effort was directed toward the growing and extremely popular smaller toys which would eventually become the Matchbox 1-75 Series.  The only early Lesney toys were now a large Massey Harris Tractor and a Bread Bait Press.  The future 1-75 Series now had 7 models, as follows: the 1) Diesel Road Roller, the 2) Dumper (1 5/8 inches in length), the 3) Cement Mixer, the 4) Massey Harris Tractor (a smaller version of the one just referenced), the 5) London Bus, the 6) Quarry Truck (2 1/8 inches in length) and the 7) Horse-Drawn Milk Float. I would estimate that the scales used for the 1-75 Series vehicles were somewhere between 1:54 and 1:74, with an average of 1:64.

1955 Matchbox Model Year: the final early Lesney Toys

In 1955, there were still two early Lesney toys in the product lineup; one was the large Massey Harris Tractor from last year, and the second was a Covered Wagon (like one might have found in the Western United States, transporting pioneers during the first half of the 19th century).  The future 1-75 Series had now grown to 11 models, including the 1) Road Roller (2 1/4 inches long), the 2) Dumper (1 5/8 inches long), the 3) Cement Mixer, the 4) Massey Harris Tractor (a smaller version of the large early Lesney Toy version), the 5) London Bus, the 6) Quarry Truck (2 1/8 inches long), the 7) Horse-Drawn Milk Float, the 8) Caterpillar Tractor (1 1/16 inchest long), the 9) Dennis Fire Escape (2 1/4 inches long), the 10) Mechanical Horse Trailer (2 3/8 inches long) and the 11) Road Tanker (2 inches long).  This was the first model year when Lesney would change models within the future 1-75 Series.  For instance, this year’s Road Roller (# 1) was somewhat larger and had a new look.  And these toys had nice realism for their time. The Caterpillar Tractor (# 11) featured rubber tracks which would roll, much like tank tracks on real tractors.  Over time and play, the rubber would usually become brittle and break.

1956 Matchbox Model Year: the first “Models of Yesteryear”

The early Lesney toys were no longer available by 1956.  This was a good marketing decision by Lesney Products.  Larger scale toys were immediately available, in the brand new “Models of Yesteryear” line.  For the consumer and the collector market, it is much smarter for toy companies to market their products in distinctive and unique product lines such as this.  The future 1-75 Series had now grown to 30 models, including the 1) Road Roller (2 1/4 inches long), the 2) Dumper (1 5/8 inches long), the 3) Cement Mixer, the 4) Massey Harris Tractor, the 5) London Bus (2 inches long), the 6) Quarry Truck (2 1/8 inches long), the 7) Horse-Drawn Milk Float, the 8) Caterpillar Tractor (1 1/16 inches long), the 9) Dennis Fire Escape (2 1/4 inches long), the 10) Mechanical Horse Trailer (2 3/8 inches long), the 11) Road Tanker (2 inches long), the 12) Land Rover (1 3/4 inches long), the 13) Bedford Wreck Truck (2 inches long), the 14) Daimler Ambulance (1 7/8 inches long), the 15) Prime Mover, the 16) Atlantic Trailer (with 6 wheels), the 17) Bedford Removal Van, the 18) Caterpillar Bulldozer (1 7/8 inches long), the 19) MG Sports Car, the 20) ERF Lorry Stake Truck, the 21) Bedford Long Distance Coach, the 22) Vauxhall Cresta, the 23) Berkeley Cavalier Trailer, the 24) Weatherhill Hydraulic Excavator, the 25) Bedford “Dunlop” Van, the 26) ERF Concrete Truck, the 27) Bedford Lowloader (3 1/8 inches long), the 28) Bedford Compressor Truck, the 29) Bedford Milk Delivery Van and the 30) Ford Perfekt.

One will notice that many more name brand vehicles corresponding to real-life vehicles were now in the Matchbox model lineup.  This was also a very good marketing decision. Children want cars like their parents own and like they see on the roads, and collectors appreciate the added realism as well.  “Caterpillar” is a well known American manufacturer of heavy earth-moving and construction equipment.  “Land Rover” is a well known English brand of off-road vehicles, now owned by Tata Motors of India. “Daimler” in the UK started out as a subsidiary Daimler, A.G. of Germany before World War One.  During World War One, they were forced to go independent of the German parent company due to anti-German feelings in the United Kingdom.  They then became a subsidiary of Jaguar, which is also now part of Tata Motors of India.  “Bedford” is a former English truck brand owned by General Motors Corporation of the United States. “MG” stands for “Morris Garages,” and is an English carmaker based in Longbridge, England.  MG is now owned by Nanjing Automotive of Mainland China.  Nanjing has been bought by SAIC (“Shanghai Automotive Industrial Corporation”) also of China.  SAIC-Nanjing is a major joint venture partner of Volkswagen and General Motors Corporation.  “ERF” is an English truck manufacturer, now owned by MAN of Germany which is in turn part of the vast Volkswagen Group of Germany.  “Vauxhall” is an English car brand owned by General Motors of the United States.  Most modern Vauxhall cars are cloned Opel cars, Adam Opel G.m.b.H. being the German subsidiary of General Motors Corporation.

The brand new Matchbox Models of Yesteryear line for 1956 included 4 models.  These were the Y-1) 1925 Allchin Traction Engine, the Y-2) 1911 “B” Type Bus, the Y-3) 1907 London “E” Class Tram Car and the Y-4) Sentinel Steam Wagon.  These fine diecast models of cars and trucks from the past were of larger scale than the future 1-75 Series, and tended to range in scale from 1:43 to about 1:50.

1957 Matchbox Model Year: the first Color Catalogue, Accessories, Major Packs and Presentation (Gift) Sets

1957 was another banner year for Lesney and Matchbox.  For the first time a full color catalogue was issued, which was another good marketing move.  The cover of the 1957 Matchbox color catalogue featured the cover of the box for model number 1, or the Road Roller, with the logo “Matchbox Series” on the top and the additional logo of “A Moko Lesney” on the bottom.  “Moko” stood for the name of Moses Kohnstam, a German-Jew who migrated to England in 1900.  He was very instrumental in developing the English toy industry, because he specialized in packaging, storing, distributing and financially backing many small toy manufacturers.  The name of his company was “Moko,” or a combination of this first and last name.  In 1953, “Moko” entered into an agreement with Lesney Products, whereby Moko would become their sole worldwide distributor. The relationship lasted until 1958, when Lesney Products bought out Moko’s interest in “Matchbox.” Lesney wanted to expand into markets such as Japan, whereas Moko did not – hence the going of separate ways.

New product lines of official “Accessories” and “Major Packs” were also introduced. Major Packs were of a larger scale compared to the future 1-75 Series, and were much more smartly marketed compared to the early Lesney toys. 3 “Presentation Sets” (Gift Sets) were also introduced, and the Models of Yesteryear line was expanded to a total of 7 models.

The future 1-75 Series grew to 42 models in 1957.  These included the 1) Road Roller (2 1/4 inches long), the 2) Dumper (1 7/8 inches long – upgraded from 1956), the 3) Cement Mixer, the 4) Massey Harris Tractor, the 5) London Bus (2 1/4 inches long – upgraded from last year and now with more realistic side decals), the 6) Quarry Truck (2 1/2 inches long – upgraded from 1956, and now in yellow), the 7) Horse-Drawn Milk Float, the 8) Caterpillar Tractor (1 1/16 inches long), the 9) Dennis Fire Escape (2 3/8 inches long), the 10) Mechanical Horse Trailer (2 3/8 inches long), the 11) Road Tanker (2 inches long), the 12) Land Rover (1 3/4 inches long), the 13) Bedford Wreck Truck (2 inches long), the 14) Daimler Ambulance (1 7/8 inches long), the 15) Prime Mover, the 16) Atlantic Trailer (upgraded to 8 wheels), the 17) Bedford Removal Van, the 18) Caterpillar Bulldozer (1 7/8 inches long), the 19) MG Sports Car, the 20) ERF Lorry Stake Truck, the 21) Bedford Long Distance Coach, the 22) Vauxhall Cresta, the 23) Berkeley Cavalier Trailer, the 24) Weatherhill Hydraulic Excavator, the 25) Bedford “Dunlop” Van, the 26) ERF Concrete Truck, the 27) Bedford Lowloader (3 1/8 inches long), the 28) Bedford Compressor Truck, the 29) Bedford Milk Delivery Van, the 30) Ford Perfekt, the 31) Ford Customline Station Wagon, the 32) Jaguar XK140 Coupé, the 33) Ford Zodiac MKII Sedan, the 34) Volkswagen Microbus, the 35) Marshall Horse Box, the 36) Austin A50, the 37) Coca Cola Lorry, the 38) Karrier Refuse Collector, the 39) Ford Zodiac Convertible, the 40) Bedford 7-Ton Tipper, the 41) “D” Type Jaguar and the 42) Bedford Evening News Van.

The brand new Accessories line included the A-1) Esso Petrol Pumps and Sign and the A-2) Bedford Car Transporter.  These accessories added to play value and collector value as well.  The Car Transporter was nice in that it could carry about 5 small cars.  “Esso” is the European marque for Exxon gasoline.

The brand new Major Packs included the M-1) Caterpillar Earth Scraper and the M-2) Bedford Ice Cream Truck.  The Earth Scraper (”Earth Mover” in American English) was nice in that these vehicles were (and are) much larger than passenger cars in real life, thus adding realism to the toys.  The Bedford Ice Cream Truck was realistic for the same reason, being a large commercial truck.

The Presentation Sets included the PS-1) Private Owner Set, the PS-2) Transporter with 4 Cars Set and the PS-3) Transporter with 6 Cars Set.

The Models of Yesteryear line now included the Y-1) 1925 Allchin Traction Engine, the Y-2) 1911 “B” Type Bus, the Y-3) 1907 London “E” Class Tram Car, the Y-4) Sentinel Steam Wagon, the Y-5) 1929 LeMans Bentley, the Y-6) 1916 A.E.C. “Y” Type Lorry and the Y-7) 1914 One Ton Leyland Van.  Bentley is now a fully-owned subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group of Germany, selling more than 9,000 new cars per year – much more than when it was part of Rolls-Royce of England.

1958 Matchbox Model Year

In 1958, Matchbox expanded the future 1-75 Series to 60 models.  The Accessories line and the Major Packs line remained at 2 models each.  The line of Presentation or gift Sets doubled from 3 to 6 Sets.  The Models of Yesteryear line grew to 10 models.  The cover of the 1958 color catalogue featured a picture of model number 44 (the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud) driving out of its box.  The logo of “Matchbox Series” was on the top, and the logo of “Illustrated Range of Models – A Moko Lesney” was on the bottom.

The future 1-75 Series now included the 1) Road Roller (an upgraded model at 2 3/8 inches long), the 2) Dumper (1 7/8 inches long), the 3) Cement Mixer, the 4) Massey Harris Tractor, the 5) London Bus (2 1/4 inches long), the 6) Quarry Truck (2 1/2 inches long), the 7) Horse-Drawn Milk Float, the 8) Caterpillar Tractor (1 1/16 inches long), the 9) Dennis Fire Escape (2 3/8 inches long), the 10) Mechanical Horse Trailer (an upgraded model at 2 7/8 inches long), the 11) Road Tanker (an upgraded model now in red at 2 1/2 inches long), the 12) Land Rover (1 3/4 inches long), the 13) Bedford Wreck Truck (2 1/8 inches long), the 14) Daimler Ambulance (an upgraded model now in white at 2 5/8 inches long), the 15) Prime Mover, the 16) Atlantic Trailer (with 8 wheels), the 17) Bedford Removal Van (slightly upgraded), the 18) Caterpillar Bulldozer (upgraded to 2 inches long), the 19) MGA Sports Car (upgraded and now in white), the 20) ERF Lorry Stake Truck, the 21) Bedford Duple Luxury Coach (another upgraded model), the 22) 1958 Vauxhall Cresta (the newest version of the real-life car), the 23) Berkeley Cavalier Trailer (also enlarged and improved), the 24) Weatherhill Hydraulic Excavator, the 25) Bedford “Dunlop” Van, the 26) ERF Concrete Truck, the 27) Bedford Lowloader (3 1/8 inches long), the 28) Bedford Compressor Truck, the 29) Bedford Milk Delivery Van, the 30) Ford Perfekt, the 31) Ford Customline Station Wagon, the 32) Jaguar XK140 Coupé, 33) Ford Zodiac MKII Sedan, the 34) Volkswagen Microvan (now a Panel Van with a “Matchbox International Express” logo instead of a Kombi Van), the 35) the Marshall Horse Box, the 36) Austin A50, the 37) Coca Cola Lorry, the 38) Karrier Refuse Truck, the 39) Ford Zodiac Convertible, the 40) Bedford 7-Ton Tipper, the 41) “D” Type Jaguar (2 3/16 inches long), the 42) Bedford Evening News Van, the 43) Hillman Minx, the 44) Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud, the 45) Vauxhall Victor, the 46) Morris Minor 1000, the 47) 1-Ton Trojan Van, the 48) Meteor Sports Boat and Trailer, the 49) M3 Personnel Carrier, the 50) Commer Pickup Truck, the 51) Albion Chieftain Truck, the 52) Maserati 4CLT Race Car, the 53) Aston Martin, the 54) Saracen Personnel Carrier, the 55) D.U.K.W., the 56) London Trolley Bus, the 57) Wolseley 1500 Sedan, the 58) BAE Coach, the 59) Ford Thames Van and the 60) Morris J2 Pickup Truck.

One must consider the differences between English and American English.  For instance “Coach” in English translates to “Passenger Bus” in American.  “Lorry” in English translates to “Heavy Truck” in American.  “Saloon” in English translates to “Sedan” in American.  “Bonnet” in English translates to “Hood” in American, and “Boot” in English translates to “Trunk” in American.

A few more notes.  The D.U.K.W. was an amphibious landing craft and personnel carrier of the American Army during World War Two.  Maserati is an Italian subsidiary of Fiat, the major automotive group from Italy.  Rolls-Royce is now a subsidiary of B.M.W. of Munich, Bavaria (Germany).  Aston-Martin (once part of the Ford Motor Company) is now independently owned by former Ford executives such as Jack Nasser.  Hillman is a dormant brand of the former English Rootes Group car manufacturer.

The Accessories line and the Major Packs line remained the same as they were in 1957. There were now 6 Presentation Sets (gift sets) in 1958, as compared to just 3 in 1957.

The Presentation Sets included the PS-1) Private Owner Set, the PS-2) Transporter with 4 Cars Set, the PS-3) Transporter with 6 Cars Set, the PS-4) Commercial Vehicle Set and the PS-5) Army Transport Set.

The Models of Yesteryear line now included the Y-1) 1925 Allchin Traction Engine, the Y-2) 1911 “B” Type Bus, the Y-3) 1907 London “E” Class Tram Car, the Y-4) Sentinel Steam Wagon, the Y-5) 1929 LeMans Bentley, the Y-6) 1916 A.E.C. “Y” Type Lorry, the Y-7) 1914 1-Ton Leyland Van, the Y-8) 1926 Morris Cowley “Bullnoze” Coupé, the Y-9) 1924 Fowler Showman’s Engine and the Y-10) 1908 Grand Prix Mercedes.

1959 Matchbox Model Year

The future 1-75 Series became virtually complete in 1959, with 74 out of 75 eventual models.  The Accessories line still had 2 models, but the Major Packs doubled from just 2 to 4 models.  A brand new addition to the Matchbox product line was a Gas Station, or MG-1.  This wonderful addition featured an “Esso” sign and 3 pumps, complete with a gas station attendant.  The building had a “Matchbox Garage” logo, and the plastic yellow court had one outside ramp for a car.  An accessory such as this is a virtual diorama, which added tremendously to both realism and play value.  The Presentation Set line of gift sets grew from 6 to 8 sets in 1959.  Finally, the Models of Yesteryear line grew from 10 to 14 models.  This would eventually peak at 16 models, and hold at the number 16 for many years to come.  The 1-75 Series would likewise peak at 75 models and hold at that level for very many years.  But there would come a time in the distant future when both lines would actually exceed these levels.

The cover of the 1959 color catalogue featured 3 models – the A-2) Bedford Car Transporter, the 43) Hillman Minx Sedan and the Y-9) 1924 Fowler Showman’s Engine. It featured the logo “Range of Models by Lesney.”

The Matchbox 1-75 Series of 1959 included the 1) Diesel Road Roller (2 3/8 inches long), the 2) Dumper (1 7/8 inches long), the 3) Cement Mixer, the 4) Massey Harris Tractor, the 5) London Bus (2 1/4 inches long), the 6) Quarry Truck (2 1/2 inches long), the 7) Horse-Drawn Milk Float, the 8) Caterpillar Tractor (a new model upgraded to 1 5/8 inches long), the 9) Merriweather Marquis Fire Engine (a new and better fire engine), the 10) Mechanical Horse Trailer (2 7/8 inches long), the 11) Road Tanker (2 1/2 inches long), the 12) Land Rover (a new model upgraded to 2 1/4 inches long), the 13) Bedford Wreck Truck (2 1/8 inches long), the 14) Daimler Ambulance (2 5/8 inches long), the 15) Atlantic Prime Mover (a new and improved model), the 16) Atlantic Trailer (with 8 wheels), the 17) Bedford Removal Van, the 18) Caterpillar Bulldozer (2 inches long), the 19) MGA Sports Car, the 20) ERF 686 Truck (a new model), the 21) Bedford Duple Luxury Coach, the 22) 1958 Vauxhall Cresta, the 23) Berkeley Cavalier Trailer, the 24) Hydraulic Excavator (a new and improved model), the 25) Bedford “Dunlop” Van, the 26) ERF Concrete Truck, the 27) Bedford Lowloader (a new and upgraded model at 3 3/4 inches long), the 28) Thames Compressor Truck (a new model), the 29) Bedford Milk Delivery Van, the 30) Ford Perfekt, the 31) Ford Customline Station Wagon, the 32) Jaguar XK140 Coupé, the 33) Ford Zodiac MKII Sedan, the 34) Volkswagen Microvan, the 35) Marshall Horse Box, the 36) Austin A50, the 37) Coca Cola Lorry, the 38) Karrier Refuse Collector, the 39) Ford Zodiac Convertible, the 40) Bedford 7-Ton Tipper, the 41) “D” Type Jaguar, the 42) Bedford Evening News Van, the 43) Hillman Minx Sedan, the 44) Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud, the 45) Vauxhall Victor, the 46) Morris Minor 1000, the 47) 1-Ton Trojan Van, the 48) Meteor Sports Boat & Trailer, the 49) M3 Personnel Carrier, the 50) Commer Pickup, the 51) Albion Chieftain Truck, the 52) Maserati 4CLT Race Car, the 53) Aston Martin, the 54) Saracen Personnel Carrier, the 55) D.U.K.W., the 56) London Trolley Bus, the 57) Wolseley 1500 Sedan, the 58) BAE Coach, the 59) Ford Thames Van, the 60) Morris J2 Pickup Truck, the 61) Ferret Scout Car, the 62) General Service Lorry, the 63) Ford Service Ambulance, the 64) Scammell Breakdown Truck, the 65) Jaguar 3.4 Liter Saloon (2 1/2 inches long), the 66) Citroen DS19 Sedan, the 67) Saladin Armoured Car, the 68) Austin MKII Radio Truck, the 69) Commer 30 CWT Van, the 70) Ford Thames Estate Car (a van), the 71) Austin 200 Gallon Water Truck, the 72) Fordson Tractor, the 73) 10-Ton Pressure Refueller Truck and the 74) Mobile Refreshment Canteen.

Accessories were still limited to the A-1) Esso Petrol Pumps and Sign and the A-2) Bedford Car Transporter.

The Major Packs doubled from 2 to 4 models. These included the M-1) Caterpillar Earth Scraper, the M-2) Bedford Ice Cream Truck, the M-3) Thornycraft Antar & Centurion Tank and the M-4) Ruston Bucyrus Power Shovel.

The all new Gas Station was the MG-1) Matchbox One Story Garage, complete with an “Esso” sign, 3 pumps, an attendant, a building and an exterior ramp for one vehicle.

The number of Presentation Sets (or themed gift sets) grew from 6 to 8 in 1959. These included the PS-1) Private Owner Set, the PS-2) Transporter with 4 Cars Set, the PS-3) Transporter with 6 Cars Set, the PS-4) Commercial Vehicle Set and the PS-5) Army Transport Set.

The Models of Yesteryear line grew from 10 to 14 models in 1959, including the Y-1) 1925 Allchin Traction Engine, the Y-2) 1911 “B” Type Bus, the Y-3) 1907 London “E” Class Tram Car, the Y-4) Sentinel Steam Wagon, the Y-5) 1929 LeMans Bentley, the Y-6) 1916 A.E.C. “Y” Type Lorry, the Y-7) 1914 Ton Leyland Van, the Y-8) 1926 Morris Cowley “Bullnoze” Coupé, the Y-9) 1924 Fowler Showman’s Engine, the Y-10) 1908 Grand Prix Mercedes, the Y-11) 1920 Aveling & Porter Steam Roller, the Y-12) 1899 London Horse-Drawn Bus, the Y-13) 1862 Santa Fé Locomotive and the Y-14) 1903 Duke of Connaught Locomotive.

1960 Matchbox Model Year: the “1-75 Series” is complete

In 1960, the Matchbox 1-75 Series finally became compete with 75 models, and thereby official.  The Accessories line grew fifty percent from 2 to 3 models.  The Major Packs line doubled from 4 to 8 models.  The brand new “King Size” line was born, with 4 models – they would eventually replace the Major Packs line completely.  The “MG-1? Gas Station was back in 1960 as well.  Presentation Sets remained at the level of 8 sets, but the brand new “Gift Sets” line was born, with 6 all-new sets.  As with the King Size and Major Packs relationship, the Gift Sets would eventually replace the Presentation Sets.  Another great product was introduced in 1960, being the “R-1? Matchbox Roadway Series.  This was a cardboard layout for streets, complete with intersections and divider lines.  Such products served to increase both realism and play value.  The Models of Yesteryear line grew from 14 to 15 models.

The cover of the 1960 color catalogue featured 27 of the models from the “1-75 Series” in a semi-circle, with each model on top of its box.  It also featured the logo “All the Matchbox Pocket Money Toys by Lesney” in the center of the picture.

The newly complete “1-75 Series” now included the 1) Road Roller (2 3/8 inches long), the 2) Dumper (1 7/8 inches long), the 3) Cement Mixer, the 4) Massey Harris Tractor, the 5) London Bus (2 1/4 inches long), the 6) Quarry Truck (2 1/2 inches long), the 7) Horse-Drawn Milk Float, the 8) Caterpillar Tractor (1 5/8 inches long), the 9) Merryweather Marquis Fire Engine, the 10) Mechanical Horse Trailer (2 7/8 inches long), the 11) Road Tanker (2 1/2 inches long), the 12) Land Rover (2 1/4 inches long), the 13) Bedford Wreck Truck (2 1/8 inches long), the 14) Daimler Ambulance (2 5/8 inches long), the 15) Atlantic Prime Mover, the 16) Atlantic Trailer (with 8 wheels), the 17) Austin Taxi Cab (a new model), the 18) Caterpillar Bulldozer (2 inches long), the 19) MGA Sports Car, the 20) ERF 686 Truck, the 21) Bedford Duple Luxury Coach, the 22) 1958 Vauxhall Cresta Sedan, the 23) Bluebird Dauphine Trailer (a new model), the 24) Hydraulic Excavator, the 25) Volkswagen Beetle 1200 Sedan (a new model), the 26) ERF Concrete Truck, the 27) Cadillac Sixty Special (a new model), the 28) Thames Compressor Truck, the 29) Bedford Milk Delivery Van, the 30) Ford Perfekt Sedan, the 31) Ford Fairlane Station Wagon (a new model), the 32) Jaguar XK140 Coupé, the 33) Ford Zodiac MKII Sedan, the 34) Volkswagen Microvan, the 35) Marshall Horse Box, the 36) Austin A50 Sedan, the 37) Coca Cola Lorry (a new model), the 38) Karrier Refuse Collector Truck, the 39) Ford Zodiac Convertible, the 40) Bedford 7-Ton Tipper, the 41) “D” Type Jaguar (2 7/16 inches long), the 42) Bedford Evening News Van, the 43) Hillman Minx Sedan, the 44) Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud, the 45) Vauxhall Victor Sedan, the 46) Pickfords Removal Van (a new model), the 47) 1-Ton Trojan Van, the 48) Meteor Sports Boat and Trailer, the 49) M3 Personnel Carrier, the 50) Commer Pickup Truck, the 51) Albion Chieftain Truck, the 52) Maserati 4CLT Race Car, the 53) Aston Martin, the 54) Saracen Personnel Carrier, the 55) D.U.K.W., the 56) London Trolley Bus, the 57) Wolseley 1500 Sedan, the 58) BAE Coach, the 59) Ford Thames Van, the 60) Morris J2 Pickup Truck, the 61) Ferret Scout Car, the 62) General Service Lorry, the 63) Ford Service Ambulance, the 64) Scammell Breakdown Truck, the 65) Jaguar 3.4 Liter Saloon (2 1/2 inches long), the 66) Citroen DS19 Sedan, the 67) Saladin Armoured Car, the 68) Austin MKII Radio Truck, the 69) Commer 30 CWT Van, the 70) Ford Thames Estate Car (a van), the 71) Austin 200 Gallon Water Truck, the 72) Fordson Tractor, the 73) 10-Ton Pressure Refueller Truck, the 74) Mobile Refreshment Canteen and the 75) Ford Thunderbird (a new model).

The Accessories line for 1960 included the A-1) Esso Petrol Pumps and Sign, the A-2) Bedford Car Transporter and the A-3) Road Signs (a new set).

The Major Packs line for 1960 included the M-1) Caterpillar Earth Scraper, the M-2) Bedford Ice Cream Truck, the M-3) Thornycraft Antar and Centurion Tank, the M-4) Ruston Bucyrus Power Shovel, the M-5) Massey Ferguson Combine Harvester, the M-6) Pickfords 200-Ton Transporter, the M-7) Jennings Cattle Truck and the M-8) Mobilgas Petrol Tanker.

The Presentation Sets included the PS-1) Private Owner Set, the PS-2) Transporter with 4 Cars Set, the PS-3) Transporter with 6 Cars Set, the PS-4) Commercial Vehicle Set and the PS-5) Army Transport Set.

The King Size line for 1960 included the K-1) Weatherhill Hydraulic Shovel, the K-2) Muir Hill Dumper, the K-3) Caterpillar Bulldozer and the K-4) International Tractor.

The “MG-1? Matchbox One Story Garage was back in 1960. The number of Presentation Sets remained constant at 8 sets, while the brand new Gift Sets included the G-1) Commercial Motor Set, the G-2) Car Transporter Set, the G-3) Building Constructors’ Set, the G-4) Farm Set, the G-5) Military Vehicles Set and the G-6) Models of Yesteryear Gift Set.

The “R-1? Roadway layout was brand new for 1960, featuring a cardboard layout of streets with intersections and divider lines.

The Models of Yesteryear line for 1960 included the Y-1) 1925 Allchin Traction Engine, the Y-2) 1911 “B” Type Bus, the Y-3) 1907 London “E” Class Tram Car, the Y-4) Shand Mason Horse-Drawn Fire Engine (a new model), the Y-5) 1929 LeMans Bentley, the Y-6) 1916 A.E.C. “Y” Type Lorry, the Y-7) 1914 Ton Leyland Van, the Y-8) 1926 Morris Cowley “Bullnoze” Coupé, the Y-9) 1924 Fowler Showman’s Engine, the Y-10) 1908 Grand Prix Mercedes, the Y-11) 1920 Aveling & Porter Steam Roller, the Y-12) 1899 London Horse-Drawn Bus, the Y-13) 1862 Santa Fé Locomotive, the Y-14) 1903 Duke of Connaught Locomotive and the Y-15) 1907 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost (a new model).

1961 Matchbox Model Year

The cover of the 1961 color catalogue featured model number 5, the London Bus, being held by two fingers of a man’s hand.  The logo on the top read “Matchbox Series International Pocket Catalogue” and the logo on the bottom read “Pocket Money Toys by Lesney” with the year 1961.  This was the first time when the model year was featured on the cover of the catalogue, which was another good marketing idea.

The Accessories line grew from 3 to 5 models.  The Major Packs line remained constant at 8 models, but the King Size line grew from 4 to 7 models.  The “MG-1? Gas Station was upgraded to a larger and much more realistic two story garage, complete with the “BP” (British Petroleum) logo and 3 pumps.  There was an exterior service ramp, an open garage downstairs plus the customer service and waiting area.  Behind the building, there was a ramp for cars to reach the second story service bays.

The “1-75 Series” for 1961 included the 1) Road Roller (2 3/8 inches long), the 2) Muir Hill Dumper (a new model), the 3) Bedford Tipper Truck (a new model), the 4) Triumph Motorcycle and Sidecar (a new model), the 5) London Bus (2 1/4 inches long), the 6) Quarry Truck (2 1/2 inches long), the 7) Ford Anglia Sedan (a new model), the 8) Caterpillar Tractor (1 7/8 inches long and a new model), the 9) Merriweather Marquis Fire Engine, the 10) Sugar Container Truck (a new model), the 11) Road Tanker (2 1/2 inches long), the 12) Land Rover (2 1/4 inches long), the 13) Thames Wreck Truck (a new model), the 14) Daimler Ambulance (2 5/8 inches long), the 15) Atlantic Prime Mover, the 16) Atlantic Trailer (with 8 wheels), the 17) Austin Taxi Cab, the 18) Caterpillar Bulldozer (2 1/4 inches long and a new model), the 19) Aston-Martin Racing Car (a new model), the 20) ERF 686 Truck, the 21) Commer Milk Truck (a new model), the 22) 1958 Vauxhall Cresta Sedan, the 23) Bluebird Dauphine Trailer, the 24) Hydraulic Excavator, the 25) Volkswagen 1200 Sedan, the 26) Foden Concrete Truck (a new model), the 27) Cadillac Sixty Special, the 28) Thames Compressor Truck, the 29) Austin A55 Cambridge Sedan (a new model), the 30) Magirus Deutz Crane (with 6 wheels and a new model), the 31) Ford Fairlane Station Wagon, the 32) Jaguar XK140 Coupé, the 33) Ford Zodiac MKII Sedan, the 34) Volkswagen Microvan, the 35) Marshall Horse Box, the 36) Lambretta Scooter and Sidecar (a new model), the 37) Coca Cola Lorry, the 38) Karrier Refuse Collector, the 39) Ford Zodiac Convertible, the 40) Leyland Royal Tiger Coach, the 41) “D” Type Jaguar (2 7/16 inches long), the 42) Bedford Evening News Van, the 43) Hillman Minx Sedan, the 44) Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud, the 45) Vauxhall Victor Sedan, the 46) Pickfords Removal Van, the 47) 1-Ton Trojan Van, the 48) Sports Boat and Trailer (a new model), the 49) M3 Personnel Carrier, the 50) Commer Pickup Truck, the 51) Albion Chieftain Truck, the 52) Maserati 4CLT Race Car, the 53) Aston-Martin, the 54) Saracen Personnel Carrier, the 55) D.U.K.W., the 56) London Trolley Bus, the 57) Chevrolet Impala (a new model), the 58) BAE Coach, the 59) Ford Thames Van, the 60) Morris J2 Pickup Truck, the 61) Ferret Scout Car, the 62) General Service Lorry, the 63) Ford Service Ambulance, the 64) Scammell Breakdown Truck, the 65) Jaguar 3.4 Litre Saloon (2 1/2 inches long), the 66) Citroen DS19, the 67) Saladin Armoured Car, the 68) Austin MII Radio Truck, the 69) Commer 30 CWT Van, the 70) Ford Thames Estate Car (a van), the 71) Austin 200 Gallon Water Truck, the 72) Fordson Tractor, the 73) 10-Ton Pressure Refueler Truck, the 74) Mobile Refreshment Canteen and the 75) Ford Thunderbird.

The Accessories line for 1961 included the A-1) “Esso” Petrol Pumps and Sign, the A-2) Bedford Car Transporter, the A-3) Road Signs and the A-4) Home Store (a new model). The “Home Store” was something like a small general “Mom and Pop” store.

The Major Packs line for 1961 included the M-1) “BP” Autotanker (a new model), the M-2) Bedford Truck and York Trailer (a new model), the M-3) Thornycraft Antar and Centurion Tank, the M-4) Ruston Bucyrus Power Shovel, the M-5) Massey Ferguson Combine Harvester, the M-6) Pickfords 200-Ton Transporter, the M-7) Jennings Cattle Truck and the M-8) “Mobilgas” Petrol Tanker.

The King Size line for 1961 included the K-1) Weatherhill Hydraulic Shovel, the K-2) Muir Hill Dumper, the K-3) Caterpillar Bulldozer, the K-4) International Tractor, the K-5) Foden Tipper Truck (a new model), the K-6) Allis-Chalmers Earth Scraper (a new model) and the K-7) Curtis-Wright Rear Dumper (a new model).

The “MG-1? Gas Station was new and improved for 1961, now being a Matchbox Two Story Garage.  It had three “BP” gasoline fuel pumps, an exterior service ramp, a covered garage with no front door for two cars at street level, and the downstairs customer service and waiting area.  A ramp was placed in the rear, for cars to drive up and be serviced in the second story service bays.

The Presentation Sets for 1961 included the PS-1) Private Owner Set, the PS-2) Transporter with 4 Cars Set, the PS-3) Transporter with 6 Cars Set, the PS-4) Commercial Vehicle Set and the PS-5) Army Transport Set.

The Gift Sets for 1961 included the G-1) Commercial Motor Set, the G-2) Car Transporter Set, the G-3) Building Constructors Set, the G-4) Farm Set, the G-5) Military Vehicles Set, the G-6) Models of Yesteryear Set and the G-7) Second Models of Yesteryear Set.

The Roadways line for 1961 included the R-1) Roadway Layout, the R-2) “Heart of London” Roadway Layout, the R-3) “Royal London” Roadway Layout and the R-4) Racetrack Speedway.  As one can see, the expanded product line allowed for ever more realism and increased play value.

The Models of Yesteryear line for 1961 included the Y-1) 1925 Allchin Traction Engine, the Y-2) 1911 “B” Type Bus, the Y-3) 1907 London “E” Class Tram Car, the Y-4) Shand Mason Horse-Drawn Fire Engine, the Y-5) 1929 LeMans Bentley, the Y-6) 1926 Type 35 Bugatti (a new model), the Y-7) 1913 Mercer Raceabout (a new model), the Y-8) 1926 Morris Cowley “Bullnoze” Coupé, the Y-9) 1924 Fowler Showman’s Engine, the Y-10) 1908 Grand Prix Mercedes, the Y-11) 1920 Aveling & Porter Steam Roller, the Y-12) 1899 London Horse-Drawn Bus, the Y-13) 1862 Santa Fé Locomotive, the Y-14) 1903 Duke of Connaught Locomotive, the Y-15) 1907 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost and the Y-16) 1904 Spyker (a new model).  “Spyker” is a brand from the Netherlands which has been revived to make luxury sports cars.

1962 Matchbox Model Year: No more Presentation Sets

The cover of the 1962 “Matchbox” Series International Pocket Catalogue featured a color picture of Model # 65, a red Jaguar 3.8 Liter Saloon (”Sedan” in American English), being held within the thumb and the forefinger of a man’s hand.  The Major Packs line grew from 8 to 10 models in 1962, and the King Size line grew from 7 to 9 models. Presentation Sets disappeared entirely, but the line of Gift Sets grew from 7 to 10 sets in 1962.  This made better marketing sense, because there was too much overlap between the Presentation and Gift Set lines.

The 1-75 Series for 1962 included the 1) Aveling-Barford Road Roller (a new and improved model), the 2) Muir Hill Dumper, the 3) Bedford Tipper, the 4) Triumph Motorcycle & Sidecar, the 5) London Bus (2 1/4 inches long), the 6) Quarry Truck (2 1/2 inches long), the 7) Ford Anglia Sedan, the 8) Caterpillar Tractor (1 7/8 inches long), the 9) Merryweather Marquis Fire Engine, the 10) Sugar Container Truck, the 11) Road Tanker (2 1/2 inches long), the 12) Land Rover (2 1/4 inches long), the 13) Thames Wreck Truck, the 14) Bedford Ambulance (a new model), the 15) Atlantic Prime Mover, the 16) Atlantic Trailer (with 8 wheels), the 17) Austin Taxi Cab, the 18) Caterpillar Bulldozer (2 1/4 inches long), the 19) Aston-Martin Racing Car, the 20) ERF 686 Truck, the 21) Commer Milk Truck, the 22) 1958 Vauxhall Cresta Sedan, the 23) Bluebird Dauphine Trailer, the 24) Hydraulic Excavator, the 25) Volkswagen 1200 Sedan, the 26) Foden Concrete Truck, the 27) Cadillac Sixty Special, the 28) Thames Compressor Truck, the 29) Austin A55 Cambridge Sedan, the 30) Magirus-Deutz Crane (with 6 wheels), the 31) Ford Fairlane Station Wagon, the 32) “E” Type Jaguar Coupé (a new model), the 33) Ford Zodiac MKII Sedan, the 34) Volkswagen Camper (a new model), the 35) Marshall Horse Box, the 36) Lambretta Scooter & Sidecar, the 37) Coca Cola Lorry, the 38) Karrier Refuse Truck, the 39) Pontiac Convertible (a new model), the 40) Leyland Royal Tiger Coach, the 41) “D” Type Jaguar (2 7/16 inches long), the 42) Bedford Evening News Van, the 43) Aveling-Barford Tractor Shovel, the 44) Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud, the 45) Vauxhall Victor Sedan, the 46) Pickfords Removal Van, the 47) 1-Ton Trojan Van, the 48) Sports Boat & Trailer, the 49) M3 Personnel Carrier, the 50) Commer Pickup Truck, the 51) Albion Chieftain Truck, the 52) Maserati 4CLT Race Car, the 53) Aston-Martin, the 54) Saracen Personnel Carrier, the 55) D.U.K.W., the 56) London Trolley Bus, the 57) Chevrolet Impala, the 58) Drott Excavator (a new model), the 59) Ford Thames Van, the 60) Morris J2 Pickup Truck, the 61) Ferret Scout Car, the 62) General Service Lorry, the 63) Ford Service Ambulance, the 64) Scammell Breakdown Truck, the 65) Jaguar 3.8 Litre Saloon (2 5/8 inches long), the 66) Harley-Davidson Motorcycle and Sidecar (a new model), the 67) Saladin Armoured Car, the 68) Austin MKII Radio Truck, the 69) Commer 30 CWT Van, the 70) Ford Thames Estate Car (a van), the 71) Austin 200 Gallon Water Truck, the 72) Fordson Tractor, the 73) Ferrari F1 Racing Car (a new model), the 74) Mobile Refreshment Canteen and the 75) Ford Thunderbird.

The Accessories line for 1962 included the A-1) “Esso” Petrol Pumps and Sign, the A-2) Bedford Car Transporter, the A-3) Road Signs and the A-4) Home Store.

The Major Packs line for 1962 included the M-1) “BP” Autotanker, the M-2) Bedford Truck and York Trailer, the M-3) Thornycraft Antar and Centurion Tank, the M-4) Ruston Bucyrus Power Shovel, the M-5) Massey-Ferguson Combine Harvester, the M-6) Pickfords 200-Ton Transporter, the M-7) Jennings Cattle Truck, the M-8) “Mobilgas” Petrol Tanker, the M-9) Interstate Double Freighter (a new model) and the M-10) Dinkum Dumper (a new model).

The King Size line for 1962 included the K-1) Weatherhill Hydraulic Shovel, the K-2) Muir Hill Dumper, the K-3) Caterpillar Bulldozer, the K-4) International Tractor, the K-5) Foden Tipper Truck, the K-6) Allis-Chalmers Earth Scraper, the K-7) Curtiss-Wright Rear Dumper, the K-8) Prime Mover and Caterpillar Tractor (a new model) and the K-9) Diesel Road Roller.

The “MG-1? Matchbox Two Story Garage was once again featured in the 1962 catalogue, as it had been in the previous model year.

The Presentation Sets were no more in 1962, but the Gift Sets line included the G-1) Commercial Motor Set, the G-2) Car Transporter Set, the G-3) Building Constructors Set, the G-4) Farm Set, the G-5) Military Vehicles Set, the G-6) Models of Yesteryear Set, the G-7) Second Models of Yesteryear Set, the G-8) Construction Set (a new set), the G-9) Major Pack Set (a new set) and G-10) Garage Set.

The Roadway Series for 1962 included the R-1) Roadway (new and improved, with an “overpass”), the R-2) Roadway Layout “Heart of London,” the R-3) Roadway Layout “Royal London” and the R-4) Racetrack Speedway.

The Models of Yesteryear line for 1962 included the Y-1) 1925 Allchin Taction Engine, the Y-2) 1911 “B” Type Bus, the Y-3) 1907 London “E” Class Tram Car, the Y-4) Shand Mason Horse-Drawn Fire Engine, the Y-5) 1929 4 1/2 Litre Bentley (a new model), the Y-6) 1926 Type 35 Bugatti, the Y-7) 1913 Mercer Raceabout, the Y-8) 1914 Sunbeam Motorcycle and Sidecar (a new model), the Y-9) 1924 Fowler Showman’s Engine, the Y-10) 1908 Grand Prix Mercedes, the Y-11) 1920 Aveling & Porter Steam Roller, the Y-12) 1899 London Horse-Drawn Bus, the Y-13) 1862 Santa Fé Locomotive, the Y-14) 1903 Duke of Connaught Locomotive, the Y-15) 1907 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost and the Y-16) 1904 Spyker.

1963 Matchbox Model Year

In 1963, there was not too much change compared to 1962.  The 1963 Matchbox Series International Pocket Catalogue featured the brand new model #53 (a Mercedes-Benz 220 SE subtle “fintail” coupé in dark red) being held between the index finger and thumb of a man’s right hand. Below the car in the picture was the box for the car, and the logos on the bottom of the catalogue cover read “1963 Edition” and “Pocket Money Toys by Lesney.”

The Matchbox 1-75 Series for 1963 included the 1) Aveling-Barford Road Roller, the 2) Muir Hill Dumper, the 3) Bedford Tipper, the 4) Triumph Motorcycle and Sidecar, the 5) London Bus (2 1/4 inches long), the 6) Quarry Truck (2 1/2 inches long), the 7) Ford Anglia, the 8) Caterpillar Tractor (1 7/8 inches long), the 9) Merryweather Marquis Fire Engine, the 10) Sugar Container Truck, the 11) Road Tanker (2 1/2 inches long), the 12) Land Rover (2 1/4 inches long), the 13) Thames Wreck Truck, the 14) Bedford Ambulance, the 15) Refuse Truck (a new model), the 16) Atlantic Trailer (with 8 wheels), the 17) Hoveringham Tipper Truck (a new model), the 18) Caterpillar Bulldozer (2 1/4 inches long), the 19) Aston-Martin Racing Car, the 20) ERF 686 Truck, the 21) Commer Milk Truck, the 22) 1958 Vauxhall Cresta Sedan, the 23) Bluebird Dauphine Trailer, the 24) Hydraulic Excavator, the 25) Volkswagen 1200 Sedan, the 26) Foden Concrete Truck, the 27) Cadillac Sixty Special, the 28) Thames Compressor Truck, the 29) Austin A55 Cambridge Sedan, the 30) Magirus-Deutz Crane (with 6 wheels), the 31) Ford Fairlane Station Wagon, the 32) “E” Type Jaguar Coupé, the 33) Ford Zephyr 6 MKII (a new model), the 34) Volkswagen Camper, the 35) Marshall Horse Box, the 36) Lambretta Scooter and Sidecar, the 37) Coca Cola Lorry, the 38) Vauxhall Victor Estate Car (a new model), the 39) Pontiac Convertible, the 40) Leyland Royal Tiger Coach, the 41) “D” Type Jaguar (2 7/16 inches long), the 42) Bedford Evening News Van, the 43) Aveling-Barford Tractor Shovel, the 44) Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud, the 45) Vauxhall Victor Sedan, the 46) Pickfords Removal Van, the 47) Commer Ice Cream Canteen Truck (a new model), the 48) Sports Boat and Trailer, the 49) M3 Personnel Carrier, the 50) Commer Pickup Truck, the 51) Albion Chieftain Truck, the 52) Maserati 4CLT Race Car, the 53) Mercedes-Benz 220 SE Coupé (a new model), the 54) Saracen Personnel Carrier, the 55) Ford Fairlane Police Car (a new model), the 56) London Trolley Bus, the 57) Chevrolet Impala, the 58) Drott Excavator, the 59) Ford Fairlane Fire Chief Car (a new model), the 60) Morris J2 Pickup Truck, the 61) Ferret Scout Car, the 62) TV Service Van (a new model), the 63) Ford Service Ambulance, the 64) Scammell Breakdown Truck, the 65) Jaguar 3.8 Litre Saloon (2 5/8 inches long), the 66) Harley-Davidson Motorcycle and Sidecar, the 67) Saladin Armoured Car, the 68) Austin MKII Radio Truck, the 69) Commer 30 CWT Van, the 70) Ford Thames Estate Car (a van), the 71) Austin 200-Gallon Water Truck, the 72) Fordson Tractor, the 73) Ferrari F1 Racing Car, the 74) Mobile Refreshment Canteen and the 75) Ford Thunderbird.

The Accessories line for 1963 included the A-1) “BP” Petrol Pumps and Sign (a new and improved model), the A-2) Bedford Car Transporter, the A-3) Road Signs and the A-4) Home Store.

The Major Packs line for 1963 included the M-1) “BP” Autotanker, the M-2) Bedford Truck and York Trailer, the M-3) Thornycraft Antar and Centurion Tank, the M-4) Ruston Bucyrus Power Shovel, the M-5) Massey Ferguson Combine Harvester, the M-6) Pickfords 200-Ton Transporter, the M-7) Jennings Cattle Truck, the M-8) “Mobilgas” Petrol Tanker, the M-9) Interstate Double Freighter and the M-10) Dinkum Dumper.

The King Size line for 1963 included the K-1) Weatherhill Hydraulic Shovel, the K-2) Muir Hill Dumper, the K-3) Caterpillar Bulldozer, the K-4) International Tractor, the K-5) Foden Tipper Truck, the K-6) Allis-Chalmers Earth Scraper, the K-7) Curtis-Wright Rear Dumper, the K-8) Prime Mover and Caterpillar Tractor, the K-9) Diesel Road Roller, the K-10) Aveling-Barford Tractor Shovel (a new model), the K-11) Fordson Tractor and Farm Trailer (a new model), the K-12) Heavy Breakdown Truck (a new model), the K-13) Readymix Concrete Truck and the K-14) Taylor Jumbo Crane (a new model).

A very nice new addition to the Matchbox product line in 1963 was the “MF-1? Matchbox Fire Station.  It was a highly detailed building with a double-opening garage door in the front.  It featured a driveway, two opening garage doors, a great deal of interior space, a pitched red roof, side windows, and open rear and a front door (which did not open).  It complemented the “MG-1? Matchbox Two-Story Garage very nicely.

Gift Sets for 1963 included the G-1) Commercial Motor Set, the G-2) Car Transporter Set, the G-3) Farm and Agricultural Set (a new set), the G-4) Farm Set, the G-5) Military Vehicles Set, the G-6) Models of Yesteryear Set, the G-7) Second Models of Yesteryear Set, the G-8) Construction Set, the G-9) Major Pack Set and the G-10) Garage Set.

Roadways for 1963 included the R-1) Roadway, the R-2) Roadway Layout “Heart of London,” the R-3) Roadway Layout “Royal London” and the R-4) Racetrack Speedway.

The Models of Yesteryear line for 1963 included the Y-1) 1925 Allchin Traction Engine, the Y-2) 1911 Renault Two Seater (a new model), the Y-3) 1907 London “E” Class Tram Car, the Y-4) Shand Mason Horse-Drawn Fire Engine, the Y-5) 1929 4 1/2 Litre Bentley, the Y-6) 1926 Type 35 Bugatti, the Y-7) 1913 Mercer Raceabout, the Y-8) 1914 Sunbeam Motorcycle and Sidecar, the Y-9) 1924 Fowler Showman’s Engine, the Y-10) 1928 Mercedes-Benz 36/220 (a new model), the Y-11) 1920 Aveling & Porter Steam Roller, the Y-12) 1899 London Horse-Drawn Bus, the Y-13) 1862 Santa Fé Locomotive, the Y-14) 1903 Duke of Connaught Locomotive, the Y-15) 1907 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost and the Y-16) 1904 Spyker.

1964 Matchbox Model Year: First Catalogue with a “Realistic” Cover

In 1964, the Matchbox Collector’s Catalogue featured a realistic cover for the very first time: cars within the Matchbox lineup depicted in a painting as real-life cars on a superhighway – another good marketing idea.  The most prominent models were the three brand new # 28 (a Mark 10 Jaguar Sedan), # 44 (a Rolls-Royce Phantom V Sedan) and # 71 (a Jeep Gladiator Pickup Truck).

The Matchbox 1-75 Series for 1964 included the 1) Aveling-Barford Road Roller, the 2) Muir Hill Dumper, the 3) Bedford Tipper, the 4) Triumph Motorcyle and Sidecar, the 5) London Bus (a new and improved version at 2 9/16 inches long), the 6) Euclid Quarry Truck (also a new and improved version), the 7) Ford Anglia Sedan, the 8) Caterpillar Tractor (a new model and 2 inches long), the 9) Merryweather Marquis Fire Engine, the 10) Sugar Container Truck, the 11) Road Tanker (2 1/2 inches long), the 12) Land Rover (2 1/4 inches long), the 13) Thames Wreck Truck, the 14) Bedford Ambulance, the 15) Refuse Truck, the 16) Scammell Mountaineer Snowplow (a new model), the 17) Hoveringham Tipper Truck, the 18) Caterpillar Bulldozer (a new model and 2 3/8 inches long), the 19) Aston-Martin Racing Car, the 20) ERF 686 Truck, the 21) Commer Milk Truck, the 22) Pontiac Grand Prix Sports Coupé (a new model), the 23) Bluebird Dauphine Trailer, the 24) Hydraulic Excavator, the 25) Bedford Petrol Tanker (a new model with the “BP” logo), the 26) Foden Concrete Truck, the 27) Cadillac Sixty Special, the 28) Mark 10 Jaguar Sedan (a new model), the 29) Austin A55 Cambridge Sedan, the 30) Magirus-Deutz Crane (with 6 wheels), the 31) Lincoln Continental Sedan, the 32) “E” Type Jaguar Coupé, the 33) Ford Zephyr 6 MKIII, the 34) Volkswagen Camper, the 35) “Snow Trac” Tractor (a new model), the 36) Lambretta Scooter and Sidecar, the 37) Coca Cola Lorry, the 38) Vauxhall Victor Estate Car (a station wagon), the 39) Pontiac Convertible, the 40) Leyland Royal Tiger Coach, the 41) “D” Type Jaguar Racecar (2 7/16 inches long), the 42) Bedford Evening News Van, the 43) Aveling-Barford Tractor Shovel, the 44) Rolls-Royce Phantom V Sedan (a new model), the 45) Vauxhall Victor Sedan, the 46) Pickfords Removal Van, the 47) Commer Ice Cream Canteen, the 48) Sports Boat and Trailer, the 49) M3 Personnel Carrier, the 50) John Deere Tractor (a new model), the 51) John Deere Trailer (a new model), the 52) Maserati 4CLT Racer, the 53) Mercedes-Benz 220 SE Coupé, the 54) Saracen Personnel Carrier, the 55) Ford Fairlane Police Car, the 56) London Trolley Bus, the 57) Chevrolet Impala, the 58) Drott Excavator, the 59) Ford Fairlane Fire Chief Car, the 60) Morris J2 Pickup Truck, the 61) Ferret Scout Car, the 62) TV Service Van, the 63) “Foamite” Airport Crash Tender (a new model), the 64) Scammell Breakdown Truck, the 65) Jaguar 3.8 Litre Saloon (2 5/8 inches long), the 66) Harley-Davidson Motorcycle and Sidecar, the 67) Saladin Armoured Car, the 68) Austin MKII Radio Truck, the 69) Commer 30 CWT Van, the 70) Ford Thames Estate Car (a van), the 71) Jeep Gladiator Pickup Truck (a new model), the 72) Fordson Tractor, the 73) Ferrari F1 Racing Car, the 74) Mobile Refreshment Canteen and the 75) Ford Thunderbird.

The Accessories line for 1964 included the A-1) “BP” Petrol Pumps and Sign, the A-2) Bedford Car Transporter, the A-3) Road Signs and the A-4) Home Store.

The Major Packs line for 1964 included the M-1 ) “BP” Autotanker, the M-2) Bedford Truck and York Trailer, the M-3) Thornycraft Antar and Centurion Tank, the M-4) GMC Tractor and Freuhof Hopper Train (a new model), the M-5) Massey Ferguson Combine Harvester, the M-6) Pickfords 200-Ton Transporter, the M-7) Jennings Cattle Truck, the M-8) Guy Warrior Car Transporter (a new model), the M-9) Interstate Double Freighter and the M-10) Dinkum Dumper.

The King Size line for 1964 included the K-1) Hoveringham Tipper Truck (a new model), the K-2) K.W. Dump Truck (a new model), the K-3) Caterpillar Bulldozer, the K-4) International Tractor, the K-5) Foden Tipper Truck, the K-6) Allis-Chalmers Earth Scraper, the K-7) Curtiss-Wright Rear Dumper, the K-8) Prime Mover and Caterpillar Tractor, the K-9) Diesel Road Roller, the K-10) Aveling-Barford Tractor Shovel, the K-11) Fordson Tractor and Farm Trailer, the K-12) Heavy Breakdown Wreck Truck, the K-13) Readymix Concrete Truck, the K-14) Taylor Jumbo Crane and the K-15) Merryweather Fire Engine.

The “MF-1? Matchbox Fire Station and the “MG-1? Matchbox Two Story Garage returned in 1964.

The Gift Sets line for 1964 included the G-1) Motorway Set (a new set), the G-2) Car Transporter Set, the G-3) Farm and Agricultural Set, the G-4) Farm Set, the G-5) Grand Prix Racetrack Set (a new set), the G-6) Military Vehicles Set, the G-7) Models of Yesteryear Set, the G-8) Commercial Truck Set (a new set), the G-9) Second Models of Yesteryear Set, the G-10) Construction Set, the G-11) Service Station Set, the G-12) Garage Set and the G-13) Fire Station Set.

The Roadways line for 1964 included the R-1) Roadway (a new layout), the R-2) Roadway Layout “Heart of London,” the R-3) Roadway Layout “Royal London” and the R-4) Grand Prix Race Track (a new layout).

The Models of Yesteryear Line for 1964 included the Y-1) 1911 Ford Model T (a new model), the Y-2) 1911 Renault 2-Seater, the Y-3) 1907 London “E” Class Tram Car, the Y-4) Shand Mason Horse-Drawn Fire Engine, the Y-5) 1929 4 1/2 Litre Bentley, the Y-6) 1926 Type 35 Bugatti, the Y-7) 1913 Mercer Raceabout, the Y-8) 1914 Sunbeam Motorcycle and Sidecar, the Y-9) 1924 Fowler Showman’s Engine, the Y-10) 1928 Mercedes-Benz 36/220, the Y-11) 1912 Packard Landaulet (a new model), the Y-12) 1899 London Horse-Drawn Bus, the Y-13) 1862 Santa Fé Locomotive, the Y-14) 1903 Duke of Connaught Locomotive, the Y-15) 1907 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow and the Y-16) 1904 Spyker.

1965 Matchbox Model Year: Expanded Product Line and Improved Marketing

In 1965, Matchbox continued to expand their product line and improve their global marketing.  The color cover of the 1965 Edition Matchbox Collector’s Catalogue featured another “real life” painted scene with racing cars and other Matchbox models at a race track similar to the “Roadways” line # R-4 “Grand Prix Race Track.”  The names of the models themselves now used more American English as opposed to merely British English.  This reflected the continued decline in the international status of the United Kingdom, the growing clout of North America and the globalization of the usage of the American English language as a so-called Lingua Franca.  The sizes of the models were listed in both inches and metric measurement, which meant much more sense due to the international nature of the Matchbox market.  Future model releases were also revealed, thus creating more consumer demand.  Finally, retail prices were also listed based upon the target country.  The 1-75 Series sold for US $0.49 each.  This compares to US $0.97 each for new blister packs today or US $2.95 each for the “Best of British” or “Lesney Edition” lines complete with boxes and blister packs (much more preferable to collectors and enthusiasts).  Major Packs retailed anywhere from US $0.75 to US $4.00, and King Size retailed anywhere from US $0.75 to US $3.50, depending upon the model. Today, one can find newer “Super Kings” (all models of American “muscle cars” of the past) for about US $10 each.  In 1965, “Models of Yesteryear” retailed anywhere from US $0.75 to US $ 1.50 each.  Today, brand new “Dinky” and “Models of Yesteryear” Mattel deluxe diecast retail for about $20 each.  Certain rare NOS (New Old Stock) from the past or old models in pristine condition can sell for much more.  Other less sought after models can sell for less – some for less than ten Dollars.

The 1-75 Series for 1965 included the 1) Diesel Road Roller (67 mm long), the 2) Dumper (54 mm long), the 3) Bedford Tipper Truck (64 mm long), the 4) Triumph Motorcycle and Sidecar (58 mm long), the 5) London Bus (67 mm long), the 6) 10-Wheel Quarry Truck (70 mm long), the 7) Ford Anglia Sedan (67 mm long), the 8) Caterpillar Crawler Tractor (51 mm long), the 9) Fire Truck (67 mm long), the 10) Sugar Container Truck (67 mm long), the 11) Jumbo Crane (76 mm long), the 12) Land Rover (61 mm long), the 13) Wreck Truck (76 mm long), the 14) Ambulance (67 mm long), the 15) Refuse Truck (64 mm long), the 16) “Mountaineer” Dump Truck with Snowplough (76 mm long), the 17) 8-Wheel Tipper Truck (76 mm long), the 18) Caterpillar “Crawler” Bulldozer (61 mm long), the 19) Lotus Racing Car (70 mm long), the 20) Taxi Cab (76 mm long), the 21) Milk Delivery Truck (57 mm long), the 22) Pontiac Grand Prix (76 mm long), the 23) Trailer Caravan (76 mm long), the 24) Hydraulic Excavator (67 mm long), the 25) “B.P.” Tanker (76 mm long), the 26) Ready-Mix Cement Truck (64 mm long), the 27) Cadillac Sedan (70 mm long), the 28) Mark Ten Jaguar Sedan (70 mm long), the 29) Austin Cambridge Sedan (70 mm long), the 30) 6-Wheel Crane Truck (67 mm long), the 31) Lincoln Continental Sedan (76 mm long), the 32) “E” Type Jaguar Coupé (67 mm long), the 33) Ford Zephyr Sedan (64 mm long), the 34) Volkswagen Camper (64 mm long), the 35) “Snowtrac” Tractor (56 mm long), the 36) Lambretta Scooter and Sidecar (49 mm long), the 37) Coca-Cola Truck (61 mm long), the 38) Vauxhall Victor Estate Car (64 mm long), the 39) Pontiac Convertible (70 mm long), the 40) Long Distance Bus (76 mm long), the 41) Jaguar Racing Car (64 mm long), 42) the Studebaker Station Wagon (76 mm long), the 43) Aveling-Barford Tractor Shovel (67 mm long), the 44) Rolls-Royce (72 mm long), the 45) Ford Corsair Sedan with Boat (67 mm long), the 46) Long-Distance Removal Truck (67 mm long), the 47) Lyons-Maid Ice Cream Mobile Shop (64 mm long), the 48) Sports Boat and Trailer (79 mm long), the 49) Military Personnel Carrier (64 mm long), the 50) Tractor (54 mm long), the 51) Trailer for #50 (67 mm long), the 52) Maserati Racing Car (64 mm long), the 53) Mercedes-Benz 220S Coupé (70 mm long), the 54) “Saracen” Troop Carrier (57 mm long), the 55) Police Car (67 mm long), the 56) London Trolley Bus (67 mm long), the 57) Chevrolet Impala (70 mm long), the 58) Drott Excavator (67 mm long), the 59) Fire Chief Car (67 mm long), the 60) Morris Pickup Truck (57 mm long), the 61) Military Scout Car (57 mm long), the 62) T.V. Service Van (64 mm long), the 63) Fire Fighting Crash Tender (61 mm long), the 64) 6-Wheel Military Crane Truck (67 mm long), the 65) Jaguar 3.8 Litre Sedan (67 mm long), the 66) Harley-Davidson Motorcycle and Sidecar (67 mm long), the 67) “Saladin” Armoured Car (57 mm long), the 68) Military Radio Truck (64 mm long), the 69) Hatra Tractor Shovel (80 mm long), the 70) Ford Estate Car (54 mm long), the 71) Jeep Pickup Truck (67 mm long), the 72) Fordson Tractor (49 mm long), the 73) Ferrari Racing Car (67 mm long), the 74) Mobile Refreshment Bar (67 mm long) and the 75) Ferrari Berlinetta Coupé (73 mm long).  The 5 new models without their future numbers revealed included a Fiat 1500 Sedan with Luggage Rack, a B.R.M. Racing Car, a Mercedes-Benz Coach (passenger bus), a Ford G.T. Racing Car and a Cadillac Ambulance.  As one can see, Lesney was more concerned about the toys fitting into standard-sized “match” boxes – thus the difference in scales.  In the future, more upscale diecast toy manufacturers would become far more concerned with maintaining a uniform scale in their product lines.

The Gift Sets line for 1965 included the G-1) Motorway Set, the G-2) Transporter Set, the G-6) Commercial Truck Set (no sets 3-5), the G-7) Veteran and Vintage Set (Models of Yesteryear), the G-8) Construction Set, the G-9) Service Station Set and the G-10) Fire Station Set.  The most expensive item in the 1965 Matchbox catalogue was the G-8 set at US $8.00.  This shows us just how much our money has fallen in value since 1965.  Similar products cost much more today in terms of nominal value.

The Major Packs line for 1965 included the M-1) “B.P.” Autotanker (102 mm long), the M-2) Articulated Box Truck (117 mm long), the M-3) 10-Wheel Transporter with Centurion Tank (155 mm long), the M-4) GMC Tractor Trailer with Hopper Train (286 mm long), the M-5) Combine Harvester (117 mm long), the M-6) Dodge Tractor Trailer with Tipper Train (302 mm long), the M-7) Racing Car Transporter (127 mm long), the M-8) Car Transporter (209 mm long), the M-9) Interstate Double Freighter (288 mm long) and the M-10) “Dinkum” Rear Dumper (108 mm long).

The King Size line for 1965 included the K-1) 8-Wheel Tipper Truck (108 mm long), the K-2) K-W Dump Truck (143 mm long), the K-3) Hatra Tractor Shovel (150 mm long), the K-4) International Tractor (72 mm long), the K-5) Foden Tipper Truck (108 mm long), the K-6) Allis-Chalmers Earth Scraper (149 mm long), the K-7) Curtiss-Wright Rear Dumper (145 mm long), the K-8) Prime Mover and Transporter with Caterpillar “Crawler” Tractor (318 mm long), the K-9) Diesel Road Roller (95 mm long), the K-10) Aveling-Barford Tractor Shovel (105 mm long), the K-11) Fordson Tractor and Farm Trailer (158 mm long), the K-12) Heavy Breakdown / Wreck Truck (121 mm long), the K-13) Ready-Mix Concrete Truck (114 mm long), the K-14) Jumbo Crane (125 mm long) and the K-15) Merryweather Fire Engine (154 mm long).

The Models of Yesteryear line for 1965 included the Y-1) 1911 Model “T” Ford (76 mm long, the Y-2) 1911 Renault 2-Seater (76 mm long), the Y-3) 1907 London “E” Class Tramcar (79 mm long), the Y-4) 1905 Shand-Mason Horse-Drawn Fire Engine (89 mm long), the Y-5) 1929 4.5 Litre Bentley (89 mm long), the Y-6) 1923 Type 35 Bugatti Racing Car (79 mm long), the Y-7) 1913 Mercer Raceabout Sports Car (83 mm long), the Y-8) 1914 Sunbeam Motorcycle with Milford Sidecar (67 mm long), the Y-9) 1924 Fowler “Big Lion” Showman’s Engine (83 mm long), the Y-10) 1928 Mercedes-Benz 36/220 Convertible (96 mm long), the Y-11) 1912 Packard Landaulet (82 mm long), the Y-12) 1899 London Horse-Drawn Bus (83 mm long), the Y-13) 1862 “General” Locomotive (84 mm long), the Y-14) 1903 “Duke of Connaught” Locomotive (76 mm long), the Y-15) 1907 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost and the Y-16) 1904 Spyker Veteran Automobile. A brand new model revealed was the 1911 Maxwell Roadster (no number listed).

The Matchbox Fire Station MF-1 (235 mm wide) and the Matchbox Service Station MG-1 (235 mm wide) were back in 1965, but the Accessories line was reduced to merely the A-1) “B.P.” Garage Pumps and Forecourt Sign (meant for the MG-1 garage).

The Roadways line for 1965 included the R-1) Roadway (34 inches wide), the R-2) “Heart of London” Roadway (43 inches wide) and the R-4) “International Motor Racing” Roadway (35 inches wide). There was no R-3 set.

1966 Matchbox Model Year

The color cover of the 1966 “Matchbox Collector’s Guide” featured a realistic painted street scene from downtown London, England – complete with “Big Ben.”  Matchbox models such as the Ferrari Berlinetta Coupé, the Ford Fire Chief Sedan, the Mercedes-Benz Coach (a passenger bus), the Double Decker Bus and the Land-Rover Fire Chief were featured.  The same street scene continued on the back cover of the color catalogue. Matchbox models such as the Mark Ten Jaguar Sedan, the Fiat 1500 Sedan (with roof rack and luggage), the “E” Type Jaguar Coupé, the “B.P.” Tanker Truck, the Land-Rover (with roof rack and luggage), the Double Decker Bus and the Lyons-Maid Ice Cream Truck were featured.

For the first time, the catalogue discussed the history of Lesney, and how Matchbox models were made – another good marketing idea.  In between 1953 and 1966, more than 500 million Matchbox toys had been sold all over the world.  Automobile companies and automobile museums cooperated with Lesney to produce miniature models of their vehicles.  Lesney employed 3,600 people, and 104 million Matchbox toys were being sold worldwide per annum.  By comparison, there are more than 669 million real vehicles in the world today.  The catalogue also featured many realistic painted scenes featuring Matchbox models as they would appear in real life.  Retail price of the 1-75 Series was now US $0.55 per model.

The 1-75 Series for 1966 included the 1) Diesel Road Roller (67 mm long), the 2) Dumper (53 mm long), the 3) Bedford Tipper Truck (64 mm long), the 4) Triumph Motorcycle and Sidecar (55 mm long), the 5) London Bus (71 mm long), the 6) 10-Wheel Quarry Truck (67 mm long), the 7) Ford Anglia Sedan (67 mm long), the 8) Caterpillar “Crawler” Tractor (51 mm long), the 9) Fire Truck (67 mm long), the 10) Sugar Container Truck (67 mm long), the 11) Jumbo Crane (76 mm long), the 12) Safari Land Rover (70 mm long), the 13) Wreck Truck (76 mm long), the 14) Ambulance (67 mm long), the 15) Refuse Truck (64 mm long), the 16) “Mountaineer” Dump Truck with Snowplough (76 mm long), the 17) 8-Wheel Tipper Truck (76 mm long), the 18) Caterpillar “Crawler” Bulldozer (61 mm long), the 19) Lotus Racing Car (70 mm long), the 20) Taxi-cab (76 mm long), the 21) Milk Delivery Truck (57 mm long), the 22) Pontiac Grand Prix (76 mm long), the 23) Trailer Caravan (76 mm long), the 24) Hydraulic Excavator (67 mm long), the 25) “B.P. Tanker” Truck (76 mm long), the 26) Ready-mix Concrete Truck (64 mm long), the 27) Mercedes-Benz 230SL Convertible (71 mm long), the 28) Mark Ten Jaguar (70 mm long), the 29) Fire Pumper Truck (76 mm long), 30) 8-Wheel Crane Truck (76 mm long), the 31) Lincoln Continental Sedan (76 mm long), the 32) “E” Type Jaguar Coupé, the 33) Ford Zephyr Sedan (64 mm long), the 34) Volkswagen Camper (65 mm long), the 35) “Snowtrac” Tractor (56 mm long), the 36) Opel Diplomat Sedan (70 mm long), the 37) Coca-Cola Truck (61 mm long), the 38) Vauxhall Victor Estate Car (64 mm long), the 39) Pontiac Convertible (70 mm long), the 40) Long Distance Bus (76 mm long), the 41) Ford G.T. Racing Car (67 mm long), the 42) Studebaker Station Wagon (76 mm long), the 43) Aveling-Barford Tractor Shovel (67 mm long), the 44) Rolls-Royce Sedan (72 mm long), the 45) Ford Corsair with Boat (67 mm long), the 46) Long Distance Removal Van (67 mm long), the 47) Lyons-Maid Ice-Cream Mobile Shop (64 mm long), the 48) Sports-Boat and Trailer (79 mm long), the 49) Military Personnel Carrier (64 mm long), the 50) Tractor (54 mm long), the 51) Trailer for #50 Tractor (67 mm long), the 52) B.R.M. Racing Car (70 mm long), the 53) Mercedes-Benz 220S Coupé (70 mm long), the 54) Cadillac Ambulance (73 mm long), the 55) Police Car (73 mm long), the 56) Fiat 1500 Sedan (67 mm long), the 57) Land-Rover Fire Truck (64 mm long), the 58) Drott Excavator (67 mm long), the 59) Fire Chief Car (73 mm long), the 60) Morris Pickup Truck (57 mm long), the 61) Military Scout Car (57 mm long), the 62) T.V. Service Van (64 mm long), the 63) Fire Fighting Crash Tender (61 mm long), the 64) M.G. 1100 Sedan (66 mm long), the 65) Jaguar 3.8 Litre Sedan (67 mm long), the 66) Harley-Davidson Motorcycle and Sidecar (67 mm long), the 67) “Saladin” Armoured Car (57 mm long), the 68) Mercedes-Benz Coach (73 mm long), the 69) Hatra Tractor Shovel (80 mm long), the 70) Grit-Spreader Truck (67 mm long), the 71) Jeep Pickup Truck (67 mm long), the 72) Fordson Tractor (49 mm long), the 73) Ferrari Racing Car (67 mm long), the 74) Mobile Refreshment Bar (67 mm long) and the 75) Ferrari Berlinetta Coupé (73 mm long). Future releases revealed without numbers were the Cattle Truck (65 mm long), the Daimler Bus (76 mm long) and the Truck with Site Office (65 mm long).

The Gift Sets line for 1966 included the G-1) Service Station Set (complete the MG-1 Service Station, 3 cars and the “B.P.” Gas Pumps and Forecourt Sign Accessory Set), the G-2) Car Transporter Set (compete with a car transporter and 4 cars), the G-3) Vacation Set (complete with 8 cars), the G-4) Racetrack Set (complete with a Racing Car Transporter and 9 cars), the G-5) Fire Staton Set (compete with the MF-1 Fire Station and 3 cars), the G-6) Commercial Truck Set (complete with 8 truck models), the G-7) Matchbox Models of Yesteryear Set (complete with 4 Models of Yesteryear) and the G-8) King Size Set (complete with 4 King Size models).

The Major Packs line for 1966 included the M-1) “B.P.” Autotanker (102 mm long), the M-2) Articulated Box Truck (117 mm long), the M-3) 10-Wheel Transporter with Centurion Tank (155 mm long), the M-4) GMC Tractor Trailer with Hopper Train (286 mm long), the M-5) Combine Harvester (117 mm long), the M-6) Racing Car Transporter (127 mm long), the M-8) Car Transporter (209 mm long), the M-9) Interstate Double Freighter (288 mm long) and the M-10) “Dinkum” Rear Dumper (108 mm long). There was no M-7 model.

The King Size line for 1966 included the K-1) 8-Wheel Tipper Truck (108 mm long), the K-2) KW Dump Truck (143 mm long), the K-3) Hatra Tractor Shovel (150 mm long), the K-4) International Tractor (72 mm long), the K-5) Foden Tipper Truck (108 mm long), the K-6) Allis-Chalmers Earth Scraper (149 mm long), the K-7) Curtiss-Wright Rear Dumper (145 mm long), the K-8) Prime Mover and Transporter with Caterpillar “Crawler” Tractor (318 mm long), the K-9) Diesel Road Roller (95 mm long), the K-10) Aveling-Barford Tractor Shovel (105 mm long), the K-11) Fordson Tractor and Farm Trailer (158 mm long), the K-12) Heavy Breakdown / Wreck Truck (121 mm long), the K-13) Ready-Mix Concrete Truck (114 mm long), the K-14) Jumbo Crane (125 mm long), the K-15) Merryweather Fire Engine (154 mm long) and the K-16) Dodge Tractor Trailer with Twin Tippers (302 mm long). New “King Size” revealed with no model numbers included the Articulated Horse Box (166 mm long) and the Ford Tractor Trailer with Dyson Low-Loader and Case Bulldozer (242 mm long).

The Models of Yesteryear line for 1966 included the Y-1) 1911 Model “T” Ford (76 mm long), the Y-2) 1911 Renault 2-Seater (76 mm long), the Y-3) 1910 Benz Limousine (83 mm long), the Y-4) 1905 Shand-Mason Horse-Drawn Fire Engine (89 mm long), the Y-5) 1929 4.5 (S) Litre Bentley (89 mm long), the Y-6) 1923 Type 35 Bugatti (79 mm long), the Y-7) 1913 Mercer Raceabout Sports Car (83 mm long), the Y-8) 1914 Sunbeam Motorcycle with Milford Sidecar (67 mm long), the Y-9) 1924 Fowler “Big Lion” Showman’s Engine (83 mm long), the Y-10) 1928 Mercedes-Benz 36/220 Convertible (96 mm long), the Y-11) 1912 Packard Landaulet (82 mm long), the Y-12) 1899 London Horse-Bus (83 mm long), the Y-13) 1911 Daimler Convertible (85 mm long), the Y-14) 1911 Maxwell Roadster (82 mm long), the Y-15) 1907 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost and the Y-16) 1904 Spyker Open Car (83 mm long). A new model revealed with no model number was the 1909 Opel “Doctor’s” Coupé (79 mm long).

The Matchbox MF-1 Fire Station (246 mm long) and the Matchbox MG-1 Service Station (235 mm long) were back in 1966.  The only Matchbox Accessory was the A-1) “B.P.” Garage Pumps and Forecourt Sign, specifically meant for the MG-1 Service Station.

The Roadways line for 1966 included the R-1) Roadway and the R-4) International Motor Racing Roadway – no R-2 or R-3 sets were advertised.

The exclusive U.S.A. Distributor for Lesney Products was Fred Bronner Corporation of New York City, located on East 23rd Street in Manhattan. Lesney Products was headquartered at Lee Conservancy Road in London (England), and the catalogue was printed by Hazells Offset, Limited of Slough in Buckinghamshire.

1967 Matchbox Model Year: an Experiment with Working Steering

The 1967 “Matchbox Collector’s Catalogue” featured a checkered design with 16 Matchbox models and the flags of 16 the most important Lesney customer nations from around the world.  Nations represented included the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany, Italy, France, Australia, Sweden, Venezuela, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Japan, Norway, Kenya, Belgium, Denmark, Canada, South Africa and Nigeria.

A new product improvement was introduced in 1967 – that of working steering (called “auto steer” by Lesney) for the brand new model #8 (a white Ford Mustang Fastback with red seats).  The idea was good, but unfortunately it failed to catch on in terms of popularity in the marketplace.

The 1-75 Series for 1967 included the 1) Diesel Road Roller (67 mm long), the 2) Dumper (53 mm long), the 3) Bedford Tipper Truck (64 mm long), the 4) Dodge Stake Truck (74 mm long), the 5) London Bus (71 mm long), the 6) 10-Wheel Quarry Truck (67 mm long), the 7) Ford Refuse Truck (76 mm long), the 8) Ford Mustang Fastback (74 mm long), the 9) Boat and Trailer (89 mm long), the 10) Leyland Pipe Truck (75 mm long), the 11) Jumbo Crane (76 mm long), the 12) Safari Land-Rover (70 mm long), the 13) Wreck Truck (76 mm long), the 14) Ambulance (67 mm long), the 15) Dennis Refuse Truck (64 mm long), the 16) “Mountaineer” Dump Truck with Snowplough (76 mm long), the 17) 8-Wheel Tipper Truck (76 mm long), the 18) Caterpillar “Crawler” Bulldozer (61 mm long), the 19) Lotus Racing Car (70 mm long), the 20) Taxi-cab (76 mm long), the 21) Milk Delivery Truck (57 mm long), the 22) Pontiac Grand Prix (76 mm long), the 23) Trailer Caravan (76 mm long), the 24) Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow Sedan (76 mm long), the 25) “B.P.” Tanker Truck (76 mm long), the 26) Ready-Mix Concrete Truck, the 27) Mercedes-Benz 230 SL Convertible (71 mm long), the 28) Mark Ten Jaguar (70 mm long), the 29) Fire Pumper Truck (76 mm long), the 30) 8-Wheel Crane (76 mm long), the 31) Lincoln-Continental Sedan (76 mm long), the 32) “E” Type Jaguar Coupé, the 33) Ford Zephyr Sedan, the 34) Volkswagen Camper (65 mm long; an improved model, now in silver and with a partially raised roof), the 35) “Snow-Trac” Tractor, the 36) Opel Diplomat Sedan (70 mm long), the 37) Dodge Cattle Truck (65 mm and with 2 cows), the 38) Vauxhall Victor Estate Car (64 mm long), the 39) Pontiac Convertible (70 mm long), the 40) Long-Distance Bus (76 mm long), the 41) Ford G.T. Racing Car (67 mm long), the 42) Studebaker Station Wagon (76 mm long), the 43) Aveling-Barford Tractor Shovel (67 mm long), the 44) Rolls-Royce Phantom V Sedan (72 mm long), the 45) Ford Corsair Sedan with Boat (67 mm long), the 46) Long-Distance Removal Truck (67 mm long), the 47) Ice-Cream Mobile Shop (64 mm long), the 48) Dumper Truck (76 mm long), the 49) Mercedes-Benz Unimog Truck (62 mm long), the 50) John Deere-Lanz Tractor (54 mm long), the 51) Tipping Trailer for # 50 (67 mm long), the 52) B.R.M. Racing Car (70 mm long), the 53) Mercedes-Benz 220S Coupé (70 mm long), the 54) Cadillac Ambulance (73 mm long), the 55) Police Car (73 mm long), the 56) Fiat 1500 Sedan (67 mm long), the 57) Land Rover Fire Truck (64 mm long), the 58) Drott Excavator (67 mm long), the 59) Fire Chief Car (73 mm long), the 60) Leyland Truck with Site Office (65 mm long), the 61) Alvis Stalwart Amphibious Truck (66 mm long), the 62) TV Service Van (64 mm long), the 63) Fire-Fighting Crash Tender (61 mm long), the 64) M.G. 1100 Sedan (66 mm long), the 65) Jaguar 3.8 Litre Sedan (67 mm long), the 66) Greyhound Bus (76 mm long), the 67) “Saladin” Armoured Car (57 mm long), the 68) Mercedes-Benz Coach (73 mm long), the 69) Hatra Tractor Shovel (80 mm long), the 70) Grit-Spreader Truck (67 mm long), the 71) Jeep Pickup Truck (67 mm long), the 72) Standard Jeep (61 mm long), the 73) Ferrari Racing Car (67 mm long), the 74) Daimler Bus (76 mm long) and the 75) Ferrari Berlinetta Coupé (73 mm long).  Three new models revealed without numbers included the Refrigerator Truck (76 mm long), the Ford Tractor (54 mm long) and the Hay Trailer for the Ford Tractor (86 mm long).

The Roadways line for 1967 included the R-1) Roadway and the R-4) International Motor Racing Roadway sets.  No R-2 or R-3 sets were advertised.

The Gift Sets line for 1967 included the G-1) Service Station Set (with 3 cars, the MG-1 Service Station and the A-1 Accessory Set), the G-2) Car Transporter Set (with a car transporter and 4 cars), the G-3) Vacation Set (with 8 cars), the G-4) Racetrack Set (with a racing transporter and 9 cars), the G-5) Fire Station Set (with the MF-1 Fire Station and 3 cars), the G-6) Commercial Truck Set (with 8 trucks), the G-7) Models of Yesteryear Set (with 4 Models of Yesteryear) and the G-8) King Size Set (with 4 King Size models).

The King Size line for 1967 included the K-1) Foden Tipper Truck (108 mm long), the K-2) KW Dump Truck (143 mm long), the K-3) Hatra Tractor Shovel (150 mm long), the K-4) GMC Tractor Trailer with Hopper Train (286 mm long), the K-5) Racing Car Transporter (127 mm long), the K-6) Allis-Chalmers Earth Scraper (149 mm long), the K-7) SD Refuse Truck (117 mm long), the K-8) Car Transporter (209 mm long), the K-9) Combine Harvester (140 mm long), the K-10) Pipe Truck with 6 Interlocking Pipes (203 mm long), the K-11) Fordson Tractor with Farm Trailer (158 mm long), the K-12) Heavy Breakdown / Wreck Truck (121 mm long), the K-13) Ready-Mix Concrete Truck (114 mm long), the K-14) Jumbo Crane (125 mm long), the K-15) Merryweather Fire Engine (154 mm long), the K-16) Dodge Tractor Trailer with Twin Tippers (302 mm long), the K-17) Low-Loader with Bulldozer (242 mm long), the K-18) Articulated Horse Box (167 mm long) and the K-19) Scammell Tipper Truck (121 mm long). A brand new “King Size” model revealed with no number was the Mercedes-Benz “Binz” Ambulance (105 mm long), complete with a patient on a stretcher. It featured working suspension, opening doors and an opening tail gate.  This was with the famous Mercedes-Benz “fintail” body. The German word for fintail is “Heckfloße / Heckflosse.”

The Major Packs line was almost gone in 1967, with merely one model offered: the M-9) Inter-State Double Freighter (288 mm long).

The Models of Yesteryear line for 1967 included the Y-1) 1911 Model “T” Ford (76 mm long), the Y-2) 1911 Renault 2-Seater (76 mm long), the Y-3) 1910 Benz Limousine (83 mm long), the Y-4) 1909 Opel “Doctor’s” Coupé (79 mm long), the Y-5) 1929 Bentley 4.5 (S) Litre (89 mm long), the Y-6) 1926 Type 35 Bugatti (79 mm long), the Y-7) 1913 Mercer Raceabout (83 mm long), the Y-8) 1914 Sunbeam Motorcycle with Milford Sidecar (67 mm long), the Y-9) 1924 Fowler “Big Lion” Showman’s Engine (83 mm long), the Y-10) 1928 Mercedes-Benz 36/220 Convertible (96 mm long), the Y-11) 1912 Packard Landaulet (82 mm long), the Y-12) 1899 London Horse-Bus (83 mm long), the Y-13) 1911 Daimler Convertible (85 mm long), the Y-14) 1911 Maxwell Roadster (82 mm long), the Y-15) 1907 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost (83 mm long) and the Y-16) 1904 Spyker Convertible (83 mm long).  A brand new model revealed but not yet numbered was the 1909 Thomas Flyabout (102 mm long).  This new model was copied from the original on display at the famous “Harrah’s Automobile Collection” in Sparks, Nevada (USA).  The great collection still exists, albeit with far fewer antique and classic vehicles on display now compared to its heyday in the 1970s and 1980s.  At one time, the late William “Bill” Harrah had 1,500 vehicles in his private collection.

Another new product line was launched in 1967, and clearly targeted at adults. Unfortunately, it failed to catch on in terms of popularity in the marketplace.  The “Lesney Veteran Car Gifts” featured seven Models of Yesteryear done in either silver or gold finish.  The cars were fixed on top of various items made in real wood.  These included a double pen stand, a large cigarette box, an ash tray, a single pen stand, a small cigarette box and a pipe tray.  The cars used were the 1911 Model T Ford, the 1911 Renault 2-Seater, the 1929 Bentley, the 1928 Mercedes-Benz, the 1911 Daimler, the 1911 Maxwell Roadster and the 1907 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost.

The Matchbox MF-1 Fire Station (246 mm wide) and the Matchbox MG-1 Service Station (235 mm wide) returned in 1967.  The sole Accessory was once again the A-1) “B.P.” Pumps and Forecourt Sign specifically designed for the MG-1 Service Station.

1968 Matchbox Model Year: The first advertised Carrying Cases

The color cover of the 1968 “Matchbox Collector’s Catalogue” featured “1968? in a large, see-through format, with many of the 1-75 Series models to be seen in a photo behind “1968.”  The rear cover was pretty much identical to the front, only with the “Fred Bronner Corporation” information on the U.S.A. Edition.  They were the exclusive American distributors for Lesney Products and Company, Limited of England, located on 120 East 23rd Street in Manhattan (New York City, U.S.A.).

The inside of the front cover featured brand new “Matchbox” Collector’s Cases, one for 18 cars and another good for 48 cars of the “1-75 Series.”  The one for 18 cars was able to hold cars complete with boxes, while the one for 48 cars could hold just the cars without boxes.  This is an extremely important issue, especially for enthusiasts and collectors.  Pristine diecast models with boxes are worth more than double what such models without the boxes are worth.  Needless to say, any pristine model is worth much more than a worn or beaten model.  I believe that “Matchbox” should have been more pro-active and much more consistent in offering their own exclusive carrying cases, and they should have manufactured more and larger cases suitable for models in original packaging (i.e., boxes).

The 1-75 Series for 1968 included the brand new 1) Mercedes-Benz Truck (76 mm long), the brand new 2) Mercedes-Benz Trailer for # 1 (90 mm long, and able to tow more such trailers behind it), the brand new 3) Mercedes-Benz “Binz” Ambulance (74 mm long, and with the famous “fintail” body style), the 4) Dodge Stake Truck (74 mm long), the 5) London Bus (71 mm long), the 6) 10-Wheel Quarry Truck (67 mm long), the 7) Ford Refuse Truck (76 mm long), the 8) Ford Mustang Fastback (74 mm long, and with a towing hook), the 9) Boat and Trailer (89 mm long, and made to be towed by the # 8 Mustang), the 10) Leyland Pipe Truck (75 mm long), the 11) Jumbo Crane (76 mm long), the 12) Safari Land-Rover (70 mm long), the 13) Wreck Truck (76 mm long), the 14) Iso Grifo Coupé (76 mm long), the 15) Dennis Refuse Truck (64 mm long), the 16) “Mountaineer” Dump Truck with Snowplough (76 mm long), the 17) 8-Wheel Tipper Truck (76 mm long), the 18) Caterpillar “Crawler” Bulldozer (61 mm long), the 19) Lotus Racing Car (70 mm long), the 20) Taxi-Cab (76 mm long), the 21) Milk Delivery Truck, the 22) Pontiac Grand Prix (76 mm long), the 23) Trailer Caravan (76 mm long), the 24) Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow Sedan (76 mm long), the 25) Ford Cortina G.T. Sedan (67 mm long), the 26) GMC Tipper Truck (67 mm long), the 27) Mercedes-Benz 230SL Convertible (71 mm long), the 28) Mark Ten Jaguar Sedan (70 mm long), the 29) Fire Pumper Truck (76 mm long), the 30) 8-Wheel Crane Truck (76 mm long), the 31) Lincoln Continental Sedan (76 mm long), the 32) Leyland Petrol Tanker (76 mm long), the 33) Ford Zephyr Sedan (64 mm long), the 34) Volkswagen Camper (65 mm long), the 35) “Snow Trac” Tractor (56 mm long), the 36) Opel Diplomat Sedan (70 mm long), the 37) Dodge Cattle Truck (65 mm long), the 38) Honda Motorcycle with Trailer (76 mm long), the 39) Ford Tractor (54 mm long), the 40) Hay Trailer for # 39 (86 mm long), the 41) Ford G.T. Racing Car (67 mm long), the 42) Studebaker Station Wagon (76 mm long), the 43) Pony Trailer (67 mm long), the 44) Refrigerator Truck (76 mm long), the 45) Ford Corsair Sedan with Boat (67 mm long), the 46) Mercedes-Benz 300 SE Coupé, the 47) Ice-Cream Mobile Shop (64 mm long), the 48) Dumper Truck (76 mm long), the 49) Mercedes-Benz Unimog Truck (62 mm long), the 50) John Deere-Lanz Tractor (54 mm long), the 51) Tipping Trailer for # 51 (67 mm long), the 52) B.R.M. Racing Car (70 mm long), the 53) Ford Zodiac Mark IV Sedan (70 mm long), the 54) Cadillac Ambulance (73 mm long), the 55) Police Car (73 mm long), the 56) Fiat 1500 Sedan (67 mm long), the 57) Land-Rover Fire Truck (64 mm long), the 58) DAF Girder Truck (76 mm long), the 59) Fire Chief Car (73 mm long), the 60) Leyland Truck with Site Office (65 mm long), the 61) Alvis Stewart Amphibious Truck (66 mm long), the 62) TV Service Van (64 mm long), the 63) Fire-Fighting Crash Tender (61 mm long), the 64) M.G. 1100 Sedan (66 mm long), the 65) Combine Harvester (76 mm long), the 66) Greyhound Bus (76 mm long), the 67) Volkswagen Type 3 1600TL Fastback Sedan (68 mm long), the 68) Mercedes-Benz Coach (73 mm long), the 69) Hatra Tractor Shovel (80 mm long), the 70) Grit Spreader Truck (67 mm long), the 71) Jeep Pickup Truck (67 mm long), the 72) Standard Jeep (61 mm long), the 73) Ferrari Racing Car (67 mm long), the 74) Daimler Bus (76 mm long) and the 75) Ferrari Berlinetta Coupé (73 mm long). Two brand new models revealed without numbers were the Foden Concrete Truck (76 mm long) and the DAF Tipper Container Truck (76 mm long).  DAF is a Dutch brand name, now owned by Paccar Corporation of the United States.  Paccar also manufactures the Kenworth and the Peterbilt commercial truck brands.  DAF used to make small passenger cars in the past in addition to their large commercial trucks.

The Roadways line for 1968 was modernized, and with three sets.  These included the R-1) Roadway, the R-2) Construction Site and the R-3) Farmyard.  I doubt many of these still exist (especially in pristine condition), because they were made out of cardboard.

The MG-1 Service Station was also modernized for 1968.  It was now a one story building, with a much more modern and realistic forecourt and two pumps.

A new product line for 1968 was the “Build A Road” series of three pastic road-building sets.  These included the B-1) Build-A-Road (with 50 pieces), the B-2) Super Build-A-Road (with 90 pieces) and the B-3) De Luxe Build-A-Road (with 130 pieces).

The Major Packs were no more in 1968, but the King Size line had grown to 21 models. This was a good and overdue marketing decision by Lesney Products.  The King Size line for 1968 included the K-1) Foden Tipper Truck (108 mm long), the K-2) KW Dump Truck (143 mm long), the K-3) Hatra Tactor Shovel (150 mm long), the K-4) GMC Tractor Trailer with Hopper Train (286 mm long), the K-5) Racing Car Transporter (127 mm long), the K-6) Mercedes-Benz “Binz” Ambulance (105 mm long), the K-7) SD Refuse Truck (117 mm long), the K-8) Combine Harvester (140 mm long), the K-9) Car Transporter (209 mm long), the K-10) Pipe Truck with 6 Interlocking Pipes (203 mm long), the K-11) Fordson Tractor and Farm Trailer (158 mm long), the K-12) Heavy Breakdown / Wreck Truck (121 mm long), the K-13) Ready-Mix Concrete Truck (114 mm long), the K-14) Jumbo Crane (125 mm long), the K-15) Merryweather Fire Engine (154 mm long), the K-16) Dodge Tractor Trailer with Twin Tippers (302 mm long), the K-17) Low-Loader with Bulldozer (242 mm long), the K-18) Articulated Horse Box (167 mm long), the K-19) Scammell Tipper Truck (121 mm long), the K-20) Tractor Transporter with 3 Detailed Tractors (228 mm long) and the K-21) Mercury Cougar Coupé (105 mm long).  The Mercury Cougar featured working steering and suspension, and was a true competitor to the main product line from Corgi, which featured models in between 1:32 and 1:50-scale.  It was long overdue for Lesney to enter this lucrative market segment.

The Models of Yesteryear line for 1968 included the Y-1) 1911 Model “T” Ford (76 mm long), the Y-2) 1911 Renault 2-Seater (76 mm long), the Y-3) 1910 Benz Limousine (83 mm long), the Y-4) 1909 Opel “Doctor’s” Coupé (79 mm long), the Y-5) 1929 4.5 (S) Litre Bentley (89 mm long), the Y-6) 1913 Cadillac (87 mm long), the Y-7) 1912 Rolls-Royce Landaulet (96 mm long), the Y-8) 1914 Sunbeam Motorcycle with Milford Sidecar (67 mm long), the Y-9) 1912 Simplex (96 mm long), the Y-10) 1928 Mercedes-Benz 36/220 Convertible (96 mm long), the Y-11) 1912 Packard Landaulet (82 mm long), the Y-12) 1909 Thomas Flyabout (102 mm long), the Y-13) 1911 Daimler Convertible (85 mm long), the Y-14) 1911 Maxwell Roadster (82 mm long), the Y-15) 1907 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost (83 mm long) and the Y-16) 1904 Spyker (83 mm long). Simplex is a former luxury automobile manufacturer which was based on Long Island, New York.

The Gift Sets line for 1968 included the G-1) Service Station Set (compete with the new “MG-1 Service Station” and 3 cars), the G-2) Transporter Set (compete with the “King Size” Car Transporter and 4 cars), the G-3) Farm Set (compete with 8 vehicles), the G-4) Race ‘n Rally Set (compete with 10 vehicles), the G-5) Famous Cars of Yesteryear Set (compete with 4 “Models of Yesteryear”) and the G-6) Truck Set (complete with 8 trucks).

The 1968 color catalogue then had an interesting segment on the manufacturing and production process for Matchbox models.  From a zinc mine in Canada (for the raw materials), to the diecasting process (to make the small vehicles), to making plastics from unrefined crude oil, to painting (the pigment is mined in Australia and Africa), to paper for the boxes (from pine forests in Scandinavia) – the whole process was described with pictures and text.  This was good public relations and a good marketing idea.

Finally, the 1968 “Lesney Veteran Car Gifts” line returned with a large box, a pipe tray and a single pen stand (and a choice of 3 “Models of Yesteryear” finished in either silver or gold, and fastened to the box, tray or stand).

1969 Matchbox Model Year: a New Product Line to meet a New Challenge

One to two years before 1969 Lesney Products received the greatest challenge ever to its Matchbox product line.  This came from Mattel Toys, which launched the “Hot Wheels” product line.  Eventually (many years into the future), Mattel would win out, and purchase Matchbox itself.  Today, Mattel owns both the Matchbox and Dinky brand names.

The “Hot Wheels” product line from Mattel Toys in 1967 and 1968 featured very thin axles, which made for very high speed.  They also introduced a line of orange-colored plastic track sets, on which “Hot Wheels” cars could be run.  These particular track sets included accessories such as loops, curves, jumps, power-boosters and race-track finish lines.  The Hot Wheels vehicles featured “mag,” “chrome” or “sport” type wheels, wild and metallic paint designs and an extreme amount of customizing.  What did this mean? “Hot Wheels” vehicles were often much more like “hot rods” and a lot less like vehicles one would see on the streets of the world in every-day traffic.  Furthermore, the “Hot Wheels” toys were manufactured in Hong Kong, which had much lower labor costs than affluent England, and no wage and benefit problems with organized labor unions.

In 1969, Lesney actually released two versions of the “Matchbox Collector’s Catalogue,” one early in the year and one much later in the year.  Why was this done for the first time ever?  Quite frankly, because Lesney Products had to respond quickly to the Hot Wheels challenge with its own “Superfast” line of new cars and (yellow-colored) plastic track sets.  The “Superfast” cars still came from England, but at least for North America, many of the new track sets were manufactured in Canada.

The color cover of the 1969 “Matchbox Collector’s Catalogue” featured 1-75 Series models depicted on a superhighway, or freeway.  These roads are called “Autobahnen” in German-speaking Europe, “Superhighways” in the United Kingdom, “Freeways” in the Western United States, “Interstates” in the Southern United States and “Parkways” in the Northeastern USA.  The picture on the front cover of the Matchbox catalogue was somewhat peculiar.  It featured cars with the steering wheel on the left (as in most of the modern world), but vehicles driving on the left-hand side of the road (as in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and India).  The “view” of the superhighway was as seen from within a car being driven, looking out through the windshield.  The rear view mirror, the dashboard, the steering wheel and the driver’s hands were all visible.  Matchbox vehicles seen on the cover (i.e., through the windshield) included the Fiat 1500 Sedan, the Iso Grifo Coupé, the GMC Tipper Truck, the Mercedes-Benz Coach (a passenger bus), the Safari Land-Rover and the Ford Pickup Truck.  It was as if the reader was driving the car!  The back cover of the catalogue featured the same picture as the front.  On the US version, it also had the contact information for Fred Bronner Corporation, the exclusive US distributor for Lesney Products and Company, Limited of England.

Inside the front cover, Matchbox carrying cases were the first products to be featured. They were for 24, 48 or 72 of the 1-75 Series models.  Unfortunately, none of these cases were able to hold models complete with their boxes.  A brand new 1969 product also featured was the “Matchbox Home Display” case.  These were intended for wall display, and were a great way to display a collection as well as to fight off the persistent adversary of house dust.  A company on Long Island, New York (USA), known as “Neil’s Wheels, Inc.” eventually patented their very own product called the “Magic Box.”  The Magic Box was similar to, but even better than the Matchbox Home Display case.  The owner, Neil Waldmann, has since passed away.  But his widow Irene still sold the inter-locking “Magic Box” for many years thereafter.

Another nice new 1969 product from Lesney was the “Matchbox Traffic Game.”  This was a board game set up like a road intersection, and made for anywhere from two to four players.  Still another new exciting product from Lesney was the “Matchbox Motorway.” This allowed the 1-75 Series models to be adapted for use upon a motorized (i.e., electric) plastic race track.  Set number MW-12 had 14 feet of track, and there was a brand new “Extension Set” with 6 more feet of track.

The 1-75 Series in 1969 included the 1) Mercedes-Benz Truck (76 mm long), the 2) Mercedes-Benz Trailer for # 1 (90 mm long), the 3) Mercedes-Benz “Binz” Ambulance (74 mm long), the 4) Dodge Stake Truck (74 mm long), the 5) London Bus (71 mm long), the 6) Ford Pickup Truck (a new model with the “auto steer” feature and 71 mm long), the 7) Ford Refuse Truck (76 mm long), the 8) Ford Mustang Fastback (74 mm long), the 9) Boat and Trailer (90 mm long), the 10) Leyland Pipe Truck (75 mm long), the 11) Jumbo Crane (76 mm long), the 12) Safari Land-Rover (70 mm long), the 13) Wreck Truck (76 mm long), the 14) Iso Grifo Coupé (76 mm long), the 15) Volkswagen Beetle 1500 Sedan (a new model with the “auto steer” feature and 74 mm long), the 16) Case Bulldozer (65 mm long), the 17) Leyland Horse Box Truck (74 mm long), the 18) Field Car (a new model with the “auto steer” feature and 67 mm long), the 19) Lotus Racing Car (70 mm long), the 20) Taxi-cab (76 mm long), the 21) Foden Concrete Truck (76 mm long), the 22) Pontiac Grand Prix (76 mm long), the 23) Trailer Caravan (76 mm long), the 24) Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow Sedan (76 mm long), the 25) Ford Cortina G.T. Sedan (67 mm long), the 26) GMC Tipper Truck (67 mm long), the 27) Mercedes-Benz 230 SL Convertible (71 mm long), the 28) Mack Dump Truck (67 mm long), the 29) Fire Pumper Truck (76 mm long), the 30) 8-Wheel Crane (76 mm long), the 31) Lincoln-Continental Sedan (76 mm long), the 32) Leyland Petrol Tanker (76 mm long), the 33) Lamborghini Miura Coupé (a new model with the “auto steer” feature and 70 mm long), the 34) Volkswagen Camper (65 mm long), the 35) “Snow-Trac” Tractor (56 mm long), the 36) Opel Diplomat Sedan (70 mm long), the 37) Dodge Cattle Truck (65 mm long), the 38) Honda Motorcycle with Trailer (76 mm long), the 39) Ford Tractor (54 mm long), the 40) Hay Trailer for # 39 (86 mm long), the 41) Ford G.T. Racing Car (67 mm long), the 42) Studebaker Station Wagon (76 mm long), the 43) Pony Trailer (67 mm long), the 44) Refrigeration Truck (76 mm long), the 45) Ford Corsair Sedan with Boat (67 mm long), the 46) Mercedes-Benz 300 SE Coupé (73 mm long), the 47) DAF Tipper Container Truck (76 mm long), the 48) Dumper Truck (76 mm long), the 49) Mercedes-Benz Unimog Truck (62 mm long), the 50) Ford Kennel Truck (a new model with the “auto steer” feature and 70 mm long), the 51) Leyland 8-Wheel Tipper Truck (76 mm long), the 52) BRM Racing Car (70 mm long), the 53) Ford Zodiac Mark IV Sedan (70 mm long), the 54) Cadillac Ambulance (73 mm long), the 55) Mercury Police Car (a new model with the “auto steer” feature and 73 mm long), the 56) Fiat 1500 Sedan (67 mm long), the 57) Land-Rover Fire Truck (64 mm long), the 58) DAF Girder Truck (76 mm long), the 59) Fire Chief Car (73 mm long), the 60) Leyland Truck with Site Office (65 mm long), the 61) Alvis Stewart Amphibious Truck (66 mm long), the 62) Mercury Cougar Coupé (a new model with the “auto steer” feature and 76 mm long), the 63) Dodge Crane Truck (76 mm long), the 64) M.G. 1100 Sedan (66 mm long), the 65) Combine Harvester (76 mm long), the 66) Greyhound Bus (76 mm long), the 67) Volkswagen Type 3 1600 TL Fastback Sedan (68 mm long), the 68) Mercedes-Benz Coach (73 mm long), the 69) Hatra Tractor Shovel (80 mm long), the 70) Grit Spreader Truck (67 mm long), the 71) Ford Heavy Wreck Truck (76 mm long), the 72) Standard Jeep (61 mm long), the 73) Mercury Commuter Station Wagon (a new model with the “auto steer” feature and 67 mm long), the 74) Daimler Bus (76 mm long) and the 75) Ferrari Berlinetta Coupé (73 mm long).  No new future releases were shown in 1969.

The “Matchbox Build A Road” line for 1969 included the BR-1) Build-A-Road (with 50 pieces), the BR-2) Super Build-A-Road (with 90 pieces) and the BR-3) DeLuxe Build-A-Road (with 130 pieces).  These were made of interlocking-plastic pieces.  Brand new accessory packs for these sets included the BR-11) 6 pieces of 6-inch straight track, the BR-12) 2 complete 4-way intersections, the BR-13) 10 pieces of 45 degree curved track and the BR-14) bridge supports and railings.

The “Matchbox Pop-up Roadways” line for 1969 included the R-1) Roadway, the R-2) Construction Site and the R-3) Farmyard.

The improved “Matchbox MG-1 Service Station” returned in 1969.

Another brand new product line for 1969 was the “Matchbox Picture Puzzles,” which featured “Matchbox” models seen in highly-realistic diorama settings. Photos turned into puzzles included the Ford Tractor and Trailer in a farmyard diorama, 2 Greyhound buses on a winding mountain road and the Standard Jeep.

The King Size line for 1969 included the K-1) Foden Tipper Truck (108 mm long), the K-2) Scammel Heavy Wreck Truck (110 mm long), the K-3) Hatra Tractor Shovel (150 mm long), the K-4) GMC Tractor Trailer with Hopper Train (286 mm long), the K-5) Racing Car Transporter (127 mm long), the K-6) Mercedes-Benz “Binz” Ambulance (105 mm long and with “True Guide Steering”), the K-7) SD Refuse Truck (117 mm long), the K-8) Car Transporter (209 mm long), the K-9) Combine Harvester (140 mm long), the K-10) Pipe Truck (203 mm long), the K-11) Fordson Tractor and Farm Trailer (158 mm long), the K-12) Heavy Wreck / Breakdown Truck (121 mm long), the K-13) Ready-Mix Concrete Truck (114 mm long), the K-14) Jumbo Crane (125 mm long), the K-15) Merryweather Fire Engine (154 mm long), the K-16) Dodge Tractor Trailer with Twin Tippers (302 mm long), the K-17) Low-Loader with Bulldozer (242 mm long), the K-18) Articulated Horse Box (167 mm long), the K-19) Scammel Tipper Truck (121 mm long), the K-20) Tractor Transporter with 3 Tractors (228 mm long), the K-21) Mercury Cougar Coupé (105 mm long and with “True Guide Steering”), the K-22) Dodge Charger Fastback (115 mm long and with “True Guide Steering”), the K-23) Mercury Station Wagon Police Car (111 mm long and with “True Guide Steering”) and the K-24) Lamborghini Miura Coupé (102 mm long and with “True Guide Steering”).  “True Guide Steering” was the King Size version of the “Auto Steer” feature introduced to the 1-75 Series’ Ford Mustang Fastback Coupé in 1968.

The Models of Yesteryear line for 1969 included the Y-1) 1911 Model “T” Ford (76 mm long), the Y-2) 1911 Renault 2-Seater (76 mm long), the Y-3) 1910 Benz
Limousine (83 mm long), the Y-4) 1909 Opel “Doctor’s” Coupé (79 mm long), the Y-5) 1907 Peugeot (89 mm long), the Y-6) 1913 Cadillac (87 mm long), the Y-7) 1912 Rolls-Royce Landaulet (96 mm long), the Y-8) 1914 Sunbeam Motorcycle with Milford Sidecar (67 mm long), the Y-9) 1912 Simplex (96 mm long), the Y-10) 1928 Mercedes-Benz 36/220 Convertible (96 mm long), the Y-11) 1912 Packard Landaulet (82 mm long), the Y-12) 1909 Thomas Flyabout (102 mm long), the Y-13) 1911 Daimler (85 mm long), the Y-14) 1911 Maxwell Roadster (82 mm long), the Y-15) 1906 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost (83 mm long) and the Y-16) 1904 Spyker (83 mm long).

The Gift Sets line for 1969 included the G-1) Service Station Set (compete with the MG-1 Service Station and 3 vehicles), the G-2) Transporter Set (complete with the “King Size” Car Transporter and 4 cars), the G-3) Farm Set (complete with 8 vehicles), the G-4) Race ‘n Rally Set (complete with 10 vehicles), the G-5) Famous Cars of Yesteryear Set (complete with 4 “Models of Yesteryear”) and the G-6) Truck Set (complete with 8 trucks).

A very interesting section followed in the 1969 color catalogue which described the history of the wheel.  It started with the Stone Age, continued with an Egyptian Chariot and a Roman Ox-cart from 1,400 years B.C., a stage coach from 1825, the first petrol (gasoline in American English)-driven car in 1855, the first pneumatic tire in 1888, the 1912 Rolls-Royce (one of the “Models of Yesteryear”) and concluded with the modern wheels of 1969.

The Lesney Veteran Car Gifts line for adults in 1969 returned with a Stainless Steel Tray, a Utility Box and a Pipe Tray. “Models of Yesteryear” which could be fixed to these items and finished in either silver or gold included the 1911 Maxwell Roadster or the 1906 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost.

1969 Special Edition

As previously mentioned, 1969 featured a second “special edition” of the Matchbox Collector’s Catalogue.  This was released later in 1969, and had the words “SECOND EDITION” typed in red letters within a yellow circle located in the lower right hand corner of the front cover.  The main purpose for this was of course to introduce the “Superfast” product line to compete with the very serious challenge launched by Mattel Toys’ “Hot Wheels.”  17 new models were introduced, including nine “Superfast” cars designed for use upon the new track sets.

The first plastic yellow track sets (made in both England and Canada for the North American market) were the SF-1) Speed Set, the SF-3) Curve and Space Leap Set and the SF-4) Double Loop Race Set.

New or changed 1-75 Series models included the 5) Lotus Europa Coupé (73 mm long and with “Superfast” wheels), the 11) Mercedes-Benz Scaffolding Truck (67 mm long), the 14) Iso Grifo Coupé (76 mm long and with “Superfast” wheels), the 15) Volkswagen 1500 Beetle Sedan (74 mm long and now with “Superfast” wheels – no more “Auto Steer”), the 20) Lamborghini Marzal Sedan with Gullwing Doors (70 mm long and with “Superfast” wheels), the 33) Lamborghini Miura Coupé (70 mm long and with “Superfast” wheels), the 41) Ford G.T. Racing Car (67 mm long and with “Superfast” wheels), the Fairy Iron Crane (76 mm long), the 56) BMC Pininfarina Sedan (70 mm long and with “Superfast” wheels), the 62) Mercury Cougar Coupé (76 mm long and with “Superfast” wheels), the 67) Volkswagen Type 3 1600TL Fastback Sedan (68 mm long and with “Superfast” wheels), the 74) Daimler Bus (76 mm long and now in Red instead of Green exterior paint).  Needless to say, no “Superfast” model could have the “Auto Steer” function.

Changes to the King Size line included the K-12) Crane Truck (121 mm long) and the K-24) Lamborhini Miura Coupé (now in Red instead of Yellow exterior paint, and with an opening rear engine compartment instead of opening passenger doors).

Changes to the Models of Yesteryear line included the Y-5) 1907 Peugeot (89 mm long and now in Yellow instead of Blue exterior paint), the Y-8) 1914 Stutz Type 4E Roadster (86 mm long) and finally the Y-10) 1906 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost (94 mm long and thus a long-wheelbase model compared to the similar but shorter Y-15).

1970 Matchbox Model Year: the Full “Superfast” Line

In 1970, most models within the 1-75 Series finally featured the new “Superfast” wheels. This was something Lesney had to do in order to stay financially afloat against the Hot Wheels challenge by Mattel.  It would buy some valuable time for Lesney Products, at least for a little over one decade.  I believe that it was the higher English labor costs that would finally do Lesney in as a company.

Product lines such as “Matchbox Motorway,” complete with the “Matchbox Extension Set,” returned in 1970.  The same held true for the three sets within the “Matchbox Build A Road” line.  The front and rear covers of the 1970 color catalogue featured the identical painted collage of various Matchbox models.  The exclusive American importer “Fred Bronner Corporation” was now known as Lesney Products Corporation of the USA.

A brand new product line for 1970 were the “Matchbox Magnetic Action Centers,” which featured realistic play dioramas in the way of the 1) “Matchbox Action Repair Center,” the 2) “Matchbox Action Farm Center” and the 3) “Matchbox Action Freight Center.” Tiny magnet-operated people would move around and service “Matchbox” vehicles.

An even more exciting brand new product for 1970 was the “Matchbox U.S.A. Play and Game Case” for the North American market.  This was a washable vinyl suitcase which would unfold into a miniature “city” diorama for “Matchbox” vehicles.  It featured roads, buildings, ramps, a heliport and an elevator.

The Matchbox Collector’s Cases for 24, 48 and 72 of the 1-75 Series vehicles returned as well in 1970.  Unfortunately, these could not hold the boxes – just the cars themselves. The “Matchbox Traffic Game” was also back in 1970, as well as the “Steer-n-go” sets (the Village Roadway, the Dune Buggy Roadway and the Grand Prix Roadway).  These three sets featured a simulated wood steering wheel, a gear lever, an ignition switch, a hand brake, a lap counter and a timing device.  A new product for 1970 which I never would have made was the “Matchbox Crash Game.”  Children will crash and ruin their toys without such encouragement!  It is for this reason that so few old models continue to exist in pristine condition.

Perhaps the most exciting new toys launched by Lesney Products in 1970 were the “Matchbox Superfast” track sets.  There were seven sets in all, with each successive set being larger and having more track and features.  From this point on, I will merely denote those 1-75 Series models not fitted with “Superfast” wheels, since they have been in the small minority since the 1970 model year.  Suggested retail price for the 1-75 Series increased to US $0.69 each in the American market.  Here are a few observations.  The Superfast number 12 (Safari Land-Rover) in light blue is so rare, that I have seen it worth up to US $1,800 a few years ago.  Look at the following Matchbox enthusiast website for this and other information: www.shabbir.com/matchbox/mbmenu.html.  The Chinese toy maker “Maisto” makes a modern version of the # 34 Matchbox VW Camper.  The Matchbox toy was silver, but the new Maisto toy is white.

The 1-75 Series for 1970 included the 1) Mercedes-Benz Truck (76 mm long), the 2) Mercedes-Benz Trailer (90 mm long), the 3) Mercedes-Benz “Binz” Ambulance (74 mm long), the 4) Dodge Stake Truck (74 mm long), the 5) Lotus Europa Coupé (73 mm long), the 6) Ford Pickup Truck (71 mm long), the 7) Ford Refuse Truck (76 mm long), the 8) Ford Mustang Fastback (74 mm long), the 9) Boat and Trailer (90 mm long), the 10) Leyland Pipe Truck (75 mm long), the 11) Mercedes-Benz Scaffold Truck (67 mm long), the 12) Safari Land-Rover (70 mm long), the 13) Dodge Wreck Truck (76 mm long), the 14) Iso Grifo Coupé (76 mm long), the 15) Volkswagen 1500 Beetle Sedan (72 mm long), the 16) Case Bulldozer (64 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the 17) Leyland Horse Box (72 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the 18) Field Car (68 mm long), the 19) Lotus Racing Car (70 mm long), the 20) Lamborghini Marzal Gullwing Sedan (70 mm long), the 21) Foden Concrete Truck (75 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the 22) Pontiac Grand Prix (76 mm long), the 23) Volkswagen Bay Window “Dormobile” Camper (67 mm long), the 24) Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow Sedan (76 mm long), the 25) Ford Cortina GT (67 mm long), the 26) GMC Tipper Truck (67 mm long), the 27) Mercedes-Benz 230SL Convertible (71 mm long), the 28) Mack Dump Truck (67 mm long), the 29) Fire Pumper Truck (76 mm long), the 30) 8-Wheel Crane Truck (76 mm long), the 31) Lincoln Continental Sedan (76 mm long), the 32) Leyland Petrol Tanker Truck (76 mm long), the 33) Lamborghini Miura Coupé (71 mm long), the 34) Volkswagen Microbus Camper (65 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the 35) Merryweather Marquis Fire Engine Truck (76 mm long), the 36) Opel Diplomat Sedan (70 mm long), the 37) Dodge Cattle Truck (65 mm long), the 38) Honda Motor-cyle with Trailer (76 mm long), the 39) Ford Tractor (54 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the 40) Hay Trailer for # 39 (86 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the 41) Ford GT Racing Car (67 mm long), the 42) Iron Fairy Crane (76 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the 43) Pony Trailer (67 mm long), the 44) Refrigerator Truck (76 mm long), the 45) Ford Group Six Racing Car (76 mm long), the 46) Mercedes-Benz 300SE Coupé (73 mm long), the 47) DAF Tipper Container Truck (76 mm long), the 48) Dodge Dumper Truck (76 mm long), the 49) Mercedes-Benz Unimog Truck (62 mm long), the 50) Ford Kennel Truck (71 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the 51) Leyland 8-Wheel Tipper Truck (76 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the 52) Dodge Charger Mark III (76 mm long), the 53) Ford Zodiac Mark IV Sedan (70 mm long), the 54) Cadillac Ambulance (73 mm long), the 55) Mercury Police Car (78 mm long), the 56) BMC 1800 Pininfarina Sedan (70 mm long), the 57) Eccles Caravan (77 mm long), the 58) DAF Girder Truck (76 mm long), the 59) Ford Fire Chief Car (73 mm long), the 60) Leyland Truck with Site Office (65 mm long), the 61) Alvis Stalwart Amphibious Truck (66 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the 62) Mercury Cougar Coupé (76 mm long), the 63) Dodge Crane Truck (76 mm long), the 64) MG 1100 Sedan (66 mm long), the 65) Combine Harvester (76 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the 66) Greyhound Bus (76 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the 67) Volkswagen Type 3 1600 TL Fastback Sedan (68 mm long), the 68) Porsche 910 Racing Car (76 mm long), the 69) Rolls-Royce Convertible (77 mm long), the 70) Grit Spreader Truck (67 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the 71) Ford Heavy Wreck Truck (76 mm long), the 72) Standard Jeep (61 mm long), the 73) Mercury Commuter Station Wagon (78 mm long), the 74) Daimler Bus (76 mm long) and the 75) Ferrari Berlinetta Coupé (73 mm long).

The King Size line for 1970 still used all regular wheels – no Superfast yet.  These included the K-1) O&K Excavator (124 mm long), the K-2) Scammell Heavy Wreck Truck (110 mm long), the K-3) Massey Ferguson Tractor and Trailer (203 mm long), the K-4) Leyland Tipper Truck (114 mm long), the K-5) Racing Car Transporter (127 mm long), the K-6) Mercedes-Benz “Binz” Ambulance (105 mm long), the K-7) Caterpillar Traxcavator (106 mm long), the K-8) S.D. Refuse Truck (117 mm long), the K-9) Class Combine Harvester (140 mm long), the K-10) Scammell Pipe Truck (203 mm long), the K-11) DAF Car Transporter (228 mm long), the K-12) Scammell Crane Truck (152 mm long), the K-13) Ready Mix Concrete Truck (114 mm long), the K-14) Jumbo Crane (125 mm long), the K-15) Merryweather Fire Engine (154 mm long), the K-16) Dodge Tractor Trailer with Twin Tippers (302 mm long), the K-17) Ford Low Loader with Bulldozer (242 mm long), the K-18) Articulated Horse Transporter (167 mm long), the K-19) Scammell Tipper Truck (121 mm long), the K-20) Ford Tractor Transporter (228 mm long), the K-21) Mercury Cougar (105 mm long), the K-22) Dodge Charger Fastback (115 mm long), the K-23) Mercury Station Wagon Police Car (111 mm long) and the K-24) Lamborghini Miura Coupé (100 mm long).

The line of Gift Sets were renamed “Supersets” in 1970.  The five new sets were the G-1) Service Station Set (with three vehicles), the G-2) Transporter Set (with one “King Size” Transporter and five cars), the G-3) Superfast Racing Specials Set (with six cars), the G-4) Truck Set (with eight trucks) and the G-5) “Models of Yesteryear” Set (with four cars).

An improved and upgraded “Matchbox Service Station” made its debut in 1970.  This “BP” station featured a forecourt, two gasoline pumps, a sign, parking spaces and outdoor service spaces for two cars.  One of the spaces featured a plasic hoist with the “Castrol” motor oil logo.

A new product for 1970 was a book titled “Mike and the Model Makers.”  This “Matchbox Book” described and illustrated the processes in making Matchbox toy cars – another good marketing idea.

The Models of Yesteryear line for 1970 included the Y-1) 1911 Model T Ford (76 mm long), the Y-2) 1911 Renault 2-Seater (76 mm long), the Y-3) 1910 Benz Limousine (83 mm long), the Y-4) 1909 Opel “Doctor’s” Coupé (79 mm long), the Y-5) 1907 Peugeot (89 mm long), the Y-6) 1913 Cadillac (87 mm long), the Y-7) 1912 Rolls-Royce Landaulet (96 mm long), the Y-8) 1914 Stutz Roadster (86 mm long), the Y-9) 1912 Simplex (96 mm long), the Y-10) 1906 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost (94 mm long), the Y-11) 1912 Packard Landaulet (82 mm long), the Y-12) 1909 Thomas Flyabout (102 mm long), the Y-13) 1911 Daimler (85 mm long), the Y-14) 1911 Maxwell Roadster (82 mm long), the Y-15) 1930 Packard Victoria (107 mm long) and the Y-16) 1904 Spyker (83 mm long).

The Veteran Car Gifts line for 1970 included a line of attractive ashtrays, boxes, penstands and bookends with Models of Yesteryear cars finished in either gold or silver.  Models included the 1912 Rolls-Royce Landaulet, the 1913 Cadillac, the 1909 Thomas Flyabout, the 1909 Opel “Doctor’s” Coupé, the 1911 Maxwell Roadster, the 1911 Model T Ford, the 1911 Daimler and the 1928 Mercedes-Benz.  Note: the 1928 Mercedes-Benz was available here, although it had already been discontinued from the Models of Yesteryear line.

The 1970 Color Catalogue ended with a feature article on “The Future.”  What did people of 1970 see in their crystal ball?  Much more futuristic and aerodynamic car bodies than we know today, motorways equipped with electric wires beneath the surface (to “instruct” cars), programmed journey cassettes, cars riding on air cushions instead of wheels, Wankel rotary engines, turbine engines and finally atomic-powered cars.  Very little of this has actually transpired in the last 40 years.  The ironic thing is that modern nuclear power is literally the most environmentally friendly thing we human beings could do today.  It is safe, inexpensive and no longer produces radioactive waste (”waste” can now be recycled into new nuclear energy, thus creating an inexhaustible supply of energy).  We would no longer require fossil fuels, we would no longer emit carbon dioxide into the earth’s atmosphere, we would no longer squander our food resources on ethanol and we would save a tremendous amount of capital for more productive uses.  Ethanol requires corn, sugar cane or palm leaves, takes up farmland otherwise available to grow food for human consumption and requires a tremendous amount of water for irrigation and chemical fertilizers.  The chemicals can pollute ground water sources but more importantly rivers, lakes and the oceans – the main source of food on the earth.

1971 Matchbox Model Year: the First “Hot Rods”

In 1971, Lesney Products “modernized” their product line to include brand new, customized versions of older models, and some all-new “hot rods” as well.  This was of course done to meet the very serious challenge presented by Mattel Toys’ line of Hot Wheels cars.  Although I have never been a fan of such customized cars, I wish Lesney had been far more consistent in marketing products such as their line of “Superfast” track sets and things like the “Matchbox U.S.A. Play and Game Case.”  The track sets could be found in American toy stores of the time period such as “King Norman’s” in both 1969 and 1970, but by 1971 they were almost impossible to locate.  Furthermore, the quality of the plastic track made in Canada left much to be desired.  They would break at the ends, meaning they could no longer be joined.  The plastic track from England was far superior in quality, but unfortunately much less common in American retail outlets.

The new “customized” car models were no longer confined just to the 1-75 Series in 1971.  King Size cars would be fitted with “Superfast” wheels and be customized henceforth as well.

The front and rear covers of the 1971 “Matchbox Collector’s Catalogue” featured two racing cars.  The inside front cover featured a massive painted mountain test track, complete with Superfast track, a loop and a power booster.  The track sets themselves were not featured in the 1971 catalgoue, and they became ever more difficult to find in retail outlets.  This was something Lesney should have addressed, but did not.  As usual from 1970 onward, I will only denote “non-Superfast” 1-75 Series cars, as they became an ever smaller minority within the product line.

The 1-75 Series for 1971 included the 1) Mercedes-Benz Truck (76 mm long), the 2) Mercedes-Benz Trailer (90 mm long), the 3) Mercedes-Benz “Binz” Ambulance (74 mm long), the 4) Dodge Stake Truck (74 mm long), the 5) Lotus Europa Coupé (73 mm long), the 6) Ford Pickup Truck (71 mm long), the 7) Ford Refuse Truck (76 mm long), the 8) Ford Mustang Wildcat Dragster (74 mm long), the 9) Boat and Trailer (90 mm long), the 10) Leyland Pipe Truck (75 mm long), the 11) Mercedes-Benz Scaffold Truck (67 mm long), the 12) Setra Coach (75 mm long), the 13) Dodge Wreck Truck (76 mm long), the 14) Iso Grifo Coupé (76 mm long), the 15) Volkswagen 1500 Beetle Sedan (72 mm long), the 16) Case Bulldozer (64 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the 17) Leyland Horse Box Truck (72 mm long), the 18) Field Car (68 mm long), the 19) Road Dragster (75 mm long), the 20) Lamborghini Marzal Gullwing Sedan (70 mm long), the 21) Foden Concrete Truck (75 mm long), the 22) Freeman Inter-City Commuter Van (75 mm long), the 23) Volkswagen Bay Window Dormobile Camper (67 mm long), the 24) Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow Sedan (76 mm long), the 25) Ford Cortina GT Sedan (67 mm long), the 26) GMC Tipper Truck (67 mm long), the 27) Mercedes-Benz 230SL Convertible (71 mm long), the 28) Mack Dump Truck (67 mm long), the 29) Racing Mini Cooper (57 mm long), the 30) Volkswagen Beach Buggy (65 mm long), the 31) Lincoln Continental Sedan (76 mm long), the 32) Leyland Petrol Tanker Truck (76 mm long), the 33) Lamborghini Miura Coupé (71 mm long), the 34) Formula 1 Racing Car (73 mm long), the 35) Merryweather Marquis Fire Engine (76 mm long), the 36) Hot Rod “Draguar” Jaguar (73 mm long), the 37) Dodge Cattle Truck (65 mm long), the 38) Honda Motor-cycle with Trailer (76 mm long), the 39) Ford Tractor (54 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the 40) Hay Trailer for # 39 (86 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the 41) Ford GT Racing Car, the 42) Iron Fairy Crane, the 43) Pony Trailer (67 mm long), the 44) Refrigerator Truck (76 mm long), the 45) Ford Group Six Racing Car (76 mm long), the 46) Mercedes-Benz 300SE Coupé (73 mm long), the 47) DAF Tipper Container Truck (76 mm long), the 48) Dumper Truck (76 mm long), the 49) Mercedes-Benz Unimog Truck (62 mm long), the 50) Ford Kennel Truck (71 mm long), the 51) Leyland 8-Wheel Tipper Truck (76 mm long), the 52) Dodge Charger Mark III (76 mm long), the 53) Ford Zodiac Mark IV (70 mm long), the 54) Ford Capri Coupé (73 mm long), the 55) Mercury Station Wagon Police Car (78 mm long), the 56) BMC 1800 Pininfarina Sedan (70 mm long), the 57) Eccles Caravan (77 mm long), the 58) DAF Girder Truck (76 mm long), the 59) Mercury Fire Chief Car (73 mm long), the 60) Leyland Truck with Site Office (65 mm long), the 61) Alvis Stalwart Amphibious Truck (66 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the 62) Mercury Cougar “Rat Rod” Dragster (76 mm long), the 63) Dodge Crane Truck (76 mm long), the 64) MG 1100 Sedan (66 mm long), the 65) Combine Harvester (76 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the 66) Greyhound Bus (76 mm long), the 67) Volkswagen Type 3 1600TL Fastback Sedan (68 mm long), the 68) Porsche 910 Racing Car (76 mm long), the 69) Rolls-Royce Convertible (77 mm long), the 70) Grit Spreader Truck (67 mm long), the 71) Ford Heavy Wreck Truck (76 mm long), the 72) Standard Jeep (61 mm long), the 73) Mercury Commuter Station Wagon (78 mm long), the 74) Daimler Bus (76 mm long) and the 75) Alfa-Romeo Carabo Gullwing Sports Car (76 mm long).  Future releases such as a hot rod Volkswagen dune buggy were shown with no model numbers.

A new product for 1971 (which would not last long) was the “Matchbox Autopark” rotating garage.  This was meant to connect to “Superfast” track sets.  Cars would come up to the garage ramp, and then eventually fill ten parking spaces.  The three Matchbox Collectors’ Cases would return in 1971, for 24, 48 and 72 “1-75 Series” cars.  Over the course of many years, different pictures would be featured on the case fronts.  The “Matchbox Pop-up” Roadways also returned in 1971.  These included the R-1) Roadway, the R-2) Construction Site and the R-3) Farmyard.  The “Matchbox Motorway” also returned in 1971, albeit with no extension set.  The “Matchbox Magnetic Action Centers” were also back in 1971.  These included the Action Repair Center, the Action Freight Center and the Action Farm Center.

The “Matchbox Steer-n-go” toy was also back in 1971.  The sets included a Village Roadway (with 6 buildings), a Dune Buggy Roadway (with 10 course marking flags) and a Grand Prix Roadway (with a grandstand and a finishing gate).

The King Size line was renamed “Super Kings” in 1971, alluding to new “Superfast” wheels.  Henceforth, I will merely denote models without “Superfast” wheels.  The Super Kings line for 1971 included the K-1) Scammel Heavy Wreck Truck (120 mm long), the K-2) O&K Excavator (124 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the K-3) Massey Ferguson Tractor and Trailer (203 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the K-4) Leyland Tipper Truck (114 mm long), the K-5) Racing Car Transporter (127 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the K-6) Cement Mixer Truck (147 mm long), the K-7) S.D. Refuse Truck (117 mm long), the K-8) Caterpillar Traxcavator (106 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the K-9) Claas Combine Harvester (140 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the K-10) Scammell Pipe Truck (203 mm long), the K-11) DAF Car Transporter (228 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the K-12) Scammell Crane Truck (152 mm long), the K-13) DAF Building Transporter Truck (147 mm long), the K-14) Scammell Freight Truck (139 mm long), the K-15) Merryweather Fire Engine (154 mm long), the K-16) Dodge Tractor Trailer with Twin Tippers (302 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the K-17) Ford Low Loader with Bulldozer (242 mm long), the K-18) Dodge Articulated Horse Transporter (167 mm long), the K-19) Scammell Tipper Truck (121 mm long), the K-20) Ford Tractor Transporter (228 mm long), the K-21) Mercury Cougar Dragster (105 mm long), the K-22) Dodge Dragster (115 mm long), the K-23) Mercury Station Wagon Police Car (111 mm long), the K-24) Lamborghini Miura Coupé (100 mm long), the K-25) Seaburst Power Boat and Trailer (152 mm long), the K-26) Mercedes-Benz “Binz” Ambulance (105 mm long), the K-27) Camping Cruiser (111 mm long), the K-28) Drag Pack with Mercury Station Wagon towing Mercury Cougar Dragster on Trailer (252 mm long) and the K-29) Miura Seaburst Set with Lamborghini Miura towing Seaburst Boat on Trailer (252 mm long).  As one can see, the King Size product line was growing rapidly – important if Lesney was to compete with the likes of Corgi Toys.

The line of gift sets in 1971 was renamed “Supersets.”  These incuded the G-1) Service Station Set (with three vehicles), the G-2) Transporter Set (with a “King Size” car transporter and five cars), the G-3) Superfast Racing Specials Set (complete with six cars and unique decals), the G-4) Truck Set (with eight trucks) and the G-5) “Models of Yesteryear” Set (complete with four vintage vehicles).

A brand new product for 1971 (which would not last long) was the “Matchbox Auto Sales” car dealership.  It featured a small building and a larger lot upon which to park “1-75 Series” cars and trucks.  The much more successful “Matchbox Service Station” returned in 1971, along with the “Matchbox Service Ramp” accessory for the same station.  The latter two items of course were part of the G-1 “Superset.”  The book “Mike and the Model Makers” also returned in 1971.  This was a nice product, because it explained how Matchbox models were made and brought to the market.

The Models of Yesteryear line for 1971 included the Y-1) 1911 Model T Ford (76 mm long), the Y-2) 1914 Prince Henry Vauxhall (89 mm long), the Y-3) 1910 Benz Limousine (83 mm long), the Y-4) 1909 Opel “Doctor’s” Coupé (79 mm long), the Y-5) 1907 Peugeot (89 mm long), the Y-6) 1913 Cadillac (87 mm long), the Y-7) 1912 Rolls-Royce Landaulet (96 mm long), the Y-8) 1914 Stutz (86 mm long), the Y-9) 1912 Simplex (96 mm long), the Y-10) 1906 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost (94 mm long), the Y-11) 1912 Packard Landaulet (82 mm long), the Y-12) 1909 Thomas Flyabout (102 mm long), the Y-13) 1911 Daimler, the Y-14) 1911 Maxwell Roadster, the Y-15) 1930 Packard Victoria (107 mm long) and the Y-16) 1904 Spyker (83 mm long).

The “Matchbox Collectors’ Club” continued to be advertised.  The company should have given this more time and effort, to make the club more responsive than it was.

The Veteran Car Gifts line by Lesney for 1971 included ash trays, boxes, penstands and bookends with Models of Yesteryear cars finished in either gold or silver.  A pack of three such cars not attached to these items was now available as well – an attempt to appeal to adult collectors of Matchbox cars.  The models featured included the 1911 Daimler, the 1928 Mercedes-Benz (since discontinued from the main product line, but still available here), the 1912 Rolls-Royce Landaulet, the 1911 Maxwell Roadster and the 1909 Thomas Flyabout.

1972 Matchbox Model Year: An expanding product line

In 1972, Lesney would build upon a trend to increase their product line of toys into areas not yet touched.  The idea is not necessarily bad, especially if the company has the necessary capital to do so.  The problem was that Lesney would try to do too much too soon, and not commit itself to many of the new product lines.  Furthermore, all the new product lines would carry the Matchbox trademark.  Perhaps Lesney should have created new brand names, because the new customer base they were targeting was so different.  The front and rear cover of the 1972 “Matchbox Collector’s Catalogue” featured a collage of models with a reddish background.  Models included the Hovercraft ferry, two racing cars, a dragster, a sports car, a dune buggy, a customized Volkswagen Beetle and some heavy construction equipment.

The first new product launch for 1972 was the “Matchbox Big MX” line of battery-operated “King Size” models in action sets.  These included the BM-1) Mechanised Incinerator and Refuse Truck (the S.D. Refuse Truck which will unload garbage into an incinerator), the BM-2) Mechanised Tractor Plant and Winch Transporter (the Ford Tractor Transporter and 3 small Ford tractors to be loaded from the plant), the BM-3) Mechanised Crane Truck and Building Site (the Scammell Crane Truck which will build a hardware store and a bank branch), the BM-4) Mechanised Coal Delivery Hopper and Tipper Truck (the Leyland Tipper Truck which will unload coal on the power conveyor belt), the BM-5) Mechanised Quarry Site and “Traxcavator” (the Caterpillar “Traxcavator” which will unload at the Quarry Site) and the BM-6) Fire Rescue Scene with Mechanical Fire Engine (the Merryweather Fire Engine which will raise its ladder to rescue people from a burning building).

The next new product for 1972 was aimed at very small children.  The “Live-n-Learn” line featured five sets with small plastic figures, including the LL-100) Busy Jump Rope (with 3 figures), the LL-200) Busy Marble Mover (with one figure), the LL-300 Busy Budies (with one figure and a dog), the LL-400) Busy Ball Set (with 5 figures and one dog) and the LL-600) Busy Playground (with 5 figures).  This product would not last long.

Another new product for 1972 was the “Matchbox Carpow!”  This would not endure long either.  It featured a short track, upon which a 1-75 Series model would run and try to hit a moving plastic object (supposed to be another car).

Yet another new product line for 1972 was the “Plug Props” and the “Plug Buggies.”  These silly toys were shaped like various vegetables (cucumbers and carrots) and one would “build” airplanes and cars by plugging parts into them (such as wings, wheels, rudders, people and engines).  These would not last long either.

A better product launch in 1972 was the “Matchbox Station Maker.”  One could build a large service station and center with fuel pumps, various levels, ramps, parking spaces and service bays for oil changes, lube jobs, car washes, brake work and a body shop.  The sets included the SM-1) Station Maker (with 54 pieces), the SM-2) Super Station Maker (with 92 pieces) and the SM-3) Giant Station Maker (with 140 pieces).

The 1-75 Series for 1972 featured many more “customized” cars and hot rods, although this would never become as “wild” as the competing line of toys from Hot Wheels.  They included the 1) Mod Rod (73 mm long), the 2) Hot Rod Jeep (59 mm long), the 3) Mercedes-Benz “Binz” Ambulance (74 mm long), the 4) Gruesome Twosome (73 mm long), the 5) Lotus Europa Coupé (73 mm long), the 6) Ford Pickup Truck (71 mm long), the 7) Ford Refuse Truck (76 mm long), the 8) Ford Mustang Wildcat Dragster (74 mm long), the 9) AMC Javelin Coupé (78 mm long), the 10) Leyland Pipe Truck (75 mm long), the 11) Mercedes-Benz Scaffold Truck (67 mm long), the 12) Setra Coach (75 mm long), the 13) Volkswagen Baja Buggy (67 mm long), the 14) Iso Grifo Coupé (76 mm long), the 15) Volkswagen 1500 Beetle Sedan (72 mm long), the 16) Case Bulldozer (64 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the 17) Leyland Horse Box Truck (72 mm long), the 18) Field Car (68 mm long), the 19) Road Dragster (75 mm long), the 20) Lamborghini Marzal Gullwing Sedan (70 mm long), the 21) Foden Concrete Truck (75 mm long), the 22) Freeman Inter-City Commuter Van (75 mm long), the 23) Volkswagen Bay Window Dormobile Camper (67 mm long), the 24) Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow Sedan (76 mm long), the 25) Ford Cortina GT (67 mm long), the 26) GMC Tipper Truck (67 mm long), the 27) Mercedes-Benz 230SL Convertible (71 mm long) the 28) Mack Dump Truck (67 mm long), the 29) Racing Mini Cooper (57 mm long), the 30) Volkswagen Beach Buggy (65 mm long), the 31) Volkswagen “Volks-Dragon” (67 mm long), the 32) Leyland Petrol Tanker Truck (76 mm long), the 33) Lamborghini Miura Coupé (71 mm long), the 34) Formula 1 Racing Car (73 mm long), the 35) Merryweather Marquis Fire Engine (76 mm long), the 36) Hot Rod “Draguar” Jaguar (73 mm long), the 37) Dodge Cattle Truck (65 mm long), the 38) Honda Motor Cycle with Trailer (76 mm long) the 39) Ford Tractor (54 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the 40) Guildsman Coupé (76 mm long), the 41) Ford GT Racing Car (67 mm long), the 42) Iron Fairy Crane (76 mm long), the 43) Pony Trailer (67 mm long), the 44) Refrigerator Truck (76 mm long), the 45) Ford Group Six Racing Car (76 mm long), the 46) Mercedes-Benz 300SE Coupé (73 mm long), the 47) DAF Tipper Container Truck (76 mm long), the 48) Dumper Truck (76 mm long), the 49) Mercedes-Benz Unimog Truck (62 mm long), the 50) Ford Kennel Truck (71 mm long), the 51) Leyland 8-Wheel Tipper Truck (76 mm long), the 52) Dodge Charger Mark III (76 mm long), the 53) Ford Zodiac Mark IV Sedan (70 mm long), the 54) Ford Capri (73 mm long), the 55) Mercury Police Car (78 mm long), the 56) BMC Pininfarina Sedan (70 mm long), the 57) Eccles Caravan (77 mm long), the 58) DAF Girder Truck (76 mm long), the 59) Ford Fire Chief Car (73 mm long), the 60) Lotus Super Seven Roadster (73 mm long), the 61) Blue Shark Racing Car (76 mm long), the 62) Mercury Couger “Rat Rod” Dragster, the 63) Dodge Crane Truck (76 mm long), the 64) Slingshot Dragster (76 mm long), the 65) Combine Harvester (76 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the 66) Mazda RX 500 Sports Car (73 mm long), the 67) Volkswagen Type 3 1600TL Fastback Sedan (68 mm long), the 68) Porsche 910 Racing Car (76 mm long), the 69) Rolls-Royce Convertible (77 mm long), the 70) Dodge Dragster (77 mm long), the 71) Ford Heavy Wreck Truck (76 mm long), the 72) Hovercraft SRN 6 Boat (76 mm long), the 73) Mercury Station Wagon Commuter (78 mm long), the 74) Daimler Bus (76 mm long) and the 75) Alfa-Romeo Carabo Gullwing Sports Car (76 mm long).

The Super Kings line for 1972 included the K-1) O&K Excavator (124 mm long), the K-2) Scammell Heavy Wreck Truck (120 mm long), the K-3) Massey Ferguson Tractor and Trailer (203 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the K-4) Leyland Tipper Truck (114 mm long), the K-5) Muir-Hill Tractor and Trailer (241 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the K-6) Cement Mixer Truck (147 mm long), the K-7) S.D. Refuse Truck (117 mm long), the K-8) Caterpillar “Traxcavator” (106 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the K-9) Claas Combine Harvester (140 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the K-10) Scammell Pipe Truck (203 mm long), the K-11) DAF Car Transporter (228 mm long), the K-12) Scammell Crane Truck (152 mm long), the K-13) DAF Building Transporter (147 mm long), the K-14) Scammell Freight Truck (139 mm long), the K-15) Merryweather Fire Engine (154 mm long), the K-16) Dodge Tractor Trailer with Twin Tippers (302 mm long), the K-17) Ford Low Loader with Bulldozer (242 mm long), the K-18) Articulated Horse Box Transporter (167 mm long), the K-19) Scammell Tipper Truck (121 mm long) and the K-20) Ford Tractor Transporter (228 mm long).

The remaining King Size models were now called “Speed Kings.”  These included the K-21) Mercury Cougar Dragster (105 mm long), the K-22) Dodge Dragster (115 mm long), the K-23) Mercury Station Wagon Police Car (111 mm long), the K-24) Lamborghini Miura Coupé (100 mm long), the K-25) “Seaburst” Power Boat and Trailer (152 mm long), the K-26) Mercedes-Benz “Binz” Ambulance (105 mm long), the K-27) Camping Cruiser (111 mm long), the K-28) Mercury Station Wagon towing Mercury Cougar on Trailer “Drag Pack” (252 mm long), the K-29) Lamborghini Miura towing “Seaburst” Boat on Trailer Set (252 mm long), the K-30) Mercedes-Benz C111 Gullwing Sports Car (102 mm long), the K-31) Bertone Runabout (102 mm long), the K-32) Shovel Nose Sports Car (102 mm long), the K-33) Bandolero Sports Car (114 mm long), the K-34) Citroen SM Coupé (114 mm long), the K-35) Lightning Racing Car (108 mm long) and the K-36) Thunderclap Racing Car (108 mm long).  3 new models named the “Sand Cat,” the “Gus’s Gulper” and the “Milligan’s Mill” were featured but not yet numbered.  As one can see, the range of King Size cars and trucks was growing rapidly – a good marketing decision on the part of Lesney to compete with companies such as Corgi Toys.

The “Matchbox Steer-n-go” sets were back in 1972, with the Village Roadway (with 6 buildings), the Dune Buggy Roadway (with 10 course marking flags) and the Grand Prix Roadway (with a Grand Stand and Finishing Gate).

The “Matchbox Crash Game” returned in 1972, as did the “Matchbox Collectors’ Cases” for 24 and 48 of the 1-75 Series models.

The Matchbox Supersets for 1972 included the G-1) Service Station Set (with a Service Station and three vehicles), the G-2) Transporter Set (with a King Size Transporter and five cars), the G-3) Superfast Racing Specials Set (with six cars), the G-4) Truck Set (with eight trucks), the G-5) “Models of Yesteryear” Set (with four vintage vehicles), the G-6) Drag Race Set (with a launch booster and six cars) and the G-7 Ferry Boat Set (with a nice large Ferry Boat and four vehicles).

The Models of Yesteryear line for 1972 included the Y-1) 1911 Model T Ford (76 mm long), the Y-2) 1914 Prince Henry Vauxhall (89 mm long), the Y-3) 1910 Benz Limousine (83 mm long), the Y-4) 1909 Opel “Doctor’s” Coupé (79 mm long), the Y-5) 1907 Peugeot (89 mm long), the Y-6) 1913 Cadillac (87 mm long), the Y-7) 1912 Rolls-Royce Landaulet (98 mm long), the Y-8) 1914 Stutz (86 mm long), the Y-9) 1912 Simplex (96 mm long), the Y-10) 1906 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost (94 mm long), the Y-11) 1912 Packard Landaulet (82 mm long), the Y-12) 1909 Thomas Flyabout (102 mm long), the Y-13) 1911 Daimler (85 mm long), the Y-14) 1911 Maxwell Roadster (82 mm long), the Y-15) 1930 Packard Victoria and the Y-16) 1928 Mercedes-Benz SS (108 mm long).

The “Matchbox Collector’s Club” was back in 1972 (based in Woodridge, New Jersey, USA), but the Veteran Car Gifts line for adults was no more.  Annual membership dues for the club were a mere US $1.00 in the USA and US $1.25 for overseas members.  Lesney Products Corporation in the USA (formerly the “Fred Bronner Corporation”) was also based in Northern New Jersey, in the city of Moonachie.

1973 Matchbox Model Year: the first line of Scale-Model Aircraft Kits

The color front cover of the 1973 “Matchbox Collectors Catalogue” featured drawings of a flying military biplane (interwar American), a racing hot rod, a hovercraft boat upon the water (they crossed the English Channel to France), a Stutz “boattail” roadster and a real race car with the “Matchbox” logo.  This demonstrated the ever-growing product line of Lesney.  The inside front cover had a real story about “Matchbox” being an official sponsor of “Team Surtees 1972 European Formula 2? racing.  This raised the visibility of the “Matchbox” brand name with first place finishes in both Mantorp Park (Sweden) and Salzburgring (Austria).  The “Superfast” series of toy cars came with ever more features, such as the new “Rola-matics.”  These cars featured moving parts when they rolled.

The 1-75 Series for 1973 included the 1) “Mod Rod” Sports Car (73 mm long with red wheels), the 2) Hot Rod Jeep (59 mm long), the 3) Mercedes-Benz “Binz” Ambulance (74 mm long), the 4) “Gruesome Twosome” Sports Car (73 mm long), the 5) Lotus Europa Coupé (73 mm long), the 6) Ford Pickup Truck (71 mm long), the 7) “Hairy Hustler” Racing Car (71 mm long), the 8) Ford Mustang “Wildcat” Dragster (74 mm long), the 9) AMC Javelin Coupé (78 mm long), the 10) “Piston Popper” Coupé (75 mm long and a “Rola-matic”), the 11) Volkswagen “Flying Bug” (74 mm long), the 12) Setra Coach (75 mm long), the 13) Volkswagen “Baja Buggy” (67 mm long), the 14) Iso Grifo Coupé( 76 mm long), the 15) Fork Lift Truck (70 mm long), the 16) Case Bulldozer (64 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the 17) “The Londonder” Double-Decker Bus (75 mm long), the 18) Field Car (68 mm long), the 19) Road Dragster (75 mm long), the 20) Lamborghini Marzal Gullwing Sedan (70 mm long), the 21) “Rod Roller” Road Roller (64 mm long), the 22) Freeman Inter-City Commuter Van (75 mm long), the 23) Volkswagen Bay Window Dormobile Camper (67 mm long), the 24) Team “Matchbox” Racing Car (75 mm long), the 25) Mod Tractor (58 mm long), the 26) “Big Banger” Sedan (76 mm long), the 27) Mercedes-Benz 230SL Convertible (71 mm long), the 28) Mack Dump Truck (67 mm long), the 29) Racing Mini Cooper (57 mm long), the 30) Volkswagen Beach Buggy (65 mm long), the 31) Volkswagen “Volks-Dragon” (67 mm long), the 32) Maserati Bora Coupé (75 mm long), the 33) Datsun 126X Sports Car (76 mm long), the 34) Formula 1 Racing Car (73 mm long), the 35) Merryweather Marquis Fire Engine (76 mm long), the 36) Hot Rod “Draguar” Jaguar (73 mm long), the 37) “Scoopa Coopa” Coupé (74 mm long), the 38) “Stingeroo” Motorcycle (78 mm long), the 39) Clipper Sports Car (77 mm long and a “Rola-matic”), the 40) Guildsman (76 mm long), the 41) “Siva Spider” Sports Car (77 mm long), the 42) “Tyre Fryer” Hot Rod (77 mm long), the 43) “Dragon Wheels” Volkswagen Beetle (72 mm long), the 44) Boss Mustang Coupé (76 mm long), the 45) Ford Group Six Racing Car (76 mm long), the 46) “Stretcha Fetcha” Ambulance (70 mm long), the 47) DAF Tipper Container Truck (76 mm long), the 48) Pi-Eyed Piper Hot Rod (75 mm long), the 49) “Chop Suey” Chopper Motorcycle (72 mm long), the 50) Ford Kennel Truck (71 mm long), the 51) Citroen SM Coupé (73 mm long), the 52) Dodge Charger Mark III (76 mm long), the 53) “Tanzara” Sports Car (76 mm long), the 54) Ford Capri Coupé (73 mm long), the 55) Mercury Station Wagon Police Car (78 mm long), the 56) BMC 1800 Pininfarina Sedan (70 mm long), the 57) Eccles Caravan (77 mm long), the 58) “Woosh-n-Push” Sports Car (76 mm long), the 59) Ford Fire Chief Car (73 mm long), the 60) Lotus Super Seven Roadster (73 mm long), the 61) “Blue Shark” Racing Car (76 mm long), the 62) Mercury Cougar “Rat Rod” Dragster,” the 63) Freeway Gas Tanker Truck (78 mm long), the 64) “Sling Shot” Dragster (76 mm long), the 65) Saab Sonnet Sports Car (73 mm long), the 66) Mazda RX500 Sports Car (73 mm long), the 67) Volkswagen Type 3 1600TL Fastback Sedan (68 mm long), the 68) Porsche 910 Racing Car, the 69) Rolls-Royce Convertible (77 mm long), the 70) Dodge Dragster (77 mm long), the 71) “Jumbo Jet” Chopper Motorcycle (69 mm long), the 72) Hovercraft SRN6 Boat (76 mm long), the 73) Mercury Station Wagon Commuter (78 mm long), the 74) “Toe Joe” Wreck Truck (76 mm long) and the 75) Alfa-Romeo Carabo Gullwing Sports Car (76 mm long).

A new product for 1973 was the “Rev’n Roar” simulated gear-shift column, which would make engine noises, and then release about four of the 1-75 Series models from a small attached track.  Another new product for 1973 was “Matchbox Cascade,” a family game that had nothing to do with diecast vehicles.  It featured a bouncing ball, and needless to say did not last long in the market.

A new product release for 1973 which has endured until today is the “Skybusters” line of diecast aircraft.  In 1973, these included the SP1) Lear Jet (with German markings), the SP2) Corsair A7D (with US Air Force markings), the SP3) Airbus A300B (with “Air France” markings), the SP4) Mirage F1 Jet (with French markings), the SP5) Starfighter F104 Jet (with Canadian markings), the SP6) MiG-21 Fighter Jet (with Soviet markings), the SP7) Junkers Ju-87B Dive Bomber (with German markings), the SP8) Supermarine Spitfire Fighter (with RAF markings), the SP9) Cessna 402, the SP10) Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet (with “BOAC” markings), the SP11) Dornier Alpha Jet (with German markings), the SP12) Skyhawk A4F Jet (with US Air Force markings), the SP13) McDonnell-Douglas DC10 (with “Swissair” markings), the SP14) Cessna 210, the SP15) Phantom F4E Fighter Jet (with French markings) and the SP16) Corsair F4U-4 (with US Air Force markings).

The Super Kings line for 1973 included the K-1) O&K Excavator (124 mm long), the K-2) Scammell Heavy Wreck Truck (120 mm long), the K-3) Massey Ferguson Tractor and Trailer (203 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the K-4) Leyland Tipper Truck (114 mm long), the K-5) Muir-Hill Tractor and Trailer (241 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the K-6) GMC Cement Mixer Truck (147 mm long), the K-7) Racing Car Transporter (156 mm long), the K-8) Caterpillar “Traxcavator” (106 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the K-9) Fire Tender Truck (156 mm long), the K-10) Pipe Truck (203 mm long), the K-11) DAF Car Transporter (228 mm long), the K-12) Scammell Crane Truck (152 mm long), the K-13) DAF Building Transporter (147 mm long), the K-14) Scammell Freight Truck (139 mm long), the K-15) “The Londoner” Double-Decker Bus (120 mm long), the K-16) Dodge Tractor Trailer with Twin Tippers (302 mm long), the K-17) Ford Low Loader with Bulldozer (242 mm long), the K-18) Articulated Horse Box Truck (167 mm long), the K-19) Scammell Tipper Truck (121 mm long) and the K-20) DAF Cargo Hauler Truck (190 mm long).

The Speed Kings line for 1973 followed the “Super Kings” with the K-21) Mercury Cougar Dragster (106 mm long), the K-22) Dodge Dragster (115 mm long), the K-23) Mercury Station Wagon Police Car (111 mm long), the K-24) Lamborghini Miura Coupé (100 mm long), the K-25) “Seaburst” Power Boat and Trailer (152 mm long), the K-26) Mercedes-Benz “Binz” Ambulance (105 mm long), the K-27) Camping Cruiser (111 mm long), the K-28) “Drag Pack” with Mercury Station Wagon pulling Mercury Cougar Dragster on Trailer (252 mm long), the K-29) Lamborghini Miura pulling “Seaburst” Power Boat on Trailer Set (252 mm long), the K-30) Mercedes-Benz C111 Gullwing Sports Car (102 mm long), the K-31) Bertone Runabout (102 mm long), the K-32) “Shovel Nose” Sports Car (102 mm long), the K-33) Citroen SM Coupé (114 mm long), the K-34) “Thunderclap” Racing Car (108 mm long), the K-35) “Lightning” Racing Car (108 mm long), the K-36) “Bandolero” Sports Car (114 mm long), the K-37) Volkswagen “Sand Cat” Dune Buggy (86 mm long), the K-38) “Gus’s Gulper” Ford Mustang Dragster (108 mm long), the K-39) “Milligan’s Mill” Ford Maverick Dragster (108 mm long), the K-40) “Blaze Trailer” Fire Chief Car (102 mm long), the K-41) “Fuzz Buggy” Police Car (114 mm long), the K-42) Nissan 270X Sports Car (102 mm long), the K-43) “Cambuster” Dragster (112 mm long), the K-44) “Bazooka” Dragster (112 mm long), the K-45) “Marauder” Racing Car (105 mm long), the K-46) Racing Car Pack with Mercury Station Wagon pulling “Thunderclap” Racing Car on Trailer (260 mm long), the K-47) “Easy Rider” Chopper Motorcycle with Rider (120 mm long), the K-48) Mercedes-Benz 350SLC Coupé (106 mm long), the K-49) Ambulance (112 mm long), the K-50) “Street Rod” Hot Rod (100 mm long) and the K-51) “Barracuda” Racing Car (108 mm long).  The King Size line was rapidly growing to include as many models as the venerable “1-75 Series” line of diecast cars.

In 1973, Lesney introduced a line of 1:72-Scale plastic model kits.  Perhaps they should have launched them with a brand name separate from Matchbox, in order to gain wider consumer acceptance and popularity (which they deserve).  These included the PK-1) Hawker Fury (with RAF markings), the PK-2) Supermarine Spitfire Mark IX Fighter (with RAF markings), the PK-3) Boeing P12E Biplane (with US Army Air Corps markings), the PK-4) Mitsubishi Zero Sen Fighter (with Japanese markings), the PK-5) Dornier Alpha Jet (with German markings), the PK-6) Focke-Wulf Fw-190 Fighter (with German markings), the PK-7) Westland Lysander (with RAF markings), the PK-8) Gloster Gladiator Biplane (with RAF markings), the PK-9) Huey Cobra Helicopter (with US Army markings) and the PK-10) Strikemaster Jet (with Royal New Zealand Air Force markings).

The “Matchbox Steer-n-go” product returned in 1973, albeit with just one basic set.

The Matchbox Models of Yesteryear line for 1973 included the Y-1) 1911 Model T Ford (76 mm long), the Y-2) 1914 Prince Henry Vauxhall (89 mm long), the Y-3) 1934 Riley MPH Roadster (94 mm long), the Y-4) 1909 Opel “Doctor’s” Coupé (79 mm long), the Y-5) 1907 Peugeot (89 mm long), the Y-6) 1913 Cadillac (87 mm long), the Y-7) 1912 Rolls-Royce Landaulet (96 mm long), the Y-8) 1914 Stutz (86 mm long), the Y-9) 1912 Simplex (96 mm long), the Y-10) 1906 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost (94 mm long), the Y-11) 1938 Lagonda Drophead Coupé (110 mm long), the Y-12) 1909 Thomas Flyabout (102 mm long), the Y-13) 1918 Crosley RAF Tender (99 mm long), the Y-14) 1931 Stutz Bearcat Boattail Roadster (110 mm long), the Y-15) 1930 Packard Victoria (107 mm long), the Y-16) 1928 Mercedes-Benz SS (108 mm long) and the Y-17) 1938 Hispano-Suiza (114 mm long).

A new product for 1973 (which did not endure for very long) was the “Matchbox Chopper Chase.”  This set featured four chopper motorcycles which would race against each other along a plastic track.  The “Matchbox Plug Toys” were back in 1973, and with more models including the 1) Plug Props Biplane (a Cucumber), the 2) Plug Chops Chopper Motorcycle (a Banana), the 3) Plug Chuffs (a Banana), the 4) Plug Buggy (a Cucumber), the 5) Plug Buggy (as a Carrot) and the 6) Plug Props Biplane (as a Carrot).

Another new product line for 1973 (which also failed to endure) was the “Matchbox Super Stock Road-E-O.”  This featured four models which would be launched from a plastic ramp.  They were the 1) Buck ‘n Bronc Buggy, the 2) Bullet Nose Car, the 3) Rubber Burner Dragster and the 4) Chop Hopper Chopper Motorcycle.

The line of Supersets for 1973 included the G-1) Service Station Set (with three vehicles), the G-2) Big Mover Transporter Set (with a King Size Transporter and five cars), the G-3) “Wild Ones” Set (with five dragsters), the G-4) Team “Matchbox” Set (with a King Size Racing Car Transporter and four racing cars), the G-5) “Models of Yesteryear” Set (with four vintage vehicles), the G-6) Drag Race Set (with a launch and six cars) and the G-7) Ferry Boat Set (with a ferry boat and four vehicles).

The Matchbox Collector’s Carrying Cases for 24, 48 and 75 cars were back in 1973 as well.

The “Matchbox Live-n-Learn” series for small children returned in 1973, although with an altered product line.  These included the A) Billy Brick Stacker, the B) “Matchbox” Family Camper (with 4 figures), the C) Pull Along Dog, the D) “Matchbox” Family (5 figures), the E) Super Mart (a supermarket checkout stand with a shopping cart), the F) “Matchbox” Family Ferry Boat (a boat with 4 figures) and the G) “Matchbox” Clock (a large plastic clock).  These toys were in the same market segment as Fisher Price.

The “Matchbox Big MX” line for 1973 included the BM-1) Mechanised Incinerator Site and Super King S.D. Refuse Truck, the BM-2) Mechanised Tractor Plant and Super King Ford Winch Transporter, the BM-3) Mechanised Super King Scammell Crane Truck and Building Site, the BM-4) Mechanised Coal Delivery Hopper and Super King Leyland Tipper Truck, the BM-5) Mechanised Quarry Site and Super King “Traxcavator” and the BM-6) Fire Rescue Scene with Mechanised Super King Fire Engine.  All sets included a BM-A) Power Activator.  This looked something like a power drill.  One would press the button, and insert the power needle into the “Super King” model to make it work.

The “Matchbox Collectors Club” was still based in Woodbridge, New Jersey (USA).  Annual dues for US members were US $1.00 and US $1.25 for members in the rest of the world.  One would receive a membership button, handbook and four newsletters per year.  Lesney Products was based in London, England (UK) and its United States office was still at 141 West Commercial Avenue in Moonachie, New Jersey.  My own collection of diecast vehicles was up to 247 units in 1973, 154 of these being Matchbox models.

1974 Matchbox Model Year: the first “Battle Kings”

In 1974, the Matchbox product line continued to grow.  The front cover of the color “Matchbox Collectors Catalogue” featured photos of a Focke-Wulf Fw-190 fighter plane, the “Bazooka” and the “Cambuster” Speed Kings, a King Size tank from the new “Battle Kings” line of vehicles and two of the “1-75 Series” cars, including the “Hairy Hustler.”

The inside of the front cover featured a new article on “Matchbox Team Surtees” professional auto racing.  First-place finishes were made in Kinekulle (Sweden) and in Hockenheim (Germany).

The line of 1:72-Scale “Matchbox Aircraft Kits” grew from 10 to 26 models in 1974.  These included the PK-1) Hawker Fury Biplane (with RAF markings), the PK-2) Supermarine Spitfire Fighter (with RAF markings), the PK-3) Boeing P-12E Biplane (with US Army Air Corps markings), the PK-4) Mitsubishi Zero Sen Fighter (with Japanese markings), the PK-5) Dornier Alpha Jet (with German markings), the PK-6) Focke-Wulf Fw-190 Fighter (with German markings), the PK-7) Westland Lysander (with RAF markings), the PK-8) Gloster Gladiator Biplane (with RAF markings), the PK-9) Huey Cobra Helicopter (with US Marine Corps markings), the PK-10) Strikemaster Jet, the PK-11) Hawker Hurricane Fighter (with RAF markings), the PK-12) Northrop F5-A Jet, the PK-13) Mustang P51-D Fighter (with RAF markings), the PK-14) Corsair F4U-4 (with US Army Air Corps markings), the PK-15) Hawker Siddeley Gnat Jet (with RAF markings), the PK-16) Hawker Harrier VTOL Jet (with RAF markings), the PK-17) Messerschmitt Bf-109E Fighter (with German markings), the PK-18) Grumman Hellcat (with US Army Air Corps markings), the PK-19) Mikoyan MiG-21 Fighter Jet (with Soviet markings), the PK-20) Dassault Mirage IIIC Jet, the PK-21) Messerschmitt Me-262 Jet Fighter (with German markings), the PK-22) Thunderbolt P-47 (with US Army Air Corps markings), the PK-23) Hawker Tempest (with RAF markings), the PK-24) Brewster Buffalo (with US Army Air Corps markings), the PK-25) Armstrong Whitworth Siskin Biplane (with RAF markings) and the PK-26) Henschel 126 Monoplane (with German markings).

Lesney introduced a brand new line of 1:76-Scale “Matchbox Military Kits,” featuring tanks and other armored fighting vehicles complete with their own dioramas.  There were 10 kits, starting with the PK-71) Sherman Firefly VC Tank, the PK-72) Comet Mark 1 Tank (with British markings), the PK-73) Panzerkampfwagen V “Panther” Ausführung f.G. Heavy Tank (with German markings), the PK-74) Panzerkampfwagen III Ausführung f.L. Medium Tank (with German markings), the PK-75) Humber Armoured Car Mark II (with British markings), the PK-76) Puma Armoured Car (with German markings), the PK-77) Wespe Self-Propelled Gun (with German markings), the PK-78) M.16 Half-Track (with American markings), the PK-79) Chaffee Tank M.24 (with American markings) and the PK-80) Jagdpanther Tank Destroyer (with German markings).

There was now an additional line of larger 1:72-Scale model aircraft kits for 1974.  These included the PK-101) Corsair A7D (with US Air Force markings), the PK-102) Sepecat Jaguar (with RAF markings), the PK-103) Bristol Beaufighter (with RAF markings), the PK-104) Curtiss Helldiver (with US Army Air Corps markings), the PK-105) Super Marine Walrus Flying Boat, the PK-106) Buccaneer Jet (with RAF markings), the PK-107) Dornier Sky Servant (with ”Marineflieger” markings of the German Navy), the PK-108) Lynx Helicopter (with British Army markings), the PK-109) Junkers Ju-188 Bomber (with German markings) and the PK-110) Hawker Siddeley 125/600 Jet.  There were thus a grand total 46 Matchbox plastic assembly kits for 1974.

The 1-75 Series for 1974 included the 1) “Mod Rod” Sports Car (73 mm long), the 2) “Hot Rod” Jeep (59 mm long), the 3) Monteverdi Hai Sports Car (75 mm long), the 4) “Gruesome Twosome” Sports Car (73 mm long), the 5) Lotus Europa Sports Car (73 mm long), the 6) Mercedes-Benz 350SL Tourer (76 mm long), the 7) “Hairy Hustler” Racing Car (71 mm long), the 8) Ford Mustang “Wildcat” Dragster (74 mm long), the 9) AMC AMX Javelin Coupé (78 mm long), the 10) “Piston Popper” Coupé (75 mm long and a “Rola-matic”), the 11) Volkswagen “Flying Bug” (74 mm long), the 12) Setra Coach (75 mm long), the 13) Volkswagen “Baja Buggy” (67 mm long), the 14) Iso Grifo Coupé (76 mm long), the 15) Fork Lift Truck (70 mm long), the 16) “Badger” Truck (70 mm long and a “Rola-matic”), the 17) “The Londoner” Double-Decker Bus (75 mm long), the 18) Field Car (68 mm long), the 19) Road Dragster (75 mm long), the 20) Lamborghini Marzal Gullwing Sedan (70 mm long), the 21) “Rod Roller” Road Roller (64 mm long), the 22) Freeman Inter-City Commuter Van (75 mm long), the 23) Volkswagen Bay Window Dormobile Camper (67 mm long), the 24) Team “Matchbox” Racing Car (75 mm long), the 25) “Mod” Tractor (58 mm long), the 26) “Big Banger” Dragster (76 mm long), the 27) Lamborghini Countach Sports Car (76 mm long), the 28) “Stoat” Armored Fighting Vehicle (68 mm long and a “Rola-matic”), the 29) Racing Mini Cooper (57 mm long), the 30) Volkswagen Beach Buggy (65 mm long), the 31) Volkswagen “Volks-Dragon” (67 mm long), the 32) Maserati Bora Sports Car (75 mm long), the 33) Datsun 126X Sports Car (76 mm long), the 34) Formula 1 Racing Car (73 mm long), the 35) Merryweather Fire Engine (76 mm long), the 36) Hot Rod “Draguar” Jaguar (73 mm long), the 37) “Scoopa Coopa” Coupé (74 mm long), the 38) “Stingeroo” Chopper Motorcycle (78 mm long), the 39) “Clipper” Sports Car (77 mm long), the 40) Guildsman (76 mm long), the 41) “Siva Spider” Sports Car (76 mm long), the 42) “Tyre Fryer” Sports Car (77 mm long), the 43) Volkswagen “Dragon Wheels” Dragster, the 44) Ford Boss Mustang Coupé (76 mm long), the 45) Ford Group Racing Car (76 mm long), the 46) “Sretcha Fetcha” Ambulance (70 mm long), the 47) Volkswagen “Beach Hopper” Dune Buggy (73 mm long and a “Rola-matic”), the 48) “Pie Eyed Piper” Dragster (75 mm long), the 49) “Chop-Suey” Chopper Motorcycle (72 mm long), the 50) Articulated Truck (76 mm long), the 51) Citroen SM Coupé (73 mm long), the 52) Dodge Charger Mark III (76 mm long), the 53) “Tanzara” Sports Car (76 mm long), the 54) Ford Capri Coupé (73 mm long), the 55) Mercury Station Wagon Police Car (78 mm long), the 56) BMC 1800 Pininfarina Sedan (70 mm long), the 57) Ford Wild Life Truck (73 mm long and a “Rola-matic”), the 58) “Woosh-n-Push” Sports Car (76 mm long), the 59) Mercury Fire Chief Car (73 mm long), the 60) Lotus Super Seven Roadster (73 mm long), the 61) “Blue Shark” Racing Car (76 mm long), the 62) Renault 17TL Coupé (76 mm long), the 63) Freeway Gas Tanker Truck (78 mm long), the 64) Sling Shot Dragster (76 mm long), the 65) Saab Sonnet (73 mm long), the 66) Mazda RX 500 Sports Car (73 mm long), the 67) “Hot Rocker” Ford Capri Coupé (76 mm long and a “Rola-matic”), the 68) Porsche 910 Racing Car (76 mm long), the 69) “Turbo Fury” Racing Car (76 mm long and a “Rola-matic”), the 70) Dodge Dragster (77 mm long), the 71) “Jumbo Jet” Chopper Motorcycle (69 mm long), the 72) Hovercraft SRN6 Boat (76 mm long), the 73) “Weasel” Armored Fighting Vehicle (73 mm long and a “Rola-matic”), the 74) “Toe Joe” Wreck Truck (76 mm long) and the 75) Alfa-Romeo Carabo Gullwing Sports Car (76 mm long).

The Super Kings line for 1974 included the K-1) O&K Excavator (124 mm long), the K-2) Scammell Heavy Wreck Truck 120 mm long), the K-3) Mod Tractor and Trailer (197 mm long), the K-4) Big Tipper Truck (118 mm long), the K-5) Muir-Hill Tractor and Trailer (241 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the K-6) GMC Cement Mixer Truck (147 mm long), the K-7) Racing Car Transporter (156 mm long), the K-8) Caterpillar “Traxcavator” (106 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the K-9) Fire Tender Truck (156 mm long), the K-10) Scammell Pipe Truck (203 mm long), the K-11) DAF Car Transporter (228 mm long), the K-12) Scammell Crane Truck (152 mm long), the K-13) DAF Building Transporter Truck (147 mm long), the K-14) Scammell Freight Truck (139 mm long), the K-15) “Londoner” Double-Decker Bus (120 mm long), the K-16) Ford “Texaco” Petrol Tanker (229 mm long), the K-17) Articulated Container Truck (251 mm long), the K-18) Ford Articulated Tipper Truck (203 mm long), the K-19) Scammell Tipper Truck (121 mm long) and the K-20) DAF Cargo Hauler and Pallet Loader Truck (190 mm long).  Some brand new releases were featured as well, albeit without model numbers.  These included the Hovercraft Boat (127 mm long), the Tractor Transporter Truck (162 mm long) and the Low Loader Truck with Bulldozer (251 mm long).  The “Hovercraft” Boats rode on air above the waterline, and moved passengers across the English Channel.  Since there were no longer any models numbered K-21 through K-23, one could assume that the three new releases would take these numbers.

The Speed Kings line for 1974 continued the King Size lineup with the K-24) Lamborghini Miura Coupé (100 mm long), the K-25) “Seaburst” Power Boat and Trailer (152 mm long), the K-26) Mercedes-Benz “Binz” Ambulance (105 mm long), the K-27) Camping Cruiser (111 mm long), the K-28) “Drag Pack” with Mercury Station Wagon pulling Mercury Cougar Dragster on Trailer (252 mm long), the K-29) “Seaburst Set” with Lamborghini Miura pulling “Seaburst” Power Boat on Trailer (252 mm long), the K-30) Mercedes-Benz C111 Gullwing Sports Car (102 mm long), the K-31) Bertone Runabout (102 mm long), the K-32) “Shovel Nose” Sports Car (102 mm long), the K-33) Citroen SM Coupé (114 mm long), the K-34) “Thunderclap” Racing Car (108 mm long), the K-35) “Lightning” Racing Car (108 mm long), the K-36) “Bandolero” Sports Car (114 mm long), the K-37) Volkswagen “Sand Cat” Dune Buggy (86 mm long), the K-38) Ford Boss Mustang “Gus’s Gulper” Dragster (108 mm long), the K-39) Ford Maverick “Milligan’s Mill” Dragster (108 mm long), the K-40) “Blaze Trailer” Fire Chief Car (109 mm long), the K-41) “Fuzz Buggy” Police Car (114 mm long), the K-42) Nissan 270X Sports Car (102 mm long), the K-43) “Cambuster” Dragster (112 mm long), the K-44) “Bazooka” Dragster (112 mm long), the K-45) “Marauder” Racing Car (105 mm long), the K-46) “Racing Car Drag Pack” with Mercury Station Wagon pulling “Thunderclap” Racing Car on Trailer (260 mm long), the K-47) “Easy Rider” Chopper Motorcycle (120 mm long), the K-48) Mercedes-Benz 350SLC Coupé (106 mm long), the K-49) Ambulance (112 mm long), the K-50) “Street Rod” Hot Rod (100 mm long), the K-51) “Barracuda” Racing Car (108 mm long) and the K-52) Datsun Rally Car (105 mm long).

The growing Lesney King Size offering continued with the brand new “Battle Kings” line in 1974.  This product name still endures today, albeit now within the 1-75 Series scale.  In 1974, they included the K-101) Sherman Tank (94 mm long and with US Army markings), the K-102) M.48-AZ Tank (114 mm long), the K-103) Chieftan Tank (121 mm long), the K-104) Panzerkampfwagen VIb “King Tiger Tank” (115 mm long and with German markings), the K-105) “Hover-Raider” Hovercraft Boat (125 mm long), the K-106) Tank Transporter Truck with M.48-AZ Tank (266 mm long), the K-107) 155mm Self-Propelled Howitzer (108 mm long and with US Army markings) and the K-108) M3A1 Half Track Armored Personnel Carrier (98 mm long and with US Army markings).  In sum, the King Size offering now included 60 models – not much smaller compared to the venerable “1-75 Series.”

The Models of Yesteryear line for 1974 included the Y-1) 1911 Model T Ford (76 mm long), the Y-2) 1914 Prince Henry Vauxhall (89 mm long), the Y-3) 1934 Riley MPH Roadster (98 mm long), the Y-4) 1909 Opel “Doctor’s” Coupé (79 mm long), the Y-5) 1907 Peugeot (89 mm long), the Y-6) 1913 Cadillac (87 mm long), the Y-7) 1912 Rolls-Royce Landaulet (96 mm long), the Y-8) 1914 Stutz (86 mm long), the Y-9) 1912 Simplex (96 mm long), the Y-10) 1906 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost (94 mm long), the Y-11) 1938 Lagonda Drophead Coupé (112 mm long), the Y-12) 1909 Thomas Flyabout (102 mm long), the Y-13) 1918 Crosley RAF Tender Truck (98 mm long), the Y-14) 1931 Stutz Bearcat Boattail Speedster (112 mm long), the Y-15) 1930 Packard Victoria (107 mm long) and the Y-16) 1928 Mercedes-Benz SS (108 mm long).

The Matchbox Skybusters line for 1974 included the diecast models SP-1) Lear Jet (with German markings), the SP-2) Corsair A7D (with American markings), the SP-3) Airbus A300B (with “Air France” markings), the SP-4) Dassault-Briguet Mirage F1 Jet (with French markings), the SP-5) Lockheed Starfighter F104 Jet (with Canadian markings), the SP-6) Mikoyan Gurevich MiG-21 Fighter Jet (with Soviet markings), the SP-7) Junkers Ju-87B Dive Bomber (with German markings), the SP-8) Supermarine Spitfire Fighter (with RAF markings), the SP-9) Cessna 402, the SP-10) Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet (with “BOAC” markings), the SP-11) Dornier Alpha Jet (with German markings), the SP-12) Skyhawk A4F Jet (with American markings), the SP-13) McDonnell-Douglas DC-10 Jet (with “Swissair” markings), the SP-14) Cessna 210, the SP-15) Phantom F4E Jet (with RAF markings) and the SP-16) Corsair F4U-4 (with US Army Air Corps markings).

A brand new product line for 1974 (which did not last long) was the “Matchbox Fighting Furies” action figures.  They included A) The Captain Blood Adventure, the B) The One-Eyed Sailor Adventure, the C) The Hooded Falcon Adventure, the D) The Spanish Main Adventure, the E) The Redcoat Adventure and the F) The Kung-Fu Warrior Adventure.

Another brand new product line for 1974 (which did not last long either) was the “Matchbox Mobile Action Command” series.  It was a rescue and adventure toy, with each of the 6 different sets coming with a detailed rescue vehicle, fully movable figures and an accessory pack.  They featured items such as off-road vehicles, small boats and helicopters.

Yet another brand new product line (which also did not endure long) was the “Matchbox Cyclone Cycles.”  There were four stunt bikes with chopper styling, detailed chrome engines, tailpipes, working chrome springer forks, wide rear slicks and super skinny front wheels.  Models included the 1) Python, the 2) Bushmaster, the 3) Copper Head and the 4) Diamond Back.

The Matchbox Supersets line of gift sets no longer had set number 1 (the old service station).  They only had the G-2) Big Mover Transporter Set (with a DAF Super Kings Transporter and five cars), the G-3) “Wild Ones” Set (with five Dragsters), the G-4) Team “Matchbox” Set (with a Super Kings Racing Car Transporter and four Racing Cars), the G-5) “Models of Yesteryear” Set (with four vintage vehicles) and the G-6) Drag Race Set (with a launcher and six vehicles).

The Matchbox Collectors Cases for 1974 included those for 24 and 48 of the 1-75 Series cars.  The “Matchbox Big MX” series of 6 sets, the “Chopper Chase” racing set, the “Cascade” family game and the “Rev’n Roar” launcher with gearshift lever were all back in 1974.  So was the Official Collector’s Club in Woodridge, New Jersey (USA).  Annual membership dues were up to US $1.50 in the USA and US $2.00 for the rest of the world.  My own personal collection remained the same size in 1974 – an indication of supposedly “outgrowing” diecast cars.  Of course, this particular phenomenon would not last very long!

1975 Matchbox Model Year: the first “Superfast Streakers” and “Streak Sets”

The color cover of the 1975 “Matchbox Collectors Catalogue” featured a photo of “1975? spelled out with the brand new “Streaker” plastic track.  In comparison to the Superfast track sets introduced in late 1969, the “Streaker” track was red, white and blue (as opposed to the old yellow plastic).  Two of the 1-75 Series cars were in the photo (the Lotus Super Seven and the “Woosh-n-Push,” as were a “Super Kings” Crane Truck, a model airplane and one of the action figures (a peg-legged sailor).  The background color was dark purple.

The 1-75 Series for 1975 included the 1) “Mod Rod” Sports Car (73 mm long), the 2) “Hot Rod” Jeep (59 mm long), the 3) Monteverdi Hai Sports Car (75 mm long), the 4) “Gruesome Twosome” Sports Car (73 mm long), the 5) Lotus Europa Sports Car (73 mm long), the 6) Mercedes-Benz 350SL Tourer (76 mm long), the 7) “Hairy Hustler” Racing Car (71 mm long), the 8) De Tomaso Pantera Sports Car (75 mm long), the 9) AMC AMX Javelin Coupé (78 mm long), the 10) “Piston Popper” Coupé (75 mm long and a “Rola-matic”), the 11) Volkswagen “Flying Bug” (74 mm long), the 12) “Big Bull” Tractor (64 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the 13) Volkswagen “Baja Buggy” Beach Buggy (67 mm long), the 14) Iso Grifo Sports Car (76 mm long), the 15) Fork Lift Truck (70 mm long), the 16) Badger Truck (70 mm long and a “Rola-matic”), the 17) “Londoner” Double-Decker Bus (75 mm long), the 18) Hondarora Motorcycle (64 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the 19) Road Dragster (75 mm long), the 20) Police Patrol Truck (74 mm long and a “Rola-matic”), the 21) “Rod Roller” Road Roller (64 mm long), the 22) Freeman Inter-City Commuter Van (75 mm long), the 23) Volkswagen Bay Window Dormobile Camper (67 mm long), the 24) Team “Matchbox” Racing Car (75 mm long), the 25) “Mod” Tractor (58 mm long), the 26) “Big Banger” Dragster (76 mm long), the 27) Lamborghini Countach Sports Car (76 mm long), the 28) “Stoat” Armored Fighting Vehicle (68 mm long and a “Rola-matic”), the 29) Racing Mini Cooper (57 mm long), the 30) Volkswagen Beach Buggy (65 mm long), the 31) Volkswagen Beetle “Volks-Dragon” Dragster (67 mm long), the 32) Maserati Bora Sports Car (75 mm long), the 33) Datsun 126X Sports Car (76 mm long), the 34) Formula 1 Racing Car (73 mm long), the 35) “Fandango” Sports Car (75 mm long and a “Rola-matic”), the 36) Hot Rod “Draguar” Jaguar (73 mm long), the 37) “Scoopa Coopa” Sports Car (74 mm long), the 38) “Stingeroo” Chopper Motorcycle (78 mm long), the 39) “Clipper” Sports Car (77 mm long and a “Rola-matic”), the 40) Guildsman (76 mm long), the 41) “Siva Spider” Sports Car (76 mm long), the 42) “Tyre Fryer” Sports Car (77 mm long), the 43) Volkswagen Beetle “Dragon Wheels” Dragster (72 mm long), the 44) Ford Boss Mustang Coupé (76 mm long), the 45) Ford Group Six Racing Car (76 mm long), the 46) “Stretcha Fetcha” Ambulance (70 mm long), the 47) Volkswagen “Beach Hopper” Dune Buggy (73 mm long and a “Rola-matic”), the 48) “Pie Eyed Piper” Dragster (75 mm long), the 49) “Chop Suey” Chopper Motorcycle (72 mm long), the 50) Articulated Truck (76 mm long), the 51) Citroen SM Coupé (73 mm long), the 52) Dodge Charger Mark III Sports Car (76 mm long), the 53) “Tanzara” Sports Car (76 mm long), the 54) Ford Capri Coupé (73 mm long), the 55) Mercury Station Wagon Police Car (78 mm long), the 56) “Hi Tailer” Racing Car (74 mm long), the 57) Ford Wild Life Truck (73 mm long and a “Rola-matic”), the 58) “Woosh-N-Push” Sports Car (76 mm long), the 59) Mercury Fire Chief Car (73 mm long), the 60) Lotus Super Seven Roadster (73 mm long), the 61) “Blue Shark” Racing Car (76 mm long), the 62) Renault 17TL Coupé (76 mm long), the 63) Freeway Gas Tanker Truck (78 mm long), the 64) Sling Shot Dragster (76 mm long), the 65) Saab Sonnet Sports Car (73 mm long), the 66) Mazda RX500 Sports Car (73 mm long), the 67) Ford Capri “Hot Rocker” Hot Rod (76 mm long), the 68) Porsche 910 Racing Car (76 mm long), the 69) “Turbo Fury” Racing Car (76 mm long and a “Rola-matic”), the 70) Dodge Dragster (77 mm long), the 71) “Jumbo Jet” Chopper Motorcycle (69 mm long), the 72) Hovercraft SRN6 Boat (76 mm long), the 73) “Weasel” Armored Fighting Vehicle (73 mm long), the 74) “Toe Joe” Wreck Truck (76 mm long) and the 75) Alfa-Romeo Carabo Gullwing Sports Car (76 mm long).  New additions to the 1-75 Series were toy cars known as “Streakers.”  These were “1-75 Series” cars with more colorful decals and paint schemes.  They have still been with us recently in the more current Matchbox product range.

A new product for 1975 which is unfortunately no longer with us was the “Matchbox Streak Sets” of plastic track.  They included the S-200) Streak Loop Set, the S-300) Streak Drag Set, the S-400) Streak Racing Set, the S-500) Streak Circuit Set and the S-900) Streak-Around Set.  Back in 1975, I was never able to find these sets in retail stores.  The failure to secure good product distribution was very bad for Lesney and did not bod well for their financial future.

The Matchbox Skybusters line of diecast aircraft for 1975 included the SB-1) Lear Jet (with German markings), the SB-2) Corsair A7D (with American markings), the SB-3) Airbus A300B (with “Air France” markings), the SB-4) Dassault-Briguet Mirage F1 Jet (with French markings), the SB-5) Lockheed Starfighter F104 Jet (with Canadian markings), the SB-6) Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 Fighter Jet (with Soviet markings), the SB-7) Junkers Ju-87 “Stuka” Dive Bomber (with German markings), the SB-8) Supermarine Spitfire Fighter (with RAF markings), the SB-9) Cessna 402, the SB-10) Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet (with “British Airways” markings), the SB-11) Dornier Alpha Jet (with German markings), the SB-12) Skyhawk A4F Jet (with American markings), the SB-13) McDonnell-Douglas DC-10 Jet (with “Swissair” markings), the SB-14) Cessna 210, the SB-15) McDonnell-Douglas Phantom F4E Jet (with RAF markings) and the SB-16) Corsair F4U-4 (with American markings).

The Super Kings line for 1975 included the K-1) O&K Excavator (124 mm long), the K-2) Scammell Heavy Wreck Truck (120 mm long), the K-3) “Mod” Tractor and Trailer (197 mm long), the K-4) Big Tipper Truck (118 mm long), the K-5) Muir-Hill Tractor and Trailer (241 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the K-6) GMC Cement Mixer Truck (147 mm long), the K-7) Racing Car Transporter (156 mm long), the K-8) Caterpillar “Traxcavator” (106 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the K-9) Fire Tender Truck (156 mm long), the K-10) Scammell Pipe Truck (203 mm long), the K-11) DAF Car Transporter Truck (228 mm long), the K-12) Hercules Mobile Crane Truck (156 mm long), the K-13) DAF Building Transporter Truck (147 mm long), the K-14) Scammell Freight Truck (139 mm long), the K-15) “Londoner” Double-Decker Bus (120 mm long), the K-16) Ford Petrol Tanker Truck (229 mm long), the K-17) Articulated Container Truck (251 mm long), the K-18) Ford Articulated Tipper Truck (203 mm long), the K-19) Scammell Tipper Truck (121 mm long), the K-20) DAF Cargo Hauler and Pallet Loader Truck (190 mm long), the K-21) Tractor Transporter Truck (162 mm long) and the K-22) Hovercraft Boat (127 mm long).  There was no K-23 model in 1975.

The Speed Kings continuation of the King Size line for 1975 included the K-24) Lamborghini Miura Sports Car (102 mm long), the K-25) “Seaburst” Power Boat and Trailer (152 mm long), the K-26) Mercedes-Benz “Binz” Ambulance (105 mm long), the K-27) Camping Cruiser (111 mm long), the K-28) “Drag Pack” with Mercury Station Wagon towing a Mercury Cougar Dragster on a trailer (252 mm long), the K-29) “Seaburst Set” with Lamborghini Miura towing a “Seaburst” Power Boat on a trailer (252 mm long), the K-30) Mercedes-Benz C111 Gullwing Sports Car (102 mm long), the K-31) Bertone Runabout (102 mm long), the K-32) “Shovel Nose” Sports Car (102 mm long), the K-33) Citroen SM Coupé (114 mm long), the K-34) “Thunderclap” Racing Car (108 mm long), the K-35) “Lightning” Racing Car (108 mm long), the K-36) “Bandolero” Sports Car (114 mm long), the K-37) Volkswagen “Sandcat” Dune Buggy (86 mm long), the K-38) “Gus’s Gulper” Ford Boss Mustang Dragster (108 mm long), the K-39) “Milligan’s Mill” Ford Maverick Dragster (108 mm long), the K-40) “Blaze Trailer” Fire Chief Car (109 mm long), the K-41) “Fuzz Buggy” Police Car (114 mm long), the K-42) Nissan 270X Sports Car (102 mm long), the K-43) “Cambuster” Dragster (112 mm long), the K-44) “Bazooka” Dragster (112 mm long), the K-45) “Marauder” Racing Car (105 mm long), the K-46) Racing Car Pack with Mercury Station Wagon towing “Thunderclap” Racing Car on Trailer (260 mm long), the K-47) “Easy Rider” Chopper Motorcycle (120 mm long), the K-48) Mercedes-Benz 350SLC Coupé (106 mm long), the K-49) Ambulance (112 mm long), the K-50) “Street Rod” Hot Rod (100 mm long), the K-51) “Barracuda” Racing Car (108 mm long) and the K-52) Datsun Rally Car (105 mm long).

The Battle Kings line for 1975 included the K-101) Sherman Tank (94 mm long and with American markings), the K-102) M.48-AZ Tank (114 mm long and with American markings), the K-103) Chieftan Tank (121 mm long), the K-104) Panzerkampfwagen VIb King Tiger Tank (115 mm long and with German markings), the K-105) “Hover-Raider” Hovercraft Boat (125 mm long), the K-106) Tank Transporter Truck with M.48 Tank (266 mm long), the K-107) 155mm Self-Propelled Howitzer (108 mm long) and the K-108) M3A1 Half Track Armored Personnel Carrier (98 mm long with American markings).  There were thus 59 King Size models in 1975 – one model less than in 1974.

The Models of Yesteryear line for 1975 included the Y-1) 1911 Model T Ford (76 mm long), the Y-2) 1914 Prince Henry Vauxhall (89 mm long), the Y-3) 1934 Riley MPH Roadster (98 mm long), the Y-4) 1909 Opel “Doctor’s” Coupé (79 mm long), the Y-5) 1907 Peugeot (89 mm long), the Y-6) 1913 Cadillac (87 mm long), the Y-7) 1912 Rolls-Royce Landaulet (96 mm long), the Y-8) 1914 Stutz (86 mm long), the Y-9) 1912 Simplex (96 mm long), the Y-10) 1906 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost (94 mm long), the Y-11) 1938 Lagonda Drophead Coupé (112 mm long), the Y-12) 1909 Thomas Flyabout (102 mm long), the Y-13) 1918 Crossley RAF Tender Truck (98 mm long), the Y-14) 1931 Stutz Bearcat Boattail Speedster (112 mm long), the Y-15) 1930 Packard Victoria (107 mm long), the Y-16) 1928 Mercedes-Benz SS (108 mm long) and the Y-17) Hispano-Suiza (115 mm long).

The “Matchbox Fighting Furies” action figures for 1975 included the 01) Captain Blood Adventure, the 02) One-Eyed Sailor Adventure, the 03) Hooded Falcon Adventure, the 04) Spanish Main Adventure, the 05) Redcoat Adventure, the 06) Kung Fu Warrior Adventure plus the Captain Hook Adventure and the Captain Peg-Leg Adventure.  These were never very popular.

The Matchbox Aircraft Kits in 1:72-Scale for 1975 included the PK-1) Hawker Fury Biplane (with RAF markings), the PK-2) Supermarine Spitfire Mark IX Fighter (with RAF markings), the PK-3) Boeing P-12 E Biplane (with US Army Air Corps markings), the PK-4) Mitsubishi Zero Sen Fighter (with Japanese markings), the PK-5) Dornier Alpha Jet (with German markings), the PK-6) Focke-Wulf Fw-190 Fighter (with German markings), the PK-7) Westland Lysander Monoplane (with RAF markings), the PK-8) Gloster Gladiator Biplane, the PK-9) Huey Cobra Helicopter (with US Marine Corps markings), the PK-10) Strikemaster Jet (with RAF markings), the PK-11) Hawker Hurricane Fighter (with RAF markings), the PK-12) Northrop F5-A Jet, the PK-13) Mustang P51-D Fighter (with American markings), the PK-14) Corsair F4U-4 (with American markings), the PK-15) Hawker-Siddeley Gnat Jet (with RAF markings), the PK-16) Hawker Harrier VTOL Jet (with American markings), the PK-17) Messerschmitt Bf-109E Fighter (with German markings), the PK-18) Grumman Hellcat (with American markings), the PK-19) Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 Jet Fighter (with Czechoslovakian markings), the PK-20) Dassault-Briguet Mirage 111C Jet, the PK-21) Messerschmitt Me-262 Jet Fighter (with German markings), the PK-22) Thunderbolt P-47 (with American markings), the PK-23) Hawker Tempest (with RAF markings), the PK-24) Brewster Buffalo (with RAF markings), the PK-25) Armstrong Whitworth Siskin, the PK-26) Henschel 126 (with German markings), the PK-27) Hawker Siddeley Hawk and the PK-28) Lockheed Starfighter Jet.  The number of these smaller 1:72-Scale kits was now up from 26 in 1974 to 28 in 1975.

The range of 1:76-Scale Matchbox Military Kits for 1975 included the PK-71) Sherman Firefly Tank, the PK-72) Comet Mark 1 Tank, the PK-73) Panzerkampfwagen V Ausführung G Heavy Tank (with German markings), the PK-74) Panzerkampfwagen III Ausführung L Tank (with German markings), the PK-75) Humber Armoured Car Mark II, the PK-76) Puma Armored Car (with German markings), the PK-77) Wespe Self-Propelled Gun (with German markings), the PK-78) M.16 Half-Track Truck (with American markings), the PK-79) Chaffee Tank M.24 (with American markings), the PK-80) Jagdpanther Tank Destroyer (with German markings), the PK-81) Panzerkampfwagen II Tank (with German markings), the PK-82) T.34 Russian Tank, the PK-83) Hanomag Sonderkraftfahrzeug 251/1 Half-Track Truck (with German markings), the PK-84) British Infantry Figures Set, the PK-85) American Infantry Figures Set and the PK-86) German Infantry Figures Set.  The 1:76-Scale military kits were now up from 10 in 1974 to a total of 16 in 1975.

The “orange” range of larger 1:72-Scale aircraft kits increased to 13 in 1975.  These included the PK-101) Corsair A7D Jet, the PK-102) Sepecat Jaguar Jet (with RAF markings), the PK-103) Bristol Beaufighter (with RAF markings), the PK-104) Curtiss Helldiver (with American markings), the PK-105) Supermarine Walrus Flying Boat (with RAF markings), the PK-106) Buccaneer Jet (with RAF markings), the PK-107) Dornier Sky Servant (with ”Marineflieger” markings of the German Navy), the PK-108) Lynx Helicopter (with Royal Navy markings), the PK-109) Junkers Ju-188 Bomber (with German markings), the PK-110) Hawker Siddeley 125/600 Jet (with RAF markings), the PK-111) Junkers Ju-87 “Stuka” Dive Bomber (with German markings), the PK-112) Fairy Swordfish and the PK-113) Messerschmitt Me-410 Heavy Fighter (with German markings).

A brand new range of “Matchbox Automobile Kits” in 1:32-Scale were introduced in 1975.  To start off, there were just two models: the PK-182) Bugatti Type 59 and the PK-183) Can-Am Porsche Racing Car.  There were thus 59 “Matchbox” plastic kits in 1975, making the range of plastic model kits just as large as the range of King Size vehicles.  This was up from 46 plastic kits in 1974.

Products such as the “Cascade” family game, the “Chopper Chase” racing set and the “Matchbox Collectors Cases” (for 24 and 48 of the “1-75 Series” cars) were back in 1975.  The back of the 1975 color catalogue featured an article about Matchbox Team Surtees professional auto racing.  Lesney thus sponsored racing cars in Europe, South Africa, Canada, the United States and South America.  The collectors’ club was not advertised in 1975 – interest was likely declining due to inefficient management.  Lesney was still headquartered in London (worldwide) and in Moonachie, New Jersey for the United States.

1976 Matchbox Model Year: the first “Sea Kings” and “Suky” Dolls for Girls

In 1976, Lesney would continue to expand into more product lines which failed to succeed.  This included the first Matchbox line of toy dolls for little girls.  The results were obvious.  The company assumed ever more debt, which they would find ever more difficult to repay with their cash flow.  Furthermore, production was still based in England, which had high wages, generous benefits and labor unions.  The color cover of the 1976 “Matchbox Catalogue” featured photos of a “Suky” doll for girls, a “Speed Kings” Hot Rod, a French Air Force jet (an assembled model kit) and a “Super Kings” Fire Truck all visible within the numbers “1976.”  The “Streakers” name was now assigned to particular 1-75 Series models – these cars had colorful decals and paint jobs.

The 1-75 Series for 1976 included the 1) Dodge Challenger Hardtop (74 mm long), the 2) “Hot Rod” Jeep (78 mm long), the 3) Monteverdi Hai Sports Car (74 mm long), the 4) Pontiac Firebird (74 mm long), the 5) “Seafire” Speed Boat (75 mm long), the 6) Mercedes-Benz 350SL Tourer (75 mm long), the 7) “Hairy Hustler” Racing Car (72 mm long and a “Streaker”), the 8) De Tomaso Pantera Sports Car (77 mm long), the 9) AMC AMX Javelin (77 mm long), the 10) “Piston Popper” Dragster (75 mm long and a “Rola-matic”), the 11) Volkswagen “Flying Bug” Dragster (74 mm long), the 12) “Big Bull” Bulldozer (63 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the 13) Volkswagen “Baja Buggy” (66 mm long), the 14) Mini Cooper “Ha-Ha” Dragster (60 mm long), the 15) Fork Lift Truck (70 mm long), the 16) “Badger” Truck (68 mm long and a “Rola-matic”), the 17) “Londoner” Double-Decker Bus, the 18) “Hondarora” Motorcycle (63 mm long), the 19) Road Dragster (75 mm long), the 20) Police Patrol Truck (73 mm long and a “Rola-matic”), the 21) “Rod Roller” Road Roller (70 mm long), the 22) “Blaze Buster” Fire Truck (77 mm long), the 23) Atlas Dump Truck (71 mm long), the 24) Team “Matchbox” Racing Car (75 mm long), the 25) “Mod” Tractor (57 mm long), the 26) “Big Banger” Dragster (76 mm long), the 27) Lamborghini Countach (74 mm long and a “Streaker”), the 28) “Stoat” Armored Fighting Vehicle (67 mm long and a “Rola-matic”), the 29) Racing Mini Cooper (57 mm long), the 30) Volkswagen Beach Buggy (65 mm long), the 31) Volkswagen “Volks-Dragon” Dragster (66 mm long), the 32) Maserati Bora Sports Car (76 mm long), the 33) Datsun 126X Sports Car (76 mm long and a “Streaker”), the 34) “Vantastic” Dragster (74 mm long), the 35) “Fandango” Sports Car (75 mm long and a “Rola-matic”), the 36) Formula 5000 Racing Car (74 mm long), the 37) “Scoopa Coopa” Sports Car (74 mm long), the 38) “Stingeroo” Chopper Motorcycle (78 mm long), the 39) “Clipper” Sports Car (77 mm long and a “Rola-matic”), the 40) Vauxhall Guildsman (76 mm long and a “Streaker”), the 41) “Siva Spider” Sports Car (77 mm long and a “Streaker”), the 42) “Tyre Fryer” Sports Car (76 mm long), the 43) Volkswagen Beetle “Dragon Wheels” Dragster (72 mm long), the 44) Ford Boss Mustang Coupé (75 mm long), the 45) BMW 3.0 CSL Coupé (74 mm long), the 46) “Stretcha Fetcha” Ambulance (70 mm long), the 47) Volkswagen “Beach Hopper” Dune Buggy (66 mm long and a “Rola-matic”), the 48) “Pie-Eyed Piper” Dragster (75 mm long), the 49) “Chop Suey” Chopper Motorcycle (72 mm long), the 50) Articulated Truck (79 mm long), the 51) Citroen SM Coupé (78 mm long and a “Streaker”), the 52) Dodge Charger Mark III (75 mm long), the 53) “Tanzara” Sports Car (76 mm long and a “Streaker”), the 54) Ford Capri Coupé (77 mm long), the 55) “Hellraiser” Sports Car (75 mm long), the 56) “Hi-Tailer” Racing Car (75 mm long), the 57) Ford Wild Life Truck (71 mm long and a “Rola-matic”), the 58) “Woosh-n-Push” Sports Car (77 mm long), the 59) Planet Scout (70 mm long), the 60) Lotus Super Seven Roadster (74 mm long and a “Streaker”), the 61) “Blue Shark” Racing Car (77 mm long), the 62) Renault 17TL Coupé (75 mm long), the 63) Freeway Gas Tanker Truck (78 mm long), the 64) Fire Chief Car (77 mm long), the 65) Saab Sonnet Sports Car (73 mm long), the 66) Mazda RX500 Sports Car (74 mm long and a “Streaker”), the 67) Ford Capri “Hot Rocker” Dragster (77 mm long and a “Rola-matic”), the 68) “Cosmobile” Planet Scout Car (73 mm long), the 69) “Turbo Fury” Racing Car (77 mm long and a “Rola-matic”), the 70) Dodge Dragster (78 mm long), the 71) “Jumbo Jet” Chopper Motorcycle (69 mm long), the 72) Hovercraft SRN6 Boat (77 mm long), the 73) “Weasel” Armored Fighting Vehicle (72 mm long and a “Rola-matic”), the 74) “Toe Joe” Wreck Truck (74 mm long) and the 75) Alfa-Romeo Carabo Gullwing Sports Car (76 mm long and a “Streaker”).

A great new idea and product line for 1976 were the “Matchbox Two Packs.”  There were 8 blister packs, which featured many models since discontinued from the normal 1-75 Series line of cars and trucks.  These included the TP-1) Mercedes-Benz Truck and Trailer, the TP-2) Farm Tractor and Trailer, the TP-3) AMC AMX Javelin Coupé and Pony Trailer, the TP-4) Holiday Set with Ford Capri Coupé towing Eccles Caravan, the TP-5) Weekender Set with Vauxhall Guildsman towing Boat on Trailer, the TP-6) Breakdown Truck and Trailer Set with “Toe Joe” and Racing Mini, the TP-7) Emergency Set with Mercury Fire Chief Car and “Stretcha Fetcha” Ambulance and the TP-8) Transport Set with “Londoner” Double-Decker Bus and Hovercraft SRN6 Boat.

The revamped and expanded “Matchbox Giftsets!” line for 1976 included 14 sets (there was no G-8 Set).  These were the G-1) Twin Launcher Set, the G-2) Big Mover Set, the G-3) “Wild Ones” Set, the G-4) Superfast Champions Set, the G-5) “Models of Yesteryear” Set (with 4 vintage vehicles), the G-6) Drag Race Set, the G-7) Car Ferry Set (with a nice Ferry Boat and 4 vehicles), the G-9) Commando Task Force Set, the G-10) Thunder Jets Set (with 4 “Skybusters”), the G-11) Strike Force Set, the G-12) Rescue Set (with 6 vehicles), the G-13) Construction Set (with 5 vehicles and a dirt loader), the G-14) Grand Prix Set (with a “Super Kings” Racing Car Transporter and 4 vehicles) and the G-15) Car Transporter Set.

The “Matchbox Streak Sets” tracks were back in 1976.  These included the S-200) Streak Loop Set, the S-300) Streak Drag Set, the S-400) Streak Double-Loop Racing Set, the S-500) Streak Circuit Set and the S-900) Streak Around Set.  Available accessories included a Rattlesnake Bend, a Pacemaker, a Skyjack, Track Joiners, a Streak Loop, a Slipstream Curve, a “G” clamp and a Track Pack.

The “Matchbox Steer-n-Go” toy made a comeback in 1976.  “Matchbox” Collectors Carry Cases for 24 and 48 of the “1-75 Series” cars were back as well.  The “Matchbox Cascade” family game with a bouncing ball was also back.

The Matchbox Skybusters line for 1976 included the SB-1) Lear Jet (81 mm long), the SB-2) Corsair A7D (84 mm long and with American markings), the SB-3) Airbus A300B (90 mm long and with “Air France” markings), the SB-4) Dassault-Briguet Mirage F1 Jet (54 mm long and with French markings), the SB-5) Lockheed Starfighter Jet (52 mm long and with Canadian markings), the SB-6) Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG 21 Fighter Jet (57 mm long and with Soviet markings), the SB-7) Junkers Ju-87 “Stuka” Dive Bomber (99 mm long and with German markings), the SB-8) Supermarine Spitfire (102 mm long and with RAF markings), the SB-9) Cessna 402 (103 mm long), the SB-10) Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet (94 mm long and with “British Airways” markings), the SB-11) Dornier Alpha Jet (88 mm long and with German markings), the SB-12) Skyhawk A4F Jet (71 mm long and with American markings), the SB-13) McDonnell-Douglas DC10 (93 mm long and with “Swissair” markings), the SB-14) Cessna 210 (101 mm long), the SB-15) McDonnell-Douglas Phantom F4E Jet (73 mm long and with RAF markings), the SB-16) Corsair F4U-4 (100 mm long and with American markings), the SB-17) “Ram Rod” Custom Monoplane (99 mm long) and the SB-18) “Wild Wind” Custom Monoplane (99 mm long).  Note: the length for “Matchbox Skybusters” refers to the length of the wingspan (i.e., width).

The Matchbox Super Kings line for 1976 included the K-1) O&K Excavator (124 mm long), the K-2) Scammell Heavy Wreck Truck (120 mm long), the K-3) Mod Tractor and Trailer (197 mm long), the K-4) Big Tipper Truck (118 mm long), the K-5) Muir-Hill Tractor and Trailer (241 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the K-6) Motorcycle Transporter Truck (120 mm long), the K-7) Racing Car Transporter Truck (156 mm long), the K-8) Caterpillar “Traxcavator” (106 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the K-9) Fire Tender Truck (156 mm long), the K-10) Car Transporter Truck (269 mm long), the K-11) “Pickup Truck” Wreck Truck (127 mm long), the K-12) Hercules Mobile Crane Truck (156 mm long), the K-13) Aircraft Transporter Truck (203 mm long), the K-14) Scammell Freight Truck (139 mm long), the K-15) “Londoner” Double-Decker Bus (120 mm long), the K-16) Petrol Tanker Truck (229 mm long), the K-17) Articulated Container Truck (251 mm long), the K-18) Ford Articulated Tipper Truck (203 mm long), the K-19) Scammell Tipper Truck (121 mm long), the K-20) DAF Cargo Hauler and Pallet Loader Truck (190 mm long), the K-21) Tractor Transporter Truck (162 mm long), the K-22) Hovercraft Boat (127 mm long), the K-23) Scammell Container Truck (133 mm long) and the K-24) Articulated Low Loader with Bulldozer (241 mm long).

The Matchbox Speed Kings line for 1976 did not have models numbered K-25 through K-29.  They included the K-30) Mercedes-Benz C111 Gullwing Sports Car (102 mm long), the K-31) Bertone Runabout (102 mm long), the K-32) “Shovel Nose” Sports Car (102 mm long), the K-33) Citroen SM Coupé (114 mm long), the K-34) “Thunderclap” Racing Car (108 mm long), the K-35) “Lightning” Racing Car (108 mm long), the K-36) “Bandolero” Sports Car (114 mm long), the K-37) Volkswagen “Sandcat” Dune Buggy (86 mm long), the K-38) “Gus’s Gulper” Ford Boss Mustang Dragster (108 mm long), the K-39) “Milligan’s Mill” Ford Maverick Dragster (108 mm long), the K-40) “Blaze Trailer” Fire Chief Car (109 mm long), the K-41) “Fuzz Buggy” Police Car (114 mm long), the K-42) Nissan 270X Sports Car (102 mm long), the K-43) “Cambuster” Dragster (112 mm long), the K-44) “Bazooka” Dragster (112 mm long), the K-45) “Marauder” Racing Car (105 mm long), the K-46) Racing Car Pack with Mercury Commuter Station Wagon pulling “Thunderclap” Racing Car on Trailer (260 mm long), the K-47) “Easy Rider” Chopper Motorcycle (120 mm long), the K-48) Mercedes-Benz 350SLC Coupé (106 mm long), the K-49) Ambulance (112 mm long), the K-50) “Street Rod” Hot Rod (100 mm long), the K-51) “Barracuda” Racing Car (108 mm long), the K-52) Datsun 240Z Rally Car (105 mm long), the K-53) Hot Rod Fire Engine (98 mm long), the K-54) AMC AMX Javelin Sports Car (108 mm long), the K-55) Chevrolet Corvette Caper Car (108 mm long), the K-56) Maserati Bora Sports Car (101 mm long), the K-57) Javelin Drag Racing Set (247 mm long with AMX Javelin pulling “Milligan’s Mill” Ford Maverick Dragster on Trailer), the K-58) Corvette Power Boat Set (257 mm long with Corvette pulling Chrysler Speed Boat on Trailer), the K-59) Ford Capri Mark 2 Coupé (105 mm long), the K-60) Ford Mustang Coupé (107 mm long) and the K-61) Mercedes-Benz 350 SLC Coupé Police Car (107 mm long).

The Matchbox Battle Kings line for 1976 included the K-101) Sherman Tank (91 mm long and with American markings), the K-102) M.48-A2 Tank (117 mm long and with American markings), the K-103) Chieftain Tank (120 mm long), the K-104) Jagdpanzer VIb King Tiger Tank (114 mm long and with German markings), the K-105) “Hover-Raider” Hovercraft Boat (126 mm long), the K-106) Tank Transporter Truck with M.48 Tank (256 mm long and with American markings), the K-107) 155mm Self-Propelled Howitzer (105 mm long), the K-108) M3A1 Half-Track Truck (100 mm long and with American markings), the K-109) M551 Sheridan Tank (105 mm long), the K-110) Recovery Vehicle Tow Truck (131 mm long and with American markings) and the K-111) Missile Launcher Truck (112 mm long).

A brand line of products for 1976 were the “Sea Kings” waterline naval vessels with “Superfast” wheels.  These included the K-301) Frigate (219 mm long), the K-302) Corvette (199 mm long), the K-303) Battleship (218 mm long), the K-304) Aircraft Carrier (222 mm long), the K-305) Submarine Chaser (219 mm long), the K-306) Convoy Escort (199 mm long), the K-307) Helicopter Carrier (210 mm long) and the K-308) Guided Missile Destroyer (213 mm long).  The total “Matchbox King Size” line thus now included a grand total of 74 models – merely one short of the venerable and much more popular “1-75 Series.

The Matchbox Models of Yesteryear line for 1976 included the Y-1) 1911 Model T Ford (76 mm long), the Y-2) 1914 Prince Henry Vauxhall (89 mm long), the Y-3) 1934 Riley MPH Roadster (98 mm long), the Y-4) 1930 Duesenberg Model J (114 mm long), the Y-5) 1907 Peugeot (89 mm long), the Y-6) 1913 Cadillac (87 mm long), the Y-7) 1912 Rolls-Royce Landaulet (96 mm long), the Y-8) 1914 Stutz Roadster (86 mm long), the Y-9) 1912 Simplex (96 mm long), the Y-10) 1906 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost (94 mm long), the Y-11) 1938 Lagonda Drophead Coupé (112 mm long), the Y-12) 1909 Thomas Flyabout (102 mm long), the Y-13) 1918 Crossley RAF Tender Pickup Truck (98 mm long), the Y-14) 1931 Stutz Bearcat Boattail Speedster (112 mm long), the Y-15) 1930 Packard Victoria (107 mm long), the Y-16) 1928 Mercedes-Benz SS (108 mm long) and the Y-17) 1938 Hispano-Suiza (115 mm long).

The 1:72-Scale Matchbox Aircraft Kits line for 1976 included the PK-1) Hawker Fury Biplane (with RAF markings), the PK-2) Supermarine Spitfire Mark IX (with RAF markings), the PK-3) Boeing P-12E Biplane (with US Army Air Corps markings), the PK-4) Mitsubishi Zero Sen Fighter (with Japanese markings), the PK-5) Dornier Alpha Jet (with German markings), the PK-6) Focke-Wulf Fw-190 Fighter (with German markings), the PK-7) Westland Lysander (with RAF markings), the PK-8) Gloster Gladiator Biplane, the PK-9) Huey Cobra Helicopter (with US Marine Corps markings), the PK-10) Strikemaster Jet (with Royal New Zealand Air Force markings), the PK-11) Hawker Hurricane Fighter (with RAF markings), the PK-12) Northrop F5-A (with US Air Force markings), the PK-13) Mustang P51-D Fighter (with RAF markings), the PK-14) Corsair F4U-4 (with American markings), the PK-15) Hawker Siddeley Gnat Jet (with RAF markings), the PK-16) Hawker Harrier V/STOL Jet (with US Marine Corps markings), the PK-17) Messerschmitt Bf-109E Fighter (with German markings), the PK-18) Gruman Hellcat (with American markings), the PK-19) Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 Fighter Jet (with Soviet markings), the PK-20) Dassault-Briguet Mirage 111c Jet (with French markings), the PK-21) Messerschmitt Me-262 Jet Fighter (with German markings), the PK-22) Thunderbolt P-47 (with American markings), the PK-23) Hawker Tempest (with RAF markings), the PK-24) Brewster Buffalo, the PK-25) Armstrong Whitworth Siskin Biplane (with RAF markings), the PK-26) Henschel He-126 Monoplane (with German markings), the PK-27) Hawker Siddeley Hawk Jet (with RAF markings), the PK-28) Lockheed Starfighter Jet (with German markings), the PK-29) Douglas Skyhawk Jet (with US Marine Corps markings) and the PK-30) Percival Provost (with RAF markings).

The 1:76-Scale Matchbox Military Kits line for 1976 included the PK-71) Sherman Firefly Tank, the PK-72) Comet Tank, the PK-73) Panzerkampfwagen V Ausführung G Panther Heavy Tank (with German markings), the PK-74) Panzerkampfwagen III Ausführung L Medium Tank (with German markings), the PK-75) Humber Armoured Car Mark II, the PK-76) Puma Armoured Car (with German markings), the PK-77) M.16 Half-Track Truck (with American markings), the PK-78) Chaffee M24 Tank (with American markings), the PK-79) Wespe Self-Propelled Gun (with German markings), the PK-80) Panzerkampfwagen V Jagdpanther Heavy Tank Destroyer (with German markings), the PK-81) Panzerkampfwagen II Light Tank (with German markings), the PK-82) Russian T.34 Tank (in white Winter color) and the PK-83) Hanomag Half Track Truck (with German markings).

The 1:72-Scale Matchbox Aircraft Kits line of larger aircraft for 1976 included the PK-101) Corsair A7D Jet, the PK-102) Sepecat Jaguar Jet (with RAF markings), the PK-103) Bristol Beaufighter (with RAF markings), the PK-104) Curtiss Helldiver (with American markings), the PK-105) Supermarine Walrus Flying Boat (with RAF markings), the PK-106) Buccaneer Jet (with RAF markings), the PK-107) Dornier Sky Servant (with “Marineflieger” markings of the German Navy), the PK-108) Lynx Helicopter (with Royal Navy markings), the PK-109) Junkers Ju-88 Medium Bomber (with German markings), the PK-110) Hawker Siddeley 125/600 Jet, the PK-111) Junkers Ju-87 “Stuka” Dive Bomber (with German markings), the PK-112) Fairy Swordfish Biplane (with RAF markings), the PK-113) Messerschmitt Me-410 Heavy Fighter (with German markings), the PK-114) BAC Lighting Jet (with RAF markings), the PK-115) Messerschmitt Bf-110 Heavy Fighter (with German markings), the PK-116) De Haviland Mosquito Heavy Fighter (with RAF markings), the PK-117) Hawker Hunter Jet (with RAF markings) and the PK-118) Lockheed Lightning Heavy Fighter (with American markings).

The 1:32-Scale Matchbox Automobile Kits for 1976 included the PK-301) Aston-Martin Ulster Racing Car, the PK-302) Bugatti Type 59 Racing Car, the PK-303) Porsche 917-10 Racing Car, the PK-304) Jaguar SS-100 Racing Car and the PK-305) Surtees TS.16 Racing Car.

There was now a range of brand new even larger 1:72-Scale “Matchbox Aircraft Kits” for 1976.  These included the PK-401) Heinkel He-115 Floatplane (with German markings), the PK-402) Wellington Medium Bomber (with RAF markings), the PK-403) Heinkel He-111 Medium Bomber (with German markings), the PK-404) McDonnell-Douglas F4 Phantom Jet (with RAF markings), the PK-405) Mitchell B25 Medium Bomber (with American markings) and the PK-406) Grumman Tomcat Jet (with US Navy markings).  The total number of Matchbox plastic model kits was now up to 72 – almost as large as the combined King Size lines (74) and the venerable 1-75 Series.

“Matchbox Mobile Action Command” was back in 1976 with the MC-1) MAC Military Recon Unit, the MC-2) MAC Fire Fighting Unit, the MC-3) MAC All Terrain Rescue Unit, the MC-4) Emergency Medical Unit, the MC-5) Air Rescue Unit and the MC-6) Sea Rescure Unit.  Each set had a vehicle and an action figure.

The brand new line of “Matchbox Suky” dolls for young girls included the LP-1) Ballerina, the LP-2) Nurse, the LP-3) Tennis Player, the LP-4) Horse Rider, the LP-5) Skater, the LP-6) Shopper, the LP-7) Suky Bedtime and the LP-8) Suky Swimmer.  They also featured a line of playsets including the LP-300) Picnic Playset, the LP-301) Home Cleaning Playset, the LP-302) Camping Playset, the LP-303) Wedding Playset, the LP-304) Cinderella Playset and the LP-305) Cooking Playset.

A wonderful new feature of the 1976 Matchbox catalogue was an index listing all historical models of the 1-75 Series – a great resource for collectors and enthusiasts.  The Official “Matchbox” Collectors Club was still headquartered in Woodbridge, New Jersey (USA).  Annual dues were US $1.50 per year for US members and US $2.00 per year for the rest of the world.  Lesney Products Corporation in the United States was also still in Moonachie, New Jersey.  Lesney’s global headquarters was in London, England (UK) and the catalogue was printed in Germany by Maul & Company.  My own collection was up to 315 diecast vehicles in 1976, 196 of which were Matchbox products.

1977 Matchbox Model Year: an ever-expanding Product Line

The color cover of the 1977 “Matchbox Catalogue” featured photos of Lesney products such as a racing car, a “Suky” doll, a large dump truck and a fighter aircraft from the Second World War.  Lesney would sink ever more capital into its expanding product line, in a likely attempt to compete with larger companies such as Mattel on all fronts.  Similar mistakes were made by automotive companies such as American Motors Corporation (AMC), which tried to compete with Detroit’s “Big Three? (General Motors Corporation, the Ford Motor Company and Chrysler Corporation) in too many automotive product lines.  The financial resources of smaller companies were stretched too thin with expensive retooling costs for new products which often failed to sell well enough in the marketplace.

A brand new line of products featured inside the front cover of the catalogue were the “Matchbox Playsets.”  These included the PS-1) Container Port and the PS-2) Seakings Harbour.  Such accessories added much realism to play, and are sorely missed today.

The 1-75 Series for 1977 included the 1) Dodge Challenger Hardtop (74 mm long), the 2) Hovercraft Boat (77 mm long), the 3) Monteverdi Hai Sports Car (74 mm long), the 4) Pontiac Firebird Coupé (74 mm long), the 5) “Seafire” Speed Boat (75 mm long), the 6) Mercedes-Benz 350SL Tourer (75 mm long), the 7) Volkswagen Golf 4-Door Hatchback (72 mm long), the 8) De Tomaso Pantera Sports Car (77 mm long), the 9) AMC AMX Javelin Coupé (77 mm long), the 10) “Piston Popper” Ford Mustang Dragster (75 mm long and a “Rola-matic”), the 11) Volkswagen “Flying Bug” Dragster (74 mm long), the 12) “Big Bull” Bulldozer (63 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the 13) Volkswagen “Baja Buggy” Dune Buggy (66 mm long), the 14) “Mini Ha Ha” Mini Cooper Dragster (60 mm long), the 15) Fork Lift Truck (70 mm long), the 16) “Badger” Truck (68 mm long and a “Rola-matic”), the 17) “Londoner” Double-Decker Bus (78 mm long), the 18) “Hondarora” Honda Motorcycle (63 mm long), the 19) Cement Truck (75 mm long), the 20) Police Patrol Truck (73 mm long and a “Rola-matic”), the 21) “Rod Roller” Road Roller (70 mm long), the 22) “Blaze Buster” Fire Truck (77 mm long), the 23) “Atlas” Dump Truck (71 mm long), the 24) Team “Matchbox” Racing Car (75 mm long), the 25) “Mod” Tractor (57 mm long), the 26) Site Dump Truck (64 mm long), the 27) Lamborghini Countach Sports Car (74 mm long and a “Streaker”), the 28) “Stoat” Armored Fighting Vehicle, the 29) “Shovel Nose” Tractor (72 mm long), the 30) “Swamp Rat” Amphibious Fighting Vehicle (77 mm long), the 31) Volkswagen “Volks Dragon” Beetle Dragster (66 mm long), the 32) Maserati Bora Sports Car 76 mm long), the 33) Datsun Sports Car (76 mm long and a “Streaker”), the 34) “Vantastic” Dragster (74 mm long), the 35) “Fandango” Racing Car (75 mm long and a “Rola-matic”), the 36) Formula 5000 Racing Car (74 mm long), the 37) “Skip Truck” Dumper (69 mm long), the 38) Armoured Jeep (61 mm long and with American markings), the 39) “Clipper” Sports Car (77 mm long and a “Rola-matic”), the 40) Vauxhall Guildsman (76 mm long and a “Streaker”), the 41) “Siva Spider” Sports Car (77 mm long and a “Streaker”), the 42) “Tyre Fryer” Dragster (76 mm long), the 43) “Dragon Wheels” Volkswagen Beetle Dragster (72 mm long), the 44) Ford Boss Mustang Coupé (75 mm long), the 45) BMW Coupé (74 mm long), the 46) “Stretcha Fetcha” Ambulance (70 mm long), the 47) Volkswagen “Beach Hopper” Dune Buggy (66 mm long and a “Rola-matic”), the 48) “Pi-Eyed Piper” Dragster (75 mm long), the 49) Crane Truck (76 mm long), the 50) Articulated Truck (79 mm long), the 51) Citroen SM Coupé (78 mm long and a “Streaker”), the 52) Police Launch Speed Boat (77 mm long), the 53) “Tanzara” Racing Car (76 mm long and a “Streaker”), the 54) Military Personnel Carrier (76 mm long), the 55) “Hellraiser” Dragster (75 mm long), the 56) “Hi-Tailer” Racing Car (75 mm long), the 57) Ford Wild Life Pickup Truck (71 mm long and a “Rola-matic”), the 58) Faun Dumper Truck (71 mm long), the 59) Planet Scout (70 mm long), the 60) Lotus Super Seven Roadster (74 mm long and a “Streaker”), the 61) “Blue Shark” Racing Car (77 mm long), the 62) Renault Coupé (75 mm long), the 63) Freeway Gas Tanker Truck (78 mm long), the 64) Fire Chief Car (77 mm long), the 65) Saab Sonnet Coupé (73 mm long), the 66) Mazda RX500 Sports Car (74 mm long), the 67) Ford Capri “Hot Rocker” Dragster (77 mm long and a “Rola-matic”), the 68) “Cosmobile Planet” Scout (73 mm long), the 69) “Turbo Fury” Racing Car (77 mm long and a “Rola-matic), the 70) Self-Propelled Gun (66 mm long), the 71) Dodge Cattle Truck (74 mm long), the 72) SRN6 Hovercraft Boat (77 mm long), the 73) “Weasel” Armored Fighting Vehicle (72 mm long), the 74) “Toe Joe” Wreck Truck (74 mm long) and the 75) Helicopter (74 mm long).

The Matchbox Two Packs were back in 1977.  These were nice, because some packs featured models discontinued years ago, or even models never in the 1-75 Series lineup (such as the Glider Trailer).  They included the TP-1) Mercedes-Benz Truck and Trailer, the TP-2) “Mod” Tractor and Trailer, the TP-3) AMC AMX Javelin and Pony Trailer, the TP-4) Holiday Set with Vauxhall Guildsman towing Eccles Caravan, the TP-5) Weekender Set with Ford Capri towing Boat on Trailer, the TP-6) “Toe Joe” Breakdown Truck towing Racing Mini Cooper, the TP-7) Jeep and Glider Trailer and the TP-8) Field Car towing Honda Motorcycle on Trailer.

A brand new line of products added to the 1-75 Series in 1977 were the “Matchbox Military Two Packs.”  These were very similar to today’s revised Battle Kings lineup.  They included the TP-11) Military Jeep and Motorcycle, the TP-12) Military VW Bus Ambulance and Field Car, the TP-13) Military Scout and Armoured Car, the TP-14) Military Tanker Truck and “Badger” Truck, the TP-15) Military Mercedes-Benz Truck and Trailer and the TP-16) Military Dump Truck and Bulldozer.  These 16 packs added to the “1-75 Series” line would make for 91 models.

The “Matchbox Steer-N-Go” toy returned with the one set in 1977.  The Matchbox Collectors Carry Cases were also back, for either 24 or 48 of the 1-75 Series vehicles.

1977 saw the introduction of a brand new “Matchbox Garage.”  This service station was not as realistic as service stations from past model years had been, but it was certainly better than no service station at all.  Two versions were available, the MG-1 and the MG-2 (the second one was merely larger than the first).

The 1977 “Matchbox Catalogue” also featured a useful index of the history of “1-75 Series” models going back to 1953.

There were nine “Matchbox Giftsets!” in 1977, including the G-100) Twin Launcher Set, the G-9) Commando Task Force Set, the G-10) Thunder Jets Set (with four “Skybusters” models), the G-11) Strike Force Set (with six military vehicles), the G-12) Rescue Set (with six vehicles), the G-13) Construction Set (with five vehicles and a dirt loader), the G-14) Grand Prix Set (with four vehicles and a “Super Kings” Racing Car Transporter), the G-15) Car Transporter Set (with five cars and a “Super Kings” Car Transporter) and the G-17) Car Ferry Set (with four vehicles and a nice ferry boat).

A brand new product for 1977 was the “Matchbox Airport Playmat,” designed for Skybusters aircraft.  This was not available in the United States – a bad marketing decision on the part of Lesney.

The Matchbox Skybusters line for 1977 included the SB-1) Learjet (with a wingspan of 81 mm and with German markings), the SB-2) Corsair AFD Jet (with a wingspan of 84 mm and with American markings), the SB-3) Airbus A300 Jet (with a wingspan of 90 mm and with “Air France” markings), the SB-4) Dassault-Briguet Mirage F.1 Jet (with a wingspan of 54 mm and with French markings), the SB-5) Lockheed Starfighter Jet (with a wingspan of 52 mm and with Canadian markings), the SB-6) Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 Fighter Jet (with a wingspan of 57 mm and with Soviet markings), the SB-7) Junkers Ju-87 “Stuka” Dive Bomber (with a wingspan of 99 mm and with German markings), the SB-8) Supermarine Spitfire Fighter (with a wingspan of 102 mm and with RAF markings), the SB-9) Cessna 402 (with a wingspan of 103 mm), the SB-10) Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet (with a wingspan of 94 mm and with “British Airways” markings), the SB-11) Dornier Alpha Jet (with a wingspan of 88 mm and with German markings), the SB-12) Douglas Skyhawk Jet (with a wingspan of 71 mm and with US Navy markings), the SB-13) McDonnell-Douglas D.C.10 Jet (with a wingspan of 93 mm and with “Swissair” markings), the SB-14) Cessna 210 (with a wingspan of 101 mm), the SB-15) Phantom F4E Jet (with a wingspan of 73 mm and with RAF markings), the SB-16) Corsair F4O-4 (with a wingspan of 100 mm and with American markings), the SB-17) “Ram Rod” Monoplane (with a wingspan of 99 mm), the SB-18) “Wild Wind” Monoplane (with a wingspan of 99 mm), the SB-19) Piper Comanche Monoplane (with a wingspan of 104 mm long), the SB-20) US Army Police Helicopter (with a wingspan of 101 mm), the SB-21) BAC Lightning Jet (with a wingspan of 75 mm and with RAF markings) and the SB-22) MRCA Jet (with a wingspan of 69 mm and with RAF markings).

The Matchbox Super Kings line for 1977 included the K-1) O&K Excavator (124 mm long), the K-2) Car Recovery Vehicle (120 mm long), the K-3) “Mod” Tractor and Trailer (197 mm long), the K-4) Big Tipper Truck (118 mm long), the K-5) Muir-Hill Tractor and Trailer (241 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the K-6) Motorcycle Transporter Truck (120 mm long), the K-7) Racing Car Transporter Truck (156 mm long), the K-8) Caterpillar “Traxcavator” (156 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the K-9) Fire Tender Truck (156 mm long), the K-10) Car Transporter Truck (269 mm long), the K-11) Pickup Truck Wreck Truck (127 mm long), the K-12) Hercules Mobile Crane Truck (156 mm long), the K-13) Aircraft Transporter Truck (203 mm long), the K-14) Heavy Breakdown Truck (131 mm long), the K-15) “Londoner” Double-Decker Bus (120 mm long), the K-16) Petrol Tanker Truck (229 mm long), the K-17) Articulated Container Truck (251 mm long), the K-18) Ford Articulated Tipper Truck (203 mm long), the K-19) Scammell Tipper Truck (121 mm long), the K-20) DAF Cargo Hauler and Pallet Loader Truck (190 mm long), the K-21) Tractor Transporter Truck (162 mm long), the K-22) SRN 6 Hovercraft Boat (127 mm long), the K-23) Articulated Low Loader with Bulldozer (133 mm long), the K-24) Scammell Container Truck (133 mm long) and the K-25) Digger and Plough (129 mm long and a non-Superfast model).

There was a brand new range of King Size models in 1977 which would not last for long.  These were the supposedly futuristic “Matchbox Adventure 2000? models, which were for battles against alien invaders of the earth in the future.  They included the K-2001) Raider Command Vehicle, the K-2002) Flight Hunter Vehicle and the K-2003) Crusader Vehicle.

The Speed Kings line for 1977 included the K-30) Mercedes-Benz C111 Gullwing Sports Car (102 mm long), the K-31) Bertone Runabout (102 mm long), the K-32) “Shovel Nose” Sports Car (102 mm long), the K-33) Citroen SM Coupé (114 mm long), the K-34) “Thunderclap” Racing Car (105 mm long), the K-35) “Lightning” Racing Car (108 mm long), the K-36) “Bandolero” Sports Car (114 long), the K-37) Volkswagen “Sandcat” Dune Buggy (86 mm long), the K-38) “Gus’s Gulper” Ford Boss Mustang Dragster (108 mm long), the K-39) “Milligan’s Mill” Ford Maverick Dragster (108 mm long), the K-40) “Blaze Trailer” Fire Chief Car (104 mm long), the K-41) Brabham Formula 1 Racing Car (109 mm long), the K-42) Nissan Sports Car (102 mm long), the K-43) “Cambuster” Dragster (112 mm long), the K-44) Surtees Formula 1 Racing Car (108 mm long), the K-45) “Marauder” Racing Car (105 mm long), the K-46) Racing Car and Trailer pulled by Mercury Commuter Station Wagon (260 mm long), the K-47) “Easy Rider” Chopper Motorcycle (120 mm long), the K-48) Mercedes-Benz 350 SLC Coupé (106 mm long), the K-49) Ambulance (112 mm long), the K-50) “Street Rod” Hot Rod (100 mm long), the K-51) “Barracuda” Racing Car (108 mm long), the K-52) Datsun Rally Car (105 mm long), the K-53) “Hot” Customized Fire Engine (98 mm long), the K-54) AMC AMX Javelin Sports Car (108 mm long), the K-55) Chevrolet Corvette Sports Car (108 mm long), the K-56) Maserati Bora Sports Car (101 mm long), the K-57) AMC AMC Javelin Drag Race Pack, pulling Ford Maverick “Milligan’s Mill” Dragster on Trailer (247 mm long), the K-58) Chevrolet Corvette Power Boat Set, pulling Chrysler Power Boat on Trailer (257 mm long), the K-59) Ford Capri Coupé (105 mm long), the K-60) Ford Mustang Racing Car (107 mm long), the K-61) Mercedes-Benz 350 SLC Coupé Police Car (107 mm long), the K-62) Citroen SM Coupé Doctor’s Car (114 mm long) and the K-63) Mercedes-Benz “Binz” Ambulance (112 mm long).

The Matchbox Battle Kings line for 1977 included the K-101) Sherman Tank (91 mm long and with American markings), the K-102) M.48 AS Tank (117 mm long and with American markings), the K-103) Chieftan Tank (120 mm long), the K-104) Panzerkampfwagen VIb “Königstiger” King Tiger Heavy Tank (114 mm long and with German markings), the K-105) “Hover Raider” Hovercraft Boat (126 mm long), the K-106) Tank Transporter Truck with M.48 AS Tank (256 mm long with and with American markings), the K-107) 155 mm Self-Propelled Gun (105 mm long), the K-108) M3A1 Half Track Truck (100 mm long and with American markings), the K-109) Sheridan Tank (105 mm long), the K-110) Recovery Vehicle Tow Truck (131 mm long), the K-111) Missile Launcher Truck (112 mm long), the K-112) DAF Ambulance Pickup Truck (95 mm long), the K-113) Military Crane Truck (156 mm long), the K-114) Army Aircraft Transporter Truck (203 mm long and with American markings), the K-115) Army Petrol Tanker Truck (229 mm long and with American markings), the K-116) Troop Carrier Truck and Howitzer 226 mm long) and the K-117) Rocket Launcher Truck (105 mm long and with American markings).

The Matchbox Sea Kings line for 1977 included the K-301) Frigate (219 mm long), the K-302) Corvette (199 mm long), the K-303) Battleship (218 mm long), the K-304) Aircraft Carrier (222 mm long), the K-305) Submarine Chaser (199 mm long), the K-306) Convoy Escort (199 mm long), the K-307) Helicopter Carrier (210 mm long) and the K-308) Guided Missile Destroyer (213 mm long).  A brand new “Matchbox Seaport Playmat” (PM-2) was unavailable in the USA – another marketing blunder on the part of Lesney.  There were now a grand total of 87 King Size models, with Lesney trying to compete against brands such as Corgi and Dinky.

The Matchbox Models of Yesteryear line for 1977 included the Y-1) 1936 Jaguar SS100 Convertible (104 mm long), the Y-2) 1914 Prince Henry Vauxhall (89 mm long), the Y-3) 1934 Riley MPH Roadster (98 mm long), the Y-4) 1930 Duesenberg (114 mm long), the Y-5) 1907 Peugeot (89 mm long), the Y-6) 1913 Cadillac (87 mm long), the Y-7) 1912 Rolls-Royce Landaulet (96 mm long), the Y-8) 1914 Stutz Roadster (86 mm long), the Y-9) 1912 Simplex (96 mm long), the Y-10) 1906 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud (94 mm long), the Y-11) 1938 Lagonda Drophead Coupé (112 mm long), the Y-12) 1909 Thomas Flyabout (102 mm long), the Y-13) 1918 Crosley RAF Tender Pickup Truck (98 mm long), the Y-14) 1931 Stutz Bearcat Boattail Speedster (112 mm long), the Y-15) 1930 Packard Victoria (107 mm long), the Y-16) 1928 Mercedes-Benz SS (108 mm long) and the Y-17) 1938 Hispano-Suiza (115 mm long).

The range of 1:72-Scale Matchbox Aircraft Kits for 1977 included the PK-1) Hawker Fury, the PK-2) Supermarine Spitfire Mark IX Fighter (with RAF markings), the PK-3) Boeing P-12E Biplane (with US Army Air Corps markings), the PK-4) Mitsubishi Zero Sen Fighter (with Japanese markings), the PK-5) Dornier Alpha Jet (with German markings), the PK-6) Focke-Wulf Fw-190 Fighter (with German markings), the PK-7) Westland Lysander, the PK-8) Gloster Gladiator (with RAF markings), the PK-9) Huey Cobra Helicopter, the PK-10) Strikemaster Jet, the PK-11) Hawker Hurricane Fighter (with RAF markings), the PK-12) Northrop FCA, the PK-13) Mustang P51-D Fighter, the PK-14) Corsair F4u-4, the PK-15) Hawker-Siddeley Gnat Jet (with RAF markings), the PK-16) Hawker Harrier V/STOL Jet (with RAF markings), the PK-17) Messerschmitt Bf-109E Fighter (with German markings), the PK-18) Grumman Hellcat (with American markings), the PK-19) Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 Fighter Jet (with Czechoslovakian markings), the PK-20) Dassault-Briguet Mirage 111C Jet, the PK-21) Messerschmitt Me-262 Fighter Jet (with German markings), the PK-22) Thunder Bolt Monopane (with American markings), the PK-23) Tempest Monoplane (with RAF markings), the PK-24) Buffalo Monoplane (with RAF markings), the PK-25) Siskin Biplane (with RAF markings), the PK-26) Henschel 126 Monoplane (with German markings), the PK-27) Hawker-Siddeley Hawk Jet (with RAF markings), the PK-28) Lockheed Starfighter F-104 Jet (with Canadian markings), the PK-29) Douglas Skyhawk Jet (with US Marine Corps markings), the PK-30) Percival Provost Monoplane, the PK-31) Curtiss P40N (with RAF markings) and the PK-32) North American F-86 Sabre Jet (with US Air Force markings).

The range of larger 1:72-Scale Matchbox Aircraft Kits for 1977 included the PK-101) Corsair A7D Jet (with American markings), the PK-102) Jaguar, the PK-103) Beaufighter, the PK-104) Curtiss Helldiver, the PK-105) Walrus Flying Boat (with RAF markings), the PK-106) Buccaneer Jet (with RAF markings), the PK-107) Dornier Sky Servant (with German markings), the PK-108) Lynx Helicopter (with Royal Navy markings), the PK-109) Junkers Ju-188 Medium Bomber (with German markings), the PK-110) Hawker-Siddeley 125/600 Executive Jet, the PK-111) Junkers Ju-87 “Stuka” Dive Bomber (with German markings), the PK-112) Fairey Swordfish Biplane (with RAF markings), the PK-113) Messerschmitt Me-410 Heavy Fighter (with German markings), the PK-114) BAC Lightning Jet (with RAF markings), the PK-115) Messerschmitt Bf-110 Heavy Fighter (with German markings), the PK-116) De Haviland Mosquito Heavy Fighter (with RAF markings), the PK-117) Hawker Hunter Jet (with RAF markings), the PK-118) Lockheed Lightning Heavy Fighter (with American markings), the PK-119) Saab Viggen Jet (with Swedish markings), the PK-120) Boston Havoc Heavy Fighter (with American markings) and the PK-121) Fairchild A10A Jet (with US Air Force markings).

The range of largest 1:72-Scale Matchbox Aircraft Kits for 1977 included the PK-401) Heinkel 115 Float Plane (with Finnish markings), the PK-402) Wellington Medium Bomber (with RAF markings), the PK-403) Heinkel He-111 Medium Bomber, the PK-404) McDonnell-Douglas Phantom F4 Jet (with RAF markings), the PK-405) Mitchell B25 Medium Bomber (with American markings), the PK-406) Grumann Tomcat F-14 Jet (with US Navy markings) and the PK-407) Martin Marauder Medium Bomber (with American markings).

The really big range of 1:32-Scale Matchbox Aircraft Kits for 1977 included the PK-501) Supermarine Spitfire Fighter (with RAF markings), the PK-502) Messerschmitt Bf-109 Fighter (with German markings) and the PK-503) Dauntless Fighter (with American markings).

The range of 1:76-Scale Matchbox Military Kits for 1977 included the PK-71) Sherman Firefly Tank, the PK-72) Comet Tank, the PK-73) Panzerkampfwagen V “Panther” Heavy Tank (with German markings), the PK-74) Panzerkampfwagen III “Ferdinand” Medium Tank (with German markings), the PK-75) Humber Armoured Car, the PK-76) Puma Armoured Car (with German markings), the PK-77) “Wespe” Self-Propelled Cannon (with German markings), the PK-78) Half Track M16 (with American markings), the PK-79) Chaffee M24 Tank (with American markings), the PK-80) Panzerkampfwagen V “Jagdpanther” Heavy Tank Destroyer (with German markings), the PK-81) Panzerkampfwagen II Light Tank (with German markings), the PK-82) Russian T-34 Heavy Tank, the PK-83) Hanomag German Half Track, the PK-84) Honey Stewart, the PK-85) German Radio Car and the PK-86) M-40 155mm Gun.

A brand new range of 1:76-Scale Matchbox Military Kits was introduced in 1977.  These were kits with more parts and larger battle dioramas.  They included the PK-171) Panzerabwehrkanone Anti-Tank Gun, Personnel Carrier and Motorcycle (with German markings) and the PK-172) 17 lb. Gun, Morris and 4 by 4 Willys Jeep (with American markings).

The range of 1:32-Scale Matchbox Automobile Kits for 1977 included the PK-301) Aston-Martin Ulster Racing Car, the PK-302) Bugatti Type 59 Racing Car, the PK-303) Porsche 917-10 Racing Car, the PK-304) Jaguar SS-100 Sports Car, the PK-305) Surtees TS-16 Racing Car and the PK-306) MG TC Sports Car.

A brand new product for 1977 were the 1:700-Scale “Matchbox Ship Kits,” which included waterline kits of the PK-61) “HMS Ariadne” Destroyer, the PK-62) “Z.39? German Destroyer, the PK-63) “Admiral Graf Spee” German Pocket Battleship / Heavy Cruiser and the PK-64) “HMS Exeter” Heavy Cruiser.

Another brand new product for 1977 were the 1:76-Scale “Matchbox Military Figures,” which included the PK-5001) British World War II Infantry, the PK-5002) US World War II Infantry, the PK-5003) German World War II Infantry, the PK-5004) German World War II “Afrika Korps” Infantry, the PK-5005) British World War II 8th Army Infantry and the PK-5006) British World War II Commandoes.

Yet another brand new product for 1977 were the larger 1:32-Scale “Matchbox Military Figures,” including the PK-6001) German World War II Infantry, the PK-6002) British World War II Infantry and the PK-6003) US World War II Infantry.  One could use these larger toy soldiers with the new PK-1001) Counter Attack Street Battle Scene Set, which was also 1:32-Scale.  Lesney thus offered an astounding 101 pastic model kits for 1977 – making this range of toys even larger than the King Size series.

The 1977 “Matchbox” Catalogue continued the new feature of listing all 1-75 Series models going from 1955 to the present.  For some reason, models 1 through 9 were not listed (this would have taken the timeline back to 1953).  This must have been an error on the part of the printers.

The “Matchbox Suky” dolls returned in 1977, with the LP-1) Ballerina, the LP-2) Nurse, the LP-3) Tennis Player, the LP-4) Horse Rider, the LP-5) Skater, the LP-6) Shopper, the LP-7) Suky Bedtime and the LP-8) Suky Swimmer.  Accessories included “Pocket Money Items” such as the LP-201) Artist, the LP-202) Gardening, the LP-3) Nurse and the LP-4) Cooking.  More expensive “Boutique Items” included the LP-250) Boutique Wardrobe Set, the LP-251) Boutique Wardrobe Set (different from LP-250), the LP-252) Boutique Wardrobe Set (different again from either LP-250 or LP-251), the LP-300) Picnic, the LP-301) Home Cleaning, the LP-302) Camping, the LP-303) Wedding, the LP-304) Cinderella and the LP-305) Cooking.  A brand new accessory was the LP-600) Suky Doll House, compete with a kitchen, dining room and bedroom.

A brand new product line for girls (but not available in the United States) were the “Matchbox Disco Girls” dolls.  They featured 24 outfits and 3 boutique collections.

The “Matchbox Fighting Furies” action figures for boys returned in 1977, with the FF-100) Captain Peg Leg, the FF-101) Captain Hook and the FF-102) Ghost of Captain Kidd sets.  Other sets were available, but not in the USA.  These included the FF-1) Captain Blood Adventure, the FF-2) One Eyed Sailor Adventure, the FF-3) Hooded Falcon Adventure, the FF-4) Spanish Main Adventure, the FF-5) Redcoat Adventure, the FF-6) Kung Fu Warrior Adventure, the FF-7) Stockade Assault, the FF-8) Captain Kidd’s Treasure, the FF-9) Spanish Officer, the FF-10) Buccaneer Captain, the FF-21) Cattle Rustler, the FF-22) Indian War Dance, the FF-103) Black McCoy, the FF-104) Chief Crazy Horse and the FF-105) Kid Cortez set.

Matchbox Mobile Action Command (MAC) sets returned as well in 1977.  These included the MC-1) Military Recon Unit, the MC-2) Fire Fighting Vehicle, the MC-3) Emergency Utility Vehicle, the MC-4) Emergency Medical Set, the MC-5) Air Rescue Vehicle, the MC-6) Sea Rescue Vehicle, the MC-7) Police Patrol Unit and the MC-8) Snow Rescue Vehicle.  Accessory sets included the MC-400) MAC Mountain and the MC-500) MAC Mobile Van Headquarters.

The Matchbox Collector’s Club was featured on the back cover of the 1977 color catalogue.  It was headquartered in Wood Ridge, New Jersey (USA).  Annual dues were US $1.50 for American members and US $2.00 for the rest of the world.  Lesney Products Corporation was still in Moonachie, New Jersey in the USA and in London, England (worldwide headquarters).  My own collection had grown to 327 vehicles in 1977, 204 of which were Matchbox cars.

1978 Matchbox Model Year: Signs of Financial Strain

By 1978, signs of strain were finally beginning to show at Lesney.  Many newly launched products disappeared, including toys for small children (to compete with the likes of “Fisher Price”), dolls for girls (to compete with the likes of “Barbie”) and action figures for boys (to compete with products like “G.I. Joe”).  Gone as well were playsets, some gift sets and family games (competing with companies like “Hasbro”).  Companies tend to do better when they stick to their core business, and often get into serious trouble when they stray into too many fields, trying to be too many things to too many people.  The cover of the 1978 “Matchbox Catalogue” featured a photo of a “Super Kings” Jaguar Police Sedan, complete with two policemen on motorcycles and numerous traffic and road signs.

The Matchbox 1-75 Series for 1978 included the 1) Dodge Challenger Hardtop (74 mm long), the 2) Hovercraft Rescue Boat (77 mm long), the 3) Monteverdi Hai Sports Car (74 mm long), the 4) Pontiac Firebird (74 mm long), the 5) Seafire Speed Boat (75 mm long), the 6) Mercedes-Benz 350SL Tourer (75 mm long), the 7) Volkswagen Golf Hatchback (72 mm long), the 8) De Tomaso Pantera Sports Car (77 mm long), the 9) AMC AMX Javelin Coupé (77 mm long), the 10) “Piston Popper” Ford Boss Mustang Dragster (75 mm long and a “Rola-matic”), the 11) Car Transporter (75 mm long), the 12) “Big Bull” Bulldozer (63 mm long), the 13) Snorkel Fire Engine Truck (78 mm long), the 14) “Mini Ha Ha” Mini Cooper Dragster (60 mm long), the 15) Fork Lift Truck (70 mm long), the 16) “Badger” Truck (68 mm long and a “Rola-matic”), the 17) “Londoner” Double-Decker Bus (78 mm long), the 18) “Hondarora” Honda Motorcycle (63 mm long), the 19) Cement Truck (75 mm long), the 20) Police Patrol Truck (73 mm long and a “Rola-matic”), the 21) “Rod Roller” Road Roller (70 mm long), the 22) “Blaze Buster” Fire Truck (77 mm long), the 23) Atlas Dump Truck (71 mm long), the 24) Team “Matchbox” Racing Car (75 mm long), the 25) “Mod” Tractor (57 mm long), the 26) Site Dumper (64 mm long), the 27) Lamborghini Countach Sports Car (74 mm long), the 28) “Stoat” Armored Fighting Vehicle (67 mm long and a “Rola-matic”) , the 29) Shovel Nose Tractor (72 mm long), the 30) “Swamp Rat” Amphibious Fighting Hydrofoil (77 mm long), the 31) Caravan Camping Trailer (70 mm long), the 32) Field Gun with Soldiers (77 mm long), the 33) Police Motorcycle (62 mm long), the 34) “Vantastic” Hot Rod (74 mm long), the 35) “Fandango” Racing Car (75 mm long and a “Rola-matic”), the 36) Formula 5000 Racing Car (74 mm long), the 37) Skip Truck Dumper (69 mm long), the 38) Armoured Jeep (61 mm long and with American markings), the 39) “Clipper” Sports Car (77 mm long and a “Rola-matic”), the 40) Horsebox Truck (72 mm long), the 41) “Siva Spider” Racing Car (77 mm long), the 42) Mercedes-Benz Container Truck (77 mm long), the 43) Volkswagen “Dragon Wheels” Beetle Dragster (72 mm long), the 44) Ford Boss Mustang Coupé (75 mm long), the 45) BMW 3.0 CSL Coupé (45 mm long), the 46) “Stretcha Fetcha” Ambulance (70 mm long), the 47) Volkswagen “Beach Hopper” Dune Buggy (66 mm long and a “Rola-matic), the 48) Sambron Jack Lift Truck (78 mm long), the 49) Crane Truck (76 mm long), the 50) Articulated Truck (79 mm long), the 51) Citroen SM Coupé (78 mm long), the 52) Police Launch Boat (77 mm long), the 53) C.J.6 Jeep (75 mm long), the 54) Army Personnel Carrier with Soldiers (76 mm long), the 55) “Hell Raiser” Custom Sports Car (75 mm long), the 56) “Hi-Tailer” Racing Car (75 mm long), the 57) Ford Wild Life Pickup Truck (71 mm long and a “Rola-matic”), the 58) Faun Dumper Truck (71 mm long), the 59) Planet Scout Truck (70 mm long), the 60) Holden Pickup Truck with Motorcycles (77 mm long), the 61) “Blue Shark” Racing Car (77 mm long), the 62) Renault 17TL Coupé (75 mm long), the 63) Freeway Gas Tanker Truck (78 mm long), the 64) Fire Chief Car (77 mm long), the 65) Airport Coach (78 mm long and with “British Airways” markings), the 66) Ford Transit Pickup Truck (71 mm long), the 67) “Hot Rocker” Ford Capri Dragster (77 mm long and a “Rola-matic”), the 68) “Cosmobile” Planet Scout Car (73 mm long), the 69) “Turbo Fury” Racing Car (77 mm long and a “Rola-matic”), the 70) Self-Propelled Gun (66 mm long and a “Rola-matic”), the 71) Dodge Cattle Truck (74 mm long), the 72) SRN6 Hovercraft Boat (77 mm long), the 73) “Weasel” Armored Fighting Vehicle (72 mm long and a “Rola-matic”), the 74) “Toe Joe” Wreck Truck (74 mm long) and the 75) Rescue Helicopter.  6 new models were featured without numbers as well, for the first time in many years.  These were the Flat Car and Container, Diesel Shunter, Ambulance, Ford Escort RS2000, the Datsun 260Z Coupé and the Combine Harvester.

The nice line of Matchbox Two Packs were back in 1978 with the TP-1) Mercedes-Benz Truck and Trailer, the TP-2) “Mod” Tractor and Farm Trailer, the TP-3) AMC AMX Javelina and Pony Trailer, the TP-4) Holiday Set with Vauxhall Guildsman pulling Eccles Caravan Camping Trailer, the TP-5) Weekender Set with Ford Capri towing Boat on Trailer, the TP-6) “Toe Joe” Breakdown Truck towing Mini Cooper, the TP-7) Jeep towing Glider Trailer, the TP-8) Field Car towing Honda Motorcycle on Trailer, the TP-9) Field Car towing Racing Car, the TP-10) Mercury Fire Chief Car and Mercedes-Benz “Binz” Ambulance, the TP-11) Military Jeep and Motorcycle, the TP-12) Military VW Bay Window Ambulance Bus and Field Car, the TP-13) Military Weasel Armored Fighting Vehicle and Mercedes-Benz Unimog Truck, the TP-14) Military Tanker Truck and “Badger” Radar Truck, the TP-15) Mercedes-Benz Military Truck and Trailer and the TP-16) Military Dump Truck and Bulldozer.

The Matchbox Collectors Carry Cases were back as well in 1978, with the venerable 24 and 48 carrying cases.  A nice new addition was a sturdier 18-car carrying case, suitable for older 1-75 Series models with boxes.

A complete index of 1-75 Series models was also featured in this 1978 catalogue, listing models from 1953 to the present.

The “Matchbox Giftsets!” were back in 1978, albeit with just 10 sets.  These included the G-100) Thunderbolt Launcher Set (complete with a launcher and two cars), the G-9) Commando Task Force Set, the G-10) Thunder Jets Set (with four “Skybusters” models), the G-11) Strike Force Set (with six military vehicles), the G-12) Rescue Set (with six vehicles), the G-13) Construction Set (with five vehicles and a dirt loader), the G-14) Grand Prix Set (with four racing cars and a “Super Kings” Racing Car Transporter), the G-15) Car Transporter Set (with five cars and a “Super Kings” Car Transporter), the G-16) Sky Giants Set (with four “Skybusters” commercial airliner models) and the G-17) Car Ferry Set (with four vehicles and a nice plastic car ferry).

A brand new product for 1978 was the “Matchbox Speedtrack” line.  This was somewhat similar to the “Matchbox Motorway” product introduced back in 1969, where cars speed around a plastic track by electric power.  The difference with the new product for 1978 was that it used its own line of special “Ho-Scale” diecast cars.  As we have seen, the 1-75 Series was a rough average 1:64-Scale, but my no means uniform.  They were meant more to fit into the same sized boxes and carrying cases.  By comparison, “Ho-Scale” is almost always 1:87-Scale (1:90-Scale in the rare case of “Schuco Piccolo” models from Germany).  Sets included the Trenton 150 (8.5 feet of track), the LeMans 300 (20 feet of track) and the International 1000 (33 feet of track).

The Matchbox Skybusters line for 1978 included the SB-1) Lear Jet (wingspan of 81 mm), the SB-2) Corsair A7D Jet (wingspan of 84 mm and with American markings), the SB-3) A300B Airbus Commercial Airliner (wingspan of 90 mm and with either “Lufthansa” or “Air France” markings), the SB-4) Dassault-Briguet Mirage F.1 Jet (wingspan of 54 mm and with French markings), the SB-5) Lockheed Starfighter Jet (wingspan of 52 mm and with Canadian markings), the SB-6) Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 Jet Fighter (wingspan of 57 mm and with Soviet markings), the SB-7) Junkers Ju-87 “Stuka” Dive Bomber (wingspan of 99 mm and with German markings), the SB-8) Supermarine Spitfire Fighter (wingspan of 102 mm and with RAF markings), the SB-9) Cessna 402 Monoplane (wingspan of 103 mm), the SB-10) Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet Commercial Airliner (wingspan of 94 mm and with either “British Airways” or “Qantas” markings), the SB-11) Dornier Alpha Jet (wingspan of 88 mm and with German markings), the SB-12) Douglas Skyhawk Jet (wingspan of 71 mm and with US Marine Corps markings), the SB-13) McDonnell-Douglas DC 10 Commercial Airliner (wingspan of 93 mm and with either “Swissair” or “United Airlines” markings), the SB-14) Cessna 210 Monoplane (wingspan of 101 mm), the SB-15) McDonnell-Douglas Phantom F4E Jet (wingspan of 73 mm and with RAF markings), the SB-16) Corsair F4U Monoplane (wingspan of 100 mm and with US Navy markings), the SB-17) “Ram Rod” Monoplane (wingspan of 99 mm), the SB-18) “Wild Wind” Monoplane (wingspan of 99 mm), the SB-19) Piper Comanche Monoplane (wingspan of 104 mm), the SB-20) Helicopter (wingspan of 101 mm and with either US Army, US Coast Guard or Police markings), the SB-21) BAC Lightning Jet (wingspan of 75 mm and with RAF markings), the SB-22) Messerschmitt Tornado Jet (wingspan of 110 mm and with German markings) and the SB-23) Concorde Supersonic Commercial Airliner (wingspan of 142 mm and with “Air France” markings).

The Matchbox Sea Kings line for 1978 included the K-301) Frigate (219 mm long), the K-302) Corvette (199 mm long), the K-303) Battleship (218 mm long), the K-304) Aircraft Carrier (222 mm long), the K-305) Submarine Chaser (199 mm long), the K-306) Convoy Escort (199 mm long), the K-307) Helicopter Carrier (210 mm long), the K-308) Guided Missile Destroyer (213 mm long), the K-309) Submarine (205 mm long) and the K-310) Anti-Aircraft Cruiser (205 mm long).

The Matchbox Adventure 2000 line for 1978 included the K-2001) Raider Command Vehicle (162 mm long), the K-2002) Flight Hunter Vehicle (117 mm long), the K-2003) Crusader Vehicle (113 mm long) and the K-2004) Rocket Striker Vehicle (112 mm long).

The Matchbox Super Kings line for 1978 included the K-1) O&K Excavator (124 mm long), the K-2) Car Recovery Vehicle (120 mm long), the K-3) “Mod” Tractor and Trailer (197 mm long), the K-4) Big Tipper Dump Truck (118 mm long), the K-5) Muir Hill Tractor and Trailer (241 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the K-6) Motorcycle Transporter Truck (120 mm long), the K-7) Racing Car Transporter Truck (156 mm long), the K-8) Caterpiller “Traxcavator” (156 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the K-9) Fire Tender Truck (156 mm long), the K-10) Car Transporter Truck (269 mm long), the K-11) Pickup Truck Tow Truck (127 mm long), the K-12) Hercules Mobile Crane Truck (156 mm long), the K-13) Aircraft Transporter Truck (203 mm long), the K-14) Heavy Breakdown Truck (131 mm long), the K-15) “Londoner” Double-Decker Bus (120 mm long), the K-16) Petrol Tanker Truck (229 mm long and with either “Texaco,” “Shell,” “Exxon,” “Aral” or “Total” markings), the K-17) Articulated Container Truck (251 mm long), the K-18) Ford Articulated Tipper Truck (203 mm long), the K-19) No Model, the K-20) Cargo Hauler and Pallet Loader Truck (190 mm long), the K-21) No Model, the K-22) SRN 6 Hovercraft Boat (127 mm long), the K-23) Articulated Low Loader Truck with Bulldozer (133 mm long), the K-24) Scammell Container Truck (133 mm long), the K-25) Digger and Plough (129 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the K-26) Cement Truck (100 mm long), the K-27) Powerboat and Transporter Truck (257 mm long), the K-28) Bedford Skip Truck (110 mm long), the K-29) Ford Delivery Van (110 mm long and with either “Avis” or “U-Haul” markings), the K-30) Mercedes-Benz Unimog Pickup Truck and Compressor on Trailer (185 mm long), the K-31) Peterbilt Truck (300 mm long and with either “Christian Salvesen” or “Iglo Lagnese” markings), the K-32) Mercedes-Benz Unimog Pickup Truck with Farm Trailer (225 mm long) and the K-33) Cargo Hauler Truck (230 mm long).

The Matchbox Speed Kings line for 1978 had no models numbered K-34 through K-37.  The line included the K-38) “Gus’s Gulper” Ford Mustang Dragster (108 mm long), no models numbered K-39 or K-40, the K-41) Brabham Formula 1 Racing Car (109 mm long), the K-42) No Model, the K-43) “Cambuster” Dragster (112 mm long), the K-44) Surtees Formula 1 Racing Car (108 mm long), the K-45) “Marauder” Racing Car, the K-46) Mercury Commuter Station Wagon towing Racing Car on Trailer (260 mm long), the K-47) “Easy Rider” Chopper Motorcycle (120 mm long), the K-48) Mercedes-Benz 350 SLC Coupé (106 mm long), the K-49) Ambulance (112 mm long), the K-50) “Street Rod” Hot Rod (100 mm long), the K-51) “Barracuda” Racing Car (108 mm long), the K-52) Datsun Rally Car (105 mm long), the K-53) “Hot” Fire Engine (98 mm long), the K-54) AMC AMX Javelin (108 mm long), the K-55) Chevrolet Corvette “Caper Cart” (108 mm long), the K-56) Maserati Bora Sports Car (101 mm long), the K-57) AMC AMX Javelin Race Pack with “Milligan’s Mill” Ford Maverick Dragster on Trailer (247 mm long), the K-58) Chevrolet Corvette Power Boat Set with Chrysler Boat on Trailer (257 mm long), the K-59) Ford Capri Mark II Coupé (105 mm long), the K-60) Ford Mustang Coupé (107 mm long), the K-61) Mercedes-Benz 350 SLC Coupé Police Car (107 mm long with either English or German Police markings), the K-62) Citroen SM Coupé Doctor’s Car (114 mm long), the K-63) Mercedes-Benz “Binz” Ambulance (112 mm long), the K-64) Fire Control Range Rover SUV (105 mm long), the K-65) Plymouth Mountain Rescue Pickup Truck (115 mm long), the K-66) Jaguar XJ12 Police Set with 2 Motorcycles and Traffic Signs (120 mm long), the K-67) Dodge Monaco Fire Chief Car (115 mm long), the K-68) Dodge Monaco Station Wagon and Trailer (210 mm long) and the K-69) Europa Caravan Camping Trailer towed by either a Jaguar XM12 Sedan or a Dodge Monaco Station Wagon (270 mm or 275 mm long, respectively).

The Matchbox Battle Kings line for 1978 included the K-101) Sherman Tank (91 mm long and with American markings), the K-102) M48 AS Tank (117 mm long and with American markings), the K-103) Chieftan Tank (120 mm long), the K-104) Panzerkampfwagen VIb “Königstiger” King Tiger Heavy Tank (114 mm long and with German markings), the K-105) “Hover Raider” Hovercraft Boat (126 mm long), the K-106) Tank Transporter Truck with M48 AS Tank (256 mm long and with American markings), the K-107) 155mm Self-Propelled Gun (105 mm long), the K-108) M3A1 Half Track Truck (100 mm long and with American markings), the K-109) Sheridan Tank (105 mm long), the K-110) Recovery Vehicle Tow Truck (131 mm long and with American markings), the K-111) Missile Launcher Truck (112 mm long), the K-112) DAF Ambulance Pickup Truck (95 mm long and with Red Cross markings), the K-113) Military Crane Truck (156 mm long), the K-114) Army Aircraft Transporter Truck (203 mm long and with American markings), the K-115) Army Petrol Tanker Truck (229 mm long and with American markings), the K-116) Troop Carrier Truck and Howitzer (226 mm long), the K-117) Self-Propelled Rocket Launcher (105 mm long) and the K-118) Army Helicopter (150 mm long and with American markings).  There were thus now a grand total of 94 King Size models – a record number of toys competing with brands such as Corgi and Dinky.

The Matchbox Models of Yesteryear line for 1978 included the Y-1) 1936 Jaguar SS 100 Sports Car (104 mm long), the Y-2) 1914 Prince Henry Vauxhall (89 mm long), the Y-3) 1934 Riley MPH Roadster (98 mm long), the Y-4) 1930 Duesenberg (114 mm long), the Y-5) 1927 Talbot Van (with “Lipton’s Tea” livery), the Y-6) 1920 Rolls-Royce Fire Engine (105 mm long), the Y-7) 1912 Rolls-Royce Landaulet (96 mm long), the Y-8) 1945 MG TC Sports Car (95 mm long), the Y-9) 1912 Simplex (96 mm long), the Y-10) 1906 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost (94 mm long), the Y-11) 1938 Lagonda Drophead Coupé (112 mm long), the Y-12) 1909 Thomas Flyabout (102 mm long), the Y-13) 1918 Crossley RAF Tender Pickup Truck (98 mm long), the Y-14) 1931 Stutz Bearcat Boattail Speedster (112 mm long), the Y-15) 1930 Packard Victoria (107 mm long), the Y-16) 1928 Mercedes-Benz SS (108 mm long) and the Y-17) 1938 Hispano-Suiza (115 mm long).

For the first time the range of Matchbox construction kits were featured in their own separate catalogue – likely admitting the fact that they appealed to a different segment of the toy market.  There were 108 such kits (a record number) in a separate 32-page Lesney catalogue.

The Matchbox Mobile Action Command line for 1978 included the MC-1) Military Recon Unit, the MC-2) Fire Fighting Vehicle, the MC-3) Emergency Utility Vehicle, the MC-4) Emergency Medical Set, the MC-5) Air Rescue Vehicle, the MC-6) Sea Rescue Vehicle, the MC-7) Police Patrol Unit, the MC-8) Snow Rescue Vehicle, the MC-400) MAC Mountain Set, the MC-500) Mobile Van Headquarters Set and the MC-600) MAC Oceana Boat Set.

The Official “Matchbox Collector’s Club” was back with higher annual fees – US $2.00 for American members and US $3.00 for the rest of the world.  It was still based in Wood Ridge, New Jersey (USA).  Lesney was still operating out of Moonachie, New Jersey for the USA and London, England for their worldwide headquarters.  My own collection decreased just slightly in 1978 to 319 diecast vehicles, 199 of which were Matchbox – due to a few trades and sales.

1979 Matchbox Model Year

The cover of the 1979 color “Matchbox Catalogue” featured a Super Kings container truck, a 1-75 Series number 3 Porsche 911 Turbo Coupé passing the truck on the highway and a new Skybusters US Space Shuttle model flying overhead.  Lesney was not too far off from eventual bankruptcy, but one trend I did appreciate was that of returning to traditional, or “real” cars, as opposed to hot-rods and custom cars (Hot Wheels does very much of the latter).  If Lesney had kept Matchbox closer to its core business over the years (and diversified production into lower wage markets), bankruptcy could have been avoided.

The Matchbox 1-75 Series for 1979 included the 1) Dodge Challenger (74 mm long), the 2) Hovercraft “Rescue” Boat (77 mm long), the 3) Porsche 911 Turbo Coupé (74 mm long), the 4) Pontiac Firebird (74 mm long), the 5) “Seafire” Speed Boat (75 mm long), the 6) Mercedes-Benz 350SL Tourer (75 mm long), the 7) Volkswagen Golf Hatchback (74 mm long), the 8) De Tomaso Pantera Sports Car (77 mm long), the 9) Ford Escort RS2000 Sedan (73,5 mm long), the 10) “Piston Popper” Ford Boss Mustang Dragster (75 mm long and a “Rola-matic”), the 11) Car Transporter Truck (75 mm long), the 12) “Big Bull” Bulldozer (63 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the 13) Snorkel Fire Engine Truck (78 mm long), the 14) Mini Cooper “Ha-Ha” Dragster (60 mm long), the 15) Fork Lift Truck (70 mm long), the 16) “Badger” Radar Truck (68 mm long and a “Rola-matic”), the 17) “Londoner” Double-Decker Bus (78 mm long), the 18) “Hondarora” Honda Motorcycle (63 mm long), the 19) Cement Truck (75 mm long), the 20) Police Patrol SUV (73 mm long and a “Rola-matic”), the 21) Renault 5TL Hatchback (65 mm long), the 22) “Blaze Buster” Fire Truck (77 mm long), the 23) Atlas Tipper Truck (71 mm long), the 24) Diesel Shunter Locomotive (72,5 mm long), the 25) Flat Railroad Car and Container (72,5 mm long), the 26) Site Dumper (64 mm long), the 27) Lamborghini Countach Sports Car (74 mm long), the 28) “Stoat” Armored Fighting Vehicle (67 mm long and a “Rola-matic), the 29) Shovel Nose Tractor (72 mm long), the 30) “Swamp Rat” Amphibious Fighting Boat (77 mm long), the 31) Caravan Camping Trailer (70 mm long), the 32) Field Gun and Diorama with 2 Soldiers (77 mm long), the 33) Police Motorcycle (74 mm long), the 34) “Vantastic” Hot Rod Van (74 mm long), the 35) “Fandango” Hot Rod Car (75 mm long and a “Rola-matic”), the 36) Formula 5000 Racing Car (74 mm long), the 37) Skip Truck Dumper (69 mm long), the 38) Armoured Jeep (61 mm long and with American markings), the 39) “Clipper” Custom Sports Car (77 mm long and a “Rola-matic”), the 40) Horse Box Truck (72 mm long), the 41) Ambulance (75 mm long), the 42) Mercedes-Benz Container Truck (77 mm long and with “Sea Land” livery), the 43) Steam Locomotive (68 mm long), the 44) Passenger Coach Rail Car (73 mm long), the 45) BMW 3.0 CSI Coupé (74 mm long), the 46) Ford Tractor and Harrow (52 mm long), the 47) Volkswagen “Beach Hopper” Dune Buggy (66 mm long and a “Rola-matic”), the 48) Sambron Jack Lift (78 mm long), the 49) Crane Truck (76 mm long), the 50) Articulated Truck (79 mm long), the 51) Combine Harvester (72 mm long), the 52) Police Launch Boat (77 mm long), the 53) CJ6 Jeep (75 mm long), the 54) Army Personnel Carrier (76 mm long), the 55) “Hell Railer” Custom Sports Car (75 mm long), the 56) “Hi-Tailer” Racing Car (75 mm long), the 57) Ford Wild Life Pickup Truck (71 mm long and a “Rola-matic”), the 58) Faun Dumper Truck (71 mm long), the 59) Planet Scout Vehicle (70 mm long), the 60) Holden Pickup Truck (77 mm long), the 61) Wreck Truck (76 mm long), the 62) Renault 17TL Coupé (75 mm long), the 63) Freeway Gas Tanker Truck (78 mm long), the 64) Fire Chief Car (77 mm long), the 65) Airport Coach (78 mm long and with either “British Airways,” “American Airlines” or “Lufthansa” livery), the 66) Ford Transit Pickup Truck (71 mm long), the 67) Datsun 260Z Coupé (75 mm long), the 68) “Cosmobile” Planet Scout Vehicle (73 mm long), the 69) Security Truck (73 mm long), the 70) Self-Propelled Gun (66 mm long and a “Rola-matic”), the 71) Dodge Cattle Truck (74 mm long), the 72) SRN 6 Hovercraft Boat (77 mm long), the 73) “Weasel” Armored Fighting Vehicle (72 mm long and a “Rola-matic”), the 74) Mercury Cougar Villager Station Wagon (78 mm long) and the 75) Helicopter (74 mm long).  A number of new models were featured, albeit without numbers.  These included the Bomag Road Roller, the Chevy Van, the Plymouth “Gran Fury” Police Car, the Ford Cortina 1600 GL Sedan, the Mercedes-Benz 450 SEL Sedan, the Rolls-Royce Mark II Sedan, the Pannier Locomotive and the Lincoln Continental Hardtop.

The Matchbox Two-Packs line was renamed as the “Matchbox 900 Range” in 1979.  It still featured numerous discontinued models from the 1-75 Series.  These included the TP-1) Mercedes-Benz Truck and Trailer, the TP-2) Mercury Police Car and Fire Engine Truck, the TP-3) AMC AMX Javelin Coupé and Pony Trailer, the TP-4) Holiday Set with Maserati Bora Sports Car towing Eccles Camping Caravan, the TP-5) Weekender Set with Ford Capri Coupé towing Boat on Trailer, the TP-6) “Toe Joe” Breakdown Truck towing Racing Mini Cooper, the TP-7) Jeep towing Glider Trailer, the TP-8) Field Car towing Honda Motorcycle on Trailer, the TP-9) Field Car and Racing Car, the TP-10) Mercury Fire Chief Car and Mercedes-Benz “Binz” Ambulance, the TP-11) Tractor and Hay Trailer, the TP-12) Volkswagen Bay Window Military Ambulance Bus and Field Car, the TP-13) Mercedes-Benz Military Unimog Pickup Truck and Field Gun, the TP-14) Mercedes-Benz 300SE Military Staff Car and Mercedes-Benz “Binz” Ambulance, the TP-15) Mercedes-Benz Military Truck and Trailer, the TP-16) Alvis Stalwart Military Amphibious Truck and Ford Wreck Truck, the TP-17) Tanker Truck and Trailer (with “Chevron” livery), the TP-18) “Water Sporter” Set with Volkswagen Golf Hatchback towing Custom Speed Boat, the TP-19) Dodge Cattle Truck and Trailer, the TP-20) Diesel Shunter Locomotive and Side Tipper Rail Car and the TP-21) Citroen SM Coupé and Motorcycle Trailer.  The “Matchbox 900 Range” continued with large commercial rigs, eventually known as the “Convoy” series.  These included the TP-22) Long Haul Double Container Truck, the TP-23) Long Haul Covered Container Truck (with “Firestone” livery), the TP-24) Long Haul Box Container Truck (with “Kodak” livery) and the TP-25) Long Haul Truck and Pipe Trailer.

A brand new product for 1979 was the “Matchbox Super Garage,” a three-level service station with an operating parking elevator, moveable auto ramps, a rotating “Matchbox Garage” sign, “Texaco” gasoline pumps and a “Goodyear” tire products-sign.

The “Matchbox Giftsets!” line for 1979 included 10 sets: the G-1) Car Transporter Set (with a “Super Kings” Car Transporter Truck and five cars), the G-2) Railway Set (with a locomotive, four rail cars and plastic railroad track), the G-3) Racing Car Set (with a “Super Kings” Racing Car Transporter and four racing cars), the G-4) Military Assault Set (with four vehicles, an amphibious barge, toy soldiers and artillery), the G-5) Construction Set (with five vehicles and a dirt loader), the G-6) Farm Set (with five vehicles, a barn and fencing), the G-7) Emergency Set (with a helicopter, four vehicles and a burning building diorama), the G-8) Thunder Jets Set (with four military “Skybusters” models), the G-17) Car Ferry Set (with four vehicles and a nice plastic ferry boat) and the G-18) Sky Giants Set (with four “Skybusters” commercial airliner models).

The Matchbox Collectors Carry Cases for 24 and 48 of the 1-75 Series models were back in 1979.  Two more Matchbox Garages were available in 1979 as well: the MG-2) Service Station (with “Shell” gasoline pumps, a carwash, an elevator, service bays and a second story parking lot) and the MG-3) “Texaco” Garage (with gasoline pumps, a service station and a restaurant).

The Matchbox Speedtrack line for 1979 included the RPS 2000 Set (with 13,5 feet of track), the Race and Chase Set (a bridge accessory for the track sets), the Speedtrack Set (with 12,5 feet of track), the International 1000 Set (with 33 feet of track), the Trenton 150 Set (with 8,5 feet of track), the Riverside 500 Set (with 23 feet of track) and the LeMans 300 Set (with 20 feet of track).  The tracks could be used with a range of special 1:87 “Ho” Scale cars.  The Matchbox Speedtrack cars included four “Formula” racing cars: the 1) Ferrari 312 T2, the 2) M-26 Formula 1 Racer, the 3) “Elf” Formula 1 Racer and the 4) “Texaco” Formula 1 Racer.  There were also six “Lighted” cars including the 1) Porsche 936, the 2) Volkswagen Scirocco T/A, the 3) Renault Alpine, the 4) Police Car, the 5) “Turbo Porsche” and the 6) Chevrolet “Supervette” Corvette.

Another brand new product for 1979 was the “Matchbox Play Track” series, but this was not available in the United States.  These included the PL-1 (with four buildings, 11 lengths of Playtrack, five corners, road signs and trees), the PL-2 (with a garage, four buildings, 16 lengths of Playtrack, a cross roads, road signs and trees) and the PL-3 (with a garage, a bridge, eight buildings, 22 lengths of Playtrack, car parking areas, road signs, trees and figures).

The Matchbox Skybusters line for 1979 included the SB-1) Learjet (wingspan of 81 mm), the SB-2) Corsair A7D Jet (wingspan of 84 mm and with American markings), the SB-3) Airbus A300B Commercial Airliner (wingspan of 90 mm and with either “Lufthanse” or “Air France” liveries), the SB-4) Dassault-Mirage F.1 Jet (wingspan of 54 mm and with French markings), the SB-5) Lockheed Starfighter Jet (wingspan of 52 mm and with Canadian markings), the SB-6) Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 Fighter Jet (wingspan of 57 mm and with Soviet markings), the SB-7) Junkers Ju-87 “Stuka” Dive Bomber (wingspan of 99 mm and with German dessert markings), the SB-8) Supermarine Spitfire Fighter (wingspan of 102 mm and with RAF markings), the SB-9) Cessna 402 Monoplane (wingspan of 103 mm), the SB-10) Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet (wingspan of 94 mm and with either “British Airways” or “Qantas” liveries), the SB-11) Dornier Alpha Jet (wingspan of 88 mm and with German markings), the SB-12) Douglas Skyhawk Jet (wingspan of 71 mm and with US Marine Corps markings), the SB-13) McDonnell-Douglas DC 10 Commercial Airliner (wingspan of 93 mm and with either “Swissair” or “United Airlines” liveries), the SB-14) Cessna 210 Monoplane (wingspan of 101 mm), the SB-15) McDonnell-Douglas Phantom F4E Jet (wingspan of 73 mm and with RAF markings), the SB-16) Corsair F4U Monoplane (wingspan of 100 mm and with American markings), the SB-17) “Ram Rod” Monoplane (wingspan of 99 mm), the “Wild Wind” Monoplane (wingspan of 99 mm), the SB-19) Piper Commanche Monoplane (wingspan of 104 mm), the SB-20) Helicopter (wingspan of 101 mm and with either “US Army,” ”US Coast Guard” or “Police” markings), the SB-21) BAC Lightning Jet (wingspan of 75 mm and with RAF markings), the SB-22) Messerschmitt Tornado Jet (wingspan of 101 mm and with German markings), the SB-23) Concorde Supersonic Commercial Airliner (wingspan of 142 mm and with either “Air France” or “Singapore Airlines” liveries), the SB-24) F-16 Jet (wingspan of 114 mm and with US Air Force markings) and the SB-25) Rescue Helicopter (wingspan of 105 mm and with RAF markings).  Two brand new models were featured, albeit without model numbers.  These were the NASA Space Shuttle and the “Pitts Special” Biplane.

A brand new product for 1979 which has endured until today was the “Matchbox Walt Disney” line of cars with Disney cartoon characters, complete with “Superfast” wheels.  These included the WD-1) Mickey Mouse Fire Engine (73 mm long), the WD-2) Donald Duck Volkswagen Beach Buggy (73 mm long), the WD-3) Goofy Volkswagen Beetle (73 mm long), the WD-4) Minnie Mouse Lincoln Continental (73 mm long), the WD-5) Mickey Mouse Jeep (73 mm long), the WD-6) Donald Duck Jeep (73 mm long), the WD-7) Pinocchio’s Road Show (73 mm long), the WD-8) Jiminy Cricket’s Old Timer (73 mm long) and the WD-9) Goofy’s Racing Car (73 mm long).

The Matchbox Adventure 2000 line for 1979 included the K-2001) Raider Command Vehicle (162 mm long), the K-2002) Flight Hunter Vehicle (117 mm long), the K-2003) Crusader Vehicle (113 mm long), the K-2004) Rocket Striker Vehicle (112 mm long) and the K-2005) Command Force Set (a brand new model pack).

For 1979, Lesney reverted to calling most “King Size” models “Super Kings,” and thereby dropped the “Speed Kings” brand name given to King Size passenger car models with Superfast wheels.  This sound decision has held to this very day in Mattel’s ownership of Matchbox.  The Matchbox Super Kings line for 1979 included the K-1) O&K Excavator (124 mm long), the K-2) Car Recovery Vehicle (120 mm long), the K-3) “Mod” Tractor and Trailer (197 mm long), the K-4) Big Tipper Truck (118 mm long), the K-5) Muir Hill Tractor and Trailer (241 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the K-6) Motor Cycle Transporter Truck (120 mm long), the K-7) Racing Car Transporter (156 mm long), the K-8) “Traxcavator” Tractor (156 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the K-9) Fire Tender Truck (156 mm long), the K-10) Car Transporter Truck (269 mm long), the K-11) Pick-Up Truck Wreck Truck (127 mm long), the K-12) Hercules Mobile Crane (156 mm long), the K-13) Aircraft Transporter Truck (203 mm long), the K-14) Heavy Breakdown Truck (131 mm long), the K-15) “Londoner” Double-Decker Bus (120 mm long), the K-16) Petrol Tanker Truck (229 mm long and with either “Texaco,” “Shell,” “Exxon,” “Aral” and “Total” liveries), the K-17) Articulated Container Truck (251 mm long), the K-18) Ford Articulated Tipper Truck (251 mm long and with either “Tarmac” or “U.S. Steel” liveries), the K-19) Security Truck (a brand new model with either “Group 4? or “Fort Knox” liveries), the K-20) Peterbilt Wrecker Truck (a brand new model), the K-21) Ford Transcontinental Tractor Trailer (a brand new model with either “Continental” or “Santa Fé” liveries), the K-22) SRN 6 Hovercraft Boat (127 mm long), the K-23) Articulated Low Loader and Bulldozer (133 mm long), the K-24) Scammell Container Truck (133 mm long and with either “Crowe” or “Michelin” liveries), the K-25) Digger and Plough Tractor (129 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the K-26) Cement Truck (100 mm long), the K-27) Powerboat and Transporter Truck (257 mm long and with either “Miss Embassy” or “Benihana” liveries), the K-28) Bedford Skip Truck (110 mm long), the K-29) Ford Delivery Van (110 mm long and with ether “Avis” or “U-Haul” liveries), the K-30) Mercedes-Benz Unimog Pickup Truck and Compressor Trailer (185 mm long), the K-31) Peterbilt Truck (300 mm long and with either “Christian Salvensen,” “Lagnese Iglo,” “Coca-Cola” or “Gervais Glace” liveries), the K-32) Mercedes-Benz Farm Unimog Pickup Truck and Sheep Trailer (225 mm long), the K-33) Cargo Hauler Truck with Crane (230 mm long and with either “MW” or “U.S. Steel” liveries), the K-34) Pallet Truck and Forklift (142 mm long), the K-35) Massey Ferguson Tractor and Trailer (224 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the K-36) Construction Transporter Truck (162 mm long), the K-37) Leyland Tipper Truck (110 mm long), the K-38) “Gus’s Gulper” Ford Boss Mustang Dragster (108 mm long), the K-39) through K-41) no models, the K-42) ”Traxcavator” Road Ripper (a brand new non-Superfast model), the K-43) “Cambuster” Dragster (122 mm long), the K-44) no model, the K-45) “Marauder” Racing Car (105 mm long), the K-46) Mercury Commuter Station Wagon and Racing Car on Trailer Set (260 mm long), the K-47) “Easy Rider” Chopper Motorcycle (120 mm long), the K-48) Mercedes-Benz 350 SLC Coupé (106 mm long), the K-49) Ambulance (112 mm long), the K-50) “Street Rod” Hot Rod (100 mm long), the K-51) “Barracuda” Racing Car (108 mm long), the K-52) Datsun Rally Car (105 mm long), the K-53) Hot Fire Engine (98 mm long), the K-54) AMC AMX Javelin (108 mm long), the K-55) Chevrolet Corvette Caper Cart (108 mm long), the K-56) Maserati Bora Sports Car (101 mm long), the K-57) AMC AMX Javelin and “Gus’s Gulper” Drag Race Pack (247 mm long), the K-58) Chevrolet Corvette Caper Car and Power Boat Pack (247 mm long), the K-59) Ford Capri Mark II Hatchback (105 mm long), the K-60) Ford Mustang (107 mm long), the K-61) Mercedes-Benz 350 SLC Coupé Police Car (107 mm long and with either English or German Police markings), the K-62) Citroen SM Coupé Doctor’s Car (114 mm long), the K-63) Mercedes-Benz “Binz” Ambulance (112 mm long), the K-64) Range Rover Fire Control SUV (105 mm long), the K-65) Rescue Vehicle (115 mm long), the K-66) Jaguar XJ12 Police Set with 2 Motorcycles and Street Signs (200 mm long), the K-67) Dodge Monaco Station Wagon (115 mm long and with either Fire Chief or Hackensack, New Jersey markings), the K-68) Dodge Monaco Station Wagon and Trailer (210 mm long), the K-69) Camping Caravan Set (220 mm or 270 mm long and pulled by either a Jaguar XJ12 Sedan or a Dodge Monaco Station Wagon, respectively), the K-70) Porsche 911 Turbo Coupé (118 mm long), the K-71) Porsche “Polizei” Set with 2 Motorcycles and Street Signs (200 mm long and in German), the K-72) Brabham Formula 1 Racing Car (109 mm long), the K-73) Surtees Formula 1 Racing Car (108 mm long), the K-74) Volvo Station Wagon (138 mm long), the K-75) Airport Fire Tender Pickup Truck (135 mm long), the K-76) Volvo Station Wagon and Datsun 260Z Rally Set (220 mm long), the K-77) Highway Rescue Pickup Truck (135 mm long), the K-78) Dodge Monaco Sedan Police Car (137 mm long) and the K-79) Dodge Monaco Sedan Taxicab (137 mm long).

The Matchbox Battle Kings line for 1979 included the K-101) Sherman Tank (91 mm long and with American markings), the K-102) M48 AZ Tank (117 mm long and with American markings), the K-103) Chieftain Tank (120 mm long), the K-104) Panzerkampfwagen VIb “Königstiger” King Tiger Heavy Tank (114 mm long and with German markings), the K-105) “Hover Raider” Hovercraft Boat (126 mm long), the K-106) Tank Transporter Truck with M48 AZ Tank (256 mm long and with American markings), the K-107) 155mm Self-Propelled Gun (105 mm long), the K-108) M3A1 Half Track Truck (100 mm long and with American markings), the K-109) Sheridan Tank (105 mm long), the K-110) Recovery Vehicle Tow Truck (131 mm long and with American markings), the K-111) Missile Launcher Truck (112 mm long), the K-112) DAF Ambulance Pickup Truck (95 mm long and with Red Cross markings), the K-113) Military Crane Truck (156 mm long), the K-114) Army Aircraft Transporter Truck (203 mm long and with American markings), the K-115) Army Petrol Tanker Truck (229 mm long and with American markings), the K-116) Troop Carrier Truck and Howitzer (226 mm long), the K-117) Self Propelled Rocket Launcher Truck (105 mm long) and the K-118) Army Helicopter (150 mm long and with American markings).

The Matchbox Sea Kings line for 1979 included the K-301) Frigate (219 mm long), the K-302) Corvette (199 mm long), the K-303) Battleship (218 mm long), the K-304) Aircraft Carrier (222 mm long), the K-305) Submarine Chaser (199 mm long), the K-306) Convoy Escort (199 mm long), the K-307) Helicopter Carrier (210 mm long), the K-308) Guided Missile Destroyer (213 mm long), the K-309) Submarine (205 mm long) and the K-310) Anti-Aircraft Cruiser (205 mm long).  The entire “King Size” line thus had a grand total 108 models in 1979 – a record number of the larger scale-model toys to compete with brands such as Corgi and Dinky.

The Matchbox Models of Yesteryear line for 1979 included the Y-1) 1936 Jaguar SS100 Roadster (104 mm long), the Y-2) 1914 Prince Henry Vauxhall Convertible (89 mm long), the Y-3) 1934 Riley MPH Roadster (98 mm long), the Y-4) 1930 Duesenberg Model J (114 mm long), the Y-5) 1927 Talbot Van (90 mm long and with either “Lipton’s” or “Menier” liveries), the Y-6) 1920 Rolls-Royce Fire Engine (105 mm long), the Y-7) 1912 Rolls-Royce Landaulet (96 mm long), the Y-8) 1945 MG TC Sports Car (95 mm long), the Y-9) 1912 Simplex (96 mm long), the Y-10) 1906 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost (94 mm long), the Y-11) 1938 Lagonda Drophead Coupé (112 mm long), the Y-12) 1912 Ford Model T Van (90 mm long and with either “Coca-Cola” or “Colman’s Mustard” liveries), the Y-13) 1918 Crossley Coal Pickup Truck (98 mm long), the Y-14) 1931 Stutz Bearcat Boattail Speedster (112 mm long), the Y-15) 1930 Packard Victoria (107 mm long), the Y-16) 1928 Mercedes-Benz SS (108 mm long), the Y-17) 1938 Hispano-Suiza (115 mm long) and the Y-18) 1937 Cord 812 Convertible (120 mm long).  As one can see, the Models of Yesteryear line was growing in number of models as well.  They continue to be quite popular in the toy market.

The annual index listing 1-75 Series model changes from 1953 to the present was also included within the 1979 Matchbox catalogue.

The plastic model kits were once again not detailed in the regular Matchbox catalogue, but within a separate catalogue.  Lesney had purchased the “AMT” plastic model kit company, and added their models to the entire Matchbox line of kits.  There were now a record 190 plastic model kits available, 133 of which were Matchbox and 57 of which were AMT.  They included cars, trucks, aircraft, tanks, armoured fighting vehicles, military vehicles, ships, racing cars, “Star Trek” space kits and toy soldiers.

The “Matchbox Live-n-Learn Shufflies” line for 1979 (the line of toys for infants and small children) included the LL-3100) Shufflie Farm Set, the LL-3200) Shufflie Police Station, the LL-3300) Shufflie Hospital, the LL-3400) Shufflie Castle, the LL-100) Playboot, the LL-200) Chuggy Chuffer Train, the LL-300) Mobile Home, the LL-400) Tractor and Trailer, the LL-500) Press-a-Print, the LL-800) Rhyme Time Clock, the LL-1000) “Matchbox” Family, the LL-1300) Family Ferry Boat, the LL-1600) Playslide, the LL-1800) Fire Engine, the LL-2100) Funny Flyer, the LL-2200) Hoppy Copter, the LL-2300) Tricky Truck, the LL-2400) Chuggy Chuffer, the LL-2500) Hovercraft Boat, the LL-2600) Ambulance, the LL-2700) Tractor and the LL-2800) Road Digger.  This line of toys was obviously meant to compete against the likes of Fisher Price, but never came to be as popular as them.  Lesney introduced them one year, withdrew them another year and then re-introduced them later with a modified product line.  It was capital and effort not well spent!

The Official “Matchbox” Collector’s Club was still based in Wood Ridge, New Jersey (USA).  Members received a Handbook, a Button and of course a quarterly Newsletter.  Annual membership was US $2.00 or US $2.50 for two years and US $3.00 for three years.  Lesney Products Corporation was still in Moonachie, New Jersey for the United States and in London, England (worldwide headquarters).  My own collection of diecast vehicles maintained a constant size from 1978 to 1979.

1980 Matchbox Model Year: Back to “Core Business” (but too late)

The cover of the 1980 Matchbox color catalogue featured a photo of a very realistic diorama, complete with a King Size fire engine and an ambulance, attempting to extinguish a fire in a large three-story home.  This was the first catalogue to come with a purchase price at US $0.25 (25 cents).  Many new products from past years were no longer mentioned, including many custom cars (hot rods and dragsters), toys for infants and small children, dolls, action figures, family games and even the very extensive line of plastic model kits from 1979.  The 1980 Lesney product line was remarkable in being very traditional and true to the company’s core business.  But unfortunately, this was to be too little and too late – the reality of financial bankruptcy was merely two years away.  This sad story makes me think of the large American auto companies of today, changing their ways far too late in the game.

The Matchbox 1-75 Series line for 1980 included the 1) Dodge Challenger Hardtop (74 mm long), the 2) Hovercraft “Rescue” Boat (77 mm long), the 3) Porsche 911 Turbo Coupé (74 mm long), the 4) Pontiac Firebird Coupé (74 mm long), the 5) “Seafire” Speed Boat (75 mm long), the 6) Mercedes-Benz 350 SL Tourer (75 mm long), the 7) Volkswagen Rabbit 4-Door Hatchback (74 mm long), the 8) De Tomaso Pantera Sports Car (77 mm long), the 9) Ford Escort RS 2000 2-Door Sedan (73,5 mm long), the 10) Plymouth “Gran Fury” Police Car (75 mm long), the 11) Car Transporter Truck (75 mm long), the 12) “Big Bull” Bulldozer (63 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the 13) Snorkel Fire Engine Truck (78 mm long), the 14) Mini Cooper “Ha-Ha” Dragster (60 mm long), the 15) Fork Lift Truck (70 mm long), the 16) “Badger” Radar Truck (66 mm long and a “Rola-matic”), the 17) “Londoner” Double-Decker Bus (78 mm long), the 18) “Hondarora” Honda Motorcycle (63 mm long), the 19) Cement Truck (75 mm long), the 20) Police Patrol SUV (73 mm long and a “Rola-matic”), the 21) Renault 5TL “Le Car” Hatchback (65 mm long), the 22) “Blaze Buster” Fire Truck (77 mm long), the 23) Atlas Tipper Dump Truck (71 mm long), the 24) Diesel Shunter Locomotive (72,5 mm long), the 25) Flat Car and Container Railway Car (72,5 mm long), the 26) Site Dumper (64 mm long), the 27) Lamborghini Countach Sports Car (74 mm long), the 28) Lincoln Continental  Hardtop (72 mm long), the 29) Shovel Nose Tractor (72 mm long), the 30) “Swamp Rat” Amphibious Fighting Boat (77 mm long), the 31) Camping Caravan Trailer (70 mm long), the 32) Field Gun and Diorama with 2 Soldiers (77 mm long), the 33) Police Motorcycle (74 mm long), the 34) “Vantastic” Custom Van (74 mm long), the 35) “Fandango” Custom Sports Car (75 mm long and a “Rola-matic”), the 36) Formula 5000 Racing Car (74 mm long), the 37) Skip Truck Dumper (69 mm long), the 38) Jeep Military Vehicle (61 mm long and with American markings), the 39) Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow Mark II Sedan (75 mm long), the 40) Horsebox Truck (72 mm long), the 41) Ambulance (75 mm long), the 42) Mercedes-Benz Container Truck (77 mm long), the 43) Steam Locomotive (68 mm long), the 44) Passenger Coach Railway Car (73 mm long), the 45) BMW 3.0 CSI Coupé (74 mm long), the 46) Ford Tractor and Harrow (52 mm long), the 47) Pannier Locomotive (76 mm long), the 48) Sambron Jack Lift Truck (78 mm long), the 49) Crane Truck (76 mm long), the 50) Articulated Truck (79 mm long), the 51) Combine Harvester (72 mm long), the 52) Police Launch Boat (77 mm long), the 53) Jeep CJ6 (75 mm long), the 54) Military Personnel Carrier Truck (76 mm long), the 55) Ford Cortina 1600 GL Sedan (75 mm long), the 56) Mercedes-Benz 450 SEL Sedan (74 mm long), the 57) Ford Wild Life Pickup Truck (71 mm long and a “Rola-matic”), the 58) Faun Dumper Truck (71 mm long), the 59) Planet Scout Vehicle (70 mm long), the 60) Holden Pickup Truck (77 mm long), the 61) Wreck Truck (76 mm long), the 62) Chevrolet Corvette Sports Car (74 mm long), the 63) Freeway Gasoline Tanker Truck (78 mm long and with “Shell” livery), the 64) Fire Chief Car (77 mm long), the 65) Airport Coach (78 mm long and with either “British Airways,” “American Airlines” or “Lufthansa” liveries), the 66) Ford Transit Pickup Truck (71 mm long), the 67) Datsun 260Z Coupé (75 mm long), the 68) Chevrolet Van (77 mm long), the 69) Security Truck (73 mm long and with “Wells Fargo” livery), the 70) Self Propelled Gun (66 mm long and a “Rola-matic”), the 71) Dodge Cattle Truck (74 mm long), the 72) Bomag Road Roller (71 mm long), the 73) “Weasel” Armored Fighting Vehicle (72 mm long and a “Rola-matic”), the 74) Mercury Cougar Villager Station Wagon (78 mm long) and the 75) Rescue Helicopter (74 mm long).  A number of future models were shown as well, albeit without model numbers.  These were the Leyland Refuse Truck, the Ford Model A Coupé, the Chevrolet Bel Air Sedan, the Porsche 928 Coupé, the Caterpillar D9 Tractor, the U.S. Mail Jeep and the Citroen CX Station Wagon.

The “Matchbox 900? series for 1979 (formerly known as the “Two Packs” line) included the TP-1) Mercedes-Benz Truck and Trailer, the TP-2) Mercury Police Car and “Blaze Buster” Fire Engine, the TP-3) AMC AMX Javelin and Pony Trailer, the TP-4) Holiday Set with Maserati Bora Sports Car towing Eccles Camping Caravan, the TP-5) Weekender Set with Ford Escort Sedan towing Boat on Trailer, the TP-6) Breakdown Truck and Racing Mini, the TP-7) Jeep and Glider Trailer, the TP-8) Field Car towing Honda Motorcycle on Trailer, the TP-9) Field Car towing Racing Car, the TP-10) Mercury Fire Chief Car and Mercedes-Benz “Binz” Ambulance, the TP-11) Tractor and Hay Trailer, the TP-12) Volkswagen Bay Window Bus Military Ambulance and Field Car, the TP-13) Mercedes-Benz Military Unimog Pickup Truck and Field Gun, the TP-14) Mercedes-Benz 300SE Sedan Military Field Car and Mercedes-Benz “Binz” Ambulance, the TP-15) Mercedes-Benz Military Truck and Trailer, the TP-16) Articulated Truck and Trailer, the TP-17) “Shell” Tanker Truck and Trailer, the TP-18) Water Sporter Set with Volkswagen Rabbit Hatchback towing “Seafire” Speed Boat, the TP-19) Dodge Cattle Truck and Trailer, the TP-20) Diesel Shunter Locomotive and Side-Tipper Railway Car, the TP-21) Citroen SM Coupé and and Motorcycle Trailer, the TP-22) Long Haul Double Container Truck, the TP-23) Long Haul Covered Container Truck, the TP-24) Long Haul Box Container Truck and the TP-25) Long Haul Truck and Pipe Trailer.

New for 1980 was a three-level “Matchbox Super Garage” with an operating parking elevator, moveable auto ramps and a rotating “Matchbox” Garage sign.

The Matchbox Skybusters line for 1980 included the SB-1) Learjet (wingspan of 81 mm), the SB-2) Corsair A7D Jet (wingspan of 84 mm and with American markings), the SB-3) NASA Space Shuttle (wingspan of 100 mm and with American markings), the SB-4) Dassault-Briguet Mirage F1 Jet (wingspan of 54 mm and with French markings), the SB-5) Lockheed Starfighter Jet (wingspan of 52 mm and with Canadian markings), the SB-6) Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 Fighter Jet (wingspan of 57 mm and with Soviet markings), the SB-7) Junkers Ju-87D Dive Bomber (wingspan of 99 mm and with German markings), the SB-8) Supermarine Spitfire Fighter (wingspan of 102 mm and with RAF markings), the SB-9) Cessna 402 Monoplane (wingspan of 103 mm), the SB-10) Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet (wingspan of 94 mm and with either “British Airways” or “Qantas” liveries), the SB-11) Dornier Alpha Jet (wingspan of 88 mm and with German markings), the SB-12) Pitts Special Biplane (wingspan of 93 mm), the SB-13) McDonnell-Douglas DC-10 Commercial Airliner (wingspan of 93 mm and with either “SwissAir” or “United Airlines” liveries), the SB-14) Cessna 210 Monoplane (wingspan of 101 mm), the SB-15) McDonnell-Douglas Phantom F4E Jet (wingspan of 73 mm and with RAF markings), the SB-16) Corsair F4U Monoplane (wingspan of 100 mm and with US Navy markings), the SB-17) “Ram Rod” Monoplane (wingspan of 99 mm), the SB-18) “Wild Wind” Monoplane (wingspan of 99 mm), the SB-19) Piper Commanche Monoplane (wingspan of 104 mm), the SB-20) Helicopter (wingspan of 101 mm and with either “US Army,” “US Coast Guard” or “Police” markings), the SB-21) BAC Lightning Jet (wingspan of 75 mm and with RAF markings), the SB-22) Messerschmitt Tornado Fighter-Bomber Jet (wingspan of 101 mm and with German markings), the SB-23) Concorde Supersonic Commercial Airliner (wingspan of 142 mm and with either “Air France” or “Singapore Airlines” liveries), the SB-24) F.16 Jet (wingspan of 114 mm and with US Air Force markings) and the SB-25) Rescue Helicopter (wingspan of 105 mm and with RAF markings).

The Matchbox Walt Disney line for 1980 included the WD-1) Mickey Mouse Fire Engine (73 mm long), the WD-2) Donald Duck Volkswagen Beach Buggy (73 mm long), the WD-3) Goofy Volkswagen Beetle (73 mm long), the WD-4) Minnie Mouse Lincoln Continental (73 mm long), the WD-5) Mickey Mouse Jeep (73 mm long), the WD-6) Donald Duck Jeep (73 mm long), the WD-7) Pinnochio’s Traveling Theatre Truck (73 mm long), the WD-8) Jiminy Cricket’s Oldtimer Roadster (73 mm long), the WD-9) Goofy’s Sports Car (73 mm long), the WD-10) Goofy Train Locomotive (73 mm long), the WD-11) Donald Duck’s Ice Cream Van (73 mm long) and the WD-12) Mickey Mouse Chevrolet Corvette (73 mm long).

The Matchbox Adventure 2000 series for 1980 included the K-2001) Raider Command Vehicle (162 mm long), the K-2002) Flight Hunter Vehicle (117 mm long), the K-2003) Crusader Vehicle (113 mm long), the K-2004) Rocket Striker Vehicle (112 mm long) and the K-2005) Command Force Set (with 3 smaller models).

The Matchbox Super Kings line for 1980 included the K-1) O&K Excavator (124 mm long), the K-2) Car Recovery Vehicle (120 mm long), the K-3) no model, the K-4) Big Tipper Dump Truck (118 mm long), the K-5) Muir Hill Tractor and Trailer (241 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the K-6) Motorcycle Transporter Truck (120 mm long), the K-7) Martini Racing Car Transporter (156 mm long and with “Dunlop” livery), the K-8) no model, the K-9) Fire Tender Truck (156 mm long), the K-10) Car Transporter Truck (269 mm long), the K-11) no model, the K-12) Hercules Mobile Crane (156 mm long), the K-13) Aircraft Transporter Truck (203 mm long and with RAF markings), the K-14) Heavy Breakdown Truck (131 mm long and with “Shell” livery), the K-15) “Londoner” Double-Decker Bus (120 mm long and with “London Dungeon” livery), the K-16) Petrol Tanker Truck (229 mm long and with either “Texaco” or “Shell” liveries), the K-17) Articulated Container Truck (251 mm long and with “Gentransco” livery), the K-18) Ford Articulated Tipper Truck (203 mm long and with “Tarmac” livery), the K-19) Security Truck (137 mm long and with “Wells Fargo” livery), the K-20) Peterbilt Wreck Truck (161 mm long), the K-21) Ford Transcontinental Tractor Trailer (338 mm long and with “Continental” livery), the K-22) Hovercraft SRN6 Boat (127 mm long and with “Seaspeed” livery), the K-23) Low Loader and Bulldozer (133 mm long), the K-24) Scammell Container Truck (133 mm long and with “Crowe” livery), the K-25) Digger and Plough Tractor (129 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the K-26) Bedford Cement Truck (100 mm long), the K-27) Powerboat and Transporter Truck (257 mm long and with “Matchbox” livery), the K-28) Bedford Skip Truck Dumper (110 mm long and with “Hales Containers” livery), the K-29) Ford Delivery Van (110 mm long and with “Avis” livery), the K-30) Mercedes-Benz Unimog Pickup Truck and Compressor Trailer (185 mm long and with “MJ” livery), the K-31) Peterbilt Container Truck (300 mm long and with either “Christian Salvensen” or “Pepsi-Cola” liveries), the K-32) Mercedes-Benz Farm Unimog and Sheep Trailer (225 mm long), the K-33) Cargo Hauler Truck with Crane (230 mm long and with “MW” livery), the K-34) DAF Pallett Truck and Fork Lift (142 mm long and with “K” livery), the K-35) Massey Ferguson Tractor and Trailer (224 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the K-36) Construction Transporter Truck (162 mm long and with “Laing” livery), the K-37) Leyland Tipper Truck (110 mm long and with “Laing” livery), the K-38) Dodge Ambulance (135 mm long), the K-39) E.R.F. Snorkel Fire Engine (208 mm long), the K-40) Pepsi-Cola Truck (151 mm long), the  K-41) no model, the K-42) “Traxcavator” Road Tipper Tractor (140 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the K-43) and K-44) no models, the K-45) “Marauder” Racing Car (105 mm long and with “Firestone” livery), the K-46) Mercury Commuter Station Wagon pulling Racing Car on Trailer (260 mm long and with “Team Matchbox” livery), the K-47) “Easy Rider” Chopper Motorcycle (120 mm long), the K-48) Mercedes-Benz 350 SLC Coupé (106 mm long), the K-49) Ambulance (112 mm long), the K-50) “Street Rod” Hot Rod (100 mm long), the K-51) “Barracuda” Racing Car (108 mm long), the K-52) Datsun 260Z Rally Car (105 mm long), the K-53) “Hot” Fire Engine (98 mm long), the K-54) AMC AMX Javelin (108 mm long), the K-55) Chevrolet Corvette Sports Car (108 mm long), the K-56) Maserati Bora Sports Car (101 mm long), the K-57) AMC AMX Javelin Drag Race Pack with “Gus’s Gulper” Ford Boss Mustang Dragster on Trailer (247 mm long), the K-58) Chevrolet Corvette Power Boat Pack with Chrysler Power Boat on Trailer (247 mm long), the K-59) Ford Capri Mark 2 Hatchback (105 mm long), the K-60) Ford Mustang Mark 2 Coupé (107 mm long), the K-61) Mercedes-Benz 350 SLC Coupé Police Car (107 mm long and with either English or German Police markings), the K-62) Citroen SM Coupé Doctor’s Car (114 mm long), the K-63) no model, the K-64) Fire Control Range Rover SUV (105 mm long), the K-65) Plymouth Rescue Pickup Truck (115 mm long), the K-66) Jaguar Police Set with 2 Motorcycles and Traffic Signs (200 mm long), the K-67) Dodge Monaco Fire Chief Station Wagon (115 mm long), the K-68) Dodge Monaco Station Wagon and Trailer (210 mm long), the K-69) Jaguar Sedan and Camping Caravan (270 mm long), the K-70)  Porsche 911 Turbo Coupé (118 mm long), the K-71) no model, the K-72) Brabham Formula 1 Racing Car (109 mm long), the K-73) Surtees Formula 1 Racing Car (108 mm long), the K-74) Volvo Station Wagon (138 mm long), the K-75) Airport Rescue Tender (135 mm long and with either British, French or German markings), the K-76) no model, the K-77) Highway Rescue Pickup Truck with Snowplough (135 mm long and with either British, French or German markings), the K-78) Dodge Monaco US Police Car (137 mm long), the K-79) no model, and the K-80)  Dodge Custom Van (135 mm long).

The Matchbox Battle Kings line for 1980 included the K-101) Sherman Tank (91 mm long and with American markings), the K-102) M48 AZ Tank (117 mm long and with American markings), the K-103) Chieftain Tank (120 mm long), the K-104) Panzerkampfwagen VIb “Königstiger” King Tiger Heavy Tank (114 mm long and with German markings), the K-105) “Hover Raider” Hovercraft Boat (126 mm long), the K-106) Tank Transporter Truck with M48 AZ Tank (256 mm long and with American markings), the K-107) 155 Self-Propelled Gun (105 mm long), the K-108) M3A1 Half Track Truck (100 mm long and with American markings), the K-109) Sheridan Tank (105 mm long), the K-110) Recovery Vehicle Tow Truck (131 mm long), the K-111) Missile Launcher Truck (112 mm long), the K-112) DAF Ambulance Pickup Truck (95 mm long and with Red Cross markings), the K-113) Military Crane Truck
(156 mm long), the K-114) Army Aircraft Transporter Truck (203 mm long and with American markings), the K-115) Army Petrol Tanker Truck (229 mm long and with American markings), the K-116) Troop Carrier Truck and Howitzer (226 mm long), the K-117) Self-Propelled Rocket Launcher (105 mm long and with American markings) and the K-118) Army Helicopter (150 mm long and with American markings).

The Matchbox Sea Kings line for 1980 included the K-301) Frigate (219 mm long), the K-302) Corvette (199 mm long), the K-303) Battleship (218 mm long), the K-304) Aircraft Carrier (222 mm long), the K-305) Submarine Chaser (199 mm long), the K-306) Convoy Escort (199 mm long), the K-307) Helicopter Carrier (210 mm long), the K-308) Guided Missile Destroyer (213 mm long), the K-309) Submarine (205 mm long) and the K-310) Anti-Aircraft Cruiser (205 mm long).  The entire Matchbox King Size thus had a grand total of 103 models, or five fewer than during the record year of 1979.

The Matchbox Models of Yesteryear line for 1980 included the Y-1) 1936 Jaguar SS 100 Roadster (104 mm long), the Y-2) 1914 Prince Henry Vauxhall Convertible (89 mm long), the Y-3) 1934 Riley MPH Roadster (98 mm long), the Y-4) 1930 Duesenberg Model J (114 mm long), the Y-5) 1927 Talbot Van (90 mm long and with “Lipton’s Tea” livery), the Y-6) 1920 Rolls-Royce Fire Engine (105 mm long), the Y-7) 1912 Rolls-Royce Landaulet (96 mm long), the Y-8) 1945 MG TC Sports Car (95 mm long), the Y-9) 1912 Simplex (96 mm long), the Y-10) 1906 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost (94 mm long), the Y-11) 1938 Lagonda Drophead Coupé (112 mm long), the Y-12) 1912 Ford Model T Van (90 mm long and with “Coleman’s Mustard” livery), the Y-13) 1918 Crossley Coal Cart Pickup Truck (98 mm long), the Y-14) 1931 Stutz Bearcat Boattail Speedster (112 mm long), the Y-15) 1930 Packard Victoria (107 mm long), the Y-16) 1928 Mercedes-Benz SS (108 mm long), the Y-17) 1938 Hispano-Suiza (115 mm long), the Y-18) 1937 Cord 812 Convertible (120 mm long) and the Y-19) 1936 Auburn Boattail Speedster (116 mm long).  This was a record number of models for the Matchbox Models of Yesteryear line.

The “Matchbox Giftsets!” line for 1980 included the G-1) Car Transporter Set (with a “Super Kings” Car Transporter Truck and five cars), the G-2) Railway Set (with an oval track, a railway station building and five railway cars), the G-3) Racing Set (with a “Super Kings” Racing Car Transporter Truck and four racing cars), the G-4) Military Set (with an amphibious landing barge, four military vehicles, a field gun and toy soldiers), the G-5) Construction Set (with a dirt loader and five construction vehicles), the G-6) Farm Set (with five vehicles, a barn, fencing and six toy animals), the G-7) Emergency Set (with four emergency vehicles, a helicopter, a police station, a hospital and a burning building diorama), the G-8) Thunder Jets Set (with four military “Skybusters” jets), the G-9) Commando Task Force Set (with an amphibious landing boat and three vehicles), the G-17) Car Ferry Set (with a plastic car ferry and four vehicles) and the G-18)  Sky Giants Set (with four “Skybusters” commercial airliner models).  There were no sets numbered G-10) through G-16).

The Matchbox Speedtrack line for 1980 had far fewer track sets, but more diecast “Ho” 1:87-Scale model cars.  The new track set available was the “Turbo RPS 6000? set, which featured 28 feet of plastic track, an overpass bridge (called a “flyover” in British and Southeast Asian English), a pit stop, start & finish graphics, two plug-in pistol electric controls, a power pack, 12 barriers with decals and a timing building.  The number of slot cars increased to 20 models.  They included the 1) Funny Car, the 2) Hulk Van, the 3)  Gremlin Sportsman, the 4) Pinto Sportsman, the 5) “Texaco” Formula 1 Racing Car, the 6) “Elf” Formula 1 Racing Car, the 7) Spiderman Car, the 8) Ford Escort Rally Car, the 9) Jaguar XJ Sedan, the 10) BMW 320i Sedan (with “Jägermeister” livery), the 11) M-26 Formula 1 Racing Car (with”Goodyear” livery), the 12) Ferrari 312 T2 Racing Car (with “Goodyear” livery), the 13) Chevrolet “Supervette” (lighted), the 14) Dodge Monaco Police Car (lighted), the 15) Renault Alpine Racing Car (lighted and with “elf” livery), the 16) Porsche 936 Racing Car (lighted), the 17) Fiat 131 Sedan (lighted), the 18) Triumph TR7 Sports Car (lighted), the 19) Volkswagen Scirocco Coupé TA (lighted) and the 20) Turbo 911 Porsche Coupé (lighted).

The Official “Matchbox” Collector’s Club for 1980 was still based in Wood Ridge, New Jersey, USA.  Special rates were offered for new members: US $2.00 for one year, US $2.50 for two years or US $3.00 for three years of quarterly newsletters.  Regular members outside of the United States had to order their subscriptions at US $3.75 for one year, US $5.00 for two years or US $6.75 for three years.  Members would also receive a Club Handbook and a Button.  Lesney Products Corporation was still based out of Moonachie, New Jersey in the USA and in London, England (UK) for their worldwide headquarters.

1981 Matchbox Model Year: further cuts in the Product Line

The color cover of the 1981 Matchbox catalogue featured two Super Kings models in a realistic construction diorama (a bridge-transporter truck and a tipper dump truck).  The purchase price of the catalogue had increased 100 percent to US $0.50 (fifty cents).  After 1981, Lesney Products would have merely one more year of existence before financial bankruptcy.  In an effort to spare precious capital, a number of products and services were eliminated in 1981, including the ”Matchbox Speedtrack” line of tracks and slot cars and the “Sea Kings” line of diecast navy ships.

The Matchbox 1-75 Series for 1981 included the 1) Dodge Challenger Hardtop (74 mm long), the 2) Hovercraft “Rescue” Boat (77 mm long), the 3) Porsche 911 Turbo Coupé (74 mm long), the 4) 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air (75 mm long), the 5) U.S. Mail Truck Jeep (60 mm long), the 6) Mercedes-Benz 350SL Tourer (75 mm long), the 7) Volkswagen Golf 4-Door Hatchback (74 mm long), the 8) De Tomaso Pantera Sports Car (77 mm long), the 9) Ford Escort RS2000 Sedan (73,5 mm long and with “Castrol” livery), the 10) Plymouth “Gran Fury” Police Car (75 mm long), the 11) Car Transporter Truck (75 mm long), the 12) Citroen CX Station Wagon (78 mm long), the 13) Snorkel Fire Engine (78 mm long), the 14) Mini Cooper “Ha-Ha” Dragster (60 mm long), the 15) Fork Lift Truck (70 mm long and with “Lansing Bagnall” livery), the 16) Pontiac Firebird Coupé (77 mm long), the 17) “Londoner” Double-Decker Bus (78 mm long and with “Berger Paints” livery), the 18) “Hondarora” Honda Motorcycle (63 mm long), the 19) Cement Truck (75 mm long), the 20) Police Patrol SUV (73 mm long and a “Rola-matic”), the 21) Renault 5TL “Le Car” Hatchback (65 mm long), the 22) “Blaze Buster” Fire Engine (77 mm long), the 23) Atlas Tipper Dump Truck (71 mm long), the 24) Diesel Shunter Locomotive (72,5 mm long), the 25) Flat Car and Container Railway Car (72,5 mm long and with “N.Y.K.” livery), the 26) Site Dumper Truck (64 mm long), the 27) Lamborghini Countach Sports Car (74 mm long), the 28) Lincoln Continental Hardtop (72 mm long), the 29) Shovel Nose Tractor (72 mm long), the 30) Articulated Truck (77 mm long), the 31) Camping Caravan Trailer (70 mm long), the 32) Excavator (80 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the 33) Police Motorcycle (74 mm long), the 34) Chevrolet Pro-Stocker (76 mm long), the 35) “Fandango” Sports Car (75 mm long and a “Rola-matic”), the 36) Refuse Truck (77 mm long), the 37) Skip Truck Dumper (69 mm long), the 38) Pickup Truck with Camping Shell (76 mm long), the 39) Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow Mark II Sedan (75 mm long), the 40) Horsebox Truck (72 mm long), the 41) Ambulance (75 mm long), the 42) Mercedes-Benz Container Truck (77 mm long and with “Matchbox” livery), the 43) Steam Locomotive (68 mm long), the 44) Passenger Coach Railway Car (73 mm long), the 45) BMW 3.0 CSI (74 mm long), the 46) Tractor and Harrow (52 mm long), the 47) Pannier Locomotive (76 mm long), the 48) Sambron Jack Lift (78 mm long), the 49) Crane Truck (76 mm long), the 50) Harley-Davidson Motorcycle (70 mm long), the 51) Combine Harvester (72 mm long), the 52) Police Launch Boat (76 mm long), the 53) CJ6 Jeep (75 mm long), the 54) Motor Home (77 mm long), the 55) Ford Cortina 1600GL Sedan (75 mm long), the 56) Mercedes-Benz 450 SEL Sedan (74 mm long), the 57) Ford Wild Life Pickup Truck (71 mm long and a “Rola-matic”), the 58) Faun Dumper Truck (71 mm long), the 59) Porsche 928 Coupé (75 mm long), the 60) Holden Pickup Truck (77 mm long), the 61) Wreck Truck (76 mm long), the 62) Chevrolet Corvette Sports Car (74 mm long), the 63) Freeway Gas Tanker Truck (78 mm long and with “Shell” livery), the 64) “Caterpillar” Tractor (68 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the 65) Airport Coach (78 mm long and with either “Qantas” or “TWA” liveries), the 66) Ford Transit Pickup Truck (71 mm long), the 67) Datsun 260Z Coupé (75 mm long), the 68) Chevrolet Van (77 mm long), the 69) Security Truck (73 mm long and with “Wells Fargo” livery), the 70) Ferrari Coupé (75 mm long), the 71) Dodge Cattle Truck (74 mm long), the 72) Bomag Road Roller (71 mm long), the 73) Model “A” Ford Coupé (71 mm long), the 74) Mercury Cougar Villager Station Wagon (78 mm long) and the 75) “Rescue” Helicopter (74 mm long).  A number of brand new future models were shown as well, albeit without model numbers.  They included the Jet Aircraft, the BMW M1 Sports Car, the Rover 3500 Sedan and the Swing Wing Jet.

The Matchbox 900 line for 1981 included the TP-1) Mercedes-Benz Truck and Trailer (with “IMS” livery), the TP-2) Long Petrol Tanker Truck (with “Exxon” livery), the TP-3) AMC AMX Javelin and Pony Trailer, the TP-4) Holiday Set with Maserati Bora Sports Car towing Eccles Camping Caravan Trailer, the TP-5) Weekender Set with Ford Escort Sedan towing Boat on Trailer, the TP-6) “Tow Joe” Breakdown Truck towing Racing Mini Cooper Hatchback, the TP-7) Jeep towing Glider Trailer, the TP-8) Field Car towing Honda Motorcycle on Trailer, the TP-9) Field Car towing Racing Car (with “Good Year” livery), the TP-10) no set, the TP-11) Tractor and Hay Trailer, the TP-12) through TP-15) no sets, the TP-16) Articulated Truck and Trailer, the TP-17) Petrol Tanker Truck and Trailer (with “Shell” livery), the TP-18) Water Sporter Set with Volkswagen Golf Hatchback towing “Seafire” Speed Boat, the TP-19) Dodge Cattle Truck and Trailer, the TP-20) Diesel Shunter Locomotive and Side-Tipper Rail Car, the TP-21) Citroen SM Coupé towing Motorcycle Trailer, the TP-22) Long Haul Double Container Truck (with “OCL” livery), the TP-23) Long Haul Covered Container Truck (with “Firestone” livery), the TP-24) Long Haul Box Container Truck (with “Matchbox” livery), the TP-25) Long Haul Truck and Pipe Trailer, the TP-26) Long Haul Boat Transporter Truck and the TP-27) Steam Locomotive and Caboose Set (with “NP” livery).

The “Matchbox Giftsets!” line for 1981 included the G-1) Car Transporter Set (with a “Super Kings” Car Transporter Truck and five cars), the G-2) Railway Set (with an oval railway track, a railway station building and five rail cars), the G-3) Racing Set (with a “Super Kings” Racing Car Transporter Truck and four Racing Cars), the G-4) no set, the G-5) Construction Set (with a dirt loader, traffic signs and five vehicles), the G-6) Farm Set (with a barn, fencing and six vehicles), the G-7) no set, the G-8) Thunder Jets (with four “Skybusters” fighter jets), the G-9) through G-16) no sets, the G-17) Car Ferry Set (with a plastic car ferry and four vehicles) and the G-18) Sky Giants Set (with four “Skybusters” commercial airliner models).

The Matchbox Play Track line for 1981 was much improved, with more versatile sets.  They included the PL-1) with 30 parts (including a roadway, road bends, buildings, trees and figures), the PL-2) with 50 parts (including a garage, a crossroads and road signs), the PL-3) with 70 parts (including a bridge and parking areas), the PL-4) with 90 parts (including a station, a train turn table, level crossing gates, locomotive sidings, a farm with animals and railway track) and the PL-5) with a multi-story garage.

The Matchbox Collectors Carry Cases were back in 1981, and for 24, 36 or 48 of the 1-75 Series models.  A “Matchbox MG-3 Garage” Set was also back in 1981, complete with “Texaco” pumps and a restaurant.

Another nice comeback in 1981 was the “Matchbox Streak Sets” line of tracks.  They included the S-100) Hit’n Miss Set, the S-200) Streak Loop Set, the S-300) Streak Racing Set (a double loop set), the S-700) Countdown Set (a drag racing set), the S-800) Stunt Jump Set and the S-900) Streak-Around Set.  Available accessories included TA-00) Track Joiners, the TA-29) G-Clamp, the TA-40) Track Extension Pack and the TA-41) Bend Pack.

The Matchbox Skybusters line for 1981 included the SB-1) Learjet (wingspan of 81 mm), the SB-2) Corsair A7D Jet (wingspan of 84 mm and with American markings), the SB-3) NASA Space Shuttle (wingspan of 100 mm and with American markings), the SB-4) Dassault-Briguet Mirage F1 Jet (wingspan of 54 mm and with French markings), the SB-5) Lockheed Starfighter Jet (wingspan of 52 mm and with Canadian markings), the SB-6) Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 Fighter Jet (wingpsan of 57 mm and with Soviet markings), the SB-7) Junkers Ju-87 “Stuka” Dive Bomber (wingspan of 99 mm and with German markings), the SB-8) Supermarine Spitfire (wingspan of 102 mm and with RAF markings), the SB-9) Cessna 402 Monoplane (wingspan of 103 mm), the SB-10) Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet (wingspan of 94 mm and with either “British Airways” or “Qantas” liveries), the SB-11) Dornier Alpha Jet (wingspan of 88 mm and with German markings), the SB-12) Pitts Special Biplane (wingspan of 93 mm), the SB-13) McDonnell-Douglas DC 10 Commercial Airliner (wingspan of 93 mm and with either “SwissAir” or “United Airlines” liveries), the SB-14) Cessna 210 Monoplane (wingspan of 101 mm), the SB-15) McDonnell-Douglas Phantom F4E Jet (wingspan of 73 mm and with RAF markings), the SB-16) Corsair F4U Monoplane (wingspan of 100 mm and with US Navy markings), the SB-17) “Ram Rod” Monoplane (wingspan of 99 mm), the SB-18) “Wild Wind” Monoplane (wingspan of 99 mm), the SB-19) Piper Commanche Monoplane (wingspan of 104 mm), the SB-20) Helicopter (wingspan of 101 mm and with either “US Army,” “US Coast Guard” or “Police” markings), the SB-21) BAC Lightning Jet (wingspan of 75 mm and with RAF markings), the SB-22) Messerschmitt Tornado Fighter-Bomber Jet (wingspan of 101 mm and with German markings), the SB-23) Concorde Supersonic Commercial Airliner (wingspan of 142 mm and with either “Air France” or “Singapore Airlines” liveries), the SB-24) F. 16 Jet (wingspan of 114 mm and with US Air Force markings) and the SB-25) Rescue Helicopter (wingspan of 105 mm and with RAF markings).

A brand new product for 1981 was the “Matchbox Popeye” line, very similar to the existing Matchbox Walt Disney line.  The numbering system started in the Walt Disney line, and followed in the Popeye line, albeit with different prefixes.  The models included the WD-1) Mickey Mouse Fire Engine (73 mm long), the WD-2) Donald Duck Volkswagen Beach Buggy (73 mm long), the WD-3) Goofy Volkswagen Beetle (73 mm long), the WD-4) Minnie Mouse Lincoln Continental (73 mm long), the WD-5) Mickey Mouse Jeep (73 mm long), the WD-6) Donald Duck Jeep (73 mm long), the WD-7) Pinnochio’s Travelling Theatre Truck (73 mm long), the WD-8) Jiminy Cricket’s Old Timer Roadster (73 mm long), the WD-9) Goofy’s Sports Car (73 mm long), the WD-10) Goofy Train (73 mm long), the WD-11) Donald Duck’s Ice Cream Van (73 mm long), the WD-12) Mickey Mouse Chevrolet Corvette (73 mm long), the CS-13) Popeye’s Spinach Truck (73 mm long), the CS-14) Bluto’s Road Roller (73 mm long) and the CS-15) Olive Oyl’s Sports Car (73 mm long).

The Matchbox Adventure 2000 line for 1981 included the K-2001) Raider Command Vehicle (162 mm long), the K-2002) Flight Hunter Vehicle (117 mm long), the K-2003) Crusader Vehicle (113 mm long), the K-2004) Rocket Striker Vehicle (112 mm long), the K-2005) Command Force Set (with 3 smaller vehicles) and the K-2006) Shuttle Launcher Vehicle (160 mm long).

The Matchbox Super Kings line for 1981 included the K-1) O&K Excavator (124 mm long), the K-2) Car Recovery Vehicle (120 mm long), the K-3) Grain Transporter Truck (300 mm and with “Kellogg’s” livery), the K-4) Big Tipper Dump Truck (118 mm long), the K-5) Muir Hill Tractor and Trailer (241 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the K-6) Motorcycle Transporter Truck (120 mm long and with “Team Honda” livery), the K-7) Martini Racing Car Transporter Truck (156 mm long), the K-8) Animal Transporter Truck (314 mm long and with 6 toy animals), the K-9) Fire Tender Truck (156 mm long), the K-10) Car Transporter Truck (269 mm long and with “Auto Transport” livery), the K-11) Dodge Delivery Van (135 mm long and with “Michelin” livery), the K-12) Hercules Mobile Crane Truck (156 mm long), the K-13) Aircraft Transporter Truck (203 mm long), the K-14) Heavy Breakdown Wreck Truck (131 mm long and with “Shell” livery), the K-15) “Londoner” Double-Decker Bus (120 mm long and with “London Dungeon” livery), the K-16) Petrol Tanker Truck (229 mm long and with either “Texaco,” “Shell” or “Exxon” liveries), the K-17) Articulated Container Truck (251 mm long and with “Gentransco” livery), the K-18) Ford Articulated Tipper Truck (203 mm long and with “Tarmac” livery), the K-19) Security Truck (137 mm long and with either “Fort Knox” or “Group 4? liveries), the K-20) Peterbilt Wreck Truck (161 mm long), the K-21) Ford Transcontinental Tractor Trailer Truck (338 mm long and with either “Continental” or “Santa Fé” liveries), the K-22) Hovercraft SRN6 Boat (127 mm long and with “Seaspeed” livery), the K-23) Low Loader and Bulldozer (133 mm long), the K-24) Scammell Container Truck (133 mm long and with “Crowe” livery), the K-25) Digger and Plough Tractor (129 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the K-26) Bedford Cement Truck (100 mm long), the K-27) Powerboat and Transporter Truck (257 mm long and with either “Matchbox” or “Benihana” liveries), the K-28) Bedford Skip Truck (110 mm long and with “Hales Containers” livery), the K-29) Ford Delivery Van (110 mm long and with “Avis” livery), the K-30) Mercedes-Benz Unimog Pickup Truck and Compressor Trailer (185 mm long and with “MJ” livery), the K-31) Peterbilt Container Truck (300 mm long and with either “Christian Salvesen,” “Lagnese Igloo” or “Pepsi-Cola” liveries), the K-32) Mercedes-Benz Farm Unimog Pickup Truck and Trailer (225 mm long), the K-33) Cargo Hauler Truck with Crane (230 mm long and with either “MW” or “US Steel” liveries), the K-34) DAF Pallett Truck and Fork Lift (142 mm long and with “KM International” livery), the K-35) Massey Ferguson Tractor and Trailer (224 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the K-36) Construction Transporter Truck (162 mm long and with “Laing” livery), the K-37) Leyland Tipper Truck (110 mm long and with “Laing” livery), the K-38) Dodge Ambulance (135 mm long), the K-39) E.R.F. Snorkel Fire Engine Truck (270 mm long), the K-40) Pepsi-Cola Truck (151 mm long), the K-41) JCB Excavator (250 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the K-42) “Traxcavator” Road Ripper (140 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the K-43) Log Transporter Truck (315 mm long), the K-44) Bridge Transporter Set (335 mm long), the K-45) through K-47) no models, the K-48) Mercedes-Benz 350 SLC Coupé (106 mm long), the K-49) Ambulance (112 mm long), the K-50) “Street Rod” Hot Rod (100 mm long), the K-51) and K-52) no models, the K-53) “Hot” Fire Engine (98 mm long), the K-54) through K-56) no models, the K-57) AMC AMX Javelin Drag Race Pack with Ford Maverick “Milligan’s Mill” Dragster on Trailer (247 mm long), the K-58) through K-60) no models, the K-61) Mercedes-Benz 350SLC Coupé Police Car (107 mm long and with either English or German markings), the K-62) and K-63) no models, the K-64) Fire Control Range Rover SUV (105 mm long), the K-65) Plymouth Pickup Truck Rescue Vehicle (115 mm long), the K-66) Jaguar Sedan Police Set with 2 Police Motorcycles and Traffic Signs (200 mm long), the K-67) Dodge Monaco Station Wagon Fire Chief Car (115 mm long with “Hackensack, New Jersey” markings), the K-68) Dodge Monaco Station Wagon and Trailer (210 mm long), the K-69) Jaguar Sedan and Camping Caravan (270 mm long), the K-70) Porsche 911 Turbo Coupé (118 mm long), the K-71) Porsche 911 Turbo Coupé “Polizei” Set with 2 Police Motorcycles and German Traffic Signs (Porsche only 118 mm long), the K-72) Brabham Formula 1 Racing Car (109 mm long and with “Martini Racing” livery), the K-73) no model, the K-74) Volvo Station Wagon (138 mm long), the K-75) Airport Rescue Tender (135 mm long and with either British, French or German markings), the K-76) Volvo Rally Set with Station Wagon and Datsun 260Z Rally Car (138 mm long), the K-77) Highway Rescue Pickup Truck (135 mm long and with either British, French or German markings), the K-78) Dodge Monaco Sedan U.S. Police Car (137 mm long), the K-79) Dodge Monaco U.S. Taxicab (137 mm long), the K-80) Dodge Custom Van (135 mm long), the K-81) Suzuki Motorcycle (110 mm long and with “Texaco” livery), the K-82) BMW Motorcycle (110 mm long), the K-83) Harley-Davidson Police Motorcycle (120 mm long), the K-84) Peugeot 305 Sedan (128 mm long), the K-85 and K-86) no models and the K-87) Tractor and Rotary Rake (220 mm long).

The Matchbox Battle Kings line for 1981 included the K-101) Sherman Tank (91 mm long and with American markings), the K-102) M48 AZ Tank (117 mm long and with American markings), the K-103) Chieftain Tank (120 mm long), the K-104) Panzerkampfwagen VIb “Königstiger” King Tiger Heavy Tank (114 mm long and with German markings), the K-105) “Hover Raider” Hovercraft SRN6 Boat (126 mm long), the K-106) Tank Transporter Truck with M48 AZ Tank (256 mm long), the K-107) 155 mm Self-Propelled Gun (105 mm long), the K-108) M3A1 Half Track Truck (100 mm long and with American markings), the K-109) Sheridan Tank (105 mm long), the K-110) Recovery Tow Truck Vehicle (131 mm long), the K-111) Missile Launcher Vehicle (112 mm long), the K-112) DAF Ambulance (95 mm long and with Red Cross markings), the K-113) Military Crane Truck (156 mm long), the K-114) Army Aircraft Transporter Truck (203 mm long and with American markings), the K-115) Army Petrol Tanker Truck (229 mm long and with American markings), the K-116) Troop Carrier Truck and Howitzer (226 mm long), the K-117) Self-Propelled Rocket Launcher Vehicle (105 mm long and with American markings) and the K-118) Army Helicopter (150 mm long and with American markings).  The entire “King Size” line was thus down to 96 models in 1981 – the lowest number since 1978.

The Matchbox Models of Yesteryear line for 1981 included the Y-1) 1936 Jaguar SS 100 Roadster (104 mm long), the Y-2) 1914 Prince Henry Vauxhall Convertible (89 mm long), the Y-3) 1934 Riley MPH Roadster (98 mm long), the Y-4) 1930 Duesenberg Model J (114 mm long), the Y-5) 1927 Talbot Van (90 mm long and with either “Lipton’s Tea,” “Menier” or “Taystee Bakery” liveries), the Y-6) 1920 Rolls-Royce Fire Engine (105 mm long), the Y-7) 1912 Rolls-Royce Landaulet (96 mm long), the Y-8) 1945 MG TC Sports Car (95 mm long), the Y-9) 1912 Simplex (96 mm long), the Y-10) 1906 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost (94 mm long), the Y-11) 1938 Lagonda Drophead Coupé (112 mm long), the Y-12) Ford Model T Van (90 mm long and with either “Colman’s Mustard” or “Suze” liveries), the Y-13) 1918 Crossley Coal Cart Pickup Truck (98 mm long and with “Coal & Coke” livery), the Y-14) 1931 Stutz Bearcat Boattail Speedster (112 mm long), the Y-15) 1930 Packard Victoria (107 mm long), the Y-16) 1928 Mercedes-Benz SS (108 mm long), the Y-17) 1938 Hispano-Suiza (115 mm long), the Y-18) 1937 Cord 812 Convertible (120 mm long), the Y-19) 1936 Auburn Boattail Speedster (116 mm long), the Y-20) 1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Roadster with Rumble Seat (124 mm long) and the Y-21) 1929 Woody Station Wagon (100 mm long).  This was the largest number of vintage vehicles from “Matchbox” to date.

1982 Matchbox Model Year: Lesney Bankruptcy and New Owners

In 1982, Lesney Products finally went bankrupt, sadly ending its 35-year history as an independent toy maker from England.  The reality of high labor costs in England, and bad marketing decisions over many years had finally caught up with the company.  The company was purchased by new owners from Macao (then a Portuguese Colony on the Chinese Mainland), and was renamed “Matchbox International, Limited.”  Manufacturing of the 1-75 Series was immediately shut down in England and moved to Macao.  The larger and more expensive product lines would continue to be made in England for the time being.  The 1982 catalogue had a purchase price of US $0.50 (fifty cents), just as in 1981.  The color cover featured a painting of three large tractor trailer-type trucks, one of which was stuck in a ditch next to a highway.  A large wreck truck was preparing to tow it out.  Oil wells were in the distant background.

For the first time ever, the length of models was no longer listed in the catalogue – a reduction in sophistication.  The Matchbox 1-75 Series for 1982 included the 1) “Revin’ Rebel” Dragster, the 2) S2 Jet, the 3) Porsche 911 Turbo Coupé, the 4) 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Sedan, the 5) 4 x 4 Jeep Off-Road, the 6) Mercedes-Benz 350 SL Convertible, the 7) “Rombing” Volkswagen Rabbit Off-Road Vehicle, the 8) De Tomaso Pantera Sports Car, the 9) Fiat Abarth Rally Car (with “Matchbox” livery), the 10) Plymouth “Gran Fury” Police Car, the 11) Ford Cobra Boss Mustang Coupé, the 12) Pontiac Firebird TA Coupé, the 13) Off-Road Pickup Truck, the 14) Maserati Bora “Rallye Royale” Sports Car, the 15) Volkswagen Beetle “Hi Ho Silver” Dragster, the 16) Pontiac Firebird Trans Am Coupé, the 17) London Double-Decker Bus (with “Laker Skytrain” livery), the 18) “Hondarora” Honda Motorcycle, the 19) Peterbilt Cement Truck, the 20) 4 x 4 Jeep, the 21) Renault 5TL “Le Car” Hatchback, the 22) Toyota Mini Pickup Truck with Camper Shell, the 23) Audi Quattro Fastback Sedan, the 24) Datsun 280Z Coupé, the 25) Toyota Celica GT Coupé, the 26) “Cosmic Blues” Dragster, the 27) Swing Wing Jet, the 28) Formula Racing Car, the 29) Shovel Nose Tractor, the 30) Peterbilt Quarry Truck, the 31) Mazda RX7 Coupé, the 32) Excavator (a non-Superfast model), the 33) Police Motorcycle, the 34) Chevrolet Pro-Stocker, the 35) Pontiac Trans Am “T” Roof Coupé, the 36) Refuse Truck, the 37) “Sunburner” Sports Car, the 38) Ford Model “A” Truck (with “Champion” livery), the 39) Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow Mark II Sedan, the 40) Chevrolet Corvette “T” Roof Sports Car, the 41) Kenworth Conventional Aerodyne Tractor Trailer Cab, the 42) 1957 Ford Thunderbird Convertible, the 43) Peterbilt Conventional Tractor Trailer Cab, the 44) Chevrolet 4 x 4 Van, the 45) Kenworth Cabover Aerodyne Tractor Trailer, the 46) Volkswagen Beetle “Hot Chocolate” Dragster, the 47) Jaguar SS100 Roadster, the 48) “Red Rider” Dragster, the 49) Crane Truck, the 50) Harley-Davidson Motorcycle, the 51) “Midnight Magic” Sports Car, the 52) BMW M1 Sports Car, the 53) Flareside Pickup Truck, the 54) NASA Tracking Vehicle, the 55) Ford Cortina 1600GL Sedan, the 56) Peterbilt Tanker Truck, the 57) 4 x 4 Mini Pickup Truck, the 58) Dump Truck, the 59) Porsche 928 Coupé, the 60) “Piston Popper” Dragster, the 61) Peterbilt Wreck Truck, the 62) Chevrolet Corvette Sports Car, the 63) Dodge Challenger Sedan, the 64) Caterpillar Bulldozer (a non-Superfast model), the 65) Tyrone Malone Bandag Bandit Custom Tractor Trailer Cab, the 66) Tyrone Malone “Superboss” Custom Tractor Trailer Cab, the 67) Datsun 260Z Coupé, the 68) Chevrolet Van, the 69) 1933 Willys Street Rod, the 70) Ferrari, the 71) 1962 Chevrolet Corvette Sports Car, the 72) Ford Capri “Maxi Taxi” Dragster, the 73) Model “A” Ford Coupé, the 74) “Orange Peel” Dragster and the 75) Helicopter (with “MBTV News” livery).

The 1982 Matchbox catalogue featured an index with all 1-75 Series model changes going back to 1953, as well.

A new product line for 1982 was the “Matchbox Code Red” series of special “1-75 Series” emergency models based upon an ABC television show.  There were about 8 models, including a police motorcycle, a helicopter, a boat, a police car, an ambulance, a fire chief car and a fire engine.

A very nice accessory for 1982 was the “Matchbox Sounds of Service” station, which featured a service garage with two bays and lifts, fuel pumps, a working car elevator, an upper service level for tune-ups and lube jobs, and finally automotive engine sounds powered electrically.

Another nice 1982 accessory set was the “Matchbox Super Spin Car Wash,” which featured real jets of water, a conveyor belt and a dryer.  About 3 cars could fit in the building at one time.

Finally, there was the 1982 “Matchbox City Garage,” which featured a spring-loaded elevator (no batteries required), two parking levels with over 25 parking spaces, traffic flow indicators, ramps, a pay toll booth with an operating exit gate, special motorcycle parking and a rooftop heliport.

A new product line for 1982 was the “Matchbox Supersets,” which featured five vehicles each (a similar product still exists today).  They were the “Workin’ Wheels Set” (with five construction vehicles), the “Off Road Riders Set” (with five 4 x 4 vehicles), the “Classy Classics Set” (with five classic model cars) and the “Pace Setters Set” (with five racing cars).

The Matchbox Playtrack line was back in 1982, and with the PL-1) with 30 parts (including roadway, road bends, buildings, trees and figures), the PL-2) with 50 parts (including a garage, roadway, buildings, crossroads, road signs and more) and the PL-3) with 70 parts (including a big town complex with a garage, buildings, a bridge, roadway, car parking areas and more).

The Matchbox Collectors Carry Cases were back in 1982, and for 24, 36 or 48 of the 1-75 Series models.

The “Matchbox Giftsets!” line for 1982 included the G-1) Car Transporter Set (with one “Super Kings” car transporter truck and five cars), the G-2) Railway Set (with an oval track, a railway building and five rail cars), the G-5) Construction Set (with a dirt loader, traffic signs and five vehicles), the G-6) Farm Set (with a barn, fencing, six toy animals and five vehicles) and the G-7) Emergency Set (with a police station, a burning building, a hospital, a helicopter and four vehicles).  As one can see, the line was drastically reduced in 1982 to a mere five sets (down from ten sets in 1981) – a sad result of Lesney’s bankruptcy.

The “Matchbox 900 Series” (formerly the “Two Packs” line) was no more in 1982.  It was yet another regrettable loss to the stark reality of financial insolvency.  One result of this decision was to launch the “Matchbox Convoy” line, which fortunately still exists to this day.  For 1982, they included the CY-1) Peterbilt Car Transporter, the CY-2) Kenworth Rocket Transporter (with “NASA” markings), the CY-3) Kenworth Double Container Truck (with “Uniroyal” livery), the CY-4) Kenworth Boat Transporter, the CY-5) Peterbilt Covered Truck (with “Inter-State Trucking” livery), the CY-6) Kenworth Horsebox Transporter (with “Blue Grass Farms” livery), the CY-7) Peterbilt Petrol Tanker (with “Supergas” livery), the CY-8) Kenworth Box Truck (with “Redcap Transport” livery) and the CY-9) Kenworth Conventional Box Truck (with “Midnight X-Press” livery).  These nine models compared to five similar models within the 1981 “Matchbox 900 Series,” so the idea was to expand the large tractor-trailer model line at the expense of eliminating the “Two Packs” idea.

Another major casualty of Lesney’s financial demise was the venerable Matchbox Super Kings line, which had a mere 21 models in 1982 – down from 96 King Size models in 1981.  The line in 1982 included the K-6) Motorcycle Transporter Truck (with “Team Honda” livery), the K-10) Car Transporter Truck (with “Courier” livery), the K-13) Aircraft Transporter Truck, the K-16) Petrol Tanker Truck (with “Chemco” livery), the K-20) Peterbilt Heavy Wreck Truck, the K-27) Powerboat Transporter (with “Miss Solo” livery), the K-31) Peterbilt Container Truck Euro Express, the K-39) E.R.F. Snorkel Fire Engine Truck, the K-61) Jaguar Sedan Police Set (with 2 Motorcycle Policemen and Traffic Signs), the K-70) Porsche 911 Turbo Coupé, K-76) Volvo Station Wagon Rally Set with Datsun 260Z Coupé, the K-78) Dodge Monaco Sedan U.S. Police Car, the K-79) Dodge Monaco Sedan U.S. Taxi, the K-81) Suzuki Motorcycle, the K-82) BMW Motorcycle, the K-83) Harley-Davidson Motorcycle, the K-84) Peugeot 305 Rally Car, the K-89) Forestry Set (with SUV towing trailer), the K-91) Motorcycle Racing Set (with Dodge Monaco Sedan towing 2 Motorcycles on a Trailer), the K-95) Audi Quattro Rally Car and the K-96) Peterbilt Container Truck Pepsi-Cola.

The Matchbox Skybusters line was also much reduced in 1982 – down to 15 models from a high of 25 models in 1981.  The offering for 1982 included the SB-1) Learjet, the SB-2) Corsair A7D Jet (with American markings), the SB-3) NASA Space Shuttle, the SB-4) Dassault-Briguet Mirage F1 Jet (with French markings), the SB-9) Cessna 402 Monoplane, the SB-10) Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet (with markings for the US President), the SB-11) Dornier Alpha Jet, the SB-12) “Pitts Special” Biplane, the SB-13) McDonnell-Douglas DC-10 Commercial Airliner (with “United Airlines” livery), the SB-20) Police Helicopter, the SB-23) Concorde Supersonic Airliner (with “Air France” livery), the SB-24) F.16 Jet (with US Air Force markings), the SB-26) Cessna 210 Float Plane, the SB-27) Hawker Harrier Jump Jet (with US Marine Corps markings) and the SB-28) Airbus A300 Commercial Airliner (with “Lufthansa” livery).

The Matchbox Models of Yesteryear line for 1982 included the Y-1) 1936 Jaguar SS 100 Roadster, the Y-2) 1914 Prince Henry Vauxhall Convertible, the Y-3) 1912 Model T Ford Petrol Tanker (with “BP” livery), the Y-4) 1930 Duesenburg Model J, the Y-5) 1927 Talbot Van (with “Chivers & Sons, Ltd.” livery), the Y-6) 1920 Rolls-Royce Fire Engine, the Y-7) 1912 Rolls-Royce Landaulet, the Y-8) 1945 MG TC Sports Car, the Y-9) no model, the Y-10) 1906 Rolls-Royce “Silver Ghost,” the Y-11) 1938 Lagonda Drophead Coupé, the Y-12) 1912 Ford Model T Van (with “Bird’s Custard Powder” livery), the Y-13) 1918 Crossley Coal Pickup Truck (with “Coal & Coke” livery), the Y-14) 1931 Stutz Bearcat Boattail Speedster, the Y-15) 1930 Packard Victoria, the Y-16) 1928 Mercedes-Benz SS, the Y-17) 1938 Hispano-Suiza, the Y-18) 1937 Cord 812 Convertible, the Y-19) 1936 Auburn Boattail Speedster, the Y-20) 1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Roadster (with Rumble Seat), the Y-21) 1930 Woody Station Wagon, the Y-22) 1930 Model “A” Ford Van (with “OXO” livery) and the Y-23) 1922 AEC Omnibus (with “Scheppes Tonic Water” livery).  A new index was also featured, which detailed all Models of Yesteryear model line changes since 1955.

The Matchbox Walt Disney and the Matchbox Popeye lines for 1982 included the WD-1) Mickey Mouse Fire Engine, the WD-2) Donald Duck Volkswagen Beach Buggy, the WD-3) Goofy Volkswagen Beetle, the WD-4) Minnie Mouse Lincoln Continental, the WD-5) Mickey Mouse Jeep, the WD-6) Donald Duck Jeep, the WD-7) Pinnochio’s Travelling Theatre Truck, the WD-8) Jiminy Cricket’s Old Timer Car, the WD-9) Goofy’s Sports Car, the WD-10) Goofy Train Locomotive, the WD-11) Donald Duck’s Ice Cream Van, the WD-12) Mickey Mouse Chevrolet Corvette, the CS-13) Popeye’s Spinach Wagon, the CS-14) Bluto’s Road Roller and the CS-15) Olive Oyl’s Sports Car.

The Official “Matchbox” Collector’s Club was back for its final year in 1982, and still based out of Wood Ridge, New Jersey (USA).  Annual membership dues had increased to US $4.00 for the USA and US $5.00 for members in the rest of the world.

1983 Matchbox Model Year: a very limited Product Line

The color cover of the 1983 Matchbox catalogue was the plainest one since the catalogues first appeared in 1957 – a light blue field with the “Matchbox” logo in the top left corner, the year “1983? in the bottom right-hand corner and yellow & red stripes (the official colors of the Matchbox brand logo) going from the bottom left to the top right-hand corner.  The product line in 1983 was the smallest and the most basic in many years.  The new owners of “Matchbox International” were obviously concerned with returning the brand line to profitability.  The mere four product lines available in 1983 were the “1-75 Series,” the “Convoy,” the “Models of Yesteryear” and the “Super Kings.”  What a change from the recent past.

The Matchbox 1-75 Series for 1983 included the 1) Dodge Challenger Hardtop, the 2) S2 Jet, the 3) Porsche 911 Turbo Coupé, the 4) 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Hardtop, the 5) Jeep Eagle 4 x 4, the 6) IMSA Mazda Coupé, the 7) “Ruff” Volkswagen Rabbit Hatchback, the 8) “Grease Lightnin” Dragster, the 9) Fiat Abarth Sedan Rally Car (with “Matchbox Toys” livery), the 10) Police Car, the 11) IMSA Ford Mustang Coupé, the 12) 1982 Pontiac Firebird S/E Coupé, the 13) 4 x 4 “Dunes Racer” Pickup Truck, the 14) 1983 Chevrolet Corvette Sports Car, the 15) Ford Sierra XR4i Coupé, the 16) Pontiac Firebird Coupé, the 17) AMC AMX Javelin Pro Stocker, the 18) “Hondarora” Honda Motorcycle, the 19) Peterbilt Cement Truck, the 20) 4 x 4 Jeep Laredo, the 21) Chevrolet Corvette Pace Car (with “Indy 500? livery), the 22) “Big Foot” Pickup Truck with Shell, the 23) Audi Quattro Fastback Sedan (with “Audi Sport” livery), the 24) Datsun 280-ZX Coupé, the 25) Ambulance, the 26) “Cosmic Blues” Dragster, the 27) Swing Wing-Jet, the 28) Formula Racing Car, the 29) Shovel Nose Tractor, the 30) Peterbilt Quarry Truck, the 31) Mazda RX7 Sports Car, the 32) Excavator (a non-Superfast model), the 33) Police Motorcycle, the 34) Chevrolet Pro Stocker, the 35) Pontiac Firebird “T” Roof Coupé, the 36) Refuse Truck, the 37) “Sun Burner” Sports Car, the 38) Ford Model “A” Truck (with “Champion Spark Plugs” livery), the 39) Toyota Supra Coupé (with “Toyota Racing” livery), the 40) Chevrolet Corvette “T” Roof Sports Car, the 41) Kenworth Conventional Aerodyne Tractor Trailer Cab, the 42) 1957 Ford Thunderbird Convertible, the 43) Peterbilt Conventional Tractor Trailer Cab, the 44) 4 x 4 Chevrolet Van, the 45) Kenworth C.O.E. Aerodyne Tractor Trailer Cab, the 46) “Big Blue” Volkswagen Beetle Dragster, the 47) Jaguar SS 100 Roadster, the 48) “Red Rider” Dragster, the 49) “Sand Digger” Volkswagen Beetle, the 50) Harley-Davidson Motorcycle, the 51) “Midnight Magic” Sports Car, the 52) BMW M1 Sports Car, the 53) “Baja Bouncer” Pickup Truck, the 54) NASA Tracking Vehicle, the 55) Super Porsche Racer, the 56) Peterbilt Tanker Truck (with “Supergas” livery), the 57) “Mountain Man” 4 x 4 Pickup Truck, the 58) “Ruff Trek” Pickup Truck, the 59) Porsche 928 Coupé, the 60) “Good Vibrations” Dragster, the 61) Peterbilt Wreck Truck, the 62) Chevrolet Corvette Sports Car, the 63) Snorkel Fire Engine, the 64) Caterpillar Bulldozer (a non-Superfast model), the 65) Tyrone Malone Bandag Bandit Tractor Trailer Cab, the 66) Tyrone Malone Super Boss Tractor Trailer Cab, the 67) “Flame Out” Dragster, the 68) Chevrolet “Vampire” Van, the 69) 1933 Willys Street Rod, the 70) Ferrari 308 Coupé, the 71) 1962 “Blue Flame” Chevrolet Corvette Sports Car, the 72) Ford Capri “Maxi Taxi” Dragster, the 73) Model “A” Ford Coupé, the 74) “Orange Peel” Dragster and the 75) Helicopter.  The 1983 Matchbox catalogue also featured an index detailing all 1-75 Series model changes going back to 1953.

The Matchbox Convoy line for 1983 included the HE-1) Kenworth Car Transporter, the HE-2) Kenworth C.O.E. Rocket Transporter, the HE-3) Peterbilt Conventional Double Container Truck (with “Uniroyal” livery), the HE-4) Kenworth Conventional Boat Transporter, the HE-5) Peterbilt Conventional Cover Truck (with “Inter-State Trucking” livery), the HE-6) Kenworth Conventional Horsebox Transporter (with “Blue Grass Farms” livery), the HE-7) Peterbilt Conventional Petrol Tanker (with “Supergas” livery), the HE-8) Kenworth C.O.E. Box Truck (with “Redcap Transport” livery), the HE-9) Kenworth Conventional Box Truck (with “Midnight X-Press” livery), the HE-10) Kenworth C.O.E. Racing Car Transporter (with “Malone” livery) and the HE-11) Kenworth C.O.E. Helicopter Transporter.

The Matchbox Models of Yesteryear line for 1983 included the Y-1) 1936 Jaguar SS 100 Roadster, the Y-2) no model, the Y-3) 1912 Ford Model “T” Tanker (with “BP” livery), the Y-4) 1930 Duesenberg Model J, the Y-5) 1927 Talbot Van (with “Chivers & Sons, Ltd.” livery), the Y-6) 1920 Rolls-Royce Fire Engine, the Y-7) no model, the Y-8) 1945 MG TC Sports Car, the Y-9) no model, the Y-10) 1906 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost, the Y-11) no model, the Y-12) 1912 Ford Model T Van (with “Captain Morgan” livery), the Y-13) 1918 Crossley Pickup Truck (with “Carlsberg” beer livery), the Y-14) 1931 Stutz Bearcat Boattail Speedster, the Y-15) 1930 Packard Victoria, the Y-16) 1928 Mercedes-Benz SS, the Y-17) no model, the Y-18) 1938 Cord 812 Convertible, the Y-19) 1936 Auburn Boattail Speedster, the Y-20) 1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Roadster with Rumble Seat, the Y-21) 1930 Ford Model A Woody Station Wagon (with “A&J Box General Store” livery), the Y-22) 1930 Ford Model A Van (with “OXO” livery), the Y-23) 1922 AEC Omnibus (with “Schweppes Tonic Water” livery), the Y-24) 1927 Bugatti T44 Coupé and the Y-25) 1910 Renault Type AG Van (with “Perrier” livery).  At 20 actual models, the “Matchbox Models of Yesteryear” line for 1983 was somewhat smaller than the record high 23 models available in 1982.  An index followed, with details of all model changes going back to 1955.

The final model line for 1983 was the Super Kings range of toys, with 24 models compared to the 21 available in 1982.  They included the K-10) Car Transporter Truck (with “Courier” livery), the K-13) Aircraft Transporter Truck, the K-17) 7-Up Container Truck, the K-18) Ford Articulated Tipper Truck (with “Condor” livery), the K-20) Peterbilt Wreck Truck, the K-27) Boat Transporter Truck (with “Miss Solo” livery), the K-31) Peterbilt Container Truck (with either “Pepsi” or “Euro-Express” livery), the K-39) Snorkel Fire Engine, the K-43) Log Transporter Truck, the K-70) Porsche 911 Turbo Coupé, K-78) Dodge Monaco Sedan New York City Police Car, the K-81) Suzuki Motorcyle, the K-82) BMW Motorcyle (with German “Polizei” markings), the K-83) Harley-Davidson Motorcycle (with American Police markings), the K-84) Peugeot 305 Rallye Sports Sedan (with “Expo” livery), the K-91) Motorcycle Racing Set with Dodge Monaco Sedan towing Trailer with 2 Motorcycles, the K-92) Helicopter Transporter Truck, the K-97) Range Rover SUV Police Set with 2 Police Motorcycles and Traffic Signs, K-98) Porsche 944 Coupé, the K-100) Ford Sierra 2-Door Sedan, the K-101) Racing Porsche 911 Coupé, the K-102) Race Rally Support Set (with Dodge Van towing Porsche 911 Coupé on Trailer), the K-103) Peterbilt Tanker Truck (with “Comet” livery) and the K-104) Rancho Rescue Set with Coast Guard SUV and Power Boat.

1984 Matchbox Model Year: the Product Line makes a Comeback

The 1984 color cover of the Matchbox catalogue was back to being somewhat more colorful and artistic.  It featured six Matchbox models, incuding a Pontiac Firebird, a Fire Engine, a Grand Prix Racing Car, a Heavy Duty Wreck Truck, a Ford Woody Station Wagon and a Helicopter.  The product line for 1984 was already much expanded with familiar favorites from the recent past, as well as with brand new products.  This reflected a gradual return to financial health, due to lower costs in places such as Macao, Mainland China and Thailand compared to England.  The catalogue also had a far more international flavor, with headings in English, German and French.  Prices were listed for Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Denmark, Spain, France, Italy, Ireland, Norway, the Netherlands, Sweden and Finland.

The Matchbox 1-75 Series for 1984 included the 1) Dodge Challenger Hardtop, the 2) S2 Jet, the 3) Porsche 911 Turbo Coupé, the 4) 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Hardtop, the 5) 4 x 4 Jeep, the 6) Mercedes-Benz 350SL Convertible, the 7) IMSA Mazda Coupé, the 8) Rover 3500 Police Car, the 9) AMC AMX Javelin, the 10) Dodge Monaco Sedan US Police Car, the 11) Car Transporter Truck, the 12) Citroen CX Ambulance, the 13) Snorkel Fire Engine, the 14) Tanker Truck (with “elf” livery), the 15) Fork Lift Truck, the 16) Pontiac Firebird Coupé, the 17) London Double-Decker Bus (with “Laker Skytrain” livery), the 18) “Hondarora” Honda Motorcycle, the 19) Cement Truck, the 20) Range Rover SUV (with “Securite Rallye Paris-Dakar ‘83? livery), the 21) Renault 5TL “Le Car” Hatchback, the 22) Fire Engine, the 23) Tipper Truck, the 24) Datsun 280 ZX Coupé, the 25) Audi Quattro Fastback Sedan, the 26) Cable Truck, the 27) Swing Wing Jet, the 28) Formula Racing Car, the 29) Shovel Tractor, the 30) Artic Truck (with “International” livery), the 31) Mazda RX7 Sports Car, the 32) Excavator (a non-Superfast model), the 33) Police Motorcycle, the 34) Chevrolet Stock Car (with “Pepsi” livery), the 35) Zoo Truck, the 36) Refuse Truck, the 37) Matra Rancho SUV, the 38) Ford Model A Van (with “Pepsi-Cola” livery), the 39) Rolls-Royce Sedan, the 40) Horse Box Truck, the 41) Racing Porsche Coupé, the 42) 1957 Ford Thunderbird Convertible, the 43) Steam Locomotive, the 44) Citroen 15 Sedan, the 45) Kenworth Tractor Trailer Cab, the 46) Tractor, the 47) Jaguar SS100 Roadster, the 48) Mercedes-Benz Unimog Pickup Truck with Snowplough, the 49) Volkswagen “Sand Digger” Beetle, the 50) Harley-Davidson Motorcycle, the 51) Pontiac Firebird Coupé, the 52) BMW M1 Sports Car, the 53) “Flareside” Pickup Truck, the 54) NASA Tracking Vehicle, the 55) Ford Sierra XR4i Sedan, the 56) Mercedes-Benz 450 SE Police Car (with German markings), the 57) Charmichael Truck, the 58) Porsche 928 Coupé, the 59) “Ruff Trek” Pickup Truck, the 60) Toyota Supra Coupé, the 61) Wreck Truck, the 62) Chevrolet Corvette Sports Car, the 63) 4 x 4 Pickup Truck, the 64) Bulldozer (a non-Superfast model), the 65) Airport Coach (with “Alitalia” livery), the 66) Tyrone Malone Tractor Trailer Cab, the 67) IMSA Ford Mustang Coupé, the 68) 4 x 4 Chevrolet Van (with “Matchbox Racing” livery), the 69) 1983 Chevrolet Corvette Sports Car, the 70) Ferrari 308 GTB, the 71) Dodge Cattle Truck, the 72) Delivery Truck (with “Kellogg’s” livery), the 73) Ford Model A Coupé, the 74) Fiat Abarth Sedan Rally Car (with “Alitalia” livery) and the 75) Rescue Helicopter.  A great number of future models were shown as well, albeit without numbers.  These were the Mobile Crane Truck, the Jaguar XK120 Roadster, the Volvo Tilt Truck, the Mercedes-Benz AMG Coupé, the Dodge Daytona Coupé, the Peterbilt Petrol Tanker Truck (with “Shell” livery), the Sauber Group C Racing Car, the Dodge Caravan Minivan, the Fire Engine, the Formula 1 Racing Car, the Airport Foam Monitor Truck, the Jeep Laredo, the Chevrolet Blazer Sport Utility Vehicle (with Sheriff markings) and the Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 Rally Car (with “Michelin” livery).

The line of “Matchbox Twinpacks” was back in 1984.  They included the TP-102) Ford Escort Sedan and Glider Trailer, the TP-103) Dodge Cattle Truck and Trailer, the TP-106) Renault 5 “Le Car” and Motorcycle Trailer, the TP-107) Datsun 280ZX and Camping Caravan Trailer, the TP-108) Farm Tractor and Trailer, the TP-109) Citroen CX Station Wagon and Boat, the TP-110) Matra Rancho SUV and Inflatable Boat on Trailer, the TP-111) Ford Cortina Sedan and Horsebox and the TP-112) Mercedes-Benz Unimog Pickup Truck with Snowplough and Trailer.  Once again, this was a great way to buy models long since discontinued from the venerable 1-75 Series line of toys.

The Matchbox Convoy line for 1984 included the CY-1) Kenworth Car Transporter, the CY-2) Kenworth Rocket Transporter, the CY-3) Peterbilt Container Truck (with “Federal Express” livery), the CY-4) Kenworth Boat Transporter, the CY-5) Peterbilt Covered Truck (with “Inter-State Trucking” livery), the CY-6) Kenworth Horsebox Truck (with “Blue Grass Farms” livery), the CY-7) Peterbilt Tanker Truck (with “Supergas” livery), the CY-9) Kenworth Box Truck (with “Midnight E-Press” livery), the CY-11) Kenworth Helicopter Transporter, the CY-12) Kenworth Aircraft Transporter and the CY-13) Fire Engine.

A new product for 1984 was the “Matchbox Matchmates” line of two-packs.  They featured two cars from the same brand name in each blister pack, which also featured a company badge logo.  The line included the M-1) Citroen Pack (with a 15 Sedan and a CX Ambulance), the M-2) Ford Pack (with a Model A Coupé and Van), the M-3) Jaguar Pack (with an SS100 and an XK120 Roadster), the M-4) Jeep Pack (with a Laredo and a 4 x 4 Jeep), the M-5) Chevrolet Corvette Pack (with a Corvette T-roof and a 1983 Corvette Sports Car) and the M-6) Kenworth Pack (with 2 Tractor Trailer Cabs, one silver and one black).

Another brand new product line for 1984 was the “Matchbox Lock-ups” line of cars with keys.  The key would lock the doors and wheels.  There were twelve different models of coupés, but the names or model numbers were not shown in the 1984 catalogue – merely the pictures of the cars with their keys.

Yet another new product line for 1984 was the “Matchbox Specials” line of diecast racing cars.  They included the SP-1) Grand Prix Kremer Porsche CK5, the SP-3) Pioneer Ferrari 512BB, the SP-5) Auto Systems Lancia Rally, the SP-7) Zakspeed Ford Mustang, the SP-9) N.G.K. Pro-Stocker and the SP-11) Goodyear Chevrolet Camaro.

The Matchbox Models of Yesteryear line for 1984 included the Y-1) 1936 Jaguar SS100 Roadster, the Y-3) 1912 Model T Ford Tanker Truck (with “Carnation Farm Products” livery), the Y-4) 1930 Duesenberg Model J, the Y-5) 1927 Talbot Van (with “EverReady Batteries” livery), the Y-6) 1920 Rolls-Royce Fire Engine, the Y-8) 1945 MG TC Sports Car, the Y-12) 1912 Model T Ford Van (with “Pepsi-Cola” livery), the Y-13) 1918 Crossley Pickup Truck (with “Carlberg” beer livery), the Y-14) 1931 Stutz Bearcat Boattail Speedster, the Y-15) 1930 Packard Victoria, the Y-16) 1928 Mercedes-Benz SS, the Y-19) 1936 Auburn Boattail Speedster, the Y-20) 1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Roadster with Rumble Seat, the Y-21) 1930 Model “A” Ford Woody Station Wagon, the Y-22) 1930 Model “A” Ford Van (with “Palm Toffee” livery), the Y-23) 1922 AEC Omnibus (with “Schweppes Soda Water & Dry Ginger Ale” livery), the Y-24) 1927 Bugatti T44 Coupé, the Y-25) Renault Type AG Van (with “Perrier” livery), the Y-26) 1918 Crossley Beer Lorry (with “Löwenbräu” livery), the Y-27) 1922 Foden Steam Lorry (with “Pickfords Removals and Storage” livery) and the Y-28) 1907 Unic Taxi.

The Matchbox Super Kings line continued to re-expand its offering in 1984.  Specifications on length were also featured this year.  They included the K-8) Animal Transporter Truck (310 mm long), the K-9) Fire Tender (156 mm long and with Denver Fire Department markings), the K-10) Car Transporter (263 mm long and with “Courier” livery), the K-20) Peterbilt Wreck Truck (163 mm long), the K-21) Ford Transcontinental Tractor Trailer (337 mm long and with “Sunkist” livery), the K-25) Digger and Plough (189 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the K-27) Powerboat Transporter Truck (210 mm long), the K-31) Peterbilt Container Truck (308 mm long and with either “Euro-Express” or “Pepsi” liveries), the K-39) Snorkel Fire Engine (278 mm long), the K-43) Log Transporter Truck (290 mm long), the K-44) Bridge Transporter Truck (334 mm long), the K-69) Jaguar Sedan and Camping Caravan Set (274 mm long), the K-70) Porsche 911 Turbo Coupé (115 mm long), the K-78) Dodge Monaco Sedan U.S. Police Car (139 mm long), the K-81) Suzuki Motorcycle (109,5 mm long), the K-82) BMW Motorcycle (108,5 mm long), the K-83) Harley-Davidson Motorcycle (120 mm long and with Police markings), the K-84) Peugeot 305 Rally Car (121 mm long), the K-86) Volkswagen Golf Hatchback with “Shell” Gasoline Pump (104 mm long), the K-88) Money Box Security Van (137 mm long and with “Matchbox” livery), the K-89) Forestry Set with SUV and Trailer (238 mm long), the K-90) Matro Rancho SUV (130 mm long and with “Trans Globe Couriers” livery), the K-91) Motorcycle Racing Set with Dodge Monaco Sedan towing Motorcycle Trailer (222 mm long), the K-92) Helicopter Transporter Truck (276 mm long and with “Heli-Hire International” livery), the K-95) Audi Quattro Fastback Sedan (128 mm long and with “Pirelli” livery), the K-96) Volvo Ambulance (138 mm long), the K-98) Porsche 944 Coupé (115 mm long and with “Recaro” livery), the K-100) Ford Sierra XR4i Sedan (127 mm long), the K-102) Race Support Set with Dodge Van towing Porsche 911 Coupé (300 mm long and with “Team Porsche” livery), the K-103) Petrol Tanker Truck (135 mm long and with “Comet” livery), the K-104) Rancho Rescue Set with SUV towing Speed Boat (301,5 mm long and with Coast Guard markings), the K-105) Peterbilt Tipper Truck, the K-106) Aircraft Transporter Truck (238 mm long), the K-107) Powerboat Launch Transporter Truck (350 mm long and with “Spearhead” livery), the K-108) Digger and Plough Transporter Truck (289 mm long) and the K-109) Petrol Tanker (305 mm long and with “Shell” livery).  There were thus 38 “Super Kings” models offered in 1984, compared to just 24 in 1983.

The Matchbox Skybusters line was also back in 1984, with the SB-1) Learjet, the SB-3) NASA Space Shuttle, the SB-4) Dassault-Briguet Mirage F1 Jet (with French markings), the SB-9) Cessna 420 Monoplane, the SB-10) Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet (with either “Cathay Pacific” or “Lufthansa” liveries), the SB-11) Dornier Alpha Jet (with French markings), the SB-12) “Pitts Special” Biplane, the SB-13) McDonnell-Douglas DC10 Commercial Airliner (with “Swissair” markings), the SB-19) Piper Commanche Monoplane, the SB-20) Police Helicopter, the SB-22) Messerschmitt Tornado Jet (with German markings), the SB-23) Concorde Supersonic Commercial Airliner (with “Air France” markings), the SB-24) F16 Jet (with US Air Force markings), the SB-26) Cessna 210 Float Plane, the SB-27) Hawker Harrier Jump Jet (with US Marine Corps markings) and the SB-28) Airbus A300 Commercial Airliner (with “Lufthansa” livery).  There were thus 16 Matchbox Skybusters available in 1984, compared to 15 models in 1982 (in 1983, the line was not featured in the Matchbox catalogue).

“Matchbox Garages” made a comeback in 1984 as well.  These included the MG-6) Matchbox Garage-Deluxe (a building with four levels), the MG-7) Matchbox Garage Compact (with two levels) and the MG-8) Matchbox Convoy Truck Stop.  The latter set was the most realistic; perhaps the only thing it missed was a restaurant or a convenience store.

“Matchbox Giftsets” were also back in 1984.  These included the G-1) Car Transporter Set (with a “Super Kings” Car Transporter and five cars), the G-2) Convoy Action Pack (with a truck loading diorama, three “Convoy” trucks and one police car), the G-7) Emergency Action Pack (with a hospital, a police station, a burning building, four emergency vehicles and a helicopter) and the G-8) Turbo Charged Action Pack (with a car launcher and five vehicles).

“Matchbox Streak Racing” track sets were also back in 1984.  These were the S-250) Streak Loop Set and the S-450) Streak Racing Set (with 2 loops).

“Matchbox Carry Cases” were back in 1984 as well.  These included carry cases for 8 Convoy trucks, and then for 18, 20 or 24 of the 1-75 Series cars.  The case for 18 cars was also a play set with a motel, a service garage and emergency vehicle station, whereas the case for 20 cars looked like a large steering wheel and the one for 24 cars looked like a tool box.

A brand new product line for 1984 was the “Matchbox 4 x 4 Rough Riders,” which featured five off-road diecast vehicles.  Another brand new product line for 1984 was the “Matchbox Rough Riders and Tri-Ex” line of vehicles.  This featured eight off-road diecast vehicles with gear levers.  The brand new “Matchbox A-Team” line featured six vehicles and a helicopter based upon the popular television series.  The “Matchbox Knight Rider” line featured one vehicle and the “Matchbox Dukes of Hazzard” line featured a single car as well, each based upon their respective television series.  The “Matchbox 4 x 4 Rough Riders” also had two of their own track sets, complete with loops.

The brand new line of “Matchbox Burnin’ Key Cars” featured twelve diecast cars that would take off after a special key was inserted into the back of the car and squeezed.  There were also six motorcycles and four “glow in the dark” cars in this range, for a total of 22 available models.  Accessories included a racing track set and a twin-vehicle launcher.

The final brand new product line in 1984 was the “Matchbox Power Blasters,” which featured nine large scale (6 inches long) diecast motorcycles.

1985 Matchbox Model Year

The cover of the 1985 Matchbox color catalogue was a rather simple design which featured a checkered flag.  The product line continued to grow, a sure sign that the new owners of “Matchbox International” in Macao were making their company ever stronger financially.

The Matchbox 1-75 Series for 1985 included the 1) Dodge Challenger Hardtop, the 2) S2 Jet, the 3) Porsche 911 Turbo Coupé, the 4) 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Hardtop, the 5) Peterbilt Petrol Tanker (with “Shell” livery), the 6) Formula 1 Racing Car, the 7) IMSA Mazda Coupé, the 8) Rover 3500 Police Car, the 9) AMC AMX Javelin, the 10) Dodge Monaco Sedan US Police Car, the 11) Car Transporter Truck, the 12) Citroen CX Ambulance, the 13) Snorkel Fire Engine, the 14) Jeep Laredo, the 15) Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 Hatchback (with “Shell” livery), the 16) Pontiac Firebird Coupé, 17) London Double-Decker Bus (with “Matchbox” livery), the 18) Fire Engine, the 19) Cement Truck, the 20) Range Rover SUV (with “Securite Rallye Paris Dakar ‘83? livery), the 21) Renault 5 “Le Car” Hatchback (with “Michelin” livery), the 22) Jaguar XK120 Roadster, the 23) Tipper Truck, the 24) Datsun 280ZX Coupé, the 25) Audi Quattro Fastback Sedan (with “Recaro” livery), the 26) Volvo Tilt Truck (with “Fresh Fruit Company” livery), the 27) Swing Wing Jet, the 28) Dodge Daytona Z Coupé, the 29) Shovel Tractor, the 30) Leyland Arctic Truck (with “International” livery), the 31) Mazda RX7 Sports Car, the 32) Excavator (a non-Superfast model), the 33) Police Motorcycle, the 34) Chevrolet Stock Car (with “Pepsi” livery), the 35) Zoo Truck, the 36) Refuse Truck, the 37) Matra Rancho SUV, the 38) Model A Ford Van (with “Pepsi-Cola” livery), the 39) Rolls-Royce Sedan, the 40) Horse Box Truck, the 41) Racing Porsche, the 42) Mobile Crane Truck, the 43) Mercedes-Benz AMC Coupé, the 44) Citroen 15 Sedan, the 45) Kenworth Aerodyne Cabover Tractor Trailer Cab, the 46) Sauber Group C Racing Car (with “BASF” livery), the 47) Jaguar SS100 Roadster, the 48) Mercedes-Benz Unimog Pickup Truck with Snowplough, the 49) Volkswagen “Sand Digger” Beetle, the 50) Chevrolet Blazer SUV (with Police markings), the 51) Pontiac Firebird Coupé, the 52) BMW M1 Sports Car, the 53) “Flareside” Pickup Truck, the 54) Airport Foam Monitor, the 55) Ford Sierra XR4i Sedan, the 56) Mercedes-Benz 450 SE Sedan (with German “Polizei” markings), the 57) Carmichael Truck, the 58) “Ruff Trek” Pickup Truck, the 59) Porsche 928 Coupé, the 60) Toyota Supra Hatchback, the 61) Wreck Truck, the 62) Chevrolet Corvette T-Top Sports Car, the 63) 4 x 4 Pickup Truck, the 64) Dodge Caravan Minivan, the 65) Airport Coach (with “Alitalia” livery), the 66) Tyrone Malone Tractor Trailer Cab, the 67) IMSA Ford Mustang Coupé, the 68) 4 x 4 Chevrolet Van (with “Matchbox Racing” livery), the 69) 1983 Chevrolet Corvette Sports Car, the 70) Ferrari 308 GTB, the 71) Dodge Cattle Truck, the 72) Delivery Truck (with “Kellogg’s” livery), the 73) Ford Model A Coupé, the 74) Fiat Abarth Rally Car and the 75) Rescue Helicopter.  The 1985 Matchbox catalogue also featured a very large group of future models, all listed without their future model numbers.  These were the NASA Rocket Transporter, the Ford Escort XR3i Cabriolet, the Pontiac Fiero, the Volvo Container Truck (with “ColdFresh” livery), the Breakdown Van, the Mercedes-Benz 280GE SUV, the BMW 323i Cabriolet, the Mission Helicopter, the Volkswagen Golf GTI Hatchback, the Pontiac Firebird Racing Car, the Lamborghini Countach LP500S Sports Car, the Pick-Up with Camper Shell, the Plane Transporter Truck and the Scania T142 Tractor Trailer Cab.  There were also many existing models illustrated with new paint schemes.

The Matchbox Gift Sets line for 1985 included the G-1) Car Transporter Set (with one “Super Kings” Car Transporter Truck and five cars), the G-7) Emergency Action Pack (with a hospital, a burning building diorama, a police station, four emergency vehicles and a helicopter) and the G-8) Turbocharged Action Pack (with a launcher and five vehicles).

The Matchbox Twin Packs line for 1985 included the TP-103) Dodge Cattle Truck and Trailer, the TP-106) Renault 5 “Le Car” and Motorcycle Trailer, the TP-108) Farm Tractor and Trailer, the TP-109) Citroen CX Ambulance and Rescue Boat, the TP-110) Matra Rancho SUV and Inflatable Boat on Trailer, the TP-112) Mercedes-Benz Unimog Pickup Truck with Snowplough and Trailer, the TP-113) Porsche 911 Turbo Coupé and Camping Caravan Trailer and the TP-114) Volkswagen Golf Hatchback and Horsebox Trailer.

The Matchbox Matchmates line for 1985 included the M-1) Citroen 15 Sedan and CX Ambulance, the M-2) Ford Model A Coupé and Model A Van, the M-3) Jaguar SS100 Roadster and XK120 Roadster, the M-4) Jeep Laredo and 4 x 4, the M-5) Chevrolet Corvette Sports Cars and the M-6) Kenworth Tractor Trailer Cabs.

The Matchbox Specials line for 1985 included the SP-1) Kremer Porsche CK5, the SP-2) Kremer Porsche CK5 Turbo, the SP-3) Pioneer Ferrari 512BB (with “Pioneer” livery), the SP-4) RJ Racing Ferrari 512BB (with “Michelin” livery), the SP-5) Pirelli Lancia Rally, the SP-6) Martini Lancia Rally, the SP-7) Zakspeed Ford Mustang, the SP-8) Zakspeed Ford Mustang Turbo, the SP-9) N G K Pro-Stocker (with “Chevrolet” livery), the SP-10) Heuer Racing Pro-Stocker (with “Chevelle” livery), the SP-11) “Total” Chevrolet Camaro and the SP-12) Chevrolet Camaro Turbo.

A brand new line of products for 1985 were the “Matchbox Turbo Specials,” which featured the TS-1) Firestone Chevrolet Camaro, the TS-2) Zakspeed Ford Mustang, the TS-3) Michelin Kremer Porsche and the TS-4) Goodyear Pro-Stocker Turbo.  The models in the “TS” range were somewhat upgraded compared to those in the “Matchbox Specials” line and had 2-speed motors with “friction” drive (i.e., roll the car backwards, and then let it go).

The Matchbox Skybusters line for 1985 included the SB-1) Learjet, the SB-3) NASA Space Shuttle, the SB-4) Dassault-Briguet Mirage F1 Jet (with French markings), the SB-9) Cessna 420 Monoplane, the SB-10) Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet (with either “Cathay Pacific” or “Lufthansa” liveries), the SB-11) Dornier Alpha Jet, the SB-12) “Pitts Special” Biplane, the SB-13) McDonnell-Douglas DC10 Commercial Airliner (with “Swissair” livery), the SB-19) Piper Commanche Monoplane, the SB-20) Rescue Helicopter, the SB-22) Messerschmitt Tornado Jet (with German markings), the SB-23) Concorde Supersonic Airliner (with “Air France” livery), the SB-24) F16 Jet (with US AirForce markings), the SB-26) Cessna 210 Float Plane, the SB-27) Hawker Harrier Jump Jet (with US Marine Corps markings) and the SB-28) Airbus A300 Commercial Jet (with “Lufthansa” markings).

The Matchbox Convoy line for 1985 included the CY-1) Kenworth Car Transporter, the CY-2) Kenworth Rocket Transporter (with NASA markings), the CY-3) Peterbilt Container Truck (with “Federal Express” livery), the CY-5) Peterbilt Covered Truck (with “Michelin” livery), the CY-11) Kenworth Helicopter Transporter (with “AirCar” livery), the CY-12) Kenworth Aircraft Transporter (with “Darts” livery), the CY-13) Fire Engine, the CY-14) Kenworth Power Boat Launch Transporter, the CY-15) Peterbilt Tracking Vehicle (with NASA markings), the CY-16) Scania Box Truck (with “7-Up” livery) and the CY-17) Scania Petrol Tanker (with “Amoco” livery).

The Matchbox Convoy Action Packs for 1985 included the G-4) Convoy Action Set (with 3 “Convoy” models, one tractor trailer cab and a police car), the CY-201) Fire Rescue Set (with a “Convoy” Fire Engine, a fire truck and a helicopter), the CY-202) Police Set (with a “Convoy” Helicopter Transporter, a heavy-duty tow truck and a police car) and the CY-203) Construction Set (with a “Convoy” Excavator Transporter, a tipper truck and a shovel nose tractor).

The “Matchbox Convoy Truck Stop” play set was back in 1985 as well.  This was a realistic set with fuel pumps, parking spaces, a service center and a freight loading platform.

A brand new product line for 1985 was the “Team Matchbox” series, which featured a large tractor trailer with a towing flatbed, a stock racing car on the flatbed and a van with their own liveries.  These included the TM-1) Pepsi Team, the TM-2) Super Boss Team, the TM-3) Dr. Pepper Team and the TM-4) Brut Team.

The Matchbox Super Kings line continued to regain strength in 1985.  It included the K-10) Car Transporter (260 mm long and with “Courier” livery), the K-15) Double Decker Bus (120 mm long and with “Nestle Milky Bar” livery), the K-20)  Peterbilt Wreck Truck (150 mm long), the K-21) Ford Transcontinental Tractor Trailer (330 mm long and with “Sunkist” livery), the K-25) Digger and Plough (180 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the K-26) Cement Truck (110 mm long), the K-31) Peterbilt Container Truck (308 mm long and with either “Euro-Express” or “Pepsi” liveries), the K-39) Snorkel Fire Engine (278 mm long), the K-44) Bridge Transporter Truck (330 mm long), the K-70) Porsche 911 Turbo Coupé (110 mm long), the K-78) Dodge Monaco Sedan US Police Car (139 mm long), the K-81) Suzuki Motorcycle (109 mm long), the K-82) BMW Motorcycle (108 mm long), the K-83) Harley-Davidson Motorcycle (120 mm long), the K-84) Peugeot 305 Rally Car (121 mm long and with “Canon” livery), the K-86) Volkswagen Golf Hatchback Sedan (104 mm long and with “Shell” gasoline pump), the K-88) Money Box Security Van (137 mm long and with “Matchbox” livery), the K-90) Matra Rancho SUV (130 mm long), the K-92) Helicopter Transporter Truck (276 mm long and with “HeliHire International” livery), the K-95) Audi Quattro Fastback Sedan (128 mm long), the K-98) Porsche 944 Coupé (115 mm long), the K-100) Ford Sierra XR4i Sedan (127 mm long), the K-102) Race Support Set with Dodge Van towing Porsche 911 Racecar on Trailer (300 mm long), the K-103) Tanker Truck (135 mm long and with “Comet” livery), the K-104) Matra Rancho SUV Rescue Set with Power Boat on Trailer (301 mm long and with Coast Guard markings), the K-105) Peterbilt Tipper Truck (150 mm long and with “Taylor Woodrow” livery), the K-106) Airport Transporter Truck (238 mm long and with “Aces” livery), the K-107) Power Boat Launch Transporter Truck (350 mm long and with “Spearhead” livery), the K-108) Digger Transporter Truck (289 mm long and with “Avro” livery), the K-109) Petrol Tanker Truck (305 mm long and with “Shell” livery), the K-110) Fire Engine (170 mm long), the K-111) Refuse Truck (150 mm long and with “Waste-Beater” livery), the K-112) Fire Spotter Aircraft Transporter Truck (280 mm long), the K-113) Service Station Garage Transporter Truck (306 mm long and with “Shell” livery), the K-114) Mobile Crane Truck (200 mm long and with “Taylor Woodrow” livery), the K-115) Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16V Sedan (130 mm long), the K-116) Racing Car Transporter (280 mm long and with “Ferrari” livery), the K-117) Bulldozer Transporter Truck (320 mm long and with “Taylor Woodrow” livery), the K-118) Road Construction Set with Mercedes-Benz Unimog Pickup Truck and Flatbed Truck (320 mm long) and the K-119) Fire Rescue Mercedes-Benz Unimog with Foam Pump Trailer and Traffic Signs (170 mm long).  The Super Kings line was now up to 40 models, compared to 38 in 1984.

A nice new product in 1985 was the “Matchbox Play Hat” accessory.  When closed, it looked like a construction hat from the side (flat).  When open, it featured a construction site diorama for “1-75 Series” vehicles.  Another new product for 1985 was the “Matchbox Gearshift Garage.”  It was a service station with a working car wash, raising barriers, lift ramps, an opening garage door and a dial on the fuel pump.

The Matchbox Carry Cases for 1985 were back for 8 Convoy models, 18 1-75 Series cars (it opened up to be a motel and service station), 20 1-75 Series cars (it looked like a steering wheel and actually came with one car) and 24 1-75 Series models (it looked like a tool box from the outside).

The Matchbox Lock-ups range was back with 12 models in 1985, just like in 1984.  The Matchbox Burnin’ Key Cars line had 12 models in 1985 as well (down from 22 in 1984), and accessories including a BK-18185) Racing Stunt Jump Track and a BK-18135) Twin Launcher.  The Matchbox Power Blasters range of motorcycles was back in 1985, although with just 6 models (compared to the 9 in 1984).

A brand new product line for 1985 was the “Matchbox Programmable Trickshifters.”  This featured 6 cars (a Silver Pontiac Firebird, a White Pontiac Firebird, a Mazda Savanna RX-7 in Blue, a Mazda Savanna RX-7 in Yellow, a Datsun Pace Rally Car in Red & Silver and a Datsun Pace Rally Car in Black & Gold.  These cars could perform stunts, including right & left “wheelies,” spin-outs, back-wheelies and flip-overs.

The Matchbox Models of Yesteryear line for 1985 included the Y-1) 1936 Jaguar SS100 Roadster, the Y-2) 1930 Bentley 4,5 Litre Supercharged, the Y-3) 1912 Model T Ford Tanker (with “Carnation Farm Products” livery), the Y-4) 1930 Duesenberg Model J, the Y-5) 1927 Talbot Van (with “Rose’s Lime Juice” livery), the Y-6) 1920 Rolls-Royce Fire Engine, the Y-7) 1913 Ford Breakdown Truck, the Y-8) 1945 MG TC Sports Car, the Y-12) 1912 Model T Ford Van (with “Pepsi-Cola” livery), the Y-13) 1918 Crossley Pickup Truck (with “Waring’s” livery), the Y-15) 1930 Packard Victoria, the Y-20) 1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Roadster with Rumble Seat, the Y-21) 1930 Model A Ford “Woody Wagon” (with “Barter’s” livery), the Y-22) 1930 Model A Ford Van (with “Walter’s Palm Toffee” livery), the Y-23) 1922 AEC Omnibus, the Y-23) 1927 Bugatti T44 Coupé, the Y-25) 1910 Renault Type AG Van (with “Perrier” livery), the Y-26) 1918 Crossley Beer Lorry (with “Löwenbräu” livery), the Y-27) 1922 Foden Steam Lorry (with “Pickfords Removal and Storage” livery), the Y-28) 1907 Unic Taxi and the Y-30) 1920 Mack Truck (with “Acorn Storage Company” livery).

1986 Matchbox Model Year

The 1986 color cover of the Matchbox catalogue was yet another rather simple design.  It featured a toy helicopter from which a sign with “1986? was suspended, and then a number of “Matchbox” logos at the bottom of the page.  The background color was dark blue, becoming lighter towards the bottom of the page.

The Matchbox 1-75 Series for 1986 included the 1) Dodge Challenger Hardtop, the 2) Pontiac Fiero Coupé, the 3) Porsche 911 Turbo Coupé, the 4) 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Hardop, the 5) Peterbilt Petrol Tanker (with “Amoco” livery), the 6) Formula 1 Racing Car, the 7) IMSA Mazda Coupé, the 8) Rover 3500 Police Car, the 9) AMC AMX Javelin (with “Dr. Pepper” livery), the 10) US Police Car, the 11) Lamborghini Countach LP500S Sports Car, the 12) Pontiac Firebird Racer, the 13) Snorkel Fire Engine, the 14) Jeep Laredo, the 15) Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 Hatchback, the 16) Pontiac Firebird “T-Top” Coupé, the 17) London Double-Decker Bus (with “You’ll Love New York” livery), the 18) Fire Engine, the 19) Peterbilt Cement Truck, the 20) Volvo Container Truck (with “ColdFresh” livery), the 21) Breakdown Van, the 22) Jaguar XK120 Roadster, the 23) Peterbilt Tipper Truck, the 24) Datsun 280ZX Coupé, the 25) Audi Quattro Fastback Sedan (with “Recaro” livery), the 26) Volvo Tilt Truck (with “Fresh Fruit Company” livery), the 27) Swing Wing Jet, the 28) Dodge Daytona Turbo Z Coupé, the 29) Shovel Tractor, the 30) Mercedes-Benz 280 GE Geländewagen (”offroad vehicle), the 31) Mazda RX7 Sports Car, the 32) Excavator (a non-Superfast model), the 33) Police Motorcycle, the 34) Chevrolet Pro-Stocker (with “Pepsi” livery), the 35) Pick-up Camper, the 36) Refuse Truck, the 37) Ford Escort Cabriolet, the 38) Model “A” Ford Van (with “Pepsi-Cola” livery), the 39) BMW 323i Cabriolet, the 40) NASA Rocket Transporter Truck, the 41) Racing Porsche, the 42) Mobile Crane Truck (with “Reynolds Crane Hire” livery), the 43) Mercedes-Benz AMG Coupé, the 44) Citroen 15 CV Sedan, the 45) Kenworth Aerodyne Cabover, the 46) Sauber Group C Racer, the 47) Jaguar SS100 Roadster, the 48) Mercedes-Benz Unimog Pickup Truck with Snowplough, the 49) Volkswagen “Dune Man” Beetle, the 50) Chevrolet Blazer SUV, the 51) Pontiac Firebird Coupé, the 52) BMW M1 Sports Car (with “Pirelli” livery), the 53) “Flareside” Pickup Truck, the 54) Airport Foam Tender Truck (with “Metro Airport” markings), the 55) Ford Sierra XR 4i Sedan, the 56) Volkswagen Golf GTI Hatchback, the 57) Mission Helicopter, the 58) “Ruff Trek” Pickup Truck, the 59) Porsche 928 Coupé, the 60) Toyota Supra Hatchback, the 62) Peterbilt Wreck Truck, the 62) Chevrolet Corvette “T-Top” Sports Car, the 63) 4 x 4 Pickup Truck, the 64) Dodge Caravan Minivan, the 65) Plane Transporter Truck (with “Rescue” markings), the 66) Super Boss Tractor Trailer Cab, the 67) IMSA Ford Mustang Coupé, the 68) 4 x 4 Chevrolet Van (with “Matchbox Racing” livery), the 69) Chevrolet Corvette Sports Car, the 70) Ferrari 308 GTB (with “Pioneer” livery), the 71) Scania T 142 Tractor Trailer Cab, the 72) Delivery Truck (with “Hertz Van and Truck Rental” livery), the 73) Model “A” Ford Coupé, the 74) Fiat Abarth Rally Car (with “Alitalia” livery) and the 75) Rescue Helicopter.  A number of brand new models were featured, albeit with out model numbers.  They were the Chevrolet Camaro Iroc Z Coupé, the Toyota MR2 Coupé, the Coach (with “Voyager” livery), the New Ford Transit Panel Van, the Nissan 300ZX Coupé, the Porsche 959 Coupé, the Jeep Cherokee SUV, the Ford Supervan II Minivan, the Volvo 760 Sedan, the Peugeot Quasar Concept Car, the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud Sedan, the Vauxhall Astra GTE Hatchback, the Ferrari Testarossa and the Renault 11 Hatchback.  A good number of existing models were also featured with upcoming changes in exterior colors and/or designs.

The range of Matchbox Action Pack Gift Sets for 1986 included the G-1) Car Transporter Pack (with a “Super Kings” Car Transporter Truck and five cars), the G-7) Emergency Action Pack (with a hospital, a burning building diorama, a police station, four emergency vehicles and a helicopter) and the G-8) Turbocharged Action Pack (with a launcher and five vehicles).

The Matchbox Twinpack line for 1986 included the TP-103) Dodge Cattle Truck and Trailer, the TP-106) Renault 5 “Le Car” Hatchback and Motorcycle Trailer, the TP-108) Farm Tractor and Trailer, the TP-109) Citroen CX Police Station Wagon and Boat on Trailer, the TP-110) Matra Rancho SUV and Inflatable Boat on Trailer, the TP-112) Mercedes-Benz Unimog Pickup Truck with Snowplough and Trailer (with “Alpine Rescue” markings), the TP-113) Porsche 911 Turbo Coupé and Camping Caravan Trailer and the TP-114) Volkswagen Golf Hatchback and Horsebox Trailer.

A brand new product for 1986 was the “Matchbox High Riders” line of 9 diecast cars with so-called “monster wheels.”  They featured scale models from the “1-75 Series” with the large tires.  They included the AMC AMX Javelin, the Audi Quattro Fastback Sedan, the Toyota Supra Coupé, the Mazda RX-7 Sports Car, a Corvette Sports Car, a Datsun Coupé and 3 Pickup Trucks.

The Matchbox Convoy line for 1986 included the CY-1) Kenworth Car Transporter, the CY-2) Kenworth Rocket Transporter, the CY-11) Kenworth Helicopter Transporter, the CY-12) Kenworth Aircraft Transporter (with “Darts” livery), the CY-13) Fire Engine, the CY-14) Kenworth Powerboat Launch Transporter, the CY-15) Peterbilt Tracking Vehicle (with NASA markings), the CY-16) Scania Box Truck (with “Duckhams Oils” livery), the CY-17) Scania Petrol Tanker (with “Amoco” livery), the CY-18) Scania Container Truck (with “Varta Batteries” livery), the CY-19) Peterbilt Box Car (with “Statewide Freight” livery) and the CY-20) Kenworth Tipper Truck (with “Taylor Woodrow” livery).

The Matchbox Convoy Action Packs line for 1986 included the CY-201) Fire Rescue Set (with a “Convoy” fire truck, a smaller fire truck and a helicopter), the CY-202) Police Set (with a “Convoy” helicopter transporter, a wreck truck and a police car), the CY-203) Construction Set (with a “Convoy” excavator transporter, a shovel nose tractor and a tipper dump truck), the CY-204) NASA Set (with a “Convoy” rocket transporter, a NASA tracking vehicle and a helicopter).

The Team Matchbox series for 1986 included the TM-1) Pepsi Team, the TM-2) Super Star Team, the TM-4) Brut Team and the TM-5) 7-Up Team.  Each set containted a stock car on the back of a tractor trailer flatbed truck, plus another vehicle (a van in TM-1 and a pickup truck in the other sets), complete with the liveries of their sponsors.

A new product line for 1986 was the range of “Matchbox Super Trucks.”  There were 5 diecast pickup trucks, one van, one SUV and one jeep (8 models total) with super large “monster” wheels.

The Matchbox Skybusters line for 1986 included the SB-1) Learjet, the SB-3) NASA Space Shuttle, the SB-4) Dassault-Briguet Mirage F1 Fighter Jet (with French markings), the SB-9) Cessna 420 Monoplane, the SB-10) Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet (with either “Pan American” or “British Caledonian” liveries), the SB-11) Dornier Alpha Jet (with French markings), the SB-12) “Pitts Special” Monoplane (with “Matchbox” livery), the SB-13) McDonnell-Douglas DC10 Commercial Airliner (with “Swissair” livery), the SB-19) Piper Commanche Monoplane, the SB-20) Helicopter (with “Air Aid” markings), the SB-22) Messerschmitt Tornado Fighter-Bomber Jet (with German markings), the SB-23) Concorde Supersonic Airliner (with “Air France” livery), the SB-24) F16A Fighter Jet (with US Air Force markings), the SB-26) Cessna 210 Float Plane, the SB-27) Hawker Harrier V/STOL Jump Jet (with RAF markings) and the SB-28) A300 Airbus Commercial Airliner.

The Matchbox Specials line of diecast racecars for 1986 included the SP-1) Kremer Porsche CK5, the SP-2) Kremer Porsche CK5 Turbo (with “Dunlop” livery), the SP-3) Pioneer Ferrari 512BB, the SP-4) Racing Ferrari (with “Michelin” livery), the SP-5) Pirelli Lancia Rally, the SP-7) Zakspeed Ford Mustang, the SP-8) Zakspeed Ford Mustang Turbo (with “Avon” livery), the SP-10) Heuer Chevrolet Chevelle Racing Pro-Stocker (with “Michelin” livery), the SP-11) Total Chevrolet Camaro, the SP-12) Chevrolet Camaro Turbo, the SP-13) Porsche 959 ED Racing and the SP-14) Porsche Turbo 959.

The Matchbox Super Kings line for 1986 included the K-15) London Double Decker Bus (120 mm long and with “London Wide Tour Bus” livery), the K-25) Digger and Plough (180 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the K-39) Snorkel Fire Engine (278 mm long), the K-44) Bridge Transporter Truck (330 mm long), the K-70) Porsche 911 Turbo Coupé (110 mm long), the K-78) Dodge Monaco Sedan US Police Car (139 mm long), the K-81) Suzuki Motorcycle (109 mm long), the K-82) BMW Motorcycle (108 mm long), the K-83) Harley-Davidson Motorcycle (120 mm long), the K-84) Peugeot 305 Rally Car (121 mm long), the K-86) Volkswagen Golf Hatchback (104 mm long and with a “Shell” gasoline pump), the K-88) Money Box Security Van (137 mm long and with “Matchbox” livery), the K-90) Matra Rancho SUV (130 mm long), the K-95) Audi Quattro Fastback Sedan (128 mm long and with “BF Goodrich” livery), the K-98) Porsche 944 Coupé (115 mm long), the K-100) Ford Sierra XR4i Sedan (127 mm long), the K-102) Race Support Set with Dodge Van towing Porsche 911 on Trailer (300 mm long and with “Team Porsche” livery), the K-104) Rancho SUV Rescue Set with Power Boat on Trailer (301 mm long and with Coast Guard Patrol markings), the K-114) Mobile Crane Truck (200 mm long and with “Taylor Woodrow” livery), the K-115) Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-1.6V Sedan (130 mm long), the K-117) Bulldozer Transporter Truck (320 mm long), the K-120) Car Transporter Truck (260 mm long, with automatic steering and with “Carrier” livery), the K-121) Peterbilt Wreck Truck (150 mm long and with automatic steering), the K-122) DAF Road Train Tractor Trailer (330 mm long, with automatic steering and with “Eurotrans” livery), the K-123) Leyland Cement Truck (110 mm long and with automatic steering), the K-124) Mercedes-Benz Container Truck (308 mm long, with automatic steering and with “7-Up” livery), the K-126) Helicopter Transporter Truck (276 mm long, with automatic steering and with “Rescue” markings), the K-127) Peterbilt Petrol Tanker Truck (135 mm long, with automatic steering and with “Total” livery), the K-128) DAF Aircraft Transporter Truck (238 mm long and with automatic steering), the K-129) Mercedes-Benz Power Boat Launch Transporter Truck (350 mm long, with automatic steering and with “Spearhead” livery), the K-130) Digger Plough Transporter Truck (289 mm long, with automatic steering and with “Avro” livery), the K-131) Petrol Tanker Truck (134 mm long, with automatic steering and with “Shell” livery), the K-132) Fire Engine (170 mm long and with automatic steering), the K-133) Refuse Truck (150 mm long, with automatic steering and with “City Corporation” livery), the K-134) Fire Spotter Plane Transporter Truck (280 mm long and with automatic steering), the K-135) Mercedes-Benz Garage Service Station Transporter Truck (306 mm long, with automatic steering and with “Shell” livery), the K-136) Racing Car Transporter Truck (280 mm long, with automatic steering and with “Ferrari” livery), the K-137) Road Construction Set (320 mm long, with automatic steering and with 2 vehicles plus trailers, including Mercedes-Benz Unimog Pickup Truck and Flatbed Truck), the K-138) Fire Rescue Set (170 mm long, with automatic steering and with 2 vehicles plus one trailer, including Fire Truck and Mercedes-Benz Unimog Pickup Truck).  The feature of “Automatic Steering” was very similar to the “Steer-n-go” feature of the 1970s: one would depress one side of the front end of the vehicle to turn in that particular direction.  The Super Kings line had 39 models in 1986, compared to 40 in 1985.

The Matchbox Models of Yesteryear line for 1986 included the Y-1) 1936 Jaguar SS 100 Roadster, the Y-2) 1930 Bentley 4,5 Litre Supercharged Convertible, the Y-3) 1912 Model “T” Ford Tanker Truck (with “Wakefield Motor Oil” livery), the Y-4) 1930 Duesenberg Model J, the Y-5) 1927 Talbot Van (with “Rose’s Lime Juice Cordial” livery), the Y-6) 1920 Rolls-Royce Fire Engine, the Y-7) 1930 Ford Model “A” Breakdown Truck, the Y-9) 1912 Simplex (on a diorama background with “BP Motor Sports” livery), the Y-10) 1957 Maserati 250F Racing Car, the Y-11) 1932 Bugatti Type 51 Racing Car, the Y-12) 1912 Model “T” Ford Van (with “Pepsi-Cola” livery), the Y-13) 1918 Crossley Pickup Truck (with “Waring’s” livery), the Y-14) 1936 E.R.A. “Remus” Racing Car, the Y-16) 1957 Ferrari Dino 246/V12 Racing Car, the Y-17) 1938 Hispano-Suiza (on a diorama background with “Chocolat Menier” livery), the Y-18) 1920 Atkinson Steam Wagon (with “Blue Circle Portland Cement” livery), the Y-20) 1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Roadster with Rumble Seat, the Y-21) 1930 Model “A” Ford “Woody Wagon,” the Y-22) 1930 Model “A” Ford Van (with “Palm Toffee” livery), the Y-23) 1922 AEC Omnibus (with “Haig Whiskey” livery), the Y-24) 1927 Bugatti T44 Coupé, the Y-25) 1910 Renault Type AG Van (with “The Eagle Pencil Company” livery), the Y-26) 1918 Crossley Beer Lorry (with “Löwenbräu” livery), the Y-27) 1922 Foden Steam Lorry (with “Tate & Lyle’s Packet Sugar” livery), the Y-28) 1907 Unic Taxi, the Y-29) 1919 Walker Van (with “Joseph Lucas, Limited” livery) and the Y-30) 1920 Mack Truck (with “Acorn Storage Company” livery).

The Matchbox Play Hat construction site diorama was back in 1986.  This featured a huge heavy duty crane, a manually-operated hopper, a detachable construction building and a lever-operated sifter – all within a “hard hat” carrying case.

The MG-9 Matchbox Gearshift Garage was also back in 1986.  This playset featured a working carwash, raising barriers, lifting ramps, an opening garage door and a dial on the petrol pump – all operated from a centrally-located “gearshift.”

The Matchbox Convoy Truck Stop was back in 1986 as well.  This playset included a realistic truck stop with parking spaces, diesel and gasoline fuel pumps, a service garage and a freight terminal.

The Matchbox Streak Racing track sets were back in 1986, too.  These were the S-250) Streak Loop Set (with one car) and the S-450) Streak Racing Set (which came with 2 cars).

A brand new product for 1986 was the “Matchbox Motor City” line of small playsets.  These included the MC-1) Car Wash (with a car conveyor and sponge cleaners), the MC-2) Petrol Station (with petrol pumps, operating dials and a revolving sign), the MC-3) Pit Stop (with a petrol pump, a timed car launcher and a garage bay), the MC-4) Garage (with opening doors and an internal ramp to release cars), the MC-5) Construction Crane (with swivels on the base of the crane, an elevating jib and a loading ramp) and the MC-6) Conveyor Loader Set (with a working conveyor belt, which loaded parked trucks).  None of the sets came with vehicles, but they did foresee the “Matchbox Hero City” playsets of today.

The final items in the 1986 catalogue were the Matchbox Carry Cases for CC-1) 18 cars, CC-18) 18 cars (this case folded out into a motel and “Texaco” garage diorama), CC-20) 20 cars in a case looking like a steering wheel (this case actually came with one car) and CC-24) 24 cars (this case looked like a tool box).  There were 46 numbered pages in the 1986 “Matchbox” catalogue.

1987 Matchbox Model Year: an Expanded “Action Matchbox” line

The 1987 Matchbox catalogue cover featured photographed actual diecast models for the first time since 1981.  Real photographs had been used on the covers of the 1960, 1967, 1968, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1980 and 1981 “Matchbox” color catalogues.  The expanded “Action Matchbox” line of motorized toys toward the end of the 1987 catalogue are certainly not within the usual category of those products preferred by traditional collectors.  The Macao-based owners of Matchbox International, Limited were improving the market share and the profitability of their company – in the anticipation of an eventual corporate sale.

The Matchbox 1-75 Series for 1987 included the 1) Dodge Challenger Hardtop, the 2) Pontiac Fiero Coupé (with “Goodyear” livery), the 3) Porsche 911 Turbo Coupé, the 4) 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Hardtop, the 5) Peterbilt Petrol Tanker (with “Amoco” livery), the 6) Formula 1 Racing Car, the 7) Porsche 959 Coupé, the 8) Rover 3500 Police Car, the 9) Caterpillar Bulldozer (a non-Superfast model), the the 10) Plymouth Police Car, the 11) Lamborghini Countach Sports Car, the 12) Pontiac Firebird Racer, the 13) Snorkel Fire Engine, the 14) Jeep Eagle 4 x 4, the 15) Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 Hatchback, the 16) Pontiac Firebird “T-Top” Coupé, the 17) London Double Decker Bus (with “Around London Tour Bus” livery), the 18) Fire Engine, the 19) Peterbilt Cement Truck, the 20) Volvo Container Truck (with “ColdFresh” livery), the 21) Breakdown Van, the 22) Jaguar XK120 Roadster, the 23) Peterbilt Tipper Truck, the 24) Nissan 300ZX Sports Car, the 25) Audi Quattro Fastback Sedan, the 26) Volvo Tilt Truck (with “Ferrymasters” livery), the 27) Jeep Cherokee SUV, the 28) Dodge Daytona Turbo Z Coupé, the 29) Shovel Tractor, the 30) Mercedes-Benz 280 GE Geländewagen, the 31) Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud Sedan, the 32) Excavator (a non-Superfast model), the 33) Renault 11 Sedan, the 34) Chevrolet Pro-Stocker, the 35) Pick-up Camper, the 36) Refuse Truck, the 37) Ford Escort Cabriolet, the 38) Model “A” Ford Van, the 39) BMW 323i Cabriolet, the 40) NASA Rocket Transporter, the 41) Porsche 935 Racing Car, the 42) Mobile Crane Truck (with “Reynolds Crane Hire” livery), the 43) Mercedes-Benz AMG Coupé, the 44) Citroen 15CV Sedan, the 45) Kenworth C.O.A. Tractor Trailer Cab, the 46) Sauber Group C Racing Car, the 47) Jaguar SS100 Roadster, the 48) Vauxhall Astra GTE Hatchback, the 49) Peugeot Quasar Concept Car, the 50) Chevrolet Blazer SUV (with police markings), the 51) Pontiac Firebird Coupé, the 52) BMW M1 Sports Car, the 53) Ford Flareside Pickup Truck, the 54) Airport Foam Pumper Truck, the 55) Ford Sierra XR 4 x 4 Sedan, the 56) Volkswagen Golf GTI Hatchback Sedan, the 57) Mission Helicopter, the 58) Ruff Trek Pickup Truck, the 59) Porsche 928 Coupé, the 60) Ford Transit Van, the 61) Peterbilt Wreck Truck, the 62) Volvo 760 Sedan, the 63) 4 x 4 Pickup Truck, the 64) Dodge Caravan Minivan, the 65) Rescue Plane Transporter, the 66) Super Boss Tractor Trailer Cab, the 67) Ikarus Coach (with “Voyager” livery), the 68) Chevrolet Camaro Iroc Z Coupé, the 69) Chevrolet Corvette Sports Car, the 70) Ferrari 308 GTB Sports Car (with “Pioneer” livery), the 71) Scania T 142 Tractor Trailer Cab, the 72) Ford Supervan II Minivan, the 73) Model “A” Ford Coupé, the 74) Toyota MR2 Sports Car and the 75) Ferrari Testarossa Sports Car.  A number of new models were revealed without their eventual model numbers.  These were the Jaguar XJ6 Sedan, the Austin London Taxicab, the Vauxhall Astra/Opel Kadett Police Car, the Buick LeSabre Coupé, the Land Rover Ninety SUV, the Ford RS 200, the Skoda 130 LR, the Cadillac Allante Convertible, the School Bus, the Ford LTD Sedan Police Car, the Mercedes-Benz 300E Sedan, the Skip Truck and the Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit Sedan.

The Matchbox Motor City line of playsets returned in 1987 with the MC-1) Car Wash, the MC-2) Petrol Station, the MC-3) Pit Stop, the MC-4) Garage, the MC-5) Construction Crane and the MC-6) Conveyor Loader.

A brand new product for 1987 was the “Matchbox Motor City Play Track” line of playsets.  These included the MC-20) Motor City Play Track (with a bridge, petrol station and signs), the MC-30) Motor City Play Track (with a bridge, petrol station, car park and signs) and the MC-40) Motor City Play Track (with a garage, bridges, car parks and signs).  This product was rather similar to the “Matchbox Play Track” line of a few years back, but the one for 1987 was more realistic.

Another brand new product line for 1987 was the “Matchbox Superfast Lasers.”  These were diecast cars featuring laser wheel discs which would flash brilliant, different colors as they reflected light.  They included the LW-1) Police Car, the LW-2) 1982 Pontiac Firebird Coupé, the LW-3) Porsche 928 Coupé, the LW-4) Dodge Daytona Turbo Z Coupé, the LW-5) A.M.G. Mercedes-Benz Coupé, the LW-6) Porsche 935 Racing Car (with “Auto Tech” livery), the LW-7) Ford Sierra XR4 Sedan, the LW-8) 1962 Chevrolet Corvette Sports Car, the LW-9) Datsun 280 ZX Turbo Coupé, the LW-10) Turbo Chevrolet Corvette Sports Car, the LW-11) Ferrari 308 GTB Sports Car, the LW-12) Chevrolet Stock Car, the LW-13) 1984 Chevrolet Corvette Sports Car, the LW-14) BMW Cabriolet 323t (with “Alpine” livery), the LW-15) Ford Escort Cabriolet XR3i, the LW-16) Sauber Group C Racing Car, the LW-17) Lamborghini Countach LP 500S Sports Car, the LW-18) Pontiac Firebird Racer, the LW-19) Pontiac Fiero Racer (with “Protech” livery), the LW-20) Nissan 300 ZX Turbo Sports Car, the LW-21) Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z Coupé (with “Goodyear” livery), the LW-22) Toyota MR2, the LW-23) Ferrari Testarossa Sports Car and the LW-24) Peugeot Quasar Concept Car.  The “Superfast Lasers” line also offered two accessories, being the LW-100) Big Bang Launcher (which would launch a car on a straight track) and the LW-200) Laser Race Set (an oval track with a power booster to keep cars going around the track).

The Matchbox Skybusters line for 1987 included the SB-1) Learjet, the SB-3) NASA Space Shuttle, the SB-4) Dassault-Briguet Mirage F1 Fighter Jet (with French markings), the SB-9) Cessna 420 Monoplane, the SB-10) Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet (with either “Pan American” or “British Caledonian” liveries), the SB-11) Dornier Alpha Jet (with French markings), the SB-12) “Pitts Special” Biplane (with “Matchbox” livery), the SB-13) McDonnell-Douglas DC10 Commercial Airliner (with “Thai” airline livery), the SB-19) Piper Commanche Monoplane, the SB-20) Helicopter, the SB-22) Messerschmitt Tornado Fighter-Bomber Jet (with German markings), the SB-23) Concorde Supersonic Airliner (with “Air France” livery), the SB-24) F16A Fighter Jet (with US Air Force markings), the SB-26) Cessna 210 Float Plane, the SB-27) Hawker Harrier V/STOL Jump Jet (with RAF markings) and the SB-28) Airbus A300 Commercial Airliner (with “Air France” livery).

The Matchbox Action Pack Gift Sets line for 1987 included the G-2) Car Transporter Set (with a “Super Kings” Car Transporter and 5 cars), the G-4) Convoy Action Set (with 3 “Convoy” Trucks, a Tractor Trailer Cab and a Police Car), the G-5) Federal Express Pack (with 4 vehicles and a plane all bearing “Federal Express” liveries) and the G-6) Virgin Airways Set (with an airliner, a helicopter and 3 vehicles all bearing the “Virgin Airways” livery).

The Matchbox Twin Pack line for 1987 included the TP-103) Dodge Cattle Truck and Trailer, the TP-106) Renault 5 “Le Car” and Motorcycle Trailer (with “Scrambler” livery), the TP-108) Farm Tractor and Trailer, the TP-110) Matra Rancho SUV and Inflatable Boat on Trailer (with “Surf 2? livery), the TP-112) Mercedes-Benz Unimog Pickup Truck with Snowplough and Trailer (with German “Unfall Rettung” markings, or “Accident Rescue” translated into English), the TP-115) Ford Escort Cabriolet and Boat on Trailer, the TP-116) Jeep Cherokee SUV and Camping Caravan Trailer (with “Holiday Club” livery), the TP-117) Mercedes-Benz Geländewagen SUV and Horse Box Trailer, the TP-118) B.M.W. 323i Cabriolet and Glider Trailer (with “Gliding Club” livery) and the TP-119) Ford Flareside Pickup Truck and “Seafire” Speedboat on Trailer.

The Team Matchbox line for 1987 included the TM-1) Pepsi Team, the TM-2) Super Star Team (with “Union 76? livery), the TM-5) 7-Up Team and the TM-6) Duckhams QXR Team.  Each set came with a stock racing car upon a flatbed truck and one more vehicle (a van in the first set, pickup trucks in the next 2 sets and a van in the last set) complete with their respective corporate logos.

The Matchbox Convoy line for 1987 included the CY-1) Kenworth Car Transporter, the CY-2) Kenworth Rocket Transporter (with “NASA” markings), the CY-11) Kenworth Helicopter Transporter (with “Air Car” livery), the CY-13) Fire Engine, the CY-15) Peterbilt Tracking Vehicle (with “NASA” markings), the CY-16) Scania Box Truck (with “Sealink British Ferries” livery), the CY-17) Scania Petrol Tanker (with “Amoco” livery), the CY-18) Scania Container Truck (with “Varta Batteries” livery), the CY-19) Peterbilt Box Car (with “Ansett Wridgeways Removals and Storage” livery), the CY-20) Kenworth Tipper Truck (with “Taylor Woodrow” livery), the CY-21) DAF Aircraft Transporter (with “Airtrainer” livery) and the CY-22) DAF Power Boat Launch Transporter.

The Matchbox Convoy Action Packs line for 1987 included the CY-201) Fire Rescue Set (with a “Convoy” Fire Truck, a smaller fire truck and a helicopter), the CY-202) Police Set (with a “Convoy” Helicopter Transporter, a heavy duty wreck truck and a police car), the CY-204) NASA Set (with a “Convoy” NASA Rocket Transporter, a smaller tracking vehicle and a helicopter) and the CY-205) Farm Set (with a “Convoy” Tipper Truck, a farm tractor and a combine harvester).

The Matchbox Super Trucks line for 1987 included the SC-1) Bigfoot Pickup Truck, the SC-2) USA 1 Pickup Truck, the SC-3) Ford Model “A,” the SC-4) Rollin’ Thunder Van, the SC-5) Flyin’ High Pickup Truck, the SC-6) Awesome Kong II Pickup Truck, the SC-7) Mad Dog II SUV and the SC-8) Peterbilt Wrecker.  All these diecast trucks featured huge “monster” wheels on a 1-75 Series-scale body.

The Matchbox Specials line for 1987 included the SP-1) Kremer Porsche CK5 (114 mm long), the SP-2) Kremer Porsche CK5 (114 mm long and with “Shell” livery), the SP-3) Pioneer Ferrari 512BB (118 mm long), the SP-4) RJ Racing Ferrari (118 mm long and with “Michelin” livery), the SP-5) Pirelli Lancia Rally (112 mm long), the SP-7) Zakspeed Ford Mustang (128 mm long and with “Duckhams” livery), the SP-8) Zakspeed Ford Mustang Turbo (128 mm long and with “Avon” livery), the SP-10) Chevrolet Chevelle Heuer Racing Pro-Stocker (120 mm long), the SP-11) Total Chevrolet Camaro (117 mm long), the SP-12) Chevrolet Camaro Turbo (117 mm long and with “Bosch” livery), the SP-13) Porsche 959 ED Racing Car (110 mm long and with “Bosch” livery) and the SP-14) Porsche Turbo 959 (110 mm long and with “Shell” livery).

The Matchbox Super Kings line for 1987 included the K-15) London Double Decker Bus (120 mm long and with “London Palladium” livery), the K-25) Digger and Plough (180 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the K-39) Snorkel Fire Engine (278 mm long), the K-44) Bridge Transporter Truck (330 mm long), the K-70) Porsche 911 Turbo Coupé (110 mm long), the K-78) Dodge Monaco Sedan US Police Car (139 mm long), the K-81) Suzuki Motorcyle (109 mm long), the K-82) BMW Motorcycle (108 mm long), the K-83) Harley-Davidson Motorcycle (120 mm long), the K-84) Peugeot 305 Rally Car (121 mm long and with “Dunlop” livery), the K-86) Volkswagen Golf Hatchback (104 mm long and with “Shell” fuel pump), the K-88) Money Box Security Van (137 mm long and with “Matchbox” livery), the K-90) Matra Rancho SUV (130 mm long), the K-95) Audi Quattro Fastback Sedan (128 mm long), the K-96) Porsche 944 Coupé (115 mm long), the K-100) Ford Sierra XR4i Sedan (127 mm long), the K-114) Mobile Crane Truck (200 mm long), the K-115) Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16V (130 mm long), the K-117) Bulldozer Transporter Truck (320 mm long), the K-120) Car Transporter Truck (260 mm long, with “Carrier” livery and with automatic steering), the K-121) Peterbilt Wreck Truck (150 mm long and with automatic steering), the K-122) DAF Road Train Truck and Trailer (330 mm long, with “Eurotrans” livery and with automatic steering), the K-123) Leyland Cement Truck (110 mm long and with automatic steering), the K-124) Mercedes-Benz Container Truck (308 mm long, with “7-Up” livery and with automatic steering), the K-126) Helicopter Transporter Truck (276 mm long, with Royal Navy markings and with automatic steering), the K-127) Peterbilt Tanker Truck (135 mm long, with “Total” livery and with automatic steering), the K-128) DAF Aircraft Transporter Truck (238 mm long and with automatic steering), the K-129) Mercedes-Benz Power Boat Launch Transporter Truck (350 mm long, with “Krüger” livery on cab and with automatic steering), the K-130) Digger Transporter Truck (289 mm long, with “BI” livery and with automatic steering), the K-131) Iveco Petrol Tanker Truck (134 mm long, with “Texaco” livery and with automatic steering), the K-132) Fire Engine (170 mm long and with automatic steering), the K-133) Refuse Truck (150 mm long and with automatic steering), the K-134) Fire Spotter Plane Transporter Truck (280 mm long and with automatic steering), the K-135) Mercedes-Benz Garage Transporter Truck (306 mm long, with “Texaco” livery and with automatic steering), the K-136) Racing Car Transporter Truck (280 mm long, with “Ferrari” livery and with automatic steering), the K-137) Road Construction Set (320 mm long, with Mercedes-Benz Unimog Pickup Truck, Flatbed Truck, Trailers and automatic steering), the K-138) Fire Rescue Set (170 mm long, with Mercedes-Benz Unimog Pickup Truck, Foam Spreader, Fire Truck and automatic steering), the K-139) Tipper Truck (with “Wimpey” livery, automatic tipping and reverse drive), the K-140) Car Recovery Vehicle (with automatic flatbed car ramp), the K-141) Skip Truck (with automatic skip container), the K-142) BMW Police Car (with German “Polizei” markings and with automatic “Halt” sign at back of car), the K-143) Emergency Van (with Red Cross markings, automatic “Stop” and “Accident” markings) and the K-144) Land Rover (with “Frankfurt Flughafen” markings and automatic “Follow Me” sign).  The brand new automatic features expanded upon automatic steering for yet more realism.  There were 43 Super Kings models in 1987, the largest number since 1981.

The Matchbox Models of Yesteryear line for 1987 included the Y-1) 1936 Jaguar SS100 Roadster (on a diorama with “Ye Olde Kings Head” livery), the Y-2) 1936 Bentley 4,5 Liter Supercharged Racing Car, the Y-3) 1913 Model “T” Ford Tanker Truck, the Y-4) 1930 Duesenberg Model J, the Y-5) 1927 Talbot Van (with “Rose’s Lime Juice Cordial” livery), the Y-6) 1920 Rolls-Royce Fire Engine, the Y-7) 1930 Ford Model “A” Breakdown Truck, the Y-8) 1917 Yorkshire Steam Wagon Type WA (with “Johnnie Walker Wiskey” livery), the Y-9) 1912 Simplex (on a diorama with “BP Motor Sports” livery), the Y-10) 1957 Maserati 250F Racing Car, the Y-11) 1932 Bugatti Type 51 Racing Car, Y-12) 1912 Model “T” Ford Van (with “Rosella” livery), the Y-13) 1918 Crossley Pickup Truck (with “Waring’s” livery), the Y-14) 1936 E.R.A. “Remus” Racing Car, the Y-15) 1920 London Tram Car (with “Swan Vestas” livery), the Y-16) 1957 Ferrari Dino 246/V12 Racing Car, the Y-17) 1938 Hispano-Suiza (on a diorama with “Chocolat Menier” livery), the Y-18) 1920 Atkinson Steam Wagon (with “Blue Circle Portland Cement” livery), the Y-19) 1929 Morris Van 10 C.W.T. (with “Brasso” livery), the Y-20) 1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Roadster with Rumble Seat (on a diorama with “BP” livery), the Y-22) 1930 Model “A” Ford Van (with either “Palm Toffee” or “Lyon’s Tea” liveries), the Y-23) 1922 AEC Omnibus (with “Haig Whiskey” livery), the Y-24) 1927 Bugatti T44 Coupé (on a diorama with “Paris Match” livery), the Y-25) 1910 Renault Type AG Van (with either “The Eagle Pencil Company” or “T. Tunnock” liveries), the Y-26) 1918 Crossley Beer Lorry (with either “Löwenbräu” or “Gonzalez Byass Sherry” liveries), the Y-27) 1922 Foden Steam Lorry (with either “Tate & Lyle’s Packet Sugar” or “Spillers” liveries), the Y-28) 1907 Unic Taxi, the Y-29) 1919 Walker Van (with “Joseph Lucas Limited” livery) and the Y-30) 1920 Mack Truck (with either “Acorn Storage Company” or “Arctic Ice Cream Company” liveries).

The Matchbox Play Hat construction diorama play set was back in 1987.  So were the “Matchbox Gearshift Garage” play set, the “Matchbox Convoy Truck Stop” and the two “Matchbox Streak Racing” track sets.  These were all realistic and nice sets.

A brand new product for 1987 was the “Matchbox Cargantua,” a rather silly looking giant sized robot which also served as a carrying case for 1-75 Series vehicles.  The more conventional carry cases were back in 1987 as well, including the CC-1) 18 Piece Carry Case, the CC-18) Garage Carry Case (which also had a motel), the CC-20) Steering Wheel Carry Case (which actually came with one car) and the CC-24) Tool Box Carry Case.

The “Action Matchbox” Lineup for 1987

The Matchbox Lock-Ups line was back with 12 diecast models in 1987.  One would turn the key, and the car would have its doors and wheels locked shut.

Another brand new product line for 1987 was the “Matchbox Turbo 2? line of miniature, motorised and high-performance diecast cars.  No batteries were required, and each car had a 2-speed motor operated with friction drive.  These included the AM-2601) Turbo Pontiac Fiero, the AM-2602) Peugeot 205 Turbo Hatchback, the AM-2603) Ford Supervan II, the AM-2604) Racing Porsche 911, the AM-2605) Toyota MR2 Sports Car, the AM-2606) Sauber Group “C” Racer and 6 additional models based upon the first six just mentioned (with different color schemes).

The Matchbox Turbo Specials line for 1987 included the Firestone Chevrolet Camaro, the Zakspeed Ford Mustang, the Michelin Kremer Porsche, the Goodyear Pro-Stocker Turbo, the Martini Lancia Rally, the Pioneer Ferrari 512BB, the Kremer Porsche CK5 Turbo and the Porsche 959.  These somewhat larger diecast cars also featured 2 speed motors with no required batteries, friction drive, real rubber tires and highly decorated racing liveries.

The brand new “Matchbox Hot Rod Racers” line for 1987 featured even larger diecast cars in 1:20-scale.  They had 4-speed stick shifts, chrome wheels, custom stripes and cross ram carburettors.  The two models were based upon the Chevrolet Corvette and the Chevrolet Camaro or Pontiac Firebird.

The also brand new “Matchbox Speed Riders” line for 1987 featured 9 battery-powered diecast cars with 2 available track sets.  The cars included the Streetbird, the Corvette, the Street Corvette, the Sand Blaster, the Baja Beast Pickup Truck, the Street Heat, the Super Stocker, the Go-4-it and the Racing Rebel.  The track sets included the AM-7015) Street Riders Race Set and the AM-7030) Super Maniac Set (compete with bank curves, straightaways, a cross over stunt section, jump ramps and a pop-up crash wall).

The Matchbox Trickshifters line of toy cars were back in 1987.  They included the Silver Pontiac Firebird, the White Pontiac Firebird, the Mazda Savannah RX-7 in Blue, the Mazda Savannah RX-7 in Yellow, the Datsun Pace Car in Red & Silver and the Datsun Pace Car in Black & Gold.  These cars would perform seven different stunts including right & left wheelies, spin-outs, back wheelies and flip-overs.

The Matchbox Burnin’ Demolition Key Cars range for 1987 included 4 of the new “demolition” models and 13 of the regular cars similar to those from 1986.  The demolition cars had parts which would break off upon impact.

The all new “Matchbox Pocket Rockets” line for 1987 included 22 vehicles including cars, racing cars and motorcycles.  They featured friction drive, working suspension, bright liveries and color-transfers.

Finally, the returning Matchbox Power Blasters line returned with 6 diecast motorcycles in 1987.  They featured “rev-up rip-cord” action, shock absorbers, working kick-stands and built-in power units.  Each bike was 6 inches long.

1988 Matchbox Model Year: M.I.C.A. (first mention of the “Matchbox International Collectors’ Association,” founded in 1985)

The color cover of the 1988 Matchbox catalogue featured a photo of a red diecast Porsche 911 Turbo Coupé (only the front of the car from an angle) with a blue background.

The Matchbox 1-75 Series for 1988 included the 1) Jaguar XJ6 Sedan, the 2) Pontiac Fiero Coupé, the 3) Porsche 911 Turbo Coupé, the 4) London Austin Taxi, the 5) Peterbilt Petrol Tanker (with “Amoco” livery), the 6) Formula 1 Racing Car, the 7) Porsche 959 Coupé, the 8) Vauxhall Astra / Opel Kadett Police Car, the 9) Caterpillar Bulldozer (a non-Superfast model), the 10) Buick LeSabre Coupé, the 11) Lamborghini Countach LP500S Sports Car, the 12) Pontiac Firebird Racer, the 13) Snorkel Fire Engine, the 14) Jeep Eagle 4 x 4, the 15) Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 Hatchback, the 16) Land Rover 90 SUV, the 17) London Double Decker Bus (with “Around London Tour Bus” livery), the 18) Fire Engine, the 19) Peterbilt Cement Truck, the 20) Volvo Container Truck (with “Federal Express” livery), the 21) Breakdown Van, the 22) Jaguar XK120 Roadster, the 23) Peterbilt Tipper Truck (with “Pace” livery), the 24) Nissan 300 ZX Sports Car (with “Fujicolor” livery), the 25) Audi Quattro Fastback Sedan, the 26) Volvo Tilt Truck (with “Ferrymasters” livery), the 27) Jeep Cherokee SUV, the 28) Dodge Daytona Turbo Z Coupé, the 29) Shovel Tractor, the 30) Mercedes-Benz Geländewagen SUV (with “Rescue Unit” markings), the 31) Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud Sedan, the 32) Excavator (a non-Superfast model), the 33) Renault 11 Hatchback Sedan, the 34) Ford RS200 Sports Car, the 35) Pickup Camper (with “Aspen Ski Holidays” livery), the 36) Refuse Truck, the 37) Ford Escort Cabriolet, the 38) Model “A” Ford Van (with “Matchbox Speed Shop” livery), the 39) BMW 323i Cabriolet, the 40) NASA Rocket Transporter, the 41) Racing Porsche 935 Coupé, the 42) Mobile Crane Truck, the 43) Mercedes-Benz 500 SEC AMG Coupé, the 44) Skoda 130LR Rally Car, the 45) Skip Truck, the 46) Sauber Group C Racer (with “Castrol” livery), the 47) School Bus (with “School District 2? markings), the 48) Vauxhall Astra GTE Hatchback (with “AC Delco” livery), the 49) Peugeot Quasar Concept Car, the 50) Chevrolet Blazer SUV, the 51) Ford LTD Sedan Police Car, the 52) BMW M1 Sports Car, the 53) Ford Flareside Pickup Truck, the 54) Airport Foam Pumper Truck, the 55) Ford Sierra XR 4 x 4 Sedan, the 56) Volkswagen Golf GTI Hatchback Sedan, the 57) Mission Helicopter, the 58) Mercedes-Benz 300E Sedan, the 59) Porsche 928 Coupé, the 60) Ford Transit Van (with Red Cross markings), the 61) Peterbilt Wreck Truck, the 62) Volvo 760 Sedan, the 63) 4 x 4 Pickup Truck, the 64) Dodge Caravan Minivan, the 65) Cadillac Allante Convertible, the 66) Rolls-Royce Sedan, the 67) Ikarus Coach (with “Voyager” livery), the 68) Chevrolet Camaro Iroc Z Coupé, the 69) Chevrolet Corvette Sports Car, the 70) Ferrari 308 GTB Sports Car (with “Pioneer” livery), the 71) Scania T 142 Tractor Trailer Cab, the 72) Ford Supervan II Minivan, the 73) Model “A” Ford Coupé, the 74) Toyota MR2 Sports Car and the 75) Ferrari Testarossa Sports Car.

The Matchbox Twinpack line for 1988 included the TP-103) Dodge Cattle Truck and Trailer, the TP-106) Renault 5 “Le Car” Hatchback and Motorcycle Trailer (with “Scrambler” livery), the TP-108) Farm Tractor and Trailer, the TP-110) Matra Rancho SUV and Inflatable Boat, the TP-112) Mercedes-Benz Unimog Pickup Truck with Snowplough and Trailer (with German “Unfall-Rettung” markings, or “Accident Rescue” in English), the TP-115) Ford Escort Cabriolet and Boat Trailer, the TP-116) Jeep Cherokee SUV and Camping Caravan Trailer (with “Holiday Club” livery), the TP-117) Mercedes-Benz Geländewagen SUV and Horse Box Trailer, the TP-118) B.M.W. 323i Cabriolet and Gilder Trailer (with “Gliding Club” livery) and the TP-119) Ford Flareside Pickup Truck and “Seafire” Speedboat Trailer.

The brand new “Matchbox Miniatures Theme Packs” line for 1988 featured 3 “1-75 Series” models within each set.  They included the MP-101) Emergency Set (with an ambulance, a police car and a breakdown van), the MP-102) Construction Set (with a cement truck, a skip truck and a bulldozer), the MP-103) Airport Fire Set (with a foam pump tender, a helicopter and a fire truck), the MP-104) 4 x 4 Set (with 3 Jeeps), the MP-105) Dragster Set (with 3 dragsters) and the MP-106) Porsche Set (with 3 Porsche 911 Coupés).

The brand new “Matchbox Miniatures Gift Packs” line for 1988 included the MC-10 Set (with 10 random “1-75 Series” models and the MC-20 Set (with 20 random “1-75 Series” models).

The Matchbox Superfast Lasers line for 1988 included the LW-1) Mercury Sedan Police Car, the LW-2) 1982 Pontiac Firebird Coupé, the LW-3) Porsche 928 Coupé, the LW-4) Dodge Daytona Turbo Z Coupé, the LW-5) A.M.G. Mercedes-Benz Coupé, the LW-6) Porsche 935 Coupé, the LW-7) Ford Sierra XR4 Sedan, the LW-8) 1962 Chevrolet Corvette Sports Car, the LW-9) Datsun 280 ZX Turbo Coupé, the LW-10) Turbo Chevrolet Corvette Sports Car, the LW-11) Ferrari 308 GTB Sports Car, the LW-12) Chevrolet Stock Car, the LW-13) 1984 Chevrolet Corvette Sports Car, the LW-14) BMW Cabriolet 323i (with “Alpina” livery), the LW-15) Ford Escort Cabriolet XR3i, the LW-16) Sauber Group C Racer (with “Goodyear” livery), the LW-17) Lamborghini Countach LP 500S Sports Car, the LW-18) Pontiac Firebird Racer, the LW-19) Pontiac Fiero Racer (with “Protech” livery), the LW-20) Nissan 300 ZX Turbo Sports Car, the LW-21) Chevrolet Camaro Iroc-Z Coupé (with “Goodyear” livery), the LW-22) Toyota MR2 Sports Car, the LW-23) Ferrari Testarossa Sports Car, the LW-24) Peugeot Quasar Concept Car, the LW-25) Buick LeSabre Coupé (with “Ken Wells” livery), the LW-26) Cadillac Allante Convertible, the LW-27) Saab 9000 Turbo Sedan (with “Texaco” livery), the LW-28) Rover Sterling Sedan, the LW-29) Ford Thunderbird Turbo Coupé (with “Shell” livery) and the LW-30) Volvo 480ES Hatchback.  There were also “Matchbox Superfast Lasers” track sets in 1988.  These included the LW-100 Big Bang Launcher (a launcher with two lengths of track), the LW-200 Race Set (an oval track with a power booster) and the LW-300 Laser Jet Launcher (which launched cars at high speed).

The Matchbox Skybusters line for 1988 included the SB-1) Learjet (with “Federal Express” livery), the SB-3) NASA Space Shuttle, the SB-4) Dassault-Briguet Mirage F1 Fighter Jet (with “Marines” markings), the SB-9) Cessna 420 Monoplane (with “DHL” markings), the SB-10) Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet (with either “Lufthansa” or “KLM” liveries), the SB-11) Dornier Alpha Jet, the SB-12) “Pitts Special” Biplane, the SB-13) McDonnell-Douglas DC10 Commercial Airliner (with “Thai” Airlines livery), the SB-19) Piper Commanche Monoplane, the SB-20) Helicopter (with RAF markings), the SB-22) Messerschmitt Tornado Fighter Bomber, the SB-23) Concorde Supersonic Airliner (with “Air France” livery), the SB-24) F16A Fighter Jet (with USAF markings), the SB-26) Cessna 210 Float Plane (with Firefighter markings), the SB-27) Hawker Harrier V/STOL Jump Jet (with Royal Navy markings) and the SB-28) A 300 Airbus Commercial Airliner (with “Korean Air” livery).

The Matchbox Super Trucks line for 1988 included 8 diecast models (2 vans, one SUV, 4 pickup trucks and one tow truck) upon huge “monster” wheels.

A brand new product line for 1988 was the “Matchbox Super GT Miniatures,” which offered 40 budget diecast vehicles from the past.  They had black plastic windows and no opening doors, so it was not necessary to fit them with interiors.  Each model came in more than one exterior color.  As with the “Twin Packs” line, this was a great way to stock up on certain models from the past which one did not have in their collection.

The Matchbox Super GT Sport line for 1988 included the Kremer Porsche CK.5, the Kremer Porsche CK.5T (with “Shell” livery), the Pioneer Ferrari 512.BB, the Racing Ferrari (with “Shell” livery), the Pirelli Lancia Rally, the Zakspeed Ford Mustang (with “Duckhams” livery), the Zakspeed Mustang Turbo (with “Michelin” livery), the Chevrolet Chevelle Heuer Racing Pro Stocker, the Total Chevrolet Camaro, the Chevrolet Camaro Turbo (with “Michelin” livery), the Porsche 959.ED Racing and the Porsche Turbo 959 Coupé.

The Matchbox Convoy line introduced a number of special liveries for 1988, and targeted at specific markets.  They included “Unigate Fresh Milk,” “Beefeater,” “Golden Wonder Potato Crisps,” “Royal Mail,” “Pickfords Movers,” “Cadbury’s Fudge,” “Wall’s,” “Tizer,” “Wimpy,” “KitKat,” “Matchbox,” “Kentucky Fried Chicken,” “Heinz Tomato Ketchup,” “7-Up,” “Weetabix,” “Matey Bubble Bath,” “Signal Active Flouride” and “Breakaway.”  The “Matchbox Convoy” line for 1988 included the CY-1) Car Transporter, the CY-2) NASA Rocket Transporter, the CY-11) Helicopter Transporter (with “AirCar” livery), the CY-13) Fire Engine, the CY-15) NASA Tracking Vehicle, the CY-17) Scania Petrol Tanker (with “Shell” livery), the CY-18) Scania Container Truck (with “7-Up” livery), the CY-20) Kenworth Tipper (with “Taylor Woodrow” livery), the CY-21) DAF Aircraft Transporter (with “Airtrainer” livery), the CY-22) DAF Powerboat Transporter, the CY-23) Scania Covered Truck (with “Michelin” livery) and the CY-24) DAF Box Car Truck (with “Ferrari” livery).

The Matchbox Team Convoy line for 1988 included the TC-1) Fire Set, the TC-2) Tanker Set (with “Shell” livery), the TC-3) Construction Set, the TC-4) Cargo Set (with “TNT Ipec” livery), the TC-5) NASA Set, the TC-6) Rescue Set, the TC-7) Pepsi Cola Set, the TC-8) 7-Up Set, the TC-9) Duckhams Oil Set and the TC-10) Fuji Film Set.  Each set contained one “Convoy” truck and from 1 to 2 of the “1-75 Series” models.  The “Matchbox Convoy Truck Stop” play set returned in 1988 as well.

The Matchbox Motorcity line for 1988 included the MC-1) Car Wash (with a car conveyor and sponge cleaners), the MC-2) Petrol Station (with petrol pumps, operating dials and a revolving sign), the MC-3) Pit Stop (with a petrol pump, a timed launcher and a garage bay), the MC-4) Garage (with opening doors and an internal ramp to release cars), the MC-5) Construction Crane (with a swivel for the crane, an elevating jib and a loading ramp) and the MC-6) Conveyor Loader (with a revolving conveyor belt and a loading ramp).

A brand new product for 1988 was the “Matchbox Motorcity 100 Playset.”  This featured a street of shops, a petrol station and a car wash.

The Matchbox Motorcity line of play tracks for 1988 included the MC-200) Motor City Play Track (with a bridge, a petrol station and signs), the MC-300) Motor City Play Track (with a bridge, a petrol station, a car park and signs) and the MC-400) Motor City Play Track (it featured a garage with a working car hoist, a moveable car park barrier, bridges, car parks and signs).

The Matchbox Motorcity Gift Sets line for 1988 included the MC-7) Farm Set (with eight vehicles), the MC-8) Construction Set (with eight vehicles), the MC-11) Car Transporter Set (with a Car Transporter Truck and two cars), the MC-12) Aerobatic Team Set (with an Aircraft Transporter Truck and two helicopters) and the MC-13) Police Set (with a Helicopter Transporter Truck and two vehicles).

The Matchbox Carry Cases for 1988 included the CC-1) 18-Piece Carry Case and the CC-24) Tool Box Carry Case (for 24 of the 1-75 Series vehicles).

The Matchbox Gearshift Garage returned in 1988 as well.  It featured a gear lever which operated a working car wash, raising barriers, lifting ramps, an opening garage door and the dial on the petrol pump.

Two new Matchbox clubs for collectors were established in 1985, but only featured in the annual catalogue for the first time in 1988.  They differed from the old club in being based in the United Kingdom (UK) versus the USA, and in being more professionally run.  One of the new clubs was for children (both boys and girls), and was called the “Junior Matchbox Club.”  Membership included a Club Badge, a Membership Card, a special “Matchbox Club Model,” a free catalogue and at least three “Matchspeak” Newsletters per year.  The annual cost of membership was up greatly in comparison to the old club as well – 6 English Pounds (or about 12 American Dollars).  The second club was geared toward the adult collector community, and was called the “Matchbox International Collectors Association,” or “M.I.C.A.”  It had been founded in January of 1985, and was also based in the United Kingdom.  It had branch offices in Canada (for North America) and Australia as well.  Full colour magazines were printed every other month, “packed with information, articles and colour photographs of rare, current and future models.”  The magazine also enabled members to sell and exchange models with other collectors around the world, using free-of-charge classifed advertisement pages.

The Matchbox Cargantua toy returned in 1988.  This was a rather tall contraption which looked like a robot, included some plastic track, and was able to hold at least 8 of the 1-75 Series models.

The Matchbox Superkings line for 1988 included the K-15) “Londoner” Double Decker Bus (120 mm long and with “London Palladium” livery), the K-25) Digger and Plough (180 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the K-39) Snorkel Fire Engine (278 mm long), the K-44) Bridge Transporter Truck (330 mm long), the K-70) Porsche 911 Turbo Coupé (110 mm long), the K-78) Dodge Monaco US Police Car (139 mm long), the K-81) Suzuki Motorcycle (109 mm long), the K-82) BMW Motorcycle (108 mm long), the K-83) Harley-Davidson Motorcycle (120 mm long), the K-88) Money Box Security Van (137 mm long and with “Fort Knox” livery), the K-90) Matra Rancho SUV (130 mm long), the K-95) Audi Quattro Fastback Sedan (128 mm long), the K-114) Mobile Crane Truck (200 mm long), the K-115) Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16V Sedan (130 mm long), the K-117) Bulldozer Transporter Truck (320 mm long), the K-120) Car Transporter Truck (260 mm long, with “Carrier” livery and with automatic steering), the K-121) Peterbilt Wreck Truck (150 mm long), the K-122) DAF Road Train Tractor-Trailer Truck (330 mm long, with “Eurotrans” livery and with automatic steering), the K-123) Leyland Cement Truck (110 mm long and with automatic steering), the K-124) Mercedes-Benz Container Truck (308 mm long, with “7-Up” livery and with automatic steering), the K-126) Helicopter Transporter Truck (276 mm long, with Royal Navy markings and automatic steering), the K-127) Peterbilt Tanker Truck (135 mm long, with “Total” livery and with automatic steering), the K-128) DAF Aircraft Transporter (238 mm long and with automatic steering), the K-129) Mercedes-Benz Powerboat Launch Transporter Truck (350 mm long, with “Spearhead” livery on boat and with automatic steering), the K-130) Digger Transporter Truck (289 mm long and with automatic steering), the K-131) Petrol Tanker Truck (134 mm long and with “Texaco” livery), the K-132) Fire Engine (170 mm long and with automatic steering), the K-133) Iveco Refuse Truck (150 mm long), the K-134) Fire Spotter Plane Transporter Truck (280 mm long, with “Patrol Unit” markings and with automatic steering), the K-135) Mercedes-Benz Garage Service Station Transporter Truck (306 mm long, with “Texaco” livery and with automatic steering), the K-136) Racing Car Transporter Truck (280 mm long, with “Ferrari” livery and with automatic steering), the K-137) Road Construction Set (320 mm long, with Flatbed Truck and Mercedes-Benz Unimog Pickup Truck), the K-138) Fire Rescue Set (170 mm long, with Fire Engine and Mercedes-Benz Unimog Pickup Truck), the K-139) Iveco Tipper Truck (with “Wimpey” livery and working tipper), the K-140) Car Recovery Vehicle (with working ramp), the K-141) Skip Truck (with “ECD” livery and working skip dumper), the K-142) BMW Police Car (with German “Polizei” markings and a working “Halt” sign), the K-143) Emergency Van (with working “Stop” and “Accident” signs), the K-144) Land Rover SUV (with German “Frankfurter Flughafen” markings and a working “Follow Me” sign), the K-145) Iveco Tipper Truck (365 mm long and with a trailer tipper as well), the K-146) Jaguar XJ6 Sedan (130 mm long), the K-147) BMW 750iL Sedan (127 mm long), the K-148) Crane Truck (148 mm long, with “PEX” livery and with automatic steering), the K-149) Ferrari Testarossa Sports Car (121 mm long and in red), the K-150) Leyland Truck (140 mm long, with “SMF” livery, with 3 backs and with automatic steering), the K-151) Skip Truck (117 mm long and with automatic steering), the K-153) Jaguar XJ6 Police Car (130 mm long), the K-154) BMW 750iL Police Car (127 mm long and with German “Polizei” markings), the K-155) Ferrari Testarossa Sports Car (121 mm long, in yellow and with racing livery), the K-156) Porsche 911 Turbo Coupé (110 mm long and with “elf” racing livery), the K-157) Porsche 944 Coupé (115 mm long), the K-158) Ford Sierra XR4i Sedan Pace Car (127 mm long), the K-159) Iveco Racing Car Transporter Truck (280 mm long, with “Porsche” livery and with automatic steering) and the K-160) Iveco Racing Car Transporter Truck (280 mm long, with “Matchbox Formula Racing Team” livery and with automatic steering).  There were thus 54 Matchbox Super Kings models in 1988, up from 43 in 1987 – and once again the largest offering since 1981.

The Matchbox Models of Yesteryear line for 1988 included the Y-1) 1936 Jaguar SS100 Roadster (on a diorama with “Ye Olde Kings Head” livery), the Y-2) 1930 Bentley 4,5 Litre Supercharged Racing Car, the Y-3) 1912 Model “T” Ford Tanker Truck (with “Castrol Motor Oil” livery), the Y-4) 1930 Duesenberg Model J, the Y-5) 1927 Talbot Van (with “Rose’s Lime Juice Cordial” livery), the Y-6) 1932 Mercedes-Benz Truck (with “Stuttgarter Hofbräu” livery), the Y-7) 1930 Ford Model “A” Breakdown Truck (with “Shell” livery), the Y-8) 1917 Yorkshire Steam Wagon Type WA (with “Johnnie Walker Whisky” livery), the Y-9) 1912 Simplex (on a diorama with “BP Motor Sports” livery), the Y-10) 1957 Maserati 250F Racing Car, the Y-11) 1932 Bugatti Type 51 Racing Car, the Y-12) 1937 GMC Van (with “Goblin” livery), the Y-13) 1918 Crossley Pickup Truck (with either “Waring’s” or “Kohle & Koks” liveries), the Y-14) 1936 E.R.A. “Remus” Racing Car, the Y-15) 1920 London Preston-Type Tram Car (with either “Swan Vestas” or “Swan Soap” liveries), the Y-16) 1957 Ferrari Dino 246/V12 Racing Car, the Y-17) 1938 Hispano-Suiza (on a diorama with “Chocolat Menier” livery), the Y-18) 1920 Atkinson Steam Wagon (with either “Blue Circle Portland Cement” or “Burghfield Mills Reading” liveries), the Y-19) 1929 Morris Van (10 CWT. with either “Brasso” or “Michelin” liveries), the Y-20) 1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Roadster with Rumble Seat (on a diorama with “Sunlight” livery), the Y-22) 1930 Model “A” Ford Van (with “Lyon’s Tea” livery), the Y-23) 1922 AEC Omnibus (with either “Haig Whisky” or “Kellogg’s Rice Krispies” liveries), the Y-24) 1927 Bugatti T44 Coupé (on a diorama with “Paris Match” livery), the Y-25) Renault AG Van, the Y-26) 1918 Crossley Lorry (with “Gonzalez Byass” livery), the Y-27) 1922 Foden Steam Lorry (with “Tate & Lyle’s Packet Sugar” livery), the Y-28) 1907 Unic Taxi, the Y-29) Walker Van (with “His Master’s Voice” livery) and the Y-30) Mack Truck (with “Kiwi Boot Polish” livery).

A brand new product line for 1988 was the “Matchbox RoadBlasters” line of diecast vehicles.  These were somewhat like the “Adventure 2000? series from the past, and remind one of the “Mad Max” movies starring Mel Gibson as well – combat with missile-armed vehicles in a post-urban desert environment.  They were totally silly from the viewpoint of most adult collectors, but somewhat popular among children of the time.  The RB-2500A “Turbo Force Assortment” included the Thunder-Gunner, the Carpow, the Barrel Bomber, the Speedking, the Street Eater, the Turbo Special, the Road Razor and the Road Raider.  The RB-2500B “Motor Lords Assortment” included the Motor Master, the Streaker, the Tow Nailer, the Stick-Up Pick-Up, the Killer Zee, the Rampager, the Backstabber and the Parasite.  Sets of 3 vehicles each included the RB-2521) A.L.T.R.A.C. (”Air/Land Repair Centre”), the RB-2522) V.A.R.M.I.T. (”Vehicle Armour Redesign and Modular Intelligence Transport”), the RB-2531) T.R.A.P.P.E.R. (”Turbo Force Reconnaisance and Power Reserve”), the RB-2532) M.O.R.G. (”Mobile Operations Resupply Gantry”), the RB-2570) Roadblasters Air Support Squadron and the RB-3000) Roadblasters Rough Terrain Reconnaissance Patrol.  A track set complete with a loop and a jump was the RB-2560) “Run the Gauntlet” set.

The “Action Matchbox” Lineup for 1988

The Action Matchbox lineup for 1988 included the AM-4090 “Power Lifters Assortment” of 12 diecast racing cars (they featured twin speed pull back motors with working spoilers), the AM-5010 “Flashbacks” line of 13 diecast vehilces (an ambulance van and 12 sports cars with “trigger” mechanisms designed to launch the cars) and the AM-2600 “Turbo 2 Assortment” of 12 motorised vehicles.  These included the AM-2601) Pontiac Fiero Coupé, the AM-2602) Peugeot 205 Turbo Hatchback, the AM-2603) Ford Supervan II Minivan, the AM-2604) Racing Porsche Coupé, the AM-2605) Toyota MR2 Sports Car, the AM-2606) Sauber Group “C” Racer and six more of the same models with different exterior colors.  The AM-2400 “Turbo Specials Assortment” included the Firestone Chevrolet Camaro, the Zakspeed Ford Mustang, the Michelin Kremer Porsche, the Goodyear Pro-Stocker Turbo, the Martini Lancia Rally Car, the Pioneer Ferrari 512BB, the Kremer Porsche CK5 Turbo and the Porsche 959 Coupé.  The latter were larger diecast cars also featuring 2-speed friction motors and not requiring batteries.  Finally, the AM-4070 line of “Pocket Rockets” featured four diecast motorcycles and four diecast sports car with exterior colour transfers and friction motors.

1989 Matchbox Model Year: the Purchase of Dinky

The exterior of the 1989 Matchbox color catalogue featured a picture of a “Playtrack” layout within a checkered background (white with red lines).  An almost identical cover would be used in 1990 as well.  In 1989, Matchbox International, Limited of Macao purchased the venerable Dinky brand, which was one of the oldest and the most loved names in British diecast toys.  The nine “Dinky” models could be thought of as an extension to the “Matchbox Models of Yesteryear” line of antique and classic vehicles – being from later model year real-life vehicles.  All Dinky models (unlike the “Models of Yesteryear” vehicles) were 1:43-Scale, just like the original Dinky models from the past).

The Matchbox 1-75 Series for 1989 included the 1) Jaguar XJ6 Sedan, the 2) Rover Sterling Sedan, the 3) Porsche 911 Turbo Coupé, the 4) Austin London Taxi, the 5) Peterbilt Petrol Tanker (with “Shell” livery), the 6) Formula 1 Racing Car, the 7) Porsche 959 Coupé, the 8) Vauxhall Astra / Opel Kadett Police Car, the 9) Caterpillar Bulldozer (a non-Superfast model), the 10) Buick Le Sabre Coupé, the 11) Lamborghini Countach LP500S Sports Car, the 12) Modified Racer, the 13) Snorkel Fire Engine, the 14) Grand Prix Racing Car (with “Shell” livery), the 15) Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 Hatchback, the 16) Land Rover 90 SUV, the 17) London Double-Decker Bus (with “Around London Tour Bus” livery), the 18) Fire Engine, the 19) Peterbilt Cement Truck, the 20) Volkswagen Vanagon Ambulance Transporter, the 21) Breakdown Van, the 22) Saab 9000 Turbo Sedan, the 23) Peterbilt Tipper Truck, the 24) Nissan 300ZX Coupé (with “Fujicolor Film” livery), the 25) Audi Quattro Fastback Sedan, the 26) Volvo Tilt Truck (with “Ferrymasters” livery), the 27) Jeep Cherokee SUV, the 28) Dodge Daytona Turbo Z Coupé, the 29) Shovel Tractor, the 30) Mercedes-Benz Geländewagen SUV (with German “Polizei” markings), the 31) Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud Sedan, the 32) Excavator (a non-Superfast model), the 33) Renault 11 Hatchback, the 34) Ford RS200 Coupé, the 35) Ford Bronco II SUV, the 36) Refuse Truck, the 37) Ford Escort Cabriolet, the 38) Model “A” Ford Van, the 39) BMW 323i Cabriolet, the 40) NASA Rocket Transporter, the 41) Racing Porsche 935 Coupé, the 42) Mobile Crane Truck, the 43) Mercedes-Benz AMG 500SEC Coupé, the 44) Skoda 130LR Rally Car, the 45) Skip Truck, the 46) Sauber Group C Racer (with “Castrol” livery), the 47) School Bus, the 48) Vauxhall Astra GTE Hatchback (with “AC Delco” livery), the 49) Peugeot Quasar Concept Car, the 50) Dodge Dakota Pickup Truck, the 51) Ford LTD Sedan Police Car, the 52) BMW M1 Sports Car, the 53) Ford Flareside Pickup Truck, the 54) Airport Foam Pumper Truck, the 55) Ford Sierra XR 4×4 Sedan, the 56) Volkswagen Golf GTI Hatchback Sedan, the 57) Mission Helicopter, the 58) Mercedes-Benz 300E Sedan, the 59) Porsche 944 Turbo Coupé, the 60) Ford Transit Van (with “Express Parcel Systems” livery), the 61) Ford Thunderbird Turbo Coupé, the 62) Volvo 760 Sedan, the 63) 4 x 4 Pickup Truck, the 64) Dodge Caravan Minivan, the 65) Cadillac Allante Convertible, the 66) Rolls-Royce Sedan, the 67) Ikarus Coach (with “Tourist City Line” livery), the 68) Chevrolet Camaro Coupé, the 69) Volvo 480 ES Hatchback, the 70) Ferrari 308 GTB Sports Car (with “Pioneer” livery), the 71) GMC Wrecker Truck, the 72) Ford Supervan II Minivan (with “Starfire” livery), the 73) Model “A” Ford Coupé, the 74) Toyota MR2 Sports Car and the 75) Ferrari Testarossa Sports Car.  New models revealed with their “Matchbox” numbers (for the first time) were the 24) Lincoln Town Car Limousine, the 31) BMW 5-Series Sedan, the 33) Mercury Sable Station Wagon, the 53) Dump Truck, the 64) Oldsmobile Aerotech Concept Car, the 70) Ferrari F-40 Sports Car, the 73) TV News Truck and the 74) Utility Truck.

The Matchbox Twin Packs line for 1989 included the TP-103) Dodge Cattle Truck and Trailer, the TP-108) Tractor and Trailer, the TP-112) Mercedes-Benz Unimog Pickup Truck with Snowplough and Trailer, the TP-115) Ford Escort Cabriolet with Boat and Trailer, the TP-117) Mercedes-Benz Geländewagen SUV with Horse Box Trailer (with German “Polizei” markings), the TP-120) Volkswagen Golf Hatchback Sedan with Inflatable Boat and Trailer, the TP-121) Land Rover SUV with “Seafire” Speed Boat and Trailer, the TP-122) Porsche 911 Turbo Coupé with Glider and Trailer, the TP-123) BMW 323i Cabriolet with Camping Caravan Trailer and the TP-124) Zoo Truck and Eccles Trailer Caravan.

The Matchbox Theme Packs line of 3-vehicle sets for 1989 included the MP-101) Emergency Set, the MP-102) Construction Set, the MP-103) Airport Fire Set, the MP-104) 4 x 4 Set, the MP-105) Dragster Set, the MP-106) Porsche Set, the MP-107) Farm Set and the TP-108) NASA Set.

The Matchbox Miniatures Gift Packs line for 1989 included the MC-10) Pack of 10 assorted vehicles and the MC-20) Pack of 20 assorted vehicles.

The “Matchbox Super GTs Miniatures” line of 40 budget diecast cars was back in 1989, and with packs for 2, 3 and 10 assorted vehicles as well – the multiple packs were new for 1989.

The Matchbox Super Color Changers line for 1989 featured 12 diecast vehicles from the 1-75 Series line (both past and current models) which could alter their exterior colors.

The “Matchbox Colorchange Skybusters” line for 1989 was brand new, and offered 8 Skybusters models which could also change their exterior colors.

The Matchbox Superfast Lasers line for 1989 featured 24 of the “1-75 Series” models with laser wheels.

The Matchbox Convoy line for 1989 included the CY-15) Peterbilt TV Satellite Vehicle, the CY-17) Scania Petrol Tanker (with “Shell” livery), the CY-Kenworth Tipper Truck, the CY-21) DAF Aircraft Transporter Truck (with “Red Rebels” livery), the CY-22) DAF Power Boat Launch Transporter Truck (with US Coast Guard markings), the CY-23) Scania Covered Truck (with “Michelin” livery), the CY-24) DAF Box Car Truck (with “Ferrari” livery) and the CY-25) DAF Box Truck (with “Pepsi” livery).

The Matchbox Team Convoy line of sets (one Convoy truck and one 1-75 Series model per set) for 1989 included the TC-1) Fire Set, the TC-2) Tanker Set (with “Shell” livery), the TC-4) Cargo Set (with “Express Parcel Systems” livery), the TC-5) NASA Set, the TC-9) XQR Set, the TC-10) Fujicolor Film Set, the TC-11) Pirelli Set and the TC-12) Tizer the Appetizer Set.

The Matchbox Skybusters line for 1989 included the SB-1) Learjet (with “QX-press” livery), the SB-4) Dassault-Briguet Mirage F1 Jet, the SB-9) Cessna 420 Monoplane, the SB-10) Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet (with either ”Aer Lingus” or “Lufthansa” liveries), the SB-11) Dornier Alpha Jet, the SB-12) “Pitts Special” Biplane, the SB-13) McDonnell-Douglas DC10 Commercial Airliner (with “American Airlines” livery), the SB-20) Helicopter, the SB-22) Messerschmitt Tornado Fighter-Bomber Jet, the SB-23) Concorde Supersonic Airliner, the SB-24) F16A Jet (with US Air Force markings), the B-26) Cessna 210 Float Plane (with “Fire” markings), the SB-27) Hawker Harrier V/STOL Jump Jet (with Royal Navy markings), the SB-28) Airbus A300 Commercial Airliner (with “Iberia” livery), the SB-29) Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird Spy Plane and the SB-30) F-14 Tomcat Jet (with US Navy markings).  A nice new accessory for 1989 was the SB-40 fold-out aircraft carrier play mat for “Skybusters” military aircraft.

The Matchbox Motorcity line of small playsets for 1989 included the MC-1) Car Wash, the MC-2) Petrol Station, the MC-3) Pit Stop, the MC-4) Garage, the MC-5) Construction Crane and the MC-6) Conveyor Loader.  A nice new accessory was the “Matchbox Motorcity” MC-100 Garage Playset, which featured a petrol station with pumps, a car park area and a “Convoy” park area for large tractor trailers.  Another great new playset was the “Matchbox Motorcity” MC-150 Airport Playset for “1-75 Series” vehicles and “Skybusters” aircraft.  It featured an aircraft hanger, a runway and a car park area.  The “Matchbox Motorcity Playtrack” sets for 1989 included the S-100) “Smash ‘n Crash” Track Set (a competitive action playset complete with 2 vehicles), the MC-200) Playtrack (with a bridge, a petrol station and signs, the MC-250) Railway Set (with a complete oval railway track, 2 locomotives, carriages, a railway station, a tunnel and a conveyor loader), the MC-300) Playtrack (with a car park, ramps, bridges, a petrol station and signs), the MC-370) Car Wash (with a “super spin” car wash that actually worked), the MC-400) Playtrack (with garage featuring a working car hoist, a moveable car park barrier, a car park area, bridges, signs and even more track), the MC-500) Superset (with track and the ability to construct different buildings with parking areas on multiple levels) and the MC-550) Electronic Service Center (with electronic sound effects, a car lift, a tyre check, a brake check, a pit stop, a petrol station, a garage and parking areas).

The Matchbox Motorcity Gift Sets for 1989 included the MC-7 Farm Set (with a tipper truck and seven vehicles), the MC-8) Construction Set (with a shovel transporter and seven vehicles), the MC-9) Racing Set (with a race car transporter and five vehicles), MC-11) Transporter Set (with a car transporter and two cars), the MC-12) Aerobatic Team Set (with an aircraft transporter and two helicopters) and the MC-13) Police Set (with a helicopter transporter, a wreck truck and a police car).

The Matchbox Motorcity Carry Cases for 1989 included the new CC-14) “Securicar” Carry Case (it looked like a security van, could be locked with a card, storing up to 14 of the 1-75 Series vehicles), the CC-18) for 18 vehicles and the CC-24) “Tool Box” Carry Case for 24 vehicles.

The Matchbox Superkings line for 1989 included the K-1) Kremer Porsche CK5 Racing Car (114 mm long), the K-2) Kremer Porsche CK5 Turbo Racing Car (114 mm long and with “Shell” livery), the K-3) Ferrari 512BB Racing Car (118 mm long and with “Bosch” livery), the K-4) RJ Racing Ferrari 512BB (118 mm long and with “Pioneer” livery), the K-5) Lancia Rallye Car (112 mm long and with “Pirelli” livery), the K-6) Zakspeed Ford Mustang Racing Car (128 mm long and with “Duckhams” livery), the K-7) Zakspeed Ford Mustang Turbo (in yellow and with “Michelin” livery), the K-8) Ferrari F40 Sports Car, the K-9) Ferrari F40 Racing Car (in black and with “Michelin” livery), the K-10) Chevrolet Camaro Turbo Coupé (with “Goodyear” livery), the K-11) Porsche Turbo 959 Racing Coupé (in black and with “Michelin” livery), the K-12) Porsche Turbo 959 Coupé, the K-15) “Londoner” Double Decker Bus (with “Around London Tour Bus” livery), the K-25) Digger and Plough (180 mm long and a non-Superfast model), the K-39) Snorkel Fire Engine (278 mm long), the K-70) Porsche 911 Turbo, the K-78) Dodge Monaco US Police Car, the K-95) Audi Quattro Fastback Sedan, the K-98) Porsche 944 Coupé, the K-114) Mobile Crane Truck (200 mm long), the K-115A) Mercedes-Benz 190E Sedan (in gray), the K-115B) Mercedes-Benz 190E Rally Car (with “Fujifilm” livery), the K-117) Bulldozer Transporter Truck (320 mm long), the K-120) Car Transporter Truck (260 mm long and with “Carrier” livery), the K-121) Peterbilt Wreck Truck (150 mm long and with “City Police” markings), the K-122) DAF Road Train Tractor Trailer Truck (330 mm long and with “Eurotrans” livery), the K-123) Leyland Cement Truck (110 mm long), the K-126) Helicopter Transporter Truck (260 mm long and with “Royal Navy Rescue” markings), the K-129) Mercedes-Benz Power Boat Launch Transporter Truck (350 mm long and with “US Coast Guard” markings), the K-130) Digger Transporter Truck (289 mm long), the K-132) Fire Engine 170 mm long), the K-133) Iveco Refuse Truck (150 mm long), the K-135) Mercedes-Benz Garage Transporter Truck (306 mm long and with “Texaco” livery), the K-136) Iveco Racing Car Transporter Truck (280 mm long and with “Ferrari” livery), the K-139) Iveco Tipper Truck (with “Wimpey” livery), the K-140) Car Recovery Vehicle, the K-141) Skip Truck, the K-142A) BMW 3-Series Sedan Police Car, the K-142B) BMW 3-Series Sedan (with “FINA Pace Car” livery), the K-143) Emergency Ambulance Van, the K-144A) Land-Rover SUV (with German “Frankfurter Flughafen” markings), the K-144B) Land-Rover SUV (with “Road Maintenance” markings), the K-145) Iveco Tipper Truck (365 mm long), the K-146) Jaguar XJ6 Sedan (in red), the K-147) BMW 7-Series Sedan (in gray), the K-148) Mercedes-Benz Crane Truck (148 mm long and with “PEX” livery), the K-149) Ferrari Testarossa Sports Car (in red), the K-150) Leyland Truck (140 mm long and with 3 different backs), the K-153) Jaguar XJ6 Police Car, the K-154) BMW 7-Series Police Car (with German “Polizei” markings), the K-155) Ferrari Testarossa Sports Car (in yellow and with racing livery), the K-156) Porsche 911 Turbo Coupé (with “elf” racing livery), the K-157) Porsche 944 Coupé (in yellow and with racing livery), the K-159) Iveco Racing Car Transporter Truck (280 mm long and with “Porsche” livery), the K-160) Iveco Racing Car Transporter Truck (280 mm long and with “Matchbox” livery”), the K-161) Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit Sedan, the K-162A) Ford Sierra RS500 Cosworth Sedan (in white), the K-162B) Ford Sierra RS500 Cosworth Sedan (in black and with “Texaco” livery), the K-164) Range Rover SUV (in dark blue), the K-165) Range Rover SUV Police Vehicle and the K-166) Mercedes-Benz 190E Taxicab.  The Matchbox Superkings range grew to a total of 64 models in 1989 – once again, the largest number since 1981.

A brand new line of products for 1989 were the “Matchbox Big Movers” range of large-scale diecast metal vehicles.  These were meant to appeal to younger boys, and to compete against the likes of “Tonka” toys.  They included the BM-3400) Small Dump Truck (10 inches long), the BM-3500) Assorted “Stubbies” of 5 Trucks (6 inches long each, and featuring a Tanker Truck, a Cement Truck, a Dump Truck, a Wrecker Truck and a Crane Truck), the BM-3550) Transporter Truck “Stubbies” (11 inches long and with either “IPEC” or “Matchbox” liveries), the BM-3600) 4 x 4 Pickup Truck Road King with Shell (11 inches long), the BM-3610) 4 x 4 Pickup Truck (11 inches long), the BM-3620) “Surf Buggy” Jeep with Surfboard (10 inches long), the BM-3650) Pickup Truck with Camper Shell and Boat on Trailer (22 inches long), the BM-3800) Car Carrier Truck (22 inches long), the BM-3810) Container Truck (22 inches long and with “Midnight X-Press” livery), the BM-3850) Wreck Truck (13 inches long and with “Heavy Salvage” livery) and the BM-3900) Super Dump Truck (14 inches long).

The Matchbox Models of Yesteryear line for 1989 included the Y-1) 1936 Jaguar SS100 Roadster, the Y-2) 1930 Bentley 4,5 Litre Racing Car, the Y-3) 1912 Model “T” Ford Tanker Truck (with “Castrol” livery), the Y-4) 1930 Duesenberg Model J, the Y-5) 1927 Talbot Van (with either “Rose’s Lime Juice Cordial” or “Lyle’s Golden Syrup” liveries), the Y-6) 1932 Mercedes-Benz Truck (with “Stuttgarter Hofbräu” livery), the Y-7) Ford Model “A” Breakdown Truck (with “Shell” livery), the Y-8) 1917 Yorkshire Steam Wagon Type WA (with “William Prichard” livery), the Y-9) 1912 Simplex, the Y-10) 1957 Maserati 250F Racing Car, the Y-11) 1932 Bugatti Type 51 Racing Car, the Y-12) 1937 GMC Van (with “Goblin Electric Cleaners” livery), the Y-13) 1918 Crossley Pickup Truck (with “Waring’s” livery), the Y-14) 1936 E.R.A. “Remus” Racing Car, the Y-15) 1920 Preston Type Tram Car (with either “Swan Vestas” or “Golden Shred” liveries), the Y-16) 1957 Ferrari Dino 246/V12 Racing Car, the Y-17) 1938 Hispano-Suiza, the Y-18) 1920 Atkinson Steam Wagon (with “Burghfield Mills Reading” livery), the Y-19) 1929 Morris Van (with “Brasso” livery), the Y-20) 1938 Mercedes-Benz Roadster with Rumble Seat, the Y-22) 1930 Model “A” Ford Van (with ”Lyon’s Tea” livery), the Y-23) 1922 AEC Omnibus (with either “Kellogg’s Rice Krispies” or “Lifebouy Soap” liveries), the Y-24) 1927 Bugatti T44 Coupé, the Y-25) 1910 Renault AG Van (with “Chocolat Suchard” livery), the Y-26) 1918 Crossley Lorry (with “Gonzalez Byass” livery), the Y-27) 1922 Foden Steam Lorry (with either “Tate & Lyle’s Packet Sugar” or “Joseph Rank Limited” liveries), the Y-28) 1907 Unic Taxi, the Y-29) Walker Van (with “His Master’s Voice” livery) and the Y-30) Mack Truck (with “Kiwi Boot Polish” livery).

1989 marked the first year for the famous “Dinky” line to be included with Matchbox, due to the purchase of Dinky by Matchbox International.  Dinky’s history goes back to 1933, when they were established in England.  They pioneered 1:43-Scale diecast cars and trucks, which were meant to complement “O-Scale” train sets (also of the popular 1:43-Scale).  The “Dinky Collection” for 1989 included the DY-1) 1967 E-Type Jaguar Sports Car, the DY-2) 1957 Chevrolet Bel-Air Hardtop Coupé, the DY-3) 1965 MGB GT Coupé, the DY-4) 1950 Ford E83W 10-cwt Van (with “Heinz 57 Varieties” livery), the DY-5) 1957 Ford V-8 Pilot Sedan, the DY-6) 1951 Volkswagen Deluxe Export Sunroof Sedan, the DY-7)1959 Cadillac Coupé DeVille, the DY-8) 1948 Commer 8-cwt Van (with “Sharp’s Super Kreem Toffee” livery) and the DY-9) 1949 Land-Rover Series 1 Jeep.

The “Matchbox World Class” line for 1989 featured 8 diecast cars of the 1-75 Series scale, but with mirrored windows (thus no detailed interiors), and rubber tyres (versus plastic).  The line included a Porsche 928 Coupé, a Lamborghini Sports Car, a Mercedes-Benz AMG Coupé, 2 Ferrari Sports Cars, a rear-engined Porsche Coupé and a Chevrolet Corvette Convertible.

A brand new product line for 1989 was the “Matchbox Connectables” range of 25 diecast vehicles and/or aircraft.  These were supposed “misfit” models which would make little or no sense in the real world.  They were available in four different sets (one with five models, one with 12, another with seven motorised models and one with a Truck Transporter.

The “Matchbox Power Lifters” line for 1989 included 12 diecast sports cars, coupés and and one pickup truck with operating rear spoilers and “wheelie” action.  The “Matchbox Flashbacks” line for 1989 included one diecast ambulance van and 12 diecast sports cars and coupés with “key car” action.  The 1989 line of “Matchbox Burnin’ Key Cars” featured 12 additional “Key Cars.”  One would insert a key into the back of car, squeeze the key, and then the car would take off.

The Matchbox Lock Ups line for 1989 included 16 diecast cars where the opening doors and wheels could be locked with a key.  The “Matchbox Trick Shifters” line featured 6 diecast cars with a gear shift, enabling the cars to perform wheelies, spin-outs and flip-overs.  The “Matchbox Power Blasters” line for 1989 returned with 6 diecast motorcycles.  Finally, the “Matchbox Turbo Specials” line for 1989 included 8 large diecast cars with 2-speed motors, friction drive, real rubber tyres and highly decorated racing liveries.

1990 Matchbox Model Year: the Launch of “Matchbox Collectibles”

The cover of the 1990 Matchbox catalogue looked very similar to that of the 1989 edition.  This was the very first year when the “Models of Yesteryear” and “Dinky” lines were not in the general catalogue.  They had their own separate catalogue, and were now being marketed largely by mail order (this was before the dominance of the Internet) under the marketing group of “Matchbox Collectibles.”  This was done for a number of reasons, not the least of which was greatly increased competition.  “Corgi” always had a better reputation in the larger diecast models (1:36 and 1:43-Scale), and former “Lesney” employee Jack Odell had launched his own “Lledo” line of toys (”Odell” spelled backwards).  Corgi and Lledo would eventually join forces, marketing “Corgi Classics” and “Lledo Vanguards.”  Paul’s Model Art of Germany would launch the totally new brand of “Minichamps,” – more expensive, but of much higher quality.  “Vitesse” of Portugal was also a major player during this time period, as were “Rio” of Italy and “Gama” of Germany.

The Matchbox 1-75 Series for 1990 included the 1) Jaguar XJ6 Sedan, the 2) Rover Sterling Sedan, the 3) Porsche 911 Turbo Coupé, the 4) Austin London Taxi, the 5) Peterbilt Petrol Tanker Truck (with “Shell” livery), the 6) Formula 1 Racer, the 7) Porsche 959 Coupé, the 8) Vauxhall Astra / Opel Kadett Police Car, the 9) Caterpillar Bulldozer (a non-Superfast model), the 10) Buick Le Sabre Stock Car (with “Shell” livery), the 11) Lamborghini Countach LP500S Sports Car, the 12) Modified Racer, the 13) Snorkel Fire Engine, the 14) Grand Prix Race Car, the 15) Peugeot 205 Hatchback, the 16) Land Rover 90 SUV, the 17) London Double Decker Bus (with “Around London Tour Bus” livery), the 18) Fire Engine, the 19) Peterbilt Cement Truck, the 20) Volkswagen Vanagon Ambulance, the 21) Breakdown Van (with “Auto Relay” livery), the 22) Saab 9000 Turbo Sedan, the 23) Peterbilt Tipper Truck, the 24) Lincoln Town Car Limousine, the 25) Ambulance, the 26) Volvo Truck (with “Pirelli Gripping Stuff” livery), the 27) Jeep Cherokee SUV (with “Mr. Fixer” livery), the 28) Chevrolet Corvette Convertible, the 29) Tractor Shovel, the 30) Mercedes-Benz 280 GE “Geländewagen” SUV (with German “Polizei” markings), the 31) BMW 535i Sedan, the 32) Excavator (a non-Superfast model), the 33) Mercury Sable Station Wagon, the 34) Dodge Challenger Hardtop (with “Toyman” livery), the 35) Ford Bronco II SUV (with Coast Guard markings), the 36) Refuse Truck, the 37) Ford Escort XR3i Cabriolet, the 38) Model “A” Ford Van (with “Matchbox Series” livery), the 39) BMW 323i Cabriolet, the 40) NASA Rocket Transporter, the 41) Racing Porsche 935 Coupé, the 42) Mobile Crane Truck, the 43) 1957 Chevrolet Bel-Air Hardtop, the 44) Skoda 130LR Rally Car, the 45) Skip Truck, the 46) the Sauber Group “C” Racer (with “Shell” livery), the 47) School Bus (with “School District 2? markings), the 48) Opel Kadett GTE Hatchback (with “STP” livery), the 49) Peugeot Quasar Concept Car, the 50) Dodge Dakota Pickup Truck, 51) Ford LTD Sedan Police Car, the 52) BMW M-1 Sports Car (with “Goodyear” livery), the 53) Dump Truck, the 54) Foam Pumper Truck, the 55) Ford Sierra XR4i Sedan (with “Texaco” livery), the 56) 4 x 4 Jeep (with “Golden Eagle” livery), the 57) Helicopter, the 58) Mercedes-Benz 300E Sedan, the 59) Porsche 944 Turbo Coupé, the 60) Ford Transit Van (with “Ryder” livery), the 61) Ford Thunderbird Turbo Coupé, the 62) Volvo Container Truck (with “Federal Express” livery), the 63) 4 x 4 Pickup Truck, the 64) Oldsmobile Aerotech Concept Car, the 65) Cadillac Allanté Convertible, the 66) Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit Sedan, the 67) Ikarus Coach (with “Tourist City Line” livery), the 68) Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z 28 Coupé, the 69) Volvo 480 ES Hatchback, the 70) Ferrari F40 Sports Car, the 71) GMC Wrecker Truck (with “Getty” livery), the 72) Ford Transit Van, the 73) TV News Truck (with “MBTV” livery), the 74) Ford Crane Truck and the 75) Ferrari Testarossa Sports Car.  Some brand new models (for 1991) were released as well, along with their 1-75 Series numbers.  These were the 15) Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sports Car, the 27) Mercedes-Benz Farm Tractor (a non-Superfast model), the 33) Mercedes-Benz 500SL Convertible, the 37) Nissan 300ZX Sports Car, the 39) Mack CH600 Tractor Trailer Cab, the 41) Vauxhall Cavalier / Opel Vectra Sedan, the 44) 1921 Model “T” Ford Van (with “Bird’s Custard” livery), the 54) Chevrolet Lumina Stock Car (with “Matchbox” livery), the 69) Snow Plough Dump Truck and the MB-72) Sprint Racer.

The Matchbox Twin Packs line for 1990 included the TP-103) Dodge Cattle Truck with Trailer, the TP-108) Farm Tractor with Trailer, the TP-112) Mercedes-Benz Unimog Pickup Truck with Snowplough and Trailer, the TP-115) Ford Escort Cabriolet with Boat on Trailer, the TP-117) Mercedes-Benz Geländewagen SUV with Horse Trailer (with German “Polizei” markings), the TP-120) Volkswagen Golf GTI Hatchback with Inflatable Boat on Trailer, the TP-121) Jeep SUV with Speedboat on Trailer, the TP-122) Porsche 911 Turbo Coupé with Glider Trailer and the TP-123) BMW 323i Cabriolet with Camping Caravan Trailer.

The Matchbox Three Packs line for 1990 included the MP-101) Emergency Set (with a Wrecker Truck, an Ambulance and a Police Car), the MP-102) Construction Set (with a Cement Truck, a Skip Truck and a Bulldozer), the MP-103) Airport Fire Set (with a Foam Pumper Set, a Fire Truck and a Helicopter), the MP-104) 4 x 4 Set (with 3 Jeeps), the MP-106) Porsche Set (with 3 Porsche Coupés), the MP-107) Farm Set (with a Dodge Cattle Truck, a Tractor and a Combine Harvester), the MP-108) NASA Set (with a Van, and Tracking Vehicle and a Rocket Transporter Truck) and the MP-109A) Ferrari Set (with 3 Ferrari Sports Cars).

The Matchbox Lasertronic line for 1990 included 12 diecast vehicles with light and sound action.

The Matchbox Convoy line for 1990 included the CY-15) Peterbilt Tracking Vehicle (with “MBTV News” livery), the CY-17) Scania Petrol Tanker (with “Shell” livery), the CY-21) DAF Aircraft Transporter (with “Red Rebels” livery), the CY-22) DAF Powerboat Launch Transporter (with US Coast Guard markings), the CY-24a) DAF Box Car Transporter (with “Ferrari” livery) and the CY-25a) DAF Box Truck (with “Team Pepsi Suzuki” livery).

The Matchbox Team Convoy line for 1990 included the TC-1) Fire Set, the TC-2) Tanker Set (with “Shell” livery), the TC-4 Cargo Set (with “XP Express Parcel Systems” livery), the TC-5) NASA Set, the TC-13) TV News Set (with “MBTV News” livery), the TC-14) Ferrari Set, the TC-15) Pirelli Set and the TC-16) US Coast Guard Set.  Each set featured one “Convoy” model and one “1-75 Series” model, complete in their exclusive liveries.

The Matchbox Skybusters line for 1990 included the SB-1) Learjet (with “QX-press Freight Delivery Service” livery), the SB-4) Dassault-Briguet Mirage F1 Jet (with “Marines” markings), the SB-9) Cessna 420 Monoplane, the SB-10) Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet (with “Lufthansa” livery), the SB-11) Dornier Alpha Jet (with French national colors), the SB-12) “Pitts Special” Biplane, the SB-13) McDonnell-Douglas DC-10 (with “American Airlines” livery), the SB-20) Helicopter, the SB-22) Messerschmitt Tornado Fighter-Bomber Jet (with British markings), the SB-23) “Concorde” Supersonic Airliner, the SB-24) F16A Jet (with US Air Force markings), the SB-26) Cessna 210 Float Plane (with “Fire” markings), the SB-27) Hawker Harrier V/STOL Jump Jet (with US Marine Corps markings), the SB-28) Airbus A300 Commercial Airliner (with “Iberia” livery), the SB-29) Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird Spy Plane (with US Air Force markings), the SB-30) Grumman F-14 Tomcat Carrier-based Jet (with US Navy markings), the SB-31) Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet (with “Cathay Pacific” livery), the SB-32) Fairchild A10 Thunderbolt Fighter Ground-Attack Jet (with US Air Force markings), the SB-33) Bell Jet Ranger Helicopter (with “Sky Ranger” livery), the SB-34) Lockheed A130 Hercules Transporter (with US Coast Guard markings) and the SB-35) MiL Mi-Hind D Helicopter (with Soviet markings).  One brand new model for 1991 was featured, which was the SB-26) Lockheed F-117A “Stealth” Fighter Jet.

The Matchbox Motorcity Gift Sets line for 1990 included the MC-1) Car Wash Set (with a car wash and two cars), the MC-2) Petrol Station (with a petrol station and two vehicles), the MC-3) Pit Stop (with a pit stop and two cars), the MC-4) Garage (with a storage garage and two cars), the MC-5) Construction Crane (with a site crane and a dump truck), the MC-6) Conveyor Loader (with a site conveyor loader and four contruction vehicles), the MC-7) Farm Set (with eight vehicles), the MC-8) Construction Set (with eight vehicles), the MC-9) Racing Set (with six vehicles), the MC-10) 10-variety car pack, the MC-11) Car Transporter Set (with a Car Transporter Truck and two cars), the MC-12) Aerobatic Team Set (with an Aircraft Transporter Truck, a plane and two helicopters), the MC-13) Police Set (with 3 vehicles and a helicopter), the MC-15) Fire Set (with five vehicles and a plane), the MC-20) 20-variety car pack, the MC-100) Motorcity Garage (with a mini garage, a petrol station and a car park area), the MC-150) Motorcity Airport (with a mini airport, an aircraft hangar, a runway and a car park area), the MC-200) Motorcity Playtrack (with a bridge, a petrol station and signs), the MC-250) Motorcity Railway Set (with an oval rail track, a train station, a loading station, two engines and carriages), the MC-300) Motorcity Playtrack (with a car park, ramps, bridges, a petrol station and signs), the MC-400) Motorcity Playtrack (with a garage, car park barriers, bridges, a car park area and more track), the MC-500) Motorcity Superset (with more track and the ability to construct a three-story garage complete with service bays, parking and petrol pumps), the MC-550) Motorcity Electronic Service Centre (a complete service garage with working sound effects), the MC-610) Container Port (with a ship, a crane, a loading platform, roadway and a railway), the MC-620) Construction Yard (with working cranes and one truck), the MC-630) Fold ‘n Go Garage (with petrol pumps, a covered parking lot and moving barriers) and the MC-640) Fold ‘n Go Car Park (with ramps, multi-level parking, a moving lift and barriers).  The one remaining playset in this line was the S-100) “Matchbox Smash ‘n Crash” Track Set (with track, two curves and two vehicles).

The Matchbox Super Kings line for 1990 included the K-1) Kremer Porsche Racing Car (114 mm long), the K-2) Kremer Porsche Racing Car (114 mm long and with “Shell” livery), the K-3) Ferrari 512.BB Racing Car (118 mm long and with “Shell” livery), the K-4) RJ Ferrari 512.BB Racing Car (118 mm long and with “Pioneer” livery), the K-5) Lancia Rallye Car (112 mm long and with “Pirelli” livery), the K-6) Zakspeed Ford Mustang (128 mm long), the K-7) Zakspeed Ford Mustang (128 mm long and with “Michelin” livery), K-8) Ferrari F40 Sports Car (110 mm long), the K9) Ferrari F40 Racing Car (110 mm long and with “Michelin” livery), the K-10) Chevrolet Camaro Turbo (117 mm long and with “Goodyear” livery), the K-11) Porsche 959 “44? Racing Car (110 mm long and with “Michelin” livery), the K-12) Porsche 959 “3? Racing Car (110 mm long and with “Bosch” livery), the K-15) “Londoner” Double Decker Bus (120 mm long and with “Around London Tour Bus” livery), the K-25) Digger and Plough (180 mm long and a non-Superfast model), K-39) Snorkel Fire Engine (280 mm long), the K-70) Porsche 911 Turbo L Coupé (110 mm long), the K-78) Dodge Monaco US Fire Chief Car (139 mm long), the K-95) Audi Quattro Fastback Sedan (128 mm long), the K-98) Porsche 944 Coupé, the K-114) Mobile Crane Truck (200 mm long and with “Cotras” livery), the K-115A) Mercedes-Benz 190E Sedan (130 mm long), the K-115B) Mercedes-Benz 190E Sedan (130mm long and with “Fuji film” Rally livery), the K-121) Peterbilt Wreck Truck (155 mm long and with “City Police” markings), K-123) Leyland Cement Truck (110 mm long, and with man & wheel-barrow figure), the K-126) DAF Helicopter Transporter Truck (276 mm long and with Royal Navy markings), the K-132) Iveco Fire Engine (180 mm long), the K-133) Iveco Refuse Truck (150 mm long and with “ABF” livery), the K-136) Racing Car Transporter Truck (360 mm long and with “Ferrari” livery), the K-139) Iveco Tipper Truck (150 mm long), the K-140) Car Recovery Vehicle, the K-141) Skip Truck, the K-142A) BMW Police Car (135 mm long), the K-143) Bedford Emergency Van Ambulance (130 mm long), the K-144A) Land-Rover SUV (135 mm long and with German “Frankfurter Flughafen” markings), the K-144B) Land-Rover SUV (135 mm long and with “Road Maintenance” markings), the K-145) Iveco Tipper Truck with Trailer (365 mm long), the K-146) Jaguar XJ6L Sedan (130 mm long), the K-147) BMW 7-Series Sedan (125 mm long), the K-148) Mercedes-Benz Crane Truck (148 mm long), the K-149) Ferrari Testarossa Sports Car (115 mm long), the K-150) Leyland Truck with 3 Backs (with “SMF” livery), the K-151) Skip Truck (117 mm long), K-153) Jaguar XJ6L Sedan Police Car (130 mm long), the K-154) BMW 7-Series Police Car (with German “Polizei” markings), the K-156) Porsche 911 Turbo L Coupé (110 mm long and with “Elf” livery), the K-159) Racing Car Transporter Truck (360 mm long and with “Porsche” livery), the K-161) Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit Sedan (135 mm long), the K-162A) Ford Sierra RS500 Cosworth Sedan (127 mm long), the K-162B) Ford Sierra RS500 Cosworth Sedan (127 mm long and with “Texaco” livery), the K-163) Mercedes-Benz Unimog Pickup Truck with Snowplough (135 mm long and with “Schmidt” livery), the K-164) Range Rover L SUV (123 mm long), the K-165) Range Rover SUV Police Car (123 mm long), the K-166) Mercedes-Benz 190E Sedan Taxicab (130 mm long), the 167) Ford Transit Van (115 mm long and with “Suchard” livery), the K-168) Porsche 911 Carrera L Coupé (116 mm long), the K-169) Ford Transit Van Ambulance (115 mm long and with “Air Ambulance” markings), the K-170) JCB 808 Excavator (260 mm long and a non-Superfast model) and the K-171) Toyota 4 x 4 Pickup Truck (130 mm long and with Motorized Tricycle in bed).  The Matchbox Super Kings line thus had a grand total of 58 models in 1990, down from 64 models in 1989.

The Matchbox Connectables line for 1990 featured the CN-100) Micro Connectables Set (with 12 very small-scale models), the CN-300 Connectables Convoy Set (with three “Convoy” model trucks), the CN-500 Set (with five models), the CN-510) Connectables 5-Section “Themed” Vehicle Set (with five long vehicles), the CN-520) Connectables Extender Sets (with four different sets), the CN-530) Connectables Extender Sets (with one large set), the CN-550 Motorised Connectables Set (with six motorised models), the CN-600 Set (with 12 models), the CN-700) Connectables Mini Playsets (with four mini playsets), the CN-800 Super Transporter Set and the CN-810) Copter Set (with a large helicopter and its vehicles).  This line of toys was clearly for smaller children, as none of the vehicles would exist in the real world.

The “Matchbox Superfast-Minis” line for 1990 included 11 diecast cars from the 1-75 Series line augmented with a fifth wheel (which made them faster).  A launcher was also featured as an accessory.

The Matchbox Burning’ Key Cars line for 1990 featured 12 diecast models from the 1-75 Series line augmented with keys.  When the key was inserted in the car and squeezed, the car would take off at a high speed.

The Matchbox Powerblasters line for 1990 featured six large-scale diecast motorcycles.  They came with rip-cord “rev-up” action, front-end shock absorbers, working kick stands and built-in power units.  Each model was six inches long.

The Matchbox Flashbacks line for 1990 included one Ambulance Van and 12 models from the 1-75 Series augmented with key-car features described earlier.  Placing a car at the back of the van would activate its launch at a high speed.

The Matchbox Trickshifters line for 1990 included six large-scale cars with roof-mounted shifters.  The cars could perform seven different stunts, including right and left wheelies, spin-outs, back wheelies and flip-overs.

The Matchbox Lock-ups line for 1990 featured 12 models from the 1-75 Series augmented with keys.  They would lock both the wheels and the passenger doors when turned.

1991 Matchbox Model Year: the Launch of “Graffic Traffic,” “Super Kings Action Series,” “Matchbox 2000? and “Matchbox Railways”

The color cover of the 1991 Matchbox catalogue featured a track and model layout similar (but not identical) to that shown on both the 1989 and 1990 catalogues, but this time the picture covered the entire surface of the front page.  A number of new and/or altered product lines were introduced for 1991, but this would not endure – “Matchbox International” was merely a year or two away from a major corporate sale.  It would alter Matchbox in a way still seen to this very day, and which would disappoint collectors and enthusiasts.

The Matchbox 1-75 Series for 1991 included the 1) Jaguar XJ6 Sedan, the 2) Rover Sterling Sedan, the 3) Porsche 911 Turbo Coupé, the 4) Austin-Rover London Taxi, the 5) Peterbilt Petrol Tanker (with “Shell” livery), the 6) Formula 1 Racer, the 7) Porsche 959 Coupé, the 8) Vauxhall Astra Police Car, the 9) Caterpillar D9 Tractor (a non-Superfast model), the 10) Buick Le Sabre Stock Car (with “Shell” livery), the 11) Lamborghini Countach LP500S Sports Car, the 12) Modified Racer, the 13) Snorkel Fire Engine, the 14) Grand Prix Racing Car, the 15) Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport, the 16) Land Rover 90 SUV, the 17) London Double Decker Bus (with “Around London Tour Bus” livery), the 18) Oshkosh Fire Engine, the 19) Peterbilt Cement Truck, the 20) Volkswagen Vanagon Ambulance, the 21) Breakdown Van (with “Auto Relay” livery), the 22) Saab 9000 Turbo Sedan, the 23) Peterbilt Quarry Truck, the 24) Lincoln Town Car Limousine, the 25) Ambulance, the 26) Volvo Tilt Truck (with “Pirelli” livery), the 27) Mercedes-Benz Farm Tractor, the 28) Chevrolet Corvette Convertible, the 29) Tractor Shovel, the 30) Mercedes-Benz 280 GE SUV (with German “Polizei” markings), the 31) BMW 5-Series Sedan (with “FINA” livery), the 32) Excavator (a non-Superfast model), the 33) Mercedes-Benz 500SL Convertible, the 34) Dodge Challenger Hardtop (with “Toyman” livery), the 35) Ford Bronco II SUV (with “US Coast Guard Beach Patrol Rescue” markings), the 36) Refuse Truck (with “Cleansing Department” markings), the 37) Nissan 300ZX Coupé, the 38) Model “A” Ford Van (with “Matchbox Series” livery), the 39) Mack CH600 Tractor Trailer Cab, the 40) NASA Rocket Transporter, the 41) Vauxhall Cavalier / Opel Vectra Sedan, the 42) Mobile Crane Truck, the 43) 1957 Chevrolet Bel-Air Hardtop, the 44) 1921 Model “T” Ford Van (with “Bird’s Custard” livery), the 45) Ford Cargo Skip Truck, the 46) Sauber Group “C” Racer (with “Shell” livery), the 47) School Bus (with “School District 2? markings), the 48) Vauxhall Astra GTE Hatchback (with “STP” livery), the 49) Peugeot Quasar Concept Car, the 50) Dodge Dakota Pickup Truck, the 51) Ford LTD Police Car, the 52) BMW M1 Sports Car, the 53) Dump Truck, the 54) Chevrolet Lumina Stock Car (with “Matchbox” livery), the 55) Ford Sierra XR4i Sedan (with “Texaco” livery), the 56) 4 x 4 Jeep (with “Golden Eagle” livery), the 57) Mission Helicopter, the 58) Mercedes-Benz 300E Sedan (with German “Polizei” markings), the 59) Porsche 944 Turbo Coupé, the 60) Ford Transit Van (with “Ryder” livery), the 61) Ford Thunderbird Turbo Coupé, the 62) Volvo Container Truck (with “Big Top Circus” livery), the 63) 4 x 4 Open Back Pickup Truck, the 64) Oldsmobile Aerotech Concept Car, the 65) Cadillac Allanté Convertible, the 66) Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit, the 67) Ikarus Coach (with “Tourist City Line” livery), the 68) Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z 28 Coupé, the 69) Snow Plough Dump Truck, the 70) Ferrari F40 Sports Car, the 71) GMC Wrecker Truck (with “Getty” livery), the 72) Sprint Racer, the 73) TV News Truck (with “Sky Satellite Television” livery), the 74) Utility Truck and 75) Ferrari Testarossa Sports Car.  New models to be released early for the 1992 model year included the 1) Jaguar XJ6 Police Car, the 6) Alfa-Romeo SZ Hatchback, the 21) Nissan Prarie Minivan, the 25) Peugeot 206 Turbo 16 Hatchback (with “Bilstein” livery), the 28) BMW 323i Cabriolet, the 34) Ford RS200 Hatchback, the 50) Auxiliary Power Truck, the 52) Isuzu Amigo Pickup Truck, 61) Fork Lift Truck, the 63) Volkswagen Golf GTI Hatchback (with “Abstract” livery) and the 68) Road Roller.

The Matchbox Twin Packs line for 1991 included the TP-103) Dodge Cattle Truck and Trailer, the TP-112) Unimog Pickup Truck with Snowplough and Trailer, the TP-117) Mercedes-Benz Geländewagen SUV with Horse Box Trailer (with German “Polizei” markings), the TP-121) Land-Rover SUV with “Seafire” Speedboat on Trailer, the TP-122) Porsche 911 Turbo Coupé and Glider Trailer, the TP-124) Locomotive and Carriage, the TP-125) Shunter Locomotive and Tipper Car, the TP-126) Farm Tractor and Trailer and the TP-127) BMW 323i Cabriolet and Dinghy on Trailer.

The “Matchbox Promotional Packs” line for 1991 (merely a somewhat altered “Three Packs” line) included the NR-99) Neon Racers (with 2 stock cars), the SB-150) Skybuster Supervalue Pack (with 1 “Skybusters” aircraft and 2 “1-75 Series” cars), the CY-804) Super Value Convoy Truck with 2 “Matchbox 1-75 Series” miniature cars, the KS-804) Buy Two, Get One Free Superking Sport Pack (with 3 “Superkings” stock cars), the KS-810) Supervalue Pack (with one “Super King” and 2 “1-75 Series” miniature cars) and the MB-858) Supervalue Miniature 3-Pack.

A brand new product line for 1991 was the “Matchbox Graffic Traffic” line of sets.  They came with white vehicles and waterproof pens, allowing children to color the cars, clean them and then recolor them.  This line featured the GF-120 Graffic Traffic Set (with either 12 1-75 Series miniature cars or 12 Superkings), the GF-130) 3-Car Pack (with two 1-75 Series miniature cars and one Super King and the GF-140) Graffic Traffic Gift Set (with six vehicles).

The Matchbox Convoy line for 1991 included the CY-2) Kenworth Rocket Transporter (with NASA markings), the CY-13) Fire Engine, the CY-16) Scania Box Truck (with “Goodyear” livery), the CY-17) Scania Petrol Tanker (with “Shell” livery), the CY-20) Kenworth Tipper Truck, the CY-22) DAF Powerboat Launch Transporter (with US Coast Guard markings), the CY-24b) DAF Box Car Truck (with “Porsche” livery), the CY-28) Mack Container Truck (with “Big Top Circus” livery) and the CY-29) Mack Aircraft Transporter (with “Red Rebels” livery).

The Matchbox Team Convoy line for 1991 included the TC-1) Fire Set, the TC-2) Petrol Tanker Set (with “Shell” livery), the TC-13) TV News Set (with “Sky Satellite Television” livery), the TC-14) Ferrari Set, the TC-15) Pirelli Set, the TC-18) US Coast Guard Set, the TC-17) Farm Set and the TC-18) DHL Transport Set.  Each set had one Convoy truck and one 1-75 Series miniature complete with exclusive liveries or markings.

The Matchbox Skybusters line for 1991 included the SB-1) Lear Jet (with “DHL” livery), the SB-3) NASA Space Shuttle, the SB-4) Dassault-Briguet Mirage F1 Jet, the SB-10) Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet (with “Lufthansa” livery), the SB-12) “Pitts Special” Biplane, the SB-13) McDonnell-Douglas DC10 Commercial Airliner (with “American Airlines” livery), the SB-22) Messerschmitt Tornado Fighter-Ground Attack Jet (with RAF markings), the SB-23A) Concorde Supersonic Airliner (with “British Airways” livery), the SB-23B) Concorde Supersonic Airliner (with “Air France” livery), the SB-24) F16A Jet (with US Air Force markings), the SB-27) Hawker Harrier V/STOL Jump Jet (with US Marine Corps markings), the SB-28) Airbus A300 Commercial Airliner (with “Iberia” livery), the SB-29) Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird Spy Plane (with US Air Force markings), the SB-30) Grumman F-14 Tomcat Carrier-based Fighter-Ground Attack Jet (with US Navy markings), the SB-31) Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet (with “Cathay Pacific” livery), the SB-32) Fairchild A10 Thunderbolt Fighter-Ground Attack Jet (with American markings), the SB-33) Bell Jet Ranger Helicopter, the SB-34) Lockheed A130 Hercules Transport Aircraft (with US Coast Guard markings), the SB-35) MiL Mi Hind-D Helicopter (with Soviet markings) and the SB-36) Lockheed F-117A Stealth Fighter Jet (with US Air Force markings).

The Matchbox Motorcity line for 1991 included the MC-1) Car Wash, the MC-2) Petrol Station, the MC-3) Pit Stop, the MC-4) Garage, the MC-5) Construction Crane Site, the MC-6) Conveyor Loader Site, the MC-7) Farm Set (with a “Convoy” Tipper Truck and seven vehicles), the MC-8) Construction Set (with a “Convoy” Shovel Transporter Truck and six construction vehicles), the MC-10) 10-Car Variety Pack, the MC-11) Car Transporter Set (with a Car Transporter Truck and two cars), the MC-12) Aerobatic Team Set (with an Aircraft Transporter Truck and two helicopters), the MC-13) Police Set (with a Helicopter Transporter Truck, a Wrecker Truck and a Police Car), the MC-15) Fire Set (with a “Convoy” Fire Truck, four vehicles and a helicopter), the MC-17) British Airways Set (with two “Skybusters” airliners and three vehicles), the MC-18) Ferrari Set (with a “Convoy” box truck and four racing cars), the MC-20) 20-Car Variety Pack, the MC-23) Porsche Set (with a “Convoy” box truck and four racing cars), the MC-30) 30-Car Variety Pack, the MC-50) Motorcity Bucket of Cars (a plastic bucket with 50 items including vehicles, a playmat, launchers and road signs), the MC-75) Mini Fold ‘N’ Go (with mini-environments including a Garage, a Fire Station, an Emergency Station and a Police Station), the MC-100) Motorcity Garage (with a Petrol Station and Pumps, a Car Park and Playmat), the MC-150) Motorcity Airport (a mini-airport with an aircraft hangar, a runway, a car park area and a playmat), the MC-200) Motorcity Playtrack (with a bridge, a petrol station, signs and miles of track), the MC-300) Motorcity Playtrack (with a car park, ramps, bridges, a petrol station, signs and miles of track), the MC-400) Motorcity Playtrack (with a garage, a working car hoist, a moveable car park barrier, bridges, two car park areas, signs and miles of track), the MC-500) Motorcity 500 Superset (with a tri-level parking system), the MC-510) Super Transport Set (with roadway, buildings, railway track, train carriages, a train station, a goods yard, a conveyor, an airport building and a playmat), the MC-550) Motorcity Electronic Service Centre (with a garage complete with sound effects, a car lift, a tyre check, a brake check, a pit stop, a petrol station, a garage, parking and a playmat), the MC-610) Container Port (with a container ship, a working crane, rail track, a diesel shunter locomotive and a roadway), the MC-620) Construction Yard (with a multi-storey site, a giant working crane & jib, a moving lift and a loading funnel), the MC-630) Fold ‘N’ Go Garage (with petrol pumps, a covered parking lot and moving barriers), the MC-640) Fold ‘N’ Go Carpark (with ramps, multi-level parking, a moving lift and barriers) and the MC-890) Motorcity Action Packs (with Emergency, Construction and Breakdown theme packs).  The remaining set was the SS100) Smash ‘n’ Crash (a competitive action play set complete with two vehicles).

The “Matchbox Lightning” line for 1991 included at least 10 high-speed miniature diecast cars and launchers and drag strips.

The Matchbox Super Kings line for 1991 was somewhat altered, with brand new “themes.”  The “Matchbox Super Kings Action Series Construction” line for 1991 included the CS-1) Bulldozer (a non-Superfast model), the CS-2) Ford Transit Van (with “Miller Construction Company” livery), the CS-3) Leyland Cement Truck, the CS-4) Skip Truck, the CS-5) Mercedes-Benz Unimog Tar Srayer Truck, the CS-6) Tipper Truck, the CS-7) Digger and Plough (a non-Superfast model), the CS-8) Mobile Crane Truck, the CS-9) JCB 808 Excavator (a non-Superfast model), the CS-10) Digger Transporter Truck and the CS-11) Mercedes-Benz Pipe Transporter Truck.  The “Matchbox Super Kings Action Series Emergency” line for 1991 included the EM-1) Dodge Monaco Sedan US Police Car, the EM-2) Matra Rancho SUV (with “Fire Control Unit” markings), the EM-3) Jaguar XJ6 Sedan Police Car, the EM-4A) BMW 7-Series Sedan Police Car, the EM-5) Fire Engine, the EM-6) Range Rover SUV Police Car, the EM-7) Ford Transit Van Ambulance, the EM-8) Peterbilt Wreck Truck towing Porsche 944 Coupé, the EM-9) Helicopter Transporter Truck (with US Coast Guard markings), the EM-10) Snorkel Fire Engine, the EM-11) Fire Spotter Plane Transporter Truck, the EM-12) Mercedes-Benz Power Boat Launch Transporter Truck (with US Coast Guard Markings) and the EM-50) Emergency Gift Set (with a Snorkel Fire Engine, a Ford Transit Van Ambulance, a BMW 7-Series Sedan Police Car, a Helicopter and a Float Plane).  The “Matchbox Action Series Superkings” line for 1991 included the K-1) Kremer Porsche CKS Racecar, the K-3) Ferrari 512BB Racecar (with “Shell” livery), the K-6) Zakspeed Ford Mustang Stock Car (with “Pirelli” livery), the K-8) Ferrari F40 Sports Car, the K-10) Chevrolet Camaro Turbo Stock Car (with “Goodyear” livery), the K-11) Porsche 959 ED Racing Car (with “Michelin” livery), the K-15) London Double Decker Bus (with “Around London Tour Bus” livery), the K-95) Audi Quattro Fastback Sedan Pace Car (with “Pirelli” livery), the K-98) Porsche 944S Coupé, the K-115A) Mercedes-Benz 190E Sedan, the K-115B) Mercedes-Benz 190E Sedan Rally Car (with “Fuji Film” livery), the K-133) Iveco Refuse Truck (with “ABF” livery), K-136) Racing Car Transporter (with “Ferrari” livery), the K-146) Jaguar XJ6 Sedan, the K-147) BMW 7-Series Sedan, the K-149) Ferrari Testarossa Sports Car, the K-159) Racing Car Transporter (with “Porsche” livery), the K-161) Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit Sedan, the K-162B) Ford Sierra RS500 Cosworth Sedan (with “Texaco” livery), the K-162C) Ford Sierra RS500 Cosworth Sedan (with “Gemini” livery), the K-163) Mercedes-Benz Unimog Snowplough (with “Schmidt” livery), the K-164) Range Rover SUV (with “Africa Safari Tours” livery), the K-166) Mercedes-Benz 190E Taxicab, the K-167) Ford Transit Van (with “Surf ‘n Sun” livery), the K-168) Porsche 911 Carrera 4 Coupé, the K-171) Toyota Hi-Lux Pickup Truck (with Offroad Trike on Bed) and the K-172) Mercedes-Benz 500SL Sports Car.  There were thus a grand total of 52 Matchbox Super Kings models for 1991, down from 58 models in 1990 and from 64 in 1989.

The Matchbox Models of Yesteryear line for 1991 included the Y-1) 1936 Jaguar SS100 Roadster, the Y-5) 1929 Leyland Titan TD1 Double-Decker Bus (with “Newcastle Brown Ale” livery), the Y-12) 1937 GMC Van (with “Goanna” livery), the Y-15) 1920 Preston Type Double-Decker Tramcar (with “Zebra Grate Polish” livery), the Y-22) 1933 Model “A” Ford Van (with “Pratt’s Anglo-American Oil Company, Limited” livery), the Y-23) 1930 Mack Tanker Truck (with “Conoco” livery), the Y-28) 1907 Unic Taxi, the Y-40) 1931 Mercedes-Benz Type 770 Limousine, the Y-41) 1932 Mercedes-Benz Truck (with “Howaldtswerke A.G. Kiel” livery), the Y-42) 1938 Albion 6-Wheeler Flatbed Truck (with “Libby’s” livery), the Y-43) 1905 Busch Steam Fire Engine, the Y-44) 1910 Renault Bus, the Y-45) 1930 Bugatti Royale Limousine, the Y-47) 1929 Morris Van (with “Chocolat Lindt & Sprüngli” livery) and the Y-48) 1868 Merryweather Horse-Drawn Fire Engine.

The Dinky Collection line for 1991 included the DY-1) 1967 E-Type Jaguar Convertible, the DY-5) 1949 Ford V-8 Pilot Sedan, the DY-6) 1951 Volkswagen Deluxe Sunroof Sedan, the DY-7) 1959 Cadillac Coupé Deville, the DY-8) 1948 Commer 8-cwt. Van, the DY-9) 1959 Land-Rover, the DY-15) 1952 Austin A40 Van (with “Dinky Toys” livery), the DY-20) 1965 Triumph TR4A-IRS Convertible, the DY-21) 1964 Mini Cooper “S” Hatchback, the DY-22) 1952 Citroen 15CV Sedan, the DY-23) 1956 Chevrolet Corvette Sports Car, the DY-24) 1973 Ferrari Dino 246 GTS Sports Car, the DY-25) 1958 Porsche 356A Coupé, the DY-26) 1957 Studebaker Golden Hawk Hardtop and the DY-27) 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible.  Over the entire history of the Matchbox Models of Yesteryear and Matchbox Dinky Collection lines, the Models of Yesteryear featured vehicles of 1820 to 1960 vintage, and the Dinky line featured those newer classics of 1939 to 1973 vintage.  Some of the oldest Models of Yesteryear diecasts were steam and horse-drawn vehicles.

The brand new “Matchbox 2000? product line in 1991 featured futuristic miniature vehicles of the 1-75 Series size (or circa 1:64-scale).  The line included 12 diecast vehicles, accessory sets including the NA-821) Vertical Service Centre (with a “Food Express” service area), the NA-822) Robotic Positioning Module (with three different automotive repair areas), the NA-830) Mag-Lev Test Track (featuring a verticle vehicle launcher with automatic loading, light, sound, an emergency alarm, adjustable speed controls, a complete loop of track plus check test and repair facilities) and the NA-850) “Energiser Key” (similar to the “Matchbox Key Cars”).

The Matchbox Connectables line for 1991 included the CN-100) Micro-Connectables Series (18 very small miniatures of circa 1:87-Scale), the CN-300) Convoy Connectables (featuring six trucks), the CN-500) Connectables 5-Section Series (with 12 vehicles including cars, trucks and planes), the CN-510) Connectables Action Series (with six long hybrid vehicles), the CN-530/CN-570) Extender Sets (with additions to existing vehicles), the CN-580 Aviation Series (12 hybrid diecast land-air vehicles), the CN-590 Light and Sound Series (three “Convoy” type trucks), the CN-630) Connectables Bucket (a large plastic bucket with an assortment of vehicles from the different series), the CN-700) Connectables Mini Playsets (with four different environments, including a “lube and tune” repair center), the CN-750) 8-Section Power Bloc (a heavy-duty truck meant to haul other vehicles), the the CN-760) 15-Section Power Bloc (the same heavy duty truck, but with more vehicles to haul), the CN-770) 25-Section Power Bloc (the same heavy duty truck with still more vehicles to haul) and the CN-810) Copter (a huge helicopter with smaller vehicles to fit therein).

The brand new “Matchbox Railways” line for 1991 featured a range of toy trains positioned in between those meant for small pre-school children and those meant for adult collectors or enthusiasts.  There were two sets, including the TN-50) Big Boxed Set (with a carry case, two twin track layout panels, a tank engine, a carriage, an ore truck, a tunnel, two signals, two track side directors, two scenic panels and a buffer) and the TN-100) Giant Boxed Set (with a carry case, three twin track layout panels with six meters of track, two trains, a “Santa Fé” diesel locomotive, a tank engine, a carriage, an ore truck, a guards van, three scenic back panels, two signals, two track side directors, a twin track tunnel and a buffer).  Both sets required AA batteries (one for the smaller set and two for the larger one).

The Matchbox Big Movers line for 1991 included the BM-3400) Small Dump Truck (10 inches long), the BM-3500) five “Stubbies” (each vehicle 6 inches long), the BM-3800) Car Carrier (22 inches long and with two cars), the BM-3850) Wreck Truck (13 inches long) and the BM-3900) Super Dump Truck (14 inches long).  This last line of toys was meant to compete with the likes of “Tonka” toys.

1992 Matchbox Model Year: the Purchase by Tyco Toys

Matchbox toys were owned by their English founders of Lesney Products from 1947 until bankruptcy in June 1982, when they were taken over by Mr. David Yeh of Universal Toys, thus founding “Matchbox International” of Macao.  The profitable Matchbox International was then sold to Tyco Toys in May 1992.  Tyco had been founded by one John Tyler in Woodbury Heights, New Jersey (USA) in 1926.  They manufactured “Ho-Scale” (1:87) model trains, electric slot trucks, the “View Master” toy, the “Ideal Nursery” line of dolls, toy airplanes, “Sesame Street” items and Disney’s “Little Mermaid” dolls.  With this change, most of the Matchbox product lines ceased to exist, and the premium lines of “Models of Yesteryear,” “Dinky” and “Super Kings” became even more rare and harder to come by – with new releases occurring less frequently, with fewer models and smaller volumes.  This would still hold true after 1997, when Tyco was purchased by Mattel.  The situation remains the same to this day.

The Matchbox 1-75 Series for 1992 included the 1) Jaguar XJ6 Police Car, the 2) Rover Sterling Sedan, the 3) Porsche 911 Turbo Coupé, the 4) Austin-Rover London Taxi, the 5) Peterbilt Petrol Tanker (with “Shell” livery), the 6) Alfa-Romeo SZ Coupé, the 7) Porsche 959 Coupé, the 8) Vauxhall Astra / Opel Kadett Police Car, the 9) Bulldozer (a non-Superfast model), the 10) Buick LeSabre Stock Car (with “Shell” livery), the 11) Lamborghini Countach Sports Car, the 12) Dodge Cattle Truck, the 13) Snorkel Fire Engine, the 14) Racing Car, the 15) Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sports Car, the 16) Land Rover 90 SUV, the 17) London Double-Decker Bus, the 18) Fire Engine, the 19) Peterbilt Cement Truck, the 20) Volkswagen Vanagon Ambulance, the 21) Nissan Prarie Minivan, the 22) Saab 9000 Turbo Sedan, the 23) Peterbilt Quarry Truck, the 24) Fire Tender, the 25) Peugeot 205 Turbo Hatchback (with “Pioneer” livery), the 26) Volvo Tilt Truck (with “Pirelli” livery), the 27) Mercedes-Benz 1600 Turbo Tractor, the 28) Ford Thunderbird Coupé, the 29) Tractor Shovel, the 30) Mercedes-Benz 280GE Geländewagen SUV (with “24 Hours Towing Rescue” livery), the 31) BMW 3-Series Sedan (with “Fina” livery), the 32) Excavator (a non-Superfast model), the 33) Mercedes-Benz 500SL Roadster, the 34) Ford RS-200 Hatchback, the 35) Ford Bronco II SUV, the 36) Refuse Truck, the 37) Nissan 300ZX Coupé, the 38) Ford Courier Van (with “Milka Milk Chocolate” livery), the 39) Mercedes-Benz 600SEL Sedan, the 40) NASA Rocket Transporter, the 41) “Sunburner” Roadster, the 42) Mobile Crane Truck, the 43) 1957 Chevrolet Bel-Air Hardtop, the 44) 1921 Model “T” Ford Van (with “Bird’s Custard” livery), the 45) Ford Skip Truck, the 46) Porsche Sauber Group “C” Racer (with “Grand Prix” livery), the 47) School Bus, the 48) Vauxhall Astra GT / Opel Kadett Hatchback (with “STP” livery), the 49) Lamborghini Countach Sports Car, the 50) Auxiliary Power Truck (with “Fire Rescue Department” markings), the 51) Ford LTD Sedan US Police Car, the 52) Isuzu Amigo Pickup Truck, the 53) Dump Truck, the 54) Chevrolet Lumina Stock Car (with “Matchbox” livery), the 55) Ford Sierra XR4i Sedan, the 56) Ford LTD Sedan US Taxi, the 57) Mission Helicopter, the 58) Mercedes-Benz 300E Sedan (with German “Polizei” markings), the 59) Porsche 944 Turbo Coupé, the 60) Ford Transit Van (with “Cadbury’s Flake” livery), the 61) Fork Lift Truck, the 62) Volvo Container Truck (with “Big Top Circus” livery), the 63) Steam Locomotive, the 64) Oldsmobile Aerotech Concept Car, the 65) Cadillac Allante Convertible, the 66) Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit Sedan, the 67) Ikarus Coach (with “España” livery), the 68) Road Roller, the 69) Maintenance Dump Truck with Snowplough, the 70) Ferrari F40 Sports Car, the 71) GMC Wrecker Truck (with “Getty” livery), the 72) Sprint Racer, the 73) TV News Truck (with “Satellite Television” livery), the 74) Ford Utility Truck with Crane and the 75) Ferrari Testarossa Sports Car.

The “Matchbox Team” line for 1992 (merely the renamed “Matchbox Twinpacks” line) included the TP-122) Porsche 911 Turbo Coupé and Gilder Trailer, the TP-124) Locomotive and Carriage, the TP-125) Diesel Shunter Locomotove and Tipper Carriage, the TP-126) Mercedes-Benz 1600 Turbo Farm Tractor and Trailer, the TP-128) Volvo Container Truck and Trailer (with “Big Top Circus” livery), the TP-129) Isuzu Amigo Pickup Truck and Powerboat Trailer, the TP-130) Land Rover 90 SUV and Horse Box Trailer and the TP-131) Mercedes-Benz 280G “Geländewagen” SUV and Dinghy on Trailer (with “Marina Rescue” markings).

The Matchbox Convoy line for 1992 included the CY-1) Car Transporter, the CY-2) Kenworth NASA Rocket Transporter, the CY-9) Kenworth “Midnight Express” Transporter, the CY-9B) Kenworth Box Truck (with “Cool Paint Company” livery), the CY-24) Kenworth Box Car Transporter (with “Porsche” livery), the CY-28) Mack Container Truck (with “Big Top Circus” livery), the CY-35) Mack Tanker Truck (with “Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice” livery) and the CY-36) Kenworth Box Car Transporter (with “Trick Trucking” livery).

The Matchbox Team Convoy line for 1992 included the TC-1) Fire Set, the TC-2) Tanker Set (with “Shell” livery), the TC-14) Ferrari Set, the TC-15) Porsche Set, the TC-16) US Coast Guard Set, the TC-17) Farm Set (with “Eurobran” livery) and the TC-18) DHL Transport Set.  Each set featured one “Convoy” truck and one “1-75 Series” miniature vehicle, complete with exclusive markings or liveries.

The Matchbox Graffic Traffic line for 1992 included the GF-140 Gift Set (with an aircraft, a “Convoy” truck and five miniature vehicles), the GF-150) Airport Set (with a Biplane and a Ford Model “A” Van), the GF-160) Hot Neon Set (with a sports car), the GF-190) Graffic Magic Set (with four vehicles including a Rover Sterling Sedan, a Ford Courier Van, a London Double-Decker Bus and a Porsche Racing Car, the GF-200) Graffic City Set (with a Fire Truck, a Van and a Building) and the GF-300) Large Graffic City Set (with a Fire Truck, an Ambulance, a Steam Locomotive, a Train Carriage Car and Buildings).  Each set featured white vehicles and/or buildings which could be colored with included pens.

A brand new product for 1992 was the “Matchbox Constuction Action Team” line of 1-75 Series or Convoy scale.  The available sets included the CS-61) Mack Shovel Transporter Truck, the CS-62) Mack Pipe Transporter Truck, the CS-63) Kenworth Tipper Truck, the CS-64) Grove Crane Truck, the CS-71) Mobile Squad (with a Mack Shovel Transporter Truck, a Fork Lift Truck and a Skip Truck), the CS-75) Heavy Duty Squad (with a Grove Crane Truck, a Skip Truck, a Cement Truck, a Tipper Truck, a Shovel Nose Tractor and a Bulldozer), the CS-81) Bulldozer and Shovel Nose Tractor, the CS-82) Tipper Truck and Excavator, the CS-90) 30-Piece Carry Pack and the CS-520) Construction Zone (with playtrack and a 3-level building).

Another brand new product for 1992 was the “Matchbox Emergency Action Team” line of sets, very similar to the “Construction Action Team” line of toys.  These included the EM-61) Mack Helicopter Transporter Truck (with Police markings), the EM-62) Fire Engine Truck, the EM-63) Coast Guard Powerboat Launch Transporter Truck, the EM-64) Peterbilt Rescue Centre, the EM-71) Action Police (with a Mack Helicopter Transporter Truck, a Jaguar XJ6 Police Car and a Land Rover 90 SUV Police Vehicle), the EM-75) Action Fire (with a “Convoy” Fire Engine Truck, a small Fire Engine, a Helicopter, a Police Car and a Fire Chief SUV towing a Dinghy), the EM-81) Snorkel Truck and Foam Pumper Truck, the EM-82) Matra Rancho Rescue SUV with Dinghy and Ford Wreck Truck, the EM-90) 30-Piece Carry Pack and the EM-660) Electronic Rescue Station (a playset with a 2-story emergency center and parking).

Yet another brand new product for 1992 was the “Matchbox Hotfoot Racers” line of cars.  This featured four different diecast car models activated by a foot-powered pump.

The Matchbox Skybusters line for 1992 included the SB-3) NASA Space Shuttle, the SB-10) Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet (with “Lufthansa” livery), the SB-13) McDonnell-Douglas DC-10 Commercial Airliner (with “KLM” livery), the SB-22) Messerschmitt Tornado Fighter-Bomber Jet (with RAF markings), the SB-23A) Concorde Supersonic Airliner, the SB-24) F16 A Jet (with US Air Force markings), the SB-27) Hawker Harrier V/STOL Jump Jet (with US Marine Corps markings), the SB-28) Airbus A300 Commercial Airliner (with “Iberia” livery), the SB-30) Grumman F-14 Tomcat Carrier-based Jet (with US Navy markings), the SB-31C) Boeing 747-400 Jumbo Jet, the SB-32) Fairchild A10 Thunderbolt Fighter-Ground Attack Jet (with American markings), the SB-33) Bell Jet Ranger Helicopter, the SB-34) Lockheed A130 Hercules Transporter (with US Coast Guard markings), the SB-35) MiL Mi-Hind D Helicopter (with Soviet markings), the SB-36) Lockheed F-117A Stealth Jet Fighter (with US Air Force markings), the SB-38B) B.AE 146 Commercial Airliner (with “Thai” Airline markings), the SB-39) Boeing Stearman Biplane and the SB-40B) Boeing 737-300 Commercial Airliner (with “Lufthansa” markings).  There were also some brand new gift sets, including the MC-24) Red Arrow Set (with two Aircraft, a Helicopter and two vehicles), the SB-37) Hawk Jet Set, the CY-108) Low Loader “Convoy” Truck and Hawk Jet Set and the MC-160) Squadron Headquarters Set (a playset with a miniature airport, two Jets, a Helicopter, two SUVs and a “Convoy” Truck).

The Matchbox Motorcity line for 1992 included the MC-7) Farm Set (with eight vehicles), the MC-8) Construction Set (with eight vehicles), the MC-10) 10-Variety Car Pack, the MC-15) Fire Set (with five vehicles and an aircraft), the MC-17) British Airways Set (with two aircraft and three vehicles), the MC-18) Ferrari Set (with a “Convoy” truck and four cars), the MC-20) 20-Variety Car Pack, the MC-23) Porsche Set (with a “Convoy” truck and four cars), the MC-50) Motorcity Carry Pack (with 50 pieces, including vehicles, in a plastic container), the MC-71 to 74) Mini Fold ‘n’ Go Sets (four different sets, including a Service Garage, a Police Station, an Ambulance Emergency Station and a Fire Station), the MC-100) Motorcity Garage, the MC-150) Motorcity Airport, the MC-200) Motorcity Playtrack, the MC-211) Additional Track Set, the MC-213) Additional Track Set (with more track than the MC-211 Set), the MC-300) Motorcity Playtrack (with more track and accessories than the MC-200 Set), the MC-330) Minitronic Playset with playtrack, the MC-400) Motorcity Playtrack (with more track and accessories than the MC-300 Set), the MC-500) Motorcity Superset (with more track and accessories than the MC-400 Set, including a 3-level building), the MC-520) Building Zone Playset (with a 3-story construction site), the MC-550) Electronic Service Centre Playset, the MC-560) Intercom City (a playmat with realistic sounds and voices, featuring buildings and streets), the MC-570) Choice of four Sets each with three Vehicles (themed on Construction, Fire Rescue, Public Utility Service and Police), the MC-610) Container Port Playset, MC-630) Fold ‘n’ Go Garage Playset, the MC-640) Fold ‘n’ Go Car Park Playset, the MC-660) Electronic Rescue Station Playset, the MC-700) “Mini-Tronics” set of four playsets (a carwash, an automotive service center, a construction crane and a construction loading elevator), the MC-803) Circus Set, the MC-804) Big Circus Set and the SS-100) Smash ‘n’ Crash Competitive Track Set.

The brand new 1992 line of “Matchbox Alarm Cars” featured four diecast cars (two Ferraris and two Porsches) which could be locked with a key.  The new “Matchbox Thunder Machines” line featured six different diecast cars also with keys.  These keys made engine noises and propelled the cars forward.  The new “Matchbox Lightning” line for 1992 featured 12 diecast cars also controlled with keys.  Three competitive track sets were also offered.

The brand new 1992 line of “Matchbox Motor World” toys featured very small diecast cars (circa 1:87 or “Ho” scale) with three playsets (one sea transport set, one air transport set and one road transport set).

The Matchbox Super Kings line for 1992 continued with the idea of the “themed” vehicles launched in 1991.  The “Matchbox Super Kings Action Farming” line included the FM-1) Range Rover SUV (with a farmer and 3 animals), the FM-2) Muir Tractor and Back Shovel (a non-Superfast model), the FM-3) Shovel Tractor (a non-Superfast model with 3 model pigs), the FM-4) Toyota Hilux Pickup Truck (with a model cow), the FM-5) Muir Tractor and Trailer (a non-Superfast model), the FM-6) Massey-Ferguson Tractor and Trailer (a non-Superfast model), the FM-7) Massey-Ferguson Tractor and Rake (a non-Superfast model) and the FM-9) Farm Set (a Massey-Ferguson Tractor and Trailer complete with a farmer, farm animals, hay, milk containers and fencing).  The “Matchbox Super Kings Construction” line for 1992 included the CS-1) Bulldozer (a non-Superfast model), the CS-2) Ford Transit Van (with “Miller Construction Company” livery), the CS-3) Leyland Cement Truck, the CS-4) Skip Truck, the CS-5) Mercedes-Benz Unimog Tar Sprayer Truck, the CS-6) Tipper Truck, the CS-7) Digger and Plough (a non-Superfast model), the CS-8) Mobile Crane Truck, the CS-9) JCB 808 Excavator (a non-Superfast model), the CS-10) Digger and Plough Transporter Truck and the CS-11) Mercedes-Benz Pipe Transporter Truck.  The “Matchbox Super Kings Emergency” line for 1992 included the EM-1) Dodge Monaco Sedan US Police Car, the EM-2) Matra Rancho SUV (with “Fire Control Unit” markings), the EM-3) Jaguar XJ6 Police Car, the EM-4A) BMW 730 Police Car, the EM-5) Fire Engine Truck with Ladder, the EM-6) Range Rover SUV Police Car, the EM-7) Ford Transit Van Ambulance, the EM-8) Peterbilt Wreck Truck towing Porsche 944 Turbo Coupé, the EM-9) Helicopter Transporter Truck (with US Coast Guard markings), the EM-10) Snorkel Fire Engine, the EM-11) Fire Spotter Plane Transporter Truck, the EM-12) Mercedes-Benz Powerboat Launch Transporter Truck (with US Coast Guard markings), the EM-13) Fire Department Helicopter, the EM-14) Suzuki Santana SUV Police Car and the EM-50) Emergency Gift Set (with a Snorkel Fire Engine, a Fire Spotter Floatplane, a Ford Transit Van Ambulance, a Helicopter and a BMW 730 Police Car).  The regular “Matchbox Super Kings” line for 1992 included the K-1) Kremer Porsche CKS Racing Car (with “Puma” livery), the K-3) Ferrari F512BB Racing Car (with “Shell” livery), the K-6) Zakspeed Ford Mustang (with “Pirelli” livery), the K-8) Ferrari F40 Sports Car, the K-10) Chevrolet Camaro Turbo Coupé (with “Goodyear” livery), the K-11) Porsche 959 ED Racing Car (with “Michelin” livery), the K-15) “Londoner” Double Decker Bus (with “Around London Tour Bus” livery), the K-95) Audi Quattro Fastback Sedan (with “Pirelli” livery), the K-98) Porsche 944 Turbo Coupé, the K-115A) Mercedes-Benz 190E Sedan, the K-115B) Mercedes-Benz 190 Sedan (with “Fuji” film livery), the K-133) Iveco Refuse Truck (with “ABF” livery), the K-136) Racing Car Transporter (with “Ferrari” livery), the K-146) Jaguar XJS Sedan, the K-147) BMW 7-Series Sedan, the K-149) Ferrari Testarossa Sports Car, the K-159) Racing Car Transporter (with “Porsche” livery), the K-161) Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit Sedan, the K-162B) Ford Sierra RS500 Cosworth Sedan (with “Texaco” livery), the K-162C) Ford Sierra RS500 Cosworth Sedan (with “Gemini” livery), the K-166) Mercedes-Benz 190E Sedan Taxicab, the K-168) Porsche 911 Carrera 4 Coupé, the K-172) Mercedes-Benz 500SL Sports Car, the K-173) Lamborghini Diablo Sports Car and the K-179) Suzuki Santana Pickup Truck.  There were thus 59 “Matchbox Super Kings” in 1992, slightly up from 52 models in 1991.  After 1992, Super Kings would be nothing more than infrequent promotional collector toy cars.

The Matchbox Connectables line for 1992 included the “Basic 1? line (20 diecast models), the “Basic 2? line (14 somewhat more elaborate and/or larger diecast models), the “Basic 3? line (eight more diecast models), the CN-630) Carry Pack, eight “Crazy Limos,” six “Powertronic” models and finally two “Powertronic” multi-model sets.  This would be their last year.

The Matchbox Railways line would also be discontinued after the purchase by Tyco Toys.  For their last year in 1992, they featured four different train sets.

1992 Models of Yesteryear Catalogue

The entirely separate Matchbox Models of Yesteryear catalogue for 1992 was very clearly targeted at the adult collector or enthusiast.  It went into tremendous detail about “Investment Potential for the Collector,” which I believe was a big mistake.  There is certainly nothing wrong with people buying collectible items, but collectibles are never true financial investments.  Whenever it comes to this, prices are artificially driven up due to peak speculation, and ultimately prices will crash (as we see with the entire modern global economy).  The exact same thing happened with Matchbox toys.  Speculators drove prices up, and ever more competitor toy companies entered the market, displacing Matchbox from its formerly top-tier position.  Collecting should be for enjoyment, period.  The front of the catalogue featured a picture of a horse-drawn Royal Coronation Coach, and the rear of the catalogue featured an advertisement for the MICA, the “Matchbox International Collectors’ Association.”

The range of models for 1992 included the Y-1G) 1936 Jaguar SS100 Roadster, the Y-2) 1930 4,5 Litre Supercharged Bentley Convertible, the Y-5C) Leyland Titan Double-Decker Bus (with “Newcastle Brown Ale” livery), the Y-6) 1932 Mercedes-Benz L5 Truck (with “Holstein Bier” livery), the Y-8) 1917 Yorkshire Type WA Wagon (with “Fyffes Banana Merchant” livery), the Y-12C) 1937 GMC Van (with “Goanna” livery), the Y-15D) 1920 Preston Type Tramcar (with “Zebra Polish” livery), the Y-21) 1926 Ford Model “TT” Van (with “Drambuie” livery), the Y-22A) 1930 Model “A” Ford Van (with “Anglo-American Oil Corporation” livery), the Y-23B) 1930 Mack Bulldog Tanker Truck (with “Conoco” livery), the Y-27) 1922 Foden Steam Wagon (with “McMullen and Sons, Limited” livery), the Y-28C) 1907 Unic Taxi, the Y-31) 1931 Morris Pantetechnicon (with “Weetabix” livery), the Y-34) 1933 Cadillac 452 V16 Limousine, the Y-35) 1930 Model “A” Ford Pickup Truck (with “Ambrosia Creamery” livery), the Y-36) 1925 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Limousine, the Y-37) 1931 Garrett Steam Wagon (with “Milkmaid Brand Milk” livery), the Y-40) 1931 Mercedes-Benz 770 Limousine, the Y-41) 1932 Mercedes-Benz Truck (with “Howaldtswerke Kiel A.G.” livery), the Y-42) 1938 Albion 6-Wheeler Truck (with “Libby’s” livery), the Y-43) 1905 Busch Steam Fire Engine, the Y-44) 1910 Renault Bus, the Y-45) 1930 Bugatti Royale Limousine, the Y-46) 1868 Merryweather Horse-Drawn Fire Engine, the Y-47A) 1929 Morris Van (with “Chocolat Lindt und Sprüngli” livery), the Y-61) 1933 Cadillac Fire Engine (with “Feuerwehr Aarau” markings), the Y-62) 1932 Ford Model “AA” 1,5 Ton Pickup Truck, the Y-63 1939 Bedford KD Truck (with “George Farrar Yorkshire Stone” livery) and the Y-64) 1938 Lincoln Zephyr Convertible.

1992 “Dream Machines” Dinky Collection Catalogue

The front cover of the separate 1992 Dinky Collection catalogue featured a picture of a 1957 Chevrolet Bel-Air Convertible, a music jukebox and pop-stars from the past.  The booklet explained the history of the original Dinky toys, which went back to the 1933 Meccano factory in Liverpool, England.  The rear cover of the catalogue featured an advertisement for MICA, the “Matchbox International Collectors’ Organisation.”

The Matchbox Dinky line for 1992 included the DY1-B) 1967 “E” Type Jaguar Sports Car, the DY3-B) 1965 MGB-GT Coupé, the DY5-C) 1949 Ford V8 Pilot Sedan, the DY6-C) 1951 Volkswagen Beetle Deluxe Sunroof Sedan, the DY7-B) 1959 Cadillac Coupé DeVille, the DY8-B) 1948 Commer 8 cwt. Van (with “His Master’s Voice” livery), the DY9-B) 1948 Land Rover Series 1 (with “Automobile Association” livery), the DY-10) 1950 Mercedes-Benz “Konferenz Omnibus” (with “Reisebüro Ruoff Stuttgart” livery), the DY11-B) 1948 Tucker Torpedo Sedan, the DY12-C) 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL “Gullwing” Sports Car, the DY13-B) 1955 Bentley “R” Continental Coupé, the DY14-B) 1946 Delahaye 145 Sports Car, the DY15-B) 1952 Austin A40 10 cwt. Van (with “Dinky Toys” livery), the DY16-B) 1967 Ford Mustang Fastback, the DY20-A) 1965 Triumph TR4A Convertible, the DY21-A) 1964 Mini-Cooper “S” Hatchback, the DY22-B) 1952 Citroën 15 CV Sedan, the  DY23-B) 1956 Chevrolet Corvette Sports Car, the DY24-A) 1973 Ferrari Dino 246 GTS Sports Car, the DY25-A) 1958 Porsche 356A Coupé, the DY26-A) 1957 Studebaker Golden Hawk Hardtop, the DY27-A) 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible, the DY28-A) 1969 Triumph Stag Convertible, the DY29-A) 1953 Buick Skylark Convertible, the DY30-A) 1956 Austin-Healey 100 Sports Car, the DY31-A) 1955 Ford Thunderbird Convertible, the DY32-A) 1957 Citroën 2 CV Sedan, the DY902) 3-Piece Gift Set (with a Porsche 356 Coupé, a Mercedes-Benz “Gullwing” Sports Car and a Ferrari Dino Sports Car), the DY921) Pewter Jaguar “E” Type Sports Car on Wooden Base, the DY922) Pewter Ferrari Dino Sports Car on Wooden Base, the DY923) Pewter Chevrolet Corvette Sports Car on Wooden Base and the DY924) Pewter Mercedes-Benz “Gullwing” Sports Car on Wooden Base.

1995 Matchbox Model Year: an Example of the Tyco Toys Years

All Matchbox catalogues since 1993 have been far smaller and clearly geared toward the market for children as opposed to the market for adult collectors and enthusiasts.  In fact, they have been fold-out catalogues as opposed to real booklets.  The 1995 Matchbox catalogue cover featured a drawing of a sports car, and the slogan “Get in the Fast Lane!”

The Matchbox 1-75 Series for 1995 included the 1) Dodge Challenger Hardtop, the 2) Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sports Car, the 3) Hummer Military Vehicle (with “Red Cross” markings), the 4) 1957 Chevrolet Bel-Air Hardtop, the 5) Jeep CJ (with “Bad to the Bone” livery), the 6) Excavator (a non-Superfast model), the 7) Ford Thunderbird Stock Car, the 8) Mazda RX-7 Sports Car, the 9) Earth Mover Dump Truck, the 10) Dodge Viper RT/10 Sports Car, the 11) IMSA Ford Mustang, the 12) Audi Avus Concept Car, the 13) “Dunes Racer” Pickup Truck, the 14) 1987 Chevrolet Corvette Sports Car, the 15) Ford Mustang Mach III Convertible, the 16) Ford Sedan Police Car, the 17) Ferrari 456 GT Sports Car, the 18) Fire Truck, the 19) Cement Truck, the 20) Jeep Wrangler, the 21) GMC Wrecker Truck (with “Parkhill Towing” livery), the 22) Lamborghini Diablo Sports Car, the 23) Volvo Container Truck (with “Matchbox” livery), the 24) Ferrari F-40 Sports Car, the 25) Ambulance, the 26) Chevrolet Van, the 27) “Tailgator” Custom Car, the 28) Mitsubishi Spyder Convertible, the 29) Shovel Nose Tractor, the 30) Toyota Supra Coupé, the 31) Jaguar XJ-220 Sports Car, the 32) 1962 Chevrolet Corvette Sports Car, the 33) Utility Truck (with “Tree Care” livery), the 34) Plymouth Prowler Roadster, the 35) Pontiac Grand Prix Stock Car (with “Outlaw Auto” livery), the 36) Refuse Truck (with “Disposal” livery), the 37) Jeep 4 x 4 (with “Cool Mud” livery), the 38) Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray III Convertible, the 39) Ford Bronco II SUV (with “Piranha” livery), the 40) Ford Mondeo Sedan (with “ICS” livery), the 41) “Cosmic Blues” Hot Rod, the 42) Mobile Crane Truck, the 43) Chevrolet Camaro Z-28 Coupé, the 44) Ford Probe GT Coupé, the 45) Maintenance Dump Truck with Snowplough, the 46) Military Chopper Helicopter, the 47) School Bus, the 48) Pontiac Firebird Racer, the 49) BMW 850i Coupé (with “Ripper” livery), the 50) Chevrolet Blazer SUV (with Police markings), the 51) Porsche 959 Coupé (with “Rage” livery), the 52) Ford Escort Cosworth Hatchback (with “Mobil” livery), the 53) “Rhino” Hot Rod, the 54) Abrams M1 Battle Tank, the 55) Flareside Pickup Truck, the 56) Isuzu Rodeo SUV, the 57) Auxiliary Power Truck (with “Fire Rescue Unit” markings), the 58) Chevrolet Corvette T-Top Sports Car, the 59) Chevrolet Camaro Police Persuit Vehicle, the 60) NASA Rocket Transporter, the 61) Nissan 300-ZX Coupé, the 62) Oldsmobile Aerotech Concept Car, the 63) Snorkel Fire Truck, the 64) Bulldozer (a non-Superfast model), the 65) Ford F-150 Pickup Truck, the 66) Sauber Porsche Racer, the 67) Lamborghini Countach Sports Car, the 68) “Stinger” Custom Vehicle, the 69) Willys Street Rod, the 70) Military Truck Armored Fighting Vehicle, the 71) Ford Mustang Cobra Convertible, the 72) Cadillac Allante Convertible, the 73) “Rotwheeler” Custom Vehicle, the 74) Grand Prix Racer and the 75) Ferrari Testarossa Sports Car.

There where not many more products in the 1995 catalogue, a situation which remains very similar to today.  The so-called premium product lines of “Models of Yesteryear,” “Dinky” and “Super Kings” would only be offered on a very limited and irregular basis.  The remaining regular products for 1995 included two “Carnivores” sets, three “Zero G” sets, six “Harley-Davidson” motorcycle sets, one “Super Rigs” set (a “Convoy” model), ten 5-Pack Gift Sets and four playsets (a Car Wash, a Service Center, an Emergency City and then a “Rapid Shot” track set featuring a loop and a jump).  These remaining products were clearly targeted at children, and not at adult collectors or enthusiasts.

2003 Matchbox Model Year: an Example of the Mattel, Inc. Years

Mattel, Inc. purchased Tyco Toys in 1997, thus gaining the “Matchbox” and “Dinky” brand names.  Mattel is the largest toy manufacturer in the world, based in El Segundo, California in the USA and with very many brand names sold throughout the world.  Major Mattel subsidiaries exist in the United Kingdom, in Hong Kong and in Japan.  Mattel has 31,000 employees (in 2008), annual sales of US $5.97 Billion (in 2007) and annual profit of US $600 Million (also in 2007).

The marketing strategy for Matchbox has not changed much from the Tyco years.  The fold-out 2003 catalogue had the “Matchbox Hero City” livery on its cover.  “Hero City” featured numerous playsets, including an “Ice Mountain,” a “Fire Blaster,” a Construction Site, a “Skybusters” Airport, an Auto Garage, a Police Station, a Carwash and a “Rescue Roadway.”  These were clearly targeted at children, and not at adult collectors or enthusiasts.

The Matchbox 1-75 Series for 2003 included the 1) Fire Engine, 2) Utility Truck with Crane, the 3) Utility Truck with Ladder, the 4) Fire Engine with Ladder, the 5) Fire Chief SUV, the 6) Japanese Sports Car, the 7) Porsche Convertible, the 8) American Convertible, the 9) Porsche 911 Coupé, the 10) BMW Convertible, the 11) Red Cross Pickup Truck, the 12) Ambulance, the 13) Helicopter, the 14) Red Cross Van, the 15) Red Cross Truck, the 16) Tow Truck with Rear Bed, the 17) Tow Truck with Towing Crane, 18) Street Sweeper, the 19) Tipper Truck, the 20) Dump Truck with Snowplough, the 21) Cadillac Escalade SUV, the 22) Cement Truck, the 23) Road Roller, the 24) Crane Truck, the 25) Tractor Shovel (a non-Superfast model), the 26) Police SUV, the 27) Highway Patrol Car, the 28) Police Motorcycle, the 29) Police Sedan, the 30) Police Coupé, the 31) Volkswagen Beetle Taxi (with livery for México City), the 32) Limousine, the 33) Airport Crane Truck, the 34) Aircraft, the 35) Airport Satellite Radar Truck, the 36) Taxicab, the 37) Chrysler PT Cruiser Van (with Hamburger Fast Food Restaurant livery), the 38) Armored Bank Vault Truck, the 39) SUV with Boat on Roof (with “MHC Outfitters” livery), the 40) Double-Cab Pickup Truck, the 41) Helicopter, the 42) Pickup Truck with Boat on Rear Bed (with “MHC livery), the 43) Swamp Boat, the 44) Speedboat, the 45)  Volkswagen Beetle Dune Car, the 46) Offroad Vehicle, the 47) Military Helicopter, the 48) Tanker Truck, the 49) Large GM Double-Cab Pickup Truck, the 50) Range Rover SUV (with Red Cross markings), the 51) 4-Door Hatchback, the 52) School Bus (with “Hero City Elementary Bears” markings), the 53) School District Police Car, the 54) Volkswagen Microbus Concept Vehicle, the 55) 2-Door Hatchback, the 56) Flatbed Truck (with “Toy Store” livery), the 57) Retro Style Pickup Truck (with “Tony’s Pizza” livery), the 58) Double Cab Pickup Truck (with “X-Treme” livery), the 59) Concept Car Coupé, the 60) Ice Cream Truck, the 61) Snorkel Fire Engine, the 62) Fire Engine, the 63) Small Tanker Truck (with “MHC” livery), the 64) Hydrofoil Boat, the 65) Hummer Humvee (with “MHC” livery), the 66) Dodge Pickup Truck, the 67) Bulldozer (a non-Superfast model), the 68) Small Crane Truck (with “MHC” livery), the 69) Heavy Duty Dump Truck (with “MHC” livery), the 70) Fork Lift Truck (with “MHC” livery), the 71) Jeep with Roll Bar, the 72) Chrysler PT Cruiser Convertible, the 73) Hummer SUV, the 74) Small Convertible and the 75) Mini Cooper Hatchback (with Union Jack on Roof).

Corgi-Lledo of Wales, the United Kingdom

“Corgi” was started in the United Kingdom by two German immigrants named Philip Ullmann and Arthur Katz (originally as “Mettoy Playcraft, Limited”), and “Lledo” was founded by the Englishman Jack Odell (”Lledo” is his surname spelled backwards), Odell having been one of three founders of Lesney Corporation (which launched Matchbox toys).  The Mettoy Playcraft Company began making tin toy cars and trucks in Northampton in 1934, but adopted the “Corgi” name (a small Welsh breed of cattle-herding dog) in 1956.  During World War Two from 1939 until 1945, the Mettoy Company ceased making toys and kept busy with defense contract production in a new factory in Swansea.  The production of tinplate and plastic-molded toys commenced again after the war in 1945.

The main line of Corgi toys tended to hover around the 1:43 scale, and were more upscale compared to Matchbox.  They pioneered such miniature toy car realism as plastic windows (1956), chassis for free-running models (1957), spring suspension (1959), opening hoods with detailed engines (1960), rear window blinds (1960), cast wire cage fronts (1961), self-centerting steering (1961), opening trunks (1961), jeweled headlights and ruby rear lights (1961), remotely operating fold-up seats (1963), fold-away headlights (1963), working windshield wipers (1964), musical movement (1965) and take-off wheels (1968).  A major fire gutted the Swansea factory in March 1969, tragically destroying virtually all of the year’s production stock.  The result for the company’s bottom line was even worse, with customers turning to competitors due to the lack of Corgi product in stores.  New product features thereafter included fast thin-axle “Whizzwheels” (1970), plastic molded into fabric sailboat sails (1971) and electronic sirens (1980).

The “Corgi Juniors” line was eventually introduced to compete with the likes of Matchbox and Hot Wheels (near the 1:64 scale).  Modern “Corgi” is still based in the United Kingdom, but their products are manufactured in Mainland China.  The Lledo line was discontinued as a marque but is still represented in “Corgi Vanguards” (classic cars and trucks) and “Corgi Days Gone” (much like the Matchbox Models of Yesteryear line of toys).  Corgi also used to sell a line of plastic track sets for both their main line of cars and for the Corgi Juniors line.  And then they had accessories such as garages, albeit not as extensive a line of accessory products compared to Matchbox.  I have 242 Corgi vehicles in my collection.  The original Corgi Collector Club was established by the late Bill Baxter in December 1956, and the first Corgi Catalogue was printed in 1957.  1957 also witnessed the debut of the first Corgi television advertisements.  I know of specific early Corgi catalogues released in 1958 (featuring a boy and numerous Corgi models on the cover), 1959 (featuring a car transporter, a racing car and a farm tractor on the cover), 1960 (featuring superhighway overpasses on the cover), 1962 (featuring a Jaguar Sedan on the cover), 1965 (featuring both a contemporary and a classic car on the cover), 1966 (featuring the “James Bond 007? Aston-Martin on the cover), 1968 and 1969 (one in English featuring the “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” on the cover and one in French featuring a “Concorde” supersonic airliner on the cover, respectively).

In May 2008, Corgi was purchased by an even older English toymaker named Hornby, famous for making model trains.  Hornby began making “Meccano” construction toys in 1901 and toy trains in 1920.  Hornby also owns Jouef of France.  Jouef was founded in 1944, initially making model railways.  They also made some 1:43-scale diecast cars.  They were purchased by Hornby in December 2004.  Frank Hornby was a great pioneer in the British toy industry, having patented the Meccano system.  This was the origin of Meccano construction play sets and of the Dinky 1:43-scale die-cast vehicles.  The modern Horby company also owns such brands as Lima and Rivarossi (toy trains from Italy), and Airfix and Humbrol (model paints from Britain).  Hornby markets specific toy train product lines such as “Skaledale” and “Lyddle End.”  They also manufacture toy trains under contract for the “Takara Tomy” toy company of Japan, which include the famous “Thomas the Tank Engine” line of toys for smaller children.  Takara Tomy manufactures many popular lines of toys, including the “Tomica” line of 1:64-scale vehicles – comparable to modern Matchbox products, but of superior quality and higher retail price.  I have six of these die-cast cars, which come in boxes much like most Matchbox products used to.  Most of their miniature cars represent Japanese automotive brands, but they do have some vehicles from European manufacturers as well.

A good North American retail source for Corgi models is Asheville Diecast of North Carolina: www.ashevillediecast.com.  They carry Corgi aircraft models, the “Batman” range, a good number of NOS (New Old Stock) Lledo models, NOS Corgi Cameo models, the “James Bond 007″ range, some NOS 1:43-Scale “Corgi Classic” models as well as the newer range of 1:50-Scale “Corgi Classic” models (mainly commercial vehicles from the United Kingdom, the United States and France).  Prices and service are very good; shipping is by United Parcel Service (UPS).

Another excellent retailer with decent prices and very rapid services is www.3000toys.com of Joplin, Missouri.  Their selection tends to be more current where Corgi and Corgi Classic models are concerned.  I highly recommend the “Vanguard” range of 1:43-scale models, which represent various British automotive and model name brands from the past such as Austin, Morris, Wolseley, Austin-Healey, MG (Morris Garages), Mini, Mini-Cooper, Stag, Triumph, Ford, Jaguar, Land Rover, Vauxhall, Viva, Cavalier and Astra.  The Vanguard line was purchased by Corgi from Lledo, and gives other big diecast brands such as Matchbox Models of Yesteryear, Dinky Matchbox, Minichamps, Schuco, IXO, IST, Rio, Solido, Majorette, Premium Classixx, Yat-Ming and Hongwell very strong competition in terms of both quality and price.  I have only good things to say about the Corgi brand.

1970 Corgi Model Year

The front and back covers of the 1970 “Corgi Toys” color catalogue featured a painting / drawing of the Mercedes-Benz C111 “Gullwing” Sports Car.  Corgi was still part of Mettoy Playcraft, Limited and the catalogue was printed by Petty & Sons, Limited of Leeds, England.  The inside front cover described design, manufacturing and distribution process behind the making of diecast Corgi vehicles.  Just like Matchbox, Corgi responded to the very real sales challenge from Hot Wheels by introducing their own fast, thin axles.  “Superfast” was the Matchbox trademark, and “Whizzwheels” was the Corgi trademark.  Corgi’s main product line has always been their high-quality larger diecast models, which are made in the 1:36, 1:43 and 1:50-Scales.

The brand new “Corgi Whizzwheels” line for 1970 included number 201) “The Saint’s” Volvo P1800 Coupé (90 mm long with “The Saint” logo on the hood), the 202) Renault R16 Sedan (91 mm long and with opening hood and rear hatch), the 274) H.J. Mulliner, Park Ward Bentely T-Series Coupé (120 mm long and with opening passenger doors, hood and trunk), the 280) Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow, coachwork by H.J. Mulliner, Park Ward (120 mm long and with opening passenger doors, hood and trunk), the 282) Mini-Cooper in Rally Trim (73 mm long, and with opening passenger doors and hood), the 283) OSI DAF City Car (73 mm long and with opening passenger doors and tailgate), the 284) Citroën SM Coupé (114 mm long and with opening passenger doors and tailgate), the 301) Iso Grifo 7-Litre Sports Car (102 mm long and with an opening hood and passenger doors), the 303) Roger Clark’s V6 3-Litre Ford Capri Coupé (102 mm long and with advertisement transfers), the 311) 3-Litre Ford V6 Ford Capri (102 mm long and with opening passenger doors), the 313) “Project X” (a still secret new model), the 342) Lamborghini Miura P400 Miura Sports Car (95 mm long, with opening hood, trunk and a “fighting bull” model), the 343) Pontiac Firebird Convertible (102 mm long and with opening passenger doors), the 344) Ferrari 206 Dino Sport Racing Car (104 mm long), the 347) Chevrolet Astro 1 Experimental Car (102 mm long and with a unique opening passenger compartment), the 371) Porsche Carrera 6 (97 mm long and with opening engine compartment), the 372) Lancia Fulvia Sport Zagato (91 mm long, and with an opening hood and doors), the 373) Volkswagen 1200 Beetle Sedan Police Car (91 mm long with bumper “over-riders”), the 374) Jaguar 4,2 Litre E Type 2+2 Coupé (108 mm long and with an opening engine compartment), the 375) Toyota 2000 GT Convertible (102 mm long), the 376) Chevrolet Stingray Stock Car (95 mm long), the 377) Marcos 3-Litre Sports Car (91 mm long and with opening hood), the 378) MGC G.T. Coupé (90 mm long and with opening passenger doors and rear hatch), the 380) Alfa-Romeo Pininfarina P33 Sports Car with Roll Bar (95 mm long), the 381) Volkswagen Beach Buggy (69 mm long and with detachable roof and surf boards), the 382) Porsche Targa 911S Coupé (with opening passenger doors and rear engine lid), the 383) Volkswagen 1200 Beetle Sedan (91 mm long and with bumper “over-riders”), the 384) Adams Bros. Probe 16 Sports Car, the 385) Porsche 917 Racing Car (108 mm long and with opening engine compartment), the 386) Bertone Runabout Barchetta (83 mm long), the 387) Chevrolet Corvette (102 mm long and with opening hood, retractable headlights and detachable roof panels), the 388) Mercedes-Benz C111 “Gullwing” Sports Car (104 mm long and with opening “Gullwing” passenger doors) and the 509) Porsche Targa 911S Police Car (95 mm long and with opening passenger doors and rear engine lid).

The brand new “Corgi Track” line for 1970 included three sets with which the “Corgi Whizzwheels” models listed above could be used.  These were the 750) 12 Foot Track Pack, the 751) 16 Foot Track Pack and the 760) Corgi Autostart (this could be fixed to a table-top, chair back or chair leg, and it had a special hinged starting gate for one vehicle).  These were more expensive than “Matchbox Superfast” track sets (as the “Corgi Whizzwheels” vehicles were more expensive than “Matchbox Superkings” diecast cars) – and harder to find in stores as well.  In fact, I never saw any Corgi Track sets while growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area of Northern California.  At the time, the “Capwell’s” line of upscale retail stores was a good place to find Corgi products.

The “Corgi Cars” line for 1970 featured models with regular wheels, as they had been manufactured since their introduction in 1956.  These included the 226) Morris Mini Minor Hatchback (73 mm long), the 233) Heinkel Bubble Car (64 mm long), the 334) Mini Cooper “Magnifique” Hatchback (73 mm long and with opening passenger doors and hood) and the Gift Set Number 36) Oldsmobile Toronado Hardtop with Glastron Sportsman Speedboat on Trailer and with 3 Figures (228 mm long and with “Swordfish” livery on boat).

The “Corgi Take-Off Wheels with Golden Jacks” line for 1970 featured cars where you could just lower the appropriate jack and slip the wheel off the car.  The jack would thus support the car.  These were non-Whizzwheels models which were introduced in the past.  They included the 273) Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow, coachwork by H.J. Mulliner, Park Ward (120 mm long and with spare wheel, opening passenger doors, hood and trunk), the 275) Rover 2000TC Sedan (95 mm long), the 276) Oldsmobile Toronado Hardtop Coupé (108 mm long and with retractable headlights), the 300) Chevrolet Corvette Sports Car (102 mm long and with detachable roof panels and opening hood), the 302) Hillman Hunter / London-Sydney Marathon Rally Winner (104 mm long and with 18 advertisement transfers,opening toolbox and Kangaroo model), the 338) Chevrolet SS350 Camaro Coupé (102 mm long, and with detachable roof and opening passenger doors) and the 341) Mini-Marcos GT850 Coupé (86 mm long, and with opening passenger door and hood).

The “Corgi Autosport” line for 1970 included a number of regular-wheel models, such as the 154) Ferrari Racing Car (91 mm long), the 158) Lotus-Climax (90 mm long and with driver-controlled steering), the 159) Cooper-Maserati Racing Car (90 mm long and with driver-controlled steering), the 314) Ferrari Berlinetta 250 LeMans Racing Car (95 mm long and with an opening rear engine lid), the 339) Monte Carlo Rally Mini-Cooper S Hatchback (73 mm long), the Gift Set Number 12) Grand Prix Racing Set (with a Volkswagen Pickup Truck Racing Tender, a Lotus-Climax Racing Car, a Cooper-Maserati Racing Car, a Porsche Carrera 6 Racing Car, a Trailer, 3 Mechanics, Hay Bales and 16 Bollards) and the Gift Set Number 25) Volkswagen Pickup Truck Racing Tender with Cooper-Maserati on Trailer (197 mm long).

The “Corgi Screen Favourites” line made Corgi famous for offering authentic and officially authorized diecast replicas of vehicles from popular television shows, complete with working gadgetry and well-known Corgi quality.  In 1970, they included the 107) Batboat on Trailer (133 mm long and with 2 figures), the 266) Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (162 mm long and with wings that flicked out at the touch of a brake lever, front and rear detachable stabilisers, a gleaming aluminum bonnet and hand-painted removable figures), the 267) Batmobile Car (133 mm long and with 2 figures, projectiles fired from rear of car, lighted rear exhaust and with chain-cutter in front of car), the 268) Black Beauty (the “Green Hornet’s” 127 mm crime-fighting car with a projectile fired from the front and a round spinner from the trunk), the 270) James Bond Aston Martin DB5 (102 mm long and with Bond figure, North Korean villian figure on “Ejector Seat,” tire cutter on rear wheel, rear bullet shield, front-mounted machine guns and a revolving license plate), the 277) “Monkees’ Monkeymobile (127 mm long and with figures in the car), the 803) Beatles’ Yellow Submarine (133 mm long and with four figures and working periscopes), the 805) Hardy Boys’ Rolls-Royce (116 mm long and with four figures on the roof of the car), the Gift Set Number 3 (Batman’s Batmobile and Batboat (267 mm long and with two figures, projectiles fired from rear of car, lighted rear exhaust and with chain-cutter in front of car), the Gift Set Number 7) “Daktari” (with a Land-Rover Pickup Truck, two people and three animals) and the Gift Set Number 14) Giant “Daktari” (with the Land Rover Pickup Truck, two larger Trucks, two people and seven animals).

The “Corgi Circus Time” line for 1970 featured non-Whizzwheels models from Circus performing companies. They included the 503) Giraffe Transporter Truck (97 mm long and with two giraffe figures), the 511) Performing Poodles Pickup Truck (108 mm long and with one human figure and seven performing dog figures), the 1130) Horse Transporter Truck (260 mm long and with six horse figures), 1139) Menagerie Transporter (232 mm long with three cages and seven animal figures), the 1144) Crane Truck (200 mm long with rhinoceros figure in cage) and the Gift Set Number 21) Crane Truck with three Animal Cages on Trailer and Elephant in Cage.

The “Corgi Comics” line for 1970 featured non-Whizzwheels models such as the 801) Noddy’s Car (95 mm long and with Noddy, his two friends and pneumatic tyres), the 802) Popeye’s Paddle Wagon (127 mm long and with figures of Popeye, Olive Oyl, Swee’ Pea, Bluto and Wimpy, and with pneumatic tyres in the front) and the 806) Lunar Bug (127 mm long and with opening tailgate, retractable wings, pneumatic tyres and multi-position undercarriage legs).

The “Corgi Agricultural Equipment” line was known for tremendous detail and quality.  These were of course all non-Whizzwheels models.  In 1970, they included the 58) Beast Carrier with Four Calves (112 mm long), the 61) Four Furrow Plough (90 mm long), the 62) Farm Tipper Trailer (114 mm long and with operating tipper and rear tailgate), the 66) Massey-Ferguson “165? Tractor (76 mm long), the 67) Ford “5000? Super Major Tractor (90 mm long), the 69) Massey-Ferguson Tractor with Shovel (127 mm long and with operating shovel), the 71) Tandem Disc Harrow (90 mm long), the 72) Ford “5000? Super Major Tractor with Rear-mounted Trenching Bucket (complete with power cables for the shovel arm), the 73) Massey-Ferguson “165? Tractor with Saw Attachment (90 mm long and with realistic engine noises), the 112) Rice’s Beaufort Double Horse Box with Mare and Foal (197 mm long), the 484) Dodge “Kew Fargo” Livestock Transporter with Five Pigs (140 mm long), the 1111) Massey-Ferguson Combine Harvester (172 mm long and with working steering and grain harvester), the Gift Set Number 1 (Ford “5000? Super Major Tractor and Beast Carrier with Four Calves (185 mm long), the Gift Set Number 5 (with a Dodge “Kew Fargo” Livestock Transporter, a Land Rover, a Massey-Ferguson “165? Tractor with Shovel, a Tipper Trailer, a Tandem Disc Harrow, five Pigs, four Calves, a Dog, Skip and Milk Churns, Sacks, a Farm Hand and a Tractor Driver), the Gift Set Number 9 (Massey-Ferguson “165? Tractor with Shovel and Tipper Trailer (235 mm long) and the Gift Set Number 15 (Land Rover and Rice’s Beaufort Double Horse Box with Mare and Foal (197 mm long).

The “Corgi Commerical Vehicles” line for 1970 included a number of highly-detailed non-Whizzwheels models such as the 406) Mercedes-Benz Unimog “406? (91 mm long and with authentic coil spring suspension, rear view mirrors, jewelled headlights, towing hook and detachable canopy), 438) Land Rover (95 mm long and with towing hook and detachable canopy), the 470) FC-150 Jeep with Hood (91 mm long and with detachable canopy and towing hook), the 477) Land Rover Breakdown Truck (114 mm long and with working winch), the 483) Dodge “Kew Fargo” Tipper Truck (136 mm long), the 513) Citroen Safari Alpine Rescue Car (with an opening tailgate, a folding rear seat, a toboggan and skis, a human figure and a St. Bernard dog), the 1128) Priestman “Cub” Shovel (165 mm long when fully extended), the 1137) Ford Tilt Cab “H” Series with Detachable Trailer (235 mm long), the 1142) “Holmes Wrecker” Recovery Vehicle (114 mm long and with working lifting booms which would swing outwards and operate separately or together as required), the 1145) Mercedes-Benz Unimog “406? with “Goose” Dumper (171 mm long and with authentic coil spring suspension, rear view mirrors, jewelled headlights and detachable tipping dumping trailer), the 1146) Scammel Handyman Mark III Tractor Unit with Carrimore Tri-Deck Mark V Car Transporter (290 mm long, but without the cars), the 1147) “Ferrymasters, The International Haulers” Scammel Handyman Mark III Tractor Unit and Trailer (235 mm long and with detachable trailer and canopies), the 1150) Mercedes-Benz Unimog “406? Snow Plough (155 mm long and with authentic coil spring suspension, rear view mirrors, jewelled headlights, hydraulic lifting blade, detachable canopy and tow hook), the Gift Set Number 20 (Scammell Handyman Mark III Tractor Unit with Carrimore Tri-Deck Mark V Car Transporter and 6 Cars (290 mm long) and the Gift Set Number 27 (Carrimore Detachable Axle Machinery Carrier with Priestman “Cub” Shovel (241 mm long).

Toward the end of the 1970 “Corgi” catalogue was the 468) London Transport Routemaster Bus (114 mm long), the 479) Commer Camera Van (90 mm long and with opening rear doors plus a camera mounted at the rear of the truck’s roof), the 490) Volkswagen Pickup Truck Breakdown Van (102 mm long and with a working winch), the 494) Bedford Tipper Truck (102 mm long), the 506) Police “Panda” Sunbeam Imp (83 mm long and with flourescent “POLICE” signs on each door, which shine in the dark and automatically recharge in the daylight), the 510) Citroën Tour de France Team Manager’s Car (108 mm and an exception with “Whizzwheels”), the 650) BAC-Sud Aviation-BOAC Concorde Supersonic Airliner (190 mm long and with “droop-snoot” and display stand), the Gift Set Number 8 (”Lions of Longleat” with a Land Rover, a Lion’s Den, 3 Lions and three joints of meat) and the Gift Set Number 13 (Renault R16 Tour de France Paramount Film Unit with Racing Cyclist (114 mm long).  These were all non-Whizzwheels models with the exception of the one Citroën (number 510).

The “Corgi Fire” line for 1970 featured non-Whizzwheels models such as the 1127) Simon Snorkel Fire Engine (252 mm long and with elevating booms which could be turned through a complete circle and extended to a height of 372 mm) and the 1143) American “La France” Aerial Rescue Truck (285 mm long and with a remote-controlled three-section telescopic ladder which would extend to a height of 444 mm on its rotating turntable).  The latter model also had six additional clip-together extention ladders, as well as retractable supporting jacks.

The very end of the 1970 Corgi catalogue featured a section on “Corgi Juniors Rockets,” complete with the “Golden TuneUp Key” and exciting track sets.  The “Corgi Model Club” had worldwide subsidiary offices in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, South Africa and the United States (in addition to the headquarters in Leeds, England).  A separate catalogue was also released specifically for the entire Corgi Juniors line in 1970.

1972 Corgi Model Year

The cover of the 1972 Corgi Toys catalogue featured many of the Whizzwheels models parked on Corgi track.  It also featured four brand new cartoon characters who would not re-appear in the future.  These were the so-called “Corgi Technocrats,” who were “The Dynamic Team Behind Corgi Toys.”  Bald-headed “H.W.” was the “brains behind the toys,” “Whizz” was a kid who provided input as to what young customers wanted in toys, “Penny” let them know what girls would like in such toys and finally “Zak” was the team’s troubleshooter.

The 1972 range of “Corgi Dragsters” with Whizzwheels included the 161) Santa Pod Raceway’s “Commuter” Dragster (123 mm long), the 162) “Quartermaster” Dragster (146 mm long), the 163) Santa Pod “Glo-Worm” Ford Capri Dragster (113 mm long and with an opening body), the 164) Ison Bros.’ “Wild Honey” Dragster (171 mm long), the 165) Adams 4-Engined “Drag-Star” (113 mm long and with trigger operated air-brake), the 166) Ford Mustang “Organ Grinder” Dragster (102 mm long) and the 376) Customized Chevrolet Corvette Stingray (95 mm long).

The 1972 range of “Corgi Sports Cars” with Whizzwheels included the 203) Mangusta de Tomaso (99 mm long), the 300) Chevrolet Corvette Stingray (101 mm and with non-Whizzwheels “take off wheels”), the 301) Iso Grifo 7-Litre (102 mm long and with jewelled headlights, opening passenger doors and opening hood), the 304) Chevrolet SS350 Camaro (102 mm long and with jewelled headlights and opening passenger doors), the 312) Marcos Mantis (110 mm long), the 342) Lamborghini P400 GT Miura (95 mm long and with jewelled headlights and “fighting bull” model), the 343) Pontiac Firebird Convertible (102 mm long and with jewelled headlights and opening passenger doors), the 372) Lancia Fulvia Sport (93 mm long, and with opening hood and passenger doors), the 374) Jaguar 4,2 Litre E-Type (105 mm long and with opening hood and rear window hatch), the 375) Toyota 2000 GT Convertible (102 mm long and with jewelled headlights), the 377) Marcos 3-Litre (93 mm long), the 378) MGC GT (89 mm long and with jewelled headlights), the 382) Porsche Targa 911S (96 mm long and with jewelled headlights), the 387) Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Coupé (101 mm long and with retractable jewelled headlights, opening hood and removable roof panels), the 388) Mercedes-Benz C111  (103 mm long and with opening “Gullwing” doors), the 391) Ford Mustang Mach 1 (113 mm long and with opening doors and tilting seats) and the 393) Mercedes-Benz 350SL (104 mm long and with opening doors, opening hood, tilting seats and chrome-plated window trim).

The 1972 range of “Corgi Competition Cars” with Whizzwheels included the 282) Mini Cooper (74 mm long and with jewelled headlights and opening passenger doors and hood), the 303) Roger Clark’s 3-Litre V6 Ford Capri (102 mm long and with jewelled headlights, advertisement transfers and opening passenger doors), the 316) Ford GT70 (92 mm long and with advertisement transfers, opening passenger doors and rear engine lid), the 344) Ferrari 206 Dino Sport (105 mm long), the 371) Porsche Carrera 6 (97 mm long and with opening engine compartment) and the 385) Porsche 917 (110 mm long and with opening engine compartment).

The 1972 range of “Corgi Special Prototypes” with Whizzwheels included the 347) Chevrolet Astro 1 Experimental Car (102 mm long and with opening passenger compartment), the 380) Alfa-Romeo Pininfarina P33 (96 mm long) and the 384) Adams Bros. Probe (97 mm long and with a sliding glass roof).

The 1972 range of “Corgi Luxury Cars” with Whizzwheels included the 274) Bentley Series T “H.J. Mulliner Park Ward” Coupé (120 mm long and with jewelled headlights, opening passenger doors, hood and trunk), the 280) Rolls-Royce “H.J. Mulliner Park Ward” Coupé (120 mm long and with jewelled headlights, opening passenger doors, hood and trunk) and the 284) Citroen SM Coupé (112 mm long and with opening passenger doors and rear hatch).

The 1972 range of “Corgi Cars about Town” with Whizzwheels included the 202) Renault R16 Fastback Sedan (91 mm long and with opening hood and rear hatch), the 226) Morris Mini-Minor (73 mm long and not fitted with Whizzwheels), the 233) Heinkel “Bubble Car” (64 mm long and not fitted with Whizzwheels), the 281) Rover 2000 TC Sedan (95 mm long and with glass roof), the 283) OSI DAF “City Car” (73 mm long and with opening hood, rear hatch and passenger doors), the 306) Morris Marina Coupé (98 mm long and with opening passenger doors and hood), the 311) 3 Litre V6 Ford Capri Coupé (102 mm long and with jewelled headlights and opening passenger doors), the 313) Ford Cortina GXL Coupé (102 mm long and with jewelled headlights, a figure of driver Graham Hill and opening passenger doors) and the 383) Volkswagen 1200 Beetle Sedan (92 mm long and with green bumper “over-rider” bows).

The 1972 range of “Corgi Fun Cars” with Whizzwheels included the 381) G.P. Volkswagen Beach Buggy (69 mm long), the 386) Bertone Runabout Barchetta (83 mm long), the 389) Reliant Bond Bug 700 ES Minicar (67 mm long and with opening passenger compartment) and the Gift Set Number 26) Volkswagen Beach Buggy and Sailing Boat on Trailer (170 mm long).

The 1972 range of “Corgi Crime Busters” with Whizzwheels included the 201) “Saint’s Volvo P1800 Coupé” (90 mm long and with a figure of Simon Templar driving the car), the 373) Volkswagen 1200 Beetle Sedan Police Car (92 mm long and with chromed bumper “over-rider” bows), the 461) Police “Vigilant” Range Rover SUV (108 mm long and with opening rear door, window shutters, swivelling spotlights, policeman figure and warning road signs) and the 509) Porsche Targa 911S Coupé Police Car (96 mm long and with jewelled headlights, opening passenger doors & rear engine lid and German “Polizei” markings).

Corgi Track Sets for 1972 included the A752) “Whizztrack” with Track Connector (14 feet or 4,25 meters of track), the A761) “Power Blaster” and “Crashstop” (with Tuned Power Control and Hand-release or automatic re-fire), the A762) “Windicator” (an Automatic Finish Gate), the A771) “Power Blaster” Racing Speedset (with two Power Blasters, 28 feet or 8,5 meters of track, two Corgi cars, a “Whizzaround,” a “Windicator,” two “Crashstops,” two Track Connectors and two “Rockets” Track Adaptors) and the A772) Drag Strip Special (a “Power Blaster,” 14 feet or 4,25 meters of track, a Corgi car, a “Crashstop,” a Track Connector and a “Rockets” Track Adaptor.  The “Power Blaster” did not require batteries, and “Rockets” referred to the smaller range of Corgi Juniors diecast cars, roughly the size of 1:64-Scale “Matchbox” cars.

The “Corgi Autosport” line included diecast vehicles with regular wheels, such as the 154) Ferrari Racing Car (91 mm long), the 158) Lotus-Climax Racing Car (90 mm long and with turning front wheels), the 314) Ferrari Berlinetta 250 LeMans Racing Car (95 mm long and with opening rear engine compartment), the 339) Monte Carlo Rally Mini-Cooper (73 mm long), the Gift Set Number 12 (Grand Prix Racing Set, complete with a Volkswagen Racing Tender Pickup Truck, a Lotus-Climax Racing Car, a Cooper-Maserati Racing Car, a Porsche Carrera 6 Racing Car, a Trailer, three Mechanics, Hay Bales and 16 Bollards) and the Gift Set Number 25 (a Volkswagen Racing Tender Pickup Truck with a Cooper-Maserati Racing Car on a Trailer).

The Corgi Comics line for 1972 included the 801) Noddy’s Car (95 mm long and with hand-painted figures of Noddy, two of his friends and pneumatic tyres), the 802) Popeye’s Paddle Wagon (127 mm long – a crazy all-action car with hand-painted figures of all your favourite characters including Popeye, Olive Oyl, Swee’ Pea, Bluto and Wimpy; fitted with pneumatic front tyres), the 806) Lunar Bug (127 mm long and with opening tailgate, retractable wings, pneumatic tyres and multiposition undercarriage legs – just the thing for taking your “Corgi Rockets” or “Corgi Juniors” on a trip to the moon!) and the 807) Citroën Magic Roundabout Car (118 mm long and complete with hand-painted figures of Dougal, Dylan and Brian Snail, and fitted with Whizzwheels).

Some mostly regular wheels models for 1972 included the 479) Commer Camera Van (90 mm long and with opening rear doors; Camera mounted at rear of van), the 510) Citroën Tour de France Team Manager’s Car (108 mm and fitted with Whizzwheels), the 650) BAC-Sud Aviation “Concorde” Supersonic Airliner (190 mm long and complete with display stand), the 651) Air France “Concorde” Supersonic Airliner (190 mm long and complete with display stand), the Gift Set Number 8 (”Lions of Longleat,” comprising a Land-Rover, a Lions’ Den, three Lion figures, a Trainer and three Joints of Meat), the Gift Set Number 11 (comprising a Routemaster Double-Decker Bus, an Austin Taxi, a Morris Mini-Minor and a London “Bobby” figure.  The Austin Taxi and the Morris Mini-Minor featured Whizzwheels) and the Gift Set Number 13 (Renault R16 “Tour de France” Paramount Film Unit with Racing Cyclist and Camera Man figures).

The famous and popular line of Corgi Screen Favourites for 1972 included the 266) Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (162 mm; Wings flick out at a touch of the brake lever – detachable front and rear fins and detachable figures), the 270) James Bond 007 Aston-Martin DB5 Coupé (102 mm long and with ejector front passenger seat, rear wheel “tire cutter” and revolving license plates for different countries – from the movie “Thunderball” in 1965), the Gift Set Number 3 (Batman’s Batmobile and Batboat, complete with front wire-cutter and rear missile launchers – also available separately), the Gift Set Number 7 (small “Daktari” set with Land Rover Pickup Truck, two Trainer figures, Lion figure, Tiger figure and Chimpanzee figure) and the Gift Set Number 14 (Giant “Daktari” Set with Land Rover Pickup Truck and figures from the smaller set, plus Stake Truck with two Elephant figures and Transporter Truck with two Giraffe figures).

The “Corgi Fire” line for 1972 included some of the most desirable Corgi diecast vehicles ever.  These were the 506) Police “Panda” Sunbeam Imp (83 mm long and with flourescent POLICE signs on each door which shine in the dark and automatically recharge in daylight), the 1127) Simon Snorkel Fire Engine (252 mm long and with elevating booms which can be turned through a complete circle and extend to a height of 370 mm; retractable supporting jacks) and the 1143) American “La France” Aerial Rescue Fire Truck (285 mm long and with retractable supporting jacks, six additional clip-together extension ladders and a remote-controlled three-section telescopic ladder which extends to a height of 444 mm on its rotating turntable).

The extensive and highly desirable Corgi Commercial Vehicles line for 1972 included numerous regular wheel vehicles such as the 406) Mercedes-Benz Unimog (91 mm long and with coil-spring suspension, rear view mirror, jewelled headlights, towing hook and detachable tilt), the 409) Mercedes-Benz Unimog Rear Dumper (104 mm long and with coil-spring suspension, rear view mirrors, jewelled headlights, a towing hook and a lever-operated spring-loaded tipper action), the 470) FC-150 Jeep with Hood (91 mm long and with detachable canopy and towing hook), the 477) Land Rover Breakdown Truck (114 mm long and with working winch and “Corgi” livery), the 483) Dodge “Kew Fargo” Tipper Truck (136 mm long), the 490) Volkswagen Pickup Truck Breakdown Vehicle (102 mm long and with working winch and “Corgi” livery), the 494) Bedford Tipper Truck (102 mm long and with rear-view mirrors), the 513) Citroën Safari Alpine Rescue Car (108 mm long and with opening tailgate, folding rear seat, toboggan and skis, human figure and St. Bernard dog figure), the 1100) Mack Truck with Trans-Continental Trailer (257 mm long and with opening rear doors and sliding side doors), the 1106) Mack Container Truck (290 mm long and with an opening bonnet, a detachable trailer and two detachable containers), the 1128) Priestman “Cub” Shovel (165 mm long when fully extended), the 1137) Ford Tilt Cab “H” Series with Detachable Trailer (235 mm long and with swivelling rear-view mirrors), the 1142) “Holmes Wrecker” Recovery Vehicle (114 mm long and with lifting booms which swing outwards and operate separately or together as required), the 1145) Mercedes-Benz Unimog “406? with “Goose Dumper” (171 mm long and with authentic coil spring suspension, rear view mirrors, jewelled headlights and detachable tipping dumper trailer), the 1146) Scammell Handyman Mark III Tractor Unit with Carrimore Tri-Deck Mark V Car Transporter (290 mm long), the 1147) Ferrymasters – The International Hauliers – Scammell Tractor Unit and Trailer (235 mm long and with detachable canopies), the 1150) Mercedes-Benz Unimog “406? Snow Plough (155 mm long and with authentic coil spring suspension, rear view mirrors, jewelled headlights, hydraulic lifting blade, detachable canopy and towing hook), the 1152) Mack Truck with Gloster Saro Articulated “Esso” Petrol Tanker (278 mm long and complete with simulated delivery hoses), the 1153) Priestman “Cub” Boom Crane with Grab (with rotating cab, elevating jib, opening jaws and fully operating winch), the Gift Set Number 2 (a Mercedes-Benz Unimog Truck with “Goose” Dumper-Trailer and Priestman “Cub” Shovel), the Gift Set Number 20 (a Scammell Handyman Mark III Tractor Unit with Carrimore Tri-Deck Mark V Car Transporter and 6 cars) and the Gift Set Number 27 (a Carrimore Detachable Axle Machinery Carrier with a Priestman “Cub” Shovel).

The 1972 range of Agricultural Equipment by Corgi Toys included regular wheel models such as the 58) Beast Carrier with Four Calve Figures (185 mm long), the 62) Farm Tipper Trailer (114 mm long), the 66) Massey Ferguson “165? Tractor (76 mm and with realistic engine sound), the 67) Ford “5000? Tractor (90 mm long), the 69) Massey Ferguson Tractor with Shovel (127 mm long), the 71) Tandem Disc Harrow (90 mm long), the 72) Ford “5000? Super Major Tractor with Rear-Mounted Trenching Bucket, the 73) Massey Ferguson “165? Tractor with Saw Attachment (90 mm long and with realistic engine noise), the 74) Ford “5000? Tractor with Scoop (90 mm long and with controlled steering, a hydraulically operated trenching scoop and a tow hood with a plough lifting mechanism), the 112) Rice’s Beaufort Double Horse Box with Mare and Foal Figures (102 mm long), the 438) Land Rover (95 mm long and with a towing hook), the 484) Dodge “Kew Fargo” Livestock Transporter (140 mm long and with 5 pig figures), the 1111) Massey Ferguson Combine Harvester (172 mm long), the Gift Set Number 1 (a Ford “5000? Super Major Tractor and Beast Carrier with Four Calve Figures), the Gift Set Number 5 (Agricultural Set with a Dodge “Kew Fargo” Livestock Transporter, a Land Rover, a Massey Ferguson “165? Tractor with Shovel, a Tipper Trailer, a Tandem Disc Harrow, five pig figures, four cow figures, one dog figure, Skip and Milk Churns, Sacks, a Farm Hand figure and a Tractor Driver Figure), the Gift Set Number 9 (a Massey Ferguson “165? Tractor with a Shovel and Tipper Trailer) and the Gift Set Number 15 (a Land Rover and a Rice’s Beaufort Double Horse Box with Mare and Foal Figures).

The 1972 range of “Circus Time” vehicles by Corgi Toys included the regular wheel models 503) Giraffe Transporter (97 mm long and with two giraffe figures), the 511) Performing Poodles Pickup Truck (260 mm long), the 1130) Horse Transporter with Six Horse Figures (260 mm long), the 1139) Menagerie Transporter (232 mm long and with three Cages with Animal Figures), the 1144) Crane Truck (200 mm long and with Rhinoceros Figure in Cage) and the Gift Set Number 21 (a Crane Truck with three Animal Cages on a Trailer and Elephant Figure in Cage).  This line of toys reminds me of the 1:50-scale vehicles available through the “Showman’s Range” of “Corgi Classics” during the 1990s.

The very end of the 1972 Corgi Toys catalogue featured two pages on Corgi Juniors and “Corgi Rockets,” which of course competed directly with the likes of the “Matchbox 1-75 Series” and “Hot Wheels” by Mattel Toys.  They did not show the entire range of models, but gave a few examples such as the number 5) Willys Jeep, the 16) Land Rover Pickup Truck, the 21) BVRT “Vita-Min” Mini-Cooper, the 47) Scammell Concrete Mixer, the 49) Pininfarina Modulo, the 2501) Zetor Tractor with Calf Trailer, the 2507) “Tom & Jerry” Twin Pack (Tom’s “Go-Cat” and Jerry’s “Banger), the Gift Set 2001) Multi Garage (with 4 bays) and the 2600) Mack Esso Tanker Truck (a competitor to the “Matchbox Convoy” range of trucks).  “Corgi Rockets” were the range of track and track accessories for “Corgi Juniors” vehicles.  It featured power boosters, electric chargers, bends, flyovers (called “overpasses” in the United States), jumps, loops and speed controllers.

1973 Corgi Model Year

The Corgi catalogue covers for both 1973 and 1974 featured illustrations of formula racing cars on the track, with a light background in 1973 and a dark one in 1974.  Four cars were featured in 1973, and a single car in 1974.  The front cover of the 1973 catalogue continued the scene on the back cover, with three more racing cars following on the same track.

The 1973 Corgi catalogue began with the “Corgi goes formula 1 racing” line of racecars. These fine cars were in direct competition with the line of “Team Matchbox” King Size cars by Lesney Toys.  They included the 150) Surtees TS9 (116 mm long), the 151) Yardley McLaren M19A ((112 mm long), the 152) Ferrari 312 B2 (104 mm long), the 153) Team Surtees TS9B (112 mm long) and the 154) John Player Special (130 mm long). These five cars were a brand new range of big-scale formula 1 racing cars with authentic decoration, a wealth of external detail and Whizzwheels.  Corgi vehicles tended to be of 1:36, 1:43 or 1:50 scale. I am guessing that these racecars were of the 1:36 scale size.

The 1973 “Corgi raises the dust” line of cars featured the 167) U.S. Racing Buggy (95 mm long), the 308) Monte Carlo Mini-Cooper S (73 mm long), the 329) Ford Mustang Mach 1 Coupe (113 mm long and in Rally Finish), the 376) Customized Chevrolet Corvette Stingray (95 mm long), the 394) Datsun 240Z (97 mm long and in East African Safari Rally Finish) and the 396) Datsun 240Z (97 mm long and in U.S. Rally Finish). All of these cars featured Whizzwheels.  Corgi Classics still makes a range of Mini-Cooper cars, and until recently made a new casting of the Datsun 240Z as driven by Bob Sharp.

The 1973 “Corgi goes drag racing” line featured the 161) Santa Pod Raceway’s “Commuter” Dragster (123 mm long), the 162) “Quartermaster” Dragster (146 mm long), the 163) The Santa Pod “Glo-Worm” Dragster, the 164) Isoh Bros. “Wild Honey” Dragster (71 mm long), the 165) Adams 4-Engined “Drag-Star” (113 mm long and with trigger operated air-brake), the 166) Ford Mustang “Organ Grinder” Dragster (113 mm long and featuring an opening body), the 169) “Starfighter” Dragster (155 mm long) and the 170) Radio Luxembourg 208 Dragster (146 mm long).  All of these models featured Whizzwheels.

The 1973 range of “Corgi takes the chequered flag” featured the 282) Mini Cooper (74 mm long and with opening passenger doors and front engine lid), the 305) Mini-Marcos GT850 (86 mm long and with opening passenger doors and front engine lid), the 316) Ford GT70 (92 mm long and with opening passenger doors and rear engine lid), the 344) Ferrari 206 Dino Sport (105 mm long and with opening passenger doors), the 371) Porsche Carrera 6 (97 mm long and with an opening rear engine compartment) and the 385) Porsche 917 (110 mm long and with an opening rear engine compartment).  All of these racing and rally cars were equipped with Whizzwheels.

The 1973 range of “Corgi has fun” featured the 381) G.P. “Beach” Buggy (69 mm long and with detachable top and surfboards), the 386) Bertone Runabout Barchetta (83 mm long), the 389) Reliant Bond Bug (67 mm long and with opening passenger compartment), the 392) Bertone Shake Buggy (89 mm long), the 395) Fire Bug (83 mm long and with detachable fire ladder) and the Gift Set Number 26 (a Beach Buggy and a Sailing Boat with an overall length of 170 mm long).  Three of these Beach Buggies were Volkswagen conversions, and all models featured Whizzwheels.  The “Bond Bug” was a unique three-wheeled mini-car meant for just two passengers.

The “Corgi takes off” line for 1973 just included the Gift Set Number 19 (a Land Rover and Nipper Aircraft on Trailer).  The wings and the canopy of the aircraft would snap off for transport on the trailer and back on for flying.

The “Corgi gives chase” line for 1973 included the 373) Volkswagen 1200 Beetle Sedan Police Car (92 mm long), the 402) Police Ford Cortina GXL (102 mm long and with opening passenger doors), the 461) Police “Vigilant” Range Rover (108 mm long and with opening rear door and shutters, swiveling spotlights, a policeman figure, bollards and warning lights) and the 509) Porsche Targa 911S Police Car (96 mm long and with jeweled headlights, opening passenger doors and rear engine lid).

The 1973 “Corgi on the freeway” line of cars included the 304) Chevrolet SS350 Camaro (102 mm long and with shuttered headlights, opening passenger doors and detachable top), the 312) Marcos Mantis (110 mm long and with opening passenger doors), the 347) Chevrolet Astro 1 Experimental Car (102 mm long and with opening passenger compartment), the 374) 5.3 Litre V12 Jaguar “E” Type Series 3 2+2 Coupe (105 mm long and with opening engine compartment and rear hatch), the 377) Marcos 3 Litre (93 mm long and with opening engine compartment), the 378) MGC GT (89 mm long and with opening passenger doors, rear hatch and suitcase to fit in rear compartment), the 384) the Adams Bros. Probe 16 (97 mm long and with sliding glass roof) and the 387) Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Coupe (101 mm long and with retractable jeweled headlights), opening engine lid and detachable roof panels).

The 1973 “Corgi on the autobahn” line of cars included the 382) Porsche Targa 911S (96 mm long and with jeweled headlights, opening passenger doors and rear engine lid), the 383) Volkswagen 1200 Beetle Sedan, the 388) Mercedes-Benz C111 (103 mm long and with opening passenger gullwing doors) and the 393) Mercedes-Benz 350SL (102 mm long and with plated window chrome trim, opening passenger doors and engine lid).  “Autobahn” is the German word for freeway, super highway or interstate used in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein and other officially German-speaking areas such as the South Tyrol in Northern Italy and the “German-Speaking Community” in Eastern Belgium.  The Mercedes-Benz C111 was never a production car, which is unfortunate.  It was a very attractive concept car which reminded enthusiasts of the famous Mercedes-Benz 300SL “Gullwing” Sports Car of the 1950s.

The 1973 “Corgi on the autostrada” line for 1973 included the 203) Mangusta de Tomaso (99 mm long), the 301) Iso Grifo 7 Litre (102 mm long and with jeweled headlights, opening passenger doors and engine lid) and the 380) Alfa-Romeo Pininfarina P33 (96 mm long).  “Autostrada” is the Italian word for freeway, super highway or interstate used in Italy and in other areas where Italian is an official language – such as in parts of Southeastern Switzerland.

The 1973 “Corgi goes to town” range of cars included the 204) Morris Mini-Minor (73 mm long), the 274) Bentley Series T “H.J. Mulliner Park Ward” Coupe (120 mm long and with opening passenger doors, engine lid and trunk), the 280) Rolls-Royce “H.J. Mulliner Park Ward” Silver Shadow Coupe (120 mm long and with opening passenger doors, engine lid and trunk), the 281) Rover 2000 TC Sedan (95 mm long and with glass roof), the 283) OSI DAF “City” Car (73 mm long and with opening passenger doors, engine lid and rear hatch), the 284) Citroën SM Coupe (112 mm long and with opening passenger doors and rear hatch with lid for rear shelf), the 306) Morris Marina 1.8 Coupe (98 mm long and with opening passenger doors and engine lid) and the 313) Ford Cortina GXL (102 mm long and with figure of driver Graham Hill).  The DAF city car was an interesting concept car built by DAF of the Netherlands (now owed by Paccar, Inc. of the United States).  It was a very small mini-car which featured a sliding door on the driver’s side of the car.  The Citroën SM was a luxurious touring coupe jointly developed by Citroën of France (owned by Peugeot, S.A.) and Maserati of Italy (owned by Fiat, S.p.a.).

The “Corgi sees the sights” line for 1973 featured the 204) Morris Mini-Minor (73 mm long), the 418) Austin Tax (95 mm long), the 468) Routemaster Bus (114 mm long), the Gift Set Number 8 (“Lions of Longleat” set including a Land Rover, a Lions’ Den, three Lion figures, three Joints of Meat and a human trainer figure) and the Gift Set Number 11 (comprising a Routemaster Double-Decker Bus, an Austin Taxi, a Morris Mini-Minor and a London “Bobby” Figure upon a pedestal).

The center of the 1973 Corgi catalogue featured a price list for all the models, just as in previous years.

The “Corgi delivers the goods” line for 1973 included the 406) Mercedes-Benz Unimog Truck (91 mm long and with hood and towing hook), the 477) Land Rover Breakdown Truck (114 mm long and with “Corgi” livery), the 1100) Mack Truck with Trans Continental Trailer (257 mm long), the 1106) Mack Container Truck (290 mm long and with two containers which could be lifted off the detachable trailer; each container had opening end doors and they shared one lifting strop between them), the 1152 (Mack Truck with Gloster Saro Articulated Petrol Tanker (278 mm long and with “Esso” livery) and the 1154) Mack Priestman Crane Truck (240 mm long and with jib and hook which could be raised and lowered, and with a rotating crane unit).

The “Corgi to the rescue” line for 1973 featured the 1127) Simon Snorkel Fire Engine (252 mm long and with elevating booms which could be turned through a complete circle and which could extend to a height of 370 mm; retractable supporting jacks), the 1142) “Holmes Wrecker” Recovery Vehicle (114 mm long and with working lifting booms which would swing outwards and operate separately or together as required), the 1143) American “LaFrance” Aerial Rescue Truck (285 mm long and with retractable supporting jacks, six additional clip-together extension ladders – the remote-controlled telescopic extension ladder extended to a height of 444 mm) and the 1150) Mercedes-Benz Unimog “406” Snow Plough (155 mm long and with authentic coil-spring suspension, hydraulic lifting blade, detachable canopy and tow hook).

The “Corgi delivers your new car” line for 1973 included the 1146) Scammell Tractor Unit with Carrimore Tri-Deck Car Transporter (290 mm long – a triple-decker unit), the Gift Set Number 20) Scammell Tractor Unit with Carrimore Tri-Deck Car Transporter and 6 Cars (a triple-decker unit with a total length of 290 mm), and the Gift Set Number 48) Scammell Tractor Unit with Carrimore Car Transporter and 6 Cars (a double-decker unit with a total length of 273 mm).

The “Corgi the roadmakers” line for 1973 featured the 409) Mercedes-Benz Unimog Rear-Dumper (104 mm long), the 459) RayGo Rascal 400 Road Roller (125 mm long and with removable cab), the 1128) Priestman “Cub” Shovel (165 mm long when fully extended), the 1145) Mercedes-Benz Unimog with “Goose” Dumper (171 mm long), the 1153) Priestman Boom Crane with Grab (230 mm long and with rotating cab, elevating jib, opening jaws and fully operating winch) and the Gift Set Number 2 (a Mercedes-Benz Unimog with “Goose” Dumper and a Priestman “Cub” Shovel).

The “Corgi on the land” range for 1973 included the 62) Farm Tipper Trailer (114 mm long), the 66) Massey Ferguson “165” Tractor (76 mm long and with realistic engine noise), the 67) Ford “5000” Tractor (90 mm long), the 69) Massey Ferguson Tractor with Shovel (127 mm long), the 72) Ford “5000” Super Major Tractor with Rear-mounted Trenching Bucket, the 73) Massey Ferguson “165” Tractor with Saw Attachment (90 mm long and with realistic engine noise), the 74) Ford “5000” Tractor with Scoop (90 mm long and with controlled steering, a hydraulically operated trenching scoop and a tow hook with a plough lifting mechanism), the 438) Land Rover (95 mm long and with towing hook and detachable tilt), the 1111) Massey Ferguson Combine Harvester (172 mm long), the Gift Set Number 1 (a Ford “5000” Super Major Tractor and Beast Carrier with Four Calves), the Gift Set Number 9 (a Massey Ferguson “165” Tractor, a Farm Tipper Trailer and a Massey Ferguson Tractor with Shovel) and the Gift Set Number 15 (a Land Rover and a Rice’s Beaufort Double Horse Box with Mare and Foal Figures).  All of the farm vehicles within this range were fitted with regular wheels.

The “Corgi specials” line for 1973 featured the 201) “Saint’s” Volvo P1800 Coupe (90 mm long and with “The Saint’s” logo on the hood), the 267) “Batman’s” Batmobile (140 mm long and with front-mounted wire cutter and rear-mounted missiles), the Gift Set Number 3 (“Batman’s” Batmobile and Batboat), the Gift Set Number 7 (“Daktari” Gift Set, which translates to “Doctor” from Swahili) and the Gift Set Number 14 (Giant “Daktari” Set with a Land Rover Pickup Truck, a Lion figure, a Tiger figure, a Chimpanzee figure, two Human Trainer figures, a Giraffe Transporter with two Giraffe figures and a Beast Transporter with two Elephant figures).  The Volvo featured Whizzweels, but the other vehicles were equipped with regular wheels.

The “Corgi meets 007” line for 1973 included the 270) James Bond Aston Martin DB5 (102 mm long and with revolving front license plates, passenger ejector seat and rear bullet shield – from the movies “Goldfinger” and “Thunderball,” which debuted in 1964 and 1965, respectively), the 391) James Bond 007 Ford Mustang Fastback (113 mm long – from the movie “Diamonds are Forever” in 1971) and the 811) James Bond Moon Buggy (113 mm long and with operating arms, revolving satellite receiver and opening driver’s compartment with figure – also from the movie “Diamonds are Forever” in 1971).  All of these James Bond 007 vehicles were equipped with regular wheels.  Corgi still makes a range of vehicles from all James Bond 007 movies from 1962 to the present (excluding the movie “Never Say Never Again” from 1983, which was produced by a different company).  These vehicles come in both smaller and larger scales.  The smaller scale is similar to the old Corgi Juniors line of miniature vehicles.

The “Corgi comics series” for 1973 featured the 801) Noddy’s Car (95 mm long and complete with hand-painted figures of Noddy, two of his friends and fitted with pneumatic tyres), the 806) Lunar Bug (127 mm long and made for carrying “Corgi Juniors” vehicles to the moon!) and the 808) Basil Brush’s Car (95 mm long and with hand-painted figure of Basil Brush, “laugh” tapes and sound box).

The final section of the 1973 Corgi catalogue featured a selection of vehicles from the Corgi Juniors” line which competed with the “Matchbox 1-75 Series” and with “Hot Wheels” by Mattel.  A blister pack was shown, as well as a 4-car garage accessory.  Some of the models featured included the 16) Land Rover Pickup, the 23) Loadmaster Shovel, the 45) Mercedes-Benz 280SL, the 50) Ferrari 512s Racing Car, the 78) Ole MacDonald’s Truck.

1975 Corgi Model Year

The 1975 and 1976 Corgi catalogues were the smallest and the simplest ones since the first catalogues came out in 1956.  The ones printed from about 1960 until 1974 were comparable in size and scope to “Matchbox” catalogues printed by their competitor “Lesney Toys” from 1957 to 1992.  The 1975 Corgi color catalogue was a fold-out brochure of eight total pages – much less than the full pocket catalogues printed until 1974.

The cover page read “Corgi ’75 – the finest range of die-cast scale models in the world.”  In 1975, that wasn’t too far from the truth.  Other manufacturers of the day included the likes of Matchbox, Dinky, Budgie and Oxford (from England), Tekno (from Denmark), Solido, Norev and Quiralu (from France), Mebetoys (from Italy), Hot Wheels, Tonka and Tootsietoy (from the United States) and Schuco, Gama, BUB, Wiking, Faller, Herpa, Cursor and Märklin (from Germany).  Hot Wheels was the global market leader since 1967 or 1968.  Matchbox had been the market leader from about 1953 until at least 1967, and was likely number two thereafter.  Matchbox made about 100 million die-cast vehicles per year.

The 1975 range of Corgi die-cast vehicles and toys included the C3) Batman’s Batmobile and  Batboat Gift Set, the C4) Country Farm Gift Set, the C7) “Daktari” Gift Set, the C15) Land Rover and Rice’s Beaufort Double Horse Box Gift Set, the C19) Land Rover and Nipper Aircraft on Trailer Gift Set (with snap on and off wings and canopy), the C26) Beach Buggy and Sailing Boat on Trailer Gift Set, the C29) Ferrari Daytona towing Racing Car on Trailer (with Whizzwheels), the C50) Massey-Ferguson MF50B Tractor (with regular wheels), C54) Tractor with Shovel (with regular wheels), the C151) Yardley McLaren Formula 1 Racing Car (with Whizzwheels), the C152) Ferrari 312 B2 Formula 1 Racing Car (with Whizzwheels), C154) John Player Special Lotus Formula 1 Racing Car (with Whizzwheels), the C155) UOP Shadow Formula 1 Racing Car (with Whizzwheels), the C156) Embassy Shadow Formula 1 Racing Car (with Whizzwheels), the C158) Elf Tyrell-Ford Formula 1 Racing Car (with Whizzwheels), the C159) STP Patrick Eagle Indianapolis 500 Racing Car (with Whizzwheels), the C163) Santa Pod “Gloworm” Dragster (with Whizzwheels and with a body shell than would spring open), the C169) Starfighter Swedish Jet Car (with Whizzwheels), C170) John Woolfe’s “208” Radio Luxembourg Dragster (with Whizzwheels), the C190) 1:18-Scale John Player Special Lotus Formula One Racing Car (this was unusual, because most Corgi models were 1:36 or 1:43-Scale), the C267) Batman’s Batmobile (with front slasher blade and rear rocket launchers), the C270) James Bond Aston Martin DB5 (with ejector seat, retractable front machine guns, overrider rams, rear bullet shield and tyre slashers), the C280) Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow Coupe (with opening passenger doors, hood and trunk), the C284) Citroen SM Coupe (with opening passenger doors and rear hatch/shelf), the C285) Mercedes-Benz 240D Sedan (with Whizzwheels), the C286) Jaguar XJ12C Coupe (with opening passenger doors and bonnet), the C287) Citroën Dyane (with opening rear hatch), the C308) Monte Carlo Rally Mini-Cooper S (with luggage rack containing 2 spare tires), the C319) Lamborghini P400 GT (with opening front trunk and rear engine compartment), the C323) Ferrari Daytona 365 GTB/4 (with opening passenger doors), the C329) Rally Ford Mustang (with opening passenger doors), the C331) Rally Ford Capri (with opening passenger doors), the C373) Volkswagen 1200 Beetle Sedan Police Car, the C374) V12 Jaguar “E” Type 2 + 2 Coupe, the C381) G.P. Beach Buggy (with two Surfboards on roof), the C382) Porsche Targa 911S Coupe (with opening passenger doors and rear engine lid), the C383) Volkswagen 1200 Beetle Sedan, the C385) Porsche 917 Racing Car (with opening rear engine compartment), the C393) Mercedes-Benz 350 SL (with opening passenger doors and hood), the C396) U.S. Rally Datsun 240Z (with opening passenger doors), the C397) Can-Am Porsche Audi 917-10 Racing Car, the C400) Volkswagen 1200 Beetle Sedan Motor School Car (with steering operated from roof-mounted steering wheel and seven traffic cones), the C402) Police Cortina GXL Coupe (with Whizzwheels), C403) Thwaites Tusker Skip Dumper (with regular wheels), the C406) Mercedes-Benz Unimog (with regular wheels, a detachable canopy and tow hook), the C438) Land Rover (with Whizzwheels, a detachable canopy and tow hook), the C459) Raygo “Rascal” 400 Road Roller (with regular wheels), the C461) Police “Valiant” Range Rover (with Whizzwheels, opening rear doors, shutters, spotlights, road signs and a policeman figure), the C469) London Transport “Routemaster” Double-Decker Bus (with regular wheels), the 477) Land Rover Breakdown Truck (with Whizzwheels, a working winch and “Corgi” livery), the C482) Range Rover Ambulance (with Whizzwheels and two ambulance workers carrying a patient on a stretcher), the C493) Mazda B1600 Pickup Truck (with Whizzwheels), the C509) Porsche Targa 911S Police Car (with Whizzwheels, opening passenger doors, engine lid and German “Polizei” markings), the C700) Motorway Service Ambulance (with Whizzwheels), the C701) Inter-City Mini Bus (with Whizzwheels), the C702) Breakdown Truck (with Whizzwheels and a single towing crane), the C801) “Noddy’s” Car (with figure of Noddy and fitted with regular wheels and pneumatic tires), the C921 Hughes OH-6A Police Helicopter (with an operating winch), the C1102) Crane Fruehauf Bottom Dumper with Berliet Cab Unit (fully articulated with opening chutes and detachable trailer), the C1103) Pathfinder Airport Crash Truck (with operating water pump and electronic siren), the C1104) Race Horse Transporter Truck (fully articulated with regular wheels, three hinged ramps, four horse figures, a stable lad figure, hay bales and a choice of horse blankets), the C1106) Mack Container Truck (fully articulated with opening bonnet and detachable trailer), the C1127) Simon Snorkel Fire Engine (with regular wheels, retractable supporting jacks, elevating and rotating booms), the C1128) Priestman “Cub” Shovel (with working shovel), the C1143) American LaFrance Aerial Rescue Fire Truck (with regular wheels, retractable supporting jacks, six clip-together extension ladders and a remote-controlled three-section telescopic turntable ladder), the C1144) Wrecker Truck (with Whizzwheels and a dual towing crane and chains), the C1145) Mercedes-Benz Unimog with “Goose” Dumper (with working, detachable tipper), the C1150) Mercedes-Benz Unimog Snow Plough (with lifting blade, detachable canopy and tow hook), the C1152) Mack “Esso” Tanker Truck (with regular wheels, an opening bonnet and a fully articulated detachable trailer) and the C1154) Mack Priestman Crane Truck (with Jib and Hook that could be raised and lowered while the whole crane would rotate, and fitted with retracting stabilizers).

The 1975 Corgi catalogue featured a range of military vehicles including the C10) Tank Transporter Truck with Centurion Mark III Tank (with British markings, detachable rear axle, hinged ramps and opening bonnet), the C900) Panzerkampfwagen VIA Tiger Mark 1 Tank (with German markings, elevating and firing gun, swiveling turret, fully flexible track and 12 shells), the C901) Centurion Mark III Tank (with British markings, elevating and firing gun, swiveling turret, fully flexible track and 12 shells), the C902) M60 A1 Medium Tank (with American markings, authentic suspension, elevating and firing gun, swiveling turret, fully flexible track and 12 shells), the C903) Chieftain Medium Tank (with elevating and firing gun, swiveling turret, fully flexible track and 12 shells), the C904) Panzerkampfwagen VIB King Tiger Tank (with authentic suspension, elevating and firing gun, swiveling turret, fully flexible track and 12 shells), the C905) SU100 Tank Destroyer (with Soviet markings, elevating and firing gun, remote controlled opening hatch with commander, fully flexible track and 12 shells), the C906) Saladin Armoured Car (with suspension, elevating and firing gun, swiveling turret and 12 shells) and the C920) Bell AH-IG Army Helicopter (with American markings and firing rockets).

Finally, the 1975 Corgi catalogue also featured some Corgi Juniors models such as the E9) Range Rover Police Vehicle, the E27) Formula 5000 Racing Car, the E29) Simon Snorkel Fire Truck, the E34) Sting Army Helicopter, the E42) Terex Dumper, the E43) Massey Ferguson Tractor Dozer, the E63) Ford Escort Rally Car, the E80) Porsche 911 Coupe, the E81) London Double-Decker Bus, the E84) Daimler Scout Car and the E87) Coca-Cola Delivery Van.  A new range of Corgi Juniors were the “Growlers.”  One would press the car down and push it forward, thus activating an engine noise.  These included the E82) Can Am Racer, the E96) Porsche 917 Racing Car and the E98) Marcos XP Sports Car.

1976 Corgi Model Year

In 1976, Corgi again issued a simpler and and smaller fold-out catalogue as they had for 1975.  It featured a picture of “Kojak” and his trademark Buick Sedan (played by Telly Savalas).  Corgi is still famous for making diecast toy vehicles based upon popular television shows and movies, and has actually expanded into the manufacture of character figures.  Other models seen on the cover of the 1976 catalogue were a Mercedes-Benz 240D Sedan pulling a camping caravan, an Airport Crash Truck, a Police Helicopter, a Mazda Pickup Truck pulling an inflatable boat on a Trailer, and a Formula Racing Car.  Back then, Corgi was still owned by Mettoy Playcraft, Limited of Northampton, England.  Mettoy was the original parent company of famous British toy brand names such as Meccano, Dinky and Corgi – all of which eventually went their own separate ways.  Dinky is now part of Matchbox (which is in turn owned by Mattel Toys), and Corgi is once again independent.

The 1976 range of Corgi die-cast vehicles and toys included the 151) Yardley McLaren M19A Racing car, the 154) J.P.S. Lotus Racing Car, the 155) U.O.P. Shadow Racing Car, the 156) Embassy Shadow Racing Car, the 158) Elf Tyrell-Ford Racing Car, the 159) Indianapolis 500 Racing Car, the 160) Hesketh Racing Car, the 163) Ford Capri “Gloworm” (with body shell that would spring open), the 169) Swedish Jet Car, the 170) Radio Luxembourg Dragster, the 190) 1:18-Scale J.P.S. Lotus Racing Car (with detachable wheels), the 191) 1:18-Scale Texaco-Marlboro McLaren Racing Car (with detachable wheels), the 200) Mini 1000 (with opening passenger doors), the 280) Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow Coupe (with opening passenger doors, hood and trunk), the 285) Mercedes-Benz 240D Sedan (with opening passenger doors), the 286) Jaguar XJ12C Coupe (with opening passenger doors and towing hook), the 287) Citroen Dyane (with opening rear hatch and towing hook), the 288) Minissima (with opening rear door), the 289) Volkswagen Polo (with opening passenger doors and rear hatch), the 308) Monte Carlo Mini-Cooper (with luggage rack and spare tires on roof), the 314) Fiat X 1/3 Sports Car (with opening passenger doors, rear-center engine lid and towing hook), the 315) Lotus Elite Coupe (with opening passenger doors and towing hook), the 323) Ferrari Daytona Coupe (with opening passenger doors and towing hook), the 329) Rally Ford Mustang (with opening passenger doors), the 331) Rally Ford Capri (with opening passenger doors), the 374) Jaguar E-type 2+2 Coupe (with opening engine compartment and rear hatch), the 381) Beach Buggy (with detachable roof and surf boards), the 383) Volkswagen 1200 Beetle Sedan, the 384) Volkswagen 1200 Rally Beetle Sedan, the 385) Porsche 917 Racing Car (with opening rear engine compartment), the 393) Mercedes-Benz 350SL (with opening passenger doors), the 394) East African Safari Rally Datsun 240Z (with opening passenger doors), the 396) U.S. Rally Datsun 240Z (with opening passenger doors), the 397) Can-Am Porsche-Audi Racing Car, the 490) Camping Caravan Tailer, the 401) Volkswagen 1200 Beetle Sedan Driving School Car (with working steering operated from a roof-mounted steering wheel, and 4 Traffic Cones), the 411) Mercedes-Benz 240D Sedan Taxi (with opening passenger doors), the 493) Mazda B1600 Pickup Truck, the Gift Set Number 15 (a Land Rover and Horsebox Trailer with Mare and Foal Figures), the Gift Set Number 19 (a Land Rover and “Nipper” Aircraft with detachable wings and canopy on Trailer), the Gift Set Number 24 (a Mercedes-Benz 240D Sedan and Camping Caravan), the Gift Set Number 26 (a Beach Buggy and Sailing Boat on Trailer), the Gift Set Number 28 (a Mazda B1600 Pickup Truck and Inflatable Dinghy on Trailer), the Gift Set Number 29 (a Ferrari Daytona Coupe and Racing Car on Trailer), the Gift Set Number 31 (a New Big Safari Land Rover and Animal Trailer with Lion Figure) and the Gift Set Number 32 (a Lotus Elite Coupe and J.P.S. Lotus Racing Car on Trailer).

A special new model within the 1976 Corgi range was the 290) Kojak’s Buick (from the MCA Television show featuring Lieutenant Theo Kojak and Sergeant Bob Crocker).  Other models featuring screen favorites were the 267) Batmobile (with front-mounted slasher blade rear-mounted plastic firing rockets), the 270) James Bond 007 Aston-Martin (with passenger ejector seat, retractable overrider rams, front-mounted machine guns, rear bullet shield, tyre slashers, revolving license plates and 007 Badge), the 804) Noddy’s Car, the 925) Batman’s Batcopter (with flick-spin rotors and working winch), the Gift Set Number 3 (Batman’s Batmobile and Batboat) and the Gift Set Number 7 (“Daktari” with Land Rover Pickup Truck, two human figures and three animal figures).

The military range of 1976 Corgi models included the 901) British Centurion Tank, the 902) American M60 A1 Tank, the 903) British Chieftain Tank, the 904) German Königstiger “King Tiger” Tank, the 905) Russian SU100 Tank Destroyer (with a pop-up tank commander figure), the 906) Saladin Armoured Car, the 907) German Half-Track Rocket Launcher (with rocket cages and 12 plastic rockets), the 920) Bell Rocket-firing Helicopter, the 923) Sikorsky Skycrane Army Casualty Helicopter (with detachable pod and flick-spin rotors), the Gift Set Number 10 (a Military Transporter Truck and British Centurion Tank) and the Gift Set Number 17 (a Bell Rocket-firing Helicopter, a German Panzerkampfwagen VIA Tiger Tank and a Saladin Armoured Car).

The construction, agricultural and commercial vehicle ranges of 1976 Corgi die-cast models featured the 50) Massey Ferguson 50 Tractor, the 54) Massey Ferguson Tractor Shovel (with an operating shovel), the 403) Thwaites Skip Dumper (with driver figure), the 406) Mercedes-Benz Unimog (with towing hook), the 409) Mercedes-Benz Unimog Dumper, the 413) Mazda B1600 Motorway Maintenance Pickup Truck (complete with human figure, warning signs and bollards), the 415) Mazda B1600 Pickup Truck (with clip-on Camper Shell with fully-fitted interior), the 438) Land Rover (with towing hook), the 459) Raygo Rascal Road Roller, the 469) London “Routemaster” Double-Decker Bus, the 477) Land Rover Breakdown Truck (with working winch), the 493) Mazda B1600 Pickup Truck (with drop-down tailgate and towing hook), the 1101) Warner & Swasey Mobile Crane (with telescopic and rotating jib), the 1102) Berliet Bottom Dumper (with opening chutes and detachable trailer), the 1104) Racehorse Transporter Truck (with 4 horse figures with removable plastic blankets), the 1106) Mack Container Truck (with opening bonnet and detachable trailer), the 1110) JCB Crawler Loader (with remote-controlled boom and operating bucket), the 1128) Priestman “Cub” Shovel, the 1144) Berliet Wrecker Truck (with independently operating cranes and lowering cradle), the 1145) Mercedes-Benz Unimog with “Goose” Dumper (with detachable tipping trailer), the 1150) Mercedes-Benz Unimog Snowplough (with towing hook), the 1154) Mack Crane Truck (with jib and hook which could be raised and lowered by remote control), the 1155) Skyscraper Tower Crane (with adjustable jib that would fold flat), the 1157) Ford “Esso” Tanker Truck, the 1160) Ford “Gulf” Tanker Truck and the Gift Set Number 5 (a Massey Ferguson MF50B Tractor & Trailer with fencing and three animal figures).

The emergency and government vehicle range of 1976 Corgi models included the 373) Volkswagen 1200 Beetle Sedan Police Car, the 402) Police Ford Cortina GXL (with opening passenger doors and two warning signs), the 412) Mercedes-Benz 240D Sedan Police Car (with opening passenger doors and trunk), the 414) Coast Guard Jaguar XJ12C Coupe (with opening passenger doors), the 461) Police “Vigilant” Range Rover (with policeman figure, bollards and warning signs), the 482) Range Rover Ambulance (with 2 stretcher bearers), the 700) Motorway Service Ambulance, the 701) Inter-city Mini-bus, the 702) Breakdown Truck, the 703) Hi-speed Fire Engine Truck, the 921) Hughes Police Helicopter (with working winch and flick-spin rotors), the 922) Sikorsky Skycrane Casualty Helicopter (with detachable pod and flick-spin rotors), the 1103) Pathfinder Airport Crash Truck (with operating water cannon and electronic siren – batteries not included), the 1127) Simon Snorkel Fire Engine Truck, the 1143) American LaFrance Fire Engine (with telescopic turntable ladder, pull-out stabilizers and six clip-together extension ladders) and the Gift Set Number 18 (Emergency Set with Hughes Police Helicopter, Range Rover Ambulance, Police Ford Cortina GXL and two warning signs).

1977 Corgi Model Year

In 1977, Corgi returned to the full type of color pocket catalogue as used before 1975.  The cover of the 1977 Corgi Collectors Catalogue featured drawings of the Royal Coronation Coach, the “James Bond 007” amphibious Lotus Esprit from the 1977 movie “The Spy Who Loved Me,” a Fiat X1/9 Sports Car pulling a boat on a trailer and a Formula Racing Car.  The back of the cover continued with drawings of a Buick Sedan Police Car, a Renault 5 “Le Car” hatchback and a large Volvo Cement Truck.

The 1977 Corgi catalogue began with screen favorites, including the 107) Batboat, the 267) Batmobile (with a front-mounted button-operated slasher-blade and rear-mounted plastic rocket-firing mechanism), the 269) James Bond 007 Lotus Esprit (a submersible sports car with extending hydroplanes, concealed fins and a remote-controlled battery of plastic rockets), the 270) James Bond 007 Aston Martin DB5 (with retractable front-mounted machine guns, overrider rams, a rear-mounted bullet shield and a passenger ejector seat), the 290) Kojak Buick Sedan (with opening front passenger doors, clip-on roof beacon and New York Police Department Lieutenant’s Badge), the 416) Buick Police Car (with opening front passenger doors and a Policeman Figure holding a megaphone), the 925) Batcopter (with a flick-spin rotor and rescue winch), the Gift Set Number 3 (the Batmobile and Batboat), the Gift Set Number 36 (Tarzan Set with jungle diorama, Blonde Jane figure, Tarzan figure, Boy figure, animal figures, tree house, “evil hunter” figure, Land Rover, Boat with engine and trailer for trapped animals) and the Gift Set Number 40 (the Batmobile, Batboat and Batcopter).

The 1977 line of Corgi emergency vehicles included the 402) Police Ford Cortina GXL (102 mm long and with opening passenger doors), the 412) Mercedes-Benz 240D Sedan Police Car (127 mm long and with opening front passenger doors and boot), the 414) Coast Guard Jaguar XJ12C Coupe (127 mm long and with opening passenger doors and bonnet), the 422) Riot Police Vehicle (95 mm long and with swiveling water cannons), the 424) Security Van (100 mm long), the 461) Police Range Rover (108 mm long and with opening rear doors, warning signs, bollards and Policeman figure), the 482) Range Rover Ambulance (100 mm long and with opening rear doors, stretcher and bearer figures), the 700) Motorway Ambulance (100 mm long), the 922) Sikorsky “Skycrane” Red Cross Helicopter (160 mm long and with detachable hospital pod and flick-spin rotors, the 924) Air-sea Rescue Helicopter (150 mm long and with opening doors and flick-spin rotors), the 1103) Airport Crash Tender (240 mm long and with operating water cannon and electric siren – battery non included), the 1126) Simon Snorkel Fire Engine (265 mm long and with elevating booms which could be turned through a complete circle and extend to a height of 400 mm; retractable jacks), the 1143) American LaFrance Fire Engine (285 mm long and with a remote-controlled three-section telescopic ladder which would extend to a height of 445 mm on its turntable) and the Gift Set Number 18 (Emergency Set with a Hughes Police Helicopter, a Range Rover Ambulance Van, Stretcher Bearer figures, a Police Ford Cortina GXL and warning signs).

The 1977 range of Corgi fun (vacation) vehicles featured the 415) Mazda B1600 Pickup Truck with Camper Shell (140 mm long including a detachable fully-fitted camper shell unit with folding support legs and an opening door), the 490) Touring Caravan (125 mm long and with a pull-out awning, an opening door and a fully-fitted interior), the Gift Set Number 19 (a Land Rover and Nipper Aircraft on a Trailer), the Gift Set Number 24 (a Mercedes-Benz 240D Sedan towing a Touring Caravan), the Gift Set Number 28 (a Mazda B1600 Pickup Truck towing an Inflatable Dinghy on a Trailer), the Gift Set Number 31 (a Safari Land-Rover towing a Big Game Trailer with a Lion figure) and the Gift Set Number 38 (a Mini-Cooper with a Tent, Campers and a Barbeque Set).

The 1977 line of Corgi passenger cars included the 200) BLM Mini 1000 (85 mm long and with opening passenger doors), the 280) Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow Coupe (120 mm long and with opening passenger doors, bonnet and hood), the 285) Mercedes-Benz 240D Sedan (127 mm long and with opening front passenger doors and boot; towbar), the 286) Jaguar XJ12C Coupe (127 mm long and with opening passenger doors and bonnet; towbar), the 287) Citroën Dyane (115 mm long and with opening rear door and towbar), the 289) Volkswagen Polo (97 mm long and with opening passenger doors and hatchback), the 291) AMC Pacer Sedan (118 mm long and with opening hatchback), the 293) Renault 5TS “Le Car” (97 mm long and with opening passenger doors and hatchback), the 314) Fiat X1/9 Sports Car (110 mm long and with opening passenger doors and mid-mounted engine lid), the 315) Lotus Elite (120 mm long and with opening passenger doors and towbar), the 393) Mercedes-Benz 350SL Sports Car (102 mm long and with opening passenger doors and bonnet) and the 401) Volkswagen 1200 Beetle Sedan Driving School Car (92 mm long and with working steering operated from a roof-mounted steering wheel; 3 traffic bollards).

The 1977 range of Corgi racing cars featured the 151) Yardley McLaren M19A Formula One (112 mm long), the 154) J.P.S. Lotus Formula One (130 mm long), the 158) Elf-Tyrell Ford Formula One (110 mm long), the 160) Hesketh 308 Formula One (130 mm long), the 161) Elf-Tyrell Project 34 (113 mm long), the 190) 1:18-Scale J.P.S. Lotus (270 mm long), the 191) 1:18-Scale Texaco-Marlboro McLaren (245 mm long), the 323) Ferrari Daytona (120 mm long and with opening passenger doors), the 397) Cam-Am Porsche-Audi (120 mm long) the Gift Set Number 32 (Lotus Racing Set with one Lotus Elite towing a J.P.S. Formula One Racing Car on a Trailer) and the Gift Set Number 37 (one Fiat X1/9 towing a “Carlsberg” Twin-Hulled Power Boat on a Trailer).  The 1:18-Scale die-cast cars were unique, because most regular Corgi models were somewhere between 1:36-Scale and 1:43-Scale (for cars) or 1:50-Scale (for many commercial trucks).  The large racing cars featured detachable wheels, a special “wheelbrace” (to remove the wheels and put them back on) and a number of spare wheel nuts.  Another toymaker famous for making such features on their classic tin cars is “Schuco” of Germany.

The 1977 line of Corgi construction vehicles included the 54) Massey Ferguson Tractor with Shovel (150 mm long and with a fully operating shovel), the 403) Skip Dumper (83 mm long and with tipping action), the 409) Mercedes-Benz Unimog Dumper (103 mm long and with tipping action), the 459) Raygo Rascal Road Roller (125 mm long), the 1101) Warner & Swasey Mobile Crane (folded length of 210 mm and with telescopic boom, working winch and folding support jacks), the 1110) JCB Crawler Loader (155 mm long and with remote controlled loading action), the 1155) Skyscraper Tower Crane (crane could rotate upon base and be folded for transit; jib adjustable to height of 340 mm and hook operable from base) and the 1156) Volvo BM Concrete Mixer (195 mm long and with two-way articulated trailer enabling the roughest ground to be tackled; a lever would drop the drum into gear so that the concrete would be mixed as the vehicle moved).

The 1977 range of Corgi commercial vehicles featured the 411) Mercedes-Benz 240D Sedan Taxi (127 mm long and with opening front passenger doors and boot), the 413) Mazda B1600 Motorway Maintenance Truck (120 mm long and with rotating and elevating platform, hinged tailboard, bollards and warning signs), the 421) Land Rover (135 mm long and with opening rear door and roof-mounted luggage rack with access ladder), the 469) London “Routemaster” Double-Decker Bus (123 mm long), the 470) “Disneyland” Open-Top Double Decker Bus (123 mm long), the 477) Land Rover Breakdown Truck (114 mm long and with working winch and “Corgi” livery), the 493) Mazda B1600 Pickup Truck (120 mm long and with hinged tailboard and towbar), the 701) Inter-City Mini-Bus (105 mm long), the 702) Breakdown Truck (100 mm long), the 1106) Mack Container Truck (290 mm long and with opening bonnet, detachable trailer, folding jockey wheels, detachable containers with opening doors and lifting sling), the 1144) Berliet Wrecker Truck (130 mm long and with two swiveling booms which could be operated independently or in unison, and complete with towing cradle), the 1150) Mercedes-Benz Unimog Snowplough (155 mm long and with lifting blade and towbar), the 1157) Ford “Esso” Tanker Truck (270 mm long and with tilting cab, detachable trailer, opening hatches and folding jockey wheels), the 1159) Ford Car Transporter Truck (360 mm long and with hinged loading ramp, upper deck, detachable trailer, tilting cab and folding jockey wheels) and the 1160) Ford “Gulf” Tanker Truck (270 mm long and with tilting cab, detachable trailer, opening hatches and folding jockey wheels).

Three special models within the 1977 line of Corgi die-cast toys included the 650) “British Airways” Concorde Supersonic Airliner (190 mm long and complete with hinged nose and display stand), the 651) “Air France” Concorde Supersonic Airliner (190 mm long and complete with hinged nose and display stand) and the Gift Set Number 41 (“Silver Jubilee” Set which was a beautifully finished presentation set to mark the 25th anniversary of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II of England).  The Silver Jubilee Set comprised a magnificent model of the 1902 “State Landau,” with its team of four white horses.  The carriage bore miniature figures of Her Majesty the Queen and His Royal Highness Prince Philip, and the set was completed by exquisite replicas of two postillion riders, two coachmen and a royal Pembroke Welsh Corgi dog – with the whole outfit being mounted on a moulded display base with a silver caption.  The overall length of this model was 300 mm.

The 1977 line of Corgi agricultural models included the 55) David Brown Tractor (105 mm long and with towbar lock), the 56) Farm Tipper Trailer (130 mm long and with hinged tailboard), the 438) Land Rover (95 mm long), the 1105) Racehorse Transporter Truck (280 mm long and with three hinged ramps, complete with four racehorse figures and a selection of horse blankets), the 1112) Combine Harvester (220 mm long and with detachable “David Brown” Tractor), the Gift Set Number 15 (a Land Rover towing a Horse Box with hinged ramps, compete with figures of a Mare and her foal) and the Gift Set Number 34 (a David Brown Tractor and Tipper Trailer).

The 1977 range of Corgi military vehicles featured the 900) German Tiger Mark 1 Tank (103 mm hull length with fully mobile gun and 12 plastic shells), the 901) British Centurion Mark III Tank (120 mm hull length with fully mobile gun and 12 plastic shells), the 902) American M60A1 Tank (115 mm hull length with fully mobile gun and 12 plastic shells), the 903) British Chieftain Tank (125 mm hull length with fully mobile gun and 12 plastic shells), the 904) German King Tiger Tank (120 mm hull length with fully mobile gun and 12 plastic shells), the 907) German Half-Track Rocket Launcher (167 mm long and with 12 plastic shells which could be fired individually or as a salvo), the 908) French AMX Recovery Tank (complete with a fully mobile crane, lifting dozer blade, rotating jeweled search-light and machine gun mounting, gun barrel, trestles and army personnel figures), the 909) British Quad Gun Tractor with Field Gun and Ammunition Trailer (280 mm long and with detachable gun and trailer, plus 12 plastic shells stored in the trailer), the 920) Bell Army Helicopter (130 mm long and with rocket-firing mechanism, 12 plastic rockets and flick-spin rotors), the 923) Sikorsky Skycrane Helicopter (160 mm long and with detachable casualty pod and flick-spin rotors) and the Military Gift Set Number 17 (a German Tiger Tank, a Bell rocket-firing Helicopter and a Saladin Armoured Car with a fully mobile working gun and 12 plastic shells).

The 1977 line of Corgi Junior vehicles were also shown in the catalogue.  This was something new, because in the past only a few Corgi Junior models were displayed in the annual Corgi catalogue.  They included the 4) Zetor Tractor, the 7) Dumper Truck the 9) Police Range Rover, the 13) Rough Terrain Truck, the 15) School Bus, the 17) Volkswagen 1300 Beetle Sedan the 20) Site Cement Mixer, the 22) Formula 1 Racer, the 26) ERF Fire Tender, the 27) Formula 5000 Racer, the 29) Simon Snorkel Fire Engine, the 30) Cement Mixer Truck, the 31) Land Rover Breakdown Truck, the 34) Sting Army Helicopter, the 35) Airbus Helicopter, the 36) “Healer Wheeler” Ambulance, the 37) Police Porsche 911 Coupe, the 39) Jaguar E-Type, the 40) Red Cross Helicopter, the 42) Rescue Range Rover, the 43) Tractor with Angledozer, the 44) Raygo Rascal Road Roller, the 45) “Starsky and Hutch” Ford Torino Hardtop, the 46) Police Helicopter, the 48) Shovel Loader, the 51) Volvo Estate Car (with opening tailgate), the 52) Mercedes-Benz Taxi, the 54) Large Skip Truck, the 55) Refuse Truck, the 57) Ferrari 512S, the 59) Mercedes-Benz Police Car (with German “Polizei” markings), the 60) James Bond 007 Amphibious Lotus Esprit (from the movie “The Spy Who Loved Me”), the 62) AMC Pacer Sedan, the 65) Camping Caravan Trailer, the 66) British Centurion Tank, the 67) Road Roller, the 68) “Kojak” Buick Sedan, the 69) Batman’s “Batmobile,” the 70) Mercury Cougar Fire Chief Car, the 72) Mercedes-Benz C111 Sports Car (with opening rear engine lid), the 75) Spider Man’s “Spidercopter,” the 78) Batman’s “Batcopter,” the 79) Land Rover Ambulance, the 81) London Double-Decker Bus, the 82) Porsche Can-Am Racer, the 83) Commando Armoured Car, the 84) Military Scout Car, the 85) Small Skip Truck, the 86) Fiat X1/9 Sports Car (with opening center-mounted engine lid), the 81) “Pepsi” Van, the 88) Mobile Crane, the 89) Citroen Dyane (with opening rear hatch), the 90) “Fireball” Van, the 91) “Golden Eagle” Van, the 92) Volkswagen Polo Hatchback (with opening passenger doors), the 94) Porsche 917 Racing Car, the 96) Military Field Gun (with two toy soldier figures), the 95) Coca-Cola Van, the 97) Texaco Tanker Truck and the 98) Marcos XP Sports Car.  Unlike the competition from “Matchbox,” “Corgi Juniors” did not come in boxes – but only in blister packs.

The 1977 range of “Corgi Junior Twin Packs” included the 2503) Horsebox Set (with Land Rover and Horsebox Trailer), the 2504) Breakdown Set (with Land Rover Wrecker Truck and Jaguar E-Type), the 2508) Field Gun Set (with Military Jeep, Field Gun and 3 toy soldier figures), the 2510) Racing Car Set (with 2 Formula Racing Cars), the 2511) Army Patrol Set (with Helicopter and Armored Car), the 2513) Emergency Set (with Fire Truck and Ambulance), the Speedboat Set (with Citroen Dyane towing Boat on Trailer), the 2514) Building Set (with Small Skip Truck and Cement Mixer), the 2516) Farm Set (with Zetor Tractor and Tipper Trailer), the 2518) Caravan Set (with Mercedes-Benz 240D Sedan towing Camping Caravan Trailer), the 2519) Batman Set (with “Batmobile” towing “Batboat” on Trailer), the 2520) Rescue Set (with Pickup Truck towing Inflatable Boat on Trailer), the 2521) Army Casualty Set (with Land Rover Army Ambulance and Army Helicopter – both with Red Cross insignia), the 2522) Attack Set (with British Centurion Tank and Commando Armored Car), the 2523) Police Set (with Police Porsche 911 Coupe and Police Helicopter) and the 2526) Dumper Set (with Dump Truck and Shovel Nose Tractor).

The 1977 Corgi Junior line featured one 2601) Batman Triple Pack (complete with “Batmobile,” “Batboat” on Trailer and “Batcopter”).  An accessory was the 2001) Multi Garage (with four bays complete with opening and closing garage doors).  The Multi Garage could be clipped to additional such garages on both sides.  A line of large commercial trucks similar to the “Matchbox Convoy” line included the 2006) Mack “Esso” Tanker Truck (with opening bonnet), the 2007) Low Loader and Shovel (with hinged loading ramp), the 2008) Greyhound Bus, the 2009) Aerocar (car would unclip from aircraft wings), the 2011) U.S. Army Tanker Truck (with opening bonnet), the 2012) U.S. Army Transporter Truck with Armoured Car (with hinged loading ramp), the 2014) Mercedes-Benz Car Transporter Truck (with hinged upper deck and loading ramp), the 2015) Mercedes-Benz Double Car Transporter Truck with Trailer (with hinged upper decks and loading ramps; detachable trailer also fitted with towbar), the 2017) Scania Tipper Lorry and the 2018) Scania Container Lorry (with detachable container with “Seatrain” livery).

Finally, there were six Corgi Junior Gift Sets in 1977.  These included the 3001) Multi Garage and three vehicles, the 3022) Rescue Set (a coastal rescue station with an office, a lock-up, a chopper, an inshore rescue boat with a trailer, four vehicles, six figures and a roll-away play-mat), the 3023) Transporter Gift Set (with a Mercedes-Benz Car Transporter and four cars), the 3024) Road Construction Set (with six construction vehicles and five workman figures), the 3026) Emergency Gift Set (with five emergency vehicles, one helicopter, warning signs and six figures) and the 3029) Military Gift Set (with five army vehicles, a reconnaissance chopper, a field gun and six toy soldiers).

1985 Corgi Model Year

The cover of the 1985 Corgi catalogue reflected new corporate ownership and different times, yet the product line continued its well-deserved reputation for high quality at a reasonable price.  The cover featured a simple design with a blue background.  The design included colored circles of red and white, with striped bars (black & white and then red & yellow) and the new “Corgi” logo in the upper left – the name “Corgi” with an animated drawing of a car driving down the road out of the letter “O.”  Corgi Toys, Limited was now headquartered in the Swansea Industrial Estate in the United Kingdom.

The first section of the 1985 Corgi catalogue was titled “What goes into a Corgi.”  They described the quality and realism which go into all Corgi die-cast models, designed to last after years of play.  27 different parts went into the MG TF model which they used as an example – which was just one of more than 180 models available in 1985.  They said this in English, French and German.  Corgi offered six ranges of vehicles in 1985: Turbos, Cars, Classics, Trucks, Commercials and Corgi Juniors.

The 1985 line of “Corgi Turbos” included the C100) Porsche 956 Racecar (115 mm long and in dark yellow with number “7” livery), the C101) Porsche 956 Racecar (115 mm long and with “Canon” livery), the C102) Opel Manta 400 Coupe (105 mm long and in red with number “43” livery), the C103) Opel Manta 400 Coupe (105 mm long and with “Castrol” livery), the C104) Toyota Corolla Hatchback (100 mm long and with “Laing” livery), the C105) Toyota Corolla Hatchback (100 mm long and with “Dunlop” livery), the C106) Saab 9000 Sedan (105 mm long and with “Saab 9000” livery), the C107) Saab 9000 Sedan (105 mm long and in red with number “41” livery), the C108) Chevrolet Camaro Z28 Coupe (115 mm long and in red with number “52” livery), the C109) Chevrolet Camaro Z28 Coupe (115 mm long and with “NCT” livery), the C110) BMW 635 Coupe (110 mm long and with “Shell” and “Dunlop” liveries) and the C111) BMW 635 Coupe (110 mm long and in silver & blue with number “18” livery).  All of these models were a uniform 1:43-Scale and were in direct competition with similar models made by “Matchbox” in their “King Size” line.

The 1985 range of “Corgi Cars” featured a line of both cars and small vans.  These were not of uniform scale, but represented older “Corgi” castings of somewhere between 1:36 and 1:43-Scale.  They included the C257) Mercedes-Benz 500 SEC “Magic Top” (135 mm long and with removable top), the C258) Toyota Celica Supra (125 mm long and in silver with opening passenger doors and rear hatch), the C271) James Bond 007 Aston Martin (125 mm long and with front-mounted machine guns, passenger ejector seat and rear-mounted bullet shield), the C279) Rolls-Royce Corniche Coupe (145 mm long and with opening passenger doors, hood and trunk), the C299) Ford Sierra 2.3 Ghia Sedan (125 mm long and with opening front passenger doors and trunk), the C310) Porsche 924 Turbo Coupe (115 mm long and with opening passenger doors and rear hatch), the C318) Jaguar XJS (120 mm long and with opening passenger doors), the C346) Citroen 2CV Charleston (105 mm long), the C350) Toyota Celica Supra (125 mm long and in red & white with opening passenger doors and rear hatch), the C351) Ford Sierra Pace Car (125 mm long and with opening front passenger doors and trunk), the C378) Ferrari 308 GTS (120 mm long), the C385) Mercedes-Benz 190 Sedan (120 mm long and with opening front passenger doors), the C399) Peugeot 205 (110 mm long and with opening passenger doors and hood), the C402) BMW M1 (125 mm long and in red & white with “Castrol” livery), the C404) Rover 3500 Sedan (130 mm long and in red with “ESSO” livery), the C420) BMW M1 (125 mm long and in red, white & blue with number “17” livery), the C422) Renault 5 Turbo (100 mm long and in blue with “elf” livery), the C423) Ford Escort Sedan (110 mm long and in white with “TOTAL” livery), the C424) Ford Mustang (120 mm long and with opening hood and trunk), the C426) Rover 3500 Sedan (130 mm long and in yellow with “Hepolite” livery), the 447) Renegade Jeep 4 x 4 (100 mm long), the 495) Mazda 4 x 4 Pickup Truck (125 mm long), the C496) Ford Escort Van (120 mm long and in red with “Royal Mail” livery), the C499) Ford Escort Van (120 mm long and in yellow with “Telecom” livery), the C503) Ford Escort Van (120 mm long and in white with “Dunlop” livery), the C507) Range Rover (120 mm long and with opening front passenger doors and rear hatch), the C516) Mercedes-Benz 207D Van (110 mm long and in white with “BMX Service” livery), the C532) Ford Escort Van (120 mm long and in white with “RAC Service” livery), the C537) Ford Escort Van (120 mm long and in yellow with “AA Service” livery), the C539) Mercedes-Benz 207D Van (110 mm long and in white with “Group 4 Security Services” livery), the C600) Ford Escort Sedan (110 mm long and with opening passenger doors), the C601) Fiat X1/9 Sports Car (110 mm long and with opening passenger doors and engine lid), the C602) Mini City (90 mm long), the C603) Volkswagen Polo Hatchback (90 mm long and with opening passenger doors and rear hatch), the C604) Renault 5 “Le Car” (95 mm long and with opening passenger doors and rear hatch) and the C605) Austin Metro (90 mm long and with opening passenger doors and rear hatch).

The 1985 line of “Corgi Classics” included a “range worthy of special mention” according to the Corgi catalogue.  They featured 20 superb classic vehicles which would compete with the likes of “Matchbox Models of Yesteryear,” “Dinky” and “Lledo.”  Eventually, “Lledo” (founded by former “Matchbox” executive Jack Odell) would be purchased by Corgi, and their “Days Gone” and “Vanguards” lines would be merged into the already strong Corgi product line.  The Corgi Classics line in 1985 included the C805) 1956 Mercedes-Benz 300S Coupe (130 mm long, in white with a brown top and with opening hood and trunk), the C806) 1956 Mercedes-Benz 300S Cabriolet (130 mm long, in blue with an open top and with opening hood and trunk), the C810) 1957 Ford Thunderbird Convertible (135 mm long, in red and with open top and with opening hood and trunk), the C811) 1954 Mercedes-Benz 300SL “Gullwing” Sports Car (125 mm long, in silver and with opening passenger doors and hood), the C812) 1953 MG TF Convertible (115 mm long, in dark green, with open top and with opening hood), the C813) 1955 MG TF Convertible (115 mm long, in red, with closed top and with opening hood), the C814) 1952 Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn Convertible (145 mm long, in red and dark blue, with open top and with opening hood and trunk), the C815) 1954 Bentley “R” Type Convertible (145 mm long, in dark blue, with closed white top and with opening hood and trunk), the C816) 1950 Jaguar XK120 Roadster (125 mm long, in red with open top and with opening hood and trunk), the C819) 1949 Jaguar XK120 Roadster (125 long, in white with closed black top and with opening hood and trunk), the C820) 1929 Thorneycroft Van (135 mm long and with open bed), the C821) 1929 Thorneycroft Panel Van (135 mm long and with “Castrol Motor Oil” livery), the C823) 1926 Renault Van (135 mm long and with open bed), the C824) 1926 Renault Panel Van (135 mm long and with “Marcel Gardet” livery), the C825) 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Hardtop (125 mm long and with opening hood and trunk), the C860) 1912 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost (120 mm long), the C861) 1927 Bentley 3 Litre (100 mm long), the C862) 1910 Renault 12/16 (100 mm long) and the C863) 1915 Ford Model T (85 mm long).  The Corgi Classics line is still very much alive and well today, with multiple ranges of different scale model vehicles.  In 1985, only the classic trucks were a uniform 1:43-Scale.  The cars were likely larger at 1:36-Scale or so.

The 1985 range of “Corgi Trucks” featured the C1141) Scammel Petrol Tanker Truck (200 mm long and with “Shell” livery), the C1145) Scammel Articulated Truck (207 mm long and with “Yorkie” livery), the C1153) Scania Tipper (145 mm long and with “Laing” livery), the C1168) Coach (170 mm long and with “Euro Express” livery), the C1176) Scammel Articulated Truck (207 mm long and with “Weetabix” livery), the C1182) Scania Container Truck (140 mm long and with “Suzuki” livery), the C1183) Scania Container Truck (140 mm long and with “Adidas” livery), the C1185) Mack Fire Engine (145 mm long), the C1186) Scammel Articulated Truck (207 mm long and with “McVitie’s” livery), the C1188) Scammel Articulated Truck (207 mm long and in red with no livery), the C1189) Scammel Petrol Tanker Truck (200 mm long and with “Duckhams” livery), the C1193) Volvo Car Transporter Truck (210 mm long), the C1194) Volvo Articulated Truck (195 mm long and with “Lee Cooper” livery), the C1196) Volvo Articulated Truck (195 mm long and with “Hotpoint” livery) and the C1197) Volvo Articulated Truck (195 mm long and with “ASG Transport Specialists” livery)

The 1985 line of “Corgi Commercials” included the C329) Rover 3500 Sedan Police Car (130 mm long and with opening front passenger doors, hood and rear hatch), the C388) Mercedes-Benz 190 Sedan Taxi (120 mm long and with opening front passenger doors), the C425) London Austin Taxi (120 mm long and with opening doors), the C469) London Double-Decker Bus (125 long), the C482) “George Shillibeer’s” Replica Routemaster Double-Decker Bus (125 mm long), the C483) Shoplinker Replica Routemaster Double Decker Bus (125 mm long), the C769) National Express Coach (180 mm long and with opening passenger door), the C770) Holiday Tours Coach (180 mm long and with opening passenger door), the C1112) Mercedes-Benz Articulated Truck (235 mm long and with “Michelin” livery), the C1114) Mercedes-Benz Gritter Truck (140 mm long and with “Motorway Maintenance” markings and shovel), the C1116) Refuse Truck (150 mm long and with tipping action), the C1117) Mercedes-Benz Streetsweeper Truck (125 mm long and with hose and worker figure), the C1120) Fire Engine Truck (195 mm long), the C1122) Mercedes-Benz Cement Mixer Truck (140 mm long and with rotating mixer drum), the C1128) Mercedes-Benz Tipper Truck (140 mm long and with “Tarmac” livery and tipping action), the C1190) Ford Cargo Box Van (150 mm long and with “Thornton” livery and opening rear door), the C1191) Ford Cargo Container Truck (240 mm long and with “Ford cars about quality” livery and opening rear doors), the C1192) Mercedes-Benz Box Van (150 mm long and with “Lucas” livery and opening rear door) and the C1365) London Double-Decker Bus and Austin Taxi Set.

The 1985 range of Corgi Juniors featured the J2) Dumper Truck (with “Laing” livery and tipping action), the J3) Triumph TR7 Sports Car, the J5) Bus (with “Holiday Tours” livery), the J6) Rover 3500 Police Car (with opening rear hatch), the J7) ERF Fire Engine, the J8) Snorkel Fire Engine, the J9) Cement Truck (with rotating cement mixer), the J10) Aston Martin  DB5, the J11) Volvo Station Wagon Rally Support Car (with “Castrol” livery), the J14) Mercedes-Benz 240D Rally Car, the J16) Ford Capri, the J17) Austin London Taxi, the J18) Jaguar XJS, the J19) Matra Rancho SUV, the J20) Double-Decker Bus, the J21) Fiat X1/9 (with opening engine lid), the J22) Petrol Tanker Truck (with “Gulf” livery), the J23) Renault 5 Turbo, the J24) Wrecker Truck, the J25) Ford Escort Sedan (with opening passenger doors), the J26) Metro Hatchback (with opening passenger doors), the J27) Citroen 2CV (with opening front passenger doors), the J28) Airport Fire Engine, the J29) Mercedes-Benz 500 SL (with opening passenger doors), the J31) Ford Sierra (with opening passenger doors), the J32) Ferrari 308 GTS, the J33) Volkswagen Polo Turbo Hatchback (with opening passenger doors), the J34) Rover Triplex (with opening rear hatch), the J35) Porsche 911 Turbo Coupe, the J36) Ford Mustang, the J40) Opel Corsa Hatchback (with opening rear hatch), the J45) Chevrolet Corvette Sports Car, the J46) Pontiac Firebird Coupe, the J47) Mercedes-Benz 300 SL “Gullwing” Sports Car (with opening gullwing passenger doors), the J48) Sheriff 4 x 4 Jeep, the J49) Jeep, the J50) Range Rover, the J52) Iveco Refuse Truck (with tipping action), the J53) Iveco Container Truck (with “Fyffes” livery and opening rear doors), the J54) Renault Trafic Panel Van (with “Avis” livery), the J55) Renault Trafic Minibus (with “Grand Hotel” livery), the J56) Ford Escort Rally Car, the J57) Zakspeed Ford Capri, the J58) Ford Sierra Pace Car (with opening passenger doors), the J59) Range Rover Rescue Vehicle, the J60) Buick Regal Police Car, the J61) U.S. Van and the J62) Mini Shop Van.  “Corgi Juniors” Twin Packs included the J200) Matra Rancho SUV and Horsebox, the J201) Ford Sierra and Dinghy on Trailer, the J202) Mercedes-Benz 500 SL and Powerboat on Trailer, the J203) Volvo Station Wagon and Camping Caravan Trailer, the J204) Breakdown Truck and Triumph TR7 Sports Car, the J205) Container Truck with Trailer (with “Dunlop” livery), the J206) Tanker Truck and Trailer (with “Shell” livery) and the J207) Pipe Truck and Trailer.  The end of the 1985 “Corgi” catalogue featured a checklist for collectors.

1987 Corgi Classic Sheet for the U.S. Market

In 1987, Corgi released a full page color sheet (8 ½” by 11 ½” European specifications for catalogues) for the American market, featuring the “Classic Commercials U.S. Series” die-cast vehicles.  These were the 864/3) 1915 Ford Model T Tanker Truck (with “San Francisco Fire Department Engine Company 1” markings), the 865/3) Ford Model T Truck (with “Kalamazoo Fire Department Volunteer Canteen Corps” markings), the 865/4) Ford Model T Truck (with “Pepsi Cola” livery), the 906/1) 1922 Mack AC4 Speeder Truck (with “Mack Trucks” livery), the 906/2) 1922 Mack AC4 Speeder Truck (with “Sunshine Biscuits” livery), the 906/2) 1922 Mack AC4 Speeder Truck (with “White Rock Mineral Water” livery), the 906/4) 1922 Mack AC4 Speeder Truck (with “Buffalo Fire Department” markings) and the 906/5) 1922 Mack AC4 Speeder Truck (with “Pepsi Cola” livery).

1987 Corgi Model Year

The 1987 Corgi full color dealer catalogue was light green in color, with the company name and logo on the front cover, along with “1987” spelled out in colorful traffic signs.  Product lines included Corgi Juniors, Classics, Corgi Gift Sets, Vans, Fast Cars and Service Vehicles.  Marketing ideas and displays made the dealer catalogue unique compared to customer catalogues.  Corgi boasted that their retail sales increased four fold in the United Kingdom from 1984 to 1987.  As an American-based collector, I have always wished that they had more of a retail presence in the United States.  There is simply no reason why their products could not compete head-to-head with the likes of Hot Wheels and Matchbox in the United States.

The Corgi Juniors line for 1987 included the J3) Renault Van (with “Dyno Rod” livery), the J4) Ford Transit Van (with “Porsche Kremer Racing” livery), the J5) Mercedes-Benz Bus (with “Holiday Tours” livery), the J7) ERF Fire Engine, the J8) Simon Snorkel Fire Engine (with a working crane), the J12) BP Petrol Tanker Truck, the J13) Pepsi Truck, the J16) BMW 325i Saloon (with opening passenger doors), the J17) Austin London Taxi (with opening doors), the J18) Jaguar XJS Racing Car, the J19) Matra Rancho SUV (with opening rear hatch), the J20) London Double-Decker Bus, the J22) BMW 325i Rally Car (with opening passenger doors), the J23) Renault 5 Turbo (with “elf” livery), the J24) Police Wrecker Truck, the J25) Renault Van (with “Avis” livery), the J27) Citroen 2CV (with opening front passenger doors), the J28) BMW M3 Road Car, the J30) BMW M3 Racing Car, the J31) Ford Sierra ICS (with opening passenger doors), the J32) Ferrari 308 GTS, the J35) Porsche Carrera Coupe, the J37) British Gas Van, the J39) Royal Mail Van, the J40) Opel Corsa Rally Car (with opening rear hatch), the J41) Jaguar XJS Police Car, the J42) Container Truck (with “Knorr” livery), the J43) Petrol Tanker Truck (with “Total” livery), the J44) Renault Bus (with “Thomas Cook” livery), the J46) Pontiac Firebird (with “Schweppes” livery), the J48) 4 x 4 Sheriff Jeep, the J49) 4 x 4 Red Cross Jeep, the J50) BMW M3 Racer, the J51) Ford Transit Van (with “AA” markings), the J52) Refuse Truck (with tipping action and “NBC” livery), the J53) Iveco Parts Container Truck, the J54) Renault Parts and Service Van, the J55) Renault Bus (with “Grand Hotel” livery), the J56) Ford Escort (with “Duckhams” livery), the J57) “Zakspeed” Ford Capri, the J58) Ford Sierra Police Car (with opening passenger doors), the J60) Buick Police Car, the J61) U.S. Flag Van, the J63) Ford Transit Van (with “Royal Mail” markings), the J64) Land Rover Van (with “AA Service” markings), the J65) Land Rover Van (with “Royal Mail” markings), the J66) Land Rover Van (with “Police” markings), the J69) Porsche 911 Coupe (with German “Polizei” markings), the J82) Volvo Sedan (with “Ambulance” markings), the J83) Volvo Sedan (with “Gillanders Motors” livery), the J84) Volvo 760 Sedan, the J85) Porsche 935 Racer (in white with “Shell” livery), the J86) Porsche 935 Racer (in light blue with “Shell Oils” livery), the J87) Porsche 935 Coupe (in red), the J88) Mercedes-Benz 2.3/16 Sedan (with German “Polizei” markings), the J89) Mercedes-Benz 2.3/16 Sedan (with “17 Servis” livery), the J90) Mercedes-Benz 2.3/16 Sedan (in red), the J91) Jaguar XJ40 Police Car, the J92) Jaguar XJ40 Racer (in black with white stripe) and the J93) Jaguar XJ40 Sedan (in black).

The Corgi Juniors range for 1987 featured a number of “twin pack” sets which were in close competition with similar products from Matchbox (the other great mass market toy company originally from the United Kingdom).  These were the J232) Kremer Racing Set (a Porsche Racing Car and a Fort Transit Van), the J233) Fire Set (an ERF Fire Engine and a Simon Snorkel Fire Engine), the J234) Police Set (a Jaguar XJS and a Police Land Rover), the J236) Commercial Set (a B.P. Oil Tanker Truck and a Police Transit Wrecker Truck), the J237) 4 x 4 Jeep “Red Cross” and 4 x 4 Jeep “Sheriff,” the J238) Jaguar XJ40 Police Sedan and Police Land Rover, the J239) “Royal Mail” Land Rover and Datapost Ford Transit Van and the J240) “AA” Land Rover Van and “AA” Ford Transit Van.

The 1987 Corgi Classics line was very close competition for the likes of “Matchbox Models of Yesteryear,” “Dinky,” “Lledo Days Gone” and “Lledo Vanguards.”  Matchbox now owned Dinky, and Corgi eventually purchased Lledo.  In 1987, they featured the C599/1) AEC Regent Double-Decker Bus (with “Woodhams” livery), C599/2) AEC Regent Double-Decker Bus (with “Trustee Savings Bank” livery), the C599/3) AEC Regent Double-Decker Bus (with “Huntley & Palmers” livery), the C805/1) Mercedes-Benz 300S (in blue with opening hood and trunk), the C806/1) Mercedes-Benz 300S (in red with open top), the C811/1) Mercedes-Benz 300SL “Gullwing” (with opening gullwing passenger doors and hood), the C814/1) Rolls-Royce (in silver and black and with open top), the C815/1) Bentley (in white and with closed top, opening hood and trunk), the C825/1) Chevrolet Bel Air Hardtop (in black and with opening hood and trunk), the C858/1) Thornycroft Double-Decker Bus (with “National Motor Museum” livery), the C858/2) Thornycroft Double-Decker Bus (with “Charlie Chaplin’s” livery), the C858/3) Thornycroft Double-Decker Bus (with “Cambrian” livery), the C858/4) Thornycroft Double-Decker Bus (with “Idris Soda Water” livery), the C859/1) Thornycroft Panel Van (with “Scotts Empire” livery), the C859/2) Thornycroft Panel Van (with “Chivers & Sons, Ltd.” Livery), the C864/1) Ford Model T Tanker Truck (with “Staley Sales Corp.” livery), the C864/2) Ford Model T Tanker Truck (with “Rimers Motor Oils” livery), the C865/1) Model T Ford Panel Van (with “Needler’s Chocolates” livery), the C865/2) Ford Model T Panel Van (with “Drummer Dyes” livery), the C867/1) Thornycroft Beer Truck (with “Charles Wells Ltd.” livery), the C867/2) Thornycroft Beer Truck (with “Tooheys Pilsener” livery), the C867/3) Thornycroft Beer Truck (with “The Swan Brewery Co., Ltd.” livery), the C869/1) MG TF Racing Car (in blue and with open top and roll bar), the C870/1) Jaguar XK120 Racing Car (in dark green and with open top), the C897/1) AEC Cabover Box Truck (with “Atora” livery), the C897/2) AEC Cabover Box Truck (with “John Knight, Limited” livery), the C906/2) Mack Truck (with “Sunshine Biscuits” livery), the C906/3) Mack Truck (with “White Rock” livery), the C945/1) AEC Cabover Tanker Truck (with “Flowers Best Bitter” livery), the C945/2) AEC Cabover Tanker Truck (with “Gaymers Cyder” livery), the C949/1) Bedford Coach (with “Norfolk” markings), the C949/2) Bedford Coach (with “Royal Blue” markings), the C949/3) Bedford Coach (with “Dundee” markings), the C953/1) Bedford Pantechnicon (with “Pickfords” livery), the C953/2) Bedford Pantechnicon (with “Waring & Gillow, Ltd.” Livery), the C953/3) Bedford Pantechnicon (with “Fraser’s” livery), the C957/1) Morris GPO Royal Mail Van and the C958/1) Morris Post Office Telephones Van.  “Pantechnicon” is an English or British designation for a moving van.  Two Gift Sets included the C49) Transport of the ‘30s Set (with a Times Newspaper Bus and a Ford Model T Panel Van and the C50) Transport of the ’30 Set (with 3 Ford Model T Panel Vans in various liveries).  The Corgi Classics line remains as popular as it is to this day largely due to featuring various new liveries along with high quality and authenticity.  “Pantechnicon” is a British word for a moving van.

The Corgi Gift Sets range for 1987 featured a number of popular themed sets such as the C1/1) London Scene Set (with a Ford Sierra Police Car, an Austin Taxi and a “Routemaster” Double-Decker Bus), the C3) British Gas Set (with a Ford Cargo Van, a Natural Gas Compressor and a Ford Escort Van), the C8) Police Set (with a Wrecker Truck, a Ford Sierra Police Car and a Ford Escort Police Van), the C19) Emergency Set (with a Police Ford Transit Van and a BMW 635 Coupe Police Car), the C20) AA Relay Set (with a Wrecker Truck, a Range Rover SUV and a Ford Escort Van), the C21) RAC Recovery Set (with a Wrecker Truck, a Range Rover SUV and a Ford Escort Van), the C27) Fire Service Set (with a Mack Fire Pumper Truck and a Saab 9000 Turbo Sedan Fire Chief Car), the C28) Team Datapost Set (with a Ford Transit Van and a Toyota Racing Car with Post Office markings) and the C48) Kremer Racing Set (with a Kremer Racing Mercedes-Benz Van and a Kremer Porsche 956 Racing Car).

The “Corgi Vans” line for 1987 included the C496/1) Ford Escort Van (in red and with “Royal Mail” markings), the C496/2) Ford Escort Van (in white and with “Police” markings), the C496/3) Ford Escort Van (in white and blue and with “British Gas” livery), the C496/4) Ford Escort Van (with “British Airways” livery), the C576/1) Mercedes-Benz 207D Van (with “Pepsi” livery), the C576/2) Mercedes-Benz 207D Van (with “Porsche Kremer Racing” livery), the C576/3) Mercedes-Benz 207D Van (with “Parcel Line” livery), the C656/1) Ford Transit Van (with “RAC Rescue Service” markings), the C656/2) Ford Transit Van (with “Datapost” markings), the C656/3) Ford Transit Van (with Ambulance markings), the C656/4) Ford Transit Van (with “Shell,” “Goodyear” and “Ford” liveries) and the C656/5) Ford Transit Van (in yellow and with “AA Service” markings).  All van models featured opening rear cargo doors.

The “Corgi Fast Cars” line for 1987 featured the C258/1) Toyota Supra 2.8i (in black & silver and with opening passenger doors and rear hatch), the C271/1) James Bond 007 Aston Martin DB5 (in silver and with front-mounted machine guns, passenger ejector seat and rear bullet shield – from the movies “Goldfinger” in 1964 and “Thunderball” in 1965), the C279/1) Rolls-Royce Corniche Sedan (in silver & black and with opening front passenger doors, hood and trunk), the C299/1) Ford Sierra Sedan (with “Lindsay” livery and with opening front passenger doors and trunk), the C318/1) Jaguar XJS Coupe (in black & silver and with opening passenger doors), the C346/1) Citroen 2CV Dolly Sedan (in white & red and with opening hood), the C353/1) BMW 325i Saloon (in red and with opening passenger doors, hood and sunroof), the C353/2) BMW 325i Saloon (with “Marcel Favraud” racing livery, opening passenger doors, hood and sunroof), the C378/1) Ferrari 308 GTS (in red and with opening rear engine compartment), the C386/1) Mercedes-Benz 2.3/16 Sedan (in black and with opening front passenger doors and trunk), the C386/2) Mercedes-Benz 2.3/16 Sedan (with “Servis” racing livery and with opening front passenger doors and trunk), the C399/1) Peugeot 205 Hatchback (with “Paris” Rally livery, opening passenger doors and rear hatch), the C399/2) Peugeot 205 Hatchback (with “Benetton” livery, opening passenger doors and rear hatch), the C435/1) Volvo 760 Turbo Saloon (in black and with opening front passenger doors and hood), the C435/2) Volvo 760 Turbo Saloon (with “Gillanders Motors” racing livery, opening front passenger doors and hood) and the C439/1) Rover 800 Sterling Sedan (in silver and with opening front passenger doors, hood and trunk).

The “Corgi Service Vehicles” range for 1987 included the C320/1) Jaguar XJS Coupe Police Car (with opening passenger doors), the C358/1) Ford Sierra Sedan Police Car (with opening front passenger doors and trunk), the C388/1) Mercedes-Benz 190 Taxi (with opening front passenger doors), the C425/1) Austin London Taxi (with opening rear passenger doors), the C438/1) Rover 800 Sterling Police Car (with opening front passenger doors, hood and trunk, the C469/1) London Double-Decker Bus (with “Evening Standard” livery), the C597/1) Range Rover Ambulance (with opening front passenger doors and rear hatch), the C625/1) “Cityrama” Sightseeing Double-Decker Bus (in blue and with open top), the C650/1) “British Airways” Concorde Supersonic Airliner (with tilting nose), the C769/1) “Rapide National Express” Coach (with opening front passenger door), the C769/2) “Gatwick Flightline” Coach (with opening front passenger door), the C769/3) “Club Cantabrica” Coach (with opening front passenger door), the C1140) Police Wrecker Truck, the C1116/1) Refuse Truck (with “City Sanitation” markings and tipping action), the C1117/1) Streetsweeper Truck (with “Faun” livery, hose, brush and figure), the C1185/1) Mack Fire Engine and the C1365/1) London Double-Decker Bus and Austin Taxi Set.

The back of the 1987 Corgi dealer catalogue featured useful examples of five retail display stands, signs, cards and self-adhesive strips with the Corgi logo.

The Corgi Classics line issued catalogues in the second half of every model year, introducing even more new models and existing models with new liveries.  In October 1987, they featured an advertisement for the Corgi Collectors Club.  Members received six full-color club magazines per year, packed with loads of insider information about new releases, articles on popular models from the past, articles on real vehicles (upon which Corgi models were based), plus letters from members and a classified section.  Most members are located in the United Kingdom (the home of Corgi), but the club does have a substantial international following as well.  The 1987 club model was a Morris Minor Van.  The club was founded in 1984.

New Corgi Classics models in October 1987 included the C858/6) Thornycroft Double-Decker Bus (with “London & North-Western Railway” livery), the C864/4) Ford Model T Tanker Truck (in yellow and with “National” livery), the C897/3) AEC Cabover Panel Van (with “LMS Express Parcels Traffic” livery), the C897/4) AEC Cabover Panel Van (with “Duckhams Wear Cure” livery), the C906/6) Mack Truck (in yellow and with “Stanley Tools” livery), the C945/3) AEC Tanker Truck (with “Carless Petrol” livery), the C949/4) Bedford Coach (with “Grey Cars” livery), the C949/6) Bedford Coach (with “Southdown” markings), the C953/4) Bedford Pantechnicon (with “Steinway & Sons” livery), the C957/2) Morris Minor Van (in black and with “Gas” livery) and the C959) Morris Minor Van (in dark blue and white and with “Smith’s Crisps” livery).

1988 Corgi Model Year

The large European-specification (8 ½ by 11 ½ inches) Corgi dealer catalogue for 1988 featured a black background on which a worker was painting the street with the Corgi logo.

The Corgi Juniors line for 1988 included the J1) Ford Capri (with “Duckhams” livery), the J2) Iveco Tanker Truck (with a red cab and with “Esso” livery), the J4) Ford Transit Van (with “Porsche Kremer Racing” livery), the J5/2) Mercedes-Benz Airport Bus (in white and with “SAS” livery), the J5/3) Mercedes-Benz Airport Bus (in white and with “Air France” livery), the J7) ERF Fire Engine, the J8) Simon Snorkel Fire Engine, the J9) Iveco Van (with “Mars” chocolate livery), the J12) Iveco Tanker Truck (with a green cab and with “BP” livery), the J13/1) Iveco Delivery Truck (in red and with “Pepsi” livery), the J13/2) Iveco Delivery Truck (in red and with “Fruite” livery), the J15) Ford Transit Van (with Police markings), the J16) BMW 325i Coupe (in red), the J17) Austin London Taxi, the J18) Jaguar XJS Sedan, the J19) Matra Rancho SUV, the J20) London Double-Decker Bus, the J22) BMW 325i Coupe (in white and with racing livery), the J25) Renault 5 Turbo (with “elf” livery), the J24) Police Wrecker Truck, the J25) Renault Trafic Van (in white and with “Avis” livery), the J27) Citroen 2CV, the J30) BMW M3 Coupe (in orange and with “Canon” livery), the J31) Ford Sierra Sedan (with “Shell Oils” livery), the J32) Ferrari 308 GTS, the J35) Porsche 911 Coupe (in black and with “Shell” livery), the J36) Ferrari Testarossa Sports Car (in red), the J40) Opel Corsa Hatchback, the J45) Chevrolet Corvette Sports Car, the J45) Pontiac Firebird Coupe, the J47) Volvo 760 Sedan (in white and with “Polis” markings), the J48) Safari Jeep, the J49) U.S. Army Jeep, the J50) BMW M3 Coupe (in white and with “Pioneer” livery), the J52/1) Refuse Truck (in green and with “Properte de Paris” markings), the J52/2) Refuse Truck (in orange and with “NBC” livery), the J53) Iveco Delivery Van (with “Iveco” livery), the J54) Renault Trafic Van (in white and with “Renault” livery), the J55) Renault Trafic Bus (in white and with “Holiday Inn” livery), the J57) “Zakspeed” Ford Capri, the J60) Buick Police Car (in black and white), the J66) Land Rover Police Vehicle, the J69) Porsche 911 Coupe (with German “Polizei” markings), the J73) Ford Escort XR3 Sedan, the J74) Land Rover (with “BP” and “Safari Rally” liveries), the J77) Ferrari Testarossa Sports Car (in white), the J79) Mercedes-Benz 300 TE Station Wagon (in white and with Ambulance markings), the J81) Buick Sedan (in light blue and with “NYPD” markings), the J83) Volvo 760 Sedan (in white and with “Gillanders Motors” livery), the J84) Volvo 760 Sedan (in white), the J85) Porsche 935 Coupe (in white and with “Philippe Salvet” livery), the J86) Porsche 935 Coupe (in blue and with “Goodyear” livery), the J87) Porsche 935 Coupe (in red), the J89) Mercedes-Benz 2.3/16 Sedan (in white and with “Servis” livery), the J90) Mercedes-Benz 2.3/16 Sedan (in red), the J91) Jaguar Sedan Police Car, the J92) Jaguar Sedan (in dark green), the J93) Jaguar XJ40 Coupe (in white and with “Jaguar” livery), the J94) Mercedes-Benz 300TE Station Wagon (in red), the J95) Mercedes-Benz 300TE Station Wagon (in green and with Taxi markings), the J97) Land Rover (in red and with “Fire Salvage” markings), the J98) Porsche Targa Turbo (in red) and the J99) Porsche Targa Turbo (in white).  The 1988 Corgi dealer catalogue also featured six different retail displays for the Corgi Juniors line.  The models came in either small window boxes or blister packs.

The 1988 range of “Corgi Turbos” featured racing cars such as the C100/2) Porsche 956 (in yellow and with “Taka Q” livery), the C100/3) Porsche 956 (in black and with “Blaupunkt” livery), the C102/2) Opel Manta (in black and with “Shell” livery), the C102/3) Opel Manta (in yellow and with “Telecom Mobile Phone” livery), the C106/1) Saab 9000 (in red and with “Fly Virgin” livery), the C106/3) Saab 9000 (in black and with “Mobile” livery), the C110/2) BMW 635 (in white and with “Motul” livery), the C110/3) BMW 635 (in white and with “Warsteiner” livery), the C139/2) Porsche 911 (in orange and with “Jägermeister” livery) and the C139/4) Porsche 911 (in red and with “Denver Sportswear” livery).  The Corgi Turbo range of cars was of larger scale than the Corgi Juniors, and came in either window boxes or blister packs.

The 1988 line of Corgi Trucks were close competition for “Matchbox Convoy” models, and included the C1220/1) Scammell Truck and Export Crates, the C1221/1) Volvo Truck and Export Crates, Drums and Sacks, the C1222/2) Volvo Car Transporter, the C1231/2) Volvo Container Truck (in white and with “Wimpy International Limited” Livery), the C1231/17) Volvo Container Truck (in black and with a “Mars” chocolate livery), the C1246/7) Scammell Container Truck (with “Yorkie” livery), the C1264/2) Seddon Atkinson Tanker Truck (with “elf” livery) and the C1265/1) Volvo Container Truck (in red and with a “Texaco” livery).  “Corgi Trucks were sold in blue window boxes.

The 1988 range of Corgi Cars featured the C271/1) James Bond 007 Aston Martin DB5 (with front-mounted machine guns, passenger ejector seat and rear bullet shield – from the movies “Goldfinger” in 1964 and “Thunderball” in 1965), the C279/1) Rolls-Royce Corniche Sedan, the C299/3) Ford Sierra Sedan, the C318/3) Jaguar XJS Coupe, the C346/1) Citroen 2CV Sedan, the C353/1) BMW 325i Saloon (in red), the C353/4) BMW 325i Saloon (in white and with “Castrol” racing livery), the C378/1) Ferrari 308 GTS, the C386/1) Mercedes-Benz 2.3/16 Sedan (in black), the C386/4) Mercedes-Benz 2.3/16 (in white and with “Burlington Air Express” racing livery), the C399/5) Peugeot 205 Turbo, the C435/1) Volvo 760 Sedan (in silver), the C435/2) Volvo 760 Sedan (in white and with “Gillanders Motors” rally livery), the C440/1) Porsche 924 Carrera (in red) and the C440/2) Porsche 924 Carrera GT (in white and with “Porsche,” “Dunlop” and “Bosch” racing liveries).

The 1988 line of Corgi Vans included the C496/2) Ford Escort Police Van, the C576/2) Mercedes-Benz 207D Panel Van (in white and with “Porsche Kremer Racing” livery), the C576/9) Mercedes-Benz 207D Panel Van (in white and with “Overnite Parcels Express” livery) and the C656/3) Ford Transit Panel Van (in white and with Ambulance markings).

The 1988 range of “Corgi Service” vehicles featured the C358/1) Ford Sierra Sedan Police Car, the C425/1) Austin London Taxi, the C469/15) London Double-Decker Bus, the C597/3) Range Rover Police SUV, the C674/2) Ford Transit Wrecker Truck, the C675/2) “Metrobus” Double-Decker Bus, the C676/1) Ford Transit Bus, the C650/1) “Concorde” Supersonic Airliner, the C769/5) Global Tours Coach, the C1116/2) Refuse Truck, the C1117/2) Streetsweeper and the C1185/1) Mack Fire Truck.

An accessory in the 1988 Corgi dealer catalogue was the “Carry Car” carrying case.  It was shaped like a racecar, and came with either one Corgi Juniors model (the J3155 set) or five Corgi Juniors models (the J3156/1 set).

The end of the 1988 Corgi dealer catalogue featured “Corgi Sets” such as the J3097) Garage and three Corgi Juniors, the J3125/1) Airport Set (with a “Concorde” airliner and four Corgi Juniors vehicles), the J3161/1) Advent Calendar, the J3167/2) Superhaulers Set (with two Corgi Trucks and four Corgi Juniors), the J3168/3) Double Transporter Set (with a Car Transporter Truck, a Trailer and six Corgi Juniors vehicles), the J3169/2) Bumper Set (with ten Corgi Juniors vehicles), the J3170/2) Jumbo Set (with 20 Corgi Juniors), the J3171) Transporter Set (with a Car Transporter and three Corgi Juniors), the C19) Police Set (with a Ford Transit Van and a BMW 635 Coupe), the C27) Fire Set (with a Fire Truck and a Saab 9000 Sedan Fire Chief Car) and the C48/1) Porsche Kremer Racing Set (with a Mercedes-Benz 207D Panel Van and a Porsche 956 Racing Car).

The separate 1988 Corgi Classics line catalogue included the C599/1) AEC Double-Decker Bus (in red and with “Rhondda” markings), the C700/1) Jaguar Mark II Sedan (in red), the C701/1) Ford Popular (in light blue), the C700/2) Jaguar Mark II Sport Sedan (in silver), the C702/1) Morris Minor 1000 (in black and with a “British School of Motoring” plate on the front bumper), the 702/2) Morris Minor 1000 (in black), the C703/1) Morris Minor 1000 Police Car (in blue and white), the C706/1) Jaguar Mark II Sedan (in white and with Police markings), the C822/2) Bedford Box Van (with a black cab and with “Tate & Lyle’s” livery), the C822/3) Bedford Box Van (with a dark green cab and with “Gillette New Razor” livery), the C824/3) Renault Panel Van (in dark blue and with “The Lipton” livery), the C859/7) Thornycroft Van (with a gray hood and with “Leda Salt” livery), the C867/4) Thornycroft Beer Truck (with a dark green hood and with “Carlsberg of Copenhagen” livery), the C897/7) AEC Cabover (in brown and with “Mars” livery), the C897/8) AEC Cabover (in gray and with “His Master’s Voice” livery), the C906/8) Mack Truck (with a light yellow hood and with “Bovril” livery), the C906/9) Mack Truck (with a red hood and with “Carnation Farm Products” livery), the C906/10) Mack Truck (with a dark yellow hood and with “Gulden’s Mustard” livery), the C945/5) AEC Cabover Tanker Truck (in medium blue and with “Somerlite, Ltd.” Livery), the C959/5) Bedford OB Coach (in cream and dark green and with “Crosville Tour” markings), the C949/8) Bedford OB Coach (in red and white and with “South Midland” markings), the C949/9) Bedford OB Coach (in light blue and with “Premier Travel” livery), the C953/6) Bedford Pantechnicon (in green and with “Duckham’s NOL Motor Oils” livery), the C953/7) Bedford Pantechnicon (in light yellow and with “Camp Hopson Home Fashion Specialists” livery), the C957/6) Morris Minor Van (in red and with “Foyles for Books” livery), the C957/7) Morris Minor Van (in medium blue and with “Mac Fisheries” livery), the C990/1) Single Deck Streetcar (in red and with “Southampton Corporation Tramways” markings), the C990/2) Single Deck Streetcar (in dark blue and with “Sheffield Corporation Tramways” markings), the C991/1) Double Decker Open Top Streetcar (in white and with “London City Council Tramways” markings), the C991/2) Double Deck Open Top Streetcar (in green and white and with “Ford for Value” livery), the C992/1) Double Deck Closed Top Streetcar (in red and with “Mather’s Black Beer” livery) and the C992/2) Double Deck Closed Top Streetcar (in yellow, red and white and with “Glasgow Corporation Tramways” markings).  The Corgi Classics catalogue for 1988 was dark green in color and measured 8 ¼ by 9 ½ inches.  The last inside page featured an advertisement for the “Corgi Collector Club” and showed the 1988 Collector Club model: a blue and yellow Morris Minor Van (the same model used in 1987).

1989 Corgi Model Year

In 1989, Corgi released a separate large dealer catalogue for the Corgi Juniors line.  Furthermore, the line was now divided according to themes.  The different themes were “Corgi City Scene,” “Corgi Rally,” “Corgi Emergency” and finally “Corgi Made in Great Britain.”  The range of models within “Corgi City Scene” included the J9/5) Iveco Container Truck (in yellow and with “British Telecom” livery), the J12) Iveco Tanker Truck (with a green cab and with “BP Oil” livery), the J27) Citroen 2CV Sedan, the J52) Iveco Refuse Truck, the J63) Ford Transit Van (in red and with “Royal Mail” markings), the J84) Volvo 760 Saloon, the J90) Mercedes-Benz 2.3/16 Saloon, the J91/1) Jaguar XJ40 Saloon (in white and with Police markings), the J91/2) Jaguar XJ40 Saloon (in light blue metallic), the J94/1) Mercedes-Benz 300E Estate (in red), the J94/2) Mercedes-Benz 300E Estate (in light gray) and the J98/2) Porsche Targa (in black).

The “Corgi Rally” line for 1989 featured the J4) Ford Transit Van (in white and with “Porsche Kremer Racing” livery), the J23) Renault 5 Turbo (with “elf” livery), the J24/1) Ford Transit Wrecker Truck (in white and with “Porsche Kremer Racing” livery), the J30) BMW M3 Racing Car (in orange and with “Canon” and “Castrol” liveries), the J31/1) Ford Sierra Sedan (in red and with “Royal Mail” markings), the J36) Ferrari Testarossa (in red), the J77) Ferrari Testarossa (in white), the J85) Porsche 935 Racer (in white and with “Philippe Salvet” livery), the J86) Porsche 935 Racer (in blue and with “Goodyear” livery), the J87) Porsche 935 Road Car (in red) and the J89) Mercedes-Benz 2.3/16 Racer (in white and with “Servis” livery).

The “Corgi Emergency” range for 1989 included the J4/5) Ford Transit Van (in red and with “Fire Chief” markings), the J7) ERF Fire Engine, the J8) Simon Snorkel Fire Engine, the J15) Ford Transit Van (in white and with Police markings), the J24/3) Ford Transit Wrecker Truck (in yellow and with “AA” markings), the J51) Ford Transit Van (in yellow and with “AA” markings), the J64) Land Rover (in yellow and with “AA” markings), the J66) Land Rover (in white and with Police markings), the J96/1) Police Helicopter, the J96/2) Fire Department Helicopter and the J97) Land Rover (in red and with “Fire Salvage” markings).

The “Corgi Made in Great Britain” line for 1989 featured the J7) ERF Fire Engine, the J17/1) Austin London Taxi, the J20/2) London Double-Decker Bus (in red and with “The London Standard” livery) and the J65) Land Rover (in red and with “Royal Mail” markings).

The “Corgi Juniors Sets” range for 1989 included the J155/1) Police Twin Set (with a Jaguar Saloon and a Land Rover), the J156/1) Fire Twin Set (with a Land Rover and a Simon Snorkel Fire Engine), the J157/1) Breakdown Twin Set (with a Land Rover and a Ford Transit Van in yellow and with “AA” markings), the J158/1) Datapost Twin Set (with a Land Rover and a Ford Transit Van in red and with “Royal Mail” markings), the J159/1) Rally Twin Set (with a Porsche 935 Racecar and a Ford Transit Van with “Porsche Kremer Racing” liveries), the J2880/1) Police Triple Pack (with a Jaguar Saloon, a Ford Transit Van and a Helicopter), the J2881/1) Fire Triple Pack (with a Land Rover, a Simon Snorkel Fire Engine and an ERF Fire Engine), the J2882/1) Breakdown Triple Pack (with a Land Rover, a Ford Transit Van and a Ford Wrecker Truck in yellow and with “AA” markings), the J2883/1) Datapost Triple Pack (with a Land Rover, a Ford Transit Van and a Helicopter in red and with “Royal Mail” markings), the J2884/1) Rally Triple Pack (with a Porsche 935 Racecar, a BMW M3 Racing Car and a Ford Transit Van), the J2897/1) Christmas Tree Teddy Set (with an Iveco “BP” Tanker Truck, a Porsche Targa, a Ferrari Testarossa and a Mercedes-Benz 2.3/16 Racer), the J2898/1) Snow Teddy Set (with a BMW M3 Racing Car, a Jaguar Saloon, an “AA” Land Rover and a Porsche 935 Racecar), the J2899/1) Father Christmas Teddy Set (with a Citroën 2CV, a Mercedes-Benz 300TE Estate, a Ferrari Testarossa and a Police Land Rover), the J2900/1) Police Teddy Set (with a Ford Transit Van, a Jaguar Police Saloon, a Land Rover and a Helicopter), the J2901/1) Fire Teddy Set (with an ERF Fire Engine, a Simon Snorkel Fire Engine, a Land Rover and a Helicopter), the J2902/1) Breakdown Teddy Set (with a Ford Transit Wrecker Truck, a Land Rover, a Jaguar Police Saloon and a Ford Transit Van), the J2903/1) Post Office Teddy 4-Pack (with a Land Rover, a Ford Transit Van, a Ford Sierra and a Helicopter), the J2904/1) Race Teddy Set (with a Ford Transit Van, two BMW M3 Sedans and a Ferrari Testarossa), the J3097/2) Garage Set (with a Garage and three “Corgi Juniors” vehicles), the J3125/1) Airport Set (with a “Concorde” Supersonic Airliner, a Police Ford Transit Van, an “AA” Ford Transit Van, an Austin London Taxi and a London Double-Decker Bus), the J3135/1) City Scene Set (with an Iveco Refuse Truck, a Citroën 2CV, a London Double-Decker Bus, an Austin London Taxi, an Iveco “BP” Tanker Truck and a Porsche Targa), the J3136/1) Emergency Set (with an “AA” Ford Transit Van, a “Fire Salvage” Land Rover, a Ford Transit Police Van, a Simon Snorkel Fire Engine, a Ford Transit Wrecker Truck and a Jaguar Police Saloon), the J3137/1) Rally Set (with a Ford Transit “Porsche Kremer Racing” Van, a BMW M3 Racer, a Porsche 935 Racer, a Peugeot 205, a Mercedes-Benz 2.3/16 Racer and a Ferrari Testarossa), the J3155) “Carry Car” Accessory, the J3167/5) Superhauler Set (with two large trucks and four “Corgi Juniors” vehicles), the J3168/7) Transporter Set (with one Car Transporter and six “Corgi Juniors” vehicles), the J3169/6) Bumper Set (with ten “Corgi Juniors” vehicles), the J3170/2) Jumbo Set (with 20 “Corgi Juniors” vehicles) and the J3184) Datapost Set (with two large container trucks and four “Corgi Juniors” vehicles).

The last section of the 1988 Corgi Juniors dealer catalogue featured four “Made in Great Britain” Sets, including the J160/1) Tourist Twin Set (with a London Double-Decker Bus and an Austin London Taxi), the J2885/1) Tourist Triple Pack (with a London Double-Decker Bus, an Austin London Taxi and a Jaguar Police Saloon), the J2905/1) Teddy Tourist Set (with a London Double-Decker Bus, an Austin London Taxi, a Jaguar Police Saloon and a “Royal Mail” Ford Transit Van) and the J3138/1) Tourist Set (with a Police Land Rover, an Austin London Taxi, a London Double-Decker Bus, a Jaguar Police Saloon, a “Royal Mail” Ford Transit Van and an “AA” Ford Transit Van).  The inside back cover of the catalogue featured four different retail display stands for Corgi Juniors models.  They were marketed in blue window boxes.

The main Corgi dealer catalogue for 1989 featured the rest of their product line aside from the Classics; the latter were shown in two separate catalogues released for the first and the second halves of the year, respectively.  The “Corgi Turbos” for 1989 included the C100/3) Porsche 956 (in black and with “Blaupunkt” livery), the C100/4) Porsche 956 (in white and with “Yokohama” livery), the C102/2) Opel Manta 400 (in black and with “Shell” livery), the C102/3) Opel Manta 400 (in yellow and with “British Telecom Mobile Phone” livery), the C106/1) Saab 9000 Turbo (in red and with “Fly Virgin” livery), the C110/3) BMW 635 (in white and with “Warsteiner” livery), the C635 (in white and with Police markings), the C139/2) Porsche 911 (in orange and with “Jägermeister” livery), the C139/7) Porsche 911 (in green and with “Foltene” livery) and the C144/1) Jaguar XJR9 (in white and with “Castrol” livery).

The range of “Corgi Vans” in 1989 featured the C496/1) Ford Escort Van (in red and with “Royal Mail” markings), the C496/2) Ford Escort Van (in white and with Police markings), the C496/19) Ford Escort Van (in yellow and with “British Telecom” livery), the C496/20) Ford Escort Van (in red and white and with “Unigate fresh milk” livery), the C576/2) Mercedes-Benz 207D Van (in white and with “Porsche Kremer Racing” livery), the C656/1) Ford Transit Van (in white and with “RAC Rescue Service” markings), the C656/2) Ford Transit Van (in red and with “Royal Mail” markings), the C656/5) Ford Transit Van (in yellow and with “AA” markings), the C656/21) Ford Transit Van (in black and with “Lynx Express Delivery Network” livery) and the C656/22) Ford Transit Van (in white and with Police markings).

The line of “Corgi Fast Cars” in 1989 included the C271/1) James Bond 007 Aston Martin DB5 (in silver and with front-mounted machine guns, passenger ejector seat and rear bullet shield – from the movies “Goldfinger” in 1964 and “Thunderball” in 1965), the C279/2) Rolls-Royce Corniche Sedan (in silver and with opening front passenger doors, hood and trunk), the C299/3) Ford Sierra (in black and with “Texaco” livery, opening front passenger doors and trunk), the C318/4) Jaguar XJS Coupe (in dark green), the C353/1) BMW 325i Saloon (in red and with opening passenger doors, hood and sliding roof), the C353/4) BMW 325i Rally Car (in white and with “Castrol” livery, opening passenger doors, hood and sliding roof), the C378/2) Ferrari 308 GTS (in red and with opening rear engine compartment), the C386/6) Mercedes-Benz 2.3/16 Saloon (in dark blue and with opening front passenger doors and trunk), the C399/5) Peugeot 205 T16 Rally Car (in yellow and with opening passenger doors and rear hatch), the C435/7) Volvo 760 Turbo Saloon (in light blue and with opening front passenger doors and hood), the C440/2) Porsche 944 Rally Car (in white and with “Porsche” racing livery, opening passenger doors and hood) and the C440/3) Porsche 944 Coupe (in black and with opening passenger doors and hood).

The range of “Corgi Service Vehicles” in 1989 featured the C358/1) Ford Sierra Police Car (with opening front passenger doors and trunk), the C425/3) Austin London Taxi (in black and with opening rear passenger doors), the C438/3) Rover 800 Police Car (with opening front passenger doors, hood and trunk), the C469/8) London “Routemaster” Double-Decker Bus (in red and with “Jacob’s Cream Crackers” livery), the C597/3) Police Range Rover (with opening front passenger door and rear hatch), the C650/1) “Concorde” Supersonic Airliner (with tilting nose and “British Airways” livery), the C674/1) Ford Transit Breakdown Truck (in yellow and with “AA” markings), the C674/2) Ford Transit Breakdown Truck (in white and with “RAC Service” markings), the C675/5) Metrobus Double-Decker Bus (in yellow and with “Sandfords” livery), the C675/6) Metrobus Double-Decker Bus (in red and white and with “Yorkshire Traction” livery), the C676/6) Ford Transit Bus (in red and yellow and with “Mini Bus” livery), the C676/7) Ford Transit Bus (in dark blue and gray and with “British Airways” livery) and the C1185/1) Mack Fire Engine (with “Hammond Fire Dept.” markings).

The line of “Corgi Superhaulers” in 1989 included the C1222/4) Volvo Car Transporter (in yellow), the C1231/17) Volvo Container Truck (in black and with “Mars” livery), the C1238/4) Seddon Atkinson Container Truck (in white and with “Radio 1 Roadshow” livery), the C1238/6) Seddon Atkinson Container Truck (in red and with “Royal Mail Datapost” markings), the C1238/4) Seddon Atkinson Container Truck (in white and with “Federal Express” livery) and the C1250/5) Volvo Tanker Truck (in white and with “Texaco” livery).

The range of “Corgi Truckers” in 1989 featured the T1300/1) MAN Container Truck (in white and with “Servis Domestic Appliances” livery), the T1301/1) MAN Tanker Truck (in white and with “BP” livery), the T1302/1) MAN Open Back Tipper Truck (in dark yellow and with tipping action), the T1304/1) Ford Cargo Tanker Truck (with a white cab and chassis and with “Duckhams Oils” livery), the T1305/1) Ford Open Back Tipper Truck (with a dark green cab and chassis, a silver tipper and with tipping action), the T1306/1) Kenworth Container Truck (with a yellow cab and chassis and with “Yorkie Milk Chocolate” livery), the T1307/1) Kenworth Tanker Truck (with a yellow cab and chassis and with “Shell” livery) and the T1308/1) Kenworth Open Back Tipper Truck (with a dark blue cab and chassis, silver tipper and with tipping action).

The line of “Corgi Sets” in 1989 included the C2) Fire Set (with a Ford Transit Van, a Saab 9000 Turbo and a Mack Fire Engine), the C8/2) Police Set (with a Ford Escort Van, a Ford Transit Wrecker Truck and a Ford Sierra Sedan), the C19) Emergency Police Set (with a Ford Transit Van and a BMW 635 Coupe), the C20) “AA” Set (with a Ford Escort Van, a Ford Transit Van and a Ford Transit Wrecker Truck), the C21/3) “RAC” Set (with a Ford Escort Van, a Ford Transit Van and a Ford Transit Wrecker Truck), the C27) Emergency Fire Set (with a Mack Fire Engine and a Saab 9000 Turbo), the C28) Post Set (with a Ford Transit Van and a car with “Royal Mail Datapost” markings) and the C48/3) Racing Set (with a Mercedes-Benz 207D Van and a Porsche 956 Racecar).

The end of the 1989 Corgi catalogue featured five “Made in Great Britain” theme sets including the C30) Tourist – Tower Bridge Set (with a London Double-Decker Bus and an Austin Taxi), the C31) Tourist – Picadilly Set (with a London Double-Decker Bus, an Austin Taxi and a Ford Sierra Police Car), the C32) Tourist – Big Ben Set (with a London Double-Decker Bus, an Austin Taxi and a Tourist Figure), the C33) Tourist – Buckingham Palace Set (with a London Double-Decker Bus, an Austin Taxi and three Marching Soldiers) and the C34) Tourist – Tower of London Set (with a London Double-Decker Bus, an Austin Taxi, a Jaguar Police Saloon and a “Concorde” Supersonic Airliner).

The large (8 ½ by 11 ½ inch) Corgi Classics color catalogue for January – June 1989 now featured three ranges of vehicles: “Corgi Classic Cars,” “Corgi Commercials” and “Corgi Tramlines.”  The classic cars included the D700/4) Jaguar Mark II Saloon (in bronze metallic), the D700/5) Jaguar Mark II Saloon (in dark green), the D701/3) Ford Popular Saloon (in black), the D702/4) “Millionth” Edition Morris Minor Saloon (in lavender), the D702/5) Morris Minor Saloon (in maroon), the D708/1) Ford Cortina Lotus Saloon (in white with a light green stripe), the D709/1) Ford Zodiac Saloon (in two-tone red and white) and the D709/2) Ford Zodiac Saloon (in two-tone dark blue and white), the D710/2) Ford Zephyr Saloon (in dark blue).

The “Corgi Commercials” for January – June 1989 included the D599/6) AEC Double-Decker Bus (in dark green and with “Pye Wilson” livery), the D822/4) Bedford Box Van (in green and with “Solidox Toothpaste” livery), the D822/5) Bedford Box Van (in light yellow and with “Miller’s Baking Powder” livery), the D897/9) AEC Cabover Van (in green and yellow and with “International Stores” livery), the D897/11) AEC Cabover Van (in brown and with “John Barker & Company” livery), the D945/6) AEC Cabover Tanker Truck (in red and with “Redline Glico” livery), the D949/12) Bedford OB Coach (in grey and with red fenders and bumpers), the D949/13) Bedford OB Coach (in red and with “Hants & Sussex” markings), the D953/9) Bedford Pantechnicon (in yellow and with “Weetabix” livery), the D953/10) Bedford Pantechnicon (in red and brown and with “Restmor” livery), the D957/11) Morris 1000 Van (in light green and with “Appleyard” livery), the D957/12) Morris 1000 Van (in blue and with “D. Morgan” livery), the D980/1) Ford Popular Van (in bright green and with “S.A. Peacock” livery), the D980/2) Ford Popular Van (in grey, with red fenders and with “Fullers Radio & Television, Ltd.” livery), the D980/3) Ford Popular Van (in brown and green and with “Luton Motor Company” livery), the D981/1) CA Bedford Van (in dark blue and with “Pickfords Heavy Haulage Limited” livery) and the D982/1) CA Bedford Dormobile (in light blue and white).

The “Corgi Tramlines” for January – June 1989 featured the D990/3) Single Deck Tram (in green and white and with “Derby” markings), the D991/3) Double Deck Open Top Tram (in dark blue and light yellow and with “Bath Electric Tramways” markings), the D922/6) Double Deck Closed Top Tram (in red and white and with “Buchanan’s Black & White Scotch Whisky” livery) and the D993/1) Double Deck Fully Closed Tram (in red and white and with “Brickwoods Ales & Stout” livery).  The end of the “Corgi Classics” catalogue advertised the “Corgi Collector Club” and its 1989 model, a Ford Popular Van in dark blue and yellow complete with the club logo.  The Club was headquartered in the United Kingdom, but had national branches in Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway and the United States.

The Corgi Classics color catalogue for July – December 1989 had a similar cover to the brochure for the first half of the year – an illustration which simulated tire tread.  The new “Classic Cars” for the second half of 1989 included the D700/6) Jaguar Mark II Saloon (in Metallic Blue), the D700/7) Jaguar Mark II Saloon (in Metallic Gray), the D701/5) Ford Popular (in “Fawn,” which was similar to tan), the D702/6) Morris Minor (in Almond Green), the D708/3) Ford Cortina Saloon (in Red), the D708/4) Ford Cortina Saloon (in Aqua Blue), the D709/2) Ford Zodiac Saloon (in a new two-tone color of dark and medium blue), the D709/3) Ford Zodiac Saloon (in two-tone Yellow and White), the D709/4) Ford Zodiac Saloon (in two-tone Red and White), the D710/1) Ford Zephyr Saloon (in black), the D710/3) Ford Zephyr Saloon (in Monaco Red), the D710/4) Ford Zephyr Saloon (in Regency Grey), the D730/1) MGA Sports Car (in silver with a black hard top) and the D731/1) MGA Sports Car (in dark green with an open top).

The “Corgi Light Commercials” range for July – December 1989 featured the D889/1) Renault Beer Truck (with “Stella Artois” livery), the D599/7) AEC Double-Decker Bus (in light blue with “Rycrofts” livery), the D957/5) Morris Minor Van (in yellow with “Michelin” livery), the D957/13) Morris Minor Van (in light blue with “The Kimberly Clark Service” livery), the D980/8) Ford Popular Van (in green with “C. Pearson Quality Carpets” livery), the D981/2) Bedford CA Van (in black and white with “The Cambrian News” livery), the D981/3) Bedford CA Van (in yellow with “AA Road Service” markings), the D982/2) Bedford Dormobile (in Red and Cream), the D983/1) Morris “J” Van (with “GPO” markings) and the D983/2) Morris “J” Van (in red with “Royal Mail” livery).

The “Corgi Heavy Commercials” line for July – December 1989 included the D822/7) Bedford Box Van (in brown with red fenders, bumpers and roof with “Cadbury” livery), the D822/8) Bedford Box Van (with “Maltesers” livery), the D897/12) AEC Cabover Van (in red with “Royal Mail” markings), the D949/15) Bedford OB Coach (in red with “MacBrayne’s” livery) and the D953/12) Bedford Pantechnicon (in yellow with “Bishops” livery).

The 1989 Corgi Classics concluded with the “Tramlines” D991/4) Double Deck Open Top (in maroon and yellow with “Bournemouth Corporation Tramways” markings), the D991/5) Double Deck Open Top Tram (in maroon and white with “Burton & Ashby Light Railways” markings), the D992/7) Double Deck Closed Top Tram (with “The Birmingham Post” livery) and the D993/2) Double Deck Fully Closed Tram (in bright green and white with “Harley’s Preserves and Marmalades” livery).

1990 Corgi Model Year

In 1990, Corgi reverted to the custom of including all model lines aside from the Classics line in one large (8 ½ by 11 ½ inches) dealer color catalogue.  The latter tended to appeal to adult collectors, whereas the main product lines were mostly targeted at children.  The cover of the 1990 dealer catalogue featured an illustration of black pavement with painted yellow stripes, along with the company logo (an animated car driving out of the “o” in “Corgi.”

The 1990 catalogue began with the “Corgi Juniors City Scene Assortment” line, which included the J9/2) Iveco Container Truck (in dark brown with “Mars” livery), the J12/1) Iveco Tanker Truck (with a green cab and chassis and with “BP” livery), the J16/2) BMW 325i Coupe (in red), the J19/1) Matra Rancho SUV (in dark blue), the J29/2) Mercedes-Benz 500SL (in white), the J52/2) Iveco Refuse Truck (in orange with “NBC” livery), the J85/3) Porsche 935 (in red), the J91/2) Jaguar XJ40 Saloon (in light blue metallic) and the J94/1) Mercedes-Benz 300TE Estate (in red).

The 1990 “Corgi Juniors Emergency Assortment” range featured the J4/8) Ford Transit Van (in white with Police markings), the J7/1) ERF Fire Engine, the J8/1) Simon Snorkel Fire Engine, the J24/3) Ford Wrecker Truck (in yellow with “AA” markings), the J64/5) Land Rover (in red with “Emergency Fire” markings), the J67/1) Mercedes-Benz Ambulance, the J81/1) Buick Regal Sedan (in black and white with Police markings), the J81/2) Buick Regal Sedan (in red and white with “Fire Chief” markings), the J91/1) Jaguar XJ40 Saloon (in white with Police markings) and the J96/1) Police Helicopter.

The 1990 “Corgi Juniors Rally Assortment” line included the J1/1) Ford Capri Racer (in orange with black flames), the J4/1) Ford Transit Van (in white with “Porsche Kremer Racing” livery), the J16/1) BMW 325i Coupe (in white with black stripe), the J24/2) Ford Wrecker Truck (in white with “Porsche Kremer Racing” livery), the J30/1) BMW M3 Racer (in orange with “Canon” livery), the J32/1) Ferrari 308 GTS (in red), the J45/1) Chevrolet Corvette (in black with red and yellow flames), the J35/2) Porsche Carrera 911 Coupe (in black with “Porsche” livery), the J46/2) Pontiac Firebird (in yellow with “Fire Bird” livery) and the J85/2) Porsche 935 Racer (in blue with “Goodyear’ livery).

The 1990 “Corgi Juniors U.S.A. Assortment) line featured the J45/2) Chevrolet Corvette (in red and white), the J46/1) Pontiac Firebird (in silver), the J49/1) Military Jeep, the J61/1) Custom Van (in white with “Goodyear” livery), the J121/1) Ford Thunderbird Convertible (in red with open top) and the J123/1) Ford Mustang Coupe (in blue with “Goodyear” livery).

The 1990 “Corgi Juniors Made in Great Britain” line included J4/6) Ford Transit Van (in red with “Royal Mail” livery), the J4/7) Ford Transit Van (in yellow with “AA” markings), the J17/1) Austin London Taxi (in black), the J20/2) London Double-Decker Bus (in maroon with “See more London” livery), the J31/3) Ford Sierra Saloon (in red with “Post Office” markings) and the J64/1) Land Rover (in yellow with “AA” markings).  “Corgi Juniors” were sold in red window boxes in 1990.  Gift Sets within this range featured the J160/2) Tourist Twin Set (an Austin Taxi and a Double-Decker Bus), the J2885/2) Tourist Triple Set (a Double-Decker Bus, an Austin Taxi and a Jaguar Police Saloon), the J2905/2) Tourist Teddy Pack (a Jaguar Police Saloon, an Austin Taxi, a Double-Decker Bus and a “Royal Mail” Ford Transit Van) and the J3138/2) Tourist Set (a Police Land Rover, a Double-Decker Bus, an “AA” Land Rover, a “Royal Mail” Ford Transit Van, an Austin Taxi and a Jaguar Police Saloon).  Other gift sets in this range were the C30) Tourist – Tower Bridge Set (a “Routemaster” Double-Decker Bus and an Austin Taxi), the C31) Tourist – Picadilly Set (a “Routemaster Double-Decker Bus, an Austin Taxi and a Rover 800 Police Car), the C32) Tourist – Big Ben Set (a “Routemaster” Double-Decker Bus, an Austin Taxi and a “Concorde” Supersonic Airliner, the C34) Tourist – Tower of London Set (a “Routemaster” Double-Decker Bus, a “Concorde” Supersonic Airliner, a “Juniors” Austin Taxi and a “Juniors” Jaguar Police Coupe) and the C1365/2) London Scene Two Piece (a “Juniors” Austin Taxi and a large “Routemaster” Double-Decker Bus).

Corgi Gift Sets for 1990 featured the J3125/4) Airport Set (with a “Concorde” Supersonic Airliner and four Corgi Juniors), the J3136/2) Emergency Set (with six Corgi Juniors), J3155/4) Carry Car Case (for Corgi Juniors), the J3167/7) Superhauler Set (with two Container Trucks and four Corgi Juniors), the J3168/9) Transporter Set (with a Car Transporter, Trailer and six Corgi Juniors), the J3169/7) Bumper Set (with ten Corgi Juniors), the J3170/8) Jumbo Set (with 20 Corgi Juniors), the J3184/4) Datapost Set (with two Container Trucks and four Corgi Juniors, all in red and with “Royal Mail” markings), the C2) Fire Set (with a Ford Transit Van, a Saab 9000 Turbo and an ERF Fire Engine), the C8/2) Police Set (with a Police Car, a Ford Transit Wrecker Truck
and a Ford Escort Van), the C10/2) “AA” Set (with a Ford Transit Van, a Ford Transit Wrecker Truck and a Ford Escort Van) and the C21/3) “RAC” Set (with a Ford Escort Van, a Ford Transit Wrecker Truck and a Land Rover).  The sets starting with the letter “C” were not Corgi Juniors models, but regular models of about 1:36-scale.

The “Corgi Teddy Cards” line of blister pack sets for 1990 included the J2897/3) Christmas Tree Teddy Set, the J2898/3) Snow Teddy Set, the J2899/3) Father Christmast Teddy Set, the J2900/2) Police Teddy Set, the J2901/2) Fire Teddy Set, the J2902/3) Breakdown Teddy Set, the J2903/2) Post Office Teddy Set and the J2904/2) Race Teddy Set.  Each blister pack contained four Corgi Juniors vehicles.

The Corgi Vans range for 1990 featured the C496/2) Ford Escort Van (in white and with Police markings), the C496/19) Ford Escort Van (in yellow and with “AA” markings), the C656/1) Ford Transit Van (in white and with “RAC Rescue Service” markings), the C656/2) Ford Transit Van (in red and with “Royal Mail” markings), the C656/5) Ford Transit Van (in yellow and with “British Telecom” livery) and the C656/28) Ford Transit Van Ambulance.

The Corgi Truckers line for 1990 included the 1300/2) MAN Container Truck (in dark blue and with “Raleigh” livery), the 1301/1) MAN Tanker Truck (in white and with “BP” livery), the 1302/1) MAN Open Back Tipper Truck (in orange), the 1303/2) Ford Cargo Container Truck (in white and with “Pepsi” livery), the C1304/1) Ford Cargo Tanker Truck (with a white cab and chassis and with “Duckhams Oils” livery), the C1305/2) Ford Cargo Open Back Tipper Truck (with a red cab and chassis and gray tipper), the C1306/1) Kenworth Container Truck (with a white cab and chassis and “7 Up” livery), the C1307/1) Kenworth Tanker Truck (with a yellow cab and chassis and with “Shell” livery) and the C1308/1) Kenworth Open Back Tipper Truck (with a yellow cab and chassis and black tipper).

The Corgi Superhaulers range for 1990 featured the C1222/4) Volvo Car Transporter Truck (in red and with “Globetrotter” livery), the C1231/33) Volvo Container Truck (in black and with “Mars” livery), the C1231/34) Volvo Container Truck (in yellow and with “Opal Fruits” livery), the C1238/6) Seddon Atkinson Container Truck (in red and with “Royal Mail Datapost” markings), the C1238/13) Seddon Atkinson Container Truck (in dark blue and with “Cadbury’s Wiska” livery), the C1265/2) Volvo Tanker Truck (in white and with “Texaco” livery) and the C1265/5) Volvo Tanker Truck (in yellow and white and with “Shell” livery).

The Corgi Fast Cars line for 1990 included the C229/4) Ford Sierra Rally Car (in pink and with “Mr. Tomkinson Carpets” livery), the C271/1) James Bond 007 Aston Martin DB5 (in silver and with front-mounted machine guns, passenger ejector seat and rear bullet shield – from the movies “Goldfinger” in 1964 and “Thunderball” in 1965), the C279/3) Rolls-Royce Corniche Saloon (in bronze metallic and with opening front passenger doors), the C318/8) Jaguar XJS Coupe (in dark blue metallic and with opening passenger doors), the C346/1) Citroen 2CV Dolly (in red and white), the C353/9) BMW 325i Saloon (in black and with opening passenger doors), the C378/2) Ferrari 308 GTS (in red), the C386/8) Mercedes-Benz 2.3/16 Saloon (in maroon and with opening front passenger doors), the C399/5) Peugeot 205 T16 Rally Car (in yellow and with “Shell” and “Michelin” liveries), the C435/12) Volvo 760 Turbo Saloon (in dark blue metallic and with opening front passenger doors), the C440/1) Porsche 944 Coupe (in red and with opening passenger doors) and the C440/6) Porsche 944 Rally Car (in white and with “Pirelli” and “BF Goodrich” liveries).

The Corgi Turbos range for 1990 featured the C100/2) Porsche 956 (in yellow and with “Taka Q” livery), the C100/3) Porsche 956 (in black and with “Blaupunkt” livery), the C100/4) Porsche 956 (in white and with “Yokohama” livery), the C102/4) Opel Manta Coupe (in white and with “Mobil 1” livery), the C102/5) Opel Manta Coupe (in yellow and with “British Telecom” livery), the C106/9) Saab 9000 Turbo (in white and with “Federal Express” livery), the C110/5) BMW 635 Coupe (in white and with Police markings), the C110/7) BMW 635 Coupe (in red), the C139/7) Porsche 911 Coupe (in dark green and with “Foltene” livery), the C144/1) Jaguar XJR9 (in white and with “Castrol” livery), the C150/3) Chevrolet Camaro (in red and with white and blue stripes) and the C150/4) Chevrolet Camaro (in blue and with white and black stripes).

The Corgi Service Vehicles line for 1990 included the C406/2) Mercedes-Benz 300TE Ambulance (with “Falck” livery), the C425/3) Austin London Taxi (in black and with Radio Cab livery), the C438/3) Rover 800 Police Saloon (with opening front passenger doors), the C469/15) London “Routemaster” Double-Decker Bus (in red and with “The London Standard” livery), the C597/3) Police Range Rover (with opening front passenger doors), the C650/1) “Concorde” Supersonic Airliner (with tilting nose and with “British Airways” livery), the C674/1) Ford Transit Wrecker Truck (in yellow and with “AA Service” markings), the C675/14) Metrobus Double-Decker Bus (in orange and white and with “GM Buses” livery), the C676/12) Ford Transit Bus (in green and yellow and with “Oxford City Nipper” markings) and the C1185/1) Mack Fire Engine (with “Hammond Fire Dept.” markings).

Corgi offered two Action Loop track sets for the Corgi Juniors line in 1990; one single loop set and one double loop racing set.  They were made of plastic track and came with power launchers.  This was a very good idea, which I believe should have been expanded upon in order to compete more effectively with the likes of “Hot Wheels.”  Corgi introduced electronic models in 1990 to compete with the likes of “Matchbox.”  These included the six “Junior Alarm Flashers” complete with light and siren action.  Larger scale models included the four “Motorized Alarm Flashers” complete with light and siren action and “pull back” friction drive.  The 12 “Mini Racers,” the eight “Construction” racers, the six larger scale “Racers” and the four larger off-road “Hyper Kinetics” were so-called “action” models targeted at children.  They had accessory track sets, and can be compared with the modern Corgi product known as “Streakerz.”  The 11 “Corgi Luggers” sets were also targeted at younger children.  They could be taken apart and put together in different ways.  The end of the 1990 Corgi dealer color catalogue featured seven “Centres and Action Plates” (service stations, test centers for cars, a pit stop, a police station and a “Royal Mail Datapost” collection center).

The January – June 1990 Corgi Classics color catalogue featured five distinct lines of models: “Classic Cars,” “Sports Cars,” “Commercials,” “Tramlines” and now “Gift Sets.”  The cars included the D700/8) Jaguar Mark II (in Silver Blue), the D700/9) Jaguar Mark II (in Willow Green), the D701/3) Ford Popular (in black), the D701/8) Ford Popular (in Newark Grey), the D701/9) Ford Popular (in Winchester Blue), the D702/6) Morris Minor (in Almond Green), the D702/7) Morris Minor (in Ivory), the D702/8) Morris Minor (in Clipper Blue), the D708/6) Ford Cortina Police Car, the D708/7) Ford Cortina (in black), the D708/8) Ford Cortina (in Spruce Green), the D709/6) Ford Zodiac (in two-tone Black and Ambassador Blue), the D709/7) Ford Zodiac (in two-tone yellow and white), the D710/6) Ford Zephyr (in Maroon) and the D710/7) Ford Zephyr (in Pompadour Blue).

The January – June 1990 range of “Sports Cars” included the D730/1) MGA Hard Top (in Silver and Black), the D731/1) MGA Open Top (in British Racing Green), the D732/1) MGA Soft Top (in Post Office Red) and the D734/1) Austin Healey Open Top (in blue).

The January – June 1990 line of “Light Commercials” featured the D599/9) AEC Double-Decker Bus (in red with “Wallace’s Sausages” livery), the D599/10) AEC Double-Decker Bus (in red and yellow with “Tamplin’s Ales” livery), the D957/21) Morris 1000 Van (in white with “7-Up” livery), the D957/22) Morris 1000 Van (in yellow with “Bishop’s Removals” livery), the D957/23) Morris 1000 Van (in dark blue with “A. Dunn & Son” livery), the D980/13) Ford Popular Van (in brown with “Lima Furniture” livery), the D980/14) Ford Popular Van (in dark blue with “Cambrian Factory Ltd.” Livery), the D980/15) Ford Popular Van (in dark red with “Abbeycolor” livery), the D981/3) Bedford CA Van (in yellow with “AA Road Service” markings), the D982/3) Bedford Dormobile (in Green and Cream), the D983/1) Morris J Van (in dark green with “GPO” markings) and the D983/2) Morris J Van (in red with “Royal Mail” markings).  The buses were made in 1:50-scale, whereas the small trucks were in 1:43-scale (as were the cars and the sports cars).

The January – June 1990 range of “Heavy Commercials” included the D822/10) Bedford Box Van (in red with “Terry’s of York” livery), the D897/14) AEC Cabover Van (in brown with “Great Western Railway” livery), the D949/17) Bedford OB Coach (in beige with light green fenders with “Greenslades Tours” livery), the D949/18) Bedford OB Coach (in red, with a white roof and “Devon General” markings) and the D953/13) Bedford Pantechnicon (in black with “Wylie & Lochhead” livery).  The large commercial vehicles were all made in 1:50-scale, as they are to this day.

The January – June 1990 line of “Trams” featured the D990/6) Single Deck Tram (in white and yellow with “Maidstone Corporation” markings), the D991/6) Double Deck Open Tram (in blue and white with “Lipton’s Tea” livery) and the D992/8) Double Deck Closed Tram (in red and white with “News World” livery).

The January – June range of “Gift Sets” included the D35/1) 50th Anniversary Battle of Britain Set (with a Bedford OB Coach, a Morris 1000 Van and a Ford Saloon, all with “Royal Air Force” markings), the D36/1) Racing Zephyrs Set (with three Ford Zephyr Saloons in racing liveries) and the D37/1) 150 Years of Penny Post Set (with a Double Deck Fully Closed Tramcar).

The July – December 1990 Corgi Classics large color catalogue featured many new models (mostly changes in colors and liveries) in the “Cars,” “Sports Cars,” “Light Commercials,” “Heavy Commercials,” “Tramlines,” “Giftsets” and brand new “Cameo” lines.  The 1990 Corgi Collector Club model was a yellow and blue Bedford CA Van with the “Corgi” logo.  The “Corgi Classics Cars” included the D700/4) Jaguar Mark II (in Pale Blue), the D700/10) Jaguar Mark II (in Opal Maroon), the D701/3) Ford Popular (in black), the D702/6) Morris Minor (in Almond Green), the D702/9) Morris Minor (in Sage Green), the D708/6) Ford Cortina Police Saloon, the D708/9) Ford Cortina Rally Car, the D709/6) Ford Zodiac (in two-tone Black and Ambassador Blue), the D709/8) Ford Zodiac (in two-tone Ermine White and Grey), the D710/6) Ford Zephyr (in Maroon), the D710/12) Ford Zephyr (in Linden Green), the D711/1) Saab 96 Saloon (in red), the D711/2) Saab 96 Saloon (in blue) and the D712/1) Saab 96 Rally Car (in red with “Erik Carlsson” livery).

The July – December 1990 range of classic “Corgi Classics Sports Cars” featured the D731/1) MGA Open Top (in British Racing Green), the D733/1) Austin Healey Hard Top (in Post Office Red), the D734/1) Austin Healey Open Top (in blue), the D735/1) Austin Healey Soft Top (in Pacific Green), the D736/1) Triumph 3A Hard Top (in Post Office Red), the D737/1) Triumph 3A Open Top (in Pale Blue), the D738/1) Triumph 3A (in Yellow), the D739/1) Ferrari 250 Sport (in red with the number “151”), the D740/1) Ferrari 250 GTO (in red), the D741/1) Porsche 356 Hard Top (in red), the D742/1) Porsche 356 Open Top (in white) and the D743/1) Porsche 356 Soft Top (in black).

The July – December 1990 line of “Light Commercials” included the D599/11) AEC Double-Decker Bus (in dark green with “Irish Independent” livery), the D599/12) AEC Double-Decker Bus (in light blue with “RAF Wings for Victory” Battle of Britain 50th Anniversary livery), the D957/21) Morris 1000 Van (in white with “7-Up” livery), the D957/27) Morris 1000 Van (in yellow with “GPO Post Office Telephones” livery), the D980/16) Ford Popular Van (in red with “Royal Mail” markings), the D981/3) Bedford CA Van (in yellow with “AA” markings), the D981/9) Bedford CA Van (in yellow with “Evening News” livery), the D981/10) Bedford CA Van (in black and grey with “Evening Standard” livery), the D981/11) Bedford CA Van (in red with “The Star” livery), the D982/4) Bedford Dormobile (in brown and cream), the D983/1) Morris J Van (in green with “GPO” markings), the D983/2) Morris J Van (in red with “Royal Mail” markings), the D983/4) Morris J Van (in black with Metropolitan Police markings), the D983/5) Morris J Van (in lavender and white with “Wall’s Ice Cream” livery), the D984/1) Volkswagen “Caravanette” Kombi Microbus (in red and white) and the D985/1) Volkswagen Panel Van (in Dove Blue).

The 1990 line of “Corgi Heavy Commercials” included the D822/11) Bedford Box Van (in blue and with “LNER Express Parcels Service” livery, the D945/8) AEC Tanker Truck (in red and with “Mobilgas” livery), the D949/25) Bedford OB Coach (in light yellow, with green fenders and bumpers, and with “Eastern National” livery) and the D953/14) Bedford Pantechnicon (in green and with “Arthur Batty” livery).  Heavy commercial vehicles were made in 1:50-scale.

The 1990 range of “Corgi Tramlines” featured the D991/8) Double Deck Open Tram (in green and with “Catlin Follies” livery), the D992/9) Double Deck Closed Tram (in blue and white and with “Grange Laundry” livery) and the D993/3) Double Deck Open Tram (in red and white and with “Drink Mazawattee Tea” livery).  Tramcars were made in 1:72-scale.

The 1990 line of “Corgi Classics Giftsets” included the D41/1) Barton’s Transport 1950’s Set (with a Bedford OB Coach and an AEC Double-Decker Bus in red), the D46/1) British Railways Vehicles Set (with a Bedford Box Van and a Morris J Van in red), the D47/1) Beano 1990 Minnie the Minx and the Bash Street Kids Set (with an AEC Double-Decker Bus and a Morris J Van with the popular comic strip livery), the D67/1) United Dairies Set (with an AEC Cabover Van and an AEC Cabover Tanker Truck) and the D94/1) Whitebread Brewery Set (with a Bedford Box Van and a Ford Model T Van).

The brand new line of “Corgi Cameo” vehicles were smaller, less detailed, but more affordable.  They were sold in small red window boxes and were roughly in 1:55-scale.  They featured the D750/4) Ford Model T Van (in green and with “City and Suburban Carriers” livery), the D750/5) Ford Model T Van (with “J. Webster and Sons” livery), the D751/3) Morris Pickup Truck (in yellow and with “J. Smith, Coal Merchant” livery), the D751/4) Morris Pickup Truck (in blue and with “Commercial Cars Ltd.” Livery), the D752/3) Bedford Bus (in red and with “Rapid Road Transport” livery), the D752/4) Bedford Bus (in green and with “Crosville School” markings), the D753/3) AEC Cabover Van (with “Metropolitan Railways” markings) and the D753/4) AEC Cabover Van (with “Great Western Railway” markings).

1991 Corgi Model Year

In 1991 and 1992, the Corgi Classic color catalogues were still large (8 ½ by 11 ½ inches), but the range of models were somewhat smaller in number – and they were denoted with a new numbering system.  New themes replaced older themes in order to create interest in the collector market.  The cover of the January – June 1991 “Corgi Classic” catalogue featured a beautiful drawing of a Jaguar XK120 Roadster on a black background.  The range of 1:43-scale “Sports Cars” included the 96040) Jaguar XK120 Open Top (in White), the 96041) Jaguar XK120 Open Top (in British Racing Green), the 96060) Jaguar XK120 Soft Top (in Black), the 96080) Jaguar E Type Open Top (in Signal Red), the 96140) MGA Hard Top (in Post Office Red), the 96160) MGA Open Top (in Black), the 96180) MGA Soft Top (in White), the 96200) Austin Healey Hard Top (in Green), the 96220) Austin Healey Open Top (in Blue and Ivory), the 96240) Austin Healey Soft Top (in Yellow), the 96300) Triumph 3A Soft Top (in Post Office Red), the 96320) Ferrari 250 Sport (in Red) and the 96360) Porsche 356 Open Top (in Blue).

The “Corgi Classic Cars” line for January – June 1991 featured the 96480) Ford Popular (in Black), the 96500) Ford Cortina Police Saloon, the 96520) Ford Zephyr (in Monaco Red), the 96540) Ford Zodiac (in two-tone Yellow and White), the 96560) Jaguar Mark II (in Silver Blue) and the 96580) Morris Minor (in Almond Green).

The range of “Corgi Classic Rally Cars” for January – June 1991 included the 96660) Saab (in dark red and with “Eric Carlsson” livery), the 96680) Jaguar Mark II (in dark blue and with “Stirling Moss” livery), the 96740) Morris Minor (in white and with “Pat Moss” livery) and the 96760) Ford Cortina (in red and with “Sir John Whitmore” livery).

The “Corgi Classic Light Commercials” line for January – June 1991 featured the 96840) Morris 1000 Van (in green and with “Bristol Water” markings), the 96842) Morris 1000 Van (in yellow and with “GPO Post Office Telephones” livery), the 96860) Ford Popular Van (in dark blue and grey and with “Eastbourne Motors Ltd.” livery), the 96862) Ford Popular Van (in red and with “Royal Mail” markings), the 96880) Morris J Van (in dark blue and with “Pickfords” livery) the 96882) Morris J Van (in red and with “Royal Mail” markings), the 96883) Morris J Police Van (in black), the 96900) in yellow and with “The Guardian Evening News” livery), the 96903) Bedford CA Van (in yellow and with “AA Road Service” markings), the 96920) Bedford Police Dormobile (in black), the 96940) Volkswagen Caravanette / Kombi Microbus (in Red and Grey), the 96941) Volkswagen Caravanette / Kombi Microbus (in Grey and White), the 96960) Volkswagen Panel Van (in Yellow and with “Bosch Auto Electrical” livery), the 96980) AEC Double-Decker Bus (in Yellow and with “Stevenson’s” livery), the 97000) Renault Van (in green and with “Perrier Natural Mineral Water” livery) and the 97040) Volkswagen Camper (in Green and White).

The 1:50-scale “Corgi Classic Heavy Commercials” range for January – June 1991 featured the 97080) Bedford Pantechnicon (in blue and with “John Julian” livery), the 97100) Bedford OB Coach (in light blue and with “Tours Isle of Man” livery), the 97101) Bedford OB Coach (in cream and blue and with “Scilly Isles” markings), the 97120) Bedford Box Van (in red and with “LMS Express Parcels Traffic” livery), the 97140) AEC Cabover Van (in green and with “Southern Railway Express Parcel Services” livery) and the 97180) AEC Regal Coach (with “Grey-Green” livery).

The 1:72-scale “Corgi Classic Trams” line for January – June 1991 included the 97240) Double Decker Open Tram (in brown and with “Lowestoft Corporation Tramways” markings), the 97241) Double Decker Open Tram (in green and light yellow and with “Lipton’s Tea” livery) and the 97260) Double Decker Closed Tram (in maroon and white and with “Martell” livery).

A very nice new model which recalled a great Corgi die-cast from the past was the 97320) La France Fire Engine.  It was the sole member of the “Fire Service” range.

The line of “Corgi Classic Gift Sets” for January – June 1991 featured the 97680) 30 Years of the “E” Type Set (with one white open top and one red closed top “E” Type Jaguar), the 97700) Jaguar Through the Years Set (with one white Jaguar XK120 Roadster, one black “E” Type Jaguar Sports Car and one Silver Blue Jaguar Mark II Saloon), the 97740) Times Set (with one Morris 1000 Van and one Bedford CA Van), the 97741) Island Transport – Jersey Set (with two different Bedford OB Coaches) and the 97742) John Smith’s Brewery Set (with one AEC Cabover Tanker Truck and one Pickup Truck in green).

The 1991 Corgi Collector Club model was a Morris J Van in yellow and blue with the club logo.  The Club now had official branches outside of the United Kingdom in Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, the Netherlands, Italy, New Zealand, Norway, the United States and Germany.

The July – December 1991 Corgi Classics color catalogue was similar to the one for the first half of the year, but with a green background on the cover.  The new “Jaguar” range featured the 96042) Jaguar E Type Soft Top (in Cream), the 96043) Jaguar E Type Open Top (in Black), the 96044) Jaguar XK120 Soft Top (in Maroon), the 97681) Stirling’s Choice Set (with a Jaguar XK120 Open Top in bright green and an Austin Healey Hardtop in silver) and the 97701) Racing E Types Set (with two E Type Jaguar Soft Tops, one in light grey and one in red).

The July – December 1991 “Corgi Classic Winners” line included the 96662) Saab Saloon (in light blue with “Pat Moss” livery), the 96721) Ford Zephyr (in white with “Ann Hall” livery), the 96741) Morris Minor (in dark blue “Himalayan Rally” livery), the 96963) Ford Cortina (in red with “Roger Clark” livery), the 96764) Ford Cortina (in white with “Jim Clark” livery) and the 96881) Jaguar Mark II Saloon (in white with “John Coombs” livery).

The July – December 1991 Corgi Classics Fire Service range featured just one model, this being the number 97321 American La France Fire Engine (in red with “Centerville Fire Department Hood and Ladder 1” markings).

The brand new “Corgi Comic Classics Limited Editon” line included the 98754) Bedford CA Van (in yellow with “Adventure” livery), the 98755) Ford Popular Van (in red and light yellow with “Hotspur” livery), the 98756) Morris 1000 Van (in orange with “The Rover” livery), the 98757) Volkswagen Panel Van (in light yellow and blue with “The Skipper” livery), the 98758) Morris J Van (in yellow and red with “The Wizard” livery) and the 98759) Dandy Gift Set (with a Morris J Van and a Bedford CA Van).  These 1:43-scale models were decorated with popular British comic strip characters.

The “Corgi Commercials” range for July – December 1991 featured the 96990) AEC Bus Set (with one Double-Decker and one Regal Coach), the 97061) Coventry Bus Set (with an AEC Double-Decker Bus and a Bedford OB Coach), the 97062) AEC Double-Decker Bus (in red with “Oxford” markings), the 97063) Yelloway Gift Set (with an AEC Regal Coach and a Bedford OB Coach), the 97085) Bedford Pantechnicon (in red with “Slumberland Beds” livery) and the 97184) AEC Regal Coach (in white and red with “Sheffield” markings).

The Corgi Cameo line for July – December 1991 included the 97831) Royal Mail 2 Piece Set, the 97832) Pickfords 2 Piece Set, the 97833) Railway 4 Piece Set, the 97834) Village 4 Piece Set and numerous individual models of classic vans, tanker trucks, pickup trucks and buses.

1992 Corgi Model Year

In 1992, the Corgi Classics color catalogue was still large (8 ½ by 11 ½ inches), but the range of models were somewhat smaller in number – and they were denoted with the new numbering system introduced in 1991.  New themes replaced older themes in order to create interest in the collector market.  The cover of the January – June 1992 Corgi Classics catalogue featured a beautiful drawing of an AEC Pumper Fire Engine on a purple background.  The 1:43-scale line of “Sports Cars” and “Jaguar Range” models included the 96081) Jaguar E Type Open Top (in Primrose Yellow), the 96570) Chevrolet Bel Air Hardtop (the “Millionth Gold” edition), the 97702) Jaguar Collection (with three Jaguars on a very nice wooden stand), the 97712) Monte Carlo Mini Set (with three racing Mini Coopers) and the 97730) Austin Healey Winners Set (with three Austin Healey racecars).

The January – June 1992 range of “Corgi Comic Classics Limited Editions” featured the 96864) “Tiger” (with one Morris 1000 Van), the 96865) Ford Popular Van (with the “Beezer” comic), the 98960) “Beano” Gift Set (with one Morris 1000 Van and one Morris J Van), the 98965) “Eagle” Gift Set (with one Bedford CA Van and one Volkswagen Panel Van) and the 98970) “X-Men” Gift Set (with one Bedford CA Van and one Morris J Van).  Comic and superhero “Classic” models and sets all came in creatively illustrated collectable boxes complete with limited edition comic certificates.

The January – June 1992 line of “Classic Commercials from Corgi” included the 96985) Thornycroft Bus (in blue and with “S. Young & Son “ livery), the 96995) Ian Allen 50th Anniversary Set (with one AEC Double-Decker Bus and one Bedford CA Van), the 97070) Silver Service Bus Set (with one AEC Regal Bus and one Bedford OB Coach in silver and blue), the 97071) Devon Bus Set (with one AEC Double-Decker Bus and one AEC Regal Bus), the 97072) Gosport & Fareham Bus Set (with one AEC Double-Decker Bus and one AEC Regal Bus in green), the 97186) AEC Regal Bus (in “Grey Cars” livery), the 97187) AEC Regal Bus (in red with “Hanson” livery) and the 97195) Bedford Pantechnicon (in red and with “Howells and Son Furniture Removers” livery).  All commercials came complete with presentation packaging and limited edition certificates.  The gift sets also included an authentic period bus timetable.

The January – June 1992 “Corgi Fire Service” range featured just one model, this being the brand new 97355) AEC Pumper Fire Engine (with “Nottinghamshire” markings).

The January – June 1992 line of “Corgi Cameos” featured the two 1951 Volkswagen Beetle Sedans (one in light blue and one in red), two Morris Minor Saloons (one in lavender and one in white), two Citroën 2CVs (one in maroon and one in red), two Austin Mini Coopers (one in dark green and one in dark blue), two AEC Cabover Vans (one with “Drummer Dyes” and one with “Hustler Soap” livery), two Bedford Buses (one in yellow and one in maroon), two Ford Model T Vans (one with “Zebra Polish” and one with “The Sketch” livery) and two Morris Trucks (one with “Thorley’s Cattle Food” and one with “Carless Petrol” livery).

The 1992 Corgi Club model was a Volkswagen Panel Van in light yellow and blue with the club logo.

The July – December 1992 Corgi Classics color catalogue was similar to the one for the first half of the year, but it featured a nice drawing of an AEC Double Decker “Guy Arab” Bus on the cover, with a maroon background.  The “Corgi Comic Classics Limited Edition” and “Corgi Superheroes Limited Edition” line included the 96887) “Topper” (with one Morris J Van), the 96961) “Lion” (with one Volkswagen Panel Van), the 98972) “Spider Man” Gift Set (with one Morris J Van and one Morris 1000 Van) and the 98973) “Captain America” Set (with one Volkswagen Panel Van and one Ford Popular Van).  “Specials” featured the 97087) Bedford Pantechnicon (in white and green with the “Barnardos” Christmas Charity Model livery and the 97755) “Whitbread 250th Anniversary Set (with one AEC Cabover Tanker Truck and one Thornycroft Pickup Truck).

The July – December 1992 range of “Sports Cars” included the 96082) Jaguar E Type (with “Ken Baker” livery), the 96571) Chevrolet Bel Aire (in light blue with a white hardtop), the 97695) Abingdon Set (with two MG Sports Cars and one Morris J Van) and the 97713) “Italian Job” Mini Set (with one red, one white and one blue Mini Cooper – from the “Paramount Pictures” movie).

The July – December 1992 line of “Commercials” featured the 96982) AEC Double-Decker Bus (in dark blue and white with “Rochdale” markings), the 97075) Bus Set (one AEC Regal Coach and one Bedford OB Coach with “South Wales” markings), the 97076) Bus Set (one AEC Double-Decker Bus and one AEC Regal Coach with “W. Alexander & Sons Ltd.” Livery), the 97077) Bus Set (with one AEC Double-Decker Bus and one AEC Regal Coach in “East Lancashire” markings), the 97105) Bedford OB Coach (in red with “Felix 70th Anniversary” livery), the 97192) AEC Regal Coach “Leyland Tiger” (with “Ribble” livery), the 97198) AEC Double-Decker “Guy Arab” Bus (in green with “Southdown” markings), the 97199) AEC Double-Decker “Guy Arab” Bus (in blue with “Birkenhead” markings), the 97735) “Cumbrian” Set (with one Bedford Box Van and one Morris J Van), the 97754) LMS Railway Set (with one AEC Cabover Van and one Thornycroft Van), the 97891) AEC Truck and Trailer (in green and grey with “Billy Smart’s” livery), the 97892) AEC Truck and Trailer (in black and red with “S. Houseman” livery) and the 97893) AEC Truck and Trailer (in red with “J. Ayers” livery).

The July – Deceember 1992 range of “Corgi Fire Service” vehicles included the 97331) La France Set (with one green “Scottdale” and one yellow “South River” Fire Truck), the 97351) AEC Ladder Set (one AEC Ladder Truck and one Bedford CA Van with “Bristol” markings), the 97385) AEC Ladder Truck (with “Cardiff” markings) and the 97391) AEC Pump Escape Set (one AEC Pumper Fire Engine and one Bedford CA Van with “Nottinghamshire County Council” markings).

Finally, the July – December 1992 line of “Corgi Royals” models featured the 97150) Thornycroft Van (in red with “Buckingham Palace” livery), the 97151) Thornycroft Van (in brown and tan with “Sandringham” livery), the 97152) Thornycroft Van (in grey and blue with “Windsor Castle” livery), the 97153) Thornycroft Van (in lavender and grey with “Holyroodhouse” livery), the 97154) Thornycroft Van (in black and yellow with “Kensington Palace” livery) and the 97155) Thornycroft Van (in black and white with “Balmoral” livery).  These vehicles were of course commissioned in honor of the 40th Anniversary of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II.

2005 Corgi Model Year and Beyond

Today, Corgi (unlike “Matchbox” and “Dinky,” which are owned by Mattel of the United States), remain a uniquely independent British toymaker – part of the Hornby Group since 2008.  Corgi maintains distinct product lines for its main global market and for the USA.  “Corgi USA” is based in Chicago, Illinois and markets die-cast products such as American Fire Trucks, military aircraft, helicopters, battle tanks, toy soldiers, vintage American city buses & streetcars, American commercial vehicles, the “Batman” collection, “Marvel” comic hero figures, the “Wallace & Gromit” line, the “Koala Brothers” line, “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,” “Corgi Wheelz” vehicles, “i Car,” “Streakerz” track sets and of course the very famous and successful “James Bond 007” collection of vehicles.  “Corgi USA” maintains its own collector club, which is in addition to the three main United Kingdom – based clubs for “Corgi,” “Lledo” (purchased by Corgi) and for Die-cast Aviation.

The main arm of Corgi in the United Kingdom markets more traditional products, such as:

1.)    The Aviation Archive (Pioneers of Aviation, Knights of the Air, Aviation Hall of Fame, Survivors!, World War II Transport and Special Duties, 90 Years of the Royal Air Force, Modern Military Air Power and Per Ardua and Astra).

2.)    Corgi Warbirds (1:72 and 1:144-scale World War II aircraft die-cast aircraft models compete with display stands).

3.)    Corgi Collection (die-cast British military aircraft from the 1900s to the present day).

4.)    Road Transport (1:50-scale die-cast models of British heavy haulers, trucks and construction vehicles).

5.)    Vintage Glory (1:50-scale die-cast models of working steam wagons and “Showman’s” engines.

6.)    Buses in Britain (a range of die-cast British buses from the beginning of the 19th century to the present day).

7.)    The Original Omnibus Company (1:76-scale die-cast models of more modern British passenger buses).

8.)    Mettoy (1:24-scale tin “wind-up” toys reproduced from molds going back to the founding of the company in 1934).  Philipp Ullmann and Arthur Katz were German-Jewish immigrants who brought their highly skilled toy-making skills from Germany to Britain before World War II.

9.)    Mini Mania (die-cast models of the famous Mini-Cooper cars).

10.)    Trackside (1:76-scale die-cast models of cars, trucks and vans, all made to fit “OO” gauge model train sets.

Vanguards (this 1:43-scale name brand was merged into Corgi due to the Lledo purchase).  It includes mostly famous British classic cars, sports cars, racing cars, rally cars, commercial vehicles and police vehicles.  Lledo was founded by the late Jack Odell, who was himself one of the three original founders of Lesney – the first manufacturers of Matchbox.

Corgi is my current favorite die-cast brand.  In addition to having a rich tradition, they feature a diverse product line with good quality for a reasonable price, and are not difficult to find among Internet retailers.  Corgi is based in the United Kingdom, and manufacturing is done in China as it is with the overwhelming majority of modern toy companies.

Minichamps of Aachen, Germany

“Minichamps” is a brand owned by Paul’s Model Art of Aachen, Germany.  Germany is actually the pioneer in the global toy industry, having come into sophistication of product and mass-marketing shortly before World War One.  “Minichamps” is of such high quality and so realistic, that many modern car companies retain them to officially make copies of past and present models.  Such cars can be found in the parts departments of car dealerships around the world, and of course in factory headquarters.  They are given or sold to customers as promotional items.  Most of what they make are 1:43 scale, but they also have a line of 1:18 scale cars and trucks and recently launched a range of smaller scale miniatures.  The products themselves are manufactured in Mainland China, and compare very favorably in quality and price to the best the global market has to offer.  44 of the models within my personal collection are Minichamps.  I would personally recommend “Minichamps” as one of the best quality brands for the money within the entire global diecast industry.  Their detail and quality are unmatched by other manufacturers.

Minichamps was founded on May 1, 1990, and is both owned and led by Paul G. Lang and Romy Crombach-Lang.  They have just 45 employees in Germany, and annual sales turnover is about 30 million Euros.  About 3,000 employees in China do the actual manufacturing work.  Minichamps has made about 12,000 different models since 1990 (many of these are different color or livery variations of similar vehicles), and they make about 3 million model cars per year as of 2009.  They have built and sold something like 30 million model cars since their inception as a company in 1990.  In the adult collector and enthusiast world (as opposed to the toy market for children), the 1:43-scale is the most popular.  A true testament to the quality and the popularity of the Minichamps product is their 60 percent market share in this important segment.  In any given year, the company offers around 1,200 different models.

A good North American retail sources for Minichamps models is “Toys for Collectors” from upstate New York at www.tfcusa.com.  TFC has competitive pricing and good service.

Wiking of Germany

“Wiking” (the German word for “Viking”) is yet another prestige German toymaker retained by automotive firms such as Volkswagen to make officially-sanctioned and highly realistic scale model cars of real-life car and truck models.  Unlike Minichamps which makes models out of metal, the Wiking products are made of plastic.  They make both 1:40 scale and 1:87 “Ho” scale versions.  I have 19 Wiking models in my collection, all of them Volkswagen (9 of the 1:40 scale models and 10 of the Ho-scale vehicles).  In spite of being a prestige brand, Wiking products tend to be extremely fragile and brittle, in addition to being very expensive.

A good North American retail source for Wiking models is “German Air Cooled” of Southern California at www.germanaircooled.com.  Selection and service are very good.

Schuco of Fürth, Bavaria (Germany)

“Schuco” is a very famous toy brand from Fürth, Bavaria in Germany.  They were founded before World War One by a German-Jewish merchant, and today own such brands as “Dickie,” “Schabak” (they make 1:43 scale cars, but now confine the brand mostly to scale-model airplanes) and formerly “Gama” (they used to make 1:41 scale cars, but the brand is now dormant).  The Gama trademark has since been sold to “Märklin,” a very famous German manufacturer of model trains now in financial difficulty.  Märklin also made die-cast model cars and wind-up tin cars in the past, which were even larger and more expensive compared to those from Schuco.

Schuco is most famous for its line of 1:18 scale Classic Tin Cars & Trucks, 1:24-scale Classic Tin “Studio,” 1:24-scale Classic Tin “Oldtimers” and Classic Tin Radio-Controlled cars and planes.  They are all faithful reproductions of toys made between the 1930s and 1950s.  Schuco also has a line of “Micro-Racers” (1:45 scale and thus much smaller than the other Classic Tin toys) which feature wind-up mechanisms and keys much like many of the larger Classic Tin line.  I highly recommend the micro racers – the detail has improved over the years.  In fact, I believe that Schuco should expand this line, and position it in between the Schuco Junior line and the regular 1:43 line.  Schuco also has a line of Micro-Jets and Micro-Oldtimers, similar to the Micro-Racers in their quality and features.  But I would like to comment upon the delicate windup mechanism in all Schuco Classic Tin toys (tin vehicles, construction kits, Studio cars, Oldtimers, Micro-Racers and Micro-Jets).  When subjected to regular play by children, one should not expect these to last indefinitely.  Furthermore, they make break in shipping transit – something for serious collectors to consider, as Schuco retailers are spread far and wide.  The Classic Tin toys tend to have collector value, but that is about it.  They are by no means rugged.

Schuco is also famous for its line of 1:90 scale “Piccolo” cars and trucks, made of solid metal.  These have been around since the 1950s, and are not inexpensive either.  Schuco has a line of 1:43 scale cars which compete on a similar level with Minichamps and “Premium Classixx” by BUB.  They also have a Junior Line of cars in the 1:87 (”Ho” Train set scale), 1:72, 1:43 and 1:24 scale.  These are less detailed than the 1:43 Collector line.

The original German products sell for much more money than the brand new Hungarian, Bulgarian and Chinese reproductions and new cars sold today.  Regardless, the quality of all of them is comparable.  45 of the models within my personal collection belong to the Schuco toy group (the brands of Schuco, Schabak and Gama).  Of these, 42 are Schuco and two are Schabak.  Schuco sold the Gama brand to Märklin (famous for making toy trains), which recently filed for bankruptcy.  I have two Gama models (both Volkswagen 411 Sedans).  Schabak used to make metal reproductions of 1:43-scale cars mostly from German manufacturers such as Volkswagen and Audi.  Today, they are better known for their die-cast reproductions of commercial airliners.

In summary, I would rate Schuco similarly to Wiking.  I believe that neither brand comes close to the quality, detail and price-value offered by their fellow-German company of Minichamps or the mass-market appeal and wider product range of Corgi.

A good North American retail source for Schuco as well is German Air Cooled of southern California at www.germanaircooled.com.  The owner of the business regularly attends toy fairs in Germany to purchase new products.

1967 Schuco Model Year

The 1967 “Schuco Micro Racer” catalogue included such traditional wind-up models as the 1030) Thunderjet, the 1031) Magister 170 R Jet, the 1032, Super Sabre F-100 Fighter Jet, the 1033) McDonnell-Douglas F4 D-1 “Phantom” Jet, the 1035) Go-Kart, the 1036) Ford “Oldtimer” Custom Hot Rod, the 1036/1) Mercer Type 35J Raceabout “Oldtimer” Roadster, the 1037) Porsche Racing Car, the 1038) Mercedes-Benz “Fintail” Sedan, the 1039) 1958 Volkswagen Beetle Sedan Police Car, the 1040) Ferrari Racing Car, 1040/1) Ferrari Racing Car (with longer hood), the 1041) USA Midget Racer (with square grille), the 1042) USA Midget Racer (with curved grille), the 1043) Mercedes-Benz Racing Car, 1043/1) 1928 Mercedes-Benz “Oldtimer” SSK, the 1044) Mercedes-Benz 190 Sports Car, the 1045) Ford Sedan, the 1046) 1958 Volkswagen Beetle Sedan, the 1047) Porsche 356 Sports Car, the 1047/1) Jaguar E Type and the 1048) BMW Convertible.  The Micro Jets were made in 1:200-scale, whereas the cars were made in 1:45-scale.  Four different Micro-Racer-Rally track racing sets were also sold as accessories.  The larger Schuco Classic Tin and Oldtimer wind-up cars were made in both 1:18-scale and 1:24-scale.

Welly of China

Welly is of lower mass market quality, and I would not recommend their product for serious collecters (but they just fine for children as toys).  I have 12 Welly models in my personal collection.

Brekina and Faller of Germany

Brekina makes plastic Ho-scale cars (1:87-scale) very similar to Wiking and most of their product line is Volkswagen, with a sprinkling of other German makes (such as Mercedes-Benz and Goggomobil) and even some other European brands such as Volvo. “Goggomobil” is a former brand of the former firm “Hans Glas.”  Hans Glas used to manufacture farm equipment prior to World War Two.  After the war, they had a joint venture with the Italian motor-scooter firm “Vespa.”  They built scooters under license in Germany under the “Goggo” brand (this was the first name of Hans Glas’ son) and an interesting line of micro-cars as well (the Goggomobil cars and trucks with engines ranging from 200 ccm to 400 ccm in displacement).  Brekina is of high quality, and their products make a nice addition to anyone interested in Ho-scale train sets.  Brekina 1:87 scale models are very similar in appearance and quality (very realistic and of good quality plastic) to Wiking models.

In the world of Ho-scale models, Märklin is a very famous German toy train maker, and their products are not inexpensive. They make 1:87 Ho-scale train sets and other scales as well (1:160 “N-scale” and larger scales).  “Faller” is yet another German company famous for making Ho-scale model houses and buildings. When one visits their website, one will be amazed at the detailed reproduction not just of residential homes, farms and train stations, but of entire city sections (such as town squares and city streets complete with amusement parks and streetcars).  I have 17 Brekina models in my collection, all of them Volkswagen.

In the realm of “Ho” 1:87-Scale plastic model cars, Brekina easily matches the quality offered by Wiking and with an even wider product range.

A good North American retail sources for Brekina models as well is “German Air Cooled” of Southern California at www.germanaircooled.com.  Selection is very extensive, and service is very good.

Maisto (by Hasbro)

Maisto is of medium mass market quality.  They feature a line of 1:18 scale cars (far below the quality and price of Minichamps) and a line of small cars similar to Matchbox. Again, price and quality are lower than the competition.  I have 42 Maisto models in my collection, all of them Volkswagen.  I would not recommend this brand for serious diecast collectors, but it is just fine for children as toys.

IXO-IST of China

IXO-IST of China puts out a very decent product at a fair price – not as nice as Minichamps but not at all bad.  I was particularly happy to see that they reproduced the Tatra 603 Sedan and the Tatra 87 Sedan both from the Czech Republic.  These rear-engined and air-cooled luxury cars featured a V-6 configuration.  The IXO and IST product line is in the popular 1:43 scale.  9 of the models within my personal collection are of the IXO-IST brand.  These include two Tatra 603 Sedans, one Tatra 77 Fastback Sedan, one Volkswagen Bay Window Kombi Bus, one Mexican Volkswagen Beetle Sedan, one Trabant 1.1 Liter Sedan, one Mercedes-Benz 200D “Fintail” Sedan and one SEAT Ibiza Hatchback.  IST specializes in 1:43-scale models of cars from the former Eastern Bloc countries, such as Trabant, AWZ, Wartburg, Melkus and Barkas (from the former East Germany), Volga, Lada, ZiL and Moskvitch (from Russia) and Polski Fiat (from Poland).

A good North American retail source for both the IXO and IST model ranges is “Toys for Collectors” of upstate New York at www.tfcusa.com.  The selection of models is very good, and service is good too.

Vitesse of Portugal and Rio of Italy

Vitesse of Portugal used to be a fairly major player, but fell on hard times and is now in the process of trying to stage a comeback.  I never found their quality to be on par with Minichamps, Corgi or even Matchbox King Size models.  Their product line is in the 1:43 scale.  Rio of Italy also makes cars in 1:43 scale – nicely done, but not as detailed or as well-built as Minichamps.  They also fell on hard economic times and are trying to stay afloat.  I can say much the same thing for Solido of France.  They make 1:43 scale cars, of even lesser quality than Vitesse and Rio.  They also fell on difficult financial times.  I have five Vitesse and four Rio models in my collection, all of them Volkswagen.

Igra of the Czech Republic

Igra of the Czech Republic has very brittle quality and much lesser detail, but they make a line of cars one cannot find elsewhere – this includes Czech name brands such as Tatra, Skoda, Avia and Liaz.  The real-life cars and trucks are wonderful and of very high quality, and they have a common heritage with Volkswagen and Porsche – hence my interest in them.  The Igra cars are of 1:36 scale and they used to make the Tatra 11 Sedan – something of an ancestor to the Volkswagen Beetle Sedan which came on the market in 1919.  I have four Igra models in my collection, all of them Tatra.

Ertl of Iowa, the USA

Ertl of the United States is based in the farm belt, and was founded by an immigrant from Bavaria in Germany (hence the surname which comes from the Southern German cultural region including Bavaria, Austria, the Tyrol, Liechtenstein and Switzerland).  Their quality is not on the same level with either Corgi or Minichamps, and I would not recommend them for serious collectors – but they are fine for children.  I have four Ertl models in my collection – one Checker Taxi Cab, one Ford “Woody” Station Wagon, one Cadillac Sedan (all three 1:43-Scale models) and one 1:24-Scale Ford Model A Flatbed Truck.

New Ray of China

New Ray comes from Mainland China, and makes both 1:43-scale cars and scale model airplanes.  I have merely four airplanes in my collection, but two of these come from New Ray.  This is the Boeing-377 “Stratocruiser” – the first luxury airliner produced after World War Two.  The plane was based upon a Boeing B-29 “Stratofortress” Heavy Bomber, with an additional fuselage built above the existing one.  56 such aircraft were built in real life, and flown by such major airlines as Pan American, United, American Overseas Airlines and BOAC (British Overseas Airline Company).  The plane came into active commercial service in 1949 and was the standard of luxury flying for an entire decade, until it was displaced by the Boeing-707 jet airliner.  The Stratocruiser was amazing – for ten years all seats were first class, and they even had sleeper berths and a private cabin for a somewhat higher price.  The separate mens’ and womens’ dressing rooms were true lavatories that could accommodate up to three people each at one time. Downstairs, the planes featured a lounge which could seat up to 14 passengers who would play card games and be served from the bar.  The comfort was truly amazing when one compares them to the flying “sardine cans” of today.

A good North American retail source for New Ray diecast aircraft is www.ashevillediecast.com of North Carolina.  Prices and service are very good.

Franklin Mint of the USA

Franklin Mint of the United States puts out a high quality product at a high price, normally in the 1:24 scale.  Nevertheless, I would recommend both Minichamps and Schuco before Franklin Mint.  I have three Franklin Mint models in my collection, two of them being Volkswagen Beetles (one 1967 sedan in yellow and one 1967 convertible in red with a black top) and one Chevrolet Corvette Convertible.

Tonka of the USA and Polistil of Italy

Tonka of the United States has gone downhill in quality compared to the 1960s and 1970s.  I would not recommend their new products for serious adult collectors, but only for children.  They purchased “Polistil” of Italy, which no longer makes anything.  They used to make 1:24 scale toy cars in the 1970s which were nice for the time (quality and detail have definitely improved over the years, making many older “orphan” brands truly obsolete in terms of accuracy).  I have two Tonka models (a Volkswagen Beetle Sedan and an earth-mover construction vehicle) and one Polistil modle (a 1973 Volkswagen Super Beetle Convertible).

Budgie and Oxford of England

Budgie and Oxford of the United Kingdom no longer exists, but used to compete on a lesser scale with the likes of Matchbox.  I have two Budgie models in my collection, both Volkswagens.  One is an oval-window Beetle Sedan, and the other is a Microbus Kombi Van.

BUB of Fürth, Bavaria (Germany)

“BUB” of Germany puts out a very high quality product and competes both on quality and on price with the likes of Minichamps, Schuco and Brekina from Germany.  I have 5 BUB Premium Classixxs models in my collection, being Bay Window Volkswagen Buses (one Kombi and 4 Panel Vans with different colors and/or liveries).  Premium Classixxs does their manufacturing in Mainland China (as do most toy companies around the world) and they feature a new line of “hand made” diecast cars which are virtually unmatched anywhere.  The 1:43-Scale hand made vehicles can retail for more than US $80 each (some above US $90 or even US $100 each).  Their target competition is likely Brooklin of the United Kingdom, which manufactures its product in Bath, England.  Brooklin 1:43-Scale vehicles often retail for more than US $100 each (with some models for more than US $700 each).  With the price difference, Premium Classixxs cannot be beat.

The BUB and Premium Classixxs lines can be found at “German Air Cooled” of Southern California at www.germanaircooled.com.  The prices for the Premium Classixxs line of 1:43-Scale Type 2 “Bay Window” Volkswagen buses as well as the Type 1 “Fridolin” van are very good.  “Bub” is the word for “boy” in the Austro-Bavarian dialect of Bavaria, Austria and the South Tyrol.

Cursor of Germany

Cursor of Germany used to make very nice 1:40 scale cars featured at car dealerships, but fell on hard times and now limits their product line to scale model farm equipment.  I have one Cursor model in my collection, being a Volkswagen 411 4-Door Sedan.

Kinsmart of China

I have one 1:64-Scale dark blue metallic Volkswagen New Beetle Sedan in my collection, as well as a 1:32-Scale dark blue metallic Volkswagen New Beetle Sedan with a Surfboard on the Roof and one 1:32-Scale 1967 Volkswagen Beetle Sedan (in black), all three made by “Kinsmart” of China.  This is a bargain brand product more suitable for children than for the adult collector.  I have a total of 5 Kinsmart die-cast cars.

Yat-Ming of China

I have one 1:43-scale 1950 Studebaker Champion 2-Door Sedan (or Coupé) and oe 1:43-scale 1969 Chevrolet Corvair Monza Convertible made by Yat-Ming of China.  The purchase price and quality are significantly lower compared to premium products now made in Mainland China (such as Premium Classixx by BUB, Minichamps by Paul’s Model Art, Schuco 1:43-scale or even IXO-IST), but the detail and quality are quite nice when one considers the very low price.  Premium Classixx products usually retail from US $34 to US $105 per car, Minichamps and Schuco anywhere from $30 to $50 and IXO-IST from $25 to $29 per vehicle.  Yat-Ming is around $6 per car, which is difficult if not impossible to match on price for the acceptable quality you get.  They feature models such as the Studebaker Champion, the Studebaker Golden Hawk, the Edsel by Ford Motor Company, the Tucker Torpedo, the Mecury Marauder, the Chevrolet Bel-Air and the Chevrolet Corvair Convertible.  I have 3 Yat-Ming die-cast cars in my collection.

A good retail source for “Yat-Ming” vehicles is www.ashevillediecast.com of North Carolina, the USA.  Prices and selection are very good.  Shipping is by United Parcel Service (UPS).

Tomica of Japan

Tomica of Japan makes toy cars of similar scale to Matchbox (1:64) and also has a line of battery powered cars which can run on special track.  Their line of small cars competing with the likes of Matchbox and Hot Wheels are more upscale compared to the Mattel products.  They come in matchbox-sized boxes, and include mostly models of modern Japanese brand automobiles and trucks.  They are somewhat harder to find in the United States, but enjoy much wider distribution throughout Asia.  I own six of the Tomy-Tomica brand toy cars.  The parent company of Takara Tomy in Japan is a corporate joint-venture ally of Hornby, the British owners of Corgi toys.  Hornby manufactures the “Thomas the Tank Engine” line of toy trains for their Japanese partners.  The Thomas the Tank Engine line is targeted at very young children.

These models can be found at www.amazon.com, but at a price.  Price and selection are much better if you can ever visit large retail stores in Asia.

Brands from my past

I once owned a 1:43 diecast Porsche 356 Coupé (in light green) made by Märklin of Germany – now I wish that I had never sold it.  In addition to making high quality train sets, Märklin made a line of tin cars even larger than those made by Schuco – I would say that the Märklin cars were 1:18 scale or even larger.  The 1:43 Porsche 356 Coupé looked similar to a brand now dormant – “Quiralu” of France.  I never owned anything made by Quiralu.

I also had a plastic 1:43 scale Fiat Coupé (in light red or orange) made by Norev of France.  Since then, Norev has vastly improved their quality and their product line.  Modern Norev products compete with both Minichamps and Schuco.

I once owned two 1:43 Mercedes-Benz cars made by Tekno of Denmark – I never should have sold these either.  They were nicely detailed, made of metal, and of high quality. One was a 230 SL Roadster (in Red) and the other was a 300 SL Hardtop (in light blue).  Tekno of Denmark has since been sold to a new holding company based in the Netherlands.  They now specialize in die-cast reproductions of large commercial trucks such as DAF and Scania.

I also had a substantial collection of old “Tootsietoy” cars made in the United States – the whole collection has since been sold.  I should have kept these, too.  The same goes with a very large collection of 1960s and 1970s Tonka vehicles which were also manufactured in the United States.

I had something made by “Politoys” of Italy, too – a die-cast reproduction of an American car.  No doubt this brand is related to “Polistil” of Italy, which has since been purchased by Tonka of the United States.  Neither of the Italian brands is still active. Another former Italian brand now faint in my memory is “Mebetoys.”  The Chinese toy company of Maisto has since purchased the brand names of Tonka, Polistil and Hasbro.

List of Literary Sources

1.)  Lesney Matchbox 1-75 Series Diecasts (by Maurice A. Hammond)

2.)  Matchbox Toys (Compiled by Nancy Schiffer)

3.)  Corgi Toys (by Dr. Edward Force)

4.)  “Matchbox Collectors’ Catalogues” (from 1957 – 2003)

5.)  Collectible Miniature Cars (by Dominique Pasqual)

6.)  Color Treasury of Automobiles and Model Cars (by Cecil Gibson and with an Introduction by Edoardo Massucci)

7.)  “Matchbox Collectors’ Club” Official Quarterly Newsletter (from 1971 – 1973, inclusive)

8.)  “Matchbox International Collectors’ Association” (M.I.C.A.) Magazine (from 1989 – 1993, inclusive)

9.)  “Matchbox Collectors’ Club” Official Handbook (1971)

10.)  “Corgi Collectors’ Catalogues” (from 1970 – 2006)

11.)  “Corgi Collector Magazine” (from 1990 – 1992, inclusive)

12.)  “Schuco Micro-Racer” Collectors’ Catalogue (1967)

13.)  “Brekina Automodelle” Collection Sheets (December 2008 through March 2011)

14.)  THW Collectibles, L.L.C. (2010 Collection Catalogue)

15.) Meccano Dinky Die Cast Toys Catalogues (Numbers 3-14): Model Years 1967-1978: Binns Road, Liverpool, England.

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