33A Ford Zodiac 6/20/99
Information prepared by George, the Virtual Collector [with modification]
left, 33A3 [green], right, 33A8 [tan & orange] [images from Frank's childhood collection] 8/7/99
The 33-A Ford Zodiac MK II Sedan was introduced in 1957 in the common dark green color with metal wheels. Aside from the interesting color variations, this model is of importance because it underwent many changes Matchbox implemented as it sought to improve the appeal of its toys. Grey plastic wheels replaced metal wheels in 1960, & the beautiful metallic mauve/orange two-tone was introduced in early 1961. Later in 1961 plastic windows were added & silver plastic wheels began to be used.
The 33-A Zodiac is sometimes called the "poor-man's Cresta" by collectors. The 22-B Vauxhall Cresta is the among the most sought after of the Regular Wheels because of the various wheel & color variations [many rare & commanding very high prices]. While the Zodiac has fewer distinct colors one can still collect many different shades & it is more affordable. The lighter green 33-A ranges from blue-green (almost the same color blue as the 34-A Volkswagen 15 cwt Microvan) to a rich sea-green, with many gradations in between. Then of course there is the range of the metallic mauve/orange two-tones, & they all add up to 13 different wheel & color variations (not counting the one with the color of the 44-A Rolls Royce Silver Cloud in the picture that was unknown until recently)
In the picture, the dark green (far left) is the most common variant (with metal wheels); the two-tone (with gray plastic wheels & clear windows) is somewhat more rare. The dark blue in the foreground is one of the ultra-rare regular wheels ([George] heard only two are known in collections -- even Charlie Mack's Museum does not have it); The "rough" light metallic blue (center, back) is probably a color trial (of the 44-A Rolls Royce's paint) from John Marshall's collection (Australia)
photograph© from the February 1996 issue of Model Collector.
Just a few words [from George] about the coding in Charlie Mack's book:
- Charlie reversed the order of production as it comes to the dark green & the blue-green, dark green came 1st;
- George has] never seen a dark green 33-A with gray plastic wheels. Some light greens are know to exist with metal wheels but they are quite rare (production may have switched from fitting metal to gray plastic wheels at the time the lighter green variation was released);
- Charlie does not list the light green version with gray plastic wheels at all which is the ordinary wheel type of this model;
- The 33-A-5 (silver-gray & orange body, no windows, gpw) is another problem in the coding most likely based on a faded model. So, remember do not leave your models out to be exposed to the sun's UV because the early industrial pigments were extremely light-sensitive, especially in the metallic colors!