selected models 6/20/99
- 12A Landrover
- 12C Landrover
- 14C Lomas Ambulance
- 29A Milk Delivery Van
- 31B American Ford Station Wagon
- 34A VW Microvan
- 65A Jaguar 3.4 Sedan/65B 3.8 Jaguar Sedan
- 75B Ferrari Berlinetta
Information/images prepared by George, the Virtual Collector as it appeared on his pages [with slight modification], except as noted
"Matchbox (12-A) and Dublo (Series I SWB) Land Rovers.
The Dublo might be a little better because of the clever way they added the spare tire to the hood. Not painting the grill and lights was a point that Dublo concedes to the Matchbox."
The 12-C long wheel-base Series II, Land Rover was first released in 1965 in a dark green (a much more realistic choice than later versions) with brown luggage on the roof. This model already signaled some of Lesney's cost-cutting efforts as the base was no longer die-cast, but black plastic. The light blue-green with either brown or tan luggage that followed is most common version.
The 12-C continued after the switch to Superfast wheels with the color of the world's most rugged all-terrain 4-WD changed to gold (like many other more modern Matchbox with a toy-like design and less realistic casting and color-schemes). This resulted in some rare "transitionals" with release of a few regular wheel gold Land Rovers that are extremely rare (but, see my fake page).
Charlie Mack was the first to report a silver model in Philip Bowdidge's UK Matchbox survey which dismissed it as a fake (UK Matchbox, 1984, Vol.8, No.2 pp.42-44, 1-75 Series – Which Ones are Authentic). In Spring 1996 another silver 12-C in a rather sorry shape (maybe C7) was offered at the Atlantic City Antiques Show by a New England dealer with a $200 price-tag. The current thought is that these silver versions are factory errors with the second gold coat missed (silver undercoating is often used to produce a more reflective gold hue – the somewhat lusterless thin finish seems to attest to this.)
Gold & silver regular wheel models from Charlie Mack's collection.
Among the rarest Superfast models is the "transitional" model sporting superfast wheels with the "ordinary" blue-green regular wheel color.
Rare 14-C Lomas Ambulance with knobby black plastic wheels, ivory interior, red cross decal guides on the roof, and the roof-decal in place! Found in a junky box-lot at the Lloyd Ralston auction in June, 1996.
Apparently, Lesney originally planned to use the 14-B Daimler Ambulance decals on the roof in addition to the L.C.C. AMBULANCE side-markers, but dropped the idea of the roof-decal to save manufacturing cost. Then, after a short run, (with kbpw, then gpw, then spw and bpw) the roof-decal guides were tooled out of the molds. Interestingly, the plain-roof version can be found with ALL color/interior/wheel variation.
The decal-guides on close-up shot showing the roof of the cream model with bpw and decal in place
The decal-guides on close-up shot showing the roof of the pure white model with spw
The 31B was released in 1960 (or maybe as early as 1959 according to the McGimpsey/ Orr book), with silver or grey plastic wheels, & either clear or green tinted windows & maroon or black base-plate. Lesney did not consider the 31B a new model & sold them in the 31A box. There is red pre-pro 31A, but reports of a red 31B are in error. The early version with spw, clear windows, and black base-plate is quite rare, but the gpw version with clear windows & black base-plate is scarcer (not even coded in Charlie's book). There are reports of a few models (probably with gpw) without the windows fitted.
The first 31B color (above) was the same rich yellow as the 31A (American) Ford Station Wagon (right).
The short run of the yellow 31B Station Wagon was replaced by the popular pink-metallic green two-tone color combination, & after 4 years of production gave way to the 31C Lincoln Continental in 1964
Matchbox 34A left and center, Duplo on right. Photo from John Dean's collection,
The Matchbox VW van (the 34A Volkswagen 15 cwt Van, left) is probably too wide to be accurate, while the Dublo (produced in '60-'64, rightmost in the right photo) is more true to the proportions of the real vehicle, which just goes to support that an exact scale model will not look right. If you ever looked down on an automobile from a tall building you will see a shape that is much longer than it is wide. We never see from that perspective because if we see the front & the side we are seeing a 3/4 view. So the art of the model maker is to distort the toy so it looks right to they eye. Exact proportions are no refuge.
65A Jaguar 3.8 Sedan, enamel blue (left), metallic blue version (center), and 65B non-metallic red (right) [photo from John Dean's collection]
The metallic blue version (center) is more common, & the rare one is the enamel blue (left). The metallic blue (65A1) seems more difficult to find in Europe or England, so the majority of the short production run may have been shipped to the US resulting in the relative scarcity being different on the two sides of the Atlantic.
The non-metallic red 65B Jaguar 3.8 Sedan (right) was issued in 1962 with all three wheel-types (spw models somewhat harder to find than gpw, with bpw the most common). The base plate has the 3.4 designation cast in error on all of these models -- check your collections! There was a short run metallic-red version 65B with spw that has the value of the non-metallic spw model. There are two known examples of BLUE transitional 65Bs in collections, presumed to be pre-pros with 65A color & no windows fitted. There was a recent report of a third blue transitional 65B, but Hardy Ristau examined the model and is of the opinion this rarity reported from the West Coast was a skilled forgery.
Charlie Mack has a pre-pro in a metallic bronze Berlinetta (left) that resembles the ordinary color of the 28-C Jaguar MK10.
Although the 1965 Pocket Catalogue has a blue car illustrating the "New Model" 75-B Ferrari Berlinetta, it was first released in metallic green in May, 1965.
The metallic green color has many shades but the 75-B-1 "metallic blue" in Charlie's collection is a likely color-fade (Charlie is still holding out on this one -- but [George] has seen the piece in question & stopped looking for the "metallic blue" at toy shows). This should caution all collectors to be careful with their display habits: protect your precious Berlinettas from the sun's UV!
The 75-B base-plate was first painted silver & is rather hard to find these days; most other 75-Bs have an unpainted base-plate. The wire-wheels were changed to the later-style chrome-hubbed wheels next, before Lesney decided to introduce the Superfast wheels on its entire range.
The Berlinetta was one of the models that continued into the Superfast range with a new red color. A small number of these were fitted with regular wheels (the scramble to change tooling must have been tremendous) & the red "transitional" Berlinetta (75-B-5) is now one of the rarest & most sought after of the 1-75 series.
The other "unsung" transitional rarity is also an oddball & its production history is an enigma: some -- most likely (?) -- leftover metallic green bodies laying around in a Lesney plant were fitted with the early type thin Superfast wheels. [George] picked up one of these at a New Jersey toy meet.
One last comment. Many otherwise mint Berlinettas have a chip on the front edge of the hood air-intake. This seems to be a rather ordinary complication of the manufacturing of this particular model: the base-plate rivet lays just underneath the air intake & the assembly of the model often enough damaged the paint on the hood.