Wednesday, November 30, 2011

#89 MATCHBOX – FREEMAN INTER CITY COMMUTER, STRETCHA FETCHA & TOP JOE (1970, 1971, 1972)


These are three vans made by Matchbox at the beginning of the 70s. They have several characteristics in common, I chose those three because they’re vans or small trucks, but also because of their futuristic air. This characteristic is common to many Matchbox cars in the 70s, while in the 80s new models were far more realistic (mostly reproductions of real cars). That’s what makes Matchbox 1-75 models from the 70s so appealing for collectors in my opinion. These rare prototypes with strange forms were, to a small extent, actual prototypes; other were simply invented.

The oldest model, the Freeman IC Commuter seems to have been available only in gold and dark pink colour. Top Joe had another version in red with black hooks, while the Stretcha Fetcha has been released in many different colours and variations. The original one and the most common, however, is the one in the pictures, the white ambulance. Other versions include light green “Viper Van”, red and pink. The variants have different chassis colours (red, metallic or white) and different windshield colours (blue or orange). Some other time I’ll compare it with the copy Mira did in Spain.

Note in this last picture the difference between the regular wheels (short RW) (Freeman Inter City Commuter above) and the “superfast” wheels (the other two). Superfast wheels have a thin burr that protrudes over the surface of the tyres, reducing the area of the wheels that is in contact with the floor and thus the friction. With this simple idea, cars were slightly faster and could roll longer distances when pushed. First Superfast wheel’s models came out in 1969. Other die-cast brands made the same almost at the same time.

Update: Golden Freeman Intercity Commuter



FACTS AND FIGURES:
  • Name: FREEMAN INTER CITY COMMUTER, STRETCHA FETCHA and TOP JOE (Nrs. 22, MB-46 and 74)
  • Scale: 1:64 (approx.)
  • Year: 1970, 1971, 1972
  • Company: Matchbox (G. Britain)
  • Size: approx. 3’’ or 7 cm

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