These three boxed cars are copyrighted in 1981. The box design is the one used during those first years in the 80s, and the one I remember from my very earliest childhood days.
Matchbox cars in boxes are relatively easy to find, since there were so many of them sold over the years, so getting a few boxes is nothing particularly surprising. Trying to get all of them can be a real challenge.
From the three cars that I want to present today, the first one is the Renault 5 TL in its “RALLY LE CAR” decoration. It looks fine in white a green.
This model is copyrighted in 1978, and it is available in several colours, being the most common blue, grey, yellow, white. The blue model was the first one released by Matchbox in 1979, then changed to grey one year earlier, and then, again one year later, it was changed to this decoration here. The white and green version would be replaced two years later by a black one with rally decorations (quite colourful despite the base black). I have never seen the back model, I think it was relaced in the “last-minute” by a white one with the same decoration which is quite common. This would be the last standard release of the R5, available untl 1985 and substituted by the Breakdown van in 1986.
There are other versions that do not appear in the catalogue (the yellow one, for example) and other that do appear, although in another category. For example, there was a second grey version made with “Scrambler” written on the sides. This model seems to have been originally released with a small trailer carrying motorbikes, I am not sure if it was also available in this type of “single” boxes.
The second car is the Volvo 760 that first appeared in the 1986 catalogue, but still as a prototype (“upcoming releases”).
In the catalogue of 1987, we can see this same model I have here, in 1988 it changed from silver to gold, and then to burgundy in 1989. In 1990 the MB62 number is already assigned to another model, curiously a Volvo too, but a Volvo Container Truck.
The third and last model today is kind of special, as you can read in the box, it is a “Special Collectors’ Model” Ford Model A. The cast for this model has been used literally hundreds of times, since its debut in 1983’s catalogue. The first two versions are very well known, the first one is blue and has “Champion Spark Plugs” stickers on the sides, and the second one from 1984 has “Pepsi-Cola” advertisements on the sides. As it happened with other toys I already presented, this Ford A is actually a great item for displaying publicity and making promotional gifts out of it. It is an old car and any brand displayed on it would automatically get a very good image, like having a great tradition behind them and being established since a long time ago.
The story behind the “Special Collectors’ Model” is that Matchbox released many different Ford A’s in very short runs with different colours and brands. This one looks very good in yellow and blue and says: “James Neale & Sons – Limited – Makers of Fire Vehicle Equipment Since 1849”.
Here in matchboxforum there is a thread talking just about variations of this model. Apparently people out there are trying to get all of them, what requires an amazing effort. Those variations also appear is some collector’s guides (unfortunately, I do not have any). I am happy with this model and also with my old Pepsi van, and I do not think I would buy many more of these.
Despite the years that I noted in each paragraph, the copyrights for these vehicles in the bases are: 1978, 1979 and 1986.
FACTS AND FIGURES:
- Name: RENAULT 5 TL, FORD MODEL A and VOLVO 760 (MB21, MB38 and MB62)
- Scale: Approx. 1:64
- Year: 1978, 1979 and 1986
- Company: Matchbox (Great Britain)
- Size: approx. 7 cm