Patrick Wehr, AKA ptkwr52 is our European correspondent for all matters Automobilia. Read all of his reports here.
A while ago I paid another visit to the Matchbox Museum here in Luxembourg. As always I felt with very good friends and as always amazing work has been done in the small but very fine museum. Rooms have been rearranged, additional space has been created, lots of new models have found their place in new showcases. I was back in my dreamland and the time flew by. Jang and I exchanged a lot of interesting information and I could increase my knowledge about Matchbox again. There is almost new stuff here! Below some of the interesting models which I saw at the Museum.
First all these German Advertising King Size Models –
The Speed Kings K-38 US Model in 4 variations –
This model of a Ford Mustang drag car, marketed as Gus’s Gulper in 1978, has various interior colors, orange, yellow…… In 1979 model came as Super Kings model.
Dutch and French version of the Money Box Security Van –
Track Arnold produced by Matchbox –
As a “real boy” of course the Arnold Minimobil-Bahn could not be missing, but it has developed more into a model highway for Siku and Matchbox cars than a race track.
Looney-Tunes Resine pre-production (unique worldwide)
Looney Tunes is a cartoon series that has been running for eighty years! And the Museum has a diverse group of characters with the likes of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Tweety, Sylvester, and more bringing delightful chaos to kids and adults around the world.
Pre-Production Models –
Matchbox Micro-World –
This toyline was released around 1990 by Matchbox to compete with other brands such as Micro Machines. There were vehicles, playsets and buildings that included terrain or bigger toys such as cargo ships and transport planes.
Matchbox in Japan & Variations –
That MB-11 Flying Bug in Orange is a very rare Japanese Edition!
Matchbox Models with Roman numbers –
There were also models issued in the Roman Numeral set in the USA in 1978.
Jack Odell (AKA LLedo) Leslie Smith –
Con Nect Ables –
Con Nect Ables Cars –
One of the more interesting concepts that came in the ’80s was the Connectables cars from Matchbox. The cars were made of 2 pieces which were connected in the middle. So you could interchange parts of different vehicles to create new cars to play with. There were also packs of other car parts available. You could create all sorts of cool or ugly cars if you wanted. You could make a big limo or a drag car with tank treads! With these cars, you could play to a whole other level of your imagination.
Gift Sets US Market –
Club Model (Germany) –
Including Dirk Schleuer’s Ambassador Model.
Matchbox 1/18 Scale Models –
For a short time “Matchbox Collectibles” ventured into the 1:18 scale. A whole series of interesting models appeared which are almost all hard to find today because this series was only distributed in the USA and the editions were very small.
Meca Achen Club Model –
In 2000 Matchbox Collectibles brand released a range called ‘The Graceland Collection’ which was based on cars displayed in the Elvis motor museum. At this point Matchbox was owned by Mattel. That brand was used for prestige ranges like MOY models that were aimed at adult collectors. Graceland models were similar to 1-75 models. Two of the models were from the 1-75 series, but finished to a much higher standard. The range was packaged in very ornate boxes because Matchbox was aiming at adult collectors.
DC Batman –
Interom City –
In the early 1990s, Matchbox released the Intercom City range. It consisted of 1-75 Superfast miniatures in special colors and Intercom City deco and had special baseplates that included a chrome strip with a special bar code. There were three-packs and large playsets.
When the model was passed over the bar code reader the playset “spoke” different messages related to each vehicle. The series was never sold in the United States. When each different model was passed over the bar code reader in the playset, the playset “spoke” different messages related to each vehicle. The Intercom City series was never sold in the United States so any models and playsets found there are quite rare and would have been imported by collectors and dealers from other countries during the era.
The three very rare models were in the “Grand Prix” which playset was an extension of the Intercom City Playset. A Porsche 959, Ferrari F40, and a Lamborghini Countach. These models had the colors of the common standard range colors but received the special bar code baseplates.
There were three models that are very rare that are not too well known. A “Grand Prix” playset was produced that was an extension of the Intercom City Playset. This included three models not available elsewhere: A Porsche 959, Ferrari F40, and a Lamborghini Countach. These models were painted in their common standard range colors but included the special bar code baseplates.
Some leftover stock of “Intercom City” bodies received standard baseplates and were sold as singles. These “crossovers” could also be found in the United States.
And of course the Museum Models!
And again a very interesting day in the Matchbox Museum came to an end, Jang Birsens and I sat together for some time and chatted about our common hobby and we agreed that in a short time part 4 of the Reportage will be published and we are already looking forward to it.
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