Wednesday, July 3, 2013
First Look: Matchbox '56 Buick Century Police, 2013 version in white...
One of things to love about Matchbox collectors is also one of the things to hate. Matchbox collectors are a meticulous group. They are old-school, they don't like a lot of change, they expect their models to look real, and heritage means a ton.
Those are all good things. And bad. You could probably make a million political comparisons, but I will refrain. (The last think any of you need to know is where my political leanings lie.)
The good? Matchbox collectors are generally very knowledgable car folk. They can talk Matchbox history into the wee hours of the night (and will in Albuquerque in a few weeks), and can also talk cars. Some are deeply into classic cars, some emergency vehicles, some utility and construction, and others current road cars. While sometimes it seems that Hot Wheels collectors can fall into the trap that is the hunt, Matchbox collectors want their cars available and very well done.
The bad? When Matchbox goes a different way, the collectors get a little fidgety. They want things the way they want it, and they will let the world know if that isn't the case. 2012 and 2013 have been transition years at Matchbox, and many collectors are being left behind.
Being the Ambassador this year has afforded me a bit of a unique perspective. All year Mattel has sent me the photos of upcoming models, I have shared them with my fellow collectors, and they have reacted. I have been able to get a sense of how predictable those reactions are, and also how Mattel sees the need to push forward and create a line that they feel is best for the customers they need to impress (and if you don't know who those customers are, just know collectors aren't them).
So after I relinquish my Ambassador duties here in three weeks, I will move forward as a collector who understands what Mattel is trying to do, and just hope that in that process some models I want to collect will emerge. I know this. When Matchbox replicates a car I like, they will do it well.
But I digress.
Where was I? Oh yeah, Matchbox collectors are finicky, and that is a good and bad thing. What does that have to do with the Buick? Well, it has two doors and three portholes. That supposedly makes it a Buick Special, but this is model is a Century. I tried to explain my thought behind this when I previewed the first version, but there is still some controversy. Plus, I am not the person to ask about the history of Buicks.
So for that reason I have asked one of our Lamley contributors and emergency vehicle collectors, Sammy Fox, to take on the challenge of explaining what this model really is. As soon as he comes up with something, we will post what is sure to be a very detailed article. So stay tuned.
Whatever this Buick is, I really really like it. And this is not an era of cars that really interests me. Last year's CHP version was a fantastic debut, and this year's version in white is an excellent follow-up.
So I will let the Matchbox collectors argue about this model while I happily add it to the collection and move on...
(Like last year's CHP, this version will fly off the pegs. You can preempt that frustration by snagging one on ebay...)
Matchbox '56 Buick Century Police (2013 Mainline):