Tuesday, October 8, 2013

October 8th Matchbox Ambassador Report, by Nigel Cooper...

Matchbox Ambassador Nigel Cooper returns with this week's Update:

Ambassador Report 7
I apologise for this report being slightly late but I was in Los Angeles last week, taking in a visit to the Matchbox team at Mattel. Further comments relating to my visit will be included in Report 8.
As always I should mention that these images are shown with permission from Mattel.
The first four are new deco’s for 2014 Singles. The JeepWillys will be part of the “Tactical (military) Mission Force pack for 2014. I am sure it will bring back memories, despite its modifications, of the original Jeep released in the 1970s. The models shown are as follows:
MB706 Lotus Exige – blue
MB249 Chevy K-1500 – white
MB755 Pierce Dash Fire Engine – red/white
MB832 Jeep Wrangler Superlift – tan
MB784 Jeep Willys – army green
MB532 BMW Z8 – red
MB857 Chevy Suburban – blue (note: this is a retool of MB436 and believed to be the first release under the new MAN#)
MB816 Porsche Panamera – silver

I was asked why MBX and Matchbox features so heavily oncolour schemes and was told that if, for example, an authentic livery is used on a fire truck, permission has to be granted by the relevant authorities and this may not always be forthcoming. I will pass on your comments regarding likes and dislikes of the models and colour schemes shown here. I am sure that as all of these 1-120 models are miniatures of authentic vehicles, they will be more likely to be greeted with enthusiasm.

VARIATION to look out for

There is an interesting update one of the vehicles used for 2014. The 2006 Fire Engine (MB698) which was shown earlier in an ambassador report is going to be modified. The existing casting (MB698) will appear in the 2014 singles line in yellow. The revised casting (MB949) will appear in the 2014 5 pack.  The revised casting will have a shortened body to expose the trailer hitch and the front grill detail will be moulded to the chassis. Both versions will share the same deco but the 5 pack model will have the new casting.  As such the current casting will make its last appearance in the 2014 singles line and the new casting will replace it in the future. I wonder whether there are plans for a suitable trailer such that the hitch or tow hook might be used!

The BMW Z8 will return in red as a member of the 2014Exotics 5-pack and the Chevy Suburban will be part of thenew Police pack.

Is there a list of the 5-pack package names for 2014 yet?  This will be provided very soon.

Are 10-packs continuing for other markets outside USA or will all markets move to 9-packs? USA will continue to distribute 9 packs whilst all other markets will provide 10 packs.
The request last time for the Porsche Panamera has quickly been answered for it will be part of the singles line, painted in silver.

The next two 2014 models will be included in a new play set item.  These are exclusive to the play set and won’t be part of the singles or 5-car packs. There will be 3 cars included with this upcoming play set. The third car was shown in my previous ambassador report. These two are:

MB898 Whiplash – orange/white
MB894 Turn Tamer – yellow/green

Are these new playset exclusive models being manufactured in Thailand? They will be manufactured in Thailand.

The photos of old models, displays and advertising literature seems to be going down well and so I include a few more. Let me know if there is something in particular that you would like to see and I will do my best to locate it.
Jack Odell constantly said that he made Fred Bronner a multi-millionaire. However, Bronner must be given considerable credit for maximising the potential of the line. It was he who developed large displays in wood and glass, for which the purchasers had to pay as well as cardboard displays that were generally free. The one shown below is from 1958 and was a leaflet that representatives of the company gave to potential shopkeepers. I am constantly enthralled by the displays and cannot but be impressed bythe sales potential when all models were included and at a height for both children and adults to see clearly. I noticed that today ToysRUs and Meyers had Matchbox displays, but they were hardly in the same league of visual appeal. Moreover, the whole range was certainly not available.

Shown below are the two models mentioned in the Ambassador 6 report that were probably painted in these colours by mistake and released anyway.

This was a typical form sent by Fred Bronner in May 1959. I get the impression that the wholesaler will just be receiving these new military models without knowing what quantity he is getting. It must have been an easier life then.

This is a photo taken at the March 1959 Toy Fair, which I presume was in New York because Fred Bronner’s name is shown and there would be no reason to show this name in England. I don’t know who the lady is but the man looks like a young Jack Odell to me.

Nigel Cooper                October 7th 2013


  1. Question on the Willys:
    "The JeepWillys will be part of the “Tactical (military) Mission Force” pack for 2014. I am sure it will bring back memories, despite its modifications, of the original Jeep released in the 1970s."
    What is the "original Jeep released in the 1970s" you are referring to? The Jeep hot rod?

    This Willys Jeep, though, is one of the best castings Matchbox has done in recent years (as far as I'm concerned). In addition, the decos just seem to get better every time it is released. That nice army green looks great, and will go well with the first-released olive green, the later greenish-tan Anaconda Guides version, and the glossy brown one from last year. I'm looking forward to it. I've also been relieved every time I bought one to find that they are retaining the working suspension. I wish every car had that, but I'll take it where I can find it. Thank you, Matchbox, for a great casting!

  2. I'm really digging that Chevy truck. Is Matchbox going to start featuring more logos from real life companies, like Hot Wheels has been doing for years now?

  3. I LOVE YOU NIGEL COOPER and JOHNNY MAN!!! Me and a few of my mates from Swifty'sGarage (namely mbx64) were waiting for it to reappear in the mainline for like eternity, and after ages, it finally has. And does it look awesome! Looks like our wish has finally been answered! This and the 'coming soon' HW version and its just a recipe for celebration. Yes some of the other models are great as well, like the Lotus which is looking sweet in that blue and same goes for the Z8, although the windscreen could've been a bit more steeply raked (both go on my shopping list) yet they still pale in comparison to the Porsche (for me at least). Its just that good! Anyway thanks for the post!

    - Black Wind.

  4. Where are the new models?? Hot Wheels already has new castings for 2014 overflowing dump bins at Walmart. I think it's about time to end this brand and replace it with Majorette or Real Toy. They do a much better job making new relevant cars at a low price.

    1. Since when have majorette been a low price, even in France they are expensive, your in the wrong place if you consider ending the brand is the way to go.

  5. The Lotus, is awesome as always. Nice to see that Chevy truck though, however I am thinking about lowering it to a decent height, giving it decent wheels, and a new paint job. It will be a fun project regardless.

  6. Wow, thanks for the update Nigel. For once this past year it looks like an entire batch to be excited about, all the colors and decos are realistic, and very welcome; save for the last two but those are plenty fine given they'll be in a kids set and are generic models anyway.

    As stated by someone else, it's nice to see the return of the Chevy K-1500 and the Panamera especially! That makes a 4th color variation for it. The new color of the Lotus is great also. If Matchbox keeps the decos looking like these on the remainder of 2014 models (even the generics) then I'll be a very happy customer!

    Thanks again for the look into the past and for always relaying our comments, questions, and thoughts to the folks at Matchbox Nigel!

  7. A Euro-Style fire equipment trailer is a good idea! Lego has included one with a fire engine a few years ago and Playmobil sells it as an add-on

    I think that the 2006 Fire Engine is fine (even though I'm not a big fan of it) the way it is. I wish that the trailer hitch could be removed, as to me it's useless.

    As far as new models go, what about a Chevrolet Type 1 Ambulance? Or the new Ford Transit?

  8. Thank you for this update today. I wonder if the 2013 ford escape is coming in the 2014 matchbox lineup or the 2015 lineup. Is it in the 2014 or 2015 lineup?

    Anyways, this is some great castings for 2014. I'd like to collect these models. The Chevy pickup is a nice casting indeed in a BF Goodrich version. I also like the pierce fire engine, the lotus, the jeep wranger superlift, the panamera, the willys, the Z8,and the suburban. I don't like the casting in the whiplash or the turn tamer, but they still are a good model for this year. Since I almost forgot, when are you showing the new models that will come out this year EARLY? You see I'm really looking forward when new models come out early.

    But, thanks for he report Nigel. See you anytime!!!

  9. the chevy is nice however the word POLICE should be on the door not below it and the 2014 police 5 pack needs better cars than whats in it

  10. Shown here are four models from the 2014 Crime Squad 5 pack. The SWAT truck will also be used in the main line. I like the Buick (MB858) and I think a fabulous decoration job was done on the Convention Fire Chief. However, I would have preferred this Police version to have had its plastic parts chromed. Do you think it matters?

    The Sport SUV (MB568) has bold print and may be appealing in this livery. I suppose that the only way to get blue roof lights is to make the windows blue. The Road Raider (MB895) has red windows and roof lights and off-road type wheels. The SWAT Truck (MB830) is the fourth of these models and it will be interesting to see which model makes up the set.

  11. I love seeing those displays and vintage matchbox cars. Tootsie toys were the first toy car I played with. Matchbox came next and I have a very soft spot for those. I liked that they were so detailed. The Chevy Impala Taxi was my favorite. I used to love rolling it over the contours on my dads chevy wagon dashboard. I got started on collecting old matchbox when I bought 119 cars in two cases at a garage sale 5 years ago. They were in fine condition. I now trade with a guy across the pond and I love it. I hope Mattel ramps up and gives us models like that unusual Volkswagen that looks like a Karmann Ghia and the 56 Buick. Love these "little cars".


    OK, sorry.
    I'm the only one surprised that the other cars don't have to much tempos and some don't.
    Anyways, why are you making me like the panamera, ONLY THE PANAMERA??? That model is the only one that is a complete car. The car is complete because of the tempos. Yes indeed, a nice color in silver (almost looks like winter chill color). But can you put this car again next year as the 2015 lineup? OK, I'm addicted to this car. Let's talk about the chevy pickup. When I said it was a nice casting in a BFgoodrich, I was happy of this casting. OK, I feel tired, BYE!