Lamley cofounder and Matchbox guru David Tilley is back, with a look at the curious 9-pack exclusive just released by Matchbox, the Opel Speedster:
I do like a surprise now and then. Matchbox on occasion do like to pull out a casting from the vault and throw it in the mix again. This year is no exception as the first batch of 9/10-packs has surfaced and one of the 2 exclusive models being used is the Opel Frogster.
Believe it or not, this is the first time we have seen this model since 2005. That was 9 years ago. And what is more amazing is that it was only ever used for 3 years. It only debuted in 2003. However in 2004, when the current Matchbox team based in El Segundo took over the reigns from the old team who were in Mt Laurel New Jersey, they decided that one of the things that Matchbox was to move away from was the concept vehicles. So although this was a relatively new vehicle, as it was a concept they quickly phased it out. Over the years we have seen odd concepts still come and go, but sadly this one sat in a corner, gathering dust and left unloved. So to finally see another example came as a bit of a surprise.
One thing that is startlingly obvious is just how crisp and clean the lines still are. With so little usage there has not been much of a chance to start showing signs of wear and tear.
Another thing I notice is how close they kept to the original concept vehicle with this latest addition.
It is the first time that the rear hatch has received the logo that the concept vehicle did. The shade is a little lighter, but we have seen a closer shade in the past, so I am fine with that. It is a shame we could not get more tampo printing, as I would love to see a fully tampo-printed example with all the detailing picked out. The old Matchbox team in Mt Laurel did do a fantastic job of recreating the real vehicle in miniature, but due to the low price point and limited tampo passes, we have never seen a fully detailed example in miniature. But I digress.
I am happy to see a new version of this model again. It was a pleasant surprise.
So this is the third version of a green with red interior example, and although much lighter than previous examples, it has the best detailing of all of them.
2003 basic range MB74.
2003 basic range MB74 with additional Hero City logo (first 10,000 examples).
2003 licensed 5-pack Looney Tunes.
2004 basic range MB19 ROW only (not available in USA).
2004 5-pack Team Players.
2004 licensed 5-pack Jimmy Neutron.
2005 basic range MB17.
2005 licensed 5-pack SpongeBob Squarepants.
2014 9/10-pack exclusive.
All 9 versions together in a single picture for the first time.