Tuesday, May 27, 2014

First Look: 2014 Matchbox 9-pack exclusive Morgan Aeromax & '55 Ford F-100 Panel Delivery...

The Matchbox team sure gets a lot of grief.  The short answers the team has provided on the last few Ambassador Reports has been met with a lot of criticism.  Comments from readers like "I will take my money elsewhere" and "now I can just focus on (name other brand here)".

That is totally fine, and yes, some of the answers do seem a bit blunt.  But considering the all-out assault the design team has had focused on them for the last few years, it is a miracle they still answer questions.

Based on the comments many of you make in the Ambassador Reports, you assume the Matchbox designers get together in the morning and in a completely autonomous fashion make decisions on what goes into the line.  That could not be further from the truth.  Decisions are made by many teams considering many factors.  Marketing, production, accounting, design, and many other departments are all in on the process.  We don't know how all those decisions are made, as we don't work there, but let's just say that the opinions of collectors are not the highest priority.  And frankly, it should be that way.  Mattel does what it does, and we decide whether we want to collect it or not.

But we have made that argument many times before.  It is not to say we don't have opinions on how they do things.  We do.  Some stronger than others, but that is just what they are: opinions.

But when it comes to the answers to collector questions, let's look at things in a different perspective. If you haven't noticed, Mattel is put down the clamp on how they communicate with collectors.  Any HWC or RLC member will tell you that the design team has stopped any and all communication in the HWC forum.  Occasionally someone will ask a question, start a poll, or communicate some release dates, but any interaction that they used to have is no more.  There are a lot of reasons for that, some that we are aware of, and plenty we aren't.

Yet as Hot Wheels has gone silent, the Matchbox team continues to answer questions.  You may not like the answers, and you may think them blunt or vague, but they have to be.  The Matchbox Ambassador position is a Mattel-appointed position.  The Matchbox team selects a collector every year to hold that position for 12 months, and that choice is ultimately approved by the VP of Wheels, Felix Holst.  That collector for the next year is able to stay in contact with the design team and pass on info to collectors.

The Ambassador program is in its 9th year, and things at Mattel have changed quite a bit during that time.  As we mentioned earlier, info is not as forthcoming as it once was, yet the Matchbox team is diligent about getting info to collectors every week, and go even further by answering questions.  They may not be the answers you are looking for, but considering the answers essentially are official Mattel statements, they have to be very careful what they say.  You would probably agree that being the focus of collector's wrath is much better than being on the radar of your company's legal department.

And on top of that, the personal attacks this team has had to endure about what they do for a living is frankly inexcusable.  Opinions are always welcome, but attacks are not.  That has died down quite a bit in the last year, but at its high point it was pretty awful.  The fact that the team still puts itself out there after that is pretty amazing.

So what is our point?

The point is the designers themselves are very aware of collectors.  They read our opinions, they listen to us at meetings.  They are happy when we like something they have done.  They share many of our same opinions and passions for certain cars and castings.  Yet they have to do things the way they are instructed to, as that is what they are paid to do.

But they will still throw collectors a bone when they can.  While not as prevalent as they once were, there are collector-aimed models in the mainline, like the Seagrave, Buick Century, and BMW 1M.  And if you look at the 9-packs, you will see that they are doing the same there as well.  8 of the models might be pulled from the mainline and 5-packs, but look at the exclusives: Cadillac Sedan DeVille, '69 Camaro, Lamborghini Muira, Porsche 914, and more.  Each is like a little love note to collectors passed under the table.

And the same goes for the latest two, the Morgan Aeromax and '55 Ford F-100 Panel in Fire Chief livery.

We have already talked enough today, but these two are fantastic.  The Morgan is one of our favorite Matchbox castings, a perfectly executed casting of a very unique, obscure, and seriously cool-looking British car.  And the '55 Ford looks great in its nostalgic fire livery, and would sit nicely next to the Seagrave.  We should take those pics someday.

Needless to say, we would love to see more realistic castings in the Matchbox line like we saw a few years ago.  Maybe it will happen.  We have heard inklings that we might be slowly headed in that direction.  But the team are car nerds like we are.  Yeah, the answers could be better, but cut them some slack.  At least they are communicating...

Matchbox '55 Ford F-100 Delivery Panel & Morgan Aeromax (2014 9-pack exclusive):

side-by-side with the first edition:

The family:

2008 Mainline

2009 Best of British

2009 Superfast

2009 Mainline

2010 Mainline

2011 Mainline

2014 9-pack exclusive


  1. Okay, we should be serious and concentrating on this. Lots of things to say about the 2 exclusive models.

    Anyways, let's start with this little baby, it has returned, behold, the Morgan AeroMax. I have to say, the 2011 with the British flag is the best. I can make the list in order from my favorite version to least favorite. Alright, here we go:

    1. 2011 with British flag
    2. 2014 9-pack exclusive
    3. 2008 mainline
    4. 2009 mainline
    5. 2010 mainline
    6. 2009 Best of British
    7. 2009 Superfast

    First 3 are blues, the special ones in the back.

    Okay, focusing on the AeroMax I wish it could return in the mainline soon enough before it's too late. I really would like to see it in the mainline NOW. Why? Obviously these were hard to find in my Wal-Mart these years, and passed me. Well, it's along story but let's shall not talk about that.

    But although this new version of the AeroMax is quite definitely almost the same as the 2008, as if there are similarities. There is a hint behind it.

    Okay, moving on, there's the other returned model since it hasn't popped out in a while, the Ford F-100 panel van. This model is nice as well. And also bright. I was thinking instead, why wouldn't Matchbox configure the shaping a little bit. Seems to me the design is getting 'bit goofy. Oh, well, too late now. I've got the thing. See ya later!

  2. John,

    Thanks for the photos. I love the Morgan casting. I wish we would see more of it. I would love to see it in a bright red or yellow. It would stand out on the pegs and the model has enough of a concept look to grab people attention. I think one in racing markings would be fantastic as well.

    I like the F100 van as well. The graphics are very well done. Beautiful even. But as an emergency collector, it doesn't work for me. For this era, the chief wouldn't have been driving a van. And I like my emergency vehicles to have lights. I know Mattel won't take the steps to add a roof light or have a second casting that included a roof dome like the Buick. But one can wish can't they.

    I do wish that in this years multipacks, there is an effort to not have duplicates in the packs. Last year in the 3 packs, there were only 20 different models with all of the duplication. Add to that the same models are also in the regular line AND the 5 packs. I have so many extras, I literally can't give them away.

    John, I agree that the attacks should stop. Think positive reinforcement. But then Mattel does bring on some it with their answers. I would offer them the suggestion, that rather than give the flippant answers, just don't answer the question. I can say that i have purchased far fewer Matchbox models in the last 2 years than ever before. This is due to an increase in "originals" that don't appeal to me and the increased use of the same model in the regular line and the multipacks. But in addition I cannot buy what I cannot find. The pegs in my area are bare. I had the morning off yesterday. At the 4 Wal-Marts, there were a combined 12 models. Target had approximately 15 from an older batch. The 2 K-marts had less than 10 models between them. To follow up on last weeks reply from Mattel, What other store am I to shop at?


  3. I am sorry but your comment about the comments grates on me, yes they can be blunt and vague, but RUDE, there is NO EXCUSE for that, and if you think that's acceptable, then you are totally wrong.

    Mattel are in the market to make money, and by not selling products in certain markets, or getting certain releases to markets hurts the bottom line, and producing models that no one wants also hits the profits.

    it is forums and blogs like these that Mattel should be looking at, and seeing what people really like, want and are happy paying THEIR hard earned money on, why certain releases are not coming to the UK is silly, it is lost sales, surely they need to be listening to people like us, because at the end of the day, we BUY their stuff, so if we cant buy it, or locate it, surely that is something they need to be aware of.

    I am sure that i wont be proved wrong here, but if anyone was to produce a top 50 of all time castings, there would be very very few or even Zero generics in there, surely then this is another thing they need to be aware of, because if we don't want it, why would the kids.

    the expansion to 120 models + recolours is stupid, it should have stayed at 75, no recolours, and the extra money not wasted on horrid generics could be put towards making licensed products, there are just so many cars etc. that should be made in small scale, Jags, Fords, Buick's, Citroen's, Maserati, Honda and so on and so on, cars that kids see on the streets day in, day out, and they can get them and say they have dads car, or granddads car.

    It is not hard to understand why things are going down, and I cant recall there being hardly any insults directed at the designers, its usually at "Mattel", thus making it a corporate berating, we are all aware that the designers do a good job with what they have and what they are told to do, but it still does not stop the fact that if you cant buy it, they ain't selling them.

    Right, the Morgan and Ford, aren't they lovely, but i am sure I wont be ale to find that set anywhere locally, but then Mattel just says to go elsewhere, so maybe I should, straight to Morrison's to buy Majorette models.

    1. Jon Mower, I think you have written an excellent post that sums up the feelings of many collectors.

  4. I absolutely love the Morgan! Its simply a casting that I like a lot but haven't got it in my collection. I had the chance to grab the 2010 mainline version in British Racing Green and still kick myself today for leaving it on the peg. I really hope that I get to get my hands on this wonderful casting someday! About the Ford, well its a brilliant casting as well but its just not my cup of coffee.

    Now comes the Team's answers part. Well, yeah they are crude sometimes but at least they're communicating and I can appreciate that! Well done! Its this type of stuff and of course the brilliant castings (that are released when the stars and planets align) that keeps me pulling back to Matchbox!

    - Black Wind