Monday, May 26, 2014

The Rarest Models of the Mattel Era, Part 10: The plain white Ford GT from 2009...

It has been awhile since we have updated this series.  In fact, it has been a year-and-a-half.  That is probably a little too much time, and we have heard from enough of you Lamley regulars that it is time to continue.

My Lamley counterpart David Tilley has a tremendous amount of Mattel-era rarities, and will be featuring quite a few of them in the future, but I wanted to profile one of my favorites that has not yet gotten its due.

For those of you who haven't read Parts 1 through 9 of this series, you can find them here.  We started doing this because variations and rarities from Matchbox's time at Mattel have not been as well-documented as variations from the Lesney era.  There are Lesney Matchbox collectors who have written books about the different variations from that era, from wheel to shade to window shade differences, and everything in between.  One of those is our current Matchbox Ambassador Nigel Cooper, and if you haven't read his Matchbox history write-ups in the Ambassador Reports, you really should.

Nonetheless, the history of Mattel-era Matchbox rarities isn't even a fraction as rich, but there are some very interesting models.  And many of us were around to watch the stories unfold.  That was in fact one of the reasons the Lamley Group was formed.  We know quite a bit about models like the Chilean Mini or 10-spoke Australian 911, and we always want to find out more.  And now with the blog we can pass that knowledge on to those who are interested.

So here is another, and it is one of my personal faves.

The 2005 version of the Ford GT has always been one of my favorite Matchbox castings.  The casting debuted in 2005, helping usher in what many collectors consider Matchbox's last great era.  Matchbox moved away from the cartoonish castings of Hero City and began to focus on realistic cars and utility vehicles, highlighted by the New Superfast line.

The Ford GT was a big part of that.  It is an absolute stunner of a casting, perfectly detailed and very clean.  I have every version released in my collection.

One of those is the rarity we are focusing on today.  The Ford GT was released as part of the Modern Rides 5-pack in 2009.  Here is the only pic I could find:

The Ford GT in this pack was a wonderfully simple model.  White with headlight and tail light tampos, and the signature Ford GT side stripe in red.  It was in fact the first time the model had appeared without a hood and roof stripe.  It showed off the top details quite nicely.

As great as that model was, what really piqued our interest was this model reported found in Michigan:

It is pretty obvious the red stripe is missing.  The headlight and tail light tampos were there, however:

Of course the first thought is that this is just a no-side-tampo error.  As cool as it is, it is just an error.  We agreed, until the person who found it said the other side was blank as well.

Still, while less common, errors with tampos missing on both sides happens.  But they are still errors.

That was the consensus among collectors, until more were reported.  Plain white Ford GT's with headlight and tail light tampos were being reported found in several areas, mainly in the Midwest of the United States.

In many cases variations are by definition errors, but where there are enough of one type, classifying it a variation is easy.  That was the case here.  No one know why a decent number appeared only in plain white, but there were enough to classify it a variation.

Needless to say, that meant I needed one.  I was able to work out a trade for one, and bought another for my Lamley partner David Tilley.  There are a few more in other's collections.

So call it what you want, the Midwest Ford GT, or the No-Stripe Error, but we just call it the Plain White Ford GT.  Having it in plain white with only headlight and tail light tampos (and the Ford logo on the hood) makes it a very unique part of the Ford GT collection, and a unique model in general.

Anyone else out there lucky enough to have one of these?

Matchbox Ford GT (2009 Modern Rides 5-pack in plain white):


  1. Thank you posting this John. Looks like I have looking to do, only have two out of all these. Fortunately I have(I think) the best looking one, the Gulf version, I also found the tan with the ugly graphics on the side. Although I would love to get all these, I'm not one to spend a small fortune on eBay just have a complete set, I'm not much of a completest type collector, if I happen to find one or able to trade for one, I'll get it. Thanks again, I'll have to find time to read through the other posts.

  2. A great post. Very happy to see the revival of the Rarest Model series. I drool at your collection. Like 5pudly, I also have only 2: the red one, and the white one with red side stripe. I did not know about this no tampo version until now. The GT is one the few Matchbox castings I mandate in my collection because it actually has side windows(Nigel Cooper recently replied to my issue raised about the no side windows in the most recent ambassador report, yes that was me)

    Looking forward to more of this series.