Monday, July 28, 2014

Matchbox Rarity: 2005 SF37 Porsche 959 that never was, by David Tilley...

Some of you may noticed a very unique Matchbox Porsche 959 is up on ebay right now   We thought because this Superfast rarity rarely pops up, we would have David Tilley write a little about.  DT has one of the only others known, and in pure Tilley-ness, he opened it.

If you are a rare Matchbox or Porsche collector, you may never get another chance at this one.  The listing ends tomorrow:

Enjoy the article...

Today we will provide you with a guide to a slightly older model that never was.  In the early 2000s, Matchbox were providing a premium series called "The Premiere Collection" along with various offshoots.  These models sported rubber 2-part wheels and a high level of detail not normally seen in the basic range.  By 2003, the range was starting to falter, and sales were struggling.  The guys in Mt Laurel were coming up with perhaps the last new item before they were all to be made redundant.  This in 2004, Matchbox began their latest foray into premium series with the return of the Superfast series.  These were simply a look into how Matchbox were when Superfast began in 1969, with a box inside a blister, high levels of detail and standard wheels.  The series of 75 models was produced to celebrate the 35th Anniversary of Superfast and proved to be a big success.  In 2005, they decided to make a second series of 75, and as was the case when Superfast began, many of the models were carryovers from the 2004 series.  But some new castings were introduced, and other "older" castings were also brought in to replace some of the others.  This was to have been one of them.

In 2004, Matchbox released a 1957 Chevy BelAir as #37 in the range, and for 2005 they decided to go with the Porsche 959.  As you can see, this model made it all the way to the FEP stage, where they were mocking up the model inside the blister.

A sample run of 50 examples were produced as a test, and things were going well.  But then; at the last second; it stopped.  It was said that the Porsche 959 casting had a flaw around the wheel arches that caused the casting to fail.  It was going to take a while to fix, so rather than try to pursue that route, they looked at the previous model and just went with another Chevy Bel Air.  So this model never made it into production after all.

It is a real shame as it was a lovely little model, and the first we had seen from the 959 for a few years.  This is one of those 50 models.

Of course this was the last it was going to see of its package as it had to be set free.

To be honest, it doesn’t really look too bad around those arches.  Maybe it failed after they run these 50.  As was often the rule, test runs were normally made of models of anywhere between 20 and 2,000 models depending on what they wanted to check for. 

Bye bye box.  It was nice sitting on you for a while.

There was not a lot of additional printing on this particular model.  Although the rear would have not been noticed anyway due to the body color being similar to the red needed.

This is perhaps the last we will ever see of this model, as by now the casting will have lay destitute in the factory for the best part of a decade, and is likely not in any fit state for use at all now.  It is a shame, as these supercars of the 1980s and 1990s were very popular in the Matchbox range at the time.
But if you want to be one of the 50 lucky people interested in this, there is an example on eBay right now.

Here is a shot of the model with some older versions of the casting.

Or if you prefer, how about with a group of other pre-production examples of the 959 that were never made.


  1. Very cool! This would certainly fit nicely into my Matchbox Porsche collection... but whew, that rarity comes with a hefty price tag as well!

  2. To be honest, I think this is a good example of Matchbox being overrated as a diecast maker.

    1. Care to explain why?

  3. nonsense, 15,500 were made. that is hardly rare.

    1. Did you read the article? This was the packaging used on all Superfast, and the model was scrapped.