Search This Blog

Monday, May 25, 2015

The Last Golden Age of Matchbox: The best Mattel Camaro is a Matchbox...


Just a minute ago that title did say "The best Mattel '69 Camaro is a Matchbox", but come one, that's easy.  The Hot Wheels '69 Camaro is...uh...okaaaayyyy, so the competition isn't that fierce.

Expand it out to all Mattel Camaros, and it is on.  That Hot Wheels '70 Camaro is really nice, and there is a '67 Camaro some people seem to like.  Even the '85 Iroc is pretty darn nice.

But our vote goes to the Matchbox '69 Camaro.  Not the dreadful convertible, but the awesome hardtop.  For a lot of reasons.  For one, it goes stock.  At least as stock as a standard Matchbox can go.  No large rear wheels, no lowered stance, and even an RS option (more on that later).  It is solid, it is big, and it looks really damn good.

And when you look at what castings Matchbox has chosen the last 10 years, you think more Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint and Austin Mini Van than you do a '69 Camaro.  '69 Camaros are about as commonplace in diecast as anything else, and that is not what Matchbox seemed to be about.

But back in 2003, there was a sliver of time when the powers that be thought taking Matchbox in a premium direction was the way to go.  Matchbox had been producing the Premiere line for awhile, and there was thought continuing that direction with models like the '69 Camaro, or 1970 Plymouth Cuda, or Mercury Cougar, or other signature muscle cars.  Realism would be the goal, and the castings were made.

And all was set until the idea was killed.  So Mattel had all these fantastic castings and nothing to do with them.  Enter the New Superfast line in 2004.  It was an ambitious plan, and one that worked for a few years, where Matchbox would do a separate 1-75 line of realistic models with realistic decos, and those muscle cars would be the series' anchor.

The '69 Camaro was used twice in the first Superfast line.   There was an RS version with concealed headlights, and one with exposed headlights:


Yeah, the wheels on the first issue of Superfast left quite a bit to be desired, but we miss that line a ton now.  The model selection and execution was fantastic.  And the '69 Camaro was always part of it.  In fact, this casting has never been part of the standard mainline.  We have seen it in premium lines, 5-packs, and 10-packs, but nowhere else.

And that makes collecting the '69 Camaro somewhat difficult.  Actually you can find most models on eBay, but if you are a completist and want all versions, there are some variations to look for.  Variations like the wheel change on the Muscle Car 5-pack model:


Or the most difficult of all, the two headlight variations on the 2005 Burger Zone 5-pack in black:



(The RS version is the hardest of the two, but it is to the point now that finding either is difficult.  Unless of course there is a 5-pack for sale right now.  Which there is.)

Nonetheless, have a look at the photos.  You may still have your Mattel Camaro preference, but there is no denying this one is a looker...

Matchbox '69 Camaro:

2004 Superfast





2004 Superfast RS




2005 Burger Zone 5-pack





2005 Superfast US






2005 Superfast ROW






2006 Superfast 5-pack





2007 Superfast






2009 Superfast America





2010 5-pack










2013 9/10-pack




8 comments:

  1. I never did appreciate this model until you shone the spotlight on it now. Thanks for that. Beautiful pictures as always. Just note, the yellowish one was from a 2008 5-pack, not 2010. I found that out when I went searching for it.

    Cheers!

    -Bryan

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sorry but the best camaros r
    67 Canaro
    69 Camaro non convertible
    10 ss
    from hotwheels
    matchbox cant make cars for shit
    they should give up on generic cars and stick to real life ones

    ReplyDelete
  3. Man.. when I got the orange 2013 9/10 pk 60th Anniversary (last car pictured), I thought it was really neat. But when I see all the other examples shown here, the 2013 version is pale in comparison!

    As you can see, no window moulding paint detail, headlamps, tail lamps, door handles.. and the orange paint bleeds through the transparent whit stripes. The best ones are 2005,'06,'07 and '09 models.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Love this casting, and the other toolings mentioned as well. I have both of the original Superfast colors, got the ROW version at the stores, and the green version as an extra in a trade, and they're still among my favorite Matchbox. This I have to say though, for the time, those wheels were pretty neat.

    How about doing the Cougar or the Barracuda as the next american cars? They're also far better than their Hot Wheels counterparts.

    ReplyDelete
  5. That 2006 super fast 5 pack is my favorite but I can't bring myself to open the tin!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. i have one of the green superfast versions

    ReplyDelete