Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Last Golden Age of Matchbox: Porsche 911 GT3...

We have talked a lot about Matchbox lately.

My plead for the return of Matchbox realism hit a chord with a lot of you, and comments keep rolling in.  The orange brand might be second fiddle to the blue brand in a lot of ways, but there is a lot of passion out there for Matchbox.

And as the unlicensed, nonrealistic cars hang on the pegs, and we lament the days when Matchbox was primarily about realism, we think it is good time to hearken back to the last great age of Matchbox.

That time was 2004 to about 2011.  Matchbox was coming off the dreadful Hero City days in the early 2000's, and there was a team of passionate designers who took the Matchbox brand and made it exactly what they wanted.  The orange brand became a canvas for all things automotive.  From construction to emergency to off-road to sports cars to classics, popular and obscure.  They were in the basic line, and also in the revamped Superfast line.

The designers were from the US, and England, and Japan, to name a few, and the line reflected their tastes.  For every Camaro, there was an Alfa Romeo.  For every Mustang, an Olds Wagon.  For every Corvette, a classic Volvo.  Each year, more interesting cars were introduced, and you knew that they would show up in several realistic colors and liveries each year thereafter.

That meant the basic line got more and more interesting each year.  Toyota Land Cruisers and 4Runners, Austin Mini Vans, Ford GT's, Morgan Aeromax's, Land Rover Defenders, Holden Utes, Audi Avants.  You can see that we can go on and on.

So over the next few weeks and months, we plan on featuring a great number of these models.  If you are not familiar with the models of that era, you will be.  You will learn terms like "NSF" and "ROW", and most importantly, you will see some of the best $1 diecast ever made.

And it sounds like hype, but it isn't.  These models are amazing.  I do the Lamley Blog because it is fun to do, and this series may be the most fun of all.

So let's start with a Porsche.

With all due respect to Hot Wheels, Porsche and Matchbox are a perfect match.  Just looking back to the last few years, we have seen some fantastic Porsche castings:

And later this year we will see the Cayman S, which was previewed last July in the Ambassador Report:

Each one of these deserves their own post, and that day will come.  But today, it is the 911 GT3.

The GT3 has enjoyed a prosperous life since its debut in 2007.  And if I remember correctly, that day almost didn't happen.  The Porsche was a late edition to the line, after another model was dropped (I think it was a Rolls Royce, but I need to confirm that).  It was released late in the 2007 line, and based on release dates, actually debuted in an exclusive 10-pack in yellow.  Its initial basic release was white, which hit the pegs a month later.  (The yellow remains my favorite version, and is now one of the hardest to acquire.)

Since then we saw it in all kinds of realistic colors in its early years, then with some great GT3 graphics a little later on, and it even survived the cartoon years with some unrealistic side designs.  It has come full circle with its most recent release in orange with realistic front and rear tampos.

So outside of those two late exceptions, the 911 GT3 has looked splendid.  It starts with the casting, designed by Ryu Asada, who recently designed the equally fantastic Porsche 934 for Hot Wheels (see, the Golden Age of Matchbox has influence everywhere at Mattel!).  It sits at a perfect height, and its stance is as menacing as the real thing.  It is also greatly detailed.  The plastic spoiler always looked correct, so we are curious to see if its new metal spoiler will enhance or detract once the next version is released.

But enough about how much we like it.  Here is a hell of a lot of photos of all releases, including a couple of wheel variations.  This is a model totally worth collecting, if you aren't already, and we see many versions on eBay right now.

Enjoy the pics, as well as the new series.  We would love your feedback, and yes, we are taking requests.  Let us know what models from the 2004-2011 era you would like to see featured...

Matchbox Porsche 911 GT3:

2007 10-pack exclusive

2007 Mainline New Model

2007 Mainline recolor

2008 5-pack

2008 Superfast

 wheel variation

2008 Mainline

2009 5-pack

 2009 Mainline

 2010 Mainline

2011 Mainline

2012 Mainline

wheel variation

60th Anniversary

2013 Mainline

2014 Mainline


  1. I sincerely hope 2015 and beyond really is the start of a mini Matchbox renaissance in terms of more licensed vehicles but I suspect due to Mattels needless cost cutting, the glory days of 2004 to 2012 will never fully return. Can you imagine full tampo treatment and all diecast bodies on all castings again? Unfortunately I dont. 😢😢

  2. My favorite version was the 2009 mainline. Ryu's work is amazing. My most favorite car of this period is the McLaren SLR which I had signed by the MB staff.

  3. That blue superfast is my favorite hands down, both versions on for sale on ebay right now

  4. my fav from tht era is mercedes mclaren slr in silver.its drop dead gorgeous.

  5. That British Green Porsche is a curiosity for me.

  6. Amazing photos of a fantastic model. A great tribute.

  7. Amazing photos of a fantastic model. A great tribute.

  8. I'm glad to see this and hope to see more features on Matchbox realistic models. I'm used to associating Matchbox with junk. These however are fantastic and rival the best of Hot Wheels.

  9. More, please! I'd love to see the Firebird Formula and the hardtop Mustang get featured. Matchbox was axed in Brazil shortly after the start of this golden age, so we never got those, or the most recent models, except the ones I pulled off Ebay...

  10. Nice pics! Shame matchbox seems to be disappearing in the UK (lack of retailers and no new 2015 stock yet)...