Tuesday, July 28, 2015
The Last Golden Age of Matchbox: Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X Police (and a preview of the latest version)...
Back at the 2010 Matchbox Gathering, the Matchbox Team brought several 2011 models in various developmental stages to preview for collectors. Back then, they didn't have the displays they have now, so the models were strewn about on a table while collectors perused them under the watchful eyes of the designers.
There were several cars to get excited about. 3D prints of the '68 Mustang, Firebird Formula, Lamborghini Miura, and Infiniti G37 had collectors clamoring for a closeup. There were several never-before-seen models that were further along as well, including the Caterham R500, Fisker Karma, Cadillac CTS Wagon, and the Mitsubishi Evolution X Police.
I remember taking some pretty bad cellphone pics of the models Mattel brought, and I was able to find them in my old photobucket account:
It is that Mitsu Evo X that we are focusing on today. Our Golden Age of Matchbox series is going all police for a few days, and the Evo is a great place to start.
I can't remember the specific reactions to the Evo Police being announced in the 2011 lineup, other than that it made sense. We were used to models like that entering the basic range every year. The Evo is a quintessential Golden Age Matchbox model. The era was defined by realistic utility vehicles, unique classic cars, and cool current street cars with a twist. The Evo is definitely a cool current car, and making it a police car was the twist. It made perfect sense.
Plus, it was most welcome. It filled a gap. It's equal in the Matchbox range at the time was the Subaru Impreza WRX Police, and for some reason a licensing disagreement with Subaru put that model on the shelf. It was a real bummer, because while the Subaru refreshingly represented a Japanese automaker, it also represented non-US police forces. It was a refreshing change from the Crown Vics and other American police cars.
Thankfully, the Evo as able to take the Subaru's place as the Japanese car/"rest of world" police force model of choice. And as nice as the Subaru was (and is, now that it is finally in the range again), the Mitsu was even better.
Just look at it. The latest generation of the Evo has always been a looker. The trapezoid grill/Darth Vader mouth suits is perfectly, and is one of my favorite features on any current car. Matchbox captured it, along with all the rest of the car's details, perfectly.
Since that prototype debuted at the 2010 Gathering, we have seen six versions, three in 2011 alone. The best looking have all donned international police force liveries. The debut and 60th both sport UK police livery, the second release - my favorite - is an unlicensed Romanian police deco, and the hardest version to find - the 2011 10-pack version - goes Australian. The other two are more generic decos, but good-looking nonetheless.
Obviously, we hope to see more. And happily we can announce today a seventh version. The folks at Matchbox let us know about this 10-pack exclusive coming in 2016:
An unlicensed livery, but a good-looking one, and I will never complain about a white Evo. Plus, that blue light bar means we get at least one more version with the separate piece. Maybe it will stay that way.
One way or the other, the Evo needs to keep showing up in the lineup, especially now that it will take on a more classic status. The days of the real Evo are coming to a tragic end, and we, like so many others, are really sad to see it go. It seems that the Evo will be a mainstay at JCCS 25 years from now, surrounded by a new generation of fanboys ogling over it like we do Skylines today.
That is why, when I saw the list of Mattel-donated prepros being auctioned off at the Gathering, the dark purple Evo became a must have for me. I came prepared to battle, and after a long wait - it was one of the final lots - and a few nervous moments, I luckily was able to walk away with it.
I don't have a huge prepro collection, but I love having prepros of the Matchbox models I love. The Evo joins the BMW 1M, Cadillac CTS Coupe, and Caterham R500 as my four auction wins. (And interestingly, the Evo joins the 1M and CTS Coupe as discontinued models in 1:1 land.) I can also finally claim to have a prepro of one of my beloved Japanese carmakers. Happy times.
One other thing that makes this new acquisition pretty darn cool. Remember those prepros that were previewed at the 2010 Gathering? Take a look at the photos again. I will even help with a closeup:
It's a blurry pic, but that purple preview model is the exact one I won at auction. How cool is that? Back then it was our first glimpse at a fantastic new model, and now that exact piece is in my collection. It may only be interesting to me, but it makes this model all the more special.
Ultimately, this is one fantastic Matchbox. A perfect cog in the wheel that is Matchbox's diverse group of police cars. We hope this run of great police cars continues, and with a Corvette and Dodge Ram joining the force, it appears it will...
Matchbox Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X Police: