Thursday, August 20, 2015
My Five Favorite Matchbox Castings, Part 4: Ford GT...
This one goes beyond one of my Five Faves. The Ford GT is Hall of Fame material.
Before we go forward, let's be clear what model I am referring to. This is the "new" Ford GT, which debuted in the Matchbox line in 2005, and is based on the GT that Ford released in the early to mid-2000's. There are two other Matchbox Ford GT's (which makes doing an eBay search for one pretty difficult), the classic, iconic Ford GT from the Lesney days that you will see many times on red or yellow wheels, and the newer "old" Ford GT40 casting that made its debut in about 2003. We see it in yellow in this year's lineup. Now are you thoroughly confused?
So back to the new Ford GT. I said it is Hall of Fame-worthy, and it is for a lot of reasons. We should probably start with its significance.
I am no Matchbox historian. I walk the tables at the Gathering, marveling at the old Regular Wheel and Superfast Matchbox from the 60's and 70's, along with those beautiful boxes, but not knowing much. I am slowly learning, but I will never know even a fraction of many long-time collectors know. I do, however, have a decent amount of knowledge about Matchbox in the Mattel era.
Mattel era Matchbox has been fun to collect. It has also been frustrating. For every flat-out beautiful casting, there is a forgettable generic, or sometimes two or three. And for every "Golden Age" like 2006 to 2010, there are years when Matchbox seems to lose its way. But if you look at the long line of cases of Mattel-era Matchbox I have in my collection, you know there has a lot of great stuff. In my opinion, some of the best models ever produced in the history of Matchbox have come in the last 10 years.
And when you look at the Golden Age that I always talk about, where fantastic model after fantastic model was released, and that subsequent expectation that collectors now have for realism and quality, you have to look at a few models that ushered that era in.
There are a lot of candidates, but to me the one model that represented where Matchbox was headed is this Ford GT.
Just take a minute and stare at that model. Take it in. To me, it is a masterpiece. Perfectly proportioned, sporty as hell, and wonderfully detailed. Look at the bright red paint, the lace wheels, and everything else. How great is that model?
This GT in iconic red debuted in 2005, amid Radar Trucks and remnants of the Hero City castings. Needless to say it stood out. I remember back in the day Hot Wheels collectors would talk about how bad Matchbox was, but qualify that statement by saying the Ford GT was pretty cool. It never stayed on the pegs long.
Soon after, 2006 rolled around, with models like the Mercedes CLS, Audi RS6, and Cadillac Hearse, and the era really took off in 2007 with Porsches and Audi R8's and Alfa Romeos taking over. The last Golden Age was in full force. But it started with the Ford GT.
That model brought me in. It was an in instant must-have, and I did what I needed to to collect every version. That meant buying from Germany to get the Stars of Cars version in white, and trading with friends in Australia to get the hardest-to-find issue of the bunch, the Superfast ROW release in grey with black stripes.
And almost every year since, the Ford GT has shown up somewhere, always looking amazing, with one exception. That Desert Games issue will always remind us of Matchbox losing its way, but thankfully that is it. From the Gulf version to Zamac (which I forgot to photograph! How did that happen?) to even the uber-rare 5-pack variation in plain white, it always looks good. In fact, this model can look good in pretty much any color.
We hope the releases of this model aren't slowing down. While it was a current car in the mid-2000's, it now can easily be released as a classic car. A version I would love to see? Gloss black with matte black stripes, sitting on black 5-spoke rims. Cool, eh?
This is also probably as good a time as any to throw out my request to see that Ford GT legacy continue with a Matchbox version of the brand new Ford GT. This is NOT a model for Hot Wheels to do. It belongs with orange, and this is our chance to tickle the ears over at Mattel. This needs to happen.
I said in an earlier post that of the five Matchbox castings I picked as my faves, there were about three that needed no debate. This is one. I have always loved this casting, and no matter what comes out in the future, this will stay a Top 5. I know I am not alone...