Before we get into my final choice, why don't I show all the models I considered for my Top 5, in order to give you ample evidence for you to show me how off I am:
See!?! This was hard! Honestly, picking a Top 5 is impossible, because I don't think there is any less love for the castings above. Ultimately I am happy to have each one of these in the collection, and so far every version released.
It also means things can change. That M5 Police and Tesla are very new, and over time, with more releases, they might take a spot. There is also a certain Hakosuka on the horizon that I can already say has reserved its spot.
But as I considered my Top 5 now, all those models seemed viable, and for that last spot I went back and forth on three: The Audi RS6 Avant, '71 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser Wagon, and the '57 GMC Stepside.
I love wagons more than any other type of car, and that is why the Audi and the Olds were there. I like classic wagons a bit more, so the Olds got the nod. It came down to these two:
Two classic cars. Two beautiful castings. Two quintessential Matchbox. The Olds is an instant classic. Off the charts in coolness. Dogs. A child of the 70's has some sort of memory in a car like this. It has always been a hugely popular model. All the designs and colors have been fantastic.
So I chose the '57 GMC.
I have to explain. First off I have also made it known that I also have a soft spot for classic pickups. But there are two main reasons that the GMC took the spot. One is purely aesthetic. This is one of the most beautiful models Matchbox has ever done. It is insanely detailed. From the front to rear, grill to bed, it is about as nice as a $1 can get. Matchbox also has the perfect wheels for it. The "hubcap" wheels look like the real thing. And Matchbox has given each release a standout color.
There have even been surprises, like the metallic white Walmart exclusive, the all-black with no tampo whatsoever, and probably my favorite of the bunch, the metallic blue Eco-Growers version on black wheels. Each models looks like it has traveled the back country roads of the US. There are not many current Matchbox that can equal its quality.
The other reason? I look at that model and picture my late father. I am a city boy, through and through, having been born in the Bay Area and reared in California and Arizona. I now live in a very urban part of Salt Lake City. However, my wing-tip-wearing, Ivy League educated, urban father who raised me had a secret. He grew up a country boy.
Maybe not the country boy you envision. He didn't work on a farm. In fact, he was raised in Ely, Nevada, one of the more desolate parts of the country. His father did not raise cattle, he raised cars and trucks. Grandpa owned a trucking company and a GMC dealership out there in rural Nevada, and Dad grew up working for him. Dad would tell me about all the GMC's he would drive back then, and the '57 Stepside was undoubtedly one of them. We grew up learning about all things Great Basin, and part of that experience was my father's time in the dealership.
Soon after, Dad left for college, and my grandparents sold the dealership to buy a Ford dealership in Utah. He died over 10 years ago, and I always appreciate a connection to him. I have explained in before that my obsession with Japanese cars comes solely from my father, who broke the American car mold in family and bought a Honda back in 1981. Because he loved that car, I did to, so much so that it started my love for all things Japanese Auto.
But my Dad felt his greatest connection to the Great Basin and his childhood in Ely. The GMC represents that. Undoubtedly, if he were still alive, I would have shown him this casting and he would have instantly put it on his desk. I have much stronger connections to my father than this little Matchbox, but it never fails to take me to Ely.
For that, the GMC is a Top 5...
(Find the '57 GMC Stepside on eBay...)
Here they are. My Matchbox Top 5. Want to share yours? Do it on Instagram, and tag them #lamley5faves. We will be sure to share it with everyone...