Enough on the Skyline, right?
After all the talk, or hype as some like to claim (I'll call it genuine excitement on my part), progress report posts, and a custom contest, this is the actually the first "First Look" type feature I have done on the Matchbox Skyline.
There is no need to share my feelings on this model, as I think that is pretty evident. And I know I am not alone. This has been an eagerly anticipated release for a lot of folks. And don't call it a fad. Some have claimed this is just Matchbox taking advantage of the JDM train. I would say it is completely the opposite.
The Skyline is not a signal of a new direction at Matchbox, it is more a sign of a return to what we have always loved about Matchbox. Real cars, looking like they do on the street today or yesterday, from all over the world.
I have touted the last Golden Age of Matchbox numerous times here. That period from about 2006 to 2010 when there were predominately licensed models, done in realistic colors or liveries, and done in a mostly stock style. Even the generics were based on realistic-looking vehicles. Beyond that, one of the hallmarks of that era was a small, but widely varied selection of classic car castings. During that time Matchbox went well beyond the standard classics, like Camaros and Mustangs, and offered some very interesting choices.
Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint, Austin Mini Van, VW T2 and Thing, Citroen DS, Cadillac Sedan Deville, Vista Cruiser, and on and on. There was not a ton of classic cars, but the variety was always interesting. When Matchbox took the branding turn to a more over-the-top style in 2011, the creation of those interesting classics slowed down quite a bit, but didn't totally stop. We saw the Dodge A100, for example, as well as the Lamborghini Miura and Pontiac Firebird.
So when you remove the whole "JDM hype" factor, and look at the Skyline purely for what it is - a classic Japanese sedan, you appreciate it even more. I have photographed it for today's feature along with two kindred spirits, the Volvo P1800S and the VW Type 34 Karmann Ghia. Both are classics, both are interesting, and most likely not everyone's first image when they think of a defining vintage car.
The Volvo is a stunner, unique in styling, and, for lack of a better term, a Volvo. There aren't many diecast Volvos out there, but Matchbox has always been committed. We have seen the C30, XC90, and the upcoming V60, so this older car mixed in makes a ton of sense.
Same with the T34 Ghia. Sure, there have been quite a few small scale Karmann Ghias done over the last few years, but not the T34. A much more rare variant, and not available in the States, if I remember correctly. Even more rare was the convertible. The T34 is a perfect example of Matchbox doing a casting slightly left of the mainstream.
Enter the Skyline. Everyone seems to have done a Hakosuka Skyline the last few years. The C10 has an iconic silhouette, and has been replicated numerous times over the years. But almost entirely in it's GT-R makeup.
That is the big difference here. Instead of another GT-R clone, Matchbox did the standard GT-X. Higher ride height, stock details, and most importantly, an intact surfline. You don't see that very often in diecast, outside of the gems coming from stock-obsessed Tomica Limited Vintage.
So like the Volvo or VW, an unsurprising release, but with a surprising twist. It's stock. It is a replica of the car the Japanese accountant drove to work in the 1970's. It is what the Hakosuka looked like on the roads. That fiendish silhouette was there, but it was hidden in its normalcy. It might be why some think it is kind of ugly compared to the GT-R by Hot Wheels:
|Photo Credit: Nissan Heritage|
And it is those types of reasons that make me so excited about this one. I will collect every modified C10 Hot Wheels releases, and I will do the same with the Matchbox GT-X. They look perfect together.
So here's hoping Matchbox continues with this little tour around the world. As far as sedans go, Japan was missing. Not anymore...
(Find the Matchbox Skyline and Batch L at Wheel Collectors...)