Matchbox vs. Real Life Versions
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Whether you're into Lesney Regular Wheels, Superfast, the Tyco Era or modern Mattel Matchbox, here's the place to chat about all things MB!

TOPIC: Matchbox vs. Real Life Versions

Re: Matchbox vs. Real Life Versions 3 years, 5 months ago #91

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I have been enjoying the details of and stories behind the real vehicles on which the models are based. Exactly what I'd hoped for! Great job all!


I was already charmed by the Lotus Europa before the Matchbox model above helped to usher in the Superfast era in late 1969. I was also already a big fan of "The Avengers" when Tara King (Linda Thorson) came onto the show driving a Europa. A very distinctive two-seater mid-engine sports car produced from 1966-1975, while interestingly the Matchbox model, first in metallic blue as above, then pink, also remained in the lineup until 1975. A new Matchbox model, based on the 1972 Europa Special, was produced by Mattel from 2009-2013 in a variety of colors.
Last Edit: 3 years, 5 months ago by CKlaus.
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Re: Matchbox vs. Real Life Versions 3 years, 5 months ago #92

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The real thing, also in blue...



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Re: Matchbox vs. Real Life Versions 3 years, 5 months ago #93

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1913 Mercer Raceabout






The first Mercer was made in Trenton, New Jersey in 1910, financed by the Roebling family who built the Brooklyn Bridge among other great construction efforts. It is surprising that in the days of the giant displacement engines, that a relatively small 4.9 litre engine could be such a world beater, particularly in comparison to the Stutz Bearcat.



By 1913 they had acquired a four speed gearbox which made 80 miles an hour quite possible and apparently at the time it wasn’t hard to increase that to 100. Because of their low centre of gravity and wide track their manoueverability was unparalleled. During their first year they were engaged in six races of which they won five outright, and they finished twelfth and fifteenth in the 1911 Indianapolis 500. Stutz bragged about being “the car that made good in a day”, as a result of finishing eleventh. It was manoueverability, advanced design, and clearly a car ahead of itself that made this a true performance giant.



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Re: Matchbox vs. Real Life Versions 3 years, 5 months ago #94

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I am especially enjoying the posts on various Yesteryear models. When I saw the photos of the real Showman's Engine, I was so impressed by the detail Lesney captured in their model.

Re: Matchbox vs. Real Life Versions 3 years, 5 months ago #95

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1955 Vauxhall Velox EIP Series











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Re: Matchbox vs. Real Life Versions 2 years, 8 months ago #96

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How could I ever forget this one? The #34 Volkswagen Camper was another one of those have to have" additions to my original collection in 1968. Though I remembered being a bit disappointed at the time that the "hi-roof" version (which a neighbor kid had) that was first issued was already gone from the stores, and replaced by this "lo-roof" version. It was still one of my favorites though!








The real deal, they always turned my head when one passed by!

Re: Matchbox vs. Real Life Versions 2 years, 8 months ago #97

Platinum Boarder
That is a great camper & Matchbox made it look real.


Looking at the real Cresta above, I am sure this car is for sale on Ebay at the moment, it is in fantastic condition.

Re: Matchbox vs. Real Life Versions 2 years, 8 months ago #98

Senior Boarder



Another classic Lesney creation when it was introduced as the new #14 model in 1968 was the breathtaking Italian sports car Iso Grifo, following a trio of ambulances in the Matchbox 1-75 series. The real Grifo was first designed by Italian Giorgetto Giugiaro (b. 1938) in 1963, while the mechanicals were the work of Giotto Bizzarini (b. 1926). The vehicles were produced by Iso Autoveicoli S.p.A. of Italy, a company that was active since the late 1940's and were also known for the iconic Isetta "bubble car" in the 1950's.


The first "street" production Iso Grifo GL 2-door sports coupes appeared in 1965, powered by American Chevrolet Corvette small-block 327 V-8 engines fitted to American-supplied Borg-Warner 4-speed manual transmissions. The engines were ordered and manufactured in the U.S., then taken apart and blueprinted before they were eventually installed in the cars. With over 400 horsepower and a weight of less than 2,200 pounds, the Grifo was able to reach speeds over 275 km/h (171 mph). As Lesney issued their version of the car in 1968, it appeared with the same body styling as these first Grifos. At this point in the production of the real car, a larger Chevy 427 engine began being used, and required several modifications to the car to accommodate it. A large hood scoop was added to clear for the larger engine's deck height. The factory now claimed the car could reach a top speed of 300 km/h (186 mph).


In 1970, a styling change was made to the nose section of the car for the "Series II" Iso Grifos, which gave it a sleeker look and now featured hideaway headlights. For the IR-9 "Can Am" version, the Chevy 427 engine was switched to the even more powerful 454 engine. Production stopped in 1972, when the last IR-8 Grifos were released with a small-block Ford Boss 351 Boss instead of a Chevy engine. This was the final version of any Iso vehicle as Iso S.p.A. ceased all production in 1974, with a total of 413 Grifos produced.




Lesney, as was first mentioned above, first issued their 14-D Iso Grifo as a regular wheel model with opening doors in 1968. This model was converted to Superfast wheels in late 1969 in the same rich dark metallic blue, and fitted with an early type "thin" wheels.  It was switched during its production to a medium non-metallic blue and wider wheels, before being replaced by the Mini HaHa, a fantasy Mini-Cooper creation, in 1975. The Iso was also "resurrected" for the Japanese basic range as J-3 from 1977-79 in powder blue with 5-spoke or harder-to-find dot-dash wheels, and was produced in a range with no moving parts or interiors in the "Super GT" range from 1986-1990.





A real Iso Grifo, also in dark blue like the popular Matchbox model of it first released in 1968.
Last Edit: 2 years, 8 months ago by CKlaus.
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Re: Matchbox vs. Real Life Versions 2 years, 8 months ago #99

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No. 29[a] Bedford Milk Truck (1956-1961). The advertisement tells some details of the real one - although of a slightly later version and with a longer wheel base. Kind regards, Jan 



Last Edit: 2 years, 8 months ago by janwerner.
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Re: Matchbox vs. Real Life Versions 2 years, 8 months ago #100

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one of my favourites as a child was my superfast wheeled Grifo. Still have it


Great thread, information is amazing !

Re: Matchbox vs. Real Life Versions 2 years, 8 months ago #101

Platinum Boarder
Indeed a great thread, I had mid blue fastwheels Iso Grifo as a boy and in recent years, about 2011/12 I bought a mint unboxed one from Ebay for nostalgia and keep that one nice now, along with my other Superfast "nostalgia" buys!

Re: Matchbox vs. Real Life Versions 2 years, 8 months ago #102

Platinum Boarder
No. 36[a] Austin A50, a 1/75 scale model - introduced 1956, and succeeded by no. 36[b] Lambretta & Sidecar in 1961 - of the well-known Austin A50 Cambridge, which was in production 1954-1957. Kind regards, Jan


(See also Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Austin_Cambridge)


Last Edit: 2 years, 8 months ago by janwerner.

Re: Matchbox vs. Real Life Versions 2 years, 8 months ago #103

Platinum Boarder
Y29 Walker Electric Van.


Walker Electric Trucks were battery-powered vehicles built from 1907 to 1942 in Chicago, Illinois and Detroit, Michigan. Initially designed and manufactured by the Walker Vehicle Company (not to be confused with the Walker Motor Car Company) in Chicago, they were bought by the Anderson Electric Car Company of Detroit in 1916, then sold to Commonwealth Edison of Chicago in 1920, and last to York & Towne in 1933. In addition to the trucks the company manufactured the Chicago Electric Car. Several of their trucks were long in service, surviving the brand, in some cases, by decades. A few of them are now on display in museums or, in the case of one exported to New Zealand, still "in service" with its original owner Orion New Zealand Limited.














Last Edit: 2 years, 8 months ago by Dinkydi.

Re: Matchbox vs. Real Life Versions 2 years, 8 months ago #104

Platinum Boarder
#31 Lincoln Continental


















The 1961 Lincoln Continental is considered the smallest car in the automaker's lineup since before World War II, being 14.8 inches shorter than its predecessor. However, the model was heavier than Cadillac or Imperial's offerings at the time. Part of the weight is attributed to the construction of the car, which was intended from the beginning to be offered both as a pillar-less door sedan and a 4-door convertible (first post war 4-door convertible from a major US automaker). Another key feature was the door hinge mechanism, allowing the rear doors to open the opposite way from the front ones, a feature known as "suicide doors". Their locking mechanism used a pneumatic system to lock in place while a "door ajar" light on the dashboard would notify the driver if any of the doors were open. The fourth generation Lincoln Continental went through multiple updates until 1969, each modifying the exterior looks and interior as well.



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Re: Matchbox vs. Real Life Versions 2 years, 8 months ago #105

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More great history behind the models! Thanks to all who have contributed to this topic, as we wouldn't have our collections without the real wheels (well, maybe there's no "Gruesome Twosome,"  but that's another topic!). A few have mentioned Superfast Iso Grifos, so above is a range of SF versions and their boxes. On the left is a direct transition to SF from the regular wheel version with the same metallic dark blue finish and a pale blue interior. The next has an even darker blue finish, along with a darker blue interior. The model then switched to a medium non-metallic blue paint and white interiors, though the darker one in the middle has wide wheels, while the next with a lighter finish has thin wheels. The last on the right is the Japanese powder blue model. From L-R are F, G, H and Japan J-3 boxes.
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