1979 Matchbox Pontiac Firebird Trans Am

This 1979 Matchbox Pontiac Firebird Trans Am is another frustrating find from the FBQT collection. I could live with the few chunks of missing paint and one badly scuffed-up wheel, but what I find annoying is the way the firebird sticker on the hood is half peeled off in a really unattractive way. I’ve considered removing it entirely, but for now it will stay as-is.

The #16 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am is not to be confused with the #4 Pontiac Firebird from 1975 – of which I have a nice example from my childhood – although they are similar castings. This one replaces the two hood scoops with one and has the restyled 1979 front end and a rear spoiler.

Matchbox | 1979 | 16 | Pontiac Firebird Trans Am | metallic gold | England | Superfast wheels


1970 Matchbox Volkswagen Camper Dormobile

In England during the 1950s, Martin Walter’s family company developed a camper conversion for the Bedford CA van with a gas stove, a sink, and cupboards, along with seats that folded into beds. The patented Dormobile roof was hinged and featured an expanding canopy which made it possible to stand inside the vehicle.

Until its demise in the mid-1990s, the company went on to create conversions for a number of different vans, such as the Morris J4 and the Volkswagen Camper.

The Matchbox Volkswagen Camper Dormobile was first released in 1970. This blue example with narrow Superfast wheels is the earliest variation and comes from the FBQT collection. Unfortunately, it’s missing the part that makes it a Dormobile – the opening plastic top.

There are about 7 versions of the Volkswagen camper, but castings from the late ’70s and early ’80s have a solid roof. In the late 1980s the Dormobile made a comeback in two Hungary-cast Pizza Vans with opening plastic roofs.

Matchbox | 1970 | 23 | Volkswagen Camper Dormobile | blue with orange interior, missing roof | England | narrow Superfast wheels

1973 Matchbox Saab Sonett III

The Saab Sonett was a two-seat roadster originally conceived in the late 1950s by the Swedish carmaker. Only six of the Sonett I were made for the European race circuit between 1955 and 1957. However, in 1966 the 2-stroke Sonett II was born, primarily offered for the American export market. Only a few hundred of those were produced before the Ford Taunus 4-cylinder-powered Sonett V4 – with an asymmetrical bulge in the hood to accommodate the larger engine – was introduced in 1967. The Sonett III redesign in 1970 featured hidden headlamps, a small pop-up front panel for engine access, and hinged rear window. Initially, the Sonett III had the same 1500 cc Ford engine as its predecessor, but in 1971 the engine became a slightly larger 1700 cc V4. More than 8,000 Sonett IIIs were made up until its demise in 1974.

The Matchbox Saab Sonett III was first released in 1973 and can be found in about 9 different variations. This blue, England-cast #65 model is from the FBQT collection. Though it is well-worn like most from this bunch, it still has an intact opening rear plastic hatch.

Matchbox | 1973 | 65 | Saab Sonett III | blue with yellow interior, unpainted base | England | Superfast wheels

1978 Matchbox Combine Harvester

This Matchbox Combine Harvester from the FBQT collection is – especially compared to the other cars in the bunch – in relatively good shape. It has most of its paint and is not missing any parts.

This England-cast toy is one of about 11 variations of this model, which was first released in 1978. This red paint with yellow rotor and chute combination can also be found with a yellow hub 4-spoke larger wheel.

Matchbox | 1978 | 51 | Combine Harvester | red with yellow rotor and chute | England | black wheels no hubs

1959 Matchbox Saladin Armoured Car 6×6

My wife and son and I went to the Wichita Flea Market at Century II last month and I came away with a few good finds. I spotted this Matchbox Saladin Armoured Car in a case of unrelated odds and ends. It was priced $8, but after I pointed out to the man that it was missing its gun barrel, he let me have it for $4.

There is only one variation of the Matchbox 67A Saladin Armoured Car 6×6. It was first cast in 1959 and was in the lineup until 1967. It holds a decent value in good shape, but it’s difficult to find with an intact gun barrel.

This Matchbox is modeled after the real-life Alvis FV601 Saladin six-wheeled armoured car. It was designed in 1954 to replace the AEC Armoured Car in the British Army. It had a crew of three and was armed with a 76 mm gun. Matchbox offered several military models at the time, including the Saladin’s cousin, the Alvis Saracen personnel carrier, which was first cast in 1958.

Matchbox | 1959 | 67 | Saladin Armoured Car | olive green | England | black plastic wheels

For many years, Wichita had a regular monthly flea market at the Pavilions on the grounds of the Kansas Coliseum north of town. When the Intrust Bank Arena opened in downtown Wichita in 2010, the Coliseum was closed and the entire complex was sold. The new owners leased the Coliseum to Wichita State University’s National Institute for Aviation Research, but continued to operate the Pavilions as exhibition space for several years. In addition to the flea market, the space was home to gun shows, auto parts swap meets, car and motorcycle shows, dog and horse shows and other agricultural events. But by early 2017, the owners stopped hosting events and instead offered the buildings to rent for storage or manufacturing space.

It took about a year and a half for the flea market to come back, but since July of 2018, there have been regular events held at Wichita’s downtown Century II Expo Hall. Now, with talk of remodeling or even demolishing Century II, the flea market has scheduled events for later this year and into next year at the Kansas Star Casino in nearby Mulvane.

2019 Matchbox NASA Mission Support Vehicle

I haven’t bought a new Matchbox for my collection in quite some time, mostly because they don’t currently make any of the Chevys I collect. But I’ve been really impressed with the quality and detail of many of their recent models and have been itching for an excuse to buy something.

Just last weekend I was online and saw a photo of the 2019 Matchbox NASA Mission Support Vehicle. When I went to a WalMart later that day, I found one hanging on the pegs. It makes a really nice addition to my relatively small sub-collection of NASA vehicles.

Express Delivery – the original name of the casting used here – made its debut in the 2010 City Action series. First released with a metal body and open front doors, it was modified in 2011 to have closed front doors and a plastic body.

While the model has a long window on top and an opening rear door, it doesn’t appear that there’s much inside the van to see. I guess I’ll have to buy a second version and free it from the package so I can find out for sure.

Matchbox | 2019 MBX Service | MB813 | Mission Support Vehicle (Express Delivery) | white with red and blue NASA trim | ringed disc wheels

Other NASA themed items in my collection include a few Hot Wheels Action Packs and the Hot Wheels Mars Rover Curiosity.

Reunited 1966 Matchbox Boat and Trailer

After I found this Lesney Matchbox boat trailer recently at the Wichita Community Market, I went on a search for a boat to make it complete.

I did a similar thing a few years ago when I found a loose Lesney Matchbox Jennings cattle trailer, reuniting it with a Thames Trader cab to make the Major Pack 7.

I did a search on eBay and, sure enough, there were a couple of loose boats. I landed this model, in good shape but with just the right amount of residual grime to match the trailer.

I believe the dull blue boat paired with the black plastic wheels on the trailer makes this the earliest variation of the #9 Boat and Trailer, which was first released in 1966. In 1969, the trailer was given Superfast wheels, and there are about 13 versions of the Boat and Trailer, with differences in boat color and decoration, as well as trailer paint color and wheel type.

Matchbox | 1966 | 9 | Boat and Trailer | white hull, dull blue deck, blue trailer | black plastic wheels

The next part of the project was to find a nice tow vehicle. My first thought was to find an old Lesney station wagon, but when I realized that my Lesney Matchbox Land Rover Safari had a tow hook, I decided I already had just what I needed.