1984 Matchbox Models of Yesteryear Postes Canada Post Ford Model A Van

A few years back, my wife and son and I came across an estate sale in a home in Wichita’s Eastborough neighborhood. As I recall, several rooms of the house were filled with nice bookcases full of diecast collectibles. The models consisted of trucks, buses and delivery vans. It was an impressive collection and lots of fun to look through. My wife, who grew up in Ontario, pretends to hate estate sales and my car collecting habits in general. And yet, every time she came across a model with a livery that related to her home country, she would get excited and point it out to my son and I. So we took home with us a few nice Canadian-themed models from this collection.

The Matchbox Models of Yesteryear series, which started in 1956, was the brainchild of tooling engineer Jack Odell. Odell wanted to make models of antique trucks, buses and fire engines at a larger scale and more detailed than the 1-75 series.

The 1930 Ford Model A Van first appeared in the Models of Yesteryear series in 1982 and has seen at least 16 variations, decorated with everything from Coca Cola livery to the Washington Post branding. My 1:40 scale Postes Canada Post model has a 1984 copyright on the back of the box. I think it was in pristine shape when I first bought it, however, it ended up mixed in with some of my son’s toys for a few years and has lost some luster (though I was smart enough to save the original box.)

Matchbox | 1984 Models of Yesteryear | #38 Ford Model A Van | Postes Canada Post | red with black fenders, black roof | 1:40

I have read that in the UK and Australia, Models of Yesteryear are more seriously collected than the 1-75 series. However, due to lack of consistent distribution in the U.S., Models of Yesteryear are fairly unknown compared to the smaller scale Matchbox toys. In fact, I was not aware of the series until I came across this collector’s estate sale several years ago.

As I was photographing the box, I noticed a hand-written note inside the package flap.

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Corgi

The Corgi brand was created in 1956 by the Mettoy Company of Northhampton, UK, which had been making pressed steel toys since the 1930s. From the beginning, Corgi toys were different than their competition in that they had windows. Later innovations included spring suspension, opening hoods (bonnets) and trunks (boots), and jeweled headlights. After almost a 30-year run, the company went into liquidation and was reformed as Corgi Toys Limited in 1984. In 1989, the Corgi brand was sold to Mattel and in 1995 it was sold again in a management buyout. These days, the company is called Corgi International Limited and is owned by Hornby.

There were a few nice Corgis in the box of cars I got from RR and they all appear to date from before the Mattel era.

img_8140 img_81411970-1972 | Aston Martin DB6 | yellow | black plastic base | made in Great Britain

img_8137 img_8138img_8139Ford 1979 Mustang Cobra | white | black plastic base | made in Great Britain

I rarely come across Corgis in my car hunting, but interestingly, I now have three of the Super Heroes series, including the Joker, Supermobile and this sharp Shazam!

img_8142 img_81431979 | Shazam | yellow with Shazam stickers | metal base | made in Great Britain

img_8134 img_81351980 | Ford Thunderbird | cream | opening hood, chrome plastic base | made in Great Britain

img_8131 img_8132Corgi Juniors | Land Rover 109 wrecker truck | red with Wrecker Truck stickers | black plastic base | made in Great Britain

These two versions of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang are both missing their plastic wings and figures, but they provide an opportunity to show the difference in wheel variations. The first version has rubber tires which fit the model well.

img_9230 img_9231 img_92321970 | Chitty Chitty Bang Bang | Silver, red and black | missing wings and figures, metal base | rubber tires | made in Great Britain

This second version – a Corgi Junior – has Whiz Wheels, which were introduced in 1969 as a response to the popular and free-rolling Hot Wheels.

img_9234img_9235img_92331970 | Corgi Juniors | Chitty Chitty Bang Bang | Silver, red and black | missing wings and figures, metal base | Whiz Wheels | made in Great Britain

Here’s an old ad image of the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in all its glory. Incidentally, the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is currently in the running for ‘The Ultimate Corgi Top 10’.

corgi_chitty_chitty_bang_bang

img_8147 img_81481984 | Mercedes Benz 240D | red | black plastic base | made in Great Britain

1984 Baja Breaker

The Ford 4×4 van was introduced to the Hot Wheels lineup in 1978 as the Baja Breaker. It features a roof rack, skylight window, running lights and a black plastic opening hood. The Baja Breaker has appeared in many variations over the years, including this black version with a red A-Team stripe (inspired by the popular television show of the time). Another version of the Baja Breaker I recently added to my collection is the Motocross Team Scene Machines van from 1979.

IMG_8462 IMG_8463

1984 | 4360 | Baja Breaker | black with red stripe, plastic hood opens | Malaysia | blackwalls