If you have old Matchbox models with missing parts, you might check out ToyResto.com. They offer a pretty large selection of reproduction parts for Matchbox, Corgi, Husky and others. This includes all of the usual parts that go missing, such as tires, canopies, windshields and accessories. They even have a selection of decals. If you’re wanting to do a complete restoration, this is probably the place to start. In my case, I had recently acquired a couple of models with missing parts and I wanted to spruce them up a little, just for display purposes.
My Matchbox King Size Mercury Commuter Police Station Wagon was missing a couple of tires. It bothers me when a car of mine can’t stand up straight, so I bought a couple of their 14.5mm OD x 8mm ID hollow rubber tires and popped them right on. Now it looks great standing proudly next to my other King Size models.
Another recent find, the Matchbox Ford Kennel Truck, was looking pretty rough. ToyResto.com sells a replacement canopy as well as the dogs to put in the back. I had to spend a little time carefully trimming the tabs on the canopy, but I got it fitting nicely. The dogs had a lot of flash that needed to be cleaned off, but now they look pretty happy in their tight quarters. Too bad ToyResto doesn’t make a replacement grille.
The parts are inexpensive, shipping is affordable and my order was delivered to my house within a few days. Unfortunately, many of the parts listed on ToyResto.com are out of stock. For example, I would love to get a replacement canopy for my Matchbox Mercedes-Benz Lorry, but they are sold out. The homepage proclaims “More Inventory Arriving Soon!” and encourages you to contact the company with a list of parts needed. I did just that, but have yet to receive a reply.
Sometimes it’s good to get off the beaten path. Or, at least, the path you’re used to following. A couple of weekends ago, inspired by a 50%-off sale that was advertised in the newspaper, we visited an Ace Hardware in a different neighborhood than our own. We filled a bag with lots of bargains, and, feeling good about that, we decided to visit the Super Del Centro for the first time, where my wife found a great deal on cilantro. Across the street from the grocery store, I noticed a place called Wichita Vintage which I had never seen before. Wandering in, we were greeted by the friendly owner, and we found a neat store filled mostly with beautiful antique furniture. I spotted this Matchbox Kingsize in a display case and asked the owner for a closer look. When I told him I would take it, he found another smaller model for me in a different case which I probably would have missed. Then he told me to send him a Facebook message and he would let me know if he comes across any other diecast cars in the future.
The Matchbox Kingsize Mercury Commuter Police Station Wagon came out in 1969 and was part of the short-lived Auto-Steer series, which included a Lamborghini Miura, a Ford Mustang Fastback and a Volkswagen 1500 Saloon, among others. The cars had a unique front suspension that caused the cars to steer to the left or right by pressing on that side of the car. The mechanism on this well-loved car seems to have a bit of a permanent right turn. The modal also has worn paint and stickers and is missing the two left-side tires, but is a fun find nonetheless.
Matchbox | 1969 Auto-Steer | Kingsize K-23 | Mercury Commuter Police Station Wagon | white with (two missing) black plastic tires
The photo below shows the unique, steerable suspension. This technology was done away with once Matchbox made the switch to Superfast wheels.
Click on these links to see some of my other Matchbox Kingsize models, including the Bertone Runabout, Javelin AMX, Range Rover and Ambulance.