Rovers and Jaguars and Fords, oh my!
M Y C O L L E C T I O N — Now don't get me wrong, as regular readers of this blog know, I love the contemporary Matchbox cars currently being made. I still buy them semi-regularly, but my heart belongs to the early ones built by Lesney in England. Though they certainly reproduced American cars, many of their vintage models are British and European cars I never saw driving around my Connecticut hometown. They were detailed incredibly well for such tiny cars, and many had accessories such as trailer hooks for separately purchased boats, or luggage racks for perfectly formed plastic luggage. There was even a pink house-trailer with a roof that come off to reveal the baby blue interior complete with dinette, kitchen sink, stove, divan, a closet and a railed porch off the back. I would spend hours imagining the perfect little family that would have taken trips in it,
The earliest Matchbox models, from the late 1950s didn't have interiors coming with tinted windows instead. The wheels were gray instead of black as well. I only have a few of those, but I treasure them! The carrying case dates to about 1965, and has the Ferrari-beating Ford GT40 printed on the front and back. I also have 7-8 of their larger scale Cars of Yesteryear, their classic cars, but they're in mighty rough shape. I played with those all the time, everywhere.
The case has room for 48 little cars, 24 per side. One of my favorites as a kid was the Studebaker Wagonnaire with a working sliding roof section in the back.
The actual scale must vary a bit, as the lavender and pink '58 Cadillac 60 Special is the same length as the green Fiat 1500 with luggage on the roof. I also coveted the beige English Ford Corsair with a separate rowboat on its roof. I posted a couple of these photos in the first week of this blog, but I'm pretty sure I was the only one that saw them then, lol.
• For a lengthy Wiki article on the Lesney company of East London and their Matchbox cars, click here.