Saturday, February 20, 2016
Best Matchbox of the early '00s/pre-Rennaissance period? Mercedes E430 wagon - with metal base!
In the very early 2000s, just 2-3 years before Matchbox went into what many collectors refer to as their renaissance period (or 2nd golden years), Matchbox released this prime casting of the Mercedes Benz E430 wagon. It was almost a preamble to the upcoming renaissance, or perhaps a throwback to the Lesney years casting, showing the world what they were still capable of.
It was also the last casting that I know of that was available exclusively with a metal base...
It is a great casting... I have a soft spot for most Matchbox Mercedes castings - and this one is a doozy. The metal base gives it a nice heft and feel, and is available in all of the color variations. In real life, the E-Class wagon is a long and big car - and this Matchbox is a long and big casting - made precisely to scale.
It's a little hard to find - perhaps collectors (like me) horde them, or maybe Matchbox just didn't release too many of them. I've found it in 5 colors, 2 of which are police versions, however the black version was probably the most widely available, and luckily is also one of the nicest and most realistic versions. The white is taxi is my 2nd favorite, partly due to the simple and realistic paint job, but mostly since I love those Matchbox 5 spoke wheels - the nicest wheels of the last 30 years, and much nicer than the wheels on the other 4.
The blue crazy-paint casting is my most recent add - a find off of Ebay. I bought it mostly since I'm such a fan of the casting - I'm not at all crazy about the paint. Also, as you can see in the photo, the blue has a thicker spray of paint - masking the relief of the trim and cheapening the appeal of the casting.
The 2 police (Polizei) versions are fun - I like the gray one paint scheme a bit more than the green.
Overall, its a really nice casting - my favorite of the period. I love the profusion of great castings that came out just a few years later during the Rennaisance, but when you compare this car with the Rennaisance castings - I'm thinking particularly about the direct competitor in the terrific Audi A6 avant - the E430's metal base gives it an edge.. The metal base sets it apart from other castings.