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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Can you spot the common (but uncommon) theme among these vintage die-cast models?

What you see before you are 4 vintage die-cast models from the 1960s (and in one case, the 1980s).  A Matchbox by Lesney Mercedes 300 SE, an Impy Roadmaster Rolls Royce Silver Cloud, a Road Champs C4 Corvette, and a Topper Johnny Lightning Cadillac Eldorado.  With the exception of the Road Champs Corvette, all are highly regarded and sought after castings... 

But do you know that there is a common - but actually very uncommon - theme that unites these 4 castings?  Can you guess what it is? 

These castings unusual trait that they all share, is that all have 2 types of opening pieces - both doors and trunk/hood! 

It wasn't unusual for die-cast cars of this era to have an opening part.  In fact, most models had something on them that moved.  For Lesney era Matchbox, it was typically opening doors.  When Mattel's Hot Wheels burst onto the scene, they ushered in the mainstream era of opening hoods.  But in almost all cases, there was just ONE opening item, not doors AND hood or trunk... 

This may not seem unusual today, when M2 Castline models have hood, doors and trunk that all open.  But while that seems nice in theory, the M2 Castlines - and other premium cars of today - just don't have the heft and allure, and are never are able to capture my interest and imagination the way that the vintage toys do.

This Matchbox Mercedes is the ONLY Lesney era (and non-Super-King) Matchbox model that I know of with 2 opening features!  And even more interesting, once it converted from regular wheels to transitional superfast wheels it gradually LOST its opening doors.  Therefore the gold transitional model is available both with opening doors and with cast shut doors (though the trunk still opens on both - see below photos).  If you are ever shopping for this transitional superfast car, be aware of the difference, and try to find the one with the opening doors!  

The car was also available in a superfast "Staff Car" army green version, with NEITHER opening doors nor opening trunk.  This is actually a model that I don't have... 

I prefer the classy blue paint color of the regular wheels model to the more gaudy Harvest Gold of the superfast - it just looks more aristocratic and elegant - befitting of such a high-end car....  The regular wheels car is also available in green - though the blue looks nicer!

Some of you readers may know that while the Matchbox Mercedes is unusual in it's line for offering 2 opening features, the Impy Rolls Royce is unusual in IT'S line for ONLY offering 2 opening features.  Many of its stable-mates actually had opening doors, trunk AND hood...!  (At some point I'll do a post just about Impy's so you can see this....). 

I hope you enjoyed this post.  Let me know if anyone actually guessed the common theme before reading about it...!

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