Just arrived! All these Matchbox models have been added to the Tortoys catalogue during the last month or so.
The original Lesney Matchbox miniatures series, manufactured between 1953 and 1969. Often referred to as the "Regular Wheel" range to distinguish them from the later "Superfast" wheel models which were introduced from late 1969 onwards.
This section contains models manufactured in the UK until 1986, when all production in the UK finally ceased.
In the late 1960s Lesney was coming under increasing competitive pressure from other brands, particularly Mattel's Hot Wheels. These models from the USA had special low-friction wheels on needle-thin axles, which enabled them to be raced on roller-coaster style tracks. Lesney responded in late 1969 by introducing Superfast wheels on the 1-75 range, both on new issues and on models which were previously available in "Regular Wheel" form.
A colour change often took place when a model was converted from Regular Wheel to Superfast, and sometimes "transitional" variations are found with the Regular Wheel colour scheme but with Superfast wheels - or vice versa. Some of these are very rare and can change hands for a lot of money.
The arrival of Superfast wheels heralded the introduction of fantasy models which were attractive to children because of their novelty value rather than because they represented real vehicles. For many collectors the 1-75 models made from 1970 onwards lack the period charm of the Regular Wheel issues, although some of the earlier Superfast are worthy enough of any collector's attention.
A selection of budget price Matchbox items. Some have a little more play wear than usual, others are suitable for restoration - have a browse, you might find a real bargain!