Just arrived! All these Matchbox models have been added to the Tortoys catalogue during the last month or so.
The diecast models that were the larger forerunners of the 1-75 Series.
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.
After the demise of Lesney Products in 1982 and the formation of Matchbox International, production gradually transferred from England to Macau and later China. This section contains all Matchbox miniatures made outside the UK, including those produced in Hong Kong during 1980/81 mainly for the U.S. market.
Matchbox Super GTs were introduced in 1986 as a budget range, based on earlier Matchbox castings from the 1970s, but with opaque windows, no interiors, and no opening features. There were 20 models in the range, each of which was available with two different styles of tampo print, making 40 basic variants in total, each with its own 'BR' (Budget Range) number. In addition, there were many different colour and wheel variations. Production of the Super GT range was initially in England, but moved to China; these were the last Matchbox diecasts to be made in England. The range was withdrawn after 1988, but some models were re-issued in 1990 as 'Neon Racers'.
Introduced in 1973, a varied range of civilian and military aircraft.
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!