Never Gonna Grow Up: Why the Latest Matchbox Cars Are Cooler Than Ever
Who doesn’t love toy cars? For many auto enthusiasts, they paved the way for the real cars to come and the toy aisle is a required detour on every trip to the store. There are even still plenty of enthusiasts who can be found regularly hunting down the latest releases, making diecast collecting an entire hobby unto itself.
While Hot Wheels has long been considered the most popular diecast name in the U.S., Matchbox has always been right there with them—and their latest releases in particular are dripping with real-world auto enthusiast cred.
For decades, England’s Matchbox and America’s Hot Wheels went head to head for toy car supremacy, but in the late ‘90s, Mattel acquired the Matchbox brand. Now both are corporate cousins, albeit with entirely unique personas.
Needless to say, we always find ourselves looking at Hot Wheels when we go to the store, but lately we've been spending just as much time searching the pegs for Matchbox cars.
While Hot Wheels has always favored a slightly more exaggerated or customized style for its diecast cars, Matchbox has always gone with a more life-like feel, with trucks, trailers and other working vehicles mixed in with scaled down examples of everyday passenger cars.
In recent months, Matchbox has truly taken their products to a new level—one that easily rivals that of their corporate sibling. Among its newer releases you’ll find everything from off-roaders and rally cars to vintage station wagons and tow trucks.
We’ve gathered up some of Matchbox’s recent vehicles and opened them up for a closer look. We even took some of them outside to give them the old dirt test, because they're even better out of the package.
As an auto enthusiast, there are so many things to like about what Matchbox is doing. First up there's the fact that their lineup includes replicas both of iconic machines and more obscure vehicles that represent many different eras and brands.
Speaking of obscure, check out the Matchbox take on the Mk.II Volkswagen Golf Country, a rare version of the car that featured AWD and all terrain suspension.
One of the other cool thing about Matchbox cars is that they are typically a modeled a bit truer to form than their Hot Wheels counterparts. The wheels in particular look much more lifelike, like the steelies and hub caps on this Mooneyes-branded Ford Pickup.
Don't forget about towing, either. We also love that many of the latest Matchbox releases come complete with trailer hitches, and you can also buy a variety of trailers to attach to them.
Even the "working vehicles" are cool, like this NASA support truck with its distinctly '80s vibe. It even has a functioning door in the back.
Made for Collectors
While on the subject of opening doors, Matchbox recently came out with a new line of upgraded diecast cars that feature opening doors, hoods and other extra touches for a slightly higher price than the standard cars.
Like other diecast brands, Matchbox has also done more and more lines geared specifically toward collectors, like the Globe Trotters Series, which is where this Gulf-colored Ford GT40 comes from.
As someone who grew up playing with a lot of Matchbox cars as a kid, it makes me really happy to see the brand not only doing well, but coming out with some of the coolest products it's ever done.
So whether you enjoy collecting, displaying or giving them to your kids to play with, do yourself and favor and checkout the Matchbox section the next time you're at the store. Chances are you'll find some really cool stuff.