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Matchbox turns 70 this year and its parent company, Mattel, is planning some big celebrations for the little cars, starting with a release of limited-edition models.
The special collection covers everything from pocket-sized exotica to everyday classics, including a Porsche 910, Jaguar D-type, MGB GT and a Morris Minor 1000 convertible, plus a selection of commercial vehicles and modern machinery.
The individually packaged cars will hit supermarket shelves throughout 2023.
The first Matchbox models – a road roller, dumper truck and cement mixer – were released in 1953.
English engineer Jack Odell conceived the idea after his daughter’s school banned toys that couldn’t squeeze into a matchbox.
Less than a decade later Matchbox was producing millions of little die-cast models per year and its range had expanded to British and American classics, including a Ford Customline Station Wagon and a double-decker bus.
Plenty of people became collectors, children and adults alike, partly because models could be bought for a few pennies.
Like everything else, the new toys have risen in price – indeed, the 70th-anniversary cars will start from £2.30. But they’re still substantially more wallet-friendly than their full-scale counterparts.
Sustainability goals have filtered down to Matchbox’s 1:64 scale cars, too – a portion of the new range will be made using recycled zinc, and the company has announced it’s committed to making all its vehicles and packaging from 100% recycled, recyclable or bio-based plastic materials by 2030.
Roberto Stanichi, Senior Vice President, Global Head of Vehicles at Mattel, said: “We are so excited to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Matchbox and the trusted legacy this brand has imprinted on kids and collectors all over the world.
“We look forward to continuing to redefine the die-cast category as we move towards a more sustainable future.”
Spanning seven decades, the anniversary range will also boast ‘platinum details’, such as special paintwork, eye-catching liveries and working doors.
You’ll be able to find the anniversary models in Tesco, Sainsbury’s, B&M Bargain, Morrisons, The Entertainer and Toymaster shops throughout 2023.
And keep an eye out for more Matchbox news – the company has promised additional announcements in July.
See the Matchbox website for further details.
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