UPDATE: IDM3 sent me these photos and paragraphs to add to this post. He’ll be back when he gets his new computer set up.
The Caravan and Dodge Daytona (both red) were produced by Universal Matchbox in England in 1983 first as dealer promotions. These, along with the Ford sierra XR4i and a classic Citroen sedan were among the last models that were still produced there until 1985, where they joined the rest of Matchbox production in Macau. I bought both models in late 1983 from Harold’s Place, a small retail/mail order dealer based in Lynn, MA. Harold’s was THE place to buy Matchbox during that time, since it was one of the few places to carry all things Matchbox from over the world.
And yes, more than Matchbox offered the Caravan. Motor Max used the same molding, but with a different grille and chassis. Plus, they used the same model in a drawstring-powered line with unusually large rear wheels. And Tonka sold the CV panel version in its short-lived 1984-85 TNT Racers line, which used a launcher to propel the car. The one you are seeing is not mine, but I do have one plus several TNT racers and launchers. I love collecting oddball brands.
Dodge Chrysler Plymouth loves to claim they invented the mini van, conveniently forgetting all about the 1950 introduction of the VW Type II.
But, that’s an argument for another time.
In 1983, Matchbox, still being made in England, introduced this 1:60 scale version of the Dodge Caravan.
I don’t know much (anything) about this casting, I thought I’d found a real rarity when I picked this up from amongst the flea mongers, but a quick perusal on the bay when I got back home informed me this was not so.
It’s a decent looking survivor, however, and examples in still more decent condition can be found for under $10. The sliding side door on this one still works very well.
It’s tempting to try and find another one for parts, this windshield has a deep scratch, or it may be a crack, I’m not sure yet. It would have to be disassembled to repair it anyway, so if I found a donor, it wouldn’t be difficult.
Unfortunately, the ones that can be had for under $10 on the bay are all in equal or better condition than this one. Luckily, there’s a long waiting line at the car clinic in my basement, so this one can take a number and go to the end of the line, or simply join the other played with cars in my collection. Some need to be left alone, in the same condition in which they were found.