Lesney Matchbox time is here again, today we examine a casting some may remember. This is Matchbox 22b, the 1958 Vauxhall Cresta. This casting entered the range in 1958, remaining until 1965, and is a gem from a time of lovely castings:
No doubt some will remember I have reviewed this casting on a couple occasions, but not this variant:
The very late 50s and early 60s were a special era for Lesney Matchbox. The products took a leap from the charming mellow castings known until that time - suddenly they acquired significant fine line casting detail, and also jumped into the modern age with features - glazing, moving parts, interiors, sometimes all three. Realistic (sometimes delicate) two tone paint schemes, and several wheel types coexisting made this a boom time for collectors, and prices of many variants for this era reflect it - overall, this is the most expensive era for Lesney products. The 22b Vauxhall Cresta is a prime example of this trend - this is perhaps the most sought after Regular Wheels model, and even playworn examples aren’t cheap.
The variant featured today is similar to the top one linked above, pale grey over lilac (appears lighter due to the bright pics). Today’s example features silver wheels rather than grey. Like all variants of this casting, there is ample fine line casting detail, and most variants of this model feature glazing, as does this. Scale is likely around 1:64. From all angles, it looks like something from around 1960:
Front and rear feature similar high quality detail, with “Vauxhall” cast-in and fine grille detail being nice touches at front, along with the mask painted lights at rear, and the tow hook adds play value:
The base features complete identifying detail - this is one of a very few castings to feature the year of the vehicle. This view also shows off the silver wheels. With this paint scheme and these wheels, I guesstimate this model to date from 1960-61:
I am definitely happy to have this model in my collection. I found this at the same estate sale as the high rarity pink and turquoise example listed above, and this one is also fairly uncommon - worth at least a couple hundred dollars if mint in box. This one isn’t boxed, and isn’t completely mint, but judging by axle wear, the patina is likely due to careful play or careless storage rather than neglect. Close-up pics also exaggerate any issues - this one looks fine in a display, and is an attractive piece:
As before, a 1:1 from simoncars.co.uk, showing off the transatlantic styling of this memorable car: