Lesney Matchbox time again. Today’s entry, something from the early days of the Matchbox line, just happens to somewhat fit in with Breadbox Week. This Lesney Matchbox 14a, the Daimler ambulance. This casting entered the range in 1955, and remained until 1958, when it was replaced with a larger casting of a similar vehicle. This model is typical of the products made by Lesney when the firm was still quite young:
This is a petite casting. The real vehicle is fairly large, I suspect this is around 1:85 scale or so. The tiny metal wheels are charming in a way. This casting was only made in a creamy white, which is prone to small chips - boxed examples with slight flaws are not unusual (and appear much more noticeable on camera than in person). The cast-in “Ambulance” is a nice detail on such a small model. Even with the small size, the model has a bit of detail, and shows the path of quality Lesney was becoming known for at the time. From all angles, it is nice and representative of the era:
Front and rear are finished similarly - there’s only so much you can do at this scale, but the detail is there:
The undercarriage detail shows the age of this casting - this is a time before baseplates. Crimped axles show this is an earlier example:
This example is fortunate to live in its original early type B box, which has survived well enough given the brittle paper used at the time. Based on some details, I suspect this was made in 1955-56.
I’m pleased to have this casting in my collection. I bought it at a toy show from a local collector, as I realized I didn’t have a 14a - it is very similar to and sometimes confused with 14b. This is a dainty little casting that that held up pretty well for a 60 year old toy.
And a 1:1 from wikipedia, not exactly a small vehicle: