Lesney Matchbox time is here again, today we look at a vehicle seldom if ever featured here - a horse hauler. This is Lesney Matchbox 35a, the (ERF) Marshall Horsebox Mk7. This casting entered the range in 1957, and enjoyed a long run, remaining until 1964. One can see it has the charm which helped make the Matchbox line a success in the early years:

This is a vehicle I believe has yet to be seen here, a horse hauler. Not just a horse truck, but a small cabover truck unit hauling a wooden box. This casting has plenty of fine detail for the time, with the cast-in wooden slats and hardware of the box giving a precise look - but also has some of the soft mellow charm typical of 1950s Lesney products. Scale is hard to estimate, but I suspect maybe in the 1:70s- this was made to fit in a small box and is somewhat dainty, but the real world truck wasn’t a monster. This model experienced the evolution of Matchbox wheels during its production run - starting with grey metal, going to grey plastic, then silver plastic and black plastic. As typical for early castings, it never had glazing. With gentle clean colors and hand-applied silver trim (which has withstood the past 60 years in new condition), this is a pleasing rig:

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Quite an advanced feature for something of this size and age, it opens! No doubt this provided endless play value for these castings. Via the long run of this model, I suspect this was a popular vehicle, as it could be used for many play situations. The door is often missing on this model, even on nice examples, but this time warp piece has it intact:

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Front and rear have similar quality, with the “ERF” logo clearly visible on the silver grille:

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The base has identifying data typical for a new 1957 release:

This example is lucky enough to live in its pristine original type B2 box. With this box, metal wheels, and a casting detail, this is an early production model probably made in 1957:

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I am definitely glad to have this model in my collection. It is a unique little truck, and is in new condition, part of a one owner hawl I was lucky enough to find several years ago. It has the look, and this casting is a necessity in any collection of early models:

No 1:1 images of this exact truck - with a wooden body, these likely didn’t last long, and were made to be used up and thrown away. I suspect there are no survivors. Here is a similar era ERF truck from pinterest, and an older Austin truck with a similar body from simoncars.co.uk:

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