Lesney Matchbox time is here again. Today we look at a model that is a newer release relative to most of my Matchbox collection. This is Lesney Matchbox 56b, the Fiat 1500. This casting entered the range in 1965, remaining until 1969, and is a good example of a model made during the period when Matchbox sales were reaching high volumes:

By the mid 60s, the Matchbox line was a runaway success for Lesney, and the range had expanded to 75 models, and was refined. Around this time, the models acquired significant fine line casting detail, along with having now-expected luxuries such as glazing, interiors, and sometimes even suspensions and opening parts. This casting has a few of these features - nice glazing, a detailed interior, and suspension - items unimaginable just a few years before. This specific casting has good cast-in detail, I estimate scale to be around 1:60. The detachable luggage on the roof adds interest. From all angles, it is obvious that Lesney was able to make realistic little models that few could even try to match:

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Front and rear have similar fine detail, with the mask painted grille and lights area, fine cast license plate, and tow hook for play value being nice features:

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The base is plastic, one of only a few Matchbox models to have a plastic base during this era, and contains identifying data:

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This model marks the beginning of a new round of boxed models, and lives in a nice Type E box:

This is a model I am glad I have in my collection, as it has some memories. Some years ago, my dad bought an old house, and there was some stuff in the garage, including this car. He saved it for me, remembering I was interested in old diecast, and I picked it up when I visited him. About 6 months later, he unexpectedly passed away, so this is a good memento, and I later found an original box for storage. This casting is also relatively common in this color (a red variant is uncommon, there are only two primary variants), so if someone wants one, they’ll be able to indulge and not break the bank. It’s a pleasant little model:

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And a few 1:1s from momentcar.com and autopaedia.com, and

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