Big things with little cars
Big things with little cars
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[REVIEW] Lesney Matchbox Ford Zephyr 6

Lesney Matchbox time is upon us again. Today we examine the replacement model for the casting featured in the prior review. This is Lesney Matchbox 33b, the Ford Zephyr 6. This model replaced the 33a Ford Zodiac in 1963, and was in the range until 1968. As one will see, this model signifies the beginning of a new era for the brand:

Illustration for article titled [REVIEW] Lesney Matchbox Ford Zephyr 6
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Illustration for article titled [REVIEW] Lesney Matchbox Ford Zephyr 6

This model shows the progress the Matchbox line experienced during the 5 years prior to its release. For the most significant advancement, this was the first Matchbox model with suspension. It isn’t springy like a Tomica, but there is definite suspension travel and feel. This model also features crisp glazing, and an interior. 5 years prior to this, plastic wheels were a new thing, all castings were hollow with no glazing nor interior, and were still in the more mellow detail stage, compared to these early 60s models with sharper casting lines. This was quite a leap in small scale technology. As the real world car bridges the gap between the last gasp of 50s styling to 60s styling - modern front end and greenhouse but still has fins, this casting was leading the way into the “high detail” age of Regular Wheels models. I estimate scale to be around 1:65. From all angles, this is a well-detailed casting that is as much a scale model as it is a toy:

Illustration for article titled [REVIEW] Lesney Matchbox Ford Zephyr 6
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Illustration for article titled [REVIEW] Lesney Matchbox Ford Zephyr 6
Illustration for article titled [REVIEW] Lesney Matchbox Ford Zephyr 6
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Illustration for article titled [REVIEW] Lesney Matchbox Ford Zephyr 6

Front and rear have similar detail. The mask-sprayed grille is pleasingly accurate, and the rear features an excellent “Zephyr 6" badge cast in to the trunklid, along with a tow hook for play value:

Illustration for article titled [REVIEW] Lesney Matchbox Ford Zephyr 6
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Illustration for article titled [REVIEW] Lesney Matchbox Ford Zephyr 6

The base has ample identifying detail, and is otherwise smooth, the style of the time. One will notice this casting has grey wheels, making it a scarce variety:

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This example is lucky enough to live in its nice original type D box. With this box and the grey wheels, it was likely made around 1963-64:

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I am pleased to have this model in my collection. In filling this space, I wanted a scarce variety, and lucked out with a grey wheels example. Silver wheels and black wheels varieties are more usual, and this casting in general is not rare. It is also an interesting historical piece, with its innovative features:

Illustration for article titled [REVIEW] Lesney Matchbox Ford Zephyr 6
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Some 1:1 images and a period promo piece, from slatford.co.uk, pinterest, and wiriko.com

Illustration for article titled [REVIEW] Lesney Matchbox Ford Zephyr 6
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Illustration for article titled [REVIEW] Lesney Matchbox Ford Zephyr 6
Illustration for article titled [REVIEW] Lesney Matchbox Ford Zephyr 6

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