It’s Sunday, Lesney Matchbox time is here again. We examined a later run (for my hoard) model in the last installment, today we look at an earlier car. This is Lesney Matchbox 33a, the Ford Zodiac. This casting entered the range in 1957, and remained until 1963. 1957 was still the relatively early days for the Matchbox line, and this model shows all of the expected qualities of the time:

This casting spans a timeframe where the manufacturing process and feature set changed for Lesney products, and this was one of the models adapted to this. The early variants, like this, have single tone paint, no glazing, and metal wheels. The model would eventually have two tone paint, glazing, grey plastic wheels, and silver plastic wheels. Scale is hard to estimate, as these UK Fords are smaller than their American counterparts, while retaining similar styling - I’d estimate it around 1:60. Even with the early date, there is ample fine line casting detail, especially for something of it size, age, and original price point. Even with the detail, this casting still has the somewhat mellow charming look that has made collectors flock to these early models for years:

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Front and rear have similar detail, with the tow hook no doubt adding endless play value. Hand-applied silver detail at front and rear, and red tail light detail at rear both retain their original luster, as this casting has remained in its box for most of the past 60 years:

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The base has basic identifying data, as was the style of the time:

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This model is lucky enough to live in its nice original type B2 box. One may also notice this model has somewhat flat finish paint - it isn’t glossy. This is a known variation. Early in the run, a batch of these was made where the paint mixture or curing process wasn’t perfect, and they rolled off the line less shiny than others. One can also find the same small casting marks on these matte finish models. Enough of these have been found to call it a variety, although it remains fairly scarce, and commands a fair premium over variants otherwise identical. Via the box and the paint surface, this was likely made in 1957 or perhaps early 1958:

I am definitely glad to have this one in my collection. It came out of a one owner hoard, and I didn’t realize it was an odd variety until I examined it later. I also like the casting, and it exists in a couple dozen variations. I have a few of these, eventually I’d like to find some more:

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And a similar 1:1 from cambridgeclassiccars.co.uk - these were a popular middle class car in the day: