[REVIEW] Lesney Matchbox Harley-Davidson Motorcycle and Sidecar

Lesney Matchbox time is here again. Today’s model is Lesney Matchbox 66b, the Harley-Davidson motorcycle and sidecar. This casting entered the range in 1962, remaining until 1967, and is a great example of precision small scale diecast:

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I posted a peek at this casting for engine week some time ago, now it is time for the review. This crosses the line from toy to precision scale model, and is really an example of Lesney showing off their diecast prowess. Cast-in detail is sharp and realistic, to the point of being amazing for the size and original price point. The fine casting is also a downfall of this model, many are found with broken handlebars, forks, or detached sidecars. Scale is hard to estimate - the Matchbox line was designed to fit in a box, so it is larger than a contemporary car casting, probably around 1:50. The beautifully detailed engine, and the lovely spoked wire wheels are highlights of this model, along with the unique long tail sidecar. From all angles, it almost looks like it could come to life and zoom down a country road:

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The front and rear feature similar detail, the license plate on the fender is a nice touch. Hop on!:

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The base is typical for the era, featuring identifying data:

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This example is lucky enough to live in its original “New Model” Type D box, which dates it to 1962:

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I am certainly happy to have this in my collection - I have two boxed examples, as there is a minor casting variation, and I have both. This one is also sought after, as there seems to be a big overlap between motorcycle people and diecast collectors. It won’t be cheap, but for something this fine, maybe not so bad:

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Some 1:1s from motorcycle4sale.com, pinterest and blogspot.com. I couldn’t find a H-D with this style sidecar, but the engine and other mechanical details are a good match. This bike is roughly contemporary to the casting:

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