Big things with little cars

[REVIEW] Lesney Matchbox Jaguar 3.8 Litre

Lesney Matchbox time is here again, a red casting like our last Matchbox review, but very much a different vehicle. Today we examine Matchbox 65b, the Jaguar 3.8 Litre. This casting entered the range in 1962, remaining until 1967, and is a gem:

Advertisement

The Mark 2 Jag, a classic design that, like this casting, lasted through most of the 60s. 65b replaced 65a, an earlier Jag (of which I have a few):

And I have a few 65b too:

Advertisement

As these are lovely castings of lovely cars. By the early 60s, the Matchbox line was quickly evolving into its high detail era, and this was also the time when many castings featured modern niceties like interiors, moving parts and glazing. This car has both, in fine style. I estimate scale to be around 1:65, and this model features plenty of fine line casting detail along with good proportions, not always easy for somewhat rounded designs. One can see this model has glazing, and also has another luxury we’ll see later.  From all angles, it embodies the old Jaguar ad slogan “grace, pace, and space”:

Advertisement
Advertisement

Front and rear feature similar detail, with fine mask painted detail at front, and a tow hook at rear for play value:

Advertisement

The base features identifying data, the standard of the time. The base being painted in this color is not common for the time. Notice it is a Jaguar 3.4 litre per the base, but the box lists it as a 3.8. I call it a 3.8 as that was a new/premium engine when the casting was new, and 65a was a 3.4:

Advertisement

Now on to the fun bit - the hood/bonnet opens, and the shut lines are quite tight and precise for something of this size and age:

Advertisement

Under the hood (cast into the baseplate, I believe) is a detailed big I6, with pretty fantastic realism for a pocket money toy car from nearly 60 years ago - once again Lesney showing off their ability:

Advertisement

This example is lucky enough to live in its nice original “New Model” Type C box. With this box type, the metallic red paint, and silver wheels, this is from the beginning of the production run in 1962:

Advertisement

Fun artifact, the original price tag. I’ll take a few hundred dozen at that price, please:

Advertisement

I couldn’t be more pleased to have this one in my collection. I’d almost expect this to be re-issued, like a few other classic castings recently. I like the box, I like the casting, I like the silver wheels, I like the early metallic paint, I like the real world car, hard to beat this:

Advertisement

Some 1:1s from classicandperformancecar.com, classiccarsforsale.wordpress.com, and shannons.com.au:

Advertisement

Share This Story