Lesney Matchbox time is here again, today we examine an all-time classic in the early Matchbox line. This is Lesney Matchbox 37a, the Karrier Bantam 2 ton Coca-Cola truck. This casting entered the range in 1957, remaining until 1960, and has been a beloved casting for a long time:

Welcome to 1957. This is a hollow model as was common at the time, but it already has fine line casting detail with the bottle tops being a nice touch, as Lesney was already evolving into what at the time was a precision manufacturer. One may recall the Karrier Bantam cab from another model I reviewed last year:

This is the same basis, it predates glazing, interiors, and opening parts by a few years, but still has endless appeal. The Coca-Cola decals on this model make it a popular and iconic casting, as it appeals both to early Matchbox collectors and Coca-Cola collectors. Scale is hard to estimate, but as this fits in the same box as a passenger car but is a larger vehicle in real life, it is smaller, maybe in the 1:75 range. This style was popular enough that the 37b which replaced it was basically just an updated casting with a base. From all angles, one can see the mellow charm typical on Lesney products of this era:

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Front and rear have similar detail, and like on the prior Karrier Bantam casting, the hand-applied silver trim on this model is lustrous and appears as-new:

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As mentioned above, this is a hollow casting, and the base contains ample identifying infomation:

This example is lucky enough to live in its immaculate original type B2 box. With this box type, “uneven load”, and metal wheels, it was made in 1957 or maybe early 1958:

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This is definitely a casting I am pleased to have in my collection. In my opinion, at least one variant this casting is a necessity in any representative collection of early Lesney Matchbox models, it is that much of a recognizable period piece. This is another model from the original owner collection I bought several years ago, and has spent little time outside its box:

A few images of original promo material and similar cab from myntransportblog.com, ccmv.aecsouthall.co.uk and the only image I have seen of a Karrier Bantam Coca-Cola truck, from picssr.com. I am not aware of any images of a completely identical truck body in this livery, although I don’t doubt it existed, this was the type of vehicle that was used up and discarded - relatively few were built, and far fewer survive today:

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