Big things with little cars
Big things with little cars
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[REVIEW] Lesney Matchbox Lambretta TV 175 Scooter and Sidecar

Lesney Matchbox time is here again, today we examine a casting of a vehicle seldom modeled by a toymaker. This is Matchbox 36b, the Lambretta TV175 scooter and sidecar. This casting entered the range in 1961, and remained until 1966. As one can see, this little vehicle embodies all that was right with Lesney Matchbox products at the time:

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Illustration for article titled [REVIEW] Lesney Matchbox Lambretta TV 175 Scooter and Sidecar

Longtime members here with a sharp eye may recall this example, I actually reviewed it a couple years ago. But I have decided to redo everything with the Foldio, and this one came up in the current rotation, as I like the casting. Speaking of casting, this one is a winner - almost as much of a model as it is a toy. Detail and proportion appear to be virtually perfect, with ample fine casting lines and realistic features, the nameplate cast on the driver’s side being high detail for such a model. I estimate scale to be maybe roughly 1:50 - a little large, as the real life vehicle isn’t, and this was made to fit in a box. Almost all examples of this model are the silvery green shown here. Nothing opens, but nothing needs to - it is a scooter with a sidecar, that’s more than enough to play with. From all angles, this is a charmer:

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Illustration for article titled [REVIEW] Lesney Matchbox Lambretta TV 175 Scooter and Sidecar
Illustration for article titled [REVIEW] Lesney Matchbox Lambretta TV 175 Scooter and Sidecar
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Illustration for article titled [REVIEW] Lesney Matchbox Lambretta TV 175 Scooter and Sidecar

Front and rear have similar quality detail - the instrument binnacle and license plate are nice touches:

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Illustration for article titled [REVIEW] Lesney Matchbox Lambretta TV 175 Scooter and Sidecar

The base is as to be expected for 1961, with ample identifying data. Nick Jones (Matchbox historian, site operator) suggests this may have been the cheapest 1-75 casting to produce, due to being two pieces with a single rivet, three wheels, one long axle, no moving parts, no trim painting:

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This example is lucky enough to live in its excellent original Type D box. With this box and some casting details, I estimate this was made around 1964:

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This box features an interesting historical artifact, the original price tag (from Penticton BC, so Canadian price):

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I am definitely happy to have this in my collection. This casting was made for some years, but it is not common today, and loose examples are often missing one of the delicate handlebars, so having this mint in box is a nice bonus. There aren’t a lot of accurate period diecast of now-vintage style scooters, especially with a cool sidecar, so if one is into this, this might be the best option:

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And a couple 1:1 images from classicdriver.com - I couldn’t find one with an identical sidecar, but this gives an idea:

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Illustration for article titled [REVIEW] Lesney Matchbox Lambretta TV 175 Scooter and Sidecar

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