It’s Sunday, it’s review time, it’s Lesney Matchbox time. Today we examine a model that may be familiar to those who like my reviews, but it is a different example. This is Lesney Matchbox 44b, the Rolls-Royce Phantom V. This casting entered the range in 1964, replacing the classic 44a Silver Cloud, and remained until 1967. This is a highly detailed and high feature casting that shows off the quality of Lesney products by the early-mid 60s, in some ways, quality that hasn’t been surpassed 50+ years later:

My prior review here:

This is a casting of a James Young-bodied car, in my opinion one of the most elegant designs of any era. This model features amazing fine casting detail and excellent proportion, remarkable for something of the size, era, and price point. This era is the beginning of the high detail point for Regular Wheels cars, where Lesney was able to include a volume of cast-in detail that is hard to match even with 21st century models. This model also features all of the high tech luxuries of the time - crisp glazing, detailed interior, an opening part (trunk/boot lid), and it even has suspension action - not as springy as Tomica or Superfast/HW cars, but there’s pleasing movement. I estimate scale to maybe be in the upper 1:60s - this is a large car, and the casting is not especially huge. From all angles, it is as much a scale model as it is a toy:

Advertisement

Advertisement

Front and rear feature equally excellent quality, with fine detail everywhere:

Advertisement

The base is typical of this era, additional identifying detail, but no technical detail as usual for Regular Wheels models:

This example is lucky enough to live in a nice E type box. The box has charming line drawings of the fancy moving parts of this model, suspension and boot/trunk. With this box type, it was likely made around 1966- making it a newer model for my Lesney Matchbox collection:

Advertisement

This example has something unusual, probably able to be categorized as a “negative variation” - an error. The steering wheel wasn’t cast completely, instead of a round wheel with spokes, it is spokes with bits at the end. I have seen this on other castings before, something small enough to make it past QC, and now it it is a fun quirk:

As mentioned earlier, the boot/trunk opens, and it does so precisely, with quite fine panel gaps. For a model of this scale, a moving feature designed so nicely was a big deal - nothing crude about it

Advertisement

:

Advertisement

I am definitely glad to have this in my collection. I like the full sized version, the quality is amazing, it has a box, and this is also one I have had for a long time. I bought this around 25 years ago, one of my first vintage castings when I was a teen, and I kept it around during the period when I wasn’t really into collecting. This casting had a short run, but must have been popular as it isn’t rare. Unless it is an uncommon variant with grey or silver wheels (on my list, one day), it can be fairly affordable. Just a nice piece that one can consider a model or a toy:

And a couple images of an ex-Elvis Presley 1:1 from thedailymail.co.uk, and one from coachbuild.com - these angles show the accuracy of the Matchbox version:

Advertisement