Big things with little cars
Big things with little cars
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Surprise Saturday - Lesney Matchbox Models of Yesteryear 1908 Mercedes Grand Prix

It’s been awhile since we’ve had a Surprise Saturday. Prior Yesteryears have been well-received, no time like the present to see another. This is Lesney Matchbox Models of Yesteryear Y10-1, the 19o8 Mercedes Grand Prix racer. This casting entered the range in 1958, remaining until 1963, and I’ve always seen it as a charmer:

Illustration for article titled Surprise Saturday - Lesney Matchbox Models of Yesteryear 1908 Mercedes Grand Prix
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Illustration for article titled Surprise Saturday - Lesney Matchbox Models of Yesteryear 1908 Mercedes Grand Prix

As many know, the Models of Yesteryear line was a slightly upscaled (in size and price) range of diecast cars Lesney introduced in the late 50s, to appeal to more mature collectors. The range featured vintage vehicles, and was offered for decades. This casting is a first series model from the early years,and has no shortage of detail. There is ample fine line casting detail, proportion appears accurate, and the knobby tires look realistic. The distinct castings for the exhaust and chain drive add a little extra realism. Like most Yesteryears, scale is likely in the mid-upper 1:40s range. From all angles, it is a neat racer from the early days of the automobile, and a nice casting from the earlier era of diecast:

Illustration for article titled Surprise Saturday - Lesney Matchbox Models of Yesteryear 1908 Mercedes Grand Prix
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Illustration for article titled Surprise Saturday - Lesney Matchbox Models of Yesteryear 1908 Mercedes Grand Prix
Illustration for article titled Surprise Saturday - Lesney Matchbox Models of Yesteryear 1908 Mercedes Grand Prix
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Illustration for article titled Surprise Saturday - Lesney Matchbox Models of Yesteryear 1908 Mercedes Grand Prix

Front and rear have similar detail, the dual spare tires being a nice touch:

Illustration for article titled Surprise Saturday - Lesney Matchbox Models of Yesteryear 1908 Mercedes Grand Prix
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Illustration for article titled Surprise Saturday - Lesney Matchbox Models of Yesteryear 1908 Mercedes Grand Prix

The base is basic, the style of the time, and features identifying data along with a little technical detail:

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This example is lucky enough to live in its original Type B box:

Illustration for article titled Surprise Saturday - Lesney Matchbox Models of Yesteryear 1908 Mercedes Grand Prix
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As some may recall, these boxes feature historical data on the reverse (and sometimes a claimed scale that I have my doubts about):

Illustration for article titled Surprise Saturday - Lesney Matchbox Models of Yesteryear 1908 Mercedes Grand Prix
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This is one I am pleased to have in my collection. I’ve always liked the casting, so when I had the chance to buy an example at a cheap price, I made the move. Yesteryears in general are underappreciated and due to high survival rates as they were made to be saved and collected, carry low values relative to many other period diecast lines. Most from the later 60s onward are worth very little even if mint in box, and even early ones are generally affordable, usually less expensive than normal 1-75 series cars, sometimes substantially so. That makes these a bargain if you are into it. I won’t collect them all, but when I find ones I like for the right price, I can’t resist:

Illustration for article titled Surprise Saturday - Lesney Matchbox Models of Yesteryear 1908 Mercedes Grand Prix
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Some 1:1s from media.daimler.com and grandprixhistory.org.com (I couldn’t find a modern pic of a car with identical bodywork, I suspect none exist). These weren’t just racing cars, these were the bonafide equivalent to top F1 cars of their day, not too heavy but putting out 130-140hp and capable of 100mph- big numbers for the era:

Illustration for article titled Surprise Saturday - Lesney Matchbox Models of Yesteryear 1908 Mercedes Grand Prix
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Illustration for article titled Surprise Saturday - Lesney Matchbox Models of Yesteryear 1908 Mercedes Grand Prix

That is all.

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