Matchbox 1975

My favourite era for Matchbox was 1969-1970, (see Matchbox 1969 and Matchbox 1970)the transitional phase from regular wheels to Superfast, I was a child aged 4 to 6 at the time and  I can remember it happening. The cars and trucks in the range were based on real cars and trucks and I wanted just about every model in the catalogue. By 1975 that had changed, I was older and the changes in the models in response to the Hot Wheels challenge (with a few exceptions) didn’t interest me. There were new gimmicks like Rolamatics where a part on the vehicle moved as you pushed it or released it down the track  (Turbo Fury Video Clip) and “Streakers” some fancy paintwork and some revamped track sets. Here is a look at the 1-75 range from the catalogue of that year.


matchbox-catalogue 1975-p03#1 Mod Rod is like a car from a Hot Wheels designer’s imagination, it replaced the Mercedes Truck in the range, I don’t like it.

#2 Hot Rod Jeep. They turned the Jeep into a dragster, I preferred a normal Jeep and being a boy I wasn’t keen on pink cars.

#3 Monterverdi Hai. Based on a real supercar. I ve never seen the car in real life, I like the Matchbox super cars like Lamborghini Miura and Iso Grifo but this model looks a bit chunkier than the pictures I’ve seen of the real Monterverdi Hai.

matchbox-catalogue 1975-p04#4 Gruesome Twosome This model is gruesome.

#5 Lotus Europa This model was in the 1970 range, one of the first Superfast models. I preferred the earlier dark blue colouring, I have two playworn models of the early blue model and much later Matchbox brought out a Lotus Europa again in the Heritage Classics series (2009-2013). I don’t have the pink model in the catalogue.


Lotus Europa (Heritage Classics, left and early Superfast, right)

Lotus Europa (Heritage Classics)

Lotus Europa (Heritage Classics)

#6 Mercedes Tourer I prefer the earlier Mercedes 220 Coupe or Mercedes 230SL from the 1970 range. They had opening parts, this one doesn’t.

#10 Piston Popper. A Ford Mustang base with a rolamatic feature, the engine has these red pieces of plastic that go up and down when the car moves.

#11 Flying Bug A silly fantasy car based loosely on a Beetle, there were plans for a few of these but the only other model like this produced was the Mini Ha Ha…I wasn’t laughing it really wasn’t my scene

#12 Big Bull A bulldozer dragster cross to my mind this was just silly, too.

#17 The Londoner  Matchbox have had many London Buses over the years this was probably based on a Leyland Titan.

#18 Hondarora Motorcycles are a problem as you can’t race them across the floor unless they have really fat wheels. In the sixties Matchbox had some motorcycle and sidecar combinations. This was based on a Honda CB750.

matchbox-catalogue 1975-p05-#7 Hairy Hustler A car that looks like it will go down the track fast, it was one of the cars to get the streaker treatment.

#8 De Tomaso Pantera An Italian supercar. I like it but the paint scheme is a little unrealistic.

#9 AMX Javelin I like this model, I have two of them.

#13 Baja Buggy When it comes to beach buggies I like the simple lines of the original Meyers Manx.

Hot Wheels Meyers Manx

Hot Wheels Meyers Manx

#14 Iso Grifo This was a transitional model and one of my favourite castings, I prefer the earlier darker blue model.

Iso Grifo (regular wheels)

Iso Grifo (regular wheels)

# 15 Fork Lift Truck A functional fork lift which can be used with flat-bed trucks for taking off or putting on loads. I don’t think it needs Superfast wheels.

#19 Road Dragster If you want a dragster this looks the part.

#20 Police Patrol Looks like a Range Rover, this seems to be the time they started making unlicensed products.

#21 Rod Roller Like Big Bull, seems bit pointless having a custom road roller.

matchbox-catalogue 1975This page has a couple of racing cars but without brands like McLaren or Ferrari. A futuristic Freeman Intercity Car. The highlight of this page for me would be the Volkswagen Camper #23. The Racing Mini is okay but the recent Hot Wheels racing Mini looks more realistic. I don’t like the Beach Buggy, I had one recently but swapped it. Fandango is a Rolamatics fanstasy car and Draguar looks like it was inspired by Hot Wheels Silhouette.

Matchbox catalogue 1975 p7This page has a mix of dragsters (Mod Tractor, Big Banger, Volks-Dragon and Stingeroo), fantasy cars (Clipper and Scoopa Coopa), a prototype (Datsun 126X) and a pair of Italian supercars (Lamborghini Countach and Maserati Bora). No trucks, this could almost be a selection of Hot Wheels, clearly many of these models were put out in an attempt to compete with Hot Wheels. The highlights for me are the Maserati and Lamborghini.

matchbox-catalogue 1975-p08

matchbox-catalogue-1975-p09This page is more interesting to me than the previous one. Whilst not a fan of most dragsters, I do like the “funny cars” like Dragon Wheels where the shell of the car lifts up to reveal the engine and interior. The Ford Mustang is similar to Piston Popper without the popping Rolamatic pistons, the Ford Group Six was one of the first Superfast models again I prefer the earlier green colour. Chop Suey looks silly and the Articulated Truck looks unrealistic. The Citroen SM  is one of my favourites from the catalogue. I do have one but in a rather rough condition. The Mercury Police Car would be a welcome addition to my collection of police cars, if I should find one. Hi Tailer looks like a Le Mans racing car. The Rolamatic Wild Life Truck  is reminiscent of the earlier Kennel Truck, the four dogs having been changed for a lion that rotates as the car moves.

Matchbox Citroen SM...this one has had a rough life...

Matchbox Citroen SM…this one has had a rough life…

matchbox-catalogue-1975-p10-An odd mix here. The Mazda RX 500 and Saab Sonnet are prototypes, I would have preferred a Mazda RX7 or a Saab 99 Turbo, cars we could see on the roads. Whoosh-N-Push is a fantasy car and Jumbo Jet looks even sillier than Chop Suey. The Fire Chief Car (Mercury) looks fine, I like fire chief cars more than police cars. The Lotus Seven would get the streaker treatment. The Slingshot Dragster is fine if you like dragsters. The Hovercraft has wheels hidden in its cushion and it doesn’t float…I wonder how many ended up at the bottom of fish ponds. The Dodge Dragster is another funny car like Dragon Wheels.

matchbox-catalogue-1975-p11The final page of the 1-75 range has three more dragsters (Blue Shark, the Capri based Hot Rocker and Turbo Fury).The two trucks Toe Joe and the Freeway Gas Tanker look unrealistic. The Porsche 910 was one of the first Superfast cars, the Alfa Carabo, another prototype model (I wish they had made an Alfa Montreal instead). I do like the Renault 17TL.

Matchbox Streakers

Matchbox Streakers

Streakers were a big thing in 1975, a fresh paint job on some of the models and some fancy track.

The catalogue also had King Size models now named Super Kings and Speed Kings. My focus for collecting was always the 1-75 range.

matchbox-catalogue-1975-p29 speed kingsThere were also some Yesteryear models, Skybusters and some action figures called “Fighting Furies”, I was rather a conservative boy and saw dolls as girl’s toys. Although, I don’t imagine Barbie having a peg leg with a treasure map hidden inside.

Fighting Furies

Fighting Furies

The full catalogue can be seen here: Matchbox Catalogue 1975

I have a few models now from the 1975 Catalogue, Some are in rather poor condition: the Formula 1 Racer has buckled wheels and a poor post production paint job, the Mazda RX500 is missing its engine cover and the Wildlife Truck is missing its lion its canopy and the Rola-matic function has ceased.


Some Matchbox from the 1975 in my collection

Matchbox 1975myp

ticked I have, I have put a box around those I most want


4 thoughts on “Matchbox 1975

  1. Pingback: Matchbox 1969 | jimholroyd diecast collector

  2. I enjoyed your review of the 1975 Matchbox 1-75. I definitely prefer the last series of Regular Wheels from 1969 and their transitional Superfast counterparts from 1970. A lot of these models that followed were unrealistic, but I’ve still collected them with their boxes. I got this idea in my head to collect picture-boxed models to the end of the Lesney era in 1982…still working on it! My all-time favorite model though is the red #32 Jaguar XKE (1962-68). It was my first Matchbox ever, a gift from my favorite aunt at Christmas 1967, and I played with it so much the paint came off!

  3. Pingback: Monthly Acquisitions May 2017 | jimholroyd diecast collector

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