Matchbox “Made in Bulgaria”

After Lesney went bankrupt in 1982 some of the Matchbox moulds were shipped to Bulgaria and Matchbox models from the Lesney era continued to be made but usually in a wide variety of different colours.

Made in Bulgaria Vauxhall Guildsman

Vauxhall Guildsman

I think the Vauxhall Guildsman looks better in blue than it did in pink or red from the Lesney era. I found this model for 10 lari at Drybridge Market in Tbilisi. I now have two Matchbox models “Made in Bulgaria”, the other is a Lamborghini Miura, with a black interior, which I found in Varketili market, Tbilisi.

Made in Bulgaria Vauxhall and Lamborghini

Vauxhall Guildsman and Lamborghini Miura

The back of the packaging has illustrations of six models available, I don’t know how many were available in total.

Made in Bulgaria back of packaging

back of packaging

We see cars, which were available at different times in the Lesney era together: Mazda RX 500 (produced by Lesney from 1972 to 1976), Vauxhall Guildsman (1971 to 1977), Mercedes 300SE (1968-1971), BMW 3.0CSL (1976-1981), Ford Cortina Mk II (1968-1971) and Rolls Royce Silver Shadow II (1979-1984).

Lamborghini Miura

Lamborghini Miura with black interior

 

If we compare the bases of the Bulgarian model (blue car/black base) with the Lesney model (pink car/silver base) we see  “Made in Bulgaria” and “Matchbox Int’l Ltd”, where before it read “Made in England” and  “Lesney Products & Co Ltd”.

Some more information about Bulgarian Matchbox can be found at Planet Diecast

Here are some of the many colour variants of Bulgarian Matchbox cars from the collection of Iliya Todorov.

Bulgarian Matchbox

Bulgarian Matchbox variants. Photo: Iliya Todorov

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6 thoughts on “Matchbox “Made in Bulgaria”

    • It fell out of the packaging, I didn’t take it out deliberately. Maybe the glue had dried in the sun, the car was mint and at 10 lari ($4) I wasn’t complaining. I think the blister may have been reglued. The card is interesting for the models shown on the back. I’ll keep the card but might dispose of the detached plastic blister.

  1. Those are very nice and easily the equal of the English-built cars. My first thougfht was that the Vauxhall was an exceptionally good looking car and I wished that it had been imported to the USA. Then I saw the top view and it was obvious that it was a show car. I agree that it is much nicer in blue than pink.

    I cannot tell from the picture. Is the base plastic or black-painted metal? I prefer black because it is more realistic. I would not want to collect all of those variations. I prefer to have many kinds of cars instead of many of the same. I would just choose the color I liked best (green for the Vauxhall) and leave the rest.

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