[REVIEW] Lesney Matchbox Thames Estate Car

Another old Matchbox

Lesney Matchbox time is here again. This is Lesney Matchbox 70a, the (Ford) Thames Estate Car. This model entered the range in 1959, remaining until 1966, and is a little charmer:

This is one of those models that traversed an evolutionary time in the Regular Wheels line, and received the advancements of the era. This was issued in 1959, when castings were simple and hollow, and most had grey or silver plastic wheels. At that time, the two-toning was an advancement. As the next few years flew by, new castings received glazing, interiors, or moving parts, and sometimes all 3. Eventually, the casting received glazing, as seen in this example. This casting was also made silver plastic, grey plastic, and black plastic wheels - I have it in all three, as I like the model. The casting itself is a fine piece of workmanship, with accurate proportion and excellent fine line casting detail - Lesney was doing things 60 years ago that modern makers can't exceed today. The gas cap area is especially well-cast. I estimate scale to perhaps be just smaller than 1:65. From all angles, it is an appealing little forward control breadbox:

Front and rear contain similar high quality detail. This is definitely a vehicle with a "face":

The base is basic, the style of the time, and contains identifying data:

This example is lucky enough to live in a nice original Type D box. With this box type and fine grey plastic wheels, this is from late in the production run, likely around 1964-65:

I am definitely thankful to have this model in my collection. I like the casting and have a few variants (all major variants of this model are based on glazing or wheel type). There's a lot of character here:

And a 1:1 from pinterest:

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Comments (6)

  • You lucky sod! ๐Ÿ˜. I have loved and played with Matchbox, since the mid 60โ€™s. Love them even today. Lesneyโ€™s were the best!

      1 year ago
    • I am lucky to have my little hoard. These old castings are excellent even compared to new material.

        1 year ago
  • It's just a humble little van, but what a charming Matchbox model. Apparently the 1:1 models were assembled here, though I don't recall ever seeing one.

      1 year ago
  • Is the name Matchbox just a generic term for these models or was it a brand name? Does it refer to the size of these models?

      1 year ago
    • Matchbox was trademarked by Lesney by the late 50s, and the name was used for their range of diecast, originally packaged in a paper box similar to those used for matches at the time. It became used as a generic term for ~1:64 models, kind of...

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        1 year ago
    • Thanks! Good info.

        1 year ago