Essex Models and Miniatures archive
Category: Off road

Matchbox, Majorette & Lone Star jeeps

by Peter
Categories: Diecast models, Jeep, Lone Star, Majorette, Matchbox, Off road, Tuf Tots
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The  Jeep is well known across the world, as an army workhorse and in civilian use.

Matchbox released their first jeep in 1966 as a civilian version in bright yellow, this was No72 in the 1-75 range, in 1970 it received the Superfast wheels and finally retired two years later in 1972.

This yellow and red seat combination was the only colour version ever made.

An interesting page on this jeep Click Here

In the ’70′s hot rod were all the rage so Matchbox came up with the Jeep hot rod No2 and released in 1972 to replace the previous jeep, this was a complete new casting which some parts of was to run for years to come.

The next two are somewhat confusing and although I knew what the models should be, they have in fact reversed baseplates!

The casting is very similar to the Jeep hot rod but now has the bonnet in place, the seat setup looks the same moulding in black and the screen now has a notch to carry the gun, this should be Jeep No38 and released about 1978, the box would of said ‘Armoured Military Jeep No38, but this one has the base plate of No11 Sleet N Snow.

To confirm this I checked a second one I have and it has No38 on the base but indentical in every other respect to this one.

The next one has the common set up with the notched windscreen but no hole in the casting for the gun so in theory this is No11, but no this one has the number 38 on the base plate!

I did find one listed on Ebay with it’s box and says in the description the base plate has No11 sleet n snow while the box clearly show it’s the Armoured Military Jeep No38, so this is not a one off.

After much head scratching and research I still don’t really know why but the variations on this casting run to dozens, they are both probably No38.

I found this website which helps explain some of them, especially the No38 Jeep 1976-1979.

Christian Falkensteiner’s Matchbox Lesney Superfast Pictures

Next is the Matchbox CJ8 Jeeps, this is No53 and produced from around 1977

Matchbox brought out others in between but my next one jumps to 2009 and and number MB96, issued mainly in tan or olive green with different tampo designs, this one was  made in Thailand, the tampo on mine is ‘Double Black circular lines and White “22875-JC” stencil on the bonnet, Black “784″ stencil on white square over 4 vertical Black stripes at sides’

Majorette also released a Jeep No268, this one has been seen in many colours, this is listed as 1:56 scale and based on the CJ-5

This little Jeep is a Tuf Tots casting from Lone Star  and scaled at 1:85, the trailer is part of the set and is No608.

To give a comparison on size here is the Tuf Tots Jeep next to the Matchbox Jeep.

To see more Jeep articles Click Here

The real vehicles

A very interesting website if you like Jeeps


The original trademark brand-name application was filed in February 1943 by Willys-Overland. It is also used as a generic term with a lowercase (jeep) for vehicles inspired by the Jeep that are suitable for use on rough terrain.

As the only company that continually produced Jeep vehicles after the war, in June 1950 Willys-Overland was granted the privilege of owning the name “Jeep” as a registered trademark.

For more on the history of the jeep Click Here

Range Rover, Carmichael

In 1983 Matchbox released their version of the Range Rover based six wheeled Carmichael shown with a two door body.

This was available in either the Police rescue as below or as a Fire rescue vehicle in red, I have seen many other colour versions including silver and these other colour versions are Bulgarian issues.

Matchbox Carmichael Commando 1

Matchbox Carmichael Commando 2

The Matchbox version above was number 57 and still available in mint condition.

Model details

Matchbox, Carmichael Commando

Number, 57

Colour, White or Red

Country of origin, UK

One of the Bulgarian issues I have is shown below in blue Police livery, this came direct from Bulgaria.

Matchbox Range Rover 7

Matchbox did very few smaller scale Range Rovers and this would of been the second one, the first was number 20 and a Rola-matics Police version, again available in various guises including a military ambulance and a Paris Dakar security vehicle, all base plates are marked ‘police patrol’.

Rola-matics, whereas each has a feature that moves as the car is pushed or pulled along, in this case the roof light rotates.

The SuperKings range saw a few more variations on the Range Rover including the one below, number K164 and released in 1989.

Others include the forestry set K89 and K64 in the guise of police and fire rescue vehicles

Related articles;

Land Rover, Carmichael

The real vehicles

The real Carmichael vehicles are converted Range Rovers and Carmichael have been around for years and probably the only company in the UK to be making purpose made emergency rescue vehicles

Carmichael are vehicle manufacturers in their own right therefore I have added them to the makers list under catergories.

For more on Carmichael vehicles Click Here

Matchbox beach buggy

by Peter
Categories: Cars, Matchbox, Off road, Volkswagen
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The Matchbox beach buggy was quite unique especially the paint finish with it’s yellow fleck, would love to know how they did that, I have had several of these and every paint finish is different.

This is based on what I call the traditional beach buggy shape although never seen a real hard top coupe version as most were soft top vehicles.

Matchbox did release a later open top version with a similar paint effect in 1973 called the beach hopper No47 in the ‘Rolamatics’ range.

Based on a Volkswagon the beach buggy had it’s hey day in the 70′s but still has a strong following.

The Matchbox beach buggy is strongly inspired by the real buggy and was released along with the Baja buggy in 1971 and I have seen a plain purple version without the yellow fleck but no other colour variations are available as far as I know.

Model details

Matchbox Beach Buggy

No, 30

Released, 1971

Colour, yellow fleck over purple metallic (some call this metallic pink)

Country of origin, UK

The real beach buggy shape sticks in my mind even today  and a classic shape, the picture below shows one as I remember them.

For more on beach buggy history Click Here

Matchbox Baja buggy

by Peter
Categories: Cars, Concept Vehicles, Diecast models, Matchbox, Off road, Volkswagen
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In the 70′s many kids of my age hankered after a beach buggy, they looked great fun  and Matchbox released a beach buggy in 1971 along with the Baja buggy, the Baja buggy probably got it’s name from the famous race in Mexico started in the 60′s.

A Baja buggy is more radical than a beach buggy and the Matchbox one follows this with the big V8 engine sticking out the back of it.

I now have two of these although wasn’t intended as the second one turned up in a job lot with  different coloured exhaust pipes, something I wasn’t aware of so now have both.

There has been some colour variations of this one other than metallic green it also came in lime green although not seen one, the other main variation of this is a two seat interior and believed to be rare the picture below shows this and go for very high prices in mint condition, the one below was for sale  in mint condition with box for £299.00 on Ebay.

Model details

Matchbox Baja buggy

No, 13

Colour, metallic green

Release date, 1971

Discontinued, 1976

Country of origin, UK

Matchbox released two other buggys with the Baja name, the Baja bullet and the Baja Bandit both made in Thailand and released in 2007 and 2010 respectively.

A similar copy was made by Tootsie Toys in the US in the early 1970′s although somewhat more basic and slightly bigger at 65mm.

Although I would usually list details of a real car associated with the model, I believe this is a concept version of a beach buggy and most Baja vehicles are extreme and vary greatly (see picture below)

For more on the Baja race Click Here