Essex Models and Miniatures archive
Category: Yesteryear

Matchbox buses and trams

by Peter
Categories: AEC, Buses & Coaches, Daimler, Leyland, Matchbox, Yesteryear
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Over the years Matchbox Lesney created some of the British icons of the London streets, the buses, most of us in the UK take them for granted but even in my lifetime the changes have been enormous, so lets go back to the beginning of the double decker.

The Matchbox B Type bus was one of the earlier Yesteryear range and made in 1956, Number Y2 and listed as a 1912 to 1920 B type bus.

My one is missing most of it’s decals and the driver and is due for replacement.

Trams were also popular with Matchbox, and again a Matchbox Yesteryear model, number Y3, this is a 1907 London E Class tram car, this was in production from 1956 until 1965 so a good production run and there are no doubt many of these out there, from what I know about these the decals are likely to of been ‘News of the World’.

This one has also lost much of it’s decals but as both of the above came my way as part of a job lot, didn’t even know I had them until I unpacked the box.

Both will be upgraded at some point or restored.

Next we look at the trollybus and is one of my favourites.

This is the grey wheel version and also available with black wheels, much of the decals are intact, this is Matchbox No56, and released in 1958, the decals came in various types although the ‘Peardrax’ is one of the more common versions.

Next is the old RT, the First bus I remember as a kid and been on many.

Matchbox produced this one in 1954, number 5 and called it London bus, it’s the smallest bus they ever made at only 52mm long, there is also a slightly bigger one made in 1957 and is 57mm long and also numbered 5.

In 1961 the  RT London bus was replaced with the AEC Routemaster.

We are now going to fast forward to 1972 when Matchbox created the Londoner and numbered it 17, this is based on the DMS or Leyland Fleetline was dubbed the Londoner and came into service in London in 1971.

Prior to that was the earlier Daimler Fleetline, Matchbox N074.

Matchbox Daimler Fleetline

The Leyland Titan was produced in 1981, first in the UK then later was moved to China, the name changed to ‘London Bus’

Other Leyland Titan liveries, some made in England, China and Macau

Matchbox Leyland Titan

Related articles;

1:76 scale diecast RT and RTW  buses

Corgi, silver jubilee Routemaster

Corgi, B type Thornycroft bus

Matchbox school buses

Solido, 1:50 scale buses

The real buses.

The pictures below and links are for the real buses

The B Type bus, 1911 -1920

More on B type buses Click Here

Trollybus and Tram

More on Trollybuses Click Here

The RT London bus

More on RT buses Click Here

The AEC Routemaster

For more on the Routemaster buses Click Here

The Daimler Fleetline

The Leyland Fleetline DMS

For more information on the Fleetline Click Here

The Leyland Titan

For more on the Leyland Titan Click Here

The future of the double decker in London

For more pictures and information on the future double decker, Click Here


Matchbox, 1937 Cord 812

by Peter
Categories: Cars, Cord, Diecast models, Matchbox, Yesteryear
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The Matchbox Cord is one of the later Yesteryear series  and numbered Y18, it was released in 1978 and ran until 1983 and was available in various colours, this one is called plum and suits the car well.

Called the Cord 812, this was the supercharged version of the real car, the Matchbox cord reproduces the chrome exhaust manifolds the supercharged car had coming from the engine bay.

The real car

E.L. Cord was only one of many earnest, skilled and dedicated entrepreneurs whose dream of establishing an automotive empire to rival Ford, GM and Chrysler was dashed by the Great Depression. At one time, Cord controlled the Checker and Yellow cab companies, Duesenberg, Lycoming, Stinson Aircraft and American Airways, among a portfolio of over 150 companies. A master salesman who worked his way up through the automobile business, the basis of Cord’s industrial empire was Auburn Manufacturing, which he acquired in 1924. He set to work to resuscitate Auburn and succeeded brilliantly by providing a winning combination of performance, style and remarkably good value.

In 1929, Cord took Auburn to the next level, introducing the Auburn-derived automobile Cord named after himself, the Cord Front Drive, now commonly known as the L29, with distinctive, sporting appearance and great performance for its price. Soon after, the stock market crashed and with it the market for another Cord project, the “Baby Duesenberg.” Nonetheless, its distinctive styling provided the basis for a new medium-priced, front-wheel drive car from Cord, the 810.

The 810 was intended to restore Cord’s auto manufacturing operations to health, using his well-proven formula: styling, performance and reasonable price. In the process, Gordon Buehrig’s clean and unadorned coffin nosed, retractable-headlight design would create a design standard by which cars are still judged today. Powered by a Lycoming-built V-8 engine, it created an instant sensation at its November 1935 introduction at the New York Auto Show, so much so that Cord could not meet demand.

The 1937 Cords, now designated 812, were little changed cosmetically from the 1936 models, and a supercharged engine option was now made available. Cord’s experience with Duesenberg, another of the Cord companies, made it relatively simple for them to add a Schwitzer-Cummins centrifugal supercharger that provided a maximum of six-psi boost, increasing the Lycoming V-8’s power output to between 185 and 195 horsepower.


Matchbox, Duesenburg, Model J

by Peter
Categories: Cars, Diecast models, Duesenburg, Matchbox, Yesteryear
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Today we are going to delve into the Matchbox Yesteryear range and in Particular the later range 1930 Duesenburg Model J, numbered Y4 and released around 1975, this is the fourth model to be released under the Y4 number and is more commonly Numbered Y4-4, this has been released in many colours during it’s production, some rare.

Some no where near rare including this fantastic green example, which came boxed and cost me less than the price of a loaf of bread.

The quality and detail of the later Matchbox Yesteryear to me are far better but I don’t have many, in fact it’s 10 months since I did an article on Yesteryears.

The real car

In February 1928 the Model J designation was born. The newly revived Duesenberg company set about to produce the Model J, which debuted for the first time on December 1 at the New York Car Show of 1928. In Europe, it was launched at the “Salon de l’automobile de Paris” of 1929.

The straight eight model J motor was based on the company’s successful racing engines of the 1920s and though designed by Duesenberg they were manufactured by Lycoming.

The bodyworks for the Duesenbergs came from both the U.S. and Europe, and the finished cars were some of the largest, grandest, most beautiful, and most elegant cars ever created.

The Duesenberg quickly became one of the most popular luxury cars as well as a status symbol in the United States and Europe, driven by the nobility, rich and famous, among them Clark Gable, Gary Cooper.

For more on the Duesenburg Click Here


1912 Packard Landaulet

by Peter
Categories: Cars, Diecast models, Matchbox, Packard, Yesteryear
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Matchbox has long since been making ‘Models of Yesteryear’ and variations of these have been known, the popular 1912 Packard Landaulet must be in every Yesteryear collection but did you know there were two versions?

These are the pink and yellow box era and if you look at the picture below the left one has a black plastic steering wheel and the one on the right a metal  brassed coloured steering wheel and metal silver coloured column.

The only other variation I know of  is the later anniversary edition sold in a white box , I had eight of these but now all sold except one that is part of my collection.

The real car
The Packard Motor Car Company started in 1902. However the company was originally started as the New York and Ohio Automobile Company by brothers James and William Packard in 1898. In 1901 the name of the company was changed to the Ohio Automobile Company and changed again in 1902 when the company became the Packard Motor Company. The product range was aimed at the top end of the market and its cheaper lines were not particularly successful.

The Packard Landaulet modelled by Matchbox was apparently based on an example purchased and restored by Henry Austin Clark Jr. The information on the box stated that the car could then be seen at the Long Island Automotive Museum.