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Essex Models and Miniatures archive
This has taken me a good few years to get, I have known of them for years but have never managed to win a bid on one or buy one from anywhere else, until recently, in fact even this one I was outbid on, then out of the blue six weeks later I was given a second chance offer on Ebay from the Spanish seller, well you can imagine my surprise, and click the pay now as quick as I could.
And here it is Mini Mira Number 127.
What made this one desirable was it was mint condition, many I have seen are badly plaworn, not only that it was in the original packaging.
It’s obviously a copy of the Matchbox Stretcha Fetcha but with subtle changes, If you look at this and the Matchbox version you can see how similar they are, the main changes are the steering wheel is on the left, the glass is clear and the casting has been changed around the side windows and added a bar above, (see originals below as a comparison).
Dates of production are sketchy, between the 1970′s and 1980′s seem realistic, if you believe some of the Auction site sellers trying to sell these for between $1500 and $2500 each as they seem to list this as 1971, if that was the case it pre-dates Matchbox’s version by a year at least, the fact is this is generally known as an unlicensed Matchbox copy, making it at the earliest 1972/73.
The front, back and a lot of the detail are identical to the Matchbox Stretcha Fetcha
The Matchbox Stretcha Fetcha as a comparison.
For the article on the Matchbox Stretcha Fetcha, Click Here
The Matchbox Stretcha Fetcha is one of those from my childhood so was added to my collection a few years back, the more recently the Viper van which is an American issue.
The white ambulance came in many variations, my first one below is the version with a plated base and cream interior it has the blue windows and has Ambulance written over the red cross.
Other versions can have a red base, a plain red cross, amber windows and a pale yellow interior, my first one is one of the earliest issues as it has the plated base (it changed to red after that) I know of ten variations usually a mix of the above modifications.
The second one is the same but has the later red baseplate.
The Viper van was an American issue and has the amber glass and a black base plate, the interior on mine is cream and still has the ambulance interior complete with stretcher and patient.
This is the red version available with “Unfall Rettung” labels and was a German issue, very rare and hard to find in any condition, the baseplate has ‘Made in England’ stamped on it.
The collection all together.
Although not a Matchbox the following picture shows a model based on the same model but using a different casting involving some subtle changes and made by Mira diecast in Spain, these don’t come up for sale often.
This one I bought from Spain, mint and in it’s packaging.
If you look at this and the Matchbox version you can see how similar they are, the main changes are the steering wheel is on the left, the glass is clear and the casting has been changed around the side windows and added a bar above.
For more on the Mini Mira Stretcha Fetcha Click Here
I’ve seen these called fantasy vehicles by many as no real version exists of them but I prefer the term concept vehicle as many that started back is the 70′s can be seen in later years in real cars and vans, this for instance I can see in the first Renault Master van which was released in 1980 with, at the time a design that was ahead of it’s time.
For that reason I now have a ‘concept’ category on this site.
Date of issue, 1972
Country of origin, UK
For more on the variations of this model Click Here
For more on the Mini Mira Stretcha Fetcha Click Here