Last week was the annual Matchbox Collector’s Convention in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Mattel took the opportunity to reveal the cars and trucks of their 2017 lineup, and there are several that will surely be of interest to JNCers.
First and foremost is a Datsun 510 (front row, center). However, since Hot Wheels already has the 2-door sedan and wagon covered, Matchbox’s will be a sedan. Not only that, but it was inspired by the sedan that won the 1970 Safari Rally. As such, it comes with a roof rack that includes a spare wheel and all some rally gear.
Next up is a the new Toyota Tacoma (top row, second from left). Matchbox has already made a Tacoma lifeguard truck, but this is the latest third-generation model. In true Matchbox “Explore Your World” skewing towards adventure vehicles, the Tacoma comes with a removable tent for camping use.
Matchbox also currently has a Subaru WRX police car based on the hawkeye facelift of the GD Impreza, but now they’re updating it to match the real-life model’s latest-generation redesign (second row, left). Again, since Matchbox leans towards workhorse versions (there’s also a Lancer Evolution police car too), the new Impreza WRX will come as a cop car.
Perhaps most surprisingly, however, was the inclusion of a 1966 Nissan Junior pickup (second row, fourth from left). A classic compact pickup is perfect for the Matchbox brand, but the choice is still surprising.
While we understand the desire not to repeat a casting that already exists in Hot Wheels like the Datsun 620, we’re surprised that a 521 or 720 4×4 wasn’t selected. Instead, we get a rare (even for Japan) pickup that was never officially imported to the US. Don’t get us wrong; we’re not complaining, just pleasantly shocked. This gets a rare model into the lineup, and still leaves room for more popular and thus easier-to-justify trucks to join later.
Image courtesy of Matchbox, Toyota, Subaru, Early Datsun.