The annual Matchbox collector’s convention was supposed to be last weekend, but the coronavirus happened. Instead, it was held virtually, with a video presentation to show what’s coming down the line. There’s a lot of excellent new castings for fans of Japanese cars. In no small part, that’s due to Toyota loosening up their licensing. Here’s what to expect.
Here’s the full video presentation on the Lamley Group YouTube channel if you want to check out the whole thing. We’ll break down the individual cars below, starting with the five new Japanese castings from the basics lineup. These are regular $1.00 cars available at any store where Matchboxes are sold. Long-time collectors may remember that Matchbox already did an AW11 back in the 80s. This is an all-new casting, and it might be done with the lights in the “up” position.
Toyota MR2 AW11.
2019 Subaru Forester
2018 Toyota HiLux
Next comes the 5-packs (click on thumbnail to enlarge), which use existing castings. These include a “Road Crew” set with a 1962 Nissan Junior pickup, and a “City Sedans” set with an Infiniti G37 Coupe and Honda Civic.
The 9-packs (click on thumbnail to enlarge) also use existing castings, and will include a Honda Insight, Hakosuka Nissan Skyline GT-X, and Toyota Tacoma.
Some of the basic line will feature moving parts like the Matchbox cars of old. Here, we see the return of existing castings like the Nissan XTerra, Honda S2000, and Datsun 280ZX. Look at the bottom, though, and you’ll notice two new JNC-relevant castings, a Honda T360 and a 1978 Subaru BRAT.
For collectors, there’s a premium lineup of more detailed (and more expensive cars). The new J-tin includes two cars we’re honestly quite surprised Matchbox hasn’t made before. The R35 Nissan GT-R has been around for a dozen years already but is finally getting the Matchbox treatment.
The vintage Toyota FJ Cruiser is another all-new casting, even though the real car has long since been discontinued. Both will come with opening doors. Also, the Honda S2000 makes another appearance with an opening hood.
Then there are the store exclusives, which are only available at certain retailers. The Target cars will have a “retro” theme and includes a Mitsubishi Eclipse, Hakosuka Nissan Skyline GT-X, and Datsun 510 Rally.
Walmart will have their own exclusive series, called Work Trucks. There will be two versions of the Nissan Hardbody D21, the Nissan Junior, and a Subaru Sambar.
And last but not least, there will be a new series of diorama sets, and it looks like the Nissan XTerra might be one of them. This was inspired by the Datsun 510 Rally that was a JCCS exclusive back in 2017. These will help launch a Matchbox collector’s website and will only be available there.
Overall, the lineup looks quite promising. We are seeing returns of favorites like the Hakosuka Skyline and Nissan Junior, while new castings are quite JNC-heavy with cars like the Honda T360, Subaru BRAT, Toyota MR2, Lexus LS400, and the old Land Cruiser-inspired FJ Cruiser.