Matchbox, the iconic die-cast metal toy car brand, turns 70 in 2023, so to celebrate, parent company Mattel are releasing a line of special, limited-edition vehicles, paying tribute to Matchbox’s heritage.
That heritage goes back to 1953, when English engineer Jack Odell, who had been a mechanic in the British Army during World War II, created a new vehicle in response to his daughter being told she could only bring a toy to school if it fitted in a matchbox.
Odell’s first creation, a 1:64 scale road roller, reinvented the die-cast metal toy industry, leading to an expanding range of vehicles, all in the same scale and all in cardboard packets that looked like matchboxes.
Matchbox’s success saw many rivals emerge, chief among these being Corgi and Hot Wheels, that debuted in 1956 and 1968, respectively.
Originally created by Lesney Products, Matchbox was purchased by Mattel in 1997, by which time the range of diecast cars had evolved from kid’s toy to also be a collectors’ item for adults, and the range had expanded to include aircraft, military vehicles, play sets, larger scale die-cast cars, slot cars and plastic model kits.
To mark 75 Years since the first Matchbox car, the selection of Matchbox vehicles for the anniversary is made up of a combination of collector favourites and iconic vehicles, spanning seven decades and regions around the world.
“We are so excited to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Matchbox and the trusted legacy this brand has imprinted on kids and collectors all over the world,” said Roberto Stanichi, Senior Vice President, Global Head of Vehicles at Mattel. “We look forward to continuing to redefine the die-cast category as we move towards a more sustainable future.”
Announced in February and available in a staggered release, across seven different assortments throughout this year, the colours, details and models in the 70th Anniversary range will vary, but special platinum details (for 75 Years) will be common to all.
Individual 70th Anniversary die-cast vehicles will be rolling into retail outlets throughout the year and will be available across Matchbox’s 2023 die-cast product line.
To demonstrate Matchbox’s commitment to sustainability in the die-cast category, a portion of each vehicle in the 70th Anniversary collection will be made from recycled zinc.
Additionally, Matchbox say they will integrate more eco-friendly themes in the future, with a vision to make all toys and packaging from 100 per cent recycled, recyclable or bio-based plastic materials by 2030.
Matchbox die-cast toy cars are available from Toys R Us, Toyworld, most department stores (Big W, Myer, K Mart, etc.) and hobby retailers Australia-wide. Whether the full 70th Anniversary range will be offered in Australia was unconfirmed at time of writing.
For more information on the Matchbox 70th Anniversary, go to: https://shop.mattel.com/pages/matchbox-70th-anniversary