Synopsis of Toy

Why are cars wasted on the old? If kids ran the world, we’d give an automobile to everyone old enough to touch the steering wheel or the pedals (and not necessarily at the same time). Ramps would be set up on every city block, and every intersection would play like a free-for-all demolition derby. On second thought, there’s probably a good reason kids don’t get cars. And that’s why Matchbox cars were invented.

Die-cast cars had been around almost as long as Henry Ford’s original Model T, but Matchbox brought new levels of popularity to the small-scale autos. Jack Odell built his first brass model (an Aveling Barford Road Roller) in 1953, and since it was small enough for his daughter to bring to school in a matchbox, the “Matchbox” name stuck. The next year, Odell’s company, Lesney Products, debuted four Matchbox models—the Road Roller, the Muir Hill Site Dumper, the Cement Mixer and the Massey Harris Tractor. The U.K. company exported its vehicles to the rest of the world in 1954, and the line began to expand.

Matchbox’s models changed from year to year, but its basic line always contained 75 cars—no more, no less. New cars were introduced, old ones were retired, but the “Matchbox 75” was one of the toy world’s constants. That didn’t stop Matchbox from introducing more models in different lines, however. The “Models of Yesteryear” gave kids a chance to play with old-time cars and other vehicles, while future lines like the King Size and World Class models expanded the Matchbox garage even further.

Matchbox cars soon became the world standard in die-cast autos, giving kids an affordable car with real-life details. The introduction of Hot Wheels in the late 1960’s lured some kids to the new world of speed and bright colors, but Matchbox responded with its “Superfast” line. Later years brought playsets (including a full snap-together Matchbox city) and an exclusive deal with Harley-Davidson motorcycles, but the thrill was always the same: this car may not be full-size, but it looks real, it’s mine, and it’ll do until we rule the world.

Release History of Toy

1952 - Matchbox cars
1956 - Models of Yesteryear
1969 - Superfast cars

Sub Categories of Toys

toy cars

Toy and Game Manufacturer

Lesney Products, Moko, Matchbox, Tyco

Other Toy Links