Matchbox standouts

RobertBcfc Friday, 1/10/2020

Before Christmas I'd posted about Johnny Lightning - any standout cars that might exist being a total novice on the subject.

I got some great feedback and really learned a lot.  Now I'm looking to do the same with Matchbox.

Now, I'm not an absolute beginner with Matchbox, being from the UK they were the first cars I had to play with back in the early 80s.  Here's a brain dump of what I know (or potentially think I know) - please feel free to correct me, point me in the right direction, and help me to fill in the gaps:

Laser Wheels - the pick of the bunch.  Always fast (insofar as any range of diecast cars can be) but also pretty rare to find in their packaging.  I've got 2 - the famous Datsun 280zx and a Buick Le Sabre.  I haven't run either, but I understand the Datsun may be the fastest Matchbox of all (similar to the black with flames Camaro of JL)?

Superfast - kind of a mixed bag, but the faster castings are a match for the faster FTEs?

Again the Datsun is a standout but also there's a black Cadillac Allante from 1987 which is also very quick?  

Of the newer castings, the 75th anniversary Blue Shark is a standout?

Other fast ones:

Mercedes 6x6 (Gold 50th anniversary)

Halleys Comet

Bradley Tank / Abrams Battle Tank

2011 Pro Atom Van


And that's that - my Matchbox knowledge (which may be full of half truths and misunderstandings!) summarised!

Looking to build up as much data as I can on the subject if you can help at all

Thanks

Rob


Discussion

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Mattman213 1/10/20

I can weigh in on this finally.  Never was much of a Matchbox car but got turned onto some quicker ones and thought ide see what all the fuss was about.  I scrounged around and picked up as many (cheap) starburst and laser wheels cars as I could find, lose and even a couple still in the package in hopes to send them down the track and see what kinda speed I could get out of them

Nothing.

They were ALL slow (except one) and some were even straight duds.  Funny thing is three of the packaged cars I bought had defects from the manufacturer and they were the ones I was most looking forward to getting.  Laser Wheel 280z, Starburst 280z and a Starbust Mercedes.  BOTH 280's had the same issue where the base and body didnt line up front to back (body was shifted a little too far forward) and the front wheels make constant contact with the body.  The Mercedes has a bent axle and it was on the card side of the car so not from damage during transport or anything like that.  

The only one that wasnt a complete turd straight out of the box was the Hailey's Comet Trans Am. Not lightning quick but the fastest of the group without a doubt.

Now.  Not being one to leave well enough alone, and after hearing some info from Red Pill about these things liking a little wheel work, I got to work.  The dud cars will likely need to be drilled and some adjustments made but one of my starburst 280's is absolutely flawless and after some graphite, its a scorcher!  The HC Trans Am reacted the same way and is even quicker.  Ive got a whole mess of random ones now that need to be worked and then raced.  If you keep in mind that they need to break in some and that they react very very very well to lube, you will be hard pressed to not enjoy having a couple Super Fast's in your collection.  

On another note, I love finding vintage Super Fasts at Flea Markets etc and trying to bring them back to life.  I always figure if I fail Ill wheel swap em and see what they got but I enjoy trying to ressurect them.

Matt

  • What kind of wheel work are we talking about here? My HC is pretty slow, would love to try and speed it up a bit! — WorpeX
  • Just a little graphite to lube the axles! — Mattman213
  • What do you use for lube? — WorpeX
  • Graphite powder, you can get it most anywhere that sells stuff for Pinewood cars and even some hardware stores will have it as a dry lube. Look on youtube for info about it, stuff gets eeeeeeeverrrrywhere but it can wake a car up BIG time. — Mattman213
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LeagueofSpeed 1/10/20
Event coordinator

When hunting MBX...always look for this Superfast type of card...these have thinner axels like Hot Ones and Ultra Hots...and Laser Wheels are just Starburst wheels with a different solid cap and I believe the thinner axels as well.

  • I really want one of those light blue Trans Ams. The Haileys Comet one is quick but silly looking to me, the blue one is super retro and cool! — Mattman213
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LeagueofSpeed 1/10/20
Event coordinator

The all metal Crown Victorias are usually pretty fast with the white one with the Eagle on it from the Hero Series being the top dog and the 56 Ford Pick-Up with the Texaco tampo on the doors has a nice racing history and some lore behind it.

  • The 56 is one I’ve got - I’ve seen it go close with a Hot Tub FTE so must be pretty good — RobertBcfc
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LeagueofSpeed 1/10/20
Event coordinator

This Haley's Comet Plymouth Fury can be wicked fast and also has some nice history and lore behind it.

  • Whats the story? — Mattman213
  • It's just fast...one's without Haley's Comet tend not to be...crazy how that works across castings...because you know the only difference is the paint scheme — LeagueofSpeed
  • Very true, always odd to me but Ive seen it time and again. — Mattman213
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LeagueofSpeed 1/10/20
Event coordinator

Crown Vic

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LeagueofSpeed 1/10/20
Event coordinator

The original if it's in race worthy condition or this re-release of the Blue Shark 

  • My Blue Shark (re-release version) is pretty garbage. It currently sits at 2-4 on my track. Thing is heavy as hell though, I feel if I just did some work on the wheels it might give it a huge speed boost. — WorpeX
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WorpeX 1/10/20

I know it was mentioned by robert, but this is the fastest Matchbox on my track and its not even close. Easily beats the HC Firebird and Blue Shark. Its the only Matchbox with a positive W/L ratio in my stable. That said, I also gave up on MBX a long time ago so the only other MBX cars which aren't over 10 years old are those two I just mentioned.

  • Yeah I bought a handful of the newest gold colored "Super Fast" cars and they are completely losers. I gave em all to my son and even he doesnt like to play with them much LOL — Mattman213
  • Was one of them the 6x6? The only other gold super fast I got was the camaro.... its so bad. — WorpeX
  • Nah, Fire Truck, BMW of some sort and a Hudson. Funny thing is this little GMC stepside pickup we got with it because my son liked the looks of it STOMPED those cars and it suffered from the worse death wobbles due to being so skinny. — Mattman213
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Dadvball 1/11/20

Here are the best of my racing collection. The only one that's seen graphite is the Mustang. I've retired it from the LJLRC and used it in LoS's recent Amercan Muscle lll race. 

These are decent but would do better with graphite. I don't know what you call the wheels on the stock cars and Vette, but typically the gold colored version does better  

I'm having an issue with uploading so I'll try again.  I've got 3 more pics to post  

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Dadvball 1/11/20

The Mustang will be in a later pic, if I can get them loaded. 

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Dadvball 1/12/20

These would also do better with graphite. They are decent at the club racing but don't usually make it past the 2nd round. 

The Ford and Jeep have both won once. Still decent but getting old. Others also do well but we don't see too many. The BMW and Vette are recent buys and they are running at the club today so I'm anxious to see how they do. 

Here's the Mustang I mentioned earlier. It's done well for a few people, myself included. The other 4 have each won 2 trophies.  The Fords are the re-releases when MB came back out with the Superfast years ago. They have been winners for several at the club. There's a silver version but it doesn't have the same wheels and isn't as fast. One of the guys has a dark green one I haven't seen which got him a win. The Z's can be funny. They have that suspension and some months they'll be bouncy and jump the track. Other months smooth as ice. Many other castings with the suspension will do the same thing. 

Hope this is helpful. 

  • And my Blue Shark is a dog. — Dadvball
  • Absolutely fantastic! Thank you, they look great. Do you have the casting names/years for them at all? Really appreciated — RobertBcfc
  • How did the Corvette Turbo get on? I’ve found one on eBay I’m keeping my eye on — RobertBcfc
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RobertBcfc 1/15/20

I've done a bit of amateur sleuth work based on Dadvball's excellent pictures in the posts above.  A few gaps to fill in, but I think I got most of them.  Starting at the top and working left to right as we view them:

Pic 1:

Thunderbird Stock Car (16 Radiotech)

Pontiac Stock Car (10 Pro Auto)
Pontiac Stock Car (7 Outlaw)

?

1981 Ferrari 308

?

Pic 2:

Halleys Comet Mercury Police Car

?

Lesney 55 Mercury Police Car

?

Pic 3:

56 Ford Pickup - Across America: Maine

Superfast Jeep Liberty

?

Superfast 62d Vette Turbo 

Pic 4:

Lesney 70 Ford Mustang Boss

?

?

Datsun 280zx Superfast (Black)

?

So far managed to grab the Pro Auto stock car but they all look like fantastic additions to any collection.

Thanks to everyone who posted - some great new models to add to the notebook and a fantastic insight into the world of Matchbox.

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LeagueofSpeed 1/15/20
Event coordinator

That white Crown Vic pictured in DVB's photos is the one from the Hero Series I mentioned 

  • Thanks - that’s my ignorance I didn’t check back and see that it was the same casting — RobertBcfc
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