I found this Matchbox car along with a trove of others in the rafters of a foreclosed house I purchased several years ago. Currently it sits on a shelf of my desk for several reasons, not the least of which is that it is in excellent preserved condition.
However, another reason is that I still have the exact same car from when I got it upon its release in 1980 while living in Germany. The real Porsche 928 was released in 1977 as a 1978 production model and Matchbox followed it up in 1979 as one of their 1980 range, specifically No. 59.
They produced it for the next decade in several colors, although production of the real 928 actually outlasted it, with the last full-size version rolling out of Zuffenhausen in 1995. The real thing was quite a revolutionary design at the time with its concealed bumper structures underneath the body-colored polyurethane coverings. Designed by Walter Möbius, it earned the European Car of the Year award in 1978.
The Porsche 928’s basic design has held up very well over the years. A genuine late ’70’s model looks a little dated these days (mainly due to wheel size) but the minor styling updates that Porsche endowed the model with over the years kept it at the forefront of interesting design and even 20+years after production, a mid-90’s model looks very modern.
This Matchbox model in gold with a tan interior isn’t the combination I would spec my own real actual 928 with but it’s become familiar and as a result when I see real gold 928’s it reminds me of this one.
On this car the doors open which is a nice touch and being one of Matchbox’s “Superfast” series, has the wide tires and somewhat springy “suspension”. Matchbox being an English company, this model is right-hand drive.
The interior is well-detailed with correctly bolstered seats, a center console that includes a nub of a shifter and a rear wiper and defroster molded into the plastic glass.
The details are quite good for being over 35 years old with molded in license plates and a slightly too large Porsche logo molded into the rear bumper cap. The license plate denotes it as a “V” reg car which would be appropriate for a vehicle registered in 1979. This is one of the little touches I love about Matchbox.
I’ve always been more drawn to Matchbox over Hot Wheels as I prefer realism to fantasy so when I go to the store and pick out ones to bring home for my boys I am always more likely to pick something like this over the latest “Phantomorgasmatron 5000 Galaxy Racer” resulting in thanks but sometimes groans from the boys due to it being a “regular” car. Maybe buying the cars for them is just an excuse…
The upside is that they are starting to recognize real cars on the street as sometimes being cars they have in their collection which is unlikely if I had chosen the Phantomorgasmatron 5000GR. We’ll leave that for someone else.
The car on the left is the one I found in the rafters, the one on the right is the one I’ve had since I was a boy that was played with hard and then in a box until my boys started playing with it at Grandma’s house where I rescued it.
They are identical and rolled off the same assembly line in England, just the one that I’ve had for 35 years has seen (much) more use and wear. The main difference I see is in the “glass” which brings up a question, my research shows that it was originally produced as clear but some other pictures I found (and the newer of my cars) have it in this amber color. I assume they switched colors during production for some reason.
The color is virtually the same, the pictures make it look a bit darker I think mainly due to wear and surface scratches. But the doors still open the same and the “shocks” also feel the same on both. They both roll great.
Nowadays they both sit on the shelf side-by-side, having endured very different histories but coming back together since being separated from a common source many years ago.