Time for another installment of Miniature Curbside Classic, a special division of CC recognizing some of the great scale cars of the distant and not so distant past. Today we’re going camping!
Well before Hot Wheels came on the scene in 1968, Lesney was the top brand for 1/64 scale toy cars. Sure, there were other brands, such as Lone Star and Husky, but Matchbox cornered the market. A British company, many of their models included Austins, Ford Zodiacs, and Vauxhall Crestas, models very foreign to American youngsters. More familiar brands were in the classic 1-75 line though, including a Rolls Royce, a ’58 Cadillac Sixty Special, a Squarebird and this very cool VW camper.
My biggest issue with modern diecast is how all the cool operating features have disappeared, unless you want to spend three to five dollars for ‘collectible’ diecasts built specifically for grown ups. This VW sports opening center doors, which reveal built-in cabinets on the doors and a dinette set, complete with table. It also has a skylight for an even better view of the detailed interior. My dad got this VW for me a while back, it even had its original box. I’ve collected vintage diecast for many years, but this was a new, and welcome, addition.
Our other featured model is an early Sixties Studebaker Champ camper. Unlike the vintage VW, this is a much more recent issue, made by Johnny Lightning in the late Nineties. Despite its newer manufacture, it has quite a bit of detail, including an opening hood. Still, the early Matchboxes have a special charm that new models just can’t match. And the boxes they came in were so neat!