History of the Changes
17-Jul-2014 Ambassadors Report 46 and 47

Nigel Cooper's Ambassador Reports Archive
Archive All Questions and Answers Report 1 to 45
Archive Ambassadors Reports (without Questions and Answers)
      45 44 43 42 41 40 39 38 37
36 35 34 33 32 31 30 29 28 27 26 25
24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17 16 15 14 13
12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

July 47

I have received from Jim Gallegos two photos of the models which Matchbox has kindly donated for this year’s charity auction. Next week’s report will be the last and will focus exclusively on the models planned for the future. The Matchbox team will talk about plans for 2015 at The Gathering and I will include some of the information in the final report.

The first two models are 2015 5 pack releases – Mound Mover and Mission Helicopter.
The next three models will be included in 2014 5 packs.
The Dodge A-100 will be included in this year’s miniature range.

The passenger cars of 1982
Just a cursory glance at the 1982/3 Matchbox catalogue indicates something major was going on that year.

The front cover shows three Kenworth and Peterbilt vehicles, and upon further inspection it is clear Lesney had spent a lot of money creating new moulds to revamp their miniatures range.

Gone were many of the Two Packs, and in their place was the new Convoy range of models. Within the 1-75 miniatures range no fewer than 22 models had been deleted and replaced with a variety of new vehicles including those shown on the front cover. This was all money well spent, as the miniatures had always maintained healthy sales.
It was reckless spending in other, less well tested areas over three or four years that created the financial chasm into which Lesney would fall halfway through that year.

The display shows the models shown in the pocket catalogue at the beginning of the year. Of those 22 new models for 1982, six were passenger cars, of which two, the #42 Ford Thunderbird and #47 Jaguar SS100, were akin to Models of Yesteryear creations.
The four contemporary editions included
  • #25 Audi Quattro
  • #37 Matra Rancho
  • #51 Pontiac SE
  • #74 Fiat Abarth
This was also the year where the range diverged, so that many models available in the UK were not so in the USA, and vice versa.

Also the models did not necessarily have the same number, which is why the new releases had no base numbers, which upset or at least inconvenienced many collectors. C
Catalogues and boxes had to be relied upon in that regard. In the USA the Audi was #23, the Matra was not released, the Pontiac was #12 and the Fiat #9.

In place of the Matra in the US was the Sunburner, which was in fact the 1972 #32 Maserati Bora re-released in black with flame tampo print.

Many other 70s models were re-released in the USA that year, in favour of genuine new releases as was the case in the rest of the world. Most USA die-cast collectors still favoured Hot Wheels models over Matchbox and so it was felt the Hot Wheels inspired 70s Matchbox models would sell better than the standard Matchbox fare which was now planted firmly in the world of reality and authenticity.

Ironically of course the Maserati was based on a genuine vehicle, so it was a curious choice of re-release!

The Audi Quattro was a very well known vehicle by 1982, as it had been winning many rally events around the world since its introduction in 1980 with four wheel drive.
By 1984 in fact it had won twenty two international rally championships.

Also it was during 1982 that the famous Vorsprung durch Technik Audi Quattro road car advertisements first appeared on British commercial television, as voiced in inimitable fashion by BBC TV acting stalwart, Geoffrey Palmer.

With the rally connection in mind, the Quattro was released in white with Audi Sport side tampo print and a black and brown stripe effect to the sides and across the top, with 20 on the roof and Audi on the bonnet.
It was clear from the pictures in the 1982 catalogue that this model was still in the early stages of production when photographed, as it is a resin mould with wheels attached! 
In fact the 1983 catalogue unfortunately utilises the same picture!

The production model has clear glass, a black interior, 5 arch wheels and a gloss black metal base. The base could also be found in matt black or matt grey, and are far less common than gloss black.

A small run must have been produced with the side tampo print missing as examples occasionally crop up.

During 1983 the mould was transferred to Macau where the model was produced unaltered for a year before the design was changed to one not totally dissimilar, but now with a Duckhams/Pirelli tampo design.
Colour trials and Pre-production
These models only came with gloss black bases, but can also be found with amber windows.  Curiously some models with this design and clear windows are missing the name Pirelli. In 1986 the body was changed to a burgundy colour, now with minimal tampo print in the form of Audi and the four ring insignia in white to the sides. This was a very good look for this classic model, which could now also be found with the 8 dot design wheels.

In January 1986 BP planning big UK promotion for 1987 whereby tokens could be collected to exchange for Matchbox models. There were to be 12 cars which were to be exclusively recoloured. However, BP pulled out last minute as they wanted the promotion to be specifically British and when they realised that Matchbox toys were no longer manufactured in the UK and were now foreign owned they decided instead to give the business to UK based company, though all 12 production samples had been approved by BP.
Production had started to meet a tight deadline and six had been produced. These were numbers 3, 39, 25, 43, 37 & 55. At that time six had not been released. These were numbers 11, 48, 15, 56, 33 & 70.

Thus the Audi, as one of these 12 models selected for the promotion, was produced in blue with the original side tampo, with the 8 dot wheel, and with either clear or amber windows. The blue Audi had been designed with a BP emblem on the bonnet.
Once BP pulled out, the decision was taken to overprint the BP emblem with the Audi name in a red oval, large enough to obscure the print underneath, and ship these models to the USA. This seemed a far more sensible option than scrapping the blue Audi altogether. The other five other models which had started to be produced for the aborted BP promotion were also subject to over-printing. Five models were sent to US and but interestingly the BMW was sent to Europe.

Production of the Audi then moved to China where the burgundy model was produced, with 5 arch wheels, but in a darker shade than the Macau issue and is often described as plum. Finally in 1989 the colour was altered to a medium grey colour, with a similar but larger tampo design than before and the 5 arch wheels. This was yet another attractive colour choice. Yet despite this, out of nowhere in 1990 the Audi simply vanishes, being replaced by the old #41 Ambulance, re-released at #25 in white with orange tampo print. However the Audi was also released as one of the exclusive China issues in the yellow window boxes, again in the rare blue colour and with 5 arch wheels.
But now with Chinese lettering to the sides, and this issue is not easy to find.

Several versions of this model can be found as a Brazilian issue, initially with the 8 dot wheel, later with the very unattractive 4 arch wheel which appear only to have ever been fitted to later Brazilian issues.

The Matra Rancho was a rest of the world issue as it was not a well known vehicle in the USA. Certainly in the UK the real vehicle was quite popular in the early 1980s but this popularity appeared very short lived as the real vehicle suffered from several mechanical problems.
A well known pre-production model is in a very attractive red with a grey metal base.

This red model was considered for release but in the end a blue version was chosen instead.

The Lesney issue was released in medium blue which included the metal base, and the shade can vary to a turquoise colour.
The interior was black, and like the Ferrari 308GTB the year before, this interior extended outward to form a black stripe around the body, although in this case it was a far wider stripe.
The glass was clear and models were fitted with narrow 5 arch wheels. A short run were made with dot dash wheels and these look just as suitable on this miniature. This was, like the Cougar Villager and Renault 5 before it, a model fitted with a plastic tailgate moulded in the same colour as the body.

By 1983 the body colour was changed by Matchbox International, however this was one of the models chosen to continue to be manufactured in England until 1985, and thus retained the “Lesney” base.
The model was now all over yellow including the tailgate, with narrow 5 arch wheels. Very rare examples are plain yellow, but the vast majority have a red stripe along the sides just above the black plastic stripe. On pre-production examples this red stripe is much thicker, as per the 1983 catalogue.
 Another well known pre-production model is in a very attractive red with a grey metal base. The production model remained yellow into 1984, but the wheels fitted, whilst still of the 5 arch variety, were now wide and could be found with the hubs chromed as standard or in very rare gold!

Although deleted during 1985 in favour of the Ford Escort Cabriolet, the Matra had been introduced into the Two Pack range in 1984.

This model was in dark blue with matching tailgate, but had a white metal base, and a yellow Surf Rescue tampo to the bonnet and roof, white side stripes, and narrow or wide 5 arch wheels. This model could also be found fitted with a black plastic tailgate, and also with a yellow metal base!
A hard to find variation was made in relatively small numbers in the dark blue shade, with the white base, blue tailgate, wide 5 arch wheels, and the white stripe to the sides, but missing the yellow Surf Rescue tampo.

Another interesting Two Pack variant comes in the original medium blue, with a yellow painted base and yellow tailgate, and wide 5 arch wheels.
On closer inspection however, it appears these are in fact yellow bodies over-sprayed
 medium blue, or it may be that the undercoat is glaring through due to a poor quality blue top coat, but either way such examples are relatively easy to locate. This version can also be found with a black metal base, blue tailgate and wide 5 arch wheels. Due to the various parts used to make up this model, it is quite likely that there are other permutations to be found in addition to those noted above.

By 1986 the moulds had been shipped to Macau, where Two Pack model continued to be produced. All the Matra TP issues came with a plastic inflatable dinghy made specifically for this Two Pack, and again they come in a number of colours and with varying tampo print. The trailer however was the old faithful used to transport the #24 Team Matchbox and #5 Seafire in previous Two Pack sets. The Macau produced Matra Rancho models were now only available with narrow 5 arch wheels. The first was in black with a white base and black hatch, still using the Surf Rescue tampo, the next, released in 1987 and shown again in 1988, was in bright orange, with a black base, orange tailgate, and Surf 2 side tampo. It was then released in neon yellow, with a yellow base and neon yellow tailgate, now with a Marine Rescue tampo. This yellow model was not found in a Two Pack, but in an Emergency Pack, which does not seem to appear in any catalogue.

However in 1992 the Matra was produced again, now in China, as part of the Graffic Traffic range of plain white models including a white base, interior and tailgate, and for the only time, amber windows. Finally came a China released multi pack issue with the Marine Rescue tampo, but in blue, with a yellow base and blue tailgate. The mould was also made available to Bulgaria who wasted no time in producing a dazzling array of different coloured variants!

The Pontiac SE is illustrated in the 1982 catalogue in blue, with a beige or perhaps gold metal base. In fact the picture box has the same colour bodywork, indicating that the decision not to release it in blue must have come quite late.
As 1982 picture boxes were the last made before blue window boxes took over, (upsetting just about every collector in the world whilst pleasing shopkeepers) the picture box was never updated to show the actual release colours of bright red with a silver painted metal base.

The wheels were 5 arch, the interior beige, and the windows clear. However it could also be found with amber windows, or with a lemon yellow interior which could be found with either type of window. The yellow interiors are the rarer variant. An extremely rare piece is that with dot dash wheels. The two red pre-production models must have been successfully chosen as the issued colour though the shades are different.
two red pre-production models
By 1983 the mould had been transferred to Macau for future production, and white tampo print was added: Firebird with a stripe to the sides, and an eagle to the bonnet, very similar in fact to the #16 Pontiac. The base was now the pearly silver shade peculiar to Macau production and only clear windows and tan interiors were used.

In 1984 the colour changed to black, with the same tampo design but now in white and red. An interesting variation can be found with gold hubs, and another variant is that with opaque white windows.
In 1987 Superfast Lasers were introduced, and the Pontiac in blue with blue windows and a white base was included in the range. These Laser models had solid iridescent chrome hubs.
In 1988 Matchbox introduced Super Colour Changers, and again the Pontiac was chosen for inclusion in the range.

It came purple and sky blue with a red interior, still maintaining the same Firebird and eagle tampo print.

Also during 1988 Matchbox acquired the Dinky name, and in order not to lose the rights to this trademark, they released some miniatures with the name Dinky tampo printed in white to the base, on red Dinky blister cards.
Again the Pontiac was one of the six models chosen for inclusion, in powder blue, with the red interior, and a multicolour striped pattern.

This model reverted back to 5 arch wheels. However in the USA 24 models were introduced as new Superfast models, with this name having been absent from model bases commencing in 1981.

They were given a starburst design of wheel and which had very defined edges rather than smooth rounded edges like a real tyre, and therefore were a not very flattering addition to the range.
The body was again blue, with blue windows, a white interior and a multicolour striped pattern. The same starburst wheels were also used on a set of three models called Haley’s Comet and yet again the Pontiac was included as one of this trio. The model came in black with a black base and grey interior, with “Haley’s Comet” tampo print to the bonnet and sides.
This would have been a very attractive piece if not for the unfortunate choice of wheels. In 1987 the Maaco Paint Company in USA had 20,000 red Firebird produced as a promotional.
 However, the logo was complicated in design and the logo was impossible to apply with painting techniques and labels were not satisfactory and so clear vinyl labels were used instead.

As there was no desire for a surround as with paper labels, the clear vinyl labels were used instead, although they did not always sit flush with the body and are often slightly raised or found with small air pockets underneath, which explains why vinyl labels were never used as a rule by Matchbox.
The models were given away in US to anyone asking for an estimate for body repairs or paint jobs. (Anyone who has driven through NY or LA would know these Matchbox cars would disappear quickly!!).

This casting in the miniatures range had been replaced by the Ford Ltd Police Car during 1987, where just prior to deletion the base was altered to be made in dark grey plastic instead of metal, naturally for cost reasons. However it continued to be manufactured in so many different guises, that it was still being made when production shifted to China. Here it was produced for multipacks, in black with a red interior and Firebird tampo, but now with dot dash or starburst wheels.

Finally it was released in the Knight Rider guise that this Pontiac was so famous for, especially back in 1982 when it was first released, and the well known and highly popular TV series was at its zenith. At that time the licence was too expensive, but now as one of the Star Car range in 1998 it was affordable by Mattel, who had only recently acquired Matchbox. Made in black (of course) the model had a tan interior, black plastic base, 8 dot wheels for the first and only time, and Knight Rider tampo print.
Pre-production examples of the Fiat came in a very dark brown colour with a black or red interior, and whilst the brown colour was quickly dismissed, it appears at first that the black interior was chosen to be used, as a larger quantity than would be required for pre-production models were produced, and thus ended up in a small number of white production models.

This is a desirable variation.

The Fiat Abarth was a model released with a black (or occasionally dark grey) plastic base from the start, although this base could only be seen from the front forming the lights and grille, as this casting had a very deep skirt all round the metal body.

Produced in white with clear windows, 5 arch wheels and a red interior, the model featured red and orange tampo stripes and Matchbox in black, as well as chromed front lights and FIAT on the grille. Very rarely this chrome was left off so that the front was plain black.
Even more unusual are models with the Matchbox name omitted from the sides.
The red tampo print could vary in shade and was sometimes very dark.
Another rare piece, with the red interior, is one with a plain white body. At the end of 1983 production moved to Macau, and the model was sometimes fitted with amber windows instead of the clear variety. In 1984 the design on the white body was changed to a red and green Al Italia livery which was an attractive look. This also came with clear or amber windows and a black or dark grey plastic base. However by 1986 Matchbox seemed, rather strangely, to have run out of ideas, and the model was deleted in favour of the Toyota MR2.
The mould was shipped to Brazil where the model was fitted with 8 spoke wheels and also those 4 spoke wheels exclusive to Brazil, although one model was released in blue rather than standard white, which made for a welcome change.
These later Brazilian releases normally featured in 4 packs rather than as single releases.

Bulgaria were also given the rights to produce this model.

Despite it not having any opening parts as Bulgaria had stipulated, yet despite this as usual they made the most of the time they were allowed to manufacture this model, with many different colour bodies being made available.
The Fiat marked the end of an era, as the last ever passenger car originally released with the Lesney name.

This the final report involving the history of Matchbox and I would like to take the opportunity to thank Graham Tomlinson for his major contribution.

July 46

There are no images available or any answers to questions this week as the Matchbox team prepare for the Gathering in just over a week’s time coupled with the public holiday on 4th July restricting the time available. I hope to issue a penultimate report for the coming weekend and my final one during the Gathering. There will not be 52 reports in total as there was a gap after the Gathering last year as so many models were shown in Albuquerque.  

The passenger cars of 1976
This display above reveals the range at the end of 1976. There were many new releases greeting collectors of the Superfast miniatures range in the 1976 catalogue that did not go down at all well amongst many, as they featured futuristic styling.

However for the connoisseur of the authentic there were three passenger cars released that did meet with widespread approval.

The weirdly styled Mod Rod had held the No.1 spot for little more than four years when it was replaced by a true classic muscle car, the American Dodge Challenger.
This model was beautifully crafted in bright red, with an unpainted metal base, 5 arch wheels and a chrome interior, which also formed two engine air ducts protruding slightly through the bonnet. The roof was moulded in white plastic, with a clear glass windscreen and small rear window.
This model was also produced with dot dash wheels in relatively small numbers. However, whilst this was once considered quite rare and desirable, it now attracts only mild interest.

This was one of many models Lesney seemed content to do little with in terms of colour change, as even by 1980 it was still exactly the same! Nevertheless, although never shown in any catalogue, the interior was changed to white during 1980 to match the roof. This was a good look and attracts a mild premium. Finally in 1981 the body colour was changed to blue, and at the same time the interior was altered to red. During this transition some red painted bodies were fitted with red interiors, and such red-red models do attract a very strong premium. The roof however remained white on all these variants.
As was frequently the case, models re-coloured in 1981 were re-coloured again in 1982, and the Dodge was no exception. The roof was now blue, the interior black, (shown as chrome in the 1982 catalogues which was never the case in reality), and the body was bright orange with white and blue Revin’ Rebel tampo print.
However, this superb and authentic looking model was also restyled, with the air ducts removed in favour of a small rectangular engine block in the centre of the bonnet, side fitted exhaust pipes which extended from the baseplate and widened rear wheel arches to accommodate large dot dash rear wheels. Pre-production versions had the exhaust pipes formed as part of the interior.
A decision was taken at Lesney to split the range into world zones, where some models would appear in different parts of the world with a different number and so the No.1 designation was removed from the base of the Dodge. This was totally unnecessary as the model remained as No.1 worldwide!

The base name remained unaltered, yet in the USA catalogue for 1982 the model was actually named as Revin Rebel. This name became commonplace amongst collectors for this styling of the Dodge. What is quite curious is that this styling alteration was considered sufficient enough amongst collectors to designate this Dodge as a different model from the previous incarnation, despite following on directly from it, in the same position and with the same name on the base. Several other models would, soon after, go through similar body transitions whilst still being considered the same model. Examples are the:
  • #34 Chevy Pro Stocker
  • #52 BMW M1
  • #12 Citroen CX.
The orange coloured Dodge could be found fitted with the white roof from the previous model, it could also be found with a plain orange body fitted with either colour roof, or occasionally with plain sides, these are all very collectible, but the Lesney picture box for this model seems to attract even more attention and regularly sells for in excess of £50, as it was only available in Europe, whilst in the USA blister cards were exclusively used.

Later examples of the orange Dodge had silver painted bases, which helped improve the appearance of this version as often the unpainted bases on these later Lesney castings were especially dull. The Rebel model was included in the new TP-32 paired with the #61 Wreck Truck in red with 24 Hour tampo, or the #74 Toe Joe in yellow with Hitch Hiker labels. The version in green with these labels as shown in the UK catalogue was an unreleased version.
This would prove to be the last Lesney casting of the Dodge, as by the following year the moulds had been sent to Macau, and the body slightly altered further, with the engine block now becoming part of the interior, in red once more, protruding through the bonnet.
The base was painted pearly silver, the roof was now black, and the body lemon yellow with a black and red Toyman tampo. The wheels remained the same but later the front wheels were changed from 5 arch to small wide dot dash to match the large dot dash rear wheels. In 1987 the Dodge was deleted and a burgundy Jaguar XJ6 took the No.1 position. In fact the Dodge had been given an unplanned two year extension in the range, as the Jaguar had actually been intended for release in 1985 but was held back, probably on the insistence of
Jaguar. Indeed the Jaguar XJ6 can be found with two copyright dates on the base, 1984 or 1986!

In 1990 the Dodge Challenger, in exactly the same colour and livery as 1987, was re-released as No.34, replacing the Ford RS200, but this may only have been in the USA as the 1992 catalogue shows the Ford still at No.34! The Dodge was also released in a multi pack set in white but otherwise identical to the yellow version in retaining the Toyman tampo. It was further released in a very attractive dark blue with black interior, white roof, and white Hemi tampo.

With Tyco taking over from Universal in late 1992, in 1993 there was no catalogue produced, but in 1994 a small catalogue made for Toys R Us shows the Dodge still in place at No.34, but now re-coloured in garish neon yellow with a black marbled pattern tampo print and a horrific neon pink interior.
At the same time the base became grey plastic, and the wheels 6 spoke spiral, making this model a pale shadow of its former self. In Germany a set of eight models was released in plain colours, two each in red, green, blue and yellow. The Dodge was one of these eight models, and was released in plain yellow which was quite striking.
Matchbox introduced 5 packs sets in 1994, and in 1995 they used the Dodge Challenger in one set, now in neon green with black interior and a black stripe tampo to the sides.
In 1996 it was utilized once more, now in dark purple with a yellow interior and yellow side stripes, which was somewhat of an improvement. As a single release the body became white with purple marbling and the interior also in purple, and this look was further enhanced later with the addition of 5 spoke concave star wheels in place of the 6 spoke spiral.
Such examples are hard to find as they only came on blister packs in conjunction with a Convoy rig as part of the Highway Cruisers series.

Some of the last releases of this model were in the Premiere range with chrome bases & rubber tyres, and can be found in dark purple, red, and orange. Finally a China made issue with 5 spoke concave star wheels, in red with flames tampo, was released in small numbers and is very hard to locate.
Finally to a Dodge Challenger that never was. It was decided to expand sales in 1997 by colouring every one of the models in the range gold in addition to the normal models.
Some models were very hard to find whilst some were much easier.

It was originally intended to have the Dodge Challenger at No. 1 but the new Dodge Viper had been produced and at the last minute, the Viper GTS was included.

The model shown was one of only a handful produced.
The #4 Pontiac Firebird replaced the Gruesome Twosome, which was another Hot Wheels style model like the Mod Rod and again was first seen in late 1971. The
Pontiac in contrast was a faithful recreation of the American classic, with a metallic blue body, chrome interior, amber windows, and an unpainted metal base. It also had two air ducts protruding from the bonnet as an extension of the interior in a very similar fashion to the Dodge, except that they were more pronounced.

The wheels were wide dot dash as standard, so that those found with 5 arch are very rare and with maltese cross even rarer and both are recognised and sought after variants. The blue body varies from a quite light, almost non-metallic bright blue, to an intense dark blue which looks especially attractive.
This model did not perform as well as the Dodge Challenger, as by late 1980 it had been replaced by the superb '57 Chevy, so missed out on the 1981 re-colour fervour.

This is a pity as pre-production versions indicate what could have been, with superb examples found in green, bright scarlet, and both chrome and gold plate.

These last two colours were produced at the same time as the well known #20 Police Patrol in chrome and gold, but in far smaller numbers and thus very few exist. These were all part of a test Lesney made as to the practicality of plating models for general release: they also attempted a chrome #27 Lamborghini Countach in Streaker guise.

In the end the Roman Numeral #I Silver Streak (#1 Mod Rod) was plated chrome, and the #X Golden X (#33 Datsun 126X) was chosen to be plated gold as the first and last of the 1978 range of ten re-released models in different colours.

The plating process was good but rarely perfect on these models, especially with the gold model, and so was not taken any further.
Bulgarian Pontiacs
The Pontiac did appear to re-materialise in 1981 as #16 in metallic light gold, but slightly reconfigured and as such this is considered a different model rather than a re-release.

I have also included some of the  Bulgarian Pontiacs.

The #45 BMW 3.0 CSL was a good example of this German marquee and was unusual in being one of only two models shown for the first time in the 1976 catalogue with a 1976 copyright base plate; the other was the #64 Fire Chief.
 Two colour trial models are shown to the left.

Released in orange, the BMW had green glass, a light yellow interior, opening doors, and an unpainted metal base plate with 5 arch wheels.

A BMW logo with stripes label was affixed to the bonnet on most examples, though very occasionally it was left off.
  The green glass shade can vary considerably, from bright light green, to a somewhat murky green, and a fairly rare almost opaque dark green shade.
If you look very closely at the colour trial yellow model above, you will notice that there is no passenger door.

Safety standards for toys had been toughened and opening doors now had to pass a series of stringent tests. The doors were twisted and pulled by machine to ensure a child could not remove them. Thus, the door hinges for the BMW were redesigned to meet the new regulations. The design was used by Matchbox for many years afterwards and by other companies who make models with opening doors today.

A glance at later BMW Matchbox models will show the two reinforced ribs on the doors which provide strength and a slot for the door spring. The yellow model failed the test!!
In 1977 this model was used as a German exclusive in the form of a Police Car, with the body now sprayed white and with green tampo print panels to the bonnet and boot, Polizei labels to the doors and a 123 label to the bonnet.

There are two versions of this model, one with a single amber dome on the roof, the other with a blue dome. In order to fix the dome to the roof, it was fitted through a hole from the underside and the interior glass had to be remoulded with a bubble to accommodate the splayed underside of the dome.
This bubble in the glass remained on all future standard releases without domes! An unusual version was made in small numbers without a dome (and without the hole in the roof to accommodate it) but still in white and with the two green panels, but without labels, and this is a highly sought after piece, though why such a curious coloured model would have been made at all is a mystery.

Another special edition model which creates interest was produced for the fan club of an Austrian racing driver, possibly as many as fifty thousand, to celebrate the BMW racing driver Sepp Manhalter.

This model was also white, with the standard BMW label to the bonnet, and a specially designed S. Manhalter signature label on the boot lid.

Later issues of the orange model could be found with an ivory interior, and also with clear windows, both in relatively small numbers, but are not too hard to locate.
Particularly tough to locate however are green window examples with small narrow dot dash wheels.

Equally tough to find are those with large dot dash wheels from the #23 Atlas, which may perhaps have been fitted at the factory as a joke, as they sit extremely tightly inside the wheel wells and will not rotate at all!
A well known and rare variant of this model is painted dull red and commands a serious premium, such models do not include a BMW label. An even rarer variant exists in a brighter red.

The BMW was one of the casualties of the no less than 22 new releases of 1982, replaced by the Kenworth Cabover Aerodyne. However the mould was shipped to both Hungary and Bulgaria to be produced in a plethora of different interior and exterior colours!
These look back in time articles are in no small part due to the painstaking efforts of Graham Tomlinson.