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Monday, December 22, 2014

Matchbox 1993 Ford Mustang LX SSP and Greenlight and Johnny Lightning 1993 Ford Mustang GT Police

The biggest news for Matchbox for 2014 was the introduction of the 1993 Ford Mustang Police Pursuit casting.  Even though it's the first release of a fully unique Mustang Police car for Matchbox, even though the 1999 Mustang Coupe was the first police Mustang for Matchbox, this is not the only police Mustang.  As you can see there is now three entirely different Mustang's in police suit.

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The police car for high-speed pursuits

It's 1980's and your big, V8-powered police cars are wheezing from the restriction of catalytic converter emission control, meaning any criminal with a high-powered car (which is possible in that era) can get away cleanly from the police.  California Highway Patrol saw this as an issue, so they contacted Ford to develop a Mustang, with the 5.0L V8, to be built specifically for police departments across the nation.  Using this car, Police can go after criminals in high-speed pursuit without losing the race early on; a boon for the Highway Patrol departments across the nation.

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From 1982 to 1993 the Special Service Package, or SSP, used a stock Mustang LX notchback coupe with the 5.0L V8 that produces 205 hp and 275 Ib-ft. of torque (1993 spec) through either a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic; police departments prefer the latter so that officers can focus on making the radio calls for position rather than focus on shifting.  The engine also benefits from a larger alternator, oil cooler and transmission cooler (auto only), silicone radiator hoses with aircraft clamps, speedometer up to 160 (1990-1993), and two-piece speedometer cable.  The strut front and live axle with coil springs are beefed up for pursuit duty, with steel wheels with chrome center caps for durability along with a full-size spare.  The interior gains deleted courtesy lights, reinforced floor pans, relocated trunk release, single key for door locks, and wiring setup for roof lights, rear dash lights, and radio for the dashboard.  While most were LX notchback models, some were hatchback, even in GT trim.  By the end of this generation police sedans were getting much quicker than before, so the Mustang was no longer needed, though to this day police departments will order a special pony car, whether Camaro, Mustang, or Challenger, if needed, for specific pursuit duties only.

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The incredible Matchbox

Great job, Matchbox, for doing such a good job in this 1993 SSP with the black and white California Highway Patrol deco (and 5.0 badges on the front fenders)!  The front and rear bumpers are part of the base with the headlights part of the windows, a similar feature on the 2006 Crown Vic Police/Taxi.  Some must question if base-colored bumpers are a good idea, especially when the rear bumper doesn't fit flush with the body.  I'm glad to see that Matchbox didn't attempt to put push bars like they did on the 2006 Crown Vic.  The hood is nicely done, as does the wipers, doors have mirrors, black wheels with chrome hubcaps, and the roof light bar that is part of the windows (you can make it a sunroof if you want a stock LX notchback custom).

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The rear has square taillights and those aggressive dual exhaust.  The base, unlike what every Matchbox has suffered from recently, has all of the needed details from the drivetrain to the exhaust where it can be allowed.  The interior is nicely done with the front bucket seats, while the rear seems leg cramped for any criminal.  The rear decklid has the police lights, while the front dash conviently has room for the radio and radar speed reader in the center.  Radio and HVAC controls still have their position low in the dashboard, as are the comprehensive gauges and the steering wheel with airbag added in 1991.  The light and cruise controls are located to the outer sides of the gauges.  The console is nicely done without any laptop (remember this is 1993 here), and note the shifter as it appears to have a 5-speed manual over an automatic (the same can be found in the panless transmission on the base).  The trunk, with full-size spare and lower gas tank, would be cramped but still allow for a few police gear items.  Overall a very nice casting!

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Johnny Lightning on the first swing

JL did the first police casting back in 2008 when there was an itch to do one on a GT fastback casting that was designed back in 1997.  So yeah the details are crude, the interior looks unfinished, and when you open the hood it is nothing more than flat engine details.  Being the first on the block with a 5.0 GT does have its advantages, and this one is nicely done with black and white with JLPD badges (though small), Highway Patrol letters across the vehicle, and detailed lighting.  The hood opens up to show the details of the engine in silver on a black background, while the base has some weak details.  The interior is nicely done in a blue color despite the unfinished look, but hey it at least has an interior, and the wheels are blacked out for that police-car look.  This is by far the only police version of this 1988 GT, with the rest being stock GT models, and this casting has not seen much variations over its lifespan.

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The flexible Greenlight

Greenlight was next with a slew of new tools.  Having the need to do a GT fastback, while also representing an LX notchback for the Hot Pursuit series, Greenlight did two different castings.  So far, most of the Hot Pursuit castings have been LX notchbacks, some with roof lights, some without, until recently when the latest Hot Pursuit Mustang produced a 1993 GT fastback for the San Francisco Police.  The GT is a hot casting for Greenlight right now, and I can agree it's a looker with detailed clear headlights, separate foglights, and silver bumper trim.  Silver trim carries around the sides with white doors and SFPD badges, roof lights, and rear sail windows with Mustang letters.  The rear has the square taillights with the louvered look, in clear red, with rear spoiler.  The wheels are the turbine spokes and they finish off the look of the GT's aggressive package.  The base has the same details as the LX from the drivetrain to the exhaust.

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Open the hood and the 5.0L V8 comes to life with the silver intake front and center and the engine block as a separate piece from the rest of the engine bay.  Overall a big improvement over the JL version.  The interior is thoroughly-detailed with seats, door panels, dashboard, and even center console with separate shifter that makes it one of the best of the group.  However, since it shares components with the civilian version it lacks the radio and rear decklid lights that the Matchbox casting has.

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Wow!  How impressive is it to have three different Mustang SSP police cars, and each company has a different way of using their casting.  JL mostly for civilian use of an old casting, Matchbox for police usage only (for now), and the Greenlight version for several variations ranging from police to civilian use in LX or GT form.


  1. I love how you compare them all in looks, function, trim-level and features, weird caveats of the toy, etc. That Johnny Lightning casting is really showing it's age. And it looks like a rice-crispie treat that's been sitting in the sun too long. Also, the ride-height is all jacked-up, and the wheel wells are gigantic.

    The Greenlight is really nice, actually. It doesn't look over-sized, which is something they are sometimes guilty of. A lot of nice attention to detail, and good proportions and such. Good stuff.

    HOWEVER, I gotta hand it to Matchbox - I think they nailed it. I just love that distinct profile, and overall cleanliness of the thing. It's just missing some tampos for those tail-lights... Also, this thing is begging for customization. $1 mainline car wins it.

  2. I wish that Hot Wheels would make a new version of their own Fox Body Mustang and add a Tonka/Maisto style classic oval light bar on top of that car, as well as make a better detailed mold that had painted lights on the inside for the rear windows and little lights on the hood of the vehicle, as well as mirrors on the left and right sides of the door. This is the vehicle in question. http://diecast.spiraln.com/ford/mustang/index.html The fourth, fifth, and sixth vehicles are variants of the vehicle in question, though there are also more paint variants than those three vehicles. The seventh one is a later, as well as somewhat different, casting, though it is also a nice one. Alternatively, should that not be an option, then this one might also be a serviceable replacement. http://hwcollectorsnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/92-Ford-Mustang-q.jpg

    1. This is the police light bar, as well as car, in question, or one of the more popular variants thereof, anyway. https://www.ebay.com/itm/Maisto-Chevy-Caprice-Sheriff-K-9-Car-Excellent-Condition-1-64-scale/392026852812?hash=item5b469f0dcc:g:wfoAAOSwnc1a3j~E