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Monday, December 22, 2014

Matchbox 2014, 2005, 1999 Chevy Silverado and 2000 GMC Terradyne Concept



Now I already profiled the new 2014 Chevy Silverado 1500 in 1:24 scale by Jada Toys, but now here's the smaller Matchbox version.  But before I go into the new Silverado, it's important to take a look at the family heritage tree of the previous-generation Silverado that Matchbox has done over the past decade.



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1999: The new age of Silverado in two forms!

After a few years sharing, literally, a platform with the Ford F-150 4x4, it was time for a makeover.  The F-150 already got one based on the 1997 new model.  It was smaller and had an extended cab this time, so it was obvious the new Silverado was going to do the same, yet somehow it kept it's jacked-up 4x4 roots at the same time!  The Silverado 4x4 was in black with Game Warden logo's on the doors, while the lower version was white with Diary Farms logo's and a nice mud-trail behind the wheels.  The new Silverado was smoother with chrome front grille, rounded and large extended cab, domed hood with the correct lines, and the new and smooth stepside with integrated round taillights.  The stepside reduced hauling capacity, but was made up for in the tow hitch only on the lower ride height version.  The interior was larger and roomier with seating for five and a well laid-out dashboard with dual airbags and all the right controls; much better to live in than the 1997 F-150.  The chassis is the same for both and outline the details from the frame to the drivetrain really well.



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The engine's were new: Corvette-based LS1 engines, but with an iron block and more low-end torque for truck duty.  The 5.3L V8 makes 285 hp. and 325 Ib-ft of torque through a 4-speed automatic and part-time 2-speed transfer case with auto traction mode; the buttons are located to the left of the steering wheel.  The red contractor version appeared in a 5-pack in early 1999, well before the 1-100 singles came out.  Then afterwards the tall 4x4 took over for the first few years, then the lower version came in on a few occasions.  The latest version, in 2013, was nice but lacked the pizzaz that the earlier Silverado's had.




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2005: The sporty Silverado SS

Then times change again: In 2004 the new Ford F-150 was introduced and in 2005 Matchbox released the SVT Lightning show truck complete with sport suspension and the same supercharged and intercooled 5.4L V8 as the Mustang GT concept cars.  Not too far behind was the new Matchbox Chevy Silverado SS, also introduced in 2005.  The all-blue color goes nicely alongside the first release of the 2014 version, only this one has body-colored front and rear bumpers.  The headlights, grille slots, taillights, and badges are nicely-done.  The first release has "1st Edition" as its rear plate.  The changes for 2003 include a more sharper front-end with edgier headlights similar to the Chevy Avalanche, but with the headlights mounted on top of the chrome bar.  The rear taillights are changed on styleside trucks with an afterburner look to them.  Having return to the styleside look revivies the space in the bed, which is good considering the tow hitch is gone.  The body is nicely-detailed from every corner from the deep separation lines to the roundness of the taillights, and even the front brake cooling ducts for the front bumper.




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The interior now gets more easier to get into thanks to four opening doors over the 1999's three (the forth door was added in 2000), and while the interior remains the same, there are a few revised touches from a new steering wheel to a new radio.  The power comes from a VortecMax 6.0L V8 making 345 hp and 380 Ib-ft of torque through a 4-speed automatic.  The first SS's had all-wheel drive standard, but starting in 2005 two-wheel drive was now offered.  This Silverado SS looks cool in its first release, as well as the black Superfast release, but then its street looks get unnatural when it becomes a tough and ready pickup for the off-road or jobsite, as you can see with the 2008 mudded version.  The 2006 gold one has a nice touch of pinstriping on the rear tailgate.  The sharp details of the casting, along with the limited use of a sport truck, led to the early retirement of the Silverado SS and Ford SVT F-150 Lightning.




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2002: The big and brawny Terradyne

Which brings me to this model based on the actual 2000 GM concept truck, the Terradyne.  Not only was it a styling exercise it was also a nifty Swiss army knife of tricks and a preview of the 2001 Silverado and Sierra Heavy Duty line.  The strong chassis supports the new 6.6L Duramax turbodiesel V8 making 300 hp, with dual exhaust, through a 5-speed automatic and part-time two-speed transfer case with auto traction detection mode.  With the long wheelbase it also benefits from the quadrasteer rear steering setup that turns the wheels opposite of the front at speeds 20 mph and under; anything over 20 mph and the rear wheels steer the same direction as the front.  This option was available in the GM trucks for 2003 but slow sales cut the life short of this feature after a few years.


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The deep bed is a tray that can be extended, and the sides of the bed have hidden storage.  The doors open van-style by sliding forward or backward depending on which door is opened.  None of these features appeared in future models.  The interior looks industrial, but is very luxurious at the same time with chrome trim and supportive seating for five.  As for the styling: like nothing else!  I can't imagine that GM didn't even take this styling into production!!!  The front has edgy headlights with LED lamps, large grille with red GMC logo, and lower bumper with foglights and integrated winch and tow hooks.  The sides have a slab-sided appearance with angular curves, roof-mounted lights, and a raised window notch for the door handles.  The rear has the same taillight shape as the front headlights with GMC on the tailgate and dual exhaust.  This Matchbox version, despite being a bit square in some areas, is nicely done in its first 2002 release and is so far the only good release by far.  After that it was littered with loud graphics and unrealistic colors, though the mud-covered 2008 version was nice.

2014: Now ready for work!

That leads me to the new 2014 Silverado 1500.  As you can see there are some similar traits: same color and fleetside as the 2005 version, same interior setup as both 1999 and 2005, same engine (with some slight differences) as the 1999 version, and heck even the same wheelbase, length, and ride height as the 2002 Terradyne!  The front grille is now awash with chrome, but up close you can see the details to the headlights (barely), bowtie, blue upper bumper color, and ALDAR plate, and the front is as square as the actual truck.  I can see a future problem with the front-end, which is part of the base, being pressed forward when there is too much pressure applied to the front rivet (this is already happening to the Hot Wheels 1983 Silverado with plastic base).  The hood has dual bulges, while the roof now obtains a sunroof.




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The rear has detailed taillights, bowtie, and Silverado logo's.  The bumper now has side steps that used to be offered on the now discontinued Avalanche.  The bed is now larger, like the Terradyne, and ready for work.  The side now has a larger crew cab with forward-opening rear doors, though the details around the rear doors are choppy at best.  The wheelbase pushes the wheels toward each corner, like the Terradyne and oddly has a taller ride height like Matchbox was using the platform for the 2013 2500 Silverado HD before the last-minute change to the new 2014 1500.  The base, thanks to a boatload of advertising, is nothing to look at!  The engine is a new EcoTec 5.3L V8 with variable valve timing, cylinder deactivation, and direct fuel injection for a boost in fuel economy thanks to a new 6-speed automatic.



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The interior has a more rich and elegant dash than what the 1999-2006 models could offer, including gauges with digital information center, radio touchscreen with WiFi and Bluetooth capability, USB and 110V outlets in the console, plenty of cubbies, etc.  Nice, but Matchbox messed up a few areas:  There is seating for four in what appears to be Recaro-like seats!  Not the typical 5-passenger layout of the stock truck.  Then there's the steering wheel: Matchbox has been saving costs by blanking out the round wheel and raising it up from the floor.  Yes, it is risen from the floor, but why is it a classic 3-spoke wheel from a vintage GT car???


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So while Matchbox did a nice job with this new 2014 Silverado 1500, they messed up on a few areas from ride height, some tooling issues, and incorrect interior details.  Then again, at least its better than not having an interior unlike the Ford Stake Bed and Tacoma!

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