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Friday, August 21, 2015

Matchbox 2013 and 1990 Ford Cargo



The new 2013 Ford Cargo is the newest and first COE tractor cab that has been seen in the Matchbox line for quite a while, in a time when Mattel is trying to find ways to save costs with little metal.  True there''s a few negative points, but mostly this new Cargo has lots of positive in it, plus this is not the first time the Cargo name has appeared in the Matchbox line: The first one was a smaller COE that ranged from an airport scissors truck to a barrel lifter that lifts a metal barrel onto the truck.



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The Ford Cargo started in 1981 when Ford ended the transcontinental line of medium-duty trucks and the Ford of Europe brand started to create their own truck line.  By 1986 Ford sold most of the line to Iveco, resulting in these Cargo trucks badged as Ford-Iveco's.  In 1993 two things happened: the smaller Cargo line was sold off to Iveco and sales to the US stopped as a new LCF truck took over the COE duties in the US.  After that the Ford Cargo became solely the large tractor cab to haul trailer's across Europe, South America, and other countries except the US.  In 2012 the Cargo gets a major restyle the features a more modern look with rounder corners and headlights that nicely blend into the cab bodywork and not look like an afterthought.  Powertrains in the old Cargo ranged from Ford to Caterpillar turbodiesel I-6 and a range of manual transmissions from 8 to 16 speed manuals.  The new 2013 Cargo has a choice of a turbodiesel I-4 or I-6 diesel Cummins engines with a six-speed or 13-speed manual or new automated manual transmission.



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The original Ford Cargo was not named the Ford Cargo, but was known under other names.  The one shown here was the last known version released called the Scissors Truck based on the box trucks used at airports to raise the cargo box to the height of the cargo door on aircraft to unload items.  The scissors item works pretty neat and seamlessly, with the rear cargo doors opening with no fuss, though the scissors mechanism results in a smaller cargo box than typical box trucks.  The front of the box has a step area just above the cab and near the rear bumper wheels to stabilize the truck as the box lifts up.  Other nice touches include the roof lights on the box and the airplane on the side logo's.  Like the Volvo Container Truck that Matchbox had over the years the Ford Cargo was versatile as a blank canvas for many accessory bodies, including the scissors truck shown here.  The front has headlights and signal lights in the large rectangular grille, Euro plate stamped in the front bumper, and larger corner side windows that extend down for more visibility around corners.  As usual there's no interior in this Cargo; the interior of this Cargo has a flat dashboard with simple controls for the era.



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The new 2013 Ford Cargo is a vast improvement over the old version, especially in the exterior enhancements.  The front of the cab has a look that is controversial at first, but after a while you get used to it.  The grille now has a trapezoidal look with a separate lower grille and quad headlights with signal and foglights at the lower edge of the bumper.  The upper portion of the cab has side scoops that double as handles to open the tilt cab, Ford logo, and CARGO on the upper portion of the grille that is a little sloppy when trying to decipher the letters.  The roof is round, has clearance lights, and ribbed features, large windows even on the sides, and a nice touch of large mirrors included.  The lower kink of the windows, now a novelty on all Ford trucks, is now a separate smaller window below the main side windows in the doors.



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Now here's the bad part: If you'll note the upper portion of the cab is the only metal part of this casting, making this casting more plastic than metal and thus making the front of the cab top-heavy unless a trailer is attached to level the weight.  At least Matchbox did a nice job extending the red of the grille down to the non-metal sections of the front bumper.  At the back the cab has stamped ribbing and a nicely flushed air snorkel.  The fuel tanks, storage boxes, and air filter housing is more visible and the exhaust exit routes to the left just ahead of the fuel tank.  The taillights and a nice bumper pad is visible at the end, while the trailer hitch is further back from the cab mainly because of the novelty spare tire that rests between the cab and hitch.  Many fear the new Cargo would not mate to the trailers of the Super Kings, but you're wrong as it does with no problems despite a rather large gap between the cab and trailer.  As for the interior?  It's there, thankfully!  The dashboard has a large, driver-wrapped look with lots of controls that at least are nicely laid out and some are familiar to other Ford products.  The shifter is part of a console that allows the driver to rest their right arm as they shift for comfort.  The front seats seem to sit rather far back than they should, though there is room to allow a bunk bed to sit despite the large windows that even enter the bunk bed area (window curtains are provided to prevent light from interrupting the sleep process).



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Aside from the lack of metal this new Ford Cargo is one nicely-done COE and one that will have a fantastic run in the Matchbox line over its lifetime.

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