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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Matchbox Jeep Willys 4x4 Pickup



One of the long-awaited castings for the Matchbox brand over the past ten years is the Jeep pickup truck.  The original plan was to release the 2006 Jeep Gladiator Concept truck in 2007, but was cancelled at the last minute.  Still, the idea of a Jeep pickup was still on someone's mind, and finally for 2015 it happens with a classic Willys Jeep design.



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The Jeep was very popular with G.I.'s during World War II and served its purpose well as an all-purpose off-roader that was light and compact at the same time.  After the war the Jeep became the vehicle everyone wanted to own from farmers to those who want to venture to the outdoors.  Success of the Jeep brand can only go so far on one model so Willys started offering additional models based on the original Jeep.  Vehicles that came out of the Willys-era included the Jeep Panel Truck, Jeep Wagon Truck, Jeep Jeepster, and the Pickup truck.  From 1947 to 1965 the Jeep Willys was the first 4x4 pickup sold worldwide and features a long bed that hauls lots of cargo, with this Matchbox version offering the plastic floor that is part of the interior.  The bed has a nice angled edges on the upper portions of the bed and line stamps that make it look like a stepside bed, yet it does not have a very large rear fender that sticks out compared to other stepside pickups.  The rear has dual round taillights, tubular step bumper, and so that you know its a Willys the W on the tailgate.



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The red paint looks good and shows off all of the classic lines of the Willys-Jeep.  The front has the detailed round headlights and lower signal lights, V-shaped front grille with chrome bars, external front fenders, and detailed hood lines and door stamps.  As usual the pickups have a closed-in cab and seats far fewer people than the other Jeeps.  The question of debate is the wheels: they look to modern, but then again some Jeep 4x4's have aftermarket wheels that look similar to these 6-spoke wheels (I think the classic hubcap wheels would look better here).  Still, it has the right stance with plenty of ground clearance and live front and rear axles supported by leaf springs.


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The engine is a choice of 4-cylinder, or the new 3.7L Super-Hurricane I-6 that produces 105 hp. and 190 Ib-ft. of torque through a 3-speed manual and a two-speed transfer case, both operated by shift levers next to the hand parking brake.  The interior is very sparse with a bench seat for three and rather small windows.  The dashboard has a 3-spoke steering wheel and gauges and switches located in the center of the dashboard above the three shifters.  It's definately far from today's luxo-pickups, but this Jeep is built to work hard.


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Aside from the wheels and the plastic lower bed this Jeep will be a nice addition to the Matchbox collection and finally answers the long-awaited question "When will the Jeep pickup appear?" For 2015, here ya go!

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