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Saturday, December 31, 2016

Matchbox 1952 Hudson Hornet Police



After the Hot Wheels review of the Hudson Hornet earlier this year I was impressed with the details of the casting, just not the wild flame appearance.  Since 2006 the Hornet has been popular thanks to Doc Hudson in the Disney/Pixar movie "Cars" and many replica's have been made, but what about the sedan version?  Well Matchbox wanted to try it out and the result is simply amazing!




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The Hudson Hornet is well-known for being a legend in the NASCAR series in the early 1950's with sheer power from the I-6, aerodynamic styling, and a lower stance thanks to a unibody design.  However, it didn't translate to successful sales over its body-on-frame competitors, so sales suffered and the Hornet became a body-on-frame car in its last year's.  One must wonder how good this Hornet would be as a police car?  Being quick and manuverable enough to outwit the fastest criminal, now that's a win for any police department.  Matchbox mad a replica of this not-often made police car by starting with the sedan bodystyle in black with white doors that say Sheriff on them.  The front has the classy Hornet look with round headlights, signal lights next to the bumper pads, the triangular bars on the grille leading up to the red badge, and police lights on the grille.  Now before I go on this car lacks the added trim and lighting detail so I added them on the car and as you can see it makes a huge difference on the appearance of the car than without the details.




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The hood has silver trim on the fenders and the center hoodline, with spot lights near the base of the windshield on each side, wipers, and a center window line that leads to the roof with the antenna, siren, and dual flashing lights.  One thing that Matchbox did do was the silver bullets on the front fenders, the chrome hubcaps on black wheels, and even with four doors it still has the coupe roofline.  The rear has a nice rounded trunk with bumper pads and oval taillights that stick out, and lest not forget the gas cap door on the left-rear fender.  The base shows off the drivetrain layout like the Hot Wheels version with detailed engine and transmission up front, but the difference here is the typical stock exhaust layout over the side-exit exhaust of the Hot Wheels version.  The interior has plenty of room for six people even though entry and exit is a bit compromised by the sloping roofline at the rear.  Doors at the rear also open in normal fashion over the reverse opening of some models of the era.  The dashboard is straight forward, clean, and has nice chrome trim details.  The radio lies in the center, the gauges behind the two-spoke steering wheel, and the three-speed manual shifter is also on the column.




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With the added detail touches this Hudson Hornet police car looks fine, fast and ready for duty.




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Matchbox 2015 Chrysler 300S



In 2016 Matchbox had a few good examples of new castings that were late, questionable in the beginning, and turned out far better than expected at the end.  The Range Rover Evoque was one, the Ram 1500 police will be reviewed soon, and this Chrysler 300 sedan.  After all Greenlight did a fantastic job with the 2013 Chrysler 300, so how can Matchbox improve on that?  A 2015 freshening and some old-school Matchbox detailing.



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In 2015 the Chrysler LX cars got a mid-cycle refresh with the Challenger getting the vast improvements with updated exterior lighting and a long-overdue interior makeover.  The Charger loses the large front grille for a smaller one with rounded corners borrowed from the Dodge Dart.  The Chrysler 300, being successful already, got the mildest changes.  The lighting was updated at the rear with LED N-shaped running lights, new grille and lower bumper from the departed SRT model, and a new 3-spoke steering wheel.  Replacing the SRT model is the S trim that is available in V6 or V8 models with body-colored exterior and bolstered sport seats.  Powertrains included the 3.6L Pentastar V6 and 5.7L Hemi V8, both with same horsepower as 2014 and now both offered only with the eight-speed automatic transmission.  All-wheel drive is also offered.



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To start off the new Matchbox 300 casting is the S trim in the gorgeous metallic red color that brings in mind the metallic red color found on the 1980's Matchbox European castings.  The front has projector headlights with LED running lights inside of the lamps, silver grille with Chrysler badge (note the Chrysler badge outlining the mesh grille pattern), and lower bumper with quad foglights (I added those details).  The sides are typical sedan profile, but the 300 is noticeably shorter than the Charger Pursuit casting, and that is noticeable in the handling where the 300 felt faster with better reflexes.  The multi-spoke wheels are a perfect fit for this car.  The rear has detailed Chrysler badge, center brake light, and 300 badge on the trunklid, while the taillights have the LED outline pattern.  What I don't get is chrome trim on the bumper of a monochromatic S package.  Also I don't get the exhaust where the actual tip tends to jump out of the oval exhaust tips.  Weird, but just a minor hiccup.



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The base shows off some drivetrain details and a strange X-brace design.  The interior is nicely done with seating for five (you can only get four in the Greenlight version as the rear armrest was in the down position), a detailed center console with a rotary knob for the 8-speed transmission, three-spoke steering wheel, digital gauges, and a center stack with touch screen, HVAC controls, and an analog clock.  Matchbox did a fantastic job on a casting that I thought wouldn't turn out as good as I expected, nor did I expect a $1 car to top a $3 car in details.  Now that's classic Matchbox detailing for ya!



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Update 9/4: the Matchbox Chrysler 300 continues on for 2017 in a nice pearl white color, emphasizing luxury more than sport as in the 2016 version.








Matchbox 2010 Infiniti G37 Coupe



Matchbox has been recently bringing back castings that only seen a few variations before being turned away for some wacky vehicle designs.  The Cadillac CTS coupe was one example, and now its the Infiniti G37 Coupe, a casting that was released in 2011 in light blue and that was it, until now as 2016 returned the G37 in silver and it still looks fantastic.





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The Infiniti G-series was a revolution for the high-end Nissan brand to fight off German rivals, especially the famed 3-series line.  The first model the G35 sedan arrived in the US in 2003 based on the Nissan Skyline sedan in Japan.  Following the sedan was the coupe in 2004, basically a 350Z with two more rear seats.  In 2010 after the sedan was redesigned in 2007 the coupe got its attention with sharper styling and a much-improved interior.  Based on a show car in 2005 the styling flowed more gracefully while still retaining the familiar G35 look.  The interior still seats four and now has better quality materials than the hard plastic dash of the previous generation.  The engine was upgraded, like the Z coupe, with the 3.5 now 3.7L DOHC V6 producing 328 hp and 269 Ib-ft of torque through a six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic transmission.  The G-series line was renamed Q40/60 in 2015 with the new coupe finally appearing in 2017.  While new, the Q-series lacks the fun performance factor of the previous-generation G35's.





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When this casting came out in 2011 it was nicely done, but with the Hot Wheels version appearing months earlier it seems a bit late to the party.  Now in 2016 it has no competition to play with (its been a few years since the Hot Wheels version was last used) it looks even better than in 2011.  The front has detailed L-shaped headlights with chrome Infiniti grille and badge, while the lower bumper has rounded grille and side scoops.  The side beltline lacks any coke-bottle curves yet still looks great, while the rear has detailed LED round taillights with Infiniti badge, G37 S badge, rear trunklid spoiler that is smoothly integrated, dual exhaust, and either Infiniti or G37 rear plates.  Also note the gray paint is so thin that it looks gorgeous and shows off more style in the bodylines, especially the visible mesh grille design in the lower bumper.





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The base shows off the exhaust and rear suspension layout in typical format.  Inside there's a sunroof to show off the four-seat interior (though the rear seat is best left for small kids or luggage in addition to the small trunk) with three-spoke steering wheel, dual pod gauges, center controls with analog clock and navigation screen, smooth dash surface, and center console with shifter.  Even the rearview mirror on the windshield is visible.  It's a fantastic car that, like the CTS coupe, still looks good today, and the new gray color looks great on this casting.  Let's hope Matchbox sees more use out of the G35 coupe casting in the future!




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