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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Greenlight and Matchbox 2015 Ford F-150 Contractor Trucks and M2 Machines 1969 Ford F-250 Contractor's Special



The final look at the new Ford F-150 comes from two unique ways to do a contractor truck.  Contractor trucks are always on the job site so they need all the tools and equipment to do the job well, yet depending on your job title will also depend on what you need in a pickup.  These two versions show here are two examples of the new Ford F-150 outfitted with some unique ways to configure a contractor truck: Matchbox goes for a unique utility bed, while Greenlight just adds a ladder rack to the pickup bed.




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Greenlight: simple, and effective

Greenlight goes for a simpler route by adding a new bed feature that will be added across all different pickup beds in the near future for Greenlight: a ladder rack that holds a realistic ladder on top.  The orange ladder looks good and realistic, while the oddly-shaped ladder rack is pretty accurate to most real ladder rack accessories (that kink on the top bar is designed for easier loading and unloading, and can also support larger ladders without affecting the ride height).  The bed is still accessible to use and is lined in black on this version to mimick a bedliner.  However, Greenlight claims that the ladder is removable, but from what I see the ladder is a supportive part of the frame and removing it could have ill consequences.  It's already bad enough that Greenlight still has to work on fine tuning assembly as I've seen some versions where the bars are bent, partly because of they way the frames are mounted: they are glued to the bed without any support, so as the glue dries the bars can shift position.




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While my version had a decent-made rack, the same cannot be said for the front as the paint was sloppy and it was missing one headlight piece.  To remedy this situation I removed the other headlight lens and using a black Sharpie added another accessory known as the black mask, or stone chip guard to the front-end.  This adds uniqueness to the XL trimmed white truck with blacked-out bumpers and steel wheels.  The interior, engine, and performance characteristics are just as the same as the other Greenlight F-series castings reviewed.  The only thing that I noticed is that the steel-wheeled versions have rougher axles that tend to squeak when rolled.




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Matchbox goes far out

For Matchbox when you are expected to come late to the party with the first-to-market version of the real truck, you tend to get crafty.  Over the years Matchbox has thrown everything at the F-series line, from mild typical work trucks to crazy off-road versions, to custom versions, and now to a work truck.  Not even Greenlight has thought of a utility bed for their pickups (only M2 Machines has done the utility bed because the bed and cab are separate components), so Matchbox got creative and ditched the pickup bed for an aftermarket utility bed that still blends into the stock cab lines without adding dual rear wheels.  In addition to a useable bed and roof rack for ladders the sides of the bed now have multiple storage compartments for storing tools and other essential items, but just like the Rambox in the Ram 1500 having side storage greatly reduces the cargo area in the bed, though Matchbox got nifty and added a chain saw and power chisel in the bed area, and the tailgate is smaller.  The rear also has the most details of the bunch with RANEC construction graphics and detailed modified taillights.  Still the flared fenders and stock rear bumper remain despite the utility bed.




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As for the rest of the truck it looks good with the front end consisting of a blacked-out grille, detailed headlights, and a beefier bumper that has an integrated winch.  The sides add running boards and large exterior mirrors, but the cab is rather squished between the front and rear and thanks to Mattel cost cutting there is no interior in order to add the ladder rack.  Despite the lack of ground clearance this truck has no problems going off-road and handles quite well.  I give kudos to Matchbox for making this F-150 stand out with a utility bed that no one else can match, giving this truck a unique spot in the Matchbox line.  As for both, despite the differences in bed design and size both are worthy additions to any construction site.






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The Contractor's (vintage) Special


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Even more interesting is the recent M2 Machines release of the 1969 Ford F250 pickup, which is based on one of several packages that Ford offered in 1969, and one of those is the Contractor's Special.  This trim was designed for the jobsite that included a toolbox behind the bench seat, 3/4 ton F250 suspension even on F100 models, and toolboxes on both sides of the bed.  While this casting only uses one toolbox on the right-side of the bed, it has the right look in the light blue color with white front and rear bumpers, grille, white steel wheels, and Contractor's Special badges on the front fenders.  The interior resides the same bench seat and dash layout of the other F-series castings from M2, along with the 351 CID V8 under the hood.  The biggest difference from past versions also was found in the bed: there are stake holes for mounting a ladder rack (which M2 Machines does not have yet).  Possible future ladder rack addition? Possibly, but the main reason for the new holes was from a prior Auto-Trucks release when it first debut chrome handle bars on the top edges of the bed, hence explaining the new mounting holes that were not previously there on earlier F-250 casting.  I almost passed on this truck until I saw the Contractor's Special badge, and more research brought up some interesting facts, especially at a time when two newer-age counter parts also appear.  Very nice!




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