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Monday, May 16, 2016

Matchbox 2015 Corvette Stingray Police, Range Rover Evoque, and 1968 Ford Mustang "Mudslinger"

Matchbox has finally released quite a few licensed new castings in the latest batch.  I will profile the new Mazda MX-5 Miata later on once the Hot Wheels version arrives, but the other three have been reviewed before:  The new Corvette Stingray may be new to Matchbox but has been with Hot Wheels for a few years now, so it will be interesting to see what Matchbox can do since the Hot Wheels castings were so nicely done.  At last the long-awaited Range Rover Evoque finally appears even though I already profiled this casting as a Welly pullback model.  Finally, the Mustang has be shown as the California Special, but this one is a stock coupe that is smaller and sits taller.

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2015 Corvette Stingray Police

Matchbox tends to be late in the game at times, and then it gets to be there on time or literally creates a casting that's in a category by itself.  When it comes to the new Corvette some would ask why didn't Matchbox take the opportunity to go for the new ZO6 since Hot Wheels went for the C7.R race car last year?  No one knows why, though I believe it might get confused with the last Matchbox Corvette the 2009 ZR-1.  Instead, to follow Matchbox pursuit of emergency vehicles this Corvette is outfitted to be a police car.  Cool, but this first release goes for a fire rescue version; on a Corvette?!?!?!  This would only make sense as a fire chief or special ops vehicle and not something that would proudly fit inside a fire department.

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The yellow and red is a bit too much for the car, but luckily the look of the car buffs that image out.  The front has detailed headlights with LED L-shaped running lights, Corvette flags, and a lower grille that unlike the Hot Wheels version is mounted to the base instead of the metal body.  Meanwhile the lower fins on the front bumper are still there, as is the hood vent that is part of the interior piece.  Throughout the car it is loaded with Fire/Rescue logo's to adorn the sharp bodywork.  The sides add appropriate exterior mirrors and 5-spoke wheels that look good here, while the rear is without taillight details it does have the tooled taillights and lower separate bumper with quad central exhaust just like the Hot Wheels version.  As with the Hot Wheels version the base has the same level of details that makes me believe this is the Hot Wheels version with a few subtle tweaks.

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The main differences between the Matchbox and Hot Wheels versions is the roof where the targa top adds strobe lights for the police car look; if you don't like the police car look either grind the light off or remove the targa top.  Inside the Corvette has the much-improved interior with driver-oriented dashboard that I still appreciate.  Now the police package adds to that with a dash mounted radar detector, two walkie talkies on the center console, and a laptop that takes up much of the passenger footwell area.  The rear hatch has detailed bags that does not take over much of the spacious cargo area.  On the track the Corvette with its 6.2L V8 and 8-speed automatic (for ease of police duty) still has the same fast, flat handling and power that I loved in the Hot Wheels coupe and convertible, which is a good thing.  So far it's a nicely done casting, though I believe it would shine more as a police car than a fire car!

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Range Rover Evoque

Talk about a wait: This casting was planned for a 2013 debut.  After countless delays and the loss of the Land Rover LR4 the Evoque finally appears in the line.  The orange paint is the same one that will appear on the Jaguar F-type coupe later this year and looks good here with the tinted multi-spoke wheels and sloping roofline that is all part of the windows to give the Evoque the sporty SUV image.  This is the smallest Land Rover since the Freelander, though still larger than the Defender Ninety.  The front has detailed projector beam headlights with mesh grille, Land Rover logo, Range Rover on the hood, and hood vents that are part of the window trim.  The lower bumper adds ruggedness with upper plastic trim (shared with the interior piece) and center skid plate that is part of the base.  The sides add exterior mirrors and fender trim that wraps around the lower part of the vehicle like a Mini Cooper.

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The rear has detailed taillights, Range Rover badges, and lower bumper trim with dual exhausts.  Since this is a small truck and information on the base so large there's only a little drivetrain details.  Similar to the Welly it is powered by a 2.0L DOHC I-4 turbodiesel and 6-speed manual transmission (yes the interior has the tall shifter instead of the smaller round dial of the 9-speed auto), and uses all-wheel drive to get this SUV to go off-road; then again with little ground clearance the Evoque is best suited more for the pavement than off-road, and its smaller length adds up to impressive performance characteristics at the track where I found the Evoque to be the best-handling SUV that i've ever encountered!  The downside of a small truck is the interior where the 4-seat arrangement means shorter headroom for rear occupants and a cargo area that is small and accessed by a smaller hatch opening.  Then again the interior is nicely laid out with a typical Range Rover look of a tiered dashboard, dual gauges, 4-spoke steering wheel, and a touch screen mounted high on the dashboard.  This Evoque is not about hauling or off-road capability; it's about performance and style that focuses more on the Sport in Sport Utility Vehicle.

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1968 Ford Mustang coupe "Mudslinger"

Now for something truly unusual: a 4x4 Mustang!  Matchbox tries hard to separate itself from its Hot Wheels partner with emergency and construction vehicles that the blue brand typically does not represent.  Still, there's times when Matchbox wants to do something that Hot Wheels can do, like sports cars, but this latest is truly something unique and something that would look right at home in the southern U.S.  The body of the Mustang looks familiar to the GT/CS casting, but in fact it's entirely different: the body is smaller to accomidate the lift and the rear valence panel is the standard Mustang: a coved panel with tri-taillight slots and center gas cap.  The front has the typical round headlight with center grille and lower bumper that is part of the base; I find it odd that the prancing pony is missing from the grille.  The hood has slots and retaining pins, while the sides have the classic Mustang look with hardtop roof, dual exterior mirrors, and the kick up of the rear fenders.  The color is a nice touch than what I originally thought: a flat olive green with mud spray coming from the wheels, Mustang on the front fenders, and advertisements on the rear fenders for Fab Fours, Skyjacker, and SOTA.

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Then the body is supplemented by the lifted chassis with live front and rear axles, longer shocks, and a two-speed transfer case to join the 289 CID V8 and 4-speed manual transmission.  The front gains a light bar to add more light than what the stock Mustang lamps can offer, while the sides add running boards to aid entry and a raked stance, and at the rear are mud flaps and a place to store a spare tire.  The interior is classic Mustang with the dual pod dashboard layout, 3-spoke steering wheel, floor shifter, and bucket seats; but at the rear the seats are removed and a rollcage is put in place.  Collectors are at odds at this creation: either they love it or hate it.  I must say that while I may not like it, it looks rather interesting and a very unique taste for the Matchbox line.

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Update 1/2017: For those who really don't care for the Corvette Stingray in the Fire apparatus, shown above, then you'll appreciate the 2017 release.  Based on the actual German police version it has silver paint with blue graphics that have the German word "Poliezi" on the sides.  The wheels are white instead of chrome while the interior is black.  After adding a few additional details this Corvette Stingray Police car really shines now!

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1 comment:

  1. Prancing pony is Ferrari and Porsche. The Mustang is galloping.