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Back to basics: Matchbox announces 25 new cars for 2018-’19

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Porsche 911 Safari! ’59 Dodge Coronet! Subaru SVX! ’75 Chevy Caprice! W123 Mercedes wagon! Photography by the author.

The Matchbox “Gathering of Friends,” held each July in Albuquerque, has come and gone. During the annual sold-out dinner event, the Matchbox team announced what’s coming for next year (and the second half of this one to boot).

The 2018-’19 Matchbox lineup is being trimmed to 100 models (down from the recent 125), with “designer originals” getting the bulk of the trimming; collectors have turned their noses up at these models for years (checking stores to see which ones are hanging on the pegs can confirm this), and next year’s Matchbox line will be 65-70 percent licensed vehicles. The new line will feature a whopping 25 new vehicles, 21 of them licensed, which will surely get collectors’ (and enthusiasts’) blood boiling.

Vehicles include:

  • new Mustang GT convertible (to match the modern Camaro convertible that’s been in the line)
  • contemporary Mini Countryman
  • Nissan “Warrior” pickup concept
  • 1975 Chevy Caprice coupe
  • ’68 Dodge D100 pickup; looks to be a double-cab with an off-road stance
  • Subaru SVX
  • ’59 Dodge Coronet police car
  • Nissan NV van
  • Ford Explorer police. It is unclear whether this will be the 2016 facelift, or whether it will be the recently announced 2020 restyle.
  • Polaris Slingshot, a sort of snowmobile with two front wheels and one arrears, which has been gaining popularity recently
  • ’80s Mercedes W123 wagon
  • ’69 BMW 2002
  • Porsche 911 Safari, a pre-emissions model which will sport off-road equipment like the recent (and successful) Datsun 510 casting, and which won’t be tied to a particular race team
  • ’65 Land Rover 109 Series II Safari, in homage to Matchbox’s bestseller of the 1960s
  • chopped ’35 Ford pickup rod
  • updated Dodge Charger police car
  • late-model Subaru Sambar kei-class truck
  • late-model Dodge Ram utility flatbed
  • International-cab ambulance
  • an animal-control-truck, with a Ford F-150 cab from within the last decade
  • the new 2018 Jeep JL

Two castings announced from last year have come up against licensing issues: the Diamond T pickup is being replaced by a Ford Falcon Ranchero, and the announced MG is being replaced with an Austin-Healey. There will also be four generic tools: a street sweeper, a backhoe, an armored truck, and a port-a-potty transporter that they’re calling the Poop King.

An Austin-Healey replaces the MG announced in 2017.


And a Ford Falcon Ranchero replaces the Diamond T pickup announced last year.

The new “basic plus” line, featuring opening doors and hoods, has been announced for late this year at a $1.99 price point. The gigantic list we announced last year has been trimmed considerably. Some spy photos have seen newly tooled versions of a purple ’60s Pontiac Grand Prix and a red VW 1600TL fastback, both with opening doors. Other vehicles of interest: a ’32 Ford pickup, an early Dodge Challenger with opening hood, and an ’80s Porsche 911 Turbo. More contemporary vehicles will include a Tesla X SUV with opening rear doors, a Nissan XTerra off-roader with opening tailgate, and a modern Camaro with opening hood.

Basic Plus line teaser.

A few Wal-Mart exclusive themes will be rolling out through the year, like the Mercedes set hitting stores now. There will be a new Jeep series, which will include a new Jeepster casting, and following on the heels of this year’s successful 100th Anniversary of Chevy pickup six-car set, there will also be a series of Ford trucks through the decades.

New castings models will start rolling out in the fall and throughout 2019. The next Matchbox Gathering of Friends in Albuquerque will be held July 19-21, 2019.