The postal service here in Georgia (the country not the US State) is rather basic, expensive and unpredictable. Sending stuff is a risk. A Facebook friend Bert or “Dutch” told me he’d like to send me some Matchbox models:
Hello Jim, give me a list of 12 classic superfast lesney models you really would like to have. Going from 1 ,i want one very bad , to 12 ,well i had to name 12.…
So I did…
The first was easy… Iso Grifo…my favourite Matchbox casting…I have never seen the real car, but it looks beautiful in pictures. I already have one Matchbox model with regular wheels…
The first eight were easy to name: 1. Iso Grifo 2. Lamborghini Miura 3. Lamborghini Marzal 4. Ferrari Berlinetta 5. Ford Zodiac 6. Mercedes 300SE 7. Mazda RX500 8. Citroen SM
a brief pause for thought and then… another four… 9. Mercedes 230SL 10. DeTomaso Pantera 11. Jaguar F Type 12. Renault 17
The Jaguar F Type is a recent casting and not a classic Superfast… it was replaced by the BMC Pininfarina (an aerodynamic “Land-Crab”).
A packet was duly dispatched from the Netherlands on 29 December. Mail doesn’t usually get delivered in Georgia, a Georgian Post rider should leave a sticker on the door of the block, when a resident has a package to collect.
We live in a newly built block, which doesn’t as yet even have an official address. So after a week, I trekked a kilometre to the local Post Office to see if it had arrived. I had to wait a long time, but they could find no packet. They asked if I had a tracking number, I didn’t. I went back again a week later, thankfully at a less busy time, they asked if I had a tracking number, I told them I didn’t, they looked again asked if I had a tracking number, I told them again that I didn’t. During the night of the 28-29 December, I dreamt about Matchbox cars, not about the packet, but I thought it might be a sign, so again I went to the Post Office. They asked predictably if I had a tracking number, I said I didn’t, there was no tracking number on the item. She asked me about the size, I showed her the photo on my messenger feed, she went in the backroom and finally emerged with the packet.
My telephone number was on the packet, but no one had called or texted me, there had been no Georgian Post sticker on the door of my block. I was also told they had been about to return the packet to Netherlands, as was their policy for packets which haven’t been collected within a month.
But I had it…phew! I couldn’t wait to get home.
The packet contained all 12 cars I had requested, a big dank je “Dutch” and what delights they are.
They are all Superfast except for the Ferrari Berlinetta, which has regular wheels.
There is a strong frisson of nostalgia with all the models, particularly the three above. I have the Marzal in pink, but I much prefer the original dark red. I also love the metallic green of the Zodiac. I had a couple of Ferrari Berlinettas before I left England, but I sold them at a Car Boot Sale and regretted it (I arrived in Georgia, with just two suitcases). These models were manufactured around the transitional time (1969-1970), the time when Matchbox went over to Superfast models with faster wheels in an attempt to compete with Hot Wheels across the Pond. My favourite era, I was 6 in 1970.
With the Superfast wheels came track sets on the box art for the Superfast sets were the Lamborghini Marzal, the Iso Grifo and the BMC Pininfarina.
A few of the models came from after the transitional phase but are still from the early to mid-seventies.
The cars aren’t all in perfect condition, there were a few chips, and the Lamborghini Miura’s doors fail to close properly, but I still love them. As a child I went through a phase of collecting Mercedes models, I don’t have any from my childhood, so it was great to have a 230SL and 300SE again.
I am really happy with the packet, “Dutch” asked for nothing in exchange apart form some photos of the cars in their new home. These photos can be seen here: Old Matchbox Cars in Tbilisi and Bakuriani
I have been able to cross off more cars from my Wants’ List in one go, than I had in all the time since I first published the post.
A wonderful present, thanks again, “Dutch”. There was the added bonus of the artwork from a Matchbox Carry Case showing later Matchbox models (circa 1977).
Several months later I sent a packet back with five cars, three Matchbox and 2 DAFs.