I picked up a Street Rod from Dry Bridge Market, yesterday and instantly doubled the size of my Speed Kings collection.
In addition to the regular 1-75, 3 inch “Matchbox sized” models, Matchbox made some larger “King-Size” models. Lesney Matchbox King-Size K-1 Weatherill Hydraulic Shovel was the first of the new Matchbox King-Size models to be released in 1960. The early King Size models were all trucks to complement the scale of the 1-75 cars. In 1968 the Lesney Matchbox King-Size K-21 Mercury Cougar became the first car to join the range.
When the Matchbox 1-75 range went Superfast in response to the competition from the likes of Hot Wheels, the King Size models followed with Super Kings for the trucks and Speed Kings for the cars.
I rarely come across these models here in Tbilisi, I am more focused on collecting the 3 inch size regular Matchbox cars. I have 246 Matchbox vehicles only two of which are Speed Kings. The two I have: the Street Rod and Marauder are typical of the early seventies style, with exposed engines and bright colours. These are bigger than the regular 1-75 models as their “kings” name suggests. They are around 4 inches in length, a similar size to Corgi and Dinky cars.
The pricing in the seventies was about 75% of the price of a comparable Corgi model but the Corgis were generally better detailed and tended to have more opening features. The Street Rod has an opening trunk cover to reveal some tools below. The Marauder has no opening features. The catalogue suggests the Street Rod is 45-1 scale but it is noticeably bigger than the Yesteryear Model T Ford which is cited at the larger 42-1 scale.
There are a few Speed Kings, I would love to find: Maserati Bora (K-56), Lamborghini Miura (K-24), Citroen SM (K-33), AMX Javelin (K-54) and Datsun 240Z (K-52). I would be very surprised if they turn up here, but part of the reason I collect is the thrill of the hunt.
Update: picked up this Mercury Station Wagon, fashioned by a previous owner as an Ambulance, it would have originally been the Mercury Police Car.
You can view the 1975 Matchbox Catalogue here: Matchbox Catalogue 1975 (FlipSnack)