I loved Matchbox cars as a kid and have no doubt that they played a large part in developing my obsession for all things with engines and wheels. But it wasn’t just the miniature die-cast cars that fired my imagination in the early 70’s, it was also the boxes they came in. For the 1970’s, Lesney Products, manufacturers of Matchbox toys, saw fit to replace the rather staid box designs of the 50’s and 60’s with colourful and dynamic ‘Superfast’ box artwork, most likely in an effort to compete with the then new Hotwheels cars from America. I think I particularly like the way the illustrations, whilst often adding realism such as chrome details, headlights and occasionally, lifelike backgrounds, are clearly pictures of the models themselves complete with ‘superfast’ wheels. Right through the 1970’s and into the start of the 80’s the cars continued to come in these wonderful picture boxes but they were not to last, as with the sale of the Matchbox brand to Universal Toys, the classic Matchbox packaging was replaced with dull light blue boxes with a clear plastic window though which the toy car could be seen. Later, the boxes themselves gave way to the familiar, modern blister pack.
Matchbox, now owned by Mattel, attempted to cash in on resurrect the original Superfast picture boxes by launching a new line of 75 ‘premium’ Superfast cars in 2005 but whilst the idea seemed good they somehow failed to capture the magic of those early Superfast designs. I still have quite few original Superfast cars in their boxes amongst my ever expanding collection of toy cars so I though it’d be nice to post up a gallery of some of the artwork used through the 1970’s.