Posted in Matchbox

The Matchbox NYPD 5 Pack doesn’t really belong in the UK, or in my collection – but it is here nonetheless

One of my favourite parts of collecting Matchbox cars are the 5-packs – the fully licensed sets look fabulous and provide an inexpensive way to instantly bolster your collection.

Not all of them are great – I can quite happily pass on the construction sets, the military-style vehicles and the product placement cars (think SpongeBob Squarepants tampos and Coca-Cola logos) but once in a while the stars align and you see some cars you can’t do without.

That was the case when I saw the Exotics 5-pack with the yellow Ford GT40 and GMC Pickup. As for the NYPD 5-pack… well, I liked it, but I didn’t grab it immediately.

With this NYPD 5 pack we are treated to the Chevy Suburban, the “Meter Made”, “Sport SUV”, GMC Wrecker, and the Dodge Charger Pursuit – in my opinion, a mixed bunch.

The NYPD and other US police forces have gotten a bad rep lately, so it’s nice to see something positive for our children. I just know I would have loved this set as a child!

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I picked up this 5 pack in the end because it had spent too long winking at me, and I am a creature who always regrets what I don’t pick up. I regret, for example, not collecting Matchbox cars whatsoever between the years 2005-2015, because they had gotten so bad in the early noughties I didn’t even think to check out the pegs – and this was before I’d become a major internet user, where collectors might have otherwise encouraged me.

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However, it is a bit of an oddity in the sense that this pack doesn’t really mean much to me on a personal level – which is the main reason I collect. I live in rural Lincolnshire, not New York, and while I have visited the city, I can’t say the police livery brings much more than a (very) minor level of nostalgia to when I was in Times Square, looking at a lot of white squad cars lined up.

We don’t have Meter Maid/Made vehicles in the UK (if we do, I haven’t seen a single one in the years I’ve lived here), cars like the Chevy Suburban are rare and unpopular, the Dodge Charger isn’t a car I’m ever likely to see (unless, like the Mustang, Chrysler bring it over) and the GMC Wrecker is a tow truck I will probably never see in person.

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But the latter is the main reason I got the set. The GMC Wrecker debuted back in c1987 and has worn many liveries, but here in this black and white suit, it looks very handsome indeed. I especially like the orange tinted glass and the disk wheels, as anyone who reads this blog knows, are my favourite wheels on any car.

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The original wrecker, of course, had a moving tow hook. This one is static. I have a Chinese made knock-off GMC Wrecker lying around which imitated almost exactly the original Matchbox which had the moving tow hook. I think it’s a little disappointing that they’re phasing out stuff like that in favour of cost-cutting, but I suppose the Wal-Mart $1 rule stands. At least you can still tow away those bad drivers…

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There is no interior, as we know, as the crane extends into the cab, but I don’t mind. I’m not sure if the original did, either.

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The big Chevy Suburban is my favourite after the GMC, just because it looks very nice in the white livery and the dog dish wheels, and I’m a bit of a guilty fan of big gas-guzzling SUVs.

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It would have looked a million times better with rear tampos, but we knew that wasn’t going to happen. It has a tow pack too, which is always cool to see.

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I really, really like the wheels on the Dodge Charger Pursuit. I wouldn’t have liked them on any other car, I think. They’re very bling – but with the sharp livery of the NYPD blue on white, they offset it well, and it looks great when it rolls.

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Again, it is a shame we are living in such frugal times, or else this Matchbox would have looked even more superb with front and rear tampos.

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The Dodge Charger Police Interceptor/Pursuit made its debut in 2012 and has been seen in a handful of colours, but Matchbox also made the regular Dodge Charger which debuted in the “Buried Treasure” series back in 2005:

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The “Hummelstown” police livery appeared in 2009 in the “Emergency Response” series. I’m more of a fan of the white Charger, if I’m honest.

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It’s time for me to be brutally honest and say how little I care for the Meter Made. I know a lot of the folks across the pond say they like it because it’s at least realistic – which I can understand. But for me, it isn’t resembling to anything I’d ever see on the road here, so I have to give it a miss when I see it on the pegs individually.

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Obviously without the front and rear tampos, it’s hard to even say for me where the lights would be on this thing.

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Last and certainly least would be the “Sport SUV”, a generic casting dedicated to the emergency lines and playsets ever since those miserable Hero City days back in 2003. Just awful, and I couldn’t even muster the energy to take a photo of it alone. I had to have the Charger in there. I can understand the NYPD licensing causing corners to be cut elsewhere, but surely Mattel could have found a better one than this?

Still, the police livery smartens it up.

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Was I little beastly to the NYPD 5 pack? Maybe, but it’s a cultural thing – this set is targeted at an American audience. Could it have been better? Definitely. But you win some and lose some always. And those few great castings in this set will certainly make nice additions to my police fleet.

Thanks for reading~

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Author:

Graphic designer, writer for Classic American auto magazine, journalist.

4 thoughts on “The Matchbox NYPD 5 Pack doesn’t really belong in the UK, or in my collection – but it is here nonetheless

    1. The term “Meter Maid” is generally considered a derogatory term for parking wardens, I believe.

      Parking enforcement officers are something I think the whole world can identify… this vehicle, not so much. I think with the NYPD livery, it most closely resembles the Westward Industries GO-4, which is a tailor-made 3 wheel vehicle for Parking Enforcement in congested cities like New York.

      I don’t know what the situation in Georgia is, but you are no doubt aware that traffic wardens here are widely resented due to their secret quotas (a case in Chelsea involving a warden called Hakim Berkani reveals these parking forces have set amounts of tickets to issue per day).

      The punishment often does not fit the crime, and it pains me to say that I have been stung with a parking ticket… on a Sunday, no less!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Here in Georgia the parking is quite wild, many cars park on the pavements, there are truck based hiabs, which will sometimes physically take badly parked cars away, but we have no vehicles like Meter Made.

        Like

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