Superfast Matchbox No.59 Mercury Fire Chief Car
Following on from my previous articles on the history of certain models in the Matchbox Superfast Diecast range, launched in 1971, here is a brief article on the Model No.59, the Mercury Fire Chief Car.
The first interesting point about the Mercury Fire Chief Car, was that it was a re-casting of the Park Lane Police Car, just in a different colour scheme. It replaced the then aging Ford Galaxie Fire Chief in the range.
It may not come as too much of a surprise to learn that Mercury Fire Chief Car came painted in a red colour, with, common to many models in the range, had a bare metal grille and base. The glazing was clear, with a cream plastic interior. On the roof was a blue light. What was unusual, were the included driver and passenger figures.
The original stickers were the same as those used on the Ford Galaxie model. These consisted of the words 'Fire Chief' in white on the bonnet and on each door was a shield. Quite soon after launch, these stickers were replaced by much more colourful stickers, although in my opinion these were much less realistic. The new stickers were a fireman's helmet over a pair of crossed axes.
No.59 Mercury Fire Chief Car was finally replaced in 1976, after enjoying the status of being a popular model. It was replaced by the very futuristic looking Planet Scout.
Although it was replaced in 1976, it became part of an emergency set, where it was teamed up with Stretcha Fetcha in the Two Pack line.
The casting was modified in 1978, to replace the roof light with a light bar with the side stickers being replaced with ones from the new No.64 Fire Chief Car
The emergency set was in production until 1980, being joined by a second emergency set. This new set consisted of the Mercury Park Lane, painted again in white with police sticker and joined by the Blaze Buster.
This long lived casting re-appeared in 1981 for the Code red series. These were based on a short lived American TV series. But that's not all. In 1987 the casting was revived again in the Laser Wheels series as a Highway Patrol Car.
In 1982, the most interesting use for this casting came about. It was used a temporary replacement for the new Plymouth Gran Fury Police Car, when the casting was being modified, but more on that in a later article.
What is interesting is that although this was a popular model, not many are offered for sale.
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