Greyhound Coaches x2

I was suddenly awakened from my afternoon nap by a roaring noise and the overwhelming smell of diesel smoke. There was a tiny massive silver 1960s vintage Greyhound bus gleaming in the sun outside the office.

I went out to tell the driver that this was not in fact the bus station, but the driver was Tiny Mert.

“How’d you get your hands on a Greyhound bus?” I asked.

“A super clean, like new tiny Greyhound bus you mean.”

Tiny Mert—right as usual. This bus didn’t have many signs of use. I couldn’t recall ever seeing one this clean. It was so nice I had to let out one of those long whistles. “This thing looks brand new! But you didn’t answer my question.”

“No I did not. Now if you’ll excuse me I gotta find a place to park these buses.”

“BusES?? Mert!”

This was all part of Mert’s plan to start a shuttle service for tiny gamblers. 

One of the buses has a little sticker anomaly on one side, that’s about it. Both of these have the later squared-off stickers; the earlier edition of the bus had an angled sticker.

MATCHBOX LESNEY No. 66 GREYHOUND COACH • NEAR MINT • $12.50 SOLD

MATCHBOX LESNEY No. 66 GREYHOUND COACH • NEAR MINT • $12.50

Iso Grifo

After the quick success of our ’69 Ford GT sale we decided to roll out another late 60s supercar grand tourer with a massive engine and sultry lines, the Iso Grifo.

Mert had some questions about this car, not least of which, “What the #*!* is an Ifo Grifo??”

This car (the giant-sized version) was built for about 5 years in the late 60s by Iso Autoveicoli S.P.A. The Grifo wasn’t just pretty, it had a Corvette engine and could achieve serious speeds. Not many American farmboys from Brooklyn (what Mert claims to be) have laid eyes on one. When Mert found out it had a 427 small-block Corvette under there he started talking excitedly and didn’t stop for six days.

MATCHBOX LESNEY NO. 14 ISO GRIFO VERY GOOD – EXCELLENT • $16 SOLD, GOODBYE ISO GRIFO

’69 Ford GT

“Notice any patterns emerging with the cars you’re featuring on the website, Bob?” Mert asked. Always speaking in riddles.

It didn’t take long to figure it out. Red. One red car after another.

“I like red.”

“Sure, who doesn’t like red? All I’m saying is it would be nice to see something different once in a while.”

So we rolled out the white ’69 Ford GT with its unusual wheels: thin, five-spoke wheels, not the fat ones we usually associate with the Matchbox “Superfast” cars of the 1970s. This was one of the “transitional Superfast” cars that Lesney made in 1969, when the company was in a cold sweat and suffering night terrors about its new flashy, fast competitor from the West, Hot Wheels. This car is the embodiment of existential fear. It represents a moment in time, when one era ended and another began.

“A real piece of history right here,” Mert said.

He was right as usual. The GT is more rare and more important than most Matchbox cars, and this one doesn’t have too much paint wear and rolls great. Still, I put it on the block for a very sober price of $18.

MATCHBOX LESNEY No. 41 FORD GT EXCELLENT • $18  SOLD ON EBAY FOR $29

Volkswagen 1600 TL

When Mert drove this beauty onto the lot this morning my eyes lit up.

“I used to drive a Fastback just like that!” I yelled at him, running from the office hut with my arms flailing.

 “You used to drive one like THIS?? How freakin’ old ARE YOU, MAN??” 

Sometimes you gotta just ignore Mert.

“Except mine was yellow, and the entire right rear quarter-panel was missing. This thing is sweeeeet.” I ran my hand over the smooth shiny red fender. Then I proceeded to relate to Mert the whole story of my old VW that used to spray snow at me through the vents in the morning and which ended its useful life perched on a fire hydrant, front wheels spinning in the air while “Radioactive” by The Firm continued to play on the radio. Mert pretended not to listen but I’m pretty sure he was really into the story.

Truth is I have never been in the presence of a nicer-looking vintage VW than this Excellent-plus 1967 model. It has very minor paint wear, looks great.

“Mert, whatever you paid for this, it wasn’t enough.” He just pretended not to listen.

MATCHBOX LESNEY No. 67 VOLKSWAGEN 1600 TL EXCELLENT-PLUS • $20 SOLD

’64 Lincoln Continental

You never know what you’re going to get in this business. When Mert popped the trunk on this pretty, 1960s tile bathroom-colored Continental, a dude who was bound and gagged with duct tape and wearing a thong jumped out and ran away. Yikes! Mert was taken aback.

In any case, we cleaned the vehicle of any residue from its potentially very Blue Velvety adventures, and put it on sale for $14.

Mert and I will never get why Lesney made this car with an opening trunk instead of working “suicide doors,” that very thing for which the old Continental is most remembered. If you’re not familiar with “suicide doors” check the placement of the door handles on this model. They don’t make ’em like THAT any more.

This particular model has some visible paint imperfections, especially on the roof, but is still a nice-looking car. Vast swaths of unsullied paint keep this one in the Excellent category.

MATCHBOX LESNEY No. 31 LINCOLN CONTINENTAL – 1964 – EXCELLENT • $14