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

Rolls Royce Silver Shadow, Metallic Red

Mert and I just sat in this car, taking it in. It’s probably the nicest car we’ve got on the lot right now. Neither of us wanted to get out, but we were both afraid to drive it for fear of dinging the paint.

“Smell that?” Mert asked. He took a long sniff.

“Corinthian leather?”

“No, man. Corruption. I can smell it.”

“Smells pretty good,” I noted.

“Yeah, we’d better get out before we stink it up beyond repair with our stinky tiny bodies.”

And he was right as usual so we went back to the office and watched Chuck Woolery on the tiny tiny television.

I gotta put the color in the title for this post. It is so…lustrous. Luxurious. Like the car is coated in red velvet, or maybe the blood of the proletariat. Red. Deep metallic red.

MATCHBOX LESNEY No. 69 ROLLS ROYCE SILVER SHADOW NEAR MINT • $20

’64 Pontiac Grand Prix

People from all corners of the earth love this Grand Prix. 

One day, I wondered aloud to Mert, “Why do people love this Grand Prix so much?” But Mert offered few satisfactory answers, at first. He just let me stew in my juices about it all day, the way he does.

Then later on Mert sidled up and asked cryptically, “What do people love as much as this Grand Prix?” Then he sidled away.

I thought about it for a long time then went and found him and said, “Drugs.”

“You are correct,” he said.

And with that we both went over to the Grand Prix and started taking apart its wheel wells, for we figured that somebody must have hidden a large cache of tiny drugs in there.

We didn’t find the drugs, but we did mess up the Grand Prix’s fender a little bit (see photo).

It’s still an impressive car, apparently, because people from all corners of the earth love this Grand Prix.

MATCHBOX LESNEY No. 22 PONTIAC GRAND PRIX VERY GOOD-EXCELLENT • $22 SOLD

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