Ever since this very near mint Berlinetta came in last week, Mert has been standing out there staring at it. He is bedazzled. Can you blame him? Unfortunately work around the lot has been backing up.
I went out to have a talk with him about it. Before I could get halfway across the lot he turned around with his hands waving over his head like a football referee and yelled “Halt!”
“I’m going to have to ask you not to approach the Berlinetta, Bob,” he said, trying to calm down.
“Bob, this Berlinetta is in very near mint condition. Any disturbance could result in degradation of the vehicle. I simply cannot let that happen.”
“Mert we’ve got a whole fleet of Greyhound buses to wash, and that Lotus needs a t—”
“BOB STEP AWAY FROM THE BERLINETTA”
I have to admit Mert was very good at guarding the Berlinetta. Luckily it sold almost immediately and Mert didn’t have to guard it any more.
The Berlinetta is another unlikely V-12 with obscene overkill power hidden under the bonnet. Lesney modeled a few of them. Six carburetors on this one.
In the “real world,” vintage Berlinettas in very nice condition go at auction for 3-4 million dollars. You read that right. See here. Roughly a half million per carburetor. Real world!
MATCHBOX/LESNEY No. 75 FERRARI BERLINETTA VERY NEAR MINT •
FERRARI BERLINETTA NEAR NEAR MINT + $20
Eye candy. Or I candy. I for Italian.Mert and I would be driving this nearly near-mint 12-cylinder 1969 speedster right now but frankly we’re scared.
Twelve cylinders is ridiculous, isn’t it? You can see em all through the clear back window there. Putting all that weight toward the back of the car will have some interesting effects on the overall handling.
MATCHBOX LESNEY No. 33 LAMBORGHINI MIURA EXCELLENT-PLUS •
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.”
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 •
MATCHBOX LESNEY No. 66 GREYHOUND COACH • NEAR MINT • $12.50
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
ISO GRIFO GOOD-EXCELLENT $17
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 •
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 •
VOLKSWAGEN 1600 EXCELLENT $20
VW 1600 TL EXCELLENT $20