- Written by webmin
At long last, no thanks to the weird distribution issues Matchbox has been going through in this country in the last 6-8 months, the long-awaited Toyota 4Runner casting has ended up on shelves. On the plus side, the color and factory-style stripes look great, the wheels are proportional to the car (none of this monster-mudder tire silliness), and the black plastic chassis also makes up elements of the bumpers. The down side? Beyond finding one, only the chrome interior, which is molded in a single piece with the grille and the center of the rear bumper, is a bummer; we can only hope that if the 4Runner makes it into premium series in the future, the interior can be molded in color and the grille and bumper elements can be painted or masked appropriately. (And it’s not like chrome interiors don’t have precedent; most of the old #1 Matchbox Dodge Challengers that were issued in the mid-’70s had chrome interiors.) Also, we’re thrilled that this is a model that hasn’t previously been done in this scale. (Other 4Runners have been later models, including by Tomica and Majorette.)
It has been intimated that the 4Runner came forth because it was a classic off-roader, and in part because the FJ40 Land Cruiser model that Matchbox did had been so well-received. Matchbox going back and doing older models is hardly news – the Citroen DS, Lotus Europa, ’69 Cadillac Sedan de Ville, and many others have come forth in recent years, sadly destined to clog the pegs at your local big-box-store toy aisle – but it’s the era that’s surprising to us. Now, we like ’80s cars – we’re bigger proponents of these than a lot of people in the hobby seem happy about, frankly. There are tons of cool ’80s machines that could stand to be made in die-cast. Some of them are Toyotas. Some of them are trucks. But the 4Runner is a surprising one to us. Was the drumbeat that strong for an early 4Runner? (Some say yes, some say no. – ed.) We live in a place where old Japanese cars are celebrated rather than crushed, and even we haven’t seen a decent one of these in forever. Now that they’re starting to show up on pegs, we’ll be interested to discover how these fare. In any event, it’s hard to imagine that this is a model of a quarter-century-old vehicle.