It’s been about five years now since Matchbox has been doing a line of models that replicate not only vintage cars, but ones that have previously appeared in the Matchbox lineup. The E-type Jaguar is prominent among these; other models include the Citroen DS, Jaguar XK120 coupe, the latest Land Rover, the Cadillac hearse/ambulance, Lotus Europa, Chevy van, the Caterham Seven, and so on. They’re not the same castings, by any means: They’re all-new castings of vintage cars, done to contemporary levels of engraving, detail and play value. They not only make for a fun variety of things on the pegs, but also may tweak the nostalgia circuits of the dads buying die-cast cars for their kids.

Matchbox’s greatest hits tour continues with this second-generation Pontiac Firebird Formula. The Superfast-era original was, to be frank, an odd-looking beast: Gigantic twin chrome scoops, amber windows, bulbous fender flares, a bubble roof, the tail that came to a point … the tooling was later altered to make the ’79 Trans Am, which has appeared in about a thousand variants since, so old #4 isn’t so common as you might think.

Mercifully, there are minimal similarities between the two: Both are blue, and sadly both have chrome interiors (though at least the newer model gets a chromed rear bumper as part of the package. That’s about as far as it goes, though. The new model has a fully tampo’ed nose and tail, smoked gray windows (with open side glass), and excellent shapes all around. The color-molded plastic chassis has good suspension and driveline engraving (and, with luck, this will turn up with a metal chassis soon in the higher-priced, higher-detailed Lesney Edition series). Mirrors are molded into the A-pillars; those pillars look a little thick in this photo, but look better from other angles, and in person. Wheels are the tri-bar spinner pieces, which look suspiciously like Halibrand knockoffs, with the centers painted black. The only nit we’ll pick on what is, after all, a $1 car, is that its stance is a little on the high side. And if blue isn’t moving you, a variety of other colors will be available soon enough.

The next retro-type Matchbox models due include the original Lamborghini Miura. Will it be painted yellow or gold? Stay tuned!