Model Reviews : October 2023 – Rover, Triumph, Morris and Ford

Welcome to our new monthly column dedicated to the world of scale models with an AROnline twist, brought to you by the expert eye and passion of Keith D’Souza.

In a world where automotive enthusiasts find joy in collecting and admiring miniature versions of their favourite cars, Keith will be your trusted guide through this captivating hobby.


From The Professionals to a Minor miracle

Rover SD1 Matrix

From classic British cars to the best moderns, Keith’s reviews offer a detailed and insightful look into the world of scale models. Whether you’re an avid collector or simply love a model car, join us on this journey as we explore the pick of this month’s crop.

This month, we bring you an excellent recent addition to the 1:43 scale ranks in the shape of Matrix’s lovely Rover SD1 Series One, a tidy Escort RS2000 with TV history, a Matchbox Morris Minor and a rather delicious Triumph TR5.

Car of the Month: Matrix Rover SD1 3500 1:43

Rover SD1 Matrix

The domination of the Blue Oval in 1:43 scale is all too obvious – there is a huge back catalogue of British Leyland, Rootes and Vauxhall et al that hasn’t seemed to be touched at all for some reason. Matrix Models goes a little way to readdress this with its Rover SD1 release.

Based on the BL press car LOE 107P, the model is cast in resin. The lines of David Bache’s svelte design are magnificently captured with sharp details: an erect aerial on the left front wing is a unique touch, Matrix haven’t forgotten things like the lock on the fuel filler cap and mudflaps.

The wheels are replicated with precision, which is not easy at this scale. However, you do pay a premium price for models at this level, which isn’t cheap. If your collection needs an SD1 and your wallet can turn a blind eye, this is certainly worth consideration.

Price: £110.00

Order from: matrixscalemodels.nl

Professionalmania Ford Escort RS2000 1:43

Ford Escort RS2000

Tony Buller of Professionalmania via Corgi Premiums, has finely fettled the Vanguards Mk2 Escort RS2000 to reproduce Doyle’s pool car, elevating the casting to another level. As a fan classic TV series The Professionals, he wanted to do something special to celebrate the 45th anniversary. As a commissioned, limited edition run of 1045 units – with now just only a handful still available – this casting brings a concours intensity of detail not seen on a Vanguards model before.

The RS four-spoke alloys are meticulously reproduced, the front Recaros are spot on, even down to the trim pattern. Add the pinpoint precision of the tampo application (correct font number plates, GB sticker on the boot lip and the sunroof) that brings real authenticity. Bespoke packaging and a collector’s card/certificate round off this wonderful model and deserves a place in your collection over and above Corgi’s standard offerings.

Price: £40.99

To get one, email Tony directly at professionalmania@hotmail.com

Matchbox Morris Minor 1000 1:64

Matchbox Morris Minor

Lesney first released its Matchbox Morris Minor almost 65 years ago and, with the Matchbox brand now under Mattel stewardship today, a new tooling of the Moggy is added to its Moving Parts range along with a mix of classic vehicles such as the Mercedes-Benz 450SEL and Ford GT40. UK collectors have lamented Mattel’s haphazard distribution strategy for years and only now has this casting reached our shores.

The opening bonnet reveals a delightfully detailed A-Series engine and the body captures Issigonis’ design well at small scale. But it’s not perfect: the plastic base feels cheap, it’s in left-hand drive (why?!) and the windows could have used a touch of outlining. Finding one may also be a real challenge. The idea is excellent – credit to Mattel for creating a Nuffield classic and, if the niggles are ignored, you will be happy with a miniature Moggy from a historic name in diecast.

Price: £5.99

Order from: Matchbox

Matrix Triumph TR5 1:43

Matrix Triumph TR5

LHP289F has had quite some time in the public eye. Not only was it the first TR5 off the Canley production line, but it also was the star of the 1967 Earls Court Motor Show as well as being TR5 Press Fleet car No.5. Having had its mechanics rebuilt, Richard Gunn even got to muse about this car in February 2022’s edition of Classic Cars when it came up for auction.

Matrix Models releases its version of this particular TR5 with the precision that resin can offer in 1:43 scale. The Valencia Blue paintwork exactly matches the original vehicle and the interior is finely detailed, down to the dashboard’s veneer panelling, rear tonneau and sun visors. In comparison to a Vanguards casting there is a massive gulf of difference and it is easy to see why this TR5 is at the upper end of the market.

Price: £118.98

Order from: matrixscalemodels.nl

Matrix Triumph TR5

16 Comments

  1. I hope you will cover some of the Oxford Diecast (ex Corgi personnel) Cararama range which has some really good value models.

    • Hi Chris,

      I hope to cover as much as I possibly can – cannot guarentee, but Oxford Diecast is defintely on the list with a lovely set of models appearing in early 2024.

    • Never heard of Oxford Diecast before, but checking their website, am rather impressed with their range and prices, considering the niche vehicles they are selling. Quite tempted by a red Austin Maestro!

      • Thanks for the feedback – indeed, we will be covering some of the models that the OD Team have on offer in the forthcoming months. I can assure you Jan 2024 has some real treats. If you are a 00 Gauge railway fan, this will be perfect folly.

  2. Slightly nostalgic for me, because when I was a kid in the 1960s, I had a large collection of Dinky, Corgi, and Matchbox models. They were almost the only toys I was interested in; never bothered with anything else.

    I suspect they’d be worth quite a bit if I still had them today.

    • If we call kept them preserved, we would be quite rich! Problem was they were toys, so they got played with – inevitably ending up with chips, bashed and more than likely given to charity shops or thrown away.

      If only we knew back then……………

      • A great collection of model issues and that Rover SD1 looks like a real full size car!

        I sold my mostly mint boxed collection of Corgis, Dinkys & Spot On cars & trucks by auction in 2019 and got some higher values than estimated. Can’t complain. I see the Corgi Collectors Club (Hornby) has emerged and is releasing popular reproductions (made in China?) Another one to watch!

  3. Although nowhere near as readily available as my childhood of the 1980s it is good to see more UK retailers take on Matchbox this year after 7 years in the wilderness of being exclusively available at Asda then Tesco which would have severely harmed sales.
    Still no major retailer for their excellent Moving Parts range which is disappointing though I believe Toymaster stock them plus the new Collectors series with the gorgeous Triumph TR6 is now available at The Entertainer too.

    • Craig, we still have a problem and that is the USA Market. It is not helped with certain “diecast influencers” either who are – let’s not be shy here – covering up all the problems……not the appropriate forum here to into this deeper, but it has caused a massive knock on effect to the RoW markets.

      I hope to see the new castings out in the shops in due course. My local area is Weil am Rhein in Germany and the releases are hit and miss, trips to the UK reveal not so much – I refuse to go on “The Hunt”.

      And there are some quite good castings in the pipeline for 2024.

      Mattel just need to stop using some people to mask the issues with spin – and once that part finally goes, I am sure that the brand will self heal.

  4. Genius! I’m partially sighted so gave up driving a few years ago. All time fave is the SD1 (I’ve owned around 8 I think!) and I so miss having a classic. I’ve also got no hobbies really, so you’ve just sparked a way for me to get a “garage” of classics I can really enjoy.
    Thank you!

    • I am glad that this has sparked an interest! Start small, do have a look before you buy and get up and personal – just like you would buying an actual car – if somethign doesn’t feel right about the model, walk away. There will be others.

      The SD1 has been a favourite of mine, but mainly it has been the Corgi 1:36 scale from the 70s.

      DOn’t forget there are other SD1’s around via auction sites via the Vanguards brand – sadly, their addition to the Vanguards garage has been stopped for the moment – let’s hope that this changes.

  5. Brilliant new feature! I have not been collecting for a few years but Oxford and Minichamp were becoming my go to (prior was Corgi/Vanguard and even further back Dinky). Run out of space to stopped collecting, though occasionally purchase my other passion Vintage Aurora AFX.

    • This is the age old problem – I have actually moved from 1:43 to 1:64 –

      There is some good stuff around, so hopefully we will document this here on AROnline.

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