PLEASE NOTE: I will no longer be altering the variation codes. All new discoveries will be inserted in to their correct place in the timeline and given a suffix.
So a new variation that would be nearest to variation 4 would become the new 4a, etc.

Matchbox Superfast MB15-d Volkswagen 1500



The popular #15 Volkswagen was an early choice for the SuperFast range, joining in the first wave in 1969 and losing its autosteer feature at the same time.
Initially red ´SuperFast´ titles were added to the autosteer F box design before the specially painted Superfast ´F´ box design was ready for production.
It was also packaged in all blisterpacks with copyright dates between 1969 and 1972 as well as ´G´ boxes, ´H´ boxes and each format of the special Japanese boxes and blisterpacks used 1977-1980 before final stocks appeared in USA only single blisters and European two pack TP6.
The off white bodyshells remained in production unchanged for the VW´s first year in the Superfast range although a shortage of ´137´door stickers resulted in leftover decals from the original regular ´realistic´ wheels run being used up instead.
As with the autosteer examples, 2 shades of off white were used although they never approach the shade of cream that was used on Lesney ambulances. This colour is also prone to darken or discolour with age and exposure to sunshine, artificial light and tobacco smoke so premiums should not be paid for more creamy examples without close examination beforehand to make sure its a factory shade rather than age and wear........
A factory authorised California custom with Herbie stripes fetches high prices today, and is produced unofficially by many customisers these days now that decals are freely available.
Like the rest of the 1969 SF releases the VW was fitted with 11x2mm thin 5 slot wheels which are usually solid on pre-1971 white cars.
The 1971 European Collector catalog shows 2 examples in the new candy red clearcoat over gold primer in giftsets and during 1972 this colour became standard in ´G´ boxes too. The shade can vary because of the relative thickness of the gold primer v red candy coat.
The first casting change occurred during the 2nd red run when the centre section of the rear bumper was deleted in order to make assembley of the plastic tow hook onto the baseplate easier.
The second casting change occurred near the end of production of red examples by 1973, when the final decal used on any 1-75 series was dropped, and the front rally plate where it had been placed was resculptured with a sunrise pattern.
In 1977 the casting was revived in its original off white colours with ´137´ door stickers for the Japenese market, this time being fitted with smaller 10.5x2mm 5 slot wheels. Many were produced over the following 3 years including one hard to find run fitted with 10x4mm wide wheels which worked well with the traditional plastic superfast suspension. All had open rear bumpers and the sunrise cast rally plates being permenant alterations to the tooling.
All Volkswagens had clear plastic windows and an ivory coloured plastic interior and either an off white or dark red plastic axle securing strip inside the baseplate.


Above: The two basic colours, Off white and metallic red.

Above: The earliest release was packaged in an F type box which has a regular wheel model pictured and it has the word 'Superfast' in red.

Above: More common is the 2nd F type box which has a superfast model pictured and the word 'Superfast' is in black.


Above: A later issue that was fitted with 137 decals rather than labels in a G type box.

Above: The metallic red VW with the H type box, The model on the left has the "Monte Carlo Rally" decal applied to the front bumper, The model on the right has no decal and the decal panel has a sunburst design engraved.

Above: The Japanese issue number J-6 in off white with sunburst design to the front bumper decal panel complete with it's Japanese issue box.

Above: Another Japanese issue with it's number 30 box. This version was also released as part of the 1977 900 series Twin pack TP-6.

Above: Showing the early casting on the left with the full width bumper and on the right the later one with the cut away center.
photo courtesy George Marshall.

Above: A USA issue blister pack.

Above: The VW was also part of the 1970 G-1 Service Station Superset.

Above: The 'Herbie' VW was a conversion performed by Don's Hobby shop of Palm Springs in California circa 1968-70 which can be found with both regular wheels and superfast wheels, The original 137 labels were removed and replaced by Herbie style racing stripes and #53 decals, Although not strictly a Lesney product Don did obtain Lesneys permission to convert this model making it an official code 2 rather than a code 3, The model is highly sought after and has been known to sell for up to £1000.
Many unnofficial copies have been made over the years so extreme caution should be taken to ensure you are buying the real thing before parting with that kind of money.

code number
colour
wheels
137
front bumper
rear bumper
code 9
white
11x2mm 5 slot
label
'monte carlo' decal
full bumper
code 10
white
11x2mm 5 slot
decal
'monte carlo' decal
full bumper
code 11
off white
11x2mm 5 slot
label
'monte carlo' decal
full bumper
code 12
off white
11x2mm 5 slot
decal
'monte carlo' decal
full bumper
code 13
metallic red
11x2mm 5 slot
label
'monte carlo' decal
full bumper
code 14
metallic red
11x2mm 5 slot
label
'monte carlo' decal
cut away center
code 15
metallic red
11x2mm 5 slot
label
sunburst design
cut away center
code 16
off white
11x2mm 5 slot
label
sunburst design
cut away center
code 17
off white
10x4mm 5 slot
label
sunburst design
cut away center

Values based on Vectis actual selling prices.
white vw in F type box with 'superfast' in red - £50-£60
white vw in F type box with 'superfast' in black - £30-£40
red vw - £25-£35
white vw in Japanese J-6 box - £35-£45
white vw in Japanese #30 box - £50-£60