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 MB3-c Mercedes Benz
Binz Ambulance



The Mercedes Benz ´Binz´ ambulance was converted to SuperFast wheels in 1970 and stayed in the range for 2 years. It was packaged in ´G´boxes as well as blisterpacks with copyright dates 1969 to 1972.
This casting was always painted off white in this period and always fitted with the larger sized red cross paper stickers that were also used on the 54 Cadillac ambulance produced at the same time.
The no 3 Binz was always fitted with 10mm 5 slot wheels, initially the thin 2mm variety but most commonly the 4mm wide variety. The body casting was soon altered with cut out wheel arches to enable 4mm wide tyres to be fitted without impairing the suspension, and very rare crossovers exist both ways, thin wheels with wide arches and wide wheels with original lipped arches.
The baseplate tooling evidences the fact that Lesney modified the original RW baseplate tool rather than make a new one because the famous upside down text is carried on from the RW issues. Cars exist in 50:50 proportions with the whole ´Matchbox Series´ wording either reading correctly with the front pointing left or the front pointing right (see photo).
The famous 3 pointed star which was cast on top of the grille of all RW issues was deleted on conversion to SF wheels.
The amount of blue tint in the glazing can vary significantly and the removable stretcher and opening tailgate featured on all no3 issues of the Mercedes.

The tooling was revived in 1977 for the two pack range, both as an off-white ambulance and an olive green military ambulance.
The original baseplate tooling was again modified, with the rear rivit holes being cast closed and a stepped tongue added to slot into the rear of the body casting, also the headlamps were removed from the baseplate casting.
A new body mould was made from the original master mould which re-instated wheel arch lips and now included a cast shut rear door and cast in headlamps and indicators. Original glazing and interior moulds remained in production so the rear window was now open, although the plastic patient on a stretcher was no longer supplied. These two pack and twin pack issues came with 10 x 4 mm dot dash wheels, chromed on the off white issues and a tiny minority of olive green issues, unchromed all black on most military releases.
Colour trials and pre-pros exist in black, showing Lesney considered making this as a hearse and hot rod hearse back in 1971-72.


Above: Three Mercedes, The center model has small wheel arches and 10x2mm 5 slot wheels while the other two have enlarged wheel arches and 10x4mm wheels, one has 5 slot wheels and the other has dot-dash pattern wheels.
Note also the different paint shades and amount of blue window tint.

Above: An early example with small wheel arches and thin 10x2mm wheels, Note also the very light blue tint to the windows.

Above: A Mercedes with enlarged wheel arches and dot-dash pattern 10x4mm wheels.

Above: A Mercedes with enlarged wheel arches and 5 slot 10x4mm wheels

Above: A very unusual Mercedes with green tinted windows. note that it is a later issue without base number so would have been packaged in a blister pack.


Above: Two military ambulances, one with chrome foil wheel centers and one with black wheel centers.

Above: Two examples of the 900 series twin packs.

Above: A Canadian blister pack.

Above: This odd variation has recently been confirmed by both Christian Falkensteiner and Jason Coker, It is a regular wheel baseplate, wheels and axles fitted to a circa 1971 superfast body with enlarged wheel wells and painted in a superfast colour, Although it's a regular wheel model it would probably not have been sold before 1971 so I am tempted to list it in the variation table here but in keeping to my rule of not including error pieces I don't know whether to include it or not, Anyway it certainly deserves a mention.
photo courtesy Christian Falkensteiner

Above: A rare prototype black Mercedes which was never put into production.

Above: Showing the two baseplate castings with the text either way up.

Above: Showing the earlier type opening rear door and the later cast in rear door.

code
number
colour
base
number
interior
windows
wheels
wheel
arches
tail gate
strecher
code 11
off white
#3
ivory
blue
10x2mm 5 slot
small
opening
yes
code 12
off white
#3
ivory
blue
10x2mm 5 slot
enlarged
opening
yes
code 13
off white
#3
ivory
blue
10x4mm 5 slot
enlarged
opening
yes
code 14
off white
#3
ivory
dark blue
10x4mm 5 slot
enlarged
opening
yes
code 15
off white
#3
ivory
dark blue
10x5.5mm 5 slot
enlarged
opening
yes
code 16
off white
no TP-10
yellow
dark blue
10x4mm dot-dash
enlarged
closed
no
code 17
off white
no TP-10
yellow
green
10x4mm dot-dash
enlarged
closed
no
code 18
off white
no TP-10
yellow
dark blue
10x4mm dot-dash black
enlarged
closed
no
code 19
olive green
no TP-12
yellow
dark blue
10x4mm dot-dash
enlarged
closed
no
code 20
olive green
no TP-12
yellow
dark blue
10x4mm dot-dash black
enlarged
closed
no

Values based on Vectis actual selling prices.
off white with 10x2mm wheels - £30-£40
off white with 10X4mm wheels - £25-£35
as above with green windows - £100+ (estimate)
off white tailgate cast shut - £20-£30 (TP-10)
olive green tailgate cast shut - £20-£30 (TP-12)