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 MB5-e Lotus Europa



The Lotus Europa model design and tooling was made at the end of the regular wheels era before the name Superfast was created although this new model was in fact part of the first Superfast wave. A number of bright red pre-productions exist fitted with plain unspoked chrome hub prototype Superfast wheels as well as early spoked thin SF wheels.

Baseplates without ´Superfast´ cast were used on a small proportion of the first blue run and are very hard to find today. The initial colour, clear blue laquer over a silver primer is well known in 3 distinct shades with the lightest being the least common but still not rated hard to find. The blue model came in ´F´ and ´G´ boxes and was fitted with solid 11.5mm thin SF tyres although hollow tyres can be found on a minority. The body casting was modified to include thicker stronger more decorative sills during the blue production years.

In 1971 the Lotus was recoloured to metallic pink which was in fact pink clear coat over silver primer. There are 2 shades of metallic pink although the darker version is only found on the thick wheeled issues. In 1972 the body casting received flared circular wheel arches to enable smaller wider 10mm tyres to be fitted. Rare crossovers can be found with wide arches and thin tyres. During the pink wide wheels run the baseplate tow slot became a notch rather than a slot. Also the window securing rivet inside the roof was removed and the rivet hole in the clear plastic window was filled in, Some crossover pieces have no rivet but have the older type window unit which still has the rivet hole.

The pink Lotus was deleted from the 1-75 series during 1975. The tooling went back into production in 1977 for a limited Japanese John Player Special issue which featured excellent Formula 1 style gold JPS tampos and perhaps what was Lesney´s first black painted car in any of their ranges.
When the Japanese series was dropped in 1979 excess production of these black Lotuses were used in european two packs both with and without gold JPS logos. The sizes of the slots on the standard size wheels on all colours of this casting can vary considerably although all thin & thick tyres have precisely 5 slots.


Above: The two most common colours used on the Lotus and the black japanese issue is pictured below, Other colours were produced in Bulgaria which are not covered by this guide.

Above: A 1969 issue Lotus with it's F type box.

Above: A 1970 issue Lotus with it's G type box.
Note the squared wheel well openings and the smooth sill less body sides.

Above: A 1971 issue Pink Lotus with it's correct H type box.
Note the wider wheels and rounded wheel wells which are not found on the blue Lotus. The pronounced sill below the door is normal for the pink models but only found on the very last issues of the blue Lotuses.


Above: A pink Lotus with labels from the G-3 Giftset, With the wrong box?.

Above: The two shades of blue and the two shades of pink, Although difficult to tell from a photo they are not so hard to distinguish when held in the hand.

Above: A black 1977 JPS (John Player Special) Lotus and it's Japanese issue box

Above: A British JPS Lotus and its box.....

Above: ...was also available without the JPS tampo.

Above: A very rare red pre production Lotus from 1969,
Note the unusual wheel type.

Above: After just one day of having this page online Louis (Carb) from the forum has made a new discovery. The model on the right has open bumper ends which would be prone to snagging on carpets and clothing. The model on the left shows the modified bumper with closed ends.
photo courtesy Louis (Carb).

Note: Dark metallic blue Lotuses can be found in the common dark metallic
blue or the slightly darker shade as used on the 14d regular wheel Iso Grifo.

code
number
colour
baseplate colour
'superfast' on Base
wheel
type
wheel well
type
sill
ridge
tow slot
type
window
rivet
labels
code 1
mid
metallic blue
unpainted
without 'superfast'
open front bumper ends
5 slot, 11x2mm
hollow or solid
squared
no
open
yes
none
code 2
mid
metallic blue
unpainted
with 'superfast'
open front bumper ends
5 slot, 11x2mm
hollow or solid
squared
no
open
yes
none
code 3
mid
metallic blue
unpainted
with 'superfast'
closed front bumper ends
5 slot, 11x2mm
hollow or solid
squared
no
open
yes
none
code 4
dark
metallic blue
unpainted
with 'superfast'
5 slot, 11x2mm
hollow or solid
squared
no
open
yes
none
code 5
dark
metallic blue
unpainted
with 'superfast'
5 slot, 11x2mm
hollow or solid
squared
yes
open
yes
none
code 6
dark
metallic blue
unpainted
with 'superfast'
5 slot, 11x2mm
hollow or solid
squared
no
open
yes
#20 labels
from G-3 set
code 7
dark
metallic blue
unpainted
with 'superfast'
5 slot, 11x2mm
hollow or solid
squared
yes
open
yes
#20 labels
from G-3 set
code 8
metallic pink
unpainted
with 'superfast'
5 slot, 11x2mm
hollow or solid
squared
yes
open
yes
none
code 9
metallic pink
unpainted
with 'superfast'
5 slot, 11x2mm
hollow or solid
squared
yes
open
no rivet but window
has rivet hole
none
code 10
metallic pink
unpainted
with 'superfast'
5 slot, 11x2mm
hollow or solid
squared
yes
open
no
none
code 11
metallic pink
unpainted
with 'superfast'
5 slot, 11x2mm
hollow or solid
squared
yes
open
yes
#20 labels
from G-3 set
code 12
metallic pink
unpainted
with 'superfast'
5 slot, 11x2mm
hollow or solid
squared
yes
open
no rivet but window
has rivet hole
#20 labels
from G-3 set
code 13
metallic pink
unpainted
with 'superfast'
5 slot, 11x2mm
hollow or solid
squared
yes
open
no
#20 labels
from G-3 set
code 14
metallic pink
unpainted
with 'superfast'
5 slot, 11x2mm
hollow or solid
rounded
yes
open
no rivet but window
has rivet hole
none
code 15
metallic pink
unpainted
with 'superfast'
5 slot, 10x4mm
rounded
yes
open
no
none
code 16
metallic pink
unpainted
with 'superfast'
5 slot, 10x4mm
rounded
yes
open
no rivet but window
has rivet hole
none
code 17
metallic pink
silver-grey
with 'superfast'
5 slot, 10x4mm
rounded
yes
open
no
none
code 18
metallic pink
unpainted
with 'superfast'
5 slot, 10x4mm
rounded
yes
open
no
#20 labels
from G-3 set
code 19
metallic pink
silver-grey
with 'superfast'
5 slot, 10x4mm
rounded
yes
filled
no
none
code 20
metallic pink
unpainted
with 'superfast'
5 slot, 10x4mm
rounded
yes
filled
no
none
code 21
metallic pink
unpainted
with 'superfast'
5 slot, 10x5.5mm
rounded
yes
filled
no
none
code 22
metallic pink
unpainted
with 'superfast'
5 slot, 10.5x4mm
rounded
yes
filled
no
none
code 23
black
unpainted
with 'superfast'
5 slot, 10x4mm
rounded
yes
filled
no
JPS Tampo
code 24
black
unpainted
with 'superfast'
5 slot, 10x4mm
rounded
yes
filled
no
(MP-1)
code 25
black
unpainted
with 'superfast'
dot-dash, 9.5x4mm
rounded
yes
filled
no
JPS Tampo
(MP-1)

Values based on Vectis actual selling prices.
red PP body, no 'superfast', PP wheels £1000-1400
red PP body, no 'superfast', SF wheels £800-£1200
met blue body, no 'superfast', PP wheels £400-£500
met blue body, no 'superfast', SF wheels £180-£220
met blue body, with 'superfast', £25-£35
as above, Spec-T blistercard, £150-£200
met pink body, £15-£30
black body, JPS tampo, J2 box, £25-£35
black body, JPS tampo, J18 box, £140-£180
black body, no tampo, £30-£40