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 57-d Eccles Caravan



The #57-d (perhaps intended to be #23e) Eccles Caravan was designed in 1969 as a regular wheels replacement for the #23d Caravan utilising just one pair of the same sized wheels mounted in the same way as on the #23d. Un-numbered preproduction examples survive today in both the cream and lemon shades with emerald interior and orange roof that we know so well from the 10 years of SuperFast issues so colour preferences were set in stone at a very early stage.
The 1969 SuperFast program plus the excessive low rider look (compared to available SuperFast tow cars) of the pre-pro Eccles Caravan prompted a redesign to incorporate twin SuperFast axles retained by a standard double axle clip as used on other toys including the SF#66 Greyhound.
All Eccles caravans were packaged in “G“ boxes or USA or Canada blisterpacks with copyright dates between 1969 and 1972 as well as TP4 and TP28 Two-packs from 1976 to 1982.

The very hard to find earliest production Eccles bodies featured undersides which lacked the '®' after Matchbox which indicated the name was a “registered“ trademark - a modification applied to just a handful of new castings early in 1970 like the Eccles and the SF#68 Porsche 910. These bodies also featured “No.57“ cast on the same line as "Matchbox" series however when the ® was added , 'No.57' was removed and recut just above the green tongue that holds the interior to the bodyshell.
All those Eccles caravans made as SF#57 during its short 3 year stay in the 1-75 series featured metal bodies numbered 1 to 4, they were quads not twins unlike most 1960s castings !, The vast majority were painted cream however the final run was in lemon yellow, a shade that matched the #19 Fieldcars.

The first run had a brown sticker stripe applied at waist level however all re-orders of this sticker incorporated a red & yellow flower intended to be applied at the rearmost lower corner however these handed labels could be applied the wrong way around!.
All had emerald green interiors (with mould numbers 1 to 6),orange plastic roofs (with mould numbers 1 to 6), and 4 hot foiled 9.5x2mm 5 slot wheels on 2 wire axles retained by commonly black (or one short run red) double axle clips.

The Eccles caravan was revived in 1976 to join the new Two-Pack range as TP4 and from 1979 as TP28 - all bodyshells made for this feature “857“ cast inside but “No 57 “removed from the underside. Different runs were painted painted pale lemon yellow, mustard yellow, various shades of cream or plain off white. They were fitted with various shades of orange plastic roof and white interiors marked “857“.
All featured 4 hot foiled 9.5x2mm 5 slot 'cut-out' hollow wheels on 2 wire axles retained by a double rivited black double axle clip. Initially brown stripe flower stickers left over from the deleted #57 were applied however once they ran out sailboat stickers leftover from the deleted #23e VW camper were fitted as were newly made black with the same yellow & red flower design stripes.

The last TP issues with stickers featured either orange dots on yellow stripes or orange stripes with one white seagull at one end .Once tampo production began in the 1980s a yellow & orange sunset design was created.
Factory errors or post factory removal can account for toys which exist today without any stickers fitted at all! Post Lesney late 1980s plans to use the tooling with “Circus“ tampos went no further than colour trials and catalogue photographs however this does prove that the tooling did get to China!


Above: A selection of the later issue Caravans which all have 5 slot cut-out wheels.

Above: The first release was in cream with either brown stripe labels
or brown stripe & flower labels. These early releases were always
fitted with 5 slot wheels, green interiors and an orange roof.

Above: The next release was in pale lemon, It had brown
stripe and flower labels, orange roof and 5 slot wheels

Above: The yellow Eccles caravan was released as a 900 series TP-4 blister pack
so would not have come in a G type box, It had 5 slot cut-out wheels and could
be found with brown or black stripe & flower labels, Dots labels (from K-27)
or sailboat labels (from 23-e) which can be placed at the front or in the center.
These were always fitted with a white interior and a darker orange roof.

Above: Two TP-4 beige Caravans pictured with the black stripe & flower labels
or the orange stripes with seagull labels. They were always fitted with a white
interior, 5 slot cut-out wheels and a dark orange roof.


Above: The final issue in white was a TP-28 blister pack issue, it can have
Sunset tampo or be left in plain white. It had a white interior, 5 slot cut-out
wheels and darker orange roof.

Above: A yellow with black stripe & flower label in a 900
series TP-4 blister pack towed by a 9-e AMX Javelin.

Above: And another one but this time towed by a 7-e Volkswagen Golf.

Above: A rare Matchbox publicity sheet dated 9 june 1970.
photo courtesy Hardy Ristau

Above: An illustration of the Eccles caravan from the Matchbox publicity sheet.
photo courtesy Hardy Ristau.

Above: A white caravan colour trial with "Circus Circus"
tampo which never made it into production.

Above: Two very early and extremely rare prototype Eccles caravans with single axles and regular wheels
which never made it into production as the casting was modified to accept twin axles and superfast wheels.
left photo courtesy Rockertron-toys

body / base castings
body / base A - is numbered, without ® or © on the base, clip in axle covers
body / base B - is numbered, with ® and © on base, the '©' is in a circle, clip in axle covers
body / base C - is numbered, with ® and © on base, the '©' is in an oval, clip in axle covers
body / base D - without a number, rivetted axle covers

code
number
body
colour
roof
colour
interior
colour
wheels
axle
covers
body / base
casting
labels
tampo
code 1
cream
orange
green
9.5x2mm 5 slot
black
A
brown stripe labels
code 2
cream
orange
green
9.5x2mm 5 slot
black
B
brown stripe labels
code 3
cream
orange
green
9.5x2mm 5 slot
red
B
brown stripe labels
code 4
cream
orange
green
9.5x2mm 5 slot
black
B
brown stripe & flower labels
code 5
cream
orange
green
9.5x2mm 5 slot
red
B
brown stripe & flower labels
code 6
cream
orange
green
9.5x2mm 5 slot
black
C
brown stripe labels
code 7
cream
orange
green
9.5x2mm 5 slot
red
C
brown stripe labels
code 8
cream
orange
green
9.5x2mm 5 slot
black
C
brown stripe & flower labels
code 9
cream
orange
green
9.5x2mm 5 slot
red
C
brown stripe & flower labels
code 10
pale lemon
orange
green
9.5x2mm 5 slot
black
B
brown stripe & flower labels
code 11
pale lemon
orange
green
9.5x2mm 5 slot
black
C
brown stripe & flower labels
code 12
yellow
dark orange
white
9.5x2mm cut-out 5 slot
black rivetted
D
brown stripe & flower labels (TP-4)
code 13
yellow
dark orange
white
9.5x2mm cut-out 5 slot
black rivetted
D
black stripe & flower labels (TP-4)
code 14
yellow
dark orange
white
9.5x2mm cut-out 5 slot
black rivetted
D
dots labels (from K-27) (TP-4)
code 15
yellow
dark orange
white
9.5x2mm cut-out 5 slot
black rivetted
D
sailboat labels (from 23-e at front) (TP-4)
code 16
yellow
dark orange
white
9.5x2mm cut-out 5 slot
black rivetted
D
sailboat labels (from 23-e in center) (TP-4)
code 17
beige
dark orange
white
9.5x2mm cut-out 5 slot
black rivetted
D
black stripe & flower labels (TP-4)
code 18
beige
dark orange
white
9.5x2mm cut-out 5 slot
black rivetted
D
orange stripe & seagull labels (TP-4)
code 19
white
dark orange
white
9.5x2mm cut-out 5 slot
black rivetted
D
sunset tampo (TP-28)
code 20
white
dark orange
white
9.5x2mm cut-out 5 slot
black rivetted
D
none (TP-28)

Values based on Vectis actual selling prices.
cream body, green interior, orange roof - £20-£25
pale lemon body, green interior, orange roof - £25-£35
yellow body, white interior, dark orange roof, flower labels - £20-£25
yellow body, white interior, dark orange roof, dots labels - £25-£30
yellow body, white interior, dark orange roof, sailboat labels - £40-£50 (estimate)
beige body, white interior, dark orange roof, flowers labels - £20-£25
beige body, white interior, dark orange roof, seagull labels - £25-£30
white body, white interior, dark orange roof, with/without sunset tampo - £20-£25