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.

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Lesney Matchbox 36c Opel diplomat




Lesney introduced the 36c Opel diplomat to the Matchbox 1-75 series in mid 1966, It was painted metallic gold and it had a flat or gloss black baseplate.
It was always fitted with 10 x 36 black plastic wheels on dome head axles with rounded ends and it had a white plastic interior which included the tow hook as part of the interior molding and extensions to the interior molding supplied the springing for the suspension to the road wheels.
The windows were clear plastic and were molded with the two front windows in the open position and the grille & headlights were enhanced with mask sprayed silver trim.
To add to play value the bonnet (hood) was cast as a seperate piece and hinged to the body casting giving a bonnet that could be opened to give access to the engine, the engine detail was a seperate grey plastic molding which is usually chrome plated but a small run were issued with an unplated grey plastic engine.

There are only a few known casting variations, the first is to the blocks that the hood hinges on, the early issues had a 1mm thick blocks and the later ones had a 2mm thick blocks, the blocks are visible under the front wheel wells.
Lesney decided to add a tow guide, to do this the front bumper had an extension cast in and two ridges were added to the baseplate casting, the body with the bumper extension was ready before the modified baseplate so the model is known to have been issued with bumper extension but without the baseplate ridges.
An unusual version of the Opel was included as part of the 1967 G2d car transporter giftset, this variation was painted turquoise (aka sea green) and it was fitted with a grey plastic baseplate and a grey plastic engine, this variation is one of the rarest 1-75s and fetches a high price to match. The regular gold issue with chromed engine is very common so it must have been a popular toy, the version with grey engine is not quite so easy to find and will fetch a small premium.
The Opel was converted to superfast wheels in 1970, it was packaged in 'E' and 'F' type boxes, the early boxes were very small and displayed a green painted car, this box is quite a hard one to find and it will fetch a small premium.

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A Lesney publicity picture.

above: bonnet hinge blocks can be 1mm or 2mm wide

code number general wheel type engine colour bonnet hinge blocks baseplate bumper extension
code 1 metallic gold, silver trim, white interior 10 x 36 black plastic chrome plated 1mm wide gloss black, no tow guides no extension
code 2 metallic gold, silver trim, white interior 10 x 36 black plastic chrome plated 1mm wide gloss black, no tow guides with extension
code 3 metallic gold, silver trim, white interior 10 x 36 black plastic chrome plated 1mm wide flat black, with tow guides with extension
code 4 metallic gold, silver trim, white interior 10 x 36 black plastic chrome plated 1mm wide gloss black, with tow guides with extension
code 5 metallic gold, silver trim, white interior 10 x 36 black plastic chrome plated 2mm wide gloss black, no tow guides no extension
code 6 metallic gold, silver trim, white interior 10 x 36 black plastic chrome plated 2mm wide flat black, with tow guides no extension
code 7 metallic gold, silver trim, white interior 10 x 36 black plastic chrome plated 2mm wide gloss black, no tow guides with extension
code 8 metallic gold, silver trim, white interior 10 x 36 black plastic chrome plated 2mm wide flat black, with tow guides with extension
code 9 metallic gold, silver trim, white interior 10 x 36 black plastic chrome plated 2mm wide gloss black, with tow guides with extension
code 10 metallic gold, silver trim, white interior 10 x 36 black plastic grey 2mm wide gloss black, with tow guides with extension
code 11 metallic gold, silver trim, white interior 10 x 36 black plastic grey 1mm wide gloss black, with tow guides with extension
code 12 turquoise, silver trim, white interior 10 x 36 black plastic grey 2mm wide plastic baseplate

box types notes
E3 "new model" green Opel, open bonnet (hood)
E3 "new model" green Opel, closed bonnet (hood)
E4 gold Opel, open bonnet (hood)
E4R gold Opel, open bonnet (hood)
F2 none

values

metallic gold body, black metal baseplate, chromed engine 20

metallic gold body, black metal baseplate, grey engine 50

turquoise body, plastic baseplate, grey engine 3000+

values are for mint models in mint boxes

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