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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Moko Lesney Matchbox 55b Fairlane police car



With the fire engine and ambulance both making an appearance in 1955 it is quite a surprise when you realise that Lesney did not introduce a police car into the Matchbox 1-75 series for another eight years,
The American Ford Fairlane became the first police car in 1963 and with the exception of the baseplate Lesney used the same casting & fittings for the 59b fire chief car, It is not common but both the 55b police car and the 59b fire chief can be found fitted with baseplates meant for the other Fairlane model.
The first run was painted dark blue gloss but the colour scheme did not last very long until it was replaced by a lighter metallic blue.
The baseplate was painted gloss black and was attached by two round rivets one at the front and one at the rear.
Silver trim was initially applied to the grille and rear bumper but on later issues the bumper trim was deleted. red trim was never used on this model.
The wheels were usually black plastic on dome head axles with rounded ends but two short runs were issued with silver or grey wheels and these variations are quite rare.

The interior was ivory coloured plastic and the window unit was clear plastic and consisted of front and rear screens only. The window unit also held the translucent red plastic roof light in place.
The car was enhanced by the fitting of a large police decal to the bonnet (hood) which had a shield emblem and by two door decals which also had the shield emblems fitted to the front doors,
Stannard guide lists the final version fitted with door decals that were without a white background to them but it is a variation that I have not come across yet so it could be an issue that was not released in the UK.
There was only one casting variation and that was to the underneath of the wheelwells, early issues had smooth wheelwells but later issues had diagonal ridges cast in that are visible behind the wheels in the top of three of the wheelwells.
All in all it was a super model and was very popular, the dark blue gloss or the silver and grey wheeled variations are all quite rare, Models fitted with bases from the 59b fire chief are quite rare but don't generally fetch a premium.
It was sold in 'D' type boxes and was replaced by the next police car the 55c Galaxie in 1966.

Updated: 07-08-13, With the assistance of Antonin Schenk & various members of the Vintage British Diecasts Forum,

above : top left, scarce dark blue gloss variation.

above : the vary rare silver plastic wheels issue.

above: with & without rear bumper trim

above: bonnet (hood) decal

above: regular 55b door decal

above: door decal without a white background
photograph courtesy John Houghton

above: an oddity with white roof light from the 59b fire chief.

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above: An unlisted dark navy blue with grey wheels as found on the
earliest box illustration, note that being a playworn example it may
have had the decals removed by a previous owner.
photo courtesy Antonin Schenk

To date these two examples are unique so they have not been added to the variation table. The dark navy blue
with gpw is as found on the earliest box illustration so could possibly be a pre production model, We are trying
to track down any further examples, also of additional models with the white dome light from the 59b fire chief.
general wheel type wheelwells decals trim
dark navy blue gloss body, ivory interior
clear windows, red roof light
9 x 20 grey plastic 4 smooth no decals no trim
metallic blue gloss body, ivory interior
clear windows, white roof light
9 x 24 black plastic 4 smooth decals with white background full trim

code number general wheel type wheelwells door badges rear bumper
code 1 dark blue gloss body, ivory interior
clear windows, red roof light, red tail lights
9 x 20 black plastic 4 smooth with white background with trim
code 2 dark blue gloss body, ivory interior
clear windows, red roof light
9 x 20 black plastic 4 smooth with white background with trim
code 3 metallic blue body, ivory interior
clear windows, red roof light
9.5 x 20 black plastic 4 smooth with white background with trim
code 4 metallic blue body, ivory interior
clear windows, red roof light
9 x 20 black plastic 4 smooth with white background with trim
code 5 metallic blue body, ivory interior
clear windows, red roof light
9 x 24 silver plastic 4 smooth with white background with trim
code 6 metallic blue body, ivory interior
clear windows, red roof light
9 x 24 silver plastic 1 smooth 3 ridged with white background with trim
code 7 metallic blue body, ivory interior
clear windows, red roof light
9 x 24 black plastic 4 smooth with white background with trim
code 8 metallic blue body, ivory interior
clear windows, red roof light
9 x 24 black plastic 1 smooth 3 ridged with white background with trim
code 9 metallic blue body, ivory interior
clear windows, red roof light
9 x 24 grey plastic 1 smooth 3 ridged with white background with trim
code 10 metallic blue body, ivory interior
clear windows, red roof light
9 x 36 black plastic 1 smooth 3 ridged with white background with trim
code 11 metallic blue body, ivory interior
clear windows, red roof light
9 x 36 black plastic 1 smooth 3 ridged with white background without trim
code 12 metallic blue body, ivory interior
clear windows, red roof light
10 x 36 black plastic 1 smooth 3 ridged with white background without trim
code 13 metallic blue body, ivory interior
clear windows, red roof light
9 x 36 black plastic 1 smooth 3 ridged without a white background without trim

box types notes
D1 one black side one blue, "new model"
D2 one black side one blue
D2 two blue sides

values

dark blue gloss, black plastic wheels 250

metallic blue, black plastic wheels 50

metallic blue, silver plastic wheels 300+

metallic blue, grey plastic wheels 600+

values are for mint models in mint boxes

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