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 56b Fiat 1500



The Lesney model of the Italian built Fiat 1500 was introduced into the Matchbox 1-75 series in the middle of 1965,
The real Fiat was quite a sporty car that was powered by a very well designed twin overhead camshaft engine, sadly the bodywork did not stand up to the damp British climate so many of these great little engines were transplanted into aging Morris Minors, I personally fitted one into a Thames van (70a).
The Lesney Fiat was painted a light sea green (turquoise?), it had clear plastic windows and silver trim to the grille, headlights and front bumper,
In common with their penny saving activities the silver trim was soon omitted from the bumper.
Likewise with the baseplate as that was made from cheaper black plastic rather than the usual die cast metal, The model did not really have the feel of a Lesney toy, fortunately there were few other models fitted with a plastic baseplate.

Another money saving was made with the red plastic interior, This is because instead of making an interior for the Fiat they borrowed the interior from the 45b Corsair and installed it without any modification, into the Fiat, in fact it still has 'No 45' inscribed on the bottom of the interior unit.
The wheels were 9 x 36 mounted on dome head axles with rounded ends and a brown plastic luggage load was clipped into the roof, This was later changed to a reddish brown luggage.
The model was later recoloured to red for its inclusion in the G-1 service station giftset in 1968, All red Fiats should have reddish brown roof luggage but these are easily interchangeable.
There are no known casting variations but there is a variation to the plastic interior unit where two prongs were added its front end which is easy to see behind the front wheels, This modification was also carried out to the interiors used in the corsair. The car featured spring suspension to all wheels by a plastic leaf spring that was concealed under the baseplate.
The Fiat is perhaps one of Lesneys less inspiring models but it is fairy common so must have been popular in its day. The red version from the gift set is not so common, it was packaged in 'E' and 'F' type boxes, It was not deemed suitable for conversion to superfast wheels and was deleted in 1969.

above: red version (fitted with wrong colour luggage)

above: with & without trim to the front bumper
and the two luggage colours

code number general wheel type roof luggage silver trim interior
code 1 sea green body, red interior
clear windows, black plastic base
9 x 36 black plastic brown to grille, headlights & front bumper without extensions
code 2 sea green body, red interior
clear windows, black plastic base
9 x 36 black plastic brown to grille, headlights without extensions
code 3 sea green body, red interior
clear windows, black plastic base
9 x 36 black plastic brown to grille, headlights & front bumper with extensions
code 4 sea green body, red interior
clear windows, black plastic base
9 x 36 black plastic brown to grille, headlights with extensions
code 5 sea green body, red interior
clear windows, black plastic base
9 x 36 black plastic light reddish brown to grille, headlights & front bumper with extensions
code 6 sea green body, red interior
clear windows, black plastic base
9 x 36 black plastic light reddish brown to grille, headlights with extensions
code 7 red body, red interior
clear windows, black plastic base
9 x 36 black plastic light reddish brown to grille, headlights & front bumper with extensions
code 8 red body, red interior
clear windows, black plastic base
9 x 36 black plastic light reddish brown to grille, headlights with extensions

box types notes
E2 two blue sides, "new model"
E2 light blue sides,
E3 light blue sides,
E3R light blue sides,
E4R light blue sides,
F3 none

values

turquoise body, light or dark brown luggage 20

red body, light brown luggage 100

values are for mint models in mint boxes

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