The Lesney model of the Saladin armoured car joined the Matchbox 1-75 series in 1959 which was a good year for military vehicles as many new Army models joined the range that year.
The Saladin was based on an Alvis 6 x 6 floorpan which was powered by a Rolls Royce engine, The same chassis was used for the 54a Saracen, the 61b Alvis Stalwart and the 63b Alvis crash tender,
The unusual wheel layout meant that it had to have an unusual steering arrangement too which resulted in the front axle steering as a normal vehicle but on the center the wheels would only turn half as much as the front axle.
The vehicles were fine off road but on the road the 6 x 6 drive meant that the halfshafts would tend to wind up and break so the driver would have to bump up a kerb every several miles or so to allow the halfshafts to unwind.
The Saladin was painted the normal military olive green which included the baseplate, It had a revolving turret with a gun barrel which is prone to breaking off and it is not unusual to find models with broken gun barrels with paint over the break meaning that the barrel was broken before the model was painted.
The wheels used were 12.5 x 30 which had an extension on the back to space the wheel out from the body, Later finer tread 12.5 x 40 wheels were fitted.
The axles were dome head with crimped ends on the early issues, the later models had dome head axles with rounded ends.
The model was in production for eight years which is quite a long time for any model and surprisingly there are no known casting modifications to the body, base or turret.
As the model had such a long production run it was packaged in four different box type, The 'B', 'C', 'D' and 'E' boxes were all used, The 'E' box is quite scarce and will probably fetch a premium.
The Saladin was replaced by the 67b Volkswagen 1600 TL in mid 1967.