Lesney Matchbox 71b Jeep Gladiator 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 71b Jeep Gladiator



The Lesney model of the Jeep Gladiator joined the Matchbox 1-75 series in 1964 when it replaced the Austin water tanker. The Jeep was painted red and like all red coloured Lesney models the shade varies from bright red to a much duller red. The baseplate was painted gloss black and it had 11 x 45 black plastic wheels on dome head axles with rounded ends.
The interior was green plastic which was soon changed to white plaatic. The issue with green seats can be quite hard to find but in the UK it is fairly plentiful so it looks like the green interiored versions were probably sold here.
The model was fitted with a clear plastic window unit and it had spring suspension to the front axle, Silver trim was mask sprayed on the grille, headlights and front bumper.
To enhance its play value the model was fitted with opening doors which were originally held in place by the plastic interior unit but later a metal spring was fitted instead, To do this Lesney had to cast three posts into the bonnet (hood) interior to hold the spring, The door hinges were thickened, The plastic interior was reshaped and the tops of the door openings were closed up slightly giving the door frame a recessed edge where the earlier issue had a straight edge to the door frame.
The baseplate was also modified when a patent number was added, The later issues were fitted with smaller 10 x 36 black plastic wheels which seem to be more common than the earlier 11 x 45s.
The Jeep was replaced by the Ford heavy wreck truck in 1968, It was packed in box types 'D' and 'E' and except for the fairly hard to find green interiored issue there are no rare variations to look for.

Updated: 12-03-10,
Jason (Nearlymint) from the forum has found a Jeep with plastic door springs and recessed door openings, It has a pat number and has been added to the list as the new number 8.

above: with green interior.

above: a recent discovery by George Marshall. As variation #2 but with orange
painted body and now listed as variation #3. a second example has been found
but this has the smaller 10x36 wheels fitted to the rear axle but as the baseplate,
front axle, wheels and interior are missing it has not been possible to add it to the
variation table.
photo courtesy George Marshall.

above: an unusual error piece discovered by Mick Bruce which
has 11x45 black plastic wheels fitted to the rear axle and smaller
10x36 black plastic wheels fitted to the front.
photo courtesy Mick Bruce.

above: straight and recessed door frame.

above: left, later issue with metal spring & posts on bonnet interior. right, plastic door spring

above: left, early baseplate without patent. right, later baseplate with patent number.

above: left, later type metal door spring. right, early plastic door spring

code number general interior colour wheel type door frames door springs bonnet posts baseplate
code 1 red body, silver trim, clear windows, black baseplate green 11 x 45 black plastic straight plastic none no pat #
code 2 red body, silver trim, clear windows, black baseplate white 11 x 45 black plastic straight plastic none no pat #
code 3 orange body, silver trim, clear windows, black baseplate white 11 x 45 black plastic straight plastic none no pat #
code 4 red body, silver trim, clear windows, black baseplate white 11 x 45 black plastic straight plastic none with pat #
code 5 red body, silver trim, clear windows, black baseplate white 11 x 45 black plastic recessed metal with posts with pat #
code 6 red body, silver trim, clear windows, black baseplate white 10 x 36 black plastic straight plastic none no pat #
code 7 red body, silver trim, clear windows, black baseplate white 10 x 36 black plastic straight plastic none with pat #
code 8 NEW red body, silver trim, clear windows, black baseplate white 10 x 36 black plastic recessed plastic none with pat #
code 9 red body, silver trim, clear windows, black baseplate white 10 x 36 black plastic recessed metal with posts with pat #

box types notes
D2 yellow target, "new model"
D2 white target, two blue sides
D2 white target, light blue sides,
E3 light blue sides,
E4 light blue sides,

values

red with white interior 25

red with green interior 40

values are for mint models in mint boxes

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