Matchbox Mania: Meet My Fiat-Abarth 131

You all might have heard I’ve gotten a job working at a place full of car geeks. Not just car nuts, but geeks, in the most base sense of the word. Basically, it’s fantastic, although I’m busier than a Ritalin-abusing beaver. Anyways, a lot of these car geeks have decorated their workspaces with matchbox cars, and in the grand spirit of fitting in, I’ve dug about in the deepest recesses of my closet and liberated a few specimens of my suddenly quite ancient-seeming childhood. I figured as I get time, I’ll share them with you one by one. Not too much to say about this one other than OMG IT’S A FIAT-ABARTH 131 DECKED OUT IN FULL WRC LIVERY! I had such good taste as a child. Also, it has some sort of rudamentary suspension for semi-realistic minature sofa cusion rallying. I can’t believe I had this one. Anyways, I’ll share more as I get time, and feel free to use this opportunity to post up highlights of your own matchbox collection in the comments.

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  1. muthalovin Avatar

    Looks well abused and loved.
    My cars (Hot Wheels; Matchbox's are for toddlers), are all some 800 miles away in my dad's shop with all the other cool toys.

    1. P161911 Avatar

      Actually now the Matchbox car are the ones that are almost always based on a real car model. Hot Wheels are about half real cars and half wacko oddball stuff. They are now both owned by the same company too.

    2. CptSevere Avatar

      Yeah, me too. Mine are in storage, too, along with my Corgis and Hot Wheels. I've got some nice ones, too.

  2. tonyola Avatar

    Real Fiat 131s looked just as bad after a year or two, and they didn't need to be rallyed to get that way.

    1. Alff Avatar

      My old man bought one new, kept it for a year. Among the many disappointments was the fact that the red paint would literally rub off on the towel when drying it after a wash – no polish or abrasives, just the friction of terrycloth.

  3. vwminispeedster Avatar

    I have that exact same one sitting in a box somewhere at my folks house. I'll need to dig it and my Porsche 935 out of storage and make vroom vroom noises in the family car. I am sure my wife won't mind. 🙂

  4. Deartháir Avatar

    Gotta agree on that one. Hot Wheels just don't have the accuracy and feel to them. Matchbox has REAL cars, Hot Wheels is like a miniaturized version of George Barris' shop. Look okay at first, but then feel really crappy after just a few minutes of looking at them.

  5. Robert Emslie Avatar
    Robert Emslie

    Dinky>Matchbox>Hot Wheels>your sister's Barbi Dream Car

    1. Alff Avatar

      You had me until that last one. Only the Barbie Dream Car made that satisfying crunching noise as it hit the landing at the bottom of the stairs.

  6. mr. mzs zsm msz esq Avatar
    mr. mzs zsm msz esq

    Majorette > Matchbox at least back when I was a kid. So many of them had plastic lights, suspension, opening doors/hoods, and just felt heavy, I loved them.

  7. Van Sarockin Avatar
    Van Sarockin

    Looks like it's fresh from the Dakkar. Most of mine still have most of their paint. But not for lack of trying.

  8. boostedlegowgn Avatar

    I have a Matchbox 959 I bought in Belfast when I was ten. It's got treaded rubber tires and everything, very highly detailed but the usual 1/64th scale. The other day I noticed that the licence plate number is my birthday. /Twilightzone
    Also, Majorette limos did the best jumps.

    1. LTDScott Avatar

      That would be from the Matchbox "Premiere" series.

  9. LTDScott Avatar
  10. JayP Avatar

    I think ALL the FIAT Matchbox rallycars came from the factory all chipped and dented. I have a 131 on my desk with red/green stripes on white with the Alitalia livery. I can't figure out the pic-posting, so you'll have to trust me.

    1. Gnome Avatar

      Can anyone help us technically challenged folk with details about how to attach a photo to a reply, it would be nice to see a few of these Matchbox and Hot Wheels treasures.

      1. Alex Kierstein Avatar
        Alex Kierstein

        Take a look here for some quick instructions:

  11. tenbeers Avatar

    <img src="; width="600">

  12. tenbeers Avatar

    <img src="; width=600>

  13. tenbeers Avatar

    Part of the Japanese contingent:
    <img src="; width=600>

  14. tenbeers Avatar

    Roller, baby! '79 Silver Shadow II
    <img src="; width=600>

  15. tenbeers Avatar

    Okay, last one, lest I get completely carried away.
    Black with gold Campagnolos and the wing, as nature intended:
    <img src="; width=600>

  16. JayP Avatar

    Fingers crossed that this works… Some cars that this crowd would appreciate.
    The Abarth, a few quattros, Porsches, a MINT Poison Pinto, a Fox Mustang, Lotus and the SpiderMan minivan with a little pic inside… and the SUPERKING QUATTRO. And when was the last time you saw an old non-aero Audi 5000??
    <img src=""&gt;

    1. JayP Avatar

      YAY! It pays to read instructions.

      1. RichardKopf Avatar

        Nice Siku!

        1. JayP Avatar

          Nice spot. I got it in North Carolina in '89 while I was driving an '83 5000s in college.
          I got a few more Sikus when I visited Germany in 2000.

          1. RichardKopf Avatar

            I picked up quite a few of them when I lived in Dresden. The weekly flea market was a great place to pick up a lot of obscure models, much like the Audi you posted. I also have the wagon variant.

    2. tenbeers Avatar

      Oh man, you have a couple ur-quattro variants I don't! And I would punch a baby for the superking!

      1. RichardKopf Avatar

        Like this one?
        <img src="; width="500" >
        Here's one for the Škoda fans out there:
        <img src="; width="500" >
        And here's a nice old Bedford lorry for good measure:
        <img src=""width="500&quot; >

      2. JayP Avatar

        I have a white rally car SuperKing in a closet some where in the box. I remember buying them thinking I was the only jackass in the US who'd appreciate them. Circa 1989.
        The fat-tires quattro is Majorette, #88 is a McToy quattro, the Pirelli is a generic China-built car and the Duckhams-Pirelli is area Matchbox.

  17. RichardKopf Avatar

    Also, Alex, congrats on working with the Forza team!

  18. earlofhalflight Avatar

    Corgi Matra Rancho and Husky (Corgi's sister brand) Sunbeam Alpine
    <img src="; width=600>

  19. Naldo Avatar

    oh yes, this guy destroyed all the competition in my collection. I always thought it was some mythical car until I started watching group B rally vids on youtube and reading up on the cars.