Years 1999 and 2000 saw 100 mainline vehicles, leading to some confusion as to what they called the series, but this only lasted for two years; in 2001 the series returned to 75 vehicles. Matchbox offered 100 vehicles again in 2008, and each year between then and now (2012-present), when 120 vehicles are available. And now we have a 120 mainline vehicles from 2012 to present while the series is mainline collection being known as the 1-120 series from 2012 to present.
The makeup of the mainline collection has changed greatly over its almost 60 years of existence. For the first several years the collection simply grew, but the first substitution of a new model for an old one occurred in 1959, when the Dennis Fire Engine was discontinued, and the Merryweather Marquis Fire Engine instituted in its place. Since that time replacements have become routine, with castings retired as their molds wore out, when they proved unpopular, or simply to make way for a new casting. Some retired castings have later returned, either essentially unchanged (e.g. Ambulance (1977)) or with minor (e.g. Chevy Pro Stocker) or significant changes (e.g. Mobile Home). In some cases entirely new castings were created for the same subject vehicle (e.g. '57 Chevy, 1957 Chevrolet). The practice of issuing established castings in new colors, now de rigueur, didn't occur until several years on.
In 1960, Matchbox introduced their King Size vehicles. These larger cars and trucks were numbered independently of the regular vehicles, creating two series, the King Size line, and the main line, or mainline vehicles. Several other series have been sold at different time alongside the mainline 1-75 vehicles, including Battle Kings, Sea Kings, Five Packs, the Premiere collections, and many others, but the mainline series have consistently appeared.
Further confusing the issue are the Rest of World (ROW) issues, also known as International or INT. As Matchbox became a global brand, they found value in tailoring their offerings to different markets. Most often this has fallen along continental lines, with The United States and Canada receiving the USA version, and the rest of the world receiving an ROW version. Thus, the 1-75 lineup in Germany may differ from the lineup in Canada. See the ROW article for greater discussion on this topic.
Other Matchbox seriesEdit
- Super Kings - larger-sized trucks from the 1970s and 1980s
- Speed Kings - larger-scale cars from the same period
- Battle Kings - larger-scale war vehicles from the 1980s; the name was reintroduced in circa 2009 for military-themed sets comprised of mainline vehicles and accessories
- Convoy - tractor trailers in a similar scale as mainline vehicles, appearing in the 1970s, then again in the 1980s and 1990s
- Real Working Rigs and Super Convoy - larger-sized trucks introduced circa 2008. Real Working Rigs are straight trucks, while Super Convoys are tractor trailers; taken together, the two fill a market niche similar to the older Super Kings
- Sky Busters - aircraft