I remember when I first saw photos of the Dodge Challenger Concept. I was sold in an instant. Ford was pushing the nostalgia-laced new Mustang, there were rumors of a new Camaro, and then this orange monster coming out of left field from Dodge. The Challenger Concept drew such rave reviews that it was not the least bit surprising that it was made into a production car.
It still turns my head. With its production coming to an end soon (and rumors of a Barracuda revival), it will be sad to see it go. But I kind of like the short production thing, and it makes sense that this car should wear not out its welcome. I always want it to turn my head. And plus, a car that cool is the only kind that Walter White can do donuts in and then blow up.
Of course the car will live on in the diecast world. Once the concept was revealed, it was only a matter of time that it would appear in small scale. Hot Wheels released the Challenger and Camaro Concepts in the same year, and Maisto had a surprisingly nice version that still sits on the pegs today. But as nice as the Maisto was, it didn't have the feel of a Hot Wheels or Matchbox model, and the Hot Wheels version succumbed to the large rear wheel curse.
Now that does not mean I am adverse to all large rear wheel Hot Wheels. I quite like them in fact. But there are places that having the same size wheels makes a lot more sense, and to me the Challenger is one of those cars. It already looks mean enough with its front grill and perfect wheel placement. The large rear wheels on the Hot Wheels fouled up the aesthetic of the actual car and made it look a lot different.
But not Matchbox. My semi-disappointment with the Hot Wheels version quickly vanished when Matchbox announced the Challenger. You knew that the Matchbox team would put a premium on realism, and that they did. The lines that make the Challenger great are there, as well as is the tall stance and overhanging wells. It was great. Of course they released it in signature orange, and since we have seen several other colors.
But all of them had one thing wrong. The wheels. Matchbox used its standard sports car wheel, the 10sp. And although it did not look bad, the 5sp wheels introduced in the Superfast line were just plain perfect. Well for reasons unknown, the recolors of the Challenger kept showing up with the 10sp wheels.
That is until now. The Challenger finally appears in its best outfit yet. Matchbox's perfect casting now with its perfect shoes, and in a very cool color to boot.
Yes, we took a minute or two to get here, but we are here. Enjoy the pics. I enjoyed taking them. Count this as easily my favorite version of any diecast version of the Challenger...
Matchbox Dodge Challenger (2012 Basic):
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