Perhaps one of the most talked about 1-75 series models is the Number 13d Dodge BP Wreck Truck in “Reverse Colours”.
When first introduced in April 1965 this toy was painted with the cab and crane jib green and the body and base yellow. This colour combination was quickly changed to the more common version with the cab and crane jib yellow and body and base green. Obviously, some of the green cab versions were released for retail as I have seen “played with” examples. How many were released, no one seems to know, but considering around this time, Matchbox Toys were making in excess of 2,000,000 toys a week, it just might be more than we think!
I have read differing stories about the original version. One is that it was a pre-production colour trial model. Another is that it was painted this way by mistake and BP were not happy, so the colours were reversed to a yellow cab and green body.
Whatever the reason, the green cab version is extremely rare! As a result, there are numerous “fakes” in the market place. These range from collectors restoring normal models and repainting them in the reverse colours, to reproduction “masters” creating near perfect fake examples and passing them off as genuine.
I find it interesting when visiting different Matchbox Toy web rings how the “experts” look at photo’s of a model and instantly determine whether it is genuine or a fake. No explanation given, just a conclusion. Unfortunately, an explanation is the information that every Matchbox Toy collector needs! Perhaps many of the “experts” don’t know themselves (or don’t want to share their knowledge) and find it safer to state everything is a fake! Who is there to argue with them if the information is not shared.
Here, I am going to show the differences between a fake and genuine No: 13d Dodge BP Wreck Truck – Reverse Colour model.
All green cab versions had silver sprayed grille and headlights. All following versions had NO silver detailing.
All early version Number 13d Dodge Wreck Trucks (both green and yellow cab versions) had BP decals (transfers) rather than paper labels that were applied to later toys.
Early production models had grey plastic single cable tow hooks.
Green cab, yellow bodied versions had a different crane jib to the yellow cab version. This crane jib was narrower at the base where the yellow cab version had an added brace giving it more support at the base (see photo’s)
In late 1969 or early 1970 one or some employees at the Lesney factory made some “pirate” versions of the Green cab wrecker. These are quite easy to pick as they had crimped axle ends, BP labels rather than decals and red tow hooks. Apparently, at the time, some were sold to collectors for US$15 each. In April 2007 one of these was sold for £3800 ($7700 US) by Vectis UK . Not a bad investment!
As to the value of the genuine article, here are some recent sale results:
2005 eBay Auctions – Mint & Boxed – US$9600
2005 Vectis Auctions – Mint & Boxed – £5000
2006 Vectis Auctions – Mint & Boxed – £3800
2006 Vectis Auctions – Mint & Boxed – £2800
So, now you know what to look for! Keep your eyes peeled because they are still out there.