For 2001 we're getting a bit of a jump on our usual end-of-the-year Matchbox Jeep survey, because this is an item you might miss if you're shopping at toy dealers and flea markets. Check your local bookstore for Safari, a children's "board book" that comes with a special edition of the Matchbox TJ Wrangler. It's one of a series of eight similar books which come with other Matchbox vehicles, and it's also available at online bookstores for about US$5 plus shipping. (It gets a good customer review at Amazon.com.)
The Jeep is in the classic Safari Wrangler green, with dusty highlights (but not quite as dirty as the silver Wrangler in the Camp Jeep set of 2000). It has the same black base and dark grey interior as the Camp Jeep version, and the same "Jeep" logo on the side. This version also carries a "Matchbox" logo on the windshield (just visible in the photo above.)
Mike Albright sent a nice closeup view of the Jeep packaged with the book (100K JPEG).
The short story in the book follows "Doctor Sam" as he drives through varied terrain (presumably in Africa) and past various animals, on his way to rescue a baby elephant. The illustrations by David Schleinkofer are fun and detailed; his Wrangler is apparently based on the prototype rather than the Matchbox version, as it has the auxiliary driving lights on the front bumper, among other details.
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