The Matchbox Jeep Hot Rod


From our current year 2000 perspective, most of the Matchbox offerings of 1971 look pretty tame in comparison to the Hot Wheels fantasy vehicles of today. But the pink Jeep Hot Rod could still jump off today's Toys R Us racks, and thirty years ago it was the equivalent of "wicked awesome." The Hot Rod was the first Matchbox flatfender Jeep, Number 2 in the original Matchbox SuperWheels series.

MBX HOT RODThere's a bit of a mystery, though. If Matchbox knew that they were going to introduce the Jeep as a hot rod, modified with a blown V8 engine, why did they bother to include the detail of the shovel mounted on the side of the body? There isn't much digging needed on the drag strip. It suggests Matchbox may have originally intended the casting as the military jeep which later appeared as Matchbox Number 38 (see The Matchbox Jeep Story).

This photo was taken by Eric Lawson after his Hot Rod Jeep was recently uncovered among his childhood possessions.

Front view

Original paint scheme.

Rear view

Right hand drive.

Personally, I missed out on the initial introduction of the Jeep Hot Rod. In the early sixties, growing up next door to a speed shop which built and raced fuel dragsters, I would have been crazy about it -- but the only toy Jeeps I had were Dinky Toys and Tonkas. By the time Matchbox SuperWheels arrived in 1971, I was into hot licks and hot chicks, not hod rods. So it would be another ten years before I began noticing toy Jeeps again, as a result of driving the full-size ones.

BaseThe first look at the base of a pink Hot Rod is always a surprise, as the Grasshopper Green which is otherwise visible only as the front bumper and rear jerry cans, is suddenly so predominant.


Base This pre-production color trial of white paint with blue engine and yellow base (80K JPEG), sold at auction for $600 in 2016.

The Brazilian Matchbox factory in Manaus also produced the Hot Rod in white (20K JPEG), orange and perhaps other colors, for local sale.

Red Hot RodThe Hot Rod was sold in a red version with a white base. Red paint with a green base (40K JPEG) has also been spotted, as well as pink with a white base. Other variations include yellow plastic interior (40K JPEG), five-spoke wheels (40K JPEG) and two different shades of pink (40K JPEG).

Photos courtesy of Christian Falkensteiner.

Duncan McInnis found a red one in an unopened five-vehicle set called Cross Country Carry Case (20K JPEG), item 06 10 03. He says, "The set also includes a green dune buggy, blue topless dune buggy with right-hand-drive driver in it, blue race car, red Honda motorcycle, and a driver's licence card expiring 5/3/76 (this could indicate set production date.)"


Sheriff recovers Hot RodWhat can happen when you put a blown V8 in a flatfender:

This photo shows a Majorette Sheriff's Cherokee supervising the salvage of a Jeep Hot Rod that went through the guardrail of the new county bridge. The wrecker doing the heavy lifting is a 1:1 Jeep FC-170 tow truck photographed by Jolly Goodfellow, who also shot the background for the picture.

Thanks to Christian Falkensteiner and Eric Lawson. -- Derek Redmond

Think the Hot Rod looks a bit like a 3B? See The Matchbox MB: Is It Really a CJ-3B?

And see Matchbox 1960 Jeep Surrey for a 2001 pink version of this toy.

See more Matchbox Jeeps in the Toy Jeeps Pages on CJ3B.info.

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Last updated 4 March 2017For Matchbox/HotRod by Derek Redmond redmond@cj3b.info
All content not credited and previously copyright, is copyright Derek Redmond