The fun in buying this car was that a favorite Matchbox car as a child was a blue-gray Jaguar (a Matchbox by Lesney). That car stood apart because in my under-ten-year-old mind it was exotic.
Not exciting, like the outrageous fantasy-type Hot Wheels and Johnny Lightning cars I raced, with their wild shapes and imagined super-hero type powers. No, this car was exotic, fashioned after a real car from a real place and lifestyle far away. I suspect that idea of the exotic might have grown out of The Children's International Film Festival (I think that was what it was called, anyway), which ran on TV, and which might have a car that looked something like my Matchbox.
Growing up in a small Midwestern town in Ohio at the time when the 60s were turning over the reigns to the 70s, my exposure to foreign culture was limited. I didn't know people from outside the U.S., and since this was pre-Internet, pre-cable television, my ideas of the outside world came from books I read occasionally set in another country and a the previously mentioned foreign moves for children which ran on Sundays on television. I don't remember if it was on one of the three VHF stations, 3, 5, or 8, or the two UHF stations, 43 or PBS station 25, we received.
I loved these movies, especially the ones from France and England. Often moody, these movies didn't guarantee a happy everything-works-out ending like most American movies, so they felt truer to me. The child characters might be a little tougher, a little braver, a little sadder, and a little more worldly, but they also seemed more independent than kids in domestic movies. They were different (and had cool accents!), and while I didn't always want to live these lives, I was fascinated by this differentness.
My blue-gray Matchbox was from these kind of other places.
I wasn't an artsy kid. I watched Speed Racer and Lost in Space. I played piggyback crashcars at recess. I liked Twinkies. I circled toys I wanted in the Sears Gift Book catalog. I hiked through the woods with my dog to the railroad tracks. But these foreign movies gave me a longing for the exotic, and kick-started my appreciation of foreign movies.
Additionally, they showed me how dramatic rain and fog could be. Those foreign movies loved the rain.
Now the Jaguar XK is nothing like the old-school Jaguar I had, but that's how memories get triggered.
Now I'll just need to find a Hot Wheels that I can somehow tie-in to Benny Hill.
Photo of Matchbox Jaguar XK by Dominic Buccilli.